Saturday, October 29, 2011

Republicans Shut Up

Republicans would you please shut up. Well, wait, let me change that. Republican would you please shut the fuck up. You are the ones creating the class warfare with your rhetoric and with you obstinance to protect the top 1% depsite over 60% of them want to pay more taxes.

But then all of you are in the top 1%, so why aren't we surprised you continue to argue for yourself. In short, it's very simple.

Stop the class warfare you created and continue.

We, the 99%, didn't create this war. We didn't create the term. We're not continuting to use it. We're fighting for fairness this country was built on. We're fighting for justice for all the criminal corruption and fraud you committed. We're fighting for America and the American people.

We're the 99%. We have rights. We have a case. We have a voice. And we have freedoms to speak our case. You're the one who created this war, we're simply fighting it for all the 99%'ers.

Friday, October 28, 2011


With respect to Mississippi's new proposed referendum to define "personhood" in law at the moment of conception (fertiization), I have only one view. Personhood starts with a live birth, anything else regarding a pregnancy no matter the outcome short of live birth, is not personhood. To put it very simply.

A person must first be born.

Nothing less. Mississippi voters, vote no on Initiative 26. Read about it, talk with women about it, and consider the consequence should it pass. Is that what you want your government to do? Think about it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

WTF Moments

Some real WTF thoughts.

First, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell railed at the President this week for "campaigning" than doing his job to help the unemployment problem in this county. He said it's time the President got back to work to give them something to consider. Really Mr. McConnell?

He delivered the Senate and you a jobs bill. He delivered the House and Speaker Mr. Boehner a jobs bill. Yes, a reall bill to create jobs, lots of jobs, about $450 billion worth of jobs. Is that what you asked from the President? Is that what you said he should do? Isn't that what you wanted?

Oh, I forgot, you already know this. You already know because you have a copy of the bill on your desk. You already know what you saying is a lie. A big, fat lie. And you call yourself what? I would call you a liar, but then that's what all politicians are and what all politicians do. But you already know that too.

It's all an act for the media and for your voting base. But for the rest of us, it's cow pasture material, you know the stuff you know what it look like, what it smells like and you try not to step in it. But then you reek of it. That's some we alreayd know, and why we don't believe you beyond the smell of your words.

Second, after the tragedy in Ohio over the wild animal sanctuary where the own of 56 animals let them go and then commited suicide. John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio, refused to renew a bill this last spring for the Department of National Resources (DNR) to regulate these farms and wild animal auctions.

And this is what happened. The DNR would have discovered the farm and extent of the animals he had on his farm, and they likely would have shut him down. So did the governor reinstate the rules and regulations? No. He signed an executive order to control animal cruelty.

Wait, the new order would create is a violation of regulation to be cruel to animals? And how would this law have effected this farm and the owner? Remember he commited suicide. You can't prosecute a dead person. Wait, the governor did this for show, not animals, but politics, to say, "See I did something." But the something is empty, nothing beyond fake good intentions.

Then there is Senator Rubio who embellished family history. After being caught in a lie he used to help his campaign as a child of exiled Cuban parents, except his parents left Cuba before Castro returned to Cuba and start the revolution. He told this story over and over, posted it on his Website and made it the story of his family.

And we're supposed to be forgiving? We're supposed to still think he's an honest man? Wait, he's a Senator, lying is automatic to them. I often wonder if they get shots when they take their oath which makes lie and makes them immune from knowing they're lying. Lying simply becomes the only thing they know.

Don't get me started on the presidential campaign, it's full of WTF moments and we still have another year to go. Can I not watch TV when anything campaign comes on? You almost can't get away from all this crap, but at least I don't have to smell it through the TV.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Random Thoughts

Why is truth and honesty the first casualties of election campaigns? Yeah, it's rhetorical, but wouldn't it be nice if it weren't true?

If it's called Department of Defense, why is all of what they do offensive in nature? Why is it defense when we're attacking people in other nations?

Why are we spending more on the military than the rest of the world combined and not seeing them as one source of our bad economy draining the tax money away from domestic needs?

When we (US) will realize we're the world's worst enemy. The biggest asshole on the planet.

Why are those who created the class warfare the ones blaming the other side for calling it class warfare when we didn't?

Why are both parties in Congress owned by the corporations and not the people? Oh, yeah, right, money. They're rich and we're not. So why do we keeping voting for them?

Why do republican politicians keep saying 50% of us don't pay taxes when it's a fact everyone pays taxes. Taxes from local, city/county and state taxes to federal taxes for goods and services and for income. Why do we keep tolerating these people lying?

Why does the Senate majority leader Harry Reid keep allowing the Republicans to filibuster bills when a majority of the Senate wants to pass the bill?

He's had several opportunities to change the rule and he hasn't. He's had promises by the Republicans not to put holds on judicial appointments and filibuster certain types of bills and they've reniged every time, and quickly too. And he continues to let them do it.

Why do the democratic senators tolerate him as their leader?

He's not doing his job. He's not helping the party. He's not helping America and the American people. He's letting them run him over every time. As a leader he's a wimp and the democrats don't have the balls to replace him. So why should we vote for them?

Why can one Senator become the majority?

There is a rule which has allowed one, Senator Rand Paul, to block two years of work on the No Child Left Behind law by the Senate education committe to address the 74 amendments he has or wants to propose. There are 144 amendments to the new version but Senatore Paul wants his first, so he's stopped all work until they agree to his terms.

How can one company, Costco, run the state government out of the liquor business?

Easy, by contributing $22 Million, over 95% of the funding for state initiative I-1183. I oppose this initiative because it will expand liquor sales to a huge variety of retail outlets and put the enforcement burden on the state.

Why would anyone put their checking account on their iPhone?

There's an ad for in iPhone app showing people transferring money between their and a friend's checking account with a touch of the screen. Set the amount and to whom and the money is transferred. Someone can steal your iPhone, add their account, transfer all your money, delete the account and trash the phone.

All in a few minutes and nothing you could do can stop it. You're toast by your own app.

Why do we have two prototype and sports car series in the US, the American LeMans Series (ALMS) and Rolex Grand Am series?

The ALMS only has 8 races each year, including the world famous Sebring 12-hour race, but many of the teams race the equivalent European series which is more extensive and competitive. The Grand Am series has 12 races, including the famous 24-hour Daytona race. Each series uses different technical specifications for the cars where the prototypes aren't compatible but the sports cars are sufficiently similar for teams to run in each.

We used to have one series until 2000 when the Grand Am series split over the type of cars above the sports cars, meaning the "prototype" cars, the Grand Am series using common chassis "spec" cars (currently 4 companies) and manufacturer motors. The ALMS uses manufacturer designed and built chassis and motors (currently only a few European companies, Audi, Peugot, Aston Marin, etc.).

As a fan of European racing, I'd like to see the two combine into common classes for both to run together. I doubts that's possible but it sure would make it easier to know and watch.

Monday, October 17, 2011


This is one way cool album. Great, beautiful voice, intricate sounds and actually audible lyrics. You can hear an interview of her with Scot Simon on NPR's Saturday Morning Edition, here. The preview of the songs on iTunes doesn't do the album, songs and her justice. She's worth the deluxe edition. Enjoy it, I am.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Going to Lion

Well, I finally broke down and upgraded my Mac Pro from Snow Leopard (OS-X 10.6.8) which I like to Lion (OS-X 10.7 and updated to 10.7.2). I bought the thumb drive version as I wanted the physical version if the download went south (read a few stories) and the reality of downloading it on a DSL would really take time, let alone to install it.

That said I started yesterday (Saturday) afternoon about 1 pm and by 4:30 pm had most of it done, only needing to watch it for the overnight stuff (backups) and to followup on the small things and check the remaining applications to get updates if necessary and a few were necessary.

So what did I learn?

For one, you can almost make it replicate the look and feel of Snow Leopard which was my real goal. Lion has the Launch Pad and Mission Control which sits on the far left of the dock (on my Mac) which I simply ignore. I have other apps which do the same thing and better (eg. XMenu for the former and function key F12 for the dashboard). And sadly it's one of those things you can't trash it or face real consequences.

For another some Apple apps changed but not for the better, just different and worse in some ways. I liked the older iCal app, the new one is iPhone/iPad like and it sucks. And yes I have one of each where it does a good job but nothing to write home about as a cool app.

I never used the desktop calendar on the iPad the Lion one is style after in Lion. I simply like the old iCal. The only good thing about the new version is the print option is still the same, producing page size copies I post on the refrigerator to keep track and write notes I don't put in iCal.

The E-mail program is new but you can still get the "classic" look which I switched back to, but there are some tweaks which I don't like, which are defaults you can't change, only switching it everytime with the menu option. One is viewing mail thread. I don't like reading all of them in one window, and you have to switch the view option to see just one at a time.

Another is the Finder window. Well, again, the older version is better. I really liked the border and the bottom pane with the pathname. The new one gives more to click on but simply makes you stop and think too often when trying to look for information, like the pathname (see below), which was displayed on the bottom. They added some features which were formerly third party apps (Get Info button), but not the "Go2Shell" app which still works.

The other option is to buy a third party finder window application. I use Pathfinder which has a lot more features and tools than Apple's, one being multiple windows in one window and two window view to manage files across HD's and folders. It's worth the purchase from the Apple store or their Website.

One of the dumbest things was the widgets. Lion breaks all of them and the widget management tool too so you can't do or change anything. You're stuck and you have to trash the file at:


Then go to the folder /Users/sknowles/Library/Preferences/Widgets and remove all the widgets there. Then after rebooting manage the widget to add all of them back and get new ones from Apple's Widget download page. You have to completely rebuild your widgets. Since I only had a few anyway (don't use dashboard much) it wasn't hard, just irritating.

As for some smaller things, the console window is different, and again like all the new stuff, not better, just different. I wish they had the "classic" look option for many of the basic apps, eg. iCal, E-mail, Finder, etc. The new look doesn't do much for me, just something to get used to using.

One really irritating thing for photographers. All the color calibration tools and software works with Lion but doesn't work with Lion. Yeah really. It turns out the color calibration tools (I use DataColor Spyder 3 since Spyder 2 wasn't Lion compatible but others I've read have the same problem) use a RunTime Environment package incompatible with the one in Lion which isn't current.

So you have to get an update to the RTE (free) to update Lion but then discover the software doesn't work with the new RTE where some features and tools bail out or crash and generate lots of error messages. Those companies need to update their software for the newer RTE and Lion 10.7.2 now. Let's hope they do.

As has been advertised, Apple dropped Rosetta which many applications used as an interface, usually to run on both PPC's and Intel Mac's. And all those apps won't work under Lion, which shows you with a symbol over the icon face. This includes all of Adobe's Creative Suite (CS) 2 apps (which I used two) and some small internal apps in some later CS apps (3, 4 and 5.x).

I was happy to learn National Geographic TOPO! application works, the features and tools I've used. This is odd since NG advertised it wouldn't and they were still only thinking about updating it. They don't need to do that but they should as it has some really bad quirks, like you can't "hide" - it freezes the app and your screen if you accidently to. You have to keep it open and quit/close.

I compared the three major topographic and GPS map applications and NG's is still the best for my use and interests.

Another change is the appearances of many windows. Apple now uses a kinda' faded gray look for buttons which is dumb. You can't change it (I liked the old version). Safari has some problems with the preferences, it keeps forgetting the home page URL in the user settings and starts with a blank page instead. I also prefer the old download window than the new upper right corner popup box.

But there is one really cool feature with Safari under Lion. It has forward and backward Web page scrolling with your mouse or trackpad. It's cool if you're wandering Website and move back and forth between pages, but not so when you working on one like entering information or writing and you accidently scroll back. Oops is the operative word, so use it with care but it's cool.

They also changed the scroll to a hidden one which appears when you need it. Again, I prefer the old style I can see there is more to a window than having to check the right margin or try to scroll to see if there is more to scroll and it doesn't display. It does display in some apps but not all of them, which again, is confusing.

The big thing Apple advertised about Lion is iCloud. Well, it's nice if you want it and use it. I don't, and gladly the preferences pane allows you to just turn it off and keep it off. In short never use it for now. I will have to eventually for my Mobile Me and iDisk account. I store a variety of files there which iCloud doesn't offer now.

There's rumors they may but they haven't yet, but the problems is that these files are used for public sharing and backup which iCould won't offer, only sharing across your devices, which I don't need. I keep my iPhone and iPad updated through iTunes on the Mac and don't have the interest to have some iCloud server (in North Carolina) holding my information) or have automatic up/download between the devices.

This is because I use the Mac for all my purchases through Apple, either the App store or iTunes. And I don't want everything on my Mac on those other devices. The music alone would break them as I learned. I want my Mac to be the center of the work and the iPhone and iPad just limited extensions.

On another note, I would recommend you limit your app purchases through the Apple store for apps which don't use serial numbers or licenses. All of the better or more expensive apps are better bought through the companies' Websites, since new versions, upgrades or updates are always available sooner. Some companies will convert yours with the reciept, but most won't, and many don't provide versions, updates or other tools (eg. subscriptions) through Apple store.

Anyway, that's it. I still have some small stuff to sort out as I work over the next week. Would I recommend the upgrade? Only if you don't want or like to be left behind with updates every company has these days. Many now and almost all major applications for Mac's in the future will be OS-X 10.7 and later, only 10.6.x if you're lucky.

There's some stuff I don't like about Lion, but I'll adjust and adapt, or I'll find a better third party app. That said, you can live without Lion for awhile, but eventually you will upgrade or face an obsolete Mac (been there with my 2006 PPC which took a week to transfer to this Mac Pro for Snow Leopard), so sooner ain't as bad as you think.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I am a 99 Percenter

I am a 99%'er. I am retired in December 2005 from a 32 year career with the federal government, 4 years with the USAF during the Vietnam war and 28 years with the U.S. Geological Survey. My post-retirement plan was to start and build a small, personal photography business and develop a photography guide to Mt. Rainier NP, first a Website, then a general guide book and then some iphone/ipad apps.

I was doing fine until the recession when the cost of the work start to strip my savings I set aside for my business. And then President Obama froze the annuities of all federal retirees starting in 2010 and will last through 2012 and likely through at least 2014 as both parties fight for political advantage making us fodder.

But in the last two years, while my annuity is frozen the cost of living, namely health, auto and other nsurance, rent, utilities, food, etc. has increased 8-10% per year and will continue, I'm not getting any increases in my annuity to help. Simply put, I'm losing money quickly.

To compensate I'm eating through my retirement savings I had for my business, life and emergencies, and in a few years it will be down to its minimum. To compensate I use my credit, and it's increasing faster than I can pay it down. Yes, I created it, but it was with the plan I could afford it, or thought so in 2009 when things looked reasonable.

While I'm still somewhat solvent, if things don't change, like the economy and getting increases to my annuity to overcome the losses and pay for the cost of living, I will be in serious financial trouble in a few years. Just like everyone else in my situation. And then what will I do?

I will join the poor who live month to month and hope nothing serious or major happens to me because I can't afford it. The reality of a good retirement is gone now, thanks to President Obama and the Democrats for not standing up for us and not fighting the Republicans.

So what will you do Mr. President? What will you do for us?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Saving An Inch

Update.--This week I noticed the loaves of this bread are back to the former length. I'm not sure why or what happened to cause the change and back, but after comparing some older bags, thinking they may have just shortened the bag, they didn't, so the inch is back.

Really saving an inch and a quarter (1 1/4"). I buy locally made bread, mostly from the Macrina bakery, and more specifically their Sour Ficelle baguette bread. It's neat for snacks and other stuff (soups, etc.). But recently I noticed the bread didn't seem to take as long to eat, meaning it seemed shorter. So I remember I had some old bags I kept for reason I don't know, but when I compared them by folding them across the top of the label, the bag was shorter, as seen above (same length from label to top of bag).

When I turned them over I noticed to hide the the shorter length the simply folded and taped on the back, as seen below. All in all the bread is just over an inch shorter, going from a 16" loaf to a 14 3/4" loaf.

I can't argue if the company is pressed for revenue and any meager profit (the bakery is not wealthy, just a small, local business) and this is a good way to do it, just make slighly smaller loaves, about 9% with this one type of loaf. It's more a sign of the times and companies keep prices the same while simply selling less.

I saw this with my paper towels which have gone from 165 sheets two years ago to 138 sheets last year and now to 128 sheet this year. Same price, just fewer sheets, so you buy more and the company makes more money. All in the name of profit, fewer employees, less product but more money and profit.

But then compared to Japan, we're living cheaply.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Big Camera Sale

Click for larger view

I finally got around to working on the images for the photography equipment sale. Apologies to the people who have contacted me about some of the lenses. The images of each piece in the sale are coming soon along with descriptions on the Web page for the photo equipment sale.

This is roughly about 80% of my manual focus Minolta equipment I've collected since 1969. I'm keeping a few of the cameras and lenses, some for personal reasons, like my first cameras and lenses, and some for being eceletic stuff I like, such as a brand new XD-11 (in the box) and is a joy to use.

You're always welcome to inquiry for specific pieces of equipment. I have some and sadly haven't done well following up to them about the lenses. I have no excuses, only reasons, which aren't that good. But that said I expect to get some of the images on-line soon. Considering the extent of the equipment, as you can see above, it's a lot of work.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Consider the Possibility

Consider all the terrorism and counter-terrorism experts, specialists and analyists have a vested interest to continue the "war on terrorism" and have a need to continue the government funding for their work. The size of the intelligence and counter-terrorism community, all of the government agencies, companies and organizations, has more than doubled in the last few years and several fold since 9/11.

In short, all of everything they're saying is more of selling us fear of an enemy who is small compared to us, a threat to every American everywhere, and the suspicion that all of us Americans are terrorists. All this is to keep all of us paying them to protect us from an imaginary enemy they keep secret from us, and keeps allowing them to consider us terrorist to conduct secret investigations without a supeona.

We are no more at risk from terrorist than from being hit by something falling from the sky. We're spending billions of dollars on a whole structure built on this imaginary threat. It's been inflated beyond reality to a fantasy. And unless we decide to come to that reality we won't change it.

We are far more at risk from criminals, bad drivers, illnesses and diseases, and natural events than from terrorists. And I don't see the government protecting us anymore than usual. So why such extraordinary measures and costs for terrorists? Because it's the government-industry complex President Eisenhower warned us about when he left office in 1960.

Consider when the US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in a CIA drone attack in Yemen. Shortly after that the White House said all Americans should be warned that terrorists may attack Americans, especially overseas. They killed the cleric for his words, not his actions, and now all of us must pay the price of fear and imaginary threats.

It only leads me to believe the enemy aren't the terrorists, it's our own government. When will we get it back? Or will we realize they've won and our democratic republic is lost?

A Question

In our "war on terrorism" and our fight against terrorists around the world has politics and more so morality replaced reality, common sense and our respect for the rule of law?

Or is it a statement of the obvious or a rhetorical question?

No Mr. Obama

Your targeted killing of US-born al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki by the CIA was illegal. I won't argue the Mr. al-Awlaki was the enemy and it would be hard to arrest and extradite him on charges for this alleged actions (remember innocent until guilty?), but that doesn't give you the right to ignore the Constitution.

The Department of Justice has made the case your decision was legal in the war on terrorism, the now (since 2001) permanenet persistent war we will never quit because it's political expedient, but that justification is the same as when the DOJ disavowed the rules regarding prisoners under the Geneva Convention and the legal right to torture.

There is no difference in that you, like Mr. Bush, decided the Constitution doesn't exist for you and your decisions, and you have decided any American citizen can be killed without due process supposedly guarranteed under the Constitution. It doesn't matter how bad any citizen they are, they're all still citizens with rights, which you can ignore.

All you have for evidence is that he incited violence against Americans and the United States and may, note may, have been involved in operations of some of the attempted attacks or attacks. But you have said all that evidence is classified and we will never see the inside of a court, so we will never know, let alone a court, to decide his fate under the law.

Remember the laws we all live under? Yeah, those laws. You have clearly abdicated your responsibilities as President to uphold the Constitution, as you had your hand on the Bible and swore to defend. You are no different and no better, maybe even worse, than Mr. Bush and his illegal actions against people, anyone they wanted anywhere in the world.

You long lost my vote but now you have lost my respect. And who's next in your list of citizens to kill? Or will we not know until you announce they were terrorists and then when asked about evidence you say, "Trust me." Sorry, you've lost my trust for being a nation which is a signatory to the international standard, the Geneva Concention.

Remember that? Right, you don't believe in human rights for prisoners. You don't believe in due process. You make me wonder if you really believe in this country for which it stands.

National Geographic and TOPO

National Geographic (NG) produces a great map software application (TOPO!) with USGS 1:24,000 topographic maps. I've used it when it was made by the predecessor company. I had to buy a new version when I upgraded my Mac Pro to Snow Leopard when there was not available upgrade for the older software.

Now the NG has decided to "investigate the possibility of releasing an update" about an upgrade to Lion (OS-X 10.7), see the statement on their Website:

"Thank for your interest in National Geographic Maps. National Geographic TOPO! software is not currently compatible with Macintosh’s latest OS Lion 10.7 We are currently investigating the possibility of releasing an update to add capability for this new OS but nothing has been decided at this time. In the event that we are able to add compatibility an update will be posted on our upgrades page downloads. Please check this site in the future for a possible update."

Apple has had the developer version of OS-X 10.7 (Lion) out for over a year now and they're just starting to consider to work on an update, maybe? All the customers using or will use Lion for Mac laptop and desktop computers and they're just thinking? Each state of TOPO! cost about $70. That's a lot of customers out of a good product either as new or an upgrade.

That's not NG's standard and customer service. I would readily recommend this software before but since I'm upgrading to Lion soon, and it's the only software which isn't Lion compatible or an upgrade available, and being a necessary application for my work on the Google maps with my photo guide, I won't recommend it until they have a Lion compatible version.

I won't upgrade to Lion until NG has an upgrade or I find a equal or better application which is Lion compatible. Until then NG needs to get their customer service act together.