Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rally on the Mall

Most gatherings on the Nation's Mall are a waste of time and money. The last bit of nonsense was Beck's self promotion assemblage. However, there are two upcoming rallies that might be worth attending. You might have missed the annoucement, so here they are--

Rally to Restore Sanity

March to Keep Fear Alive

Narcissism is good?

If this is true, it seems a bit odd. Self absorption is not a good, but it can be a useful tool. The narcissist is an egotistical blow hard, think of Bill Clinton. They are moderately to severely nuts. They are good at promoting themselves. They have to, it's part of the disease. However, blowhards do have some attributes that might be useful. Blowhards--

...[can] be good at convincing others that their ideas are creative even though they're just average. Still, groups with a handful of narcissists come up with [more] ideas than those with none, suggesting that self-love contributes to real-world success.

Success? Well, lets go to the conclusion--

Self-promotion, for example, is a valuable skill, but it benefits everyone to realize how much it can distort perceptions of quality.


Give it some thought and remember, the political arena contains nothing but narcissists. How well have they done over the last 30 or 40 years? They have lots of ideas, not about the quality....

Public Service Posting

Have you given any thought to your passwords of late? How many do you have? How easy are they to crack? As a reminder to not become to lax, give this a read and then make some changes if need be--

Password advice from the father of the firewall

Nice Idea, But...

Our schools do not do well in teaching science, math, technology or history. The kids appear to come out less well informed than their parents and their parent's parents before them. Obama and others think this matter can be fixed by making a speech and adding a few dollars more to the 8% and rising education dollars now picked up by the Feds.

Hmm, I think it will just be a waste of money. The speeches though, might prompt a thought or two. I do not oppose teaching science, math, technology and history. I'd add more money if I thought it would improve the mess. Money will not make it better. Adding dollars to the pot will just add dollars to the pot. Hell, for all I know the demand for more federal dollars might be drivern by an Education Industry Congressional Complex. We've seen how well the Military one has done haven't we.

If we want kids to know more, what do we have to do to make it the new normal? Well, the first and pretty much only requirement is that parents have to want their children to learn more science, more math, more tech, and more history. If parents have to want their urchins to know more, than they have to say so, and then they have to get out of the way. It will happen when parents quit wanting the tykes to be just like themselves. If parents want their kids to be dimmer than themselves, then the status will remain quite quo. When parents want their kids to use facts, reason and logic, then schools will begin to teach science, math, tech, and history with or without more federal dollars. Right now the teachers do exactly what the majority of voters want. Think about it.

White House Advisers Call for Big Changes to Improve Science Education

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pope Ratzy's Road Show

Ratzy is in London. He's real sorry about his poor showing on priests and child abuse. The church really blew it. He admits to some degree of failure. He hopes folks, particularly dues paying members of his organization will forgive him and the church. Note to dues paying members, if you do not forgive, forget, and send a cash donation by Sunday, Ratzy will excommunicate you and damn you to hell. Problem solved the authoritarian way.

Pope acknowledges church was slow to act against sex abuse

I do not understand how anyone can be a Catholic. I find it easier to comprehend being a Republican and that takes a lot of work. Then again, it's really not just Catholics, I do not understand how anyone can belong to any religion.

Party Differences

Even though I am fed up with the Democrats, I cannot vote for a Republican. The latest bit of GOP nonsense, the Teabags, reminds me of a basic difference. The GOP and the teabags really say "liberty for me." The Dems, however, say "liberty for me and thee."

If you're not a "me" you're SOL (that's not an acronym for Standards of Learning). I recently watched "Invictus." Not a bad flick, I enjoyed it. As I watched, I also started to think about the recent history of South Africa. I wondered which of our parties would have kept Mandela in prison for 27 years? Let's put it this way, Mandela is a thee, an impressive thee. Got that GOP?

I had never read the poem "Invictus." here it is--

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

The State Can't Help But Keep On Giving

What state is that? Why the Palmetto state of course. Did you know that Palemetto means cracker in Latvain. The crackers of South Carolina at at it again. That good old southern heritage bullshit is alive and well in SC. It never dies.

South Carolina GOP lawmaker McConnell defends picture with 'slave' re-enactors


They don't have confederates in the attic, they elect them to office.

A Lot of Noise

Television's 24/7 cable news needs copy, lots of copy. They want to attract viewers. Does the amount of jibber jabber over teabags on TV surprize anyone? TV is ads, paid ads. If a show does not attract eyeballs, the show may stay but the "news" cast will be gone. The same is true for radio.

If you get the eyes and ears then you get the ads. If you get the ads you make money. Ads don't have a lot to do with reason, logic and facts. The personalities who keep you tuned in to catch the ads don't either, their job number one is entertaining the viewer so they hang around for the ads. If the entertainment value drops, the personality gets dropped. Teabags are entertaining. Unfortunately most of the coverage is bullshit.

The teabags are merely today's wingnuts. Some of the wingnuts saw an opportunity to seize some power based on what their folks did to the nation under Bush. Bush and his elected wingnuts gave us two wars and a totally wrecked economy. Hell, Bush even had them advocate nation building. Bush's legacy to the GOP was to insure it lost its ass in 2008.

Some of the wingnuts saw that their loss of power occurred because they also lost party principles. Some folks saw opportunity in that observation. They saw an opening to replace Bush's bozos. They poured water into a teapot. They steeped. They drank a lot of tea. They had parties. The party faithful listened. The flocks voted for teabags.

What have we learned? First, the GOP is a big tent of wingnuts. When the time is right, old wingers get replaced by newer nuts. The GOP is re-grouping and returning to the original Goldwater style wingnuttery. So, what's new? Not much. Crazy is, as it has always been, what crazy does. Why are the teabags out in force today?

Teabags would not be inflicting themselves on TV viewers if McCain had won. Even if McCain had done everything the same as Obama, Teabags would not have "spontaneously" appeared on TV. I guess Republican tyranny is quite different from Democratic tyranny. They showed up to challenge mainstream GOOPERS because the mainstream GOOPERs lost power. Fringe dwellers get noticed when power shifts to the other guys. When power shifts, the party foundation cracks. New wingnuts were able to slip through the cracks and get noticed on TV. Power shifted, the fringe appeared and we get entertained by politics. It's normal. It's 100% American politics. Now how it will play out in November? Well, we will have to wait and see. Will the GOP take Tea and see? Will the Nation take to tea or stick with its traditional coffee? Scribes are hard at work on explaining Teabag victory and Teabag defeat.

Here's the Post on the Fringe and the losers in the GOP

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Weight Loss Secret

Actually it's not a secret, but it is the only diet that works. If you are a lardo, don't like it, and are not going to beg off losing lard by claiming it's genetic, glandular or some other psychobabble bullshit, this is for you. The rest can waddle on down to KFC, double down a few times, and eat your way to an early grave. Odd, doubling down is a losers gambling strategy. Has KFC targeted the losers food niche?

What's the diet? Simple eat less, work more. That's it. If the number of calories you consume every day are less than the calories you expend (work) you will lose weight. There are no magic bullets. There are no magic types of food. There is your mouth, food, and your muscles. That's it. Eat less, work more and you there be less of you.

Of course if you eat more and work less there will be more of you. Hmm, if we all got so damned excited about smoking and health, then we might think about fighting fat with same public health zeal. Obesity costs us a lot of health dollars.

Oh what's your Body Mass Index? How much belly fat are you carrying around (measure at you navel, 40 inches or more for guys and 35 inches or more for gals, well, let's put it this way lardo, you are heading for an earlier death than the somewhat more svelte.

Place Your Bets

The unnamed operation in Kandahar has begun. I may have missed the name. Does it have one? I guess it must be Operation Generic. At any rate, it's underway. The good guys intend to kick some bad guy butt. The good guys are NATO forces, the bad guys are the Taliban.

Will the good guys win? Well, depending on how you define winning and terms like victory, of course they will--more troops, more resources, etc. Now will they really win?

Really win? That means convince the locals that the Taliban is bad, can be defeated, and eliminated now. If it turns into a shock and awe rout, then NATO will really win. However, if the battle takes much more than a couple of days, they will win, but not really win. If you lived in Afghanistan, what would it take for you to no longer fear the Taliban, the government or warlords? Now place your bets! Who will win Operation Generic? When?

U.S. begins long-awaited assault on Taliban stronghold

Taxes

I find it most odd that when we hear pols and their ditto machine acolytes talk about taxes, they seem to be concerned with only one tax,the income tax. Most of us pay a modest income tax since most of us make under 100,000 a year. So what's the big deal with income tax? Oh, it's a big deal if you make a lot more than 100,000 and are of a greedy sort. The wealthy have pulled off quite a hat trick, they have managed to have the lower income crowd do their fighting for them.

I think we need a new approach to taxation. Why not fight all the other taxes and fees we pay. If we are paying, on average, 40% of our incomes in taxes, let's approach this tax mess a bit differently for a change. Let's take income and payroll taxes off the agenda for now. Let's begin with all those other taxes we pay. How much of your gasoline fill-up went to the Feds? Your State? Hmm, okay, have you looked at your utility bills lately? Seen any taxes and fees there? What do you get for those property taxes? Why do I have to pay for a driver's license? Why do we disproportionately tax tobacco and booze? Why do we tax food? Why do we tax newspapers? How much of your last airline travel bill was actually one kind of tax, fee, or assessment?

Let the rich fight their own fight, the rest of us need to look into all those taxes and fees other than income and payroll taxes.

The Non-War War in Legacyland

Gee, we have non-combat, combat troops in Iraq. I guess that means the special operations troops are really mundane task soldiers. At any rate, they are out and about engaging in non-war, war activities which most would see as non-combat, combat. I guess we will have to begin using non-lethal, lethal bullets, and non-explosive, explosive grenades to not kill the non-enemy in that forever young democracy of Iraq.

U.S., Iraqi troops kill 8 in raid

Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, are they our first step towards "Forever War?"

Tea Baggers

The teabag inclined voters appear to have taken the time to vote in yesterday's primaries. Their well steeped candidates appear to have won, particularly in Delaware. It will be interesting to see what proportion of possible voters actually bothered to show up and vote in party primaries. Primaries attract political fringe dwellers. Odd candidates succeed. Then, the built in question becomes will the odd ones make it to the bigs or become but faint echos of orchestrated lunacy. Have you forgotten those odd Democrats who made it in 2008? They even have a special name. No, not buttheads, they are called Blue Dogs. How many will of those dogs will drown in a teapot this Fall and be replaced by some Pekoe, Darjeeling, or Gunshot?

Who are these folks? The teabaggers, well, they are but the right wing of the right wing. They might become the "new" GOP or they might fade from prominence as soon as the Democrats lose the White House. Did the various groups who spent eight years attacking Bill Clinton make inroads on the mainstream GOP? Perhaps, but the Bush years make me think not. The teabags will continue to make noise. Much will be said on cable news about them, but our politics, on both left and right, spends a lot to make massive amounts of noise. I fear most of it is really white noise that puts us to sleep. The din does a fine job of deflecting our attention from the reality around us. Is this just political Muzak?

I am amazed that teabags are so concerned about Obama. For all their expressed concern about liberty and tyranny, I wonder why their focus is on one guy and not on a host of local offices. Tyranny starts locally, for example, zoning laws that prevent you from doing as you want with your property. How are your property taxes these days? Then again, the teabags may enjoy local despotism. Hm, maybe that's their beef. They want everybody to behave as they do down in their Home Town on their Main St. and everybody just won't cooperate. I guess that could be an element derived from their predilection towards belief in the devil and UFOs. If the teabags were more than a well manipulated GOP fringe they would be forming a new party and taking over at the local level. They do not appear to be doing such. As that army of war protesters vanished when Bush and the GOP left town, so will the teabags dissipate when Obama disappears. The teabags will retire and await the next Democratic president.

Christine O'Donnell beats Rep. Mike Castle in Delaware Republican Senate primary

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Investors Take Note

What company's original name was Haloid Photographic Company? It's Xerox of course. If you had bought say 100 shares in say 1958 do you think you might have made a bundle? Okay, if you have bought 100 shares of Microsoft when if was first offered, do you think you'd have made a dollar or two? Of course, both companies delivered transformative technology that altered the course of the world. Can you imagine a world without copies at will or PCs? What is the next transformative tech? It's been around on a limited scale, but may break out soon. It's 3-D printing.

3-D Printing Spurs a Manufacturing Revolution

What would a home version be like?

More Oil

Researchers have found a lot of goo on the Gulf seafloor. It is from BP? We'll know soon after some chemical fingerprinting of the sludge. How will this round of oil spillage play out. Let's see Obama and his Nobel winning Department head will poo-poo the account and turn to NOAA for an assist. NOAA will say it's not BP's goo (if they can find it). NNOAA will turn to local shills, i.e., scientists from Louisiana and Mississippi schools. The rest of the world will confirm the sludge belongs to BP. Obama and NOAA will pledge to do something about the new found problem. Adm (ret.) Thad will nod his head. BP's stock will go up a few ticks.

Scientists Discover Thick Layer of Oil Stretching for Miles on Gulf Sea Floor

Movies

I am slow to get around to seeing movies. There are no theaters in my neck of the woods. I use NextFlix and get around to seeing flicks when they get around to sending them my way. Over the past few weeks I've seen a couple of films I really enjoyed. If you have not seen them, check them out, you might enjoy these.

"Creation" It's a BBC film about Darwin's struggle to write "On the Origin of Species." This is a superb film. Great story and even better acting.

"In Search of Beethoven" This is a documentary on the like and work of Beethoven. It kept my interest from beginning to end. I wish Netflix carried Grabsky's other one on Mozart.

"The Last Station" Helen Mirren was nominted for Best Actress for her role in this film about the last years of Tolstoys's life. After I saw this, I wondered why the Academy gvae the the award to Sandra Bullock, Mirren should have won. Wonderful film,great cast, great acting.

Pandering for votes

I guess Californians who are big fans of Bill Clinton might not vote for Jerry Brown after Brown basically called Clinton a liar. Well, Brown must think so, since he apologized for his recent remarks. Clinton was and is what Brown called him. Clinton is truth challenged, but he's real good at fund raising. Let the pandering begin. I have a feeling we'd have been a lot better off if Brown had been elected President instead of Clinton. Sorry to see Brown sucking up to a lying blowhard like Clinton, but that's politics and .

Brown Apologizes to Clinton to Bill Clinton for [accurate] dishonesty remarks

Bless My Krupp, It's the Merchant of Death

Obama is the current CEO of Death R Us, Inc. He's heading up a deal with the Saudi dictatorship to sell them $60 billion or so worth of weapons. Need I say the Saudis have assured us the weapons will only be used for defense of their continued rule. Congress can block the sale. Congress won't block the sale. Think about it. It's a jobs program for the Military Industrial Congressional Complex--

According to the military, Boeing - maker of the F-15, the Apaches and the Little Birds - has estimated that the purchase would involve 77,000 direct and indirect jobs in 44 states. Some of those would be jobs that would be kept, but an unspecified number of new jobs would also be generated, officials said.

U.S., Saudis discussing biggest-ever foreign arms sale

RAS Syndrome

The current issue of CJR has a tidbit of info I liked. Have you ever noticed how an acronym can have one of its original terms added back to it? For example, have you ever forgotten a PIN number? Now, expand that acronym and see what you forgot, you don't know your personal identification number number. There's even a name for this bit of linguistic oddness, it's calle Redundant Acronym Syndrome (RAS). We suffer from RAS syndrome. See how easy it is to succumb.

Note; The current issue of CJR is not available online without a subscription. To read the item, buy a copy, go to the library, or be patient it will become available next month. This item was in the Language Corner by Merrill Perlman. While you're at it read the rest of the magazine, it's well worth it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

ABC Privatization

Gov.McDonnell has the right idea, get the state out of a business it never should have been in, in the first place. Of course, he and his fellow pols are concerned about replacing "lost" tax dollars. That makes no sense at all. Correct the screw up, then raise taxes if you have to.

Instead, the Gov. will screw small businesses that might want to sell booze. Frankly, there should be no limit on who can sell what. If there is a license to sell something fee, it should be very modest if at all. While we're at it, get rid of the sin tax on booze. If that cuts into state revenue, then tax people up front via the personal income and business income taxes. I thought the GOP was the party of business. Are they?

ABC privatization plan troublesome for mom and pops

Investors Take Note

Something is coming. Who knows what it will be. Were you ready for cell phones before they made it big? Did you invest? How about Wi-Fi, did you make some cash on that? How much did you make on remote controls? All of them use unlicensed airways. There are other frequencies available, they are called white spaces. Are you watching the F.C.C.? A door is being opened, what will it bring? Who knows, but Wi-Fi on steroids sounds like a good start.

F.C.C. Likely to Open Airwaves to Wireless

Department of Weapons

Why do we have so much war? Part of the reason may be the world is awash in weapons. Where do they come from? Who's Number One in the merchant of death game? We are. The U.S. leads the way selling stuff designed to kill people (in self defense only, of course). Hard times have hit our sales, they declined to a mere 39% market share worth $22.6 billion.

Bad Economy Drives Down American Arms Sales

Did you ever read "The Arms of Krupp?"

The Schmucks Never Quit

Gee, there's corruption in Afghanistan. Who would ever expect that? The local government does not take to our version of law enforcement. Amazing. As we bring Eliot Ness back to the states, what's the first thing we do?

The National Security Council recently ordered all U.S. agencies involved in Afghanistan, including the CIA, to list whom they are paying, according to a senior administration official working on Afghanistan policy. The effort, which even extends to U.S. Agency for International Development funds going to governors so they can hire administrative staff, is designed to identify double-dipping but also to ensure "we're not speaking out of both sides of our mouth," the senior official said.

Okay will the military list all the Afghans they have been paying too? How many more decades will we fart around in this place? Myself, I've had it with Bush's legacy. We cannot afford his kind of gifts. It's simple, leave today.

Karzai rift prompts U.S. to reevaluate anti-corruption strategy in Afghanistan

Sunday, September 12, 2010

College Football

After watching the Tennessee team lose last night, I remembered a piece I meant to post from a couple of weeks back. Can we take the amateur BS out of college ball? Can we bag the NCAA? Can football actually become a revenue source for a school's general fund? What might be done with college football?

Show them the money

Taxes

How do you feel about paying taxes? Is it more the taxes you pay or perceptions of being screwed by pols and fat cats that tick you off? Here's an interesting take Taxes and Loopholes.

5 Myths--Prostitution

Last weekend, Craigslist, the popular provider of Internet classified advertising, halted publication of its "adult services" section. The move followed criticism from law enforcement officials across the country who have accused the site of facilitating prostitution on a massive scale. Of course, selling sex is an old business -- most say the oldest. But as the Craigslist controversy proves, it's also one of the fastest changing. And as a result, most people's perceptions of the sex trade are wildly out of date.

Five myths about prostitution

The Political Scientist's Mind

Okay, how do those folks think about things such as presidential speeches, term limits, lobbyists, and political chit-chat them? How do you think about those items? Okay, now give Ezra Klein's piece a read--

Poli Sci 101: A Cheat Sheet for Pols

Tired of War?

I am. Are you? I am really tired of all the patriotic gore associated with going to war, fighting a war, and celebrating war. I am fed up with people who cheer others on and do not themselves wander off into harm's way. War is hell. War is death. War is destruction. War should be that last item on any policy alternatives list. Why have we place war so high on the list from WWII on? After Vietnam, how could be allow war in Iraq? It's a mystery, but it can be partially explained. Here are two new books on the matter--

In Washington, Every War is a Just One--Andrew Bacevich's "Washington Rules" and John Dower's "Cultures of War"

What's Really Different?

Are men from Mars and women from Venus? Do boys think blue and while girls see pink? If you think so and start to cite some research you've read, then you might want to stop talking, read this review and perhaps pick up Cordelia Fine's "Delusions of Gender."

I like the terms blobology and neurosexism, they appear to be well used. How much sloppy science is out there in best selling books on gender and other topics? How much poor research has shown up in the last decade or so? I have a feeling Fine points but to the tip of the iceberg.

How Do Bad Guys Succeed?

We may not like the answer, but it's through corruption. Bad guys corrupt good guys. The good guys become hidden bad guys enabling the ends of the bad guys. We then do not understand why there's so much crime. We shake our heads a lot. How much of the drug problem is actually caused by various "good" guys--judges, prosecutors, and cops--who have taken the cash and gone down the road to criminality all for the sake of a few dollars? I think it's far more than we'd like it to be. Here's a piece from the Post on such a life--

Woman's links to Mexican drug cartel a saga of corruption on U.S. side of border