Thursday, December 30, 2010

NPR - Perspectives

I've always been one to like short quips or quotes, see my quotes Web page, always with and for a sense of humor and often to get me to rethink or break any tension or stess.

I never make mistakes, I just don't always do everything right.

I'm never wrong, I'm just not always right.

I never lose, I just don't always win.

I'm never lost, I just don't always know where I am.

Why follow directions when you can take the scenic route?

I always know where I'm going, I just don't always know if it's right.

I always know where I'm standing, it's not always the right place.

I'm never late, I'm just not always on time.

I'm going as fast I can, it only looks slow.

I don't break things, they just stop working.

I never lie, I just don't always tell the whole truth.

You expect me to lead? I have no sense of direction.

I have plans, they just don't always work.

I have plans, just not always for what I'm doing.

Directions? I had them once but lost them enroute.

I have answers, they just don't always fit the question.

Do you know what time it is? Yes. Well, maybe for me anyway.

In the end..., Wait, you mean we're already at the end?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

JMO - Opinions Moved

I noticed I wrote a lot this month about the political events after the November election. Well, I decided to move all but those with comments to my News & Opinion blog where it's more appropriate. I've neglected this blog putting all my opinion post here, which has cluttered it with noise, and all of it me. So, in the future folks can wander there to hear me standing on my soapbox ranting at the world. I'll only post opinion pieces here which are of a serious or important note.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

JMO - False Assumption

Reading about the progress for peace and security in Afghanistan and General Petraeus' view of the war strategy there, namely using the town of Nawa and the best example of a resurgent population to normalcy over a nearly two year period from the surge of US troops with Afghan police and forces and money (USAID) into the area. And he says this is the potential for the rest of the country.

Well, for one there are many critics who say Nawa is unique and not like the rest of Afghanstan, which is so true it's almost absurd. But what bothers me here is that the military leaders keep bringing up successes in the face of overwhelming failures of the Afghan police and forces, the central government, the infrastructure projects, and our own military losses or withdrawls.

But most of all there are two failures where which make hope and potential long overused and really wrongly appropriate words there. And that's the sheer amount of time and money we have spent there to get to this point. How insane is that? After 9 years we're still fighting a basic war for the peace and security of the country.

We're fighting an inept and incompetent, but mostly a very corrupt, government. We're fighting many failed infrastructure projects worth billions. We're fighting the Taliban who simply have the two things we don't have, time and money. They can simply wait us out in Pakistan and move to the weakest spot, draining our forces and resources. They have money because we outspend them one to ten thousand to one.

They have billions of dollars, some of it from us through the corruption or simply paying contractors who pay the Taliban not to fight us. Our money against us. And they have the cartel's money too. The Taliban isn't loved in Afghanstan from their years in power, so we know the people doesn't want them back. But they're embedded in the Afghan government with the President's knowledge and approval.

He wants to stay in power and will do anything to that end, including making deals with the Taliban, war lords, drug cartels, and anyone who wants to be in Afghanistan. Everyone knows it, including the military. So why are they trying to fool us with small success stories to show what they hope and think is possible? When will we wake up to realize it's all for naught?

There is no end there. All the end games haven't worked or succeeded outside of areas of the country. We're pouring billions into a failed and corrupt government and country. For what? Our pride? Is that what the military wants, to show we can win this war? What war?

There are less than 300 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and less than 100 in the Afghanistan by the best reports. ON that front we have won. There are only a few thousand Taliban, and again, mostly in Pakistan. We don't have an ally in Pakistan, they're simply taking our money and being nice to us and cooperating on nuclear weapons (for their own safety and security to keep them out of the hands of terrorists).

Otherwise, they make overtures for help but mostly focus on their own security from the war lords and Taliban. Their interests aren't our interests and ours theirs. But they like to take our money and appear to cooperate. They want a secure Afghanistan but mostly their focus in eastward with India. That's their reality, not ours.

Do we really think the Afghan police and forces have the resources, but more so the willingness to fight the Taliban when we leave? Don't we understand we and they are winning because of our technology and equipment? We're not going to hand that to the Afghan government and forces. We're training the Afghan police and forces but we also know that rely on us for nearly everything.

What we know is the Afghans will fight for what they believe, their country, and it won't need our goals or strategy to do that. They've been there through many wars against each other, the then Soviets, and th Taliban amoung others. At best Afghan will fight it out as they have for generations and then fight to keep their neighbors out of their country. That we know is the only truth there.

So, in the end, it's all a bunch of false asssumptions and a war strategy which has continually changed around small sucesses. But more importantly here is the American people and taxpayer. How long can we keep hearing this and writing checks for a false sense of success? How long can we keep hearing this from generals with vivid imaginations?

How long can we keep hearing about the threat of terrorism there when it's long moved to Yemen and other countries elsewhere in the world? We will go into those countries next to fight them for our safety and security? Or at least beyond our covert presence and drone attacks? Are we ready to chase small groups of terrorists around the world for imaginary security they might attack the US?

Really? Or is the threat more of small threats the world has seen for nearly two decades and where there are bombings and attacks everyday of the year. Yes, we've had one in the face of thousands since then everywhere else where the total dead far exceeds our 9/11. They've suffered more and more often and we couldn't care less about them.

Maybe it's time to wake up to the global reality of terrorism and from terrorists and stop the chasing wars with false assumption and failed strategies? And maybe it's time to ask if this is worth the price in the dead and injured soldiers and the money spent now and into the future?

We don't need to hear President Obama talk about "staying the course" there. Bush said that about Iraq and we left and are leaving. And Obama is only going down the same political road for personal poltical victory than one for America and Americans. And we've heard more than enough of that as we've heard we're there until 2014 and beyond.

What will President Obama say in January 2017 when he leaves office and we're still there with the same res ults? Just like Bush with Iraq when he left in January 2009. He'll leave it for the next president? And how much many more lives gone or damaged and how much more money gone for nothing?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

JMO - Bigger isn't better

I like Swanson's canned chicken breast. Ok, a giant corporation with mass chicken production, but doing some taste samples of the available brands in my area (from Safeway, QFC, etc.), it's the best tasting chicken. But here's the problem. Up until last year the chicken came in small 4.5 oz cans which didn't stack very well on shelves. Ok, fix the can.

Well the company did by introducing a larger, stackable can, with the same 4.5 ounces of chicken on the label. But really? No, not really. Doing some weighing of 12 cans (I make batches of chicken salad for a week or so), I found the water and chicken was 4.5 ounces as stated on the label, but there was only 2 7/8th to 3 1/8th ounces of chicken. Or roughly 1/3 of the weight was water.

The smaller cans had less water and more chicken, so naturally the company solved the problem with a larger can and less chicken. To keep the price the same, the company simply compensated for the cost of the large can with less chicken and more water. And the consumer is ripped off.

I thought something was different when I made the first batch of salad from the larger cans and there was less chicken in the mixing bowl. So I compared the two cans and difference of the chicken and water in the can. The smaller can with the less water had to have more chicken to make the 4.5 ounces of net weight.

The larger can afforded Swanson to add more water and less chicken to get the same net weight. And then they hoped consumers wouldn't notice the difference but simply buy more cans to compensate for the less total chicken for any meals, salads, etc. And one seems to notice, along with me,until I finally bought a scale for other reasona but decided to tested the cans.

I weighed the can minus the lid. I drained the water and weighed the can, the difference being the water. I emptied the can and weighed it again, the difference being the chicken (plus water in the chicken). Not rocket science. Twelve cans were consistent at 3 ounces plus or minus 1/8 of an ounce.

Well, maybe I'll reconsider the other brands again, but this time I'll test the net weight and then compare net price (cost of 1 ounce of chicken).

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Catch-all Diagnosis

I won't try to hide the reality I've had issues with my digestive system going back decades and more so since the early 1980's after a bout of the flu left it unable to really recover some sense of normal as before. The doctors said while the vast majority of people get the flu get diarrhea, a few get the opposite, a near-complete shutdown of their digestive system.

Part of this is due to having to take bicillin and amoxicillin among others for Rheumatic Fever at age 3 and afterward necessary for such things as dental visits to fight any possible strep bacteria in the body through the gums, one of the easiest places for germs and bacteria to enter the body. These are, however, universal antibiotics which destroys the flora in the digestive tract where they regrow until the body controls them.

Until of course, the bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics and the body's own controls. This creates the opportunity for them to grow out of control and play havoc with the body. And then it became Irritated Bowel Syndrome (IBS), first named by a few specialists for a general digestive system disorder so medical professionals would consider developing tests and treatment.

And while IBS was once the bane of Gastroentrologists, saying it was all in the patient's imagination, diet, health, fitness, etc. despite the obvious symptons and signs which tests were at worst non-existent or at best inconclusive, it is now the boon of them where they don't have to really spend a lot of time trying to really determine the cause and then a treatment.

They simply say, "You have IBS, live with it." And then they prescribe the standard generic treatment, lower your fats, lower your dairy intake, eat more fiber - even take a fibrer supplement, fruit and vegetables, and the most obvious one, excercise more. Something a health specialist or nutrutionalist could have told you that and saved you a lot of money.

And even when you can recite a litany of symtoms and signs pointing in a direction, it's easier not to believe the patient, at least until you have clear and obvious test results. But then they have to start with the obvious and work through their litany of tests to ever so slowly remove one diagnosis after another until they get tired, the insurance won't, and you can't, pay, or you give up. And then it's, "You have IBS, live with it."

But what bothers me more is when the test prove nothing but the symptoms and signs still show something maybe related or not fully known, they simply ignore you. Such is the case with the condition Pseudomembranous colitis. But the test can prove deceptive if the toxin isn't present in blood tests or signs in the stools as the test are only looking for a few types of toxins associated with the bacteria.

And so it's easy to dismiss a patient presenting the condition without clear and obvious proof and then tell them, "You have IBS, live with it." Until of course it worsens where it is clear and obvious, and the patient is totally frustrated and angry at the gastroentrologists. In the meantime the patient is trying a variety of diets and excercise programs with nothing to show for treating the condition.

And so it's down the medical rabbit hole I go, again, five years later and a little worse for the wear and time.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

iPad Zagat To Go

I bought the Zagat To Go app on the Apple iPad app store ($10) and I discovered it's not what it's claim to be, although very good and useful, not necessarily complete. But my complaint is that when I went to use the off-line feature it popped up a box saying my version was not compatible with the latest on-line version of the database and I needed to use the "Update" tool, except the tool didn't work.

I followed their instruction requiring a wifi connection (no 3G) with two different wifi networks and got the same result, nothing. It's like they didn't update the iPad version or didn't make the old database available. That sucks. But what suck more, or is it worse?, is that when I went to send e-mail, I had to search and scroll through a host of answers to find the question wasn't asked or answered.

So I tried the customer support (contact) feature except it required a login account or my Facebook account. But using Facebook I have to surrender permission for them to drain all my user and friend information with no control of how it's used. So I created an account with them except when I went to send e-mail it wanted a ton of information about a simple question, like all the technical information on my iPad to get into it.

Like I'm going to give them that? It's a simple question. I don't need them to access my iPad. They can answer it very quickly and easily, is the latest iPad version on Apple's iPad app store compatible or not with their on-line database to download the information they offer to buyers? If not, why not, and when will it be compatible.

I hate government intrustion into my life like the next person but I hate corporate intrusion worse when it's excessive. And while I still like the Zagat To Go app, I won't recommend it until they fix this problem with an update.

JMO - Shades of Vietnam

I've watching and listening to the news and analysis stories about President Obama's war plan in Afghanistan. I won't argue President Bush screwed the new President trying to get victory there and find Osama Bin Laden. Bush screwed the military and the American people there. He was and is an utter failure as a war President.

But what concerns me more is Obama's move to the right and even more right than Bush over war, intelligence and terrorism. He's turn hawk with the full support of the military who love war and love the power and money that comes with it. They'll sell war whenever and wherever they can and they hooked Obama completely into two wars we'll never leave. We won't and can't leave Iraq for a long time as it's center to our Middle East policy.

And we can't leave Afghanistan. Not that we actually can and plan, but all of this year's talk from the President are shades of President Johnson in 1964-66 when he escalated the war when eventually (1968) we had half a million troops there. Today in Afghanistan we have upwards of 250,000 troops, logistics forces and contractors in Afghanistan excluding the NATO forces which is 50-100,000.

In short, it's becoming another Vietnam in numbers, in tone and in policy. Everything Obama, and much of what the NATO commader is saying, is reminscent of what Johnson said about Vietnam and eventually the bombing of North Vietham and the secret wars in Laos and Cambodia. Only now it's Pakistan with the military and contract special forces and drones.

And recently the NATO commander said we're there until 2014 and President Obama said at the earliest, meaning 2016 and beyond because the Afghan forces and police will never get up to speed and the Afghan government will never be strong enough beyond the corruption. And that's the issues.

It's because the Afghans know we will stay until they're ready and they can simply delay. And more so, they love our billions of dollars in support for the government, military/police and building projects. Why ask the cash cow (us) to leave?

And we know the Taliban has more patience than we do. They outlasted the Soviet army and occupation government. They'll outlast our armies (US and NATO) and our proped-up government, just like we did in Vietnam. Clearly the Taliban aren't the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army who had China as backers, but they have something almost as good, Pakistan, who has our money too.

President Obama and the Democrats have gone hawk on us more hawk than the Republicans. They've lost touch with what America and American values are about to avoid being painted as weak. It's just a poltiical war here as a real one there, and it's all for the same reasons and purposes, not Afghanistan, but here and the power of Congress and the White House. It's all about politics.

The people see this and know this, and if there is no real progress there in 2012, you can be the Democratic base and Indepedents will do then what happened in 1968 to Johnson and the Democrats. And we know the Republicans aren't better or really that different, just more obvious with their rhetoric. We're smarter than they think.

So, Mr. President, take notice, for a student of history you're going down the road to repeat it, only about 35 years later. What don't you see or understand is that we want and need a different road and destination there and here. Our fight isn't in or with Afghanistan anymore, it's here with people, jobs, the economy, healthcare (sorry, you only fixed some of it), and everything effecting the lives of everyday people.

That's what you should do, focus on that and here. Or you'll face a voice of your base, and not for you but against you. Just like President Johnson did in 1968. The people won then (although we lost the election to a liar and crook) and we can win now too.

Friday, November 19, 2010

JMO - Thinking Out Loud

I haven't posted much lately, especially opinion pieces, and partly, well mostly, because the pundits are often saying the same thing and nothing changes, so why voice something no one wants to hear let alone listen and then actually maybe think and discuss? So, I've been jotting down thoughts for columns never to write them beyond a thought, and then decided to write an opinion piece with just the the thoughts. And remember they're just random thoughts with no real intention other than just being a random thought.

First, with the Republicans boycotting the President's offer for dinner, do you think the Republicans are racist? Not? Well, if Obama was caucausian, would they still boycott him? Or are they just inconsiderate assholes? The Democrats always met with then President Bush, so what's the problem of a dinner at the White House. Hell, I'd go to talk with the President. Not that I agree with him but it sure would be interesting.

First rule in good politics, don't mistake discussion for answer. Second rule, there is only one rule. So, why do politicians never read, let alone follow, their own rules and then actually do something? Besides being corrupt and hating ordinary peoplle (minus a few good ones if that's possible)?

When you lose power at home, why do we always open the refrigerator expecting the light to work?

To the Republicans taking control of the House, the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for." Well, you won and now you have to do something you haven't done in over two years. A little rusty? Well, you have two years or you'll face the same anger you loved when it was aimed at Democrats. Just remember to wear you target t-shirt in public to remind us who you are. Or not, because we'll see your face again real soon.

And more, don't mistake words for action or ideas for results. You can't talk your way out of nothing to show but words of hate for and fear of the Democrats. We're not stupid. You didn't win, the Democrats lost. That's their mistake. Yours is assuming too much and thinking you can do what you want. Take heart, we're not just listening but watching and expecting action and results. You know the things you preach is America and American.

The Taliban, as some general have said, are winning. Not by victory, but by numbers. And not by lives but by dollars. They're using our money funnelled from the Afghan government, drug cartels and other sources, to do now what the Viet Cong did in Vietnam, wage a cheap war causing us here and there to spend billions on equipment, technology and firepower while they use cheap Russian automatic rifles, RPG's and IED's.

With the move to add Abrahms M1 tanks to Afghanistan we're becoming the Soviets in Afghanistan. They were defeated with our money and weapons supplied to the Taliban and war lords. Now we're on the other side doing the same thing and getting the same results. Temporary victories for longterm defeat. Can we sustain this? For how long before we're run out of money and equipment? Or the voters vote against the war?

If God made man is his own image, why are we so ugly? Or is it that God created evolution and watched what we became?

Sign on a bridge in Poughkeepsie, NY, "The penalty for jumping off the bridge is death." Really?

If you think Obama has done a bad job with the economy, think what John McCain would have done and where we would be now? Then wonder why the Republicans don't get it. Or do and think you don't. Do they really think we that gullible or stupid?

The reason we still have a recession is that the Democrats didn't do enough. And that's thanks to the Republicans helping the same people, corporations, who lobby them and fund their campaigns against the Democrats. So we're paying the corporations to pay Republicans to vote with the Democrats for money for corporation and then lie they're did to get your vote against the Democrats, Your money and the old adage, what goes around comes around, and back to us. Our money turned into hate and fear.

Almost everyone one in Congress is owned by corporations. Both parties, nearly all members, owned by Corporations, who then pass bills to aid corporations or funnel more money to them and the rich. That's the state of our republic and democracy, a military-industrial, now corporation-congressional, complex. Makes one wonder what Eisenhower would think or say.

Are TSA workers who do the full body searchers sexual perverts? Makes you wonder why anyone would have or do that job unless they get something from it beside satisfaction for a good job. But what kind of good job?

And the "erased" 35,000 images from a scanner, do we really believe TSA when they say they delete all the images soon after they're taken? Yeah, right. And as someone asked in an interview, do you think they won't save and circulate images of famous people or celebrities? Yeah right? And we trust TSA thinking they're not perverts who love porn?

Just think about the idea that if you watch the instant the sun rises above the horizon, someone else halfway around the world is watching that same sun set just below the horizon. And the only thing between you and them at that moment in time is space. The space of the earth we share. As we greet the day, they say good night.

While the conservative media proclaimed the verdict in the trial of the terrorist, convicted of 1 of 285 counts and sentenced to 20 years, an acquital the liberal media called it a conviction. So, who's right? Or is the terrorist who masterminded the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa just like any top level criminal who escapes conviction on the actual deed and only convicted on the plot itself? Did justice prevail and was justice served? Or does the government decide to use military tribunals again where a conviction is predetermined, only the severity and sentence left to the board?

The photo: Sometimes even Paradise is closed due to the weather.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Small Theft or a Small Thief?

Sunday mornning are always trips to the local Safeway store where I live here in Gig Harbor (catchy name huh? and yes it has historical significance) to get the three Sunday papers and groceries, some only available at Safeway. This last Sunday I did my rounds up and down the aisles to fill the carry basket (always a carry basket to limit what I buy) and went to the checkout stand. This Safeway is a typically designed one with 8 of them in a row facing the front of the store.

When I was going through checkout a squirrel raced across the front of the checkout stands along the front of the video checkout and branch of the local bank. In his mouth was a small candy bar, a Halloween size Nestle Crunch bar. He ran past the Starbucks stand to the exit door and under the electric carts just inside the store. A store clerk coming in startled him when he tried to get through the open door and he went back under the carts.

When the door opened for a customer coming it, the squirrel raced out the door and into the space for grocery carts. The cashier said the squirrel is a frequent shopper (although he doesn't stop to checkout and scan his card) and has learned how to trip the doors open or wait for customers to trigger them to open.

So, it appears this little guy asked himself why chase around the great outdoors and forest surrounding the store and store nuts when you can just go to the store and get them almost just as easy? And you don't have to face the possibility of a predator who favor squirrels for dinner. He does, however, have to brave the hazardous world of shoppers and carts, but I suspect he faster against both of those harzards.

But I have to say, he does need to read the nutrition guidelines though that too much chocolate and sugar isn't good for you and maybe consider something from the produce department. The cashier did say that no one yet has seen how he manages to get a candy bar from the shelf, and obviously candy what he favors, or maybe he's still sampling the choices of the whole aisle of candy bars.

The clerk who followed him came in to say the squirrel went to a safe spot under the grocery carts chewed through the wrapper and enjoyed his Nestle Crunch. And of course should anyone decide to file a report of the theft, he'll obviously be on the security cameras, like he cares or fears of being caught, and the worst that would happen is he's released into the forest he already lives.

Friday, November 5, 2010

JMO - PS Mr President

Reading the news on the interviews with the Republican leaders in the House and Senate, there one obvious piece of advice I think you know but often seem to either forget or ignore in your negotiations with the Republicans in the 111th Congressional Session. And that is despite everything they tell you in meetings at the White House, don't trust them as far as you see them leaving the White House.

They'll be polite when they're there, they'll be conciliatory with you for agreements, and they'll be positive and supportive in joint press interviews with reporters. But make no mistake when they drive away, you can know that all promises were left at the gate onto Pennsylvania Avenue and all bets are off about compromise. They'll go back to themselves and you'll be left holding their shit in your hands and piss on your face.

It's not what they say, it's what they do, and don't trust them until you see them do what they agree. Otherwise, it's just words to tell the public it wasn't true. If we the public and voters have seen it and still see it, why don't you. But then you're supposed to be smarter than that aren't you?

JMO - Dear Republicans

To the Republican candidates who won and the incumbents who return and more so to the Tea Party candidates who won, it's my country and it's my Constiution and government too! and don't you think for one moment you and your insane views have the right to decide for all of us. We didn't elect you, and you weren't elected to do what you think.

You were elected out of anger against the Democrats and some anger to President Obama. To many, not me because I voted for the Democrats out of frustration, you were and are the lesser of evils. Voting for that doesn't mean many voters liked you, it's just they hated the Democrats more. It's that simple. So don't inflate your ego past the truth and reality.

And remember you don't own this country. You don't own the people. And you don't own the Constitution. So don't abscond with any of it thinking you're bigger or more important than the rest of us. You're not! And if you do try to steal our country, then we will meet in two years and see how well you fare with the voters.

So remember.

It's my country, my Government and my Constitution too!

Don't you forget that, and if you do, we'll be here for 2012 to see your political time is short-lived.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

JMO - Dear Mr. President

As was said, you and the Democrats got your butt kicked, and not just the normal mid-term thumping that often happens, but a real ass kicking down the block. You lost the House, the most productive body in Congress. And you barely have the Senate, who under Senator Reid has to be the worse in recent history for passing legislation for the people. Talk all you want about the successes and there are plenty for Americans, but you and Harry didn't get the message out, let alone the right one.

I'm on your side here. You stood high as President but forgot about the people, real people. You and the Democrats did help people, not near as much as you could and as much as some, like, me, wanted. You simply decided that waging a political fight for real democratic goals wasn't as important as winning, which was more a victory for the Republicans than us.

Mostly though, through all the fight and political victory dance you forgot to show you did help us. You made it invisible when it should have been very visible. If you had, you might have held the House or at least minized the damage to a working level to recover the House in 2012, which now is unlikely barring some extraordinary political or economic event.

And now I'm hearing you're not just willing but ready to "reconile" with the Republicans on many issues because you think it's right for the Democrats to get and be humilated even more by bowing to the Republicans because you're afraid they might say something. What are you thinking?

We elected you to represent democratic values, policies and issues, and now after jettisoning our values and goals for political expediency for victories, but now you're ready to launch us into deep space by becoming a Republican and giving them the political ammunition in 2012 to unseat you as president. To borrow the phrase, are you stupid or what?

I'm sorry to be critical when you have accomplished a lot for America and Americans, but you now learned it came at a price, a real big price, your political future but with voters and your own party and more so your base. You left us along the road shortly after you were inaugurated, and you expect us to return to believe and then support you in 2012. Do you think we're stupid or what?

Well, we're not stupid and neither are you, so why are you acting like you are by conceding to the Republicans? Do you read all the democratic-leaning columnists, bloggers and newshows? They're giving you good advice, to stand up and stand against the Republicans. Not just get some backbone, get some balls. Don't play elitist intellectual. Be and express your passions with passion.

At the rate you're going, you will be a one term president, but not because the Republicans may win but because you may lose your own party as you've already lost your liberal and progressive base. They, and me, will support another candidate if only to get your attention to be a Democrat not a Republican.

We won't want political rhetoric, again, we're alreayd heard that and learned how little you meant it, like less than zero. We won't want your promises to and for change, because we know you won't mean it let alone do it. We're not that stupid. You fucked us too many times now.

So what will you do? You can't go back and foward offers two choices. You can cower and cave in to the House Republicans, sounding presidential of course, but still looking bad - ever heard the tale of the emperor with no clothes? Or you can stand tall as President and don't negotiate our democracy away for hollow political victories. Victory when we lose isn't victory.

Well, if you cower and cave in, we'll see it and will remind you in 2012. We you stand tall and fight, we'll see that too and support you in 2012. As they say, the ball, Mr. President, is and will be in your court for the next two years.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Political Parties

I got to reading about the woes of the Democratic party and the splintering of the Republican party and wondered if what we need is more viable political parties. It's clear the Republican party is split among the moderates, the (true) conservatives, the single-issue folks, and the libertarian factions (why they aren't actually with the Libertarian party escapes me as they obvious fit better there than with the Republicans). And it's more than clear (if that's possible) the Democrats are split among the progressives, the (true) liberals, the moderates and the conservatives, and a host of smaller or lesser factions.

What we need is a real multiple political party system where neither has the majority and both of the big parties have to negotiate and compromise with other parties for a majority. And this will probably remove any threat of a filibuster as none would have 41 votes to threaten a filibuster. It would truly bring democracy to the House and Senate and truly give people more power to be properly and appropriately represented in Congress.

This would also really hamper lobbyist and special interests. They couldn't just buy one or both parties to have a majority if not all of them as many industries, corporations and special interests have done (eg. any but mostly health insurance companies, energy companies, financial services companies and banks, etc.). They would have less power with the lesser parties as those have to stay close and true to their base.

And it certainly would add spice to the campaigns, giving voters more real candidates than two corrupt one we currently have now up for election or already elected. I realize this has been tried, eg. Green Party, Libertarian Party, etc., and pretty much failed to draw enough followers, supporters and voters. But some candidates, eg. Ross Perot, proved it's viable as a candidate. It only needs to sustain a party with the candidate after the election.

But it does require being elected than just siphoning votes from the big parties. And we have seen this in Congress with independents (Joe Lieberman doesn't count as he defected out of spite and really is a closet Republican). But what if there were say 12-15 true independents or other party Senators or say 25-30 Representatives? It would change the politicial dynamics in both but more so the Senate.

This is what the Tea Party tried to do, but it was secretly funded by a handful of rich individuals (much to their blindness of the reality of their own party) and absorbed into the Republican party to keep the Republicans from losing seats in the Senate to the extreme elements in their own party. You can bet if any TP is elected they'll be told where their allegiances are (the Republican party who paid the bills) and what the party line is for their vote.

The Libertarian party has tried for decades to be a voice but their message is too strict since it's the mantra. Too many people just find them politicial offensive despite liking some of their positions on the issues (hell, even I like some of them). What's needed is a slightly wider audience party of say moderates or conservatives from both parties. Kinda' shave off those in the two parties into new ones.

This will allow the other Democrats and Republicans to follow their real values and views without conflicts within their own party. As someone said, managing Democrats are like herding cats. Well, if those cats were say two or three parties, then each could puruse their own agenda and then force everyone to negotiate and compromise.

As much as you may not like this, and you probably hate the examples, it's almost the standard political system in western European countries. Look at the recent election in Britain. Look that the German system with half a dozen parties with 3-4 with some measure of power (eg. Green party). It's doable and workable, and at least worth the test here.

We the people need real representation than just the scam and sham we have now. The numbers support several parties beyond the two bad ones we have now. And it sure would make it more democratic. Messy but at least more exciting and I think better and working again than the gridlock we have now.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Past Isn't Invisible

As much as you'd like to blame President Obama and the Democrats for the current recession, consider that the past isn't inviisble and that the vast majority of the problems we're facing and the Democrats have tried to solve over the Republican opposition started with President Bush with the two Bush tax cuts when Bush and Congress took a budget surplus and spent it and more for the corporations, financial markets and rich.

And remember the problems of the economy, global and national financial market, and housing bubble started under Reagan and acelerated under the second Bush presidency. In short, you can't erase or forget 8 years of Bush and Republican economics which created this mess we're in and two years is just a beginning to get us turned around and going in the right direction.

And this raises the question you should consider when votiing. The past isn't invisible and it will return if the Republicans are in charge again. Consider what they did before and consider what the're offering. It's the past, again. They're offering to go back to the Bush-era before everything collapsed and promising it will be like that, just more of the same problems for the middle and lower classes and more money for corporations and the rich.

Do you really think they're going to help you? Did they before? How many lost jobs under Bush? How many saw their home value collapse under Bush? How many saw their healthcare refused or lost under Bush? How many saw their retirement and savings account almost disappear under Bush? How many saw their jobs lost overseas or just lost because the company decided you're too expensive?

This is their past. It's stll there and not invisible? And notice how the Republicans are running campaigns against anything Obama has done but using the money under the Obama stimulus money to create jobs. Many of those new jobs they say aren't being created by the stimulus money are being created by the stimulus money because they applied for and got the money from the Obama administration's stimulus program.

And the TARP to bailout Wall Street? Well it succeeded and more so, returning an 8% profit for the government. Yes, a government program made money for the people and will make more as the government eventually sells the toxic assests in the coming years for a profit. You wanted government to think and run like a corporation and they did, and more so with a higher rate of return for us the people. Our money returned with interest.

And now the Republicans are running on the Democrats successes. Why? Because they want their past under Bush to be invisible. And that's what they're hiding from you and what you should see and see them. They're the emperor with no clothes for their policitical values. Their past shows who and what they're for, and is it you? No, it's not, that's what's not invisible. Their past. And that's what you should look at when you judge them.

Don't listen to their promises and rhetoric. Look at their past. It's not invisible, it's what you lived through under Bush and especially experienced when it all collapsed under the Republican "free market" economics. That and your experience isn't invisible, so see it and then see what the Republicans are still saying. Don't let the make their past inviisible for some promises they're offering now.

I won't argue the Democrats are good, they're not. They've shown the lack of will and backbone to do everything they should and could for people. They caved into threats by the Republicans. They catered to them for dilluting the bills they passed which could have been better. But at least they're working on solutions and going in the right direction, albeit badly and poorly. And where would we be with the Republicans in charge?

Consider that and that their past isn't invisible. It's all there for you to see and judge under the Clinton and Bush (1994-2006) years. Is that what you want? Is that what you think will solve our problems? More jobs lost overseas, higher deficits than any presidential administration, higher trade deficits, lost earnings and savings, lost healthcare and health insurance, lost home investment value?

I won't argue we're in for a long haul recession, which will probably last well past 2012 and into the latter part of this decade. The solutions aren't easy or quick as the Republicans suggest or want you to believe. They can't create jobs overnight? And if they could, with who's money? Do you really think the corporations will create jobs here at higher wages and employee costs when it's cheaper in China?

How much of our goods are made in China? How much of the rest made outside the US, like Mexico, Vietnam, India, etc.? Do you really think they'll change that trend? Do you really think they're consider you with their version of healthcare reform which is just a return to the past and we know that's not invisible. We know what happened. Is that what you want, always worrying about the letter from the health insurance company one day saying they're rejecting your claim or worse dropping you?

This is what this election is about, the past which isn't invisible and we know and the future which we don't. Do you want the fear of the past or the anxiety of the future. There are no good or easy answers here, just what we know and what we don't. Except we know the future can't be worse and has all the potential and promise to be better. If we choose it.

And that's what this election is about. The Republicans and their visible past and the Democrats and their hopeful future.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

JMO - Do You Really Believe

Do you really believe the Republicans and more so the Tea Party can and will do what they promise and can and will provide jobs, affordable healthcare, national security and personal freedom? Think about this, think about what they say versus what their record is, and what they can actually do beyond just words to sell themselves and buy your vote. Can they really?

I know the Democrats aren't that good, but it is really fair when Bush had 8 years to drive the economy into the toliet and excerbate the problem of jobs going overseas that Obama has only had less than 2 years to change those trends? Is it really fair when the Republicans have refused to cooperate with the Democrats to bring change?

Do you really believe that the Republicans and Tea Party value women that they will take away a women's right over her healthcare and especially her reproductive system? Why is it that they insist on individual freedom and responsibility and then totally reverse that for women? Not just some or a select group but all women. They argue it's about God and life, but it is really, or just power?

Do you really believe they will cut government spending when many of them get government subsidies and benefits, like social security, Medicare or Medicaid, and a host of program funds to states and local government for police, roads, education, environment, unemployment, and on and on. The money from the federal government is so embedded in our lives that we can't divorce ourselves from those funds.

So do you really believe they touch those or only for young people, like what's happening in France? Do you really believe they can balance the budget and cut the deficit while cutting taxes? Do you really believe they've crunched the number to see the biggest part of the budget are the entitlements, the interest on the debt, and the Department of Defense, which leaves only 15% for discretionary spending on all the other programs?

All the specialists have said there isn't enough in that 15% to balance the budget let alone cut the deficit. You have to go after the rest of the budget. So, you do really they have the interest let alone intention to do that? Do you really believe they can and actually will when there is another election in 2012?

If you elect them, will you do to them, hold them accountable in less than two years, what you're doing to President Obama and the current Congress? Do you really believe they won't verbally dance around the promises in the face of the truth and reality when they failed? Or are you also a hypocrite like all the polticians you vote for?

Do you really believe we'll forget if they are elected and they fail or worse they don't do what they promise and do what they really wanted? Do you really believe we can't and won't hold you accountable for your words and your vote? After all you're holding us accountable for our vote for Obama and the Democrats.

What's the old adage, what goes around comes around? Do you really believe we won't remind you of it?

Friday, October 22, 2010

For Sale - One Democracy

For Sale - America and its democracy and republic. Somewhat tarnished after 230 years of use and abuse by rich people and corporations. Somewhat, ok a lot, corrupt by special interests. Somewhat, ok, even more that a lot, inefficient and unproductive, at least Congress and sometimes the White House - although in the latter Mr. Cheney proved how bad you can corrupt a government in secret for your own and others' interests and wealth.

If this election is anything of the future after the Citizens United, thanks to the conservative members of the Robert's Supreme Court for starting us down the road of uncontrolled and uncontrollable corruption of our election campaigns and subsequently our elections. Your decision will go down as the most damaging decision ever to our campaigns, then our elections and then our government.

Sorry if the people don't bow in thanks for your loss of common sense for our democracy and republic. You did the greatest disservice to this country anyone could ever imagine, not allowing Congress and responsible agencies to insure we have free and fair elections unfettered by unlimited campaign spending by the super rich individuals and corporations without any transparency or accountability.

And now you have put our country on the international auction block up to any number of bidders for any amount of money they want to give to organizations, like the US Chamber of Commerce, not just to buy an election but to buy our country through our elected representatives. Yes, you Mr. Roberts, and your co-horts. Don't get up to bow, we're just as like to, as Ms. Angle said, "use our Second Amendment rights" to correct a situation we don't like.

I wouldn't shoot you, that's not my style, but you never know who will. After all the Constitution does, as your court affirmed too, give the right of individuals to bear arms, and that's not parts of our anatomy as well all know. But then would you take away my free speech for this?

We have sadly entered an era when and where money is no object to campaigns and elections. And there will be no end in future ones. So we put our Congress up for sale, any bets in 2012 we'll see more of the same against the President? And the people won't see this change because members of Congress know it's about money and power, ask Representative Kirk about it. He's sold his soul to foreign companies and governments for these.

And he's not alone anymore. Every member of Congress has gotten money from an array of special interests, some good (my view) but mostly bad (also my view). No one there is immune and no one there doesn't have blood and corruption on their hands as a result. Congress has long been bought and sold by special interests, only this election is direct to the people to elect their chosen one under the guise of democracy.

Like the Tea Party, which we know is bankrolled by rich individual (eg. Koch brothers) and corporations though proxies. Lest they become public and obvious in their attempts. And let's not forget the infamous Carl Rove who long ago was infected with corruption, his mind long turned to hate for people and revenge against his (or those he says are) enemies, even in the Republican party.

So are elections are now the bidding war of the rich, hidden behind benign sounding organizations, like Citizens United which is just a bunch of rich folks not really ordinary ones like us. And we have become what we most feared, not a democracy but a country available to the richest people, just write your checks and take your pick of Congressional Representatives or Senators, they're all for sale, or almost all.

A few have some scruples left in their pockets, but the rest have long spent theirs in their campaigns, selling out to the rich special interests. They are elected under the guise of representing the people, but they know that's the ruse on us and when their in office, we're forgotten except for public relations to be re-elected. Once in power and money, their goal is to stay there and further the corruption of our democracy and the sale of our country to rich and foreign interests.

And all the rest of us voters are just pennies to the checks for millions written by the special interests, long dropped and lost on the sidewalk of politics.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Voted

I mailed my ballot in today. Washington is predominately a mail-in ballot state now, only a few counties have walk-in polling stations, all the rest use mail-in ballots. I live in one of the former counties where they also mail you a ballot to alleviate taking time out to go to the polling station. Besides I forgot where I put my voters card.

Anyway, I'm an old-fashioned independent progressive liberal of the 1960's mindset on many issues but not all issues where some I'm a moderate, some a realist, and some a conservative, which means I can and will have strong views but not always mainstream and not always following any party line or rhetoric. That's what the 1960's taught my generaion, be yourself.

So, to all the pollsters, how did I vote? Well, I vote the candidate, but these days, it's not voting for the best one but the lesser of evil ones. Politics is so corrupt no elected official at the national level (and many at the state and local level too but less) is clean, let alone squeeky clean. The corporations in many industries, like energy, healthcare and health insurance, drugs, environment, and down the list, have made contributions to all members in Congress and even the President.

The corporations and industries (through trade organizations and lobbyists) learned the lesson to spread the money around and make sure everyone in Congress has some of your money and you have access to them to express your interests, and if necessary, warn of not voting their way. Hell, they sometime put staffers inside some member's office, sometimes draft parts of legistlation, or provide the material the representative or senators uses.

In short, many corporations own Congress through their money, their trade organizations, their lobbyists, and the perks they provide. And now with unlmited campaign financing, their PAC's to run attack ads against their opponent or promotion ads to show their candidate supports their issues and views. The system in Washington DC they long argued was broken is totally in pieces, never to work right again.

Once just Congress was owned, now the campaigns are owned by corporations. Ok, extremist view maybe but not far from the truth and reality this year. Even President Obama's campaign got money from the corporations, including the energy corporations like BP. Why do you think he wasn't as hard on them as the public wanted? He's a pragmatist and realist to know you don't piss off your campaign contributors.

You can piss off the public but not the money source. But I've wandered from the point, how I voted. I did vote mostly democratic but some of them got my vote for the lack of a better candidate. Both weren't great, one was just less worse. And the issue votes, like the referendums and initiative measures?

Well, six fo the nine got no votes, including both 1100 and 1105. I don't want private enterprise controlling and operating the liquor industry and sales, outside of what's already legal with beer, wine and similar drinks. I'm happy with the state running things to keep liquor under control from people and especially teenagers. I realize they, adults who like to drink and teenagers who want to drink, will still get liquor, but I don't want it so readily available.

And while all those proponents of either cites California as a good example, using costs and prices, I lived there for 6 years and saw it's effects too. There isn't a small town, even down to just a blink-and-you'll-miss-it ones where you can't buy liquor. It's easier to buy liquor in California than almost anything else. That's because of the profit margin. And you can bet underage access isn't fully enforced.

With the other conroversial issue, income tax, I voted yes. Yes, I voted for an income tax for those earning over $200K. Since I've never made that much money, it's no skin off my nose, and I don't mind the rich paying more to help the rest of us. That's what the social contract is for, pay proportionately for your income. You use the same services, drive the same roads, and so on, so you can help the less fortunate who need the money more.

I don't expect this measure to pass, the public outcry is too much for it too pass, but I can make my voice heard and my vote count. So if you don't like how I voted, then vote. You can't be heard or counted until you do.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

JMO - Make No Mistake

Make no mistake, the Republicans aren't for you despite all their political rhetoric about being for the middle class. They are for corporations, they are for the rich, and they are for themselves. Nothing else and no one else. Not the middle class and definitely not the less than middle class, whom they'd love to jettison from government funds of any sort, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, job and eduction training, etc.

That's the truth. Listen to their words. They talk about you, except the you isn't really you but their rich friends, the corporations and their political allies. The you in "small business owners" are the super rich individuals who own corporations because in some legal matter "small" refers to the number of owners than the size of what they own. They're not talking about the Mom and Pop store, the small business in the many towns and cities across the country.

They might give you some benefits, but they'll give their friends far more, all from your tax dollars or piled on to the national debt as tax money not collected. They're not talking about lowering your taxes, but those of the rich and super rich. A few hundred dollars to you is a few ten of thousands of dollars for their friends. It's that simple when they talk about you, or really not you.

They're not talking about making medicare, medicaid and social security financially solvent for generations with only some tweaking and namely raising the income limit for contributions and other small measure aimed at the rich. They're talking cutting medicare, or at least your benefits while paying corporations more for drugs, services and tests.

They're talking privatizing social security under the guise of "personal retirement accounts", meaning requiring you to hand your money over to Wall Street investment firms with no protections or guarrantees from the government and only the promise of a profit, minus their fees and bonuses of course. And if you don't, you get less or no social security in your later years. And if you loss it, like the recent crash, they'll only smile and thank for your investment which earned them their commissions and bonuses.

While they talk of reducing taxes they talk of balancing the budget except they can't tell you how because every economist has said they can't under their plan. They don't plan to balance the budget except in campaign speeches to win your vote. They can't cut enough government spending to do that, and you can't have enough ecomonic growth to do it either. Clinton proved what it took and he was a democrat.

They're talking about protecting you from terrorist when it's a ruse to get more tax money for intelligence, surveillence and security for contractors when it's already bloated beyond necessary (Washington Post series). What they don't tell you, like the Bush-Cheney administration, it comes at losing your civil rights and privacy protections. Anything to help corporations and contractors spy on innocent Americans.

If you want to know what they're talking about just look at the eight years of the Bush-Cheney administration's record on the environment, self-created wars, torture, corporate welfare, and so on down the line. They just want more of this with your tax dollars, returning less to you and more to their friends, corporations and political allies.

Make no mistake, the Republicans aren't the friend of the middle class and they are the enemy of the less than middle class. That's what they're not saying but are saying between the lines. That's where you should look, not at their words but what's behind their words, what's not in their words and what's between the lines. That's where their truths lie, and yes lie too.

Friday, October 15, 2010

NPR - Two More Charms

I wrote the recent blog about third time is a charm. But lo I forgot about the aging apartment and appliances and this summer the refrigerator decided to quit working during the heat wave. The weather cooled down and it return to working, but the longtime leaks got worse, so it's on the list to be replaced.

And then after the master bathroom shower had to be redone and the kitchen faucet leaked and the sink pipes rusted through necessitating a complete replacement except the stainless steel sink I really like, the second bathroom sink decided to leak. There have signs of rust on the joints and at the u-shape trap in the pipe under the sink. The pipe is fine, the rust from leaks above the pipe, but it's on the list to be replaced. But the sink will also have to go as the enamal has long worn and the rust shows.

So, the point is sometimes, there's more charms than three. Kinda' like they're lining up and poking into my life as intevals to disrupt life. As someone well noted, when it comes to things and time entropy rules, and a 40-year old apartment is full of the results of time and events, like several earthquakes, roof leaks, and winter ice and wind storms. It's just getting older.

So, I'll keep you posted on when these last two things are fixed. I'm a great procrastinator, but the refrigerator is high on the list now as I only have just over half the space to keep food away from dripping water. And the sink will follow shortly after that.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

JMO - Obama the Republican

Obama is not what he campaigned on in 2008. He campaigned as a moderate to progressive Democrat, but as we near the end of the first two years of his administration we're learning then he was really a moderate to conservative Democrat simply using the progressive rhetoric to win the Democratic progressive base. We're now learning is really a conservative Democratic to moderate Republican, and all of his promises were simply words to sell himself and buy our vote.

We also now know he's more a Republican than Democrat on many issues. He's promoting war by surrounding himself with military advisors or some hawk-thinking civilians. He's trusted their short-term recommendations without looking at the long term goals and consequences. And while we have left Iraq in force, we still plan to stay there for a long time. We know now that a full withdrawl won't happen with the world's largest embassy in Baghdad.

And while he promised to look at withdrawing from Afghanistan, he went with the surge which we know did more harm than good and didn't accomplish the goals promised. We went into Afghanistan to capture and destroy Al Qeada and overturn the Taliban regime. Much of that was accomplished early and the rest under Obama (Bush pretty much ignored this war after 2003). So why are we still there?

For the same reason Bush stayed in Iraq, to fight global terrorism, now based in neighboring Pakistan, where we've taken the war into their soverign country. Shades of Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam war, and we all know how that ended. We all know there will not be a stable government Afghanistan and the one we propping up is powerless and corrupt, taking our money for their own wealth. Shades of Vietnam again.

What he doesn't understand is that we see that you can take the same rhetoric president said about communisim through the Reagan presidency and replace it with global terrorism and it's the same message to sell fear, hate and votes for war, and the military, and more so now intelligence and surveillience agencies. The global war against communism, which was large and real, is not the global war on terrorism which is small and pseudo-real.

And now President Obama, just 3 weeks before the mid-term election, stated he could and would work with Republicans in Congress, implying they will win the House and make the Senate more partisan with barely a Democratic majority. He knew the Republicans were the party of no and with every bill he wanted he stepped across the aisle to invite them into the discussion and help write the bill.

And we know now every one of those bills while including Democratic measures, but no progressive ones, favored the Republicans and the corporations. Obama has shown he will help people, but more so help corporations, and even more so to make sure the extremist Republicans get their issue included, restricting if not banning healthcare for women's needs, no public option to induce health insurance companies to be competitive, etc.

I won't argue some of the laws did help people more than corporations, but he still did support and continue the financial services bailout, support mortage lenders by buying the toxic (sub-prime) assessts, and so on down the line of benefits. He didn't help home owners swamped and drowning with bad mortages except with a complex process that isn't working.

He didn't get banks and lending companies to start lending, they're simply keeping the profits. He didn't get companies to hire new workers, they're simply banking the profits for themselves (out of fear being in a recession). He didn't get financial services companies from paying big bonuses, only making them public where they're reduced out of embarrassment. He didn't act against BP like we expected and wanted, he caved and partnered with them to reduce their liability.

In the end Obama has shed he Democratic coat, having left his progressive ideas along the political road shortly after inauguration, and put on the moderate-to-conservative Republican coat. While he fights for the Democrats for the party, it's clear to me that's not where he interests lie, but with the Republicans. He knows to get re-elected that's where the voters are. He has banked the Democrats in his pocket and focused on the Republican values as his.

He has become what the Jimmy Carter of 1978. He will have a lot of explaining to do in to the 2012 campaign not to lose many of the moderate and progressive Democrats. And running as the lesser of evils won't win our hearts and minds again. We were fooled by him in 2008 and as the song goes, "We won't get fooled again."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

iPad & PDF's

Update.-- After working with the NPS folks at Mt. Rainier NP and using the Apple discussion forums I found the answer to the problem is to use one of Apple's embedded application, Preview. Just open the PDF document in Preview and use the "Save As" tool to resave it as a PDF, preferably new if things go wrong but overwriting the original works if you can retrieve it or have a copy elsewhere. The Preview application assembles all the sliced images, maps and graphs into single files into the new PDF, which you can now import into your iPad. It will display properly with all the graphics

Original Post.--I've written that I purchased an iPad and then followed up with advisories from my learning curve. I was really interested in using the iPad for reading PDF's but Apple didn't put a PDF reader in the applications, only in the Safari browser. The one in Safari, like the browser itself, is a less than full feature reader. They relied on third party developers for PDF readers, and there are a lot, most of which aren't that good.

Anyway, I found three which are good, PDFMate, GoodReader and Stanza. Each have a different interface and features. The important difference I found testing some National Park Service and US Geological publications is the limit to the applications. Only GoodReader seems to have a very high (large) file limitations. I loaded a 300+ MByte file of one document. The other two tried and bailed on the document.

That's not the issue with this post as everyone will judge which PDF reader that works for them. My argument is that any PDF reader on the iPad can have problems with the images, maps and graphs in some reports. And after some testing I discovered part of the reason, or so I think. When I download the NP Carbon River ESA for Mt. Rainier NP, I found the report was fine but the vast majority of the images were blank.

And using the power of Acrobat Pro (meanng doing a lot of Adobe Acrobatics) I found the publications folks either composited the images from slices of the original image (8-10 slices) or combined separate images, both of which won't render on the iPad. I then tested it downloading some other reports, mostly older ones or other agencies and had no problems with the images, because they were single complete images.

My point? Well, the iPad has a way to go, and I understand there will be an upgrade in the operating system in November. Yippe, especially if it's as advertised to add multi-tasking. I would like to see a better Safari browser and PDF compatibility, but since Apple is suport e-Pub format (iBooks), I'm not holding my breath.

The key is getting publications other than popular books or magazines to produce ePub format at the time they produce the PDF or other electronic versions. This way people have choices of using a reader or iPad's free iBooks. And this has to be done from the original, which every word processor and publication application has the tool or plug-in. And yeah, again, I'm not holding my breath.

In the end, though, if you encounter problems with images, maps and graphs in a PDF, it's not you, but sadly there's not much you can do about it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

iPad Image Advisory

This week I bought an iPad, partly because I don't own, nor want to own, a laptop for remote work, but mostly because it's a cool tool for browsing the Web, music, and the obvious displaying photo galleries. That said, however, I also learned a lesson. If you sync your photo galleries on the iPad through iTunes, loading one or more folders, make sure you create at least one copy of all the folders before you sync them. I learned iTunes "optimizes" the images for the iPad, not in the iPad but on your computer, the very folders you transfer.

I used iTunes to transfer folders I have on, and while I haven't seen any gross diferences in the images, I have seen some small or subtle differences between the iPad ones and the pre-sync ones (fortunately have multiple copies of them on different HD's and on mobile me account). The iTunes also leaves an iPod cache of thumbnails in the folder. Just an advisory learned the hard way, my usual method.

And for what it's worth, the iPad specifications are 1024x768 at 132 ppi (pixels per inch). So if you size your images accordingly, or larger in size or resolution, you're fine, iTunes will reformat them in place and then transfer them to iPad. Otherwise, you'll get the differences I noted which are sizing up and blurring them, not what you need or want for presentation quality. Just another thing to do with images if you have an iPad.

JMO - My Political Observation

The pundits and everyone else does it. Give their view of the political climate and election, so why not me. It's not like I have anything important, critical or more so intelligent to say, just my view from here. So, with things beginning to heat up after October 1st and we're down to a month to the mid-term election, what are my observation of the Democrats in this Congressional session (2009-2010) and President Obama?

Well, for one, President Obama didn't really believe what he campaigned on in 2008, in the primaries and in the election. Not saying he lied, but saying it was campaign politics which itself is an automatic form of what they now call untruths. It's not what they say, it's what they will actually do, and Obama has shown he's no better and even worse than previous presidents as candidates and as President. Really?

Well for one, he's almost in bed with the energy companies as almost everyone one in Congress (remember he came from there). He got campaign money from the oil industry including BP. He wasn't about to come down hard on BP for their incompentence, they'd pull their money from him and the Democrats, and he needs their money for 2012.

He's as much as a miltiaristic president as GW Bush himself, only he won't start any war, yet anyway. But the Department of Defense is will embedded in the White House and his advisors. His Directors for National Intelligence have been and are military officers who favor an inflated view of the terrorsim threat and favor an expanded intelligence community out of control and costing too much.

While we're getting out of Iraq, but noting he hedged his bets there, he's escalating the war in Afghanistan under the guise of fighting terrorism. We won't get out of there for a long time. He wants to pass that war off to the next president so he doesn't appear to be less of a "war" president. All the words don't and won't disguise the favoritism for the military at the expense of everything else.

And he's escalated the war into Pakistan, shades of Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War, all under the same type of guise Johnson used them, chasing the enemy where the enemy goes and lives. Nothing new, only we're smarter now to see through it. But Pakistan is playing their own game with our money.

While he promised to rein in the intelligence community and restore civil rights, he's done more to restrict our rights and done more to increase the intelligence community than Bush could ever think to do. He's discovered information is power and that information comes from intelligence, even if it's against American citizens. To him it's ok in the fight against an invisible enemy, the same one he criticized Bush for he's now using.

He promised the public option and a better healthcare plan, and while we got a good bill, it wasn't what he promised, minus the public option, minus women's reproductive healthcare rights, and so on, namely all the progessive issues. It wasn't the best he could have gotten. He pandered to the Republicans who kept moving the compromise line to where it was a center-right bill for corporations with some rights for people who really need affordable healthcare.

He sold out his own base to the Republicans, knowing he would have to jettison his promises. He didn't want a great win, he just wanted a pseudo-good win. And he got it at the expense of his own base and many of us.

As for the Democrats in the Senate, enough has been said, here and elsewhere. They're cowards, and worse, they're afraid of their own political shadow. They were verbally and politically pummelled under Bush and the Republicans in Congress (2001-2006) but they're worse now even after winning both houses. They've done less than previous Senate's.

I won't agree they deserve to lose control in the November election, because they'll just go back to being the minority afraid of their own shadow to even think to use the same tactics the Republicans have and are using against them. They want everyone to play nice knowing no one does, especially the Republicans. I will argue that Harry Reid, if he doesn't lose and the Democrats retain control of the Senate, needs to be replaced.

He's the epitome of their failures to push and do what they should to help Americans and America and damn the Republicans. He's a Washington insider when the Democrats need a passionate, outspoken leader to stand up and speak the truth and reality about the Republicans. He's not it. Americans who are democrats want a voice in the Senate, a loud, eloquent, honest one. He's not it.

The House is better and the Democrats should retain control. At least they have done a lot, only to be stopped by the Senate. But maybe it's time they challenged the Senate Democrats to step up. Americans want a functioning Congress with the party in control actually doing thing and passing bills, not playing polticial games with the media.

Sound bites don't pay the bills of the many Americans who need real help, not bills for corporations, but bills for jobs, debt management, housing relief, unemployment and education funds, and so on down the line. Democrats are the party for that, but with both parties in both houses in Congress owned, with few exceptions, by corporations, the Democrats are no different than the Republicans.

So, that's what I've observed to date.

JMO - Let Me Ask You

Let me ask you, does the "new" Republican plan, "Pledge to America", sound nice, kinda' like a warm and fuzzy stuffed toy on a child's bed? Well, that's what it is, and nothing more, because you have to ask yourself some questions. First, do they really mean what it says or is it simply campaign rhetoric, as the 1994 Republican "Contract with America" did when nothing in it was fulfilled. And after all, it was released just 6 weeks before the election. As they say, "Timing is everything."

Second, do you actually think they believe in what they say that given control of Congress they will enact the bills or follow the rules they promise? Or is it just the shiny paint job on a bad car? When you look beneath the paint, you see all the generalities sound great, some of which if you did some homework will see were Republican ideas years ago and are Democrat ideas now, only being Democrat ideas they voted no or filibustered them.

Third, do you actually think they can get the members of their party to propose and enact the bills or follow those rules? And you expect the Democrats to roll over and go along? Won't the Democrats, if they were the minority party, do what the Republicans have done to them under this President? Wouldn't the Democrats just vote no or filibuster? And should the Republicans decide to use parlamentary rules to override the Democrats, they'd be what they long criticized the Democrats for threatening, hypocrits.

You see this is nothing more than political campaign fodder, to appease the base and garner independent voters who think what it says is a good idea. I won't argue there are some good ideas there, but both parties have been in power for long periods and they haven't done any of these when they could demonstrate they were trustworthy and honest with their work. So why should we beleive them, or the Democrats, during an election period?

This whole thing is an example of the old adage, "It's not what I say, but what I do that counts." And have they done what they said, and now will they do what they promise? Or is it just more of the same political bullshit we're tired of wading through to survive, and they're wallowing the fat of corporations and special interests on their salary paid by us?

To me the document is simply great bathroom material except it's not for reading, only when the roll runs out of paper.

JMO - When the few

When the few become a majority, then your republic and worse your democracy is in serious trouble, really serious trouble. I've written how angry I am at the Democrats who with a majority of 59 Senators can't get anything done out of fear of a Republican filibuster, when the Republicans certainly didn't fear them when the situation was reversed, and out of having no political balls. And I look at Senate leader Harry Reid.

As much as he's a backroom politician who likes to get things done out of sight of the media and without any real fanfare, he's proven to be nearly, note not completely, useless. There are about 240 bills which have passed the House and he can't get introduced, let alone voted on. Clearly the rules in the Senate don't work because the Republicans know, can and do block every bill because they can.

Not because it's against their values, many of the bills have strong Republican support in the House and some Republican support in the Senatre, because they are simply the party of "No", and that's not just a no but a real fucking no. And note this is for votes to bring the bill to the floor for a vote. They're threatening a filibuster on cloture votes, not actual votes on the bill.

And now they're using the rule where one Senator can block the introduction of a bill because they have reservations. Note, it's intended for reasons the Senator has to have good reason to block it, but Senator Dement isn't even doing that. He's admited he's doing it because he can. No reason, like a child who refuses to do anything because they can stand there and do nothing. But he's not letting the Senate do anything.

He's being a fucking asshole, bigger than anyone can imagine. And worse he is aware of what he's doing and that he's an asshole obstructing progress on bills needed for Americans and America. He's the worse kind of fucking asshole, one to wants and likes to stop everything, but he forgets the world doesn't stop and everyday it's getting worse for Americans and America because he likes being a fucking asshole.

And then there is Harry Reid who won't do anything to get work done. If there is any better example of a useless leader I can't think of one. He stands there before the media explaining his story and being nice to the Republicans. He forgets they couldn't care less about him and they aren't being or going to be nice in return. They've proven that over and over. He's political roadkill run over by Republican trucks, over and over again and again.

And all the while Democrats, who have 59 votes, can't do what is good, fair or right for Americans and America. And then he negotiates for that one last one or two votes to overcome a filibuster, knowing they know this and they get what they want from him, and then renige on the final vote. They've done this over and over again and again. Roadkill he is again. And he stands before the media to explain it, like a whimpering child having been pummelled into roadkill.

Yeah I'm angry, angry enough to renounce the Democratic party as one I believe in and support. I won't vote Republicans, but I will vote for the best person I think will do the job. The Democrats fear their base won't vote this election. Well, they're right because of Harry Reid, because of the Senate and because of President Obama. Yes, him too.

I'm a progressive and it's clear President Obama jettisoned the progressive base for political expediency. And yes he's challenged us as whining about losing the small things over the bigger ones. But those "small" things weren't and aren't small, not just to us, but to everyone. The public option was critical to the healthcare overhaul to rein in the insurance compancies. And you trashed it so the companies can stay rich and get richer at our expense.

Yes, they've already raised rates beyond necessary into the realm of idiocy and you did and won't do anything except talk about it. The public option would have forced their hand. But you caved to the few, just like Harry Reid. You cut us loose and left us adrift to float away into political oblivion. Out of sight, out of mind. And now you wonder why we're angry?

In many ways, I won't cry if the Democrats lose the House and more so the Senate. I don't agree that's the right thing and know it would be a worse situation than the Clinton years of 1994-2000 when the Repubicans had both houses of Congress and they squandered it on petty issues while the Americans and America burned. But if it happens again, the Democrats will have to face the music they failed, big time, again.

And President Obama will have to explain to Americans why his strategy and tactics of negotiate and compromise with Republicans didn't win or help Americans or America. Touting the Democrat's accomplishments is great, they are good things, but they didn't do enough because you quit us, the progressives. And now you want our support back because you're all we have?

Really? You think we will decide you're the lesser of evils? How little you think of us and our values you promised and then left after the inauguration. You left us standing somewhere in the political wasteland last year. And now you're sending us a bus ticket to your new place telling us to take it or leave it. Well, sorry, that ain't going to happen. I only trust you now a little less than the Republicans. That's how far you are from us.

And now that you're need us to keep the House and Senate, you're not offering anything to come back but instead are still calling us out for our failures to support your agenda which doesn't include us anymore. You've offered the Republicans more than you even thought to offer us, let alone actually offer us. And we're supposed to think your overtures now are enough? Sorry, it's not and won't be.

And I won't argue if we vote it will likely be a vote for the Democrats, but we still have the last say here and we can still simply vote no, no against you and the Democrats. A no vote for your failures for Americans and America, us and our country. It's also ours too you know. But you decided we didn't matter once you became president. We didn't get an offer to be on the bus, let alone a place in the back.

And now our anger has power. And you're still telling us of your achievements implying we're still whining. Well, those achievements didn't include us did they? But they did include Republican ideas didn't they? Maybe you should experience what Clinton had to experience in 1994. It won't be a good thing or better for America or Americans, and we certainly won't get anything of what we want, but then we haven't gotten that anyway, so as the old adage goes, it's no skin off our nose.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

CheckUp Application

Update.--The company graciously replied it's a known problem with PPC's, and with Intel Mac's, it uses only about a half percent of the cpu at any time. Ok, then it's a cool, useful and helpful tool, but it's not quite an Emily Latella moment.

Original Post.--There is an application for Mac computers, see Apple's download Web page for it. It's a cool tool for some system level checks and work, combining several applications into one handy one. But that said, do not buy and install it unless you're willing to live with a small resource hog on your Mac that you can't control.

Ok, let me explain. First, it installs at system (root) level, so it's out of the user's control to turn on and off. And that's the issue. Every few minutes it does its system checks and uses about 25% of the cpu for the brief time (~20 seconds) it's working. It doesn't use much space (~36MBytes) but uses a lot of cpu. And this time accumulates to become one of the largest users over time.

This is strange since it has Apple's staff pick they didn't see this or comment on it. I won't argue it's useful and helpful, and with more powerful or faster Mac's it probably doesn't impact the system and work very much, but for the old PPC Mac's, it's not wise to install it. You don't need to see your processor drop 25+% while you're working because of this one application.

And it installs a user application in your login account. If you remove it when you don't run the user application part, it only reinstalls it the next time you open the application. Again, it's cool with a lot of good tools, but it should be user controllable for both the continuous running application and the user application parts. All the other applications, even Apple's Activity and Network Monitor applications do that. And they're also not resource hogs.

Anyway, I bought it and like it for some things, like the full memory chip test (took 5+ hours for 4.5 GB and found no errors), but I also uninstalled it, and only plan to re-install it when I need it again. And my cpu is working nicely again with the real stuff of work and not this one which breaks in and steal the cpu for awhile every now and then.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Website work

Update.-- I uploaded the complete Website (all ~400 pages) with some updates to global information for html 5 specifications. There shouldn't be any problems with the presentation, display or operation of any Web page with new, recent and especially older browsers. Please let me know (e-mail) if you encounter any problems.

Original Post.--Over the course of the next few months I will be upgrading the photography Website, and especially the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide. These changes should be invisible for visitors because most are updates to html 5 standards. This is a minor improvement and the changes more tweaks, but it will put them up to date.

All of the Web pages on my Website are produced to the latest html standards and, hopefully, error free, except I admit I only test them occasionally but I don't do anything I haven't done correctly in the past. This is so browsers will render them correctly to the presentation I designed and produced. In addition I don't use any quirks or tweaks, meaning code that isn't in the html standards, so any differences, which I note in the browser optimization statement, are with your browser or personal settings.

This is important if you use Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) which I make no bones I don't account for with any special code because MS didn't produce W3C complaint browsers and because I don't have it on my Mac or don't use it except through emulation by other browsers. This way I don't use or account for IE's unique applications or IE-only code. I know from friends it does render slightly different but that's not my fault, it's IE's fault.

After that there is a lot of new work for the Website outside the photo guide, mostly the history projects, which are way behind, and new photo galleries, meaning lots of images in folders ready for Web preparation and on the light table for scanning. I have no real excuses or reasons unless you accept other other work, like the music project, doing photography, life and health issues and such things which sneak in front of the work.

Anyway, that's the progress to date. And as Rusty Wallace once said, "Stay tuned hotrod, we're just getting started."

JMO - Get some damn balls

I wrote last week about my anger at the Democrats in the Senate, and you clearly have to look at Senator Reid and the rest of his co-horts in control of the Senate, over their ineptness and incompetence when they have 59 votes, clearly a majority on the Senate. They continually balk and withdraw any legislation the Republicans, and a few conservative (asshole) Democrats, which faces a potential filibuster.

Except the Republicans know this and they always threaten a filibuster. Last week it was the extention Bush tax cuts and President Obama's proposal to limit the cut to the first $250,000, meaning everyone gets a cut, just not income over that limit. That's fair, good and right. And the Democrats, kicked the bill down the political road than force the Republicans' hand.

And now it's the Defense Appropriations bill and over the DADT and Dream amendments in the bill. Those are also fair, good and right, and again the Republicans, some who voted for these amendments in committee, threaten and did in fact filibuster. Ok, let them do that, all the way up to election day. Make they pay with their seat in the election.

And this is just another issue the Democrats don't have any backbone or more so balls to do what's fair, right and good for America and Americans. They whimper before the Republicans, pleading for a few of their votes with concessions, which we saw in the healthcare bill and other bills where most of what was fair, good and right was striped from the bill to get votes.

Maybe the Democrats deserve to lose the Senate this year. I don't know what Senator Reid needs to get some balls to do what's need to be done. He obviously doesn't believe the Nike slogan. And he obviously panders than stands, begs and tells, and asks than says. He's the head of the Democrats in the Senate, so why can't he lead to get things done?

Maybe he deserves to lose to one of the worst candidates the Republicans have put up for election. The Democrats have worried about their base, and yet they've done very little to support their base and less to excite it for the election. I'm a registred Democrat only because you have to declare a party here. Otherwise, I'd be an independent, hating both, only the Republicans more.

The Democrats in the Senate have consistently shown just how inept they are. And they expect their base to think it's ok. We've seen President Obama backtrack, or worse jettison, views and support on issues he campaigned on. We know that was campaign rhetoric, but some of it, like closing GITMO, DADT, DOMA, tax cuts, healthcare (remember he promised the publiic option, the first thing he ejected for votes) and so on, can and should be done.

But what did he do? He kicked it to Congress. Like they were going to do what he asks when they're already afraid of their own shadow and are more worried about getting re-elected than helping America and Americans with good Democratic value laws which you can sign and help everyone, help our country, help our environment, and so on. He only talks better than most of the Senate Democrats.

He's only one step better than the Senate Democrats. I know now I can't trust him as long as he's talking. He needs to remember who voted for him (like me) and remember what he promised, and then go for that. Fuck the opposition. The Republicans don't play fair or nice in politics, why does he and the Democrats? Fair and nice doesn't go very far, and it's doesn't win for what's fair, good and right.

So, my advice to the Democrats, including the President, get some damn balls. It's about America and Americans, not your political ass that's important.

Monday, September 20, 2010

JMO - Beware of GOP

With the November elections coming up for all the seats in the House and some of the seats in the Senate, I've written about how voters should really think before they vote. We've all heard the political and election rhetoric, and we all know it's justs hype and bullshit, all to get your attention and get your vote. This isn't unique to the Republicans or the Democrats, but it's happening with the Tea Party, Green Party and other parties.

But what you need to really be aware of, ask questions about and really think through is the rhetoric of challenge. The Republicans have been the party of "No" since Obama was sworn into office as President. They've made it their political strategy and tactics to prevent the Democrats from doing anything substantial or at least not without watering it down to attract Republicans or overcome a filibustter.

They've succeeded. The laws passed under the Democrats are only a shadow of what they wanted or more so what we needed and wanted. And so the Democrats look weak and inept to actually do anything real. While there's some truth to that, as they have 59 seats in the Senate, clearly a majority, they've failed to use it to overcome the Republicans' threats and filibuster. They're spineless and have little courage to do the fair and right thing for American and Americans.

But that aside, the Republicans are only offering criticism of Obama and the Democrats. And they ask you to vote them into the majority, except for what? They haven't offered anything substantial or anything that works for America and Americans, except if you think of corporations and the wealthy - like Bush and his corporate friends running the federal government and the Bush tax cuts.

And if you look at what they have done in the past, you'll see it's what the Democrats have done, only the Republicans, who once claimed credit for these measures, are now denying them as anything but Democratic mandates on Americans. Read the history and you'll see both parties have offered or passed the same measures and sounded the same rhetoric on the issues.
While the Republicans say they're different, they just the same as Democrats for ideas, only differing on who to benefit the most.

So, my point is to beware of Republicans bearing gifts of promises. They've did this during Bush's 8 years and we discovered how bad is was and how bad we are because of it. Do you really want to return to the end of those years. We won't see the buildup where the bubble grew out of control with profits, home prices, stock values, etc. That's gone for a long time. All we'll get from them is empty promises.

And that's what you have to watch, listen, question and think about before you vote for them. What are they really saying. It's the old adage it's not what they're saying but what they're not saying. It's in the nuiance of their words and the words between the lines. That's their real gift. All they want to do is get control of Congress and to use it to help corporations and the wealthy disguised to help you.

This is evident in the Bush tax cuts. The Democratic bill, really Obama's proposal, would give tax breaks to all Americans (only up to $250,000 for those earning more, or the same tax cut as the rest of us), so it's not excluding the wealthy or a tax increase to them, only a return to the pre-Bush tax cuts where they actually paid the same rate. Their rate is lower than ours because of the Republicans. Is that fair or right?

So why argue the wealthy need to keep the lower rate than us? That's what they want control of Congress to do, return to helping the corporations and wealthy with our tax money, at the higher rate than both of them. And think about if they had control of Congess, do you really think they could actually get anything done? Like with Obama and his veto in place for everything they pass and nothing the President wants pass. Is that what you want? A really do nothing Congress? And the Democrats becoming the party of "No" again?

That's their gift to you, for America and Americans. Nothing. The Republicans have no clothes. See them for what they have been since January 2009 and see them for what they are now. That's what you'll get if you elect them to Congress, more of the same "No", except it will be no to America and Americans.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

NPR - Third Time a Charm

I wrote in August about the ills with my apartment, first the shower and then the kitchen sink, see essay. Well, as luck would have it, the late 1980's refrigerator in the apartment finally bit the dust, or really dying a very slow death.

It's had a leak in the freezer for years, a small bowl under it works. Then it developed another leak down the back wall. Ok, put another small bowl and cool on. Then this summer during a heat wave (above 90 degrees for 4 days), the freezer couldn't keep anything frozen, just cold and mushy. Not great for ice cream. When the heat wave passed, it returned to normal.

Anyway, it's the old adage about the third time is a charm. Only Murphy's version. I bought a compact refrigerator for the film (where the water leaked into ) so now I can get another refrigerator when I schedule it with the maintenance staff. They want 2-3 days to measure the space and go buy one. But then I'm a great procrastinator with these things.

Anyway, that's the whole thought. Nothing earth shaking, just a small univeral constant, all things break, some more slowly than others. And the old adage is still alive. And I'll keep you posted when the refrigerator is replaced. All that is left is a 1980's dishwasher I don't use except to store dishes and run it once a month to clean it, and a late 1960's stove.

The stove still works although it's been repaired a few time and I've taken it apart twice before to clean it. This summer I bought a convection oven which now does 90% of the cooking instead of the oven. I cleaned the oven recently so now it's a shiny, used stove again. I like the old adage about if it's not broke, keep using it.