Monday, November 26, 2007

Political News

Really, I think everyone is amazed that anyone found any kind of heartbeat at all. I wonder if they've ever found a regular heartbeat, doesn't seem possible. The name Darth Vader didn't stick to him for nothing. Then there is a recent poll that said 55% of Americans think Cheney is going to hell. Quite a statistic when you figure at least 9% of the population likes him and another 15-20% don't believe in hell.

Horrible news, isn't it? We won't have Trent Lott to kick around any more. But then we have to look at the reason for him resigning, and specifically before the end of the year. New laws have been enacted that say anyone leaving Congress after January 1, 2008 has to wait an entire year before they can become a lobbyist and rake in the big bucks. So Trent just wants to make sure he doesn't miss a whole year of a 7 figure income.

Here is the article from CNN Money:
Even with a boost from holiday spending, the U.S. economy looks shaky, thanks to slumping housing prices, Wall Street woes and debt-laden consumers. How bad could it get?

It could get really bad, especially with the dollar falling so rapidly. We have Bush's economic policies to thank for this, although a better name would be Bush's Looting Policies. They have funneled money upwards to the rich so they could get much richer and the poor and middle class have to struggle twice as hard to to keep from sinking. When people are working too hard and getting sick without health insurance, and one pay check away from homelessness, they are usually too busy and too tired to march in the street or pay much attention to politics, and that is the whole point of Republican Economic Strategy. And besides, all of them have most of their money in foreign currency so as the dollar falls they actually get richer.

He's were he belongs at last! Too bad it's because Bush invited him. George was having a visit today from all the American Noble Prize Laureates so he couldn't very well keep Al out, he would look petty if he tried. So he made the diplomatic move and called Gore personally to invite him over for a private meeting, makes him look like the big man even though we all know what kind of a man he is; one who isn't fit to shine Al's shoes. The fundies and Neocons all just about had a collective stroke when Gore got the Noble Peace Prize. They hate the guy with a passion (because they know as well as we do that Gore is the rightful president and Bush pulled off a peaceful coup) and they absolutely can't stand the idea that the rest of the world respects him. I think if they did a poll they would find him far more respected around the world than King George.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Stupid Citizens

Jay Leno talks to the people on the streets and asks questions that are on the citizenship test. It's scary that these people can vote. He jokes they are are deported for getting all the answers wrong, if only that were true.

At the very least we should make people take the citizenship test before being allowed to be a registered voter.

Friday, November 9, 2007

We DO Torture!

Vjack, over at Atheist Revolution has a good post on the history of waterboarding and that only America doesn't seem to know it IS torture and that we are engaged in it. And he has some unkind things to say about Christians on the matter:
Fortunately for the politicians, Christianity, often blended with a sense of white racial superiority, made it easier for the American people to swallow what was being done in their name. After all, the victims of waterboarding were not Christian and thus merely immoral beasts. It did not surprise me to learn that one of the early defenders of waterboarding was a Christian minister.

Keith Olbermann has even worse things to say in one of his Special Comments:

It is a fact startling in its cynical simplicity and it requires cynical and simple words to be properly expressed: The presidency of George W. Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of George W. Bush.

All the petulancy, all the childish threats, all the blank-stare stupidity; all the invocations of World War III, all the sophistic questions about which terrorist attacks we wanted him not to stop, all the phony secrets; all the claims of executive privilege, all the stumbling tap-dancing of his nominees, all the verbal flatulence of his apologists...

The link takes you to an Alternet site that has not only a video of it but a transcript. Powerful stuff, Keith keeps getting better - and angrier - as time goes on.

I understand his anger, I've been incredulous for months that America has sat back and let Bush and his crew turn us into the kind of country who tortures our enemies. I remember one Vietnam POW saying that one of the things that kept them going through all the torture they had to endure was knowing America would never treat their prisoners like that.

Guess we are now the Vietnamese now.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Leopard 10.5

Man, do I want it! I've never been one to update OS's quickly. I've got an old beige Mac that is still running 8.1 (that's a pre-OSX system for the uninitiated). When I got my Quicksilvers in 2002 I ran OS 9.2 for a couple of years because I didn't want to mess with OSX. Didn't use it until Jaguar. Then when Panther came out I waited a year before upgrading to that. Tiger I went to much faster, upgrading after only a few months after it came out because it had some cool features.

But Leopard I really want. All kinds of good things in it. The most important for me is the new Finder, which works much more like Mail or iTunes but I especially like the preview mode, Quick Look, in Finder. I bought a Finder replacement app, Path Finder, a while ago mainly because it had a good preview feature and the few times I've stopped using it and gone back to Finder I've quickly gone back to Path Finder because I really needed the preview feature. Works even better now that InDesign makes previews as well.

But my favorite feature is Back To My Mac. If you have a .mac account (and I do) you can connect to any other Mac of yours that is registered on .mac and use it like you were there. Which means while I'm at work I can open my home Mac and vise versa. There has been many a time I've left things at work I wanted to work on at home and forgot to take with me. Nothing for it but to wait until I get into work the next day. But with the new Leopard feature I can access the work Mac right from the Finder. You used to have to buy Apple Remote Desktop for that, a $500 program.

Time Machine looks great too. It saves a snapshot of your system and files every hour, but not the whole system only what is changed. Suppose you have a file you've been working on for days, at some point you realize you really want to go back to the version you had yesterday afternoon. You can flip through Time Machine until you find just that version of it and copy it back your hard drive.

And there are several other cool features, too. Preview will now let you combine several PDF's into one. Partition your hard drive without erasing it. Notes and To Do's in Mail look interesting. They have Dashcode, which is supposed to make designing Widgets easy, maybe I'll give that a try. Guest login so if I want to look up some porn without Darcy knowing it's all gone when that Guest account is gone :-) Or Private Browsing in Safari will do the same thing.

But my rule is to wait until at least 2 updates on a new OS for them to get some bugs out, but it's going to be hard. What does keep me in check is that there are several system enhancement apps I use that aren't fully Leopard compatible yet so I have to wait for them. Also, I just can't afford it right now which is what is really holding me in check.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Illegal Immigration & the Middle Class

A lot of talk these days about the question Hillary supposedly flubbed on the debates; driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. The idea is to make the roads safer but that really doesn't track for me. Those who are terrible drivers aren't going to take the test anyway. Perhaps a few might study up so they can pass and thus be safer drivers but I don't think it will really create much of a change.

The better argument is that those with driver's licenses can then get insurance. This makes more sense because it affects all of us to have uninsured drivers out there.

But the bottom line is it's a step toward legitimizing their illegal status. With a DL they can then become a regular part of society and get other things as well like jobs, apartments, credit cards, etc. Is this good or bad? It's a matter of opinion and I think both sides can be justified.

Illegal immigration is a very tricky issue for pubs and dems. For pubs the racists don't want any more brown people here, but the big business pubs want the cheap labor. For dems these are our fellow unfortunate and working class people that need a helping hand, but on the other hand they are surpassing wages for the rest of us. Then there is the issue that it is hugely unfair to those who have gone through the system to get here legally.

After much thought the issue that I think trumps all of them is cheap workers coming in and suppressing wages, and quality of life, for the entire middle class. I think the attacks on the middle class by the rich and the corporations is the most serious problem in America today, democracy requires a strong middle class in order to function. Not to mention the idea that people can work hard all their lives in this country and follow all the rules and still end up in their later years completely broke and unable to afford health insurance. To me this is just wrong, it is not the America I thought I was growing up in and not the America I want to see.

So I am against illegal immigration and against giving them amnesty because we need to protect our middle class which is being attacked at all levels and directions. The claim is that Americans won't do the jobs illegals do but I think that's a total crock. If there were no illegals to be used - and abused - by employers then they would have to pay a decent wage to Americans who would, then, do the jobs. Everyone says that will raise prices everywhere and if that is true then I say that it is the price we will have to pay, hopefully that will be offset by increased wages. But I have my doubts about how true that really is, one figure I heard is that if crop pickers got $15 per hour it would only raise the cost of food by less than 10%. In my opinion the problems with high prices and low wages is the crooks at the top, taking multi-million dollar payoffs and ones not even linked to performance.

For one individual to make $20 mil a year for 5 years then get a $200 million payoff when he leaves, even if the company is in worse shape than it was when he came in, is just obscene. The problem is how to stop that. I think the best thing is enormous taxes on that kind of income, something like 90% on anything over $20 mil in one year, which could pay for health care for everyone. The irony here is that universal health care for all of America would help the corporations enormously because they spend a fortune on health care for their employees. Most corps have huge departments devoted entirely to employee health care. Removing that cost & hassle would benefit the corps to the tune of billions a year.

And the middle class aren't asking to be rich, nor are they asking for there to be no rich people, they just want to not be in desperate poverty at the end of their lives or to spend their entire lives one paycheck away from disaster. I don't think that is too much to expect from this country, nor do I think it will cost the rich a significant reduction in their quality of life.