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2009 December — Why Now?
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Posts from — December 2009


This is point at which bloggers are expected to provide round-ups of the year, and in this case, the decade. OK, they sucked.

I would like to think things will get better, but there is no sign of the powers-that-be actually understand that things suck, because they haven’t had much in the way of personal experience with the problems that exist in the real world that exists outside the Beltway.

The Naughts will best be remembered for the disasters.

December 31, 2009   17 Comments

Canadian Politics Are More Interesting

It’s amazing, The Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has decided that, since Parliament has worked so hard this year, he will again given them a couple of months off, but the opposition parties are upset. The CBC reports: PM seeks Parliament shutdown until March

The Conservative government plans to shut down Parliament for two months, until after the Vancouver Winter Olympics, the Prime Minister’s Office announced Wednesday.

The announcement triggered immediate condemnation from opposition MPs who labelled the Conservative government’s move an “almost despotic” attempt to muzzle parliamentarians amid controversy over the Afghan detainees affair.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, said the government sought the suspension to consult with Canadians, stakeholders and businesses as it moves into the “next phase” of its economic action plan amid signs of economic recovery.

“This is quite routine but it is also important to give Canadians an overview of where we will be taking the country over the next little while,” Soudas told CBC News from Ottawa.

Come on guys, he does this every Christmas, and you know you want to watch the Olympics, so what’s the problem? Sure, it gives him time to add more of his people to the Canadian Senate; sure, it cancels some investigations that he didn’t want going on; and it certainly limits any embarrassing questions about the Olympics; but it’s time off and you can go home and listen to your constituents kvetch, up close and personal.

If you have the time, scan the comments. They have Canadian wingnuts. Who knew?

December 30, 2009   2 Comments

Another Floor Wax And Desert Topping

If you have heart problems, your cardiologist may prescribe a vasodilator like pentaerythritol tetranitrate [C5H8N4O12] or glyceryl trinitrate [C3H5N3O9]. They both do a competent job, and save lives in emergency situations.

The two have something else in common – they explode. The first, PETN, is used in C4, Semtex, and the shorts of the sons of Nigerian bankers. The second, nitroglycerin, is the active ingredient in Dynamite.

Any system that accurately detects PETN is going to flag heart patients carrying their Lentonitrat pills, as they are almost pure PETN. This also means that you can buy/steal PETN from pharmacies. I’m sure everyone remembers that the number two man in al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is a surgeon, as are a number of Islamic whackos.

Isn’t chemistry wonderful?

December 30, 2009   2 Comments

Of Course He Plays Golf

Michelle Cottle of The New Republic has an opinion piece, Obama’s (Politically) Risky Golf Obsession, that misses the obvious – all Republicans golf.

Eisenhower had a putting green built at the White House. Nixon, Ford, Reagan, the Bushes – all golfers. As a frequent attendee of the “Let’s All Park On Interstate 5, So Dan Quayle Can Play Golf At Torrey Pines” meetings in San Diego, even Vice Presidents golf.

There was no reason to assume Obama would be any different, just because he calls himself a Democrat – you elect a Republican, you get a golfer.

Golfing is the only time Republicans get to meet their bosses, the corporate CEOs.

December 30, 2009   7 Comments

Homes Lost In Western Australia Fire

FireAs the ABC reports, cyclone induced rains haven’t helped in the dryer areas Western Australia: Fire declared a natural disaster

Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has declared a fire that destroyed more than 37 homes at Toodyay, 80km north-east of Perth, a natural disaster.

Firefighters have worked through the night to control the raging blaze.

Three firefighters and a woman from the town suffered minor injuries in the fire, which has burnt 3,000 hectares [7,400 acres] of bushland.

The fire was just in from the coast in the Southwestern corner of Australia. In addition to the structures, livestock and wildlife were also lost in the blaze which is now contained, with hot spots still blazing.

[added the missing cyclone reference]

December 29, 2009   8 Comments

No Big Surprise

The Pensacola News Journal reports that McCollum seeks suit on health care

TALLAHASSEE — Attorney General Bill McCollum said today he is asking chief legal officers in other states to join in a legal review of pending federal health-care legislation.

McCollum, who is running for governor, said the effort could spark a lawsuit to block what he called an unconstitutional “tax on living” for all citizens.

McCollum, a Republican candidate for governor, was immediately accused of using his Cabinet office to appeal to conservative GOP voters who adamantly oppose national health care.

Proponents have argued that states require drivers to carry automobile insurance and that making the uninsured pay into a health-care pool would provide a funding source to cover them if they get sick or injured with no private coverage.

But McCollum said that’s different, because no one is required to have a car.

The other thing McCollum is attacking is a provision for the Federal government to pick up all of Nebraska’s Medicaid costs that was inserted to win Ben Nelson’s vote on the bill. Medicaid costs are normally split between the Federal and state governments.

Actually, I hope someone does file suit over mandates, because I don’t see the basis for requiring people to give money to private corporations.

December 29, 2009   4 Comments

Stumbling Over The Cliff

As bad as the Obama administration has been in gauging the feelings of the US population, the Iranian regime keeps making blunder after blunder in its attempt to hold on to power. They have reached the point where they are doing things that not even the Shah dared to do.

The BBC has been providing what information it can, after being ejected from the country following the first round of demonstration: Iran opposition figures arrested after protests

A number of opposition figures have been arrested in Iran, a day after at least eight people died during the most violent protests for months.

Those detained include senior aides to opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, and a former foreign minister.

Mr Mousavi’s nephew was among those killed on Sunday. Officials deny opposition claims police shot them.

Juan Cole goes the the heart of the current missteps of the Iranian leaders:

The killing of Ali Mousavi, the 34-year-old nephew of former presidential candidate Mir Husain Mousavi, was also a violation of Shiite values. The Mousavis are putative descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, a sort of caste in Muslim societies called ‘sayyid’ or ‘sharif.’

Killing a sayyid is a blot on any Iranian government. Doing so on Ashura, the day of morning for the martyred grandson of the Prophet, Imam Husayn, borders on insanity.

Martyrs are central to the Shi’ia form of Islam. Ashura is the most important day in the calendar for Twelver Shi’ia, the dominant sect in Iran. For a government that bases its legitimacy on adherence to the values and teachings of that sect to do something that not even the very secular Shah would have dared to do, is immensely damaging to the credibility of the country’s rulers.

December 28, 2009   3 Comments

How You Fight Terrorism

Keep Calm and Carry On

Hair-trigger reactions to failed plots, that seek to increase everyone’s worry for political gain is not how you fight terrorism, that is how you help terrorists succeed.

The terrorists want to make you afraid. If you live in fear, they have won.

The system worked. No one died and the terrorist was arrested. The people who are freaking out in the media are giving him the victory he was too incompetent to win on his own. Now is the time for ridicule, not “tough measures”. The measures should be taken later, without fanfare, when the bad guys think they have gotten away with something. Such measures are best delivered in person, so there is no mistaking why it happened.

December 27, 2009   14 Comments

Well, That’s Annoying

In this upgrade they have replaced all references to “delete” with “trash”. Spam, posts, whatever you no longer want, is now “moved to trash” instead of deleted.

It is the incursion of the Mac people.

December 27, 2009   Comments Off on Well, That’s Annoying

A Good Day

After months of mucking about with doctors, I sat down with “The Pill Book” and then went on-line to verify what I had found at multiple sources. A long-term debilitating problem was resolved by telling the individual to stop taking a particular medication which was for an extremely minor condition. The individual was having a full-blown reaction to the medication.

Today, the individual was back to their normal self. After New Year’s they can contact the doctor who prescribed the medication and work out a different solution. This was the result of too many specialists, none of whom can take the time to really look at the overall patient. The medication is normally the best, most targeted solution to the problem it addressed, and it solved that problem, but as people age the effects of medication change, and when you throw other chronic conditions into the mix, good solutions turn bad.

The damn inserts with the medication are too general and don’t help you find out what I discovered. They are written in tiny type and de-stress the possible problems. It took me hours to find what I needed to know using multiple searches for possible interactions.

I also discovered a weakness in the usually excellent system for spotting interactions used by the pharmacy involved – if you are controlling a problem with diet and/or exercise, the system doesn’t know to look for interactions. It is dependent on the drugs you take.

Now, if I could just figure out how to bill the insurance companies at my systems analyst rate…

December 27, 2009   4 Comments

Cheated Disaster Again

For no known technical reason, I managed to upgrade to the latest version.

I assume I’m being lulled into complacency so I can be wiped out by version 3.0.

There is no question that one of these upgrades is going to be a complete meltdown, only which one.

December 27, 2009   2 Comments

Speaking Of Plots

First Bobby Bowden “decided to retire” as the head coach of the Florida State Seminoles, and now Urban Meyer is stepping down as head coach of the Florida Gators.

A couple of nice $2+ million/year job openings in the state, but both going out in December will certainly give rise to conspiracy theories, especially given the reports of Meyer’s heart attack after the Alabama-Florida game.

This means that American-style football will be the only topic of conversation for weeks. I really hate the kicked-puppy looks I get when I tell people I couldn’t care less.

December 26, 2009   Comments Off on Speaking Of Plots

Another Foiled Plot

This is time it was concealed in the “terrorist’s” shorts, so I guess everyone will have to remove their shorts as well as their shoes while going through the line.

The guy’s father calls the US embassy and tells them that his son is a whacko and they should do something, but that isn’t enough to get his US visa canceled, or for his name to appear on the “Do Not Fly” list. Apparently he needed to go to a peace march to be instantly banned.

Like Lenin, Che Guevara, Osama bin Laden, and many more, this was the scion of a wealthy family who really didn’t need to work for a living, so he decided to “save the people”. whether they wanted to be saved or not.

We could just throw them in Gitmo after they get kicked out of their first college, or we could tax their family’s estate to the point that these worthless idiots would need to find a real job, and wouldn’t have time to foment revolutions, or save “the poor ignorant lower classes”.

After this latest attempt it is rather obvious that they need to send these clowns to a cooking class, where they would learn the importance of following directions, gathering the proper ingredients, accurate measurements, and monitoring temperatures during the process.

The good news is that this clown has apparently withdrawn his name from the gene pool with his creation of lap flambé. [OK, guys, go ahead and wince]

December 26, 2009   12 Comments

Happy Sales and Returns Day


While December 26th is celebrated by a lot of people in the US in shopping malls returning gifts or taking advantage of inventory clearance sales, there are other celebrations.

It is the first day of the Kwanzaa celebration, which is explained at the link.

It is Boxing Day, a celebration of noblisse oblige when the upper classes bestow gifts on the lower and the contents of the poor boxes are distributed. Under the feudal system this was part of the “contract,” the mutual system of obligations that tied the system together.

As the feast of St. Stephen it honors the first Christian martyr, but Ireland’s Saint Stephen’s Day celebration is a bit different and is the reason for the wren on this post.

However, this post is really my complaint about “Good King Whatshisface.”

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December 26, 2009   Comments Off on Happy Sales and Returns Day