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 photo.net, 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.