Friday, February 19, 2010

NPR - Print formats

Why is it so hard that news, information and editorial Websites and blogs don't put or hide the print format button? Many readers still prefer to read a print copy as reading Web pages takes a lot of energy when there are a lot of format and style changes and a lot of ads, often interspered in the text. It's just easier to read or print the clean, or hopefully clean, print version.

Then many insert ads, extraneous links and other crap in the print version. But my complaint is when the Website just doesn't have a print button, or at best hides it as s very small icon where you spend time search the entire page to see if it's there and if so, where. It's like "Where's Waldo's print button?"

And I'm especially angry with Websites which cuts the article into two, often more pages, of text so you have to go to the "next" Web page, obviously with all of their ads and links, hoping you'll decide to click and either go to the link or the ad where they get a few parts of a cent from the ad company.

Many of these are the same Websites that don't have the print button, so there is no way you can put the whole article together. I have found some at least have a "single page" format link, but then they still don't have the handy print format. It's like they expect you to sit there and read it while, like the others, notice and click on the links or ads.

To which I say, "Yeah, right." That's the best way to get me not to go anywhere except leave after struggling to read the article around all the ad, extraneous images and links. And when people complain about my Website not having a print format button. Simple, you don't need it. All the Web pages are pre-formatted for print. They print direct to the page at full scale.

And I don't have ads and all the other links are hidden in the navigation bar links below the Website logo. I will be adding PDF version of Web pages eventually, and linked on the same Web page, so readers can print in a print format or save to their computer for later use. But that's on the schedule for now, after I finish the first complete draft of the Web pages for the Mt. Rainier NP photo guide.

But that's off the point, which is more a rant or vent against Website designers. If you have an article, especially those of more than a page, for God's sake have a readable print format and put a print icon or link so we can actually read the article. You know like they used to do, with paper. Is that so hard?

It's not because when I pointed this out at the Bilerco Project, they added it, in plain sight on each article. Now that's cool. Easy to find and use. It took them less than a week to implement it into their Web pages. And they even thanked me for the idea.

Gee, common and human sense. Gotta' love it when it works. To the others, expect words about your insensitivity with readers not to have one. It's not about copyright issues or people stealing articles, you're covered by the copyright law there. It's about your readers, you know the customers you want to click on the links and ads? Yeah, us.

So, what don't you understand?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

JMO - 1979 Revisited

Reading today's (2/16/10) news about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton view of Iran becoming a military dictatorship using the Islamic Revolutionary Guard under the religious leadership. It seems all you have to do is replace the religious leaders with the Shah of Iran and you have 1978 revisited. History repeated but will it repeat 1979?

It's obvious there are differences between then and now. The Shah was supported by the US in exchange for oil. He had a secret police and army, trained and equiped by the US, and we had secret stations for watching and listening to the then Soviet Union. The times have changed but instead of a autocratic secular leader, Iran now has an autocratic religious leader, under the guise of democracy.

The the leader, not the President, has the Revolutionary Guard, just like the Shah had his own forces. In that, nothing has changed. But the recent protests over the election was evident the people, like in 1978, aren't happy. Those people are the same, young, angry and demanding fairness, openness and a real democracy, not the appearance of one.

This time, however, the protesters are also the older generation who were there in 1978-79, under the oppresson and through the revolution which was supposed to end the tyranny of an autocratic government. They've lived under the guise of democracy hoping for real changes, for a real economy in the international market, for real futures for their children. And then it all went south in the last fraudulent election.

In 1978, there wasn't the appearance of democracy, there was none at all. The Shah ruled, always secretly and sometimes ruthlessly, and not unlike Saddham Hussein, the people enjoyed a moderate standard of living in safety and security and some measure of personal freedom, albeit done by force and not friendly with anyone considered their enemy.

Now, however, the ecomony is failing, despite sitting on vast resources of oil to generate revenue. And the leadership is curtailing rights and protections without ensuring safety and security, and a better future. In 1979, the revolution for democracy and freedom. What will the next one will for?

It's not hard to imagine it could happen again but this time with far more violence. Then the protesters overwhelmed the secret police and army. Now it will be hard and the leadership has clamped down more on the rights of people to protest, as seen in those after the recent elections, as well as mass arrests and detainment for protesters and opposition leaders.

The only question to me, isn't if a revolution will occur again in Iran, but when. This time they don't have the American to blame and attack. We're not there. This time it will be their own unelected religious leaders and fraudulently elected President. It will be interesting. Again.

Monday, February 15, 2010

JMO - Only Mr Cheney

Only Dick Cheney and misuse and even abuse logic. Reading about his and Vice President Biden's recent interviews on the Sunday morning news shows. Mr. Cheney can't seem to see the contradiction with his words. On one hand he calls it "the war on terrorism" and on the other hand calls those captured in the war not prisoners of war but "enemy combatants."

Even with all the twisted legalese of Mr. You only Mr. Cheney can you twist a war into not a war and then back. Semantic convenience. That's all it is. Nothing real or true. A prisoner of war is a prisoner of war, and subject under the Geneva Convention. But Mr. Cheney, along with convincing former President Bush, that the enemy aren't prisoners.

So what is the difference between and enemy combatant and prisoner of war? Well, for one the usually latter have to be captured in the war zone and really in the theater of war operations, but they can be captured outside the war zone if they're directly involved with activities that relate to the war.

Except the war on terrorism isn't a war against a country, and authorized by Congress. They only authorized military operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the then government of Afghanistan, for 9/11. The President and his administrations twisted it into the war in Iraq, and even illegally spending money on the preparation for the war there with funds of Afghanistan.

But here's where thing break down again. Mr. Cheney says it's a war but not a war because we didn't really declare war, that's Congress' responsibility. And so the enemey, not being members of the military of a government at war, aren't prisoners of war. Except then the North Koreans, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong, and those captured in later wars, except the First Gulf War, declared by the UN, are also not prisoners of war.

They're not because war was never declared against North Korea or North Vietnam. But we followed the rules under the Geneva Convention and treated them as prisoners of war. So why is Irag in the Second Gulf War and the war in Afghanistan any different?

It's not. Not in any way. And as we have come to know, most of those at Gitmo weren't captured in the war zone or in war operations, and many weren't even captured in Afghanistan or Iraq. The war on terrorism, to the President's administration then, was global, and anywhere is legal. Yet, in many cases we simply kidnapped people and transported them to our prisons.

And his logic breaks down when it's a war on an idea than a country. This was obviously intentional to make it an endless war to create fear and keep the flow of money going. You can always make the case terrorism lives everywhere and instill fear that your neighbor is the enemy. This is no different than the communists did in the then Soviet Union.

Clearly Cheney learned the lessons from the cold war on how to treat people in your own country. Treat them as the enemy and create fear that any of them can attack you. That way you can instlll endless vigilance and fighting against the ghost of enemies not seen or known. The war on terrorism is really one against Americans by those in power, like Mr. Cheney.

It's not about any real war or any real enemy. That's the beauty of what he's trying to sell. And he truly believes his words. He is his own delusion of reality, using his own words to prove his case. If I said it, it must be true. That's his logic. Sadly, it's not real or true, only his illusion.

I'm not saying terrorists don't want to hurt American and attack America. That's real and true. It's the selling of it that I argue has been false and lies, by Mr. Cheney and the rest of the Bush administration. It was a war about oil in Iraq, about defeating Saddham Hussein and about global geopolitics. It wasn't about 9/11 or terrorists. That's only the lies they used to jusfity it.

And in all this logic Cheney, etal still demanded the enemy and the world treat our soldiers as prisoners of war, and follow the Geneva Convention. Apparently they didn't see the obvious contradiction, and even in hindshight, still don't. Maybe Mr Cheney needs to experience what life for an enemy combatant is like under his rules.

Maybe under interrogation he'll see the light and convert to reality? Somehow I don't think he will. He lived under the rock of his own delusion too long.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

JMO - Male Arrogance

I've often wondered if it's a combination of personality, from our genes, and testosterone which makes men arrogant, some beyond any measure of decency, beyond even confidence, but into just pure arrorgance. There are any number of circumstances and situation this rears its ugly head, and rather than dispensing good advice, it turns into a unilateral lecture about what you should do.

Why the sudden outrage? It's the phrase, "Get over it." that bug me. I've always hated it. The person, most often a man, who says it usually overcame some adversity and has decided his way of surviving works for everyone. One size fits all method. And he definitely wants to tell everyone else how they can do just the same.

He doesn't care about you, just how how can use his method to make your life better by following his direction, which he gladly tells you. And above, he doesn't want to listen, just talk, at you, not to you or with you, but in your face and in your mind with his, and often "God' loving, advice.

I was reading a health column where a man of 62, who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 36, lives a happy and productive life despite going through numerous surgeries, countiess drug cocktails, and so on. He wants to tell you how you can do as well with the list of rules.

I won't argue the rules are good and mostly common sense. I will argue, however, that his choice of words are the problem by being direct than suggesting, or even the easiest, "This is what I have learned, and maybe it will help you." Kinda' like the one-minute manager for your health problems.

And in the list is the rule, "Get over it.", like everyone else can just accept his rules for their situation with this ailmnent. This totally forgets the individual's situation and circumstance and avoids addressing the individual's personality, character and temperament. And it sublty dismisses any related or other conditions the person may have.

In short, he doesn't care about them to really offer more than some common sense suggestions. He wants to lecture, but he could have just as easily done that without getting in their face and yelling. People don't need drill sargents standing inches from them yelling what they should do because it worked for them and they "know" it will work for you.

In the end, maybe he needs to follow his own advice, get over your arrogance and become a human being.

Friday, February 5, 2010

JMO - The Super Bowl

I'm one of those millions if not a billion or two who will watch the Super Bowl. I've watched it for decades, even watching it live for all those highlight moments you see on the various sports and football networks. But what I don't watch anymore are three things, the pre-grame shows, the half-time show and the ads.

Sunday when the newspapers come out, I check to see when the kickoff is actually scheduled, plus or minus a minute or two. That's when I start watching. Everything else before is hype and not worth the time going over and over the seasons, the teams, the players, the stories, ad naseum. It now start at 8 am and never stops.

Pure gag material. After that I don't watch the ads, but that's more so this years as a boycott to CBS for their discrimination against LGBT people and pro-choice folks. The Focus on the Family ad, even though I've only seen snippets of it or stories about it but that's enough, is offensive.

It sends the wrong message to women who become pregnant, that faith and ignoring your doctors advice is ok. It's not ok. Women who have medical problems with their pregnancy should pay very close attention to their physician and consider their advice if an abortion is a life-saving measure to protect the life of the mother.

But more so, the story of one woman who's son became a famous college football player isn't universal and women should not use it for their own decision. It's about trusting women, and women trusting themselves. If you want to take risks with your pregnancies, that's your choice, but do so under a physician's care making the best decisions, and don't rely on some faith or the words of some TV ad.

After that I don't watch the half-time show. Yes, I missed the Janet Jackson incident. but I didn't miss anything important, besides if that's a memory you want to keep, you're need to get out more. And even if The Who are the band at the half-time show this year, I've already seen and heard them at their best. I won't miss anything.

So, that's it about the Super Bowl. I watch the game when it starts and stop when it ends, and nothing more. I use the mute button for the ads and wander into kitchen during the half-time show. So CBS and all those companies paying for expensive ads, I'm sorry, did I miss something?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

JMO - Missing Middle Class

In reading the stuff Congress and especially President Obama are doing to help the poor and the middle class, it's clear to me they're missing a huge number of people in the middle class. And there are few consistencies between the people who are in the gaps of the missing middle class, but it would be nice if both Congress and the President consider helping us too.

I speak of those who aren't buying a home, namely renting. I speak for those who have little if any debt and have some savings, not much but sufficient for small emergencies. I speak for those who have good health insurance plans but couldn't afford any catastrophic health issue, disease or condition. I speak for those who are on fixed incomes, especially annuities, which don't increase at the rate of inflation or the cost of living.

And so on. All the help is for debtors, home buyers, retirement accounts, investors, and on and on, but not us. Except for small income tax cuts everyone gets, we don't see anything in the money spent for helping people in our pockets, in our bank accounts and in our lives. So, when we will be helped?

I'm not against the help for others, I believe it's the best and right thing to do, but let's not forget those who fell through the proverbial cracks in all the stimulus plans, who are middle class but don't qualify for any of the stimulus programs. We're losing too, only slower, but just as insidiously. We live in the same world, pay the same prices, and spend the same money.

But we're losing too. Maybe not as much or as fast, partly because we're cautious and conservative with our money, but still going down the financial hill with everyone else. All the financial planning won't save as anymore as it saves the rest of the people you're helping, only we're not getting help.

So, consider in all your stimulus plans helping those who haven't been helped and still need it. The invisible missing middle class.