Monday, August 31, 2009
I was never what you may call a power user, but I certainly knew more about computers back when I was a teenager screwing around with DOS than I do at present. At some point along the way, I became the type that only used a computer, never digging deep in the system. As long as it worked, I didn't care.
But lately I've been thinking about getting a new laptop (my HP is about 5 years old). I decided that rather than spend a few hundred bucks I could take this chance to try out linux, which is supposed to breathe new life into old machines (and into your computing abilities).
I settled on Ubuntu because of the cost, the support, the supposed ease of use, and the fact that you can test it out using Wubi. Wubi allows an install on a Windows machine with minimal effort (Windows sees it as another program). It allows you can fully boot into Windows or Ubuntu, without partitioning your hard drive. When you get tired of it you can erase it, or keep it, or preferably, wipe the computer and do a full linux-only install.
Oh, and the cost is $0, which is very cheap for a test run. Also, it comes with open office, so you can play with .docs and excel files without needing to pay Microsoft.
We'll see how it goes. So far, the only pain was getting my wireless card to work. It turned out I only needed to run an update so that Ubuntu could download the proper drive. Works like a champ now. It certainly seems faster than when I run in XP.
If you're planning a garage sale or organizing a church bazaar, you'd best beware: You could be breaking a new federal law. As part of a campaign called Resale Roundup, the federal government is cracking down on the secondhand sales of dangerous and defective products.
The initiative, which targets toys and other products for children, enforces a new provision that makes it a crime to resell anything that's been recalled by its manufacturer.
"Those who resell recalled children's products are not only breaking the law, they are putting children's lives at risk," said Inez Tenenbaum, the recently confirmed chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Looking out for us little rubes, no doubt. Just like with healthcare, we can't take care of ourselves.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Whether the topic is government intervention in health care, car sales, or anything else, consider:
“Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”
Think you're getting the better end of the deal?
“Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone.”
Frederic Bastiat, both quotes.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Dr. Dean says republicans want to kill the president.
MSNBC fears for the president's life citing "white people with guns" at heatlthcare townhalls (MSNBC even goes so far to hide the black man holding the rifle).
NY Gov David Patterson fears the white media will be his and Presbo's downfall (he must not watch MSNBC).
PRESBO's numbers are still tanking:
It will be interesting to see what other nonsense comes out this week.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
The U.S. housing market is rebounding faster than expected. The question is, can it last? Home resales in July posted the largest monthly increase in at least 10 years as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of a tax credit that expires Nov. 30. Sales jumped 7.2 percent and beat expectations, the National Association of Realtors said Friday.
But if you keep reading, you get to the truth:
Sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties made up about a third of all transactions last month, down from nearly half earlier this year. In places like San Diego and Orlando, buyers are snapping up foreclosed properties at deep discounts, and inventories are low.
Those sales helped drag down the national median sales price by 15 percent to $178,400.
Lower prices are driving this. The tax credit may help, but not everyone is a first time home buyer.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
There is no evidence that Axelrod directly profited from the group's ads. Axelrod took steps to separate himself from AKPD when he joined Obama's White House. AKPD owes him $2 million from his stock sale and will make preset payments over four years, starting with $350,000 on Dec. 31, according to Axelrod's personal financial disclosure report.
Do large contracts not ensure that Axelrod will be paid? Are his former partners and likely campaign contributors being rewarded? No evidence of Axelrod profiting, clearly.
(while proofreading I noticed a bugaboo: directly. I think the point is still more than valid)
Monday, August 17, 2009
It was advertised as an antidote to Supersize Me, but it turns out to have some of the best arguments for not giving government control over healthcare.
It's also very pro personal responsibility.
Favorite line - I have a functioning brain.
(Second favorite line - Follow the money)
Excellent interview with Tom Naughton (the creator) here.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Douglass: ". . . seniors . . . are paying exorbitant costs for prescription drugs."
Stop the tape. What, exactly, is Linda Douglass' point? Are seniors paying "exorbitant costs?" Let's assume they are, and ask: "Are seniors getting something of 'exorbitant' value in exchange?" If they are, will people continue to produce things of 'exorbitant' value when they are not allowed to receive a fair, which may mean 'exorbitant,' price in exchange?
To borrow a line: "Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value." Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
"You have bear, moose and elk ... in Washington you have mostly bull!"
(Speaking at a health care rally in Montana, Aug. 14, 2009)
(Remember, "UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It's the Post Office that's always having problems.")
Friday, August 14, 2009
“Now, I want to just be honest with you...In some cases what we’ve seen is also funding in opposition by some other insurance companies to any kind of reform proposals.”This was in response to a question about why he's going after insurance companies. He essentially doesn't like that they are funding attacks on his reforms.
But Obama has no problem forcing the drug companies to advertise on his behalf:
The drug industry has authorized its lobbyists to spend as much as $150 million on television commercials supporting President Obama’s health care overhaulIt would seem a good idea to get all sides out and let the arguments win, don't you think?
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Nothing empowers the freedom of the press like the ability of individuals everywhere to produce and disseminate the news. Garry, shall we buy some cameras?
The freedom to speak is one thing; the ability to spread that speech abroad is quite another.
Speak free or die!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
AJC.com had a very atypical video (for them) with some attendee comments.
Also check out Capaign for Liberty. This guy got kicked out.
Here's the AP's report as well. One of the guys quoted was sitting next the C4L blogger.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Democrats are anxious to get a healthcare bill, any healthcare bill, passed as soon as possible.
What else explains the difference between the official PRESBO rhetoric and the reality of congressional sausage making?
Their argument is that we have to do something, anything, to save our healthcare system.
But the reality is they just want to change the debate.
The hard debate is whether this enterprise is something the federal government should undertake, so let’s get that out of the way. They’d rather be debating the ins and outs of how the system will work. They like making rules. So let’s ram this unpleasant business down everyone’s throat so we can get to the fun stuff (like figuring out ways to pay for it).
The problem is this particular debate shouldn’t be occurring at all.
Pretend for a moment that government run healthcare is a great idea, and that everyone is for it.
The reality is that no matter how good or bad it is we cannot afford it.
If we could somehow get some fiscal sanity and start saving 10% of receipts (to pay the debt down) and also have our debtors stop all interest from accruing (so we only pay the current principal) it would take us 46 years to get back to zero!
46 years. And that is a very simple payback estimate. In reality it can’t be paid back. (Very likely we will do the dishonorable thing and inflate our way out of this mess – read this if you want further proof our government is selling us out)
So the real debate right now should be how to get fiscal sanity back into the federal government. But that’s grown up work.
And we have a government full of clowns.
Remember, debt is slavery.
(Maybe that’s why they keep increasing the national debt?)
I caught a few minutes of Market Place this evening (brought to you by American Public Media). The host, Kai Ryssdal, was interviewing a Univ. of Nevada professor about the impact of global warming/climate change on supply-chain management.
Here's a sample:
RYSSDAL: Let me test the hypothesis here that climate change and global warming will inevitably affect the traditional supply chain that we have.
CARTER: That's probably a very, very strong hypothesis.
Okay, so how will global warming affect supply chain management? Will rising sea levels swamp the ports? Will F7 tornadoes and Cat-9 hurricanes wreck both rail and ship? What does all this have to do with UPS?
Nothing. It's not The Day After Tomorrow that's going to slow us down, it's the increased costs caused by cap-and-trade and myriad other regulations making fuel and shipping more expensive. Looks like the cure may cost more than the disease; is there a price at which the proponents of climate intervention will back down and say that this is all just too expensive?
Back to the conversation:
RYSSDAL: Do you suppose this trend that we're seeing might accelerate with the Copenhagen summit on climate change coming up in December, and more pressure frankly on this issue.
CARTER: Oh, absolutely. Companies are very, very aware of the issue. And there's a lot of uncertainty, too, in terms of when oil prices will rise again, not if because they certainly will. And also what kind of regulatory structure we might have here in the United States in terms of a cap-and-trade system.
Now there's an anthropogenic problem for sure!
But don't worry, Mr. Ryssdal is looking out for you:
RYSSDAL: Would there be do you suppose any economic benefit to the United States? I mean the corporations will benefit for sure, but what about the rest of us?
Yes, Mr. Ryssdal, the rest of us. Thank you for looking out for the non-corporations rest of us.
And thank you, public radio, for giving me as much as I'm willing to pay for. A true bargain!
This was the whole secret of it. At first, I kept wondering how it could be possible that the educated, the cultured, the famous men of the world could make a mistake of this size and preach, as righteousness, this sort of abomination--when five minutes of thought should have told them what would happen if somebody tried to practice what they preached. Now I know that they didn't do it by any kind of mistake. Mistakes of this size are never made innocently.
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, p. 668.
I would like to hear arguments that explain (1.) the legislators' motives and (2.) the legislation's mechanics, and see if these add up to better health care or greater savings or anything thing else that I would want more of. I think it's more likely that I'll hear different definitions of "health" or "savings," and that 2 and 2 make 5.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
"But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or to keep it. Men who have no courage, pride or self-esteem, men who have no moral sense of their right to their money and are not willing to defend it as they defend their life, men who apologize for being rich--will not remain rich for long. They are the natural bait for the swarms of looters that stay under rocks for centuries, but come crawling out at the first smell of a man who begs to be forgiven for the guilt of owning wealth. They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt--and of his life, as he deserves.
"Then you will see the rise of the men of the double standard--the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money--the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law--men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims--then money becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they've passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.
A mob is no less a mob just because it is on your side
This got me thinking.
I really enjoy what's happening lately at these healthcare reform townhalls all over the county. I think it's great that conservatives and others who have shied away from political protest (for whatever reason) have found passion in keeping their Republic from slipping further down the socialist slope.
(Also the escalation of confrontation, being pushed by Democrats, and using union cronies from groups like SEIU, only highlights their inherent weaknesses.)
One thing to consider though is that these protests will only carry us so far. Eventually it will have to be our arguments that turn hearts and minds.
Expose their lack of knowledge on the subject. Question their honesty (How will putting everyone on the government dole save money? Why do you say we can keep our private insurance when the bill clearly will drive insurers out of the market?). Question them using numbers from the CBO. Force them to promise to read the bill personally before signing.
It is not enough to crash the party. We have to take over the turntables and pick the music.
I don't want to defend Republicans. They've got enough party faithful and money to take care of themselves.
I would, however, like to consider for a moment who really is the "Party of No."
Consider that there is only one party who answers to all of the following questions with NO.
Can you defend yourself with a gun?
Can you prepare for your financial future (retirement)?
Can you decide whether you want health insurance and, if you choose yes, earn and save the appropriate amounts to afford it?
Can you get your own mortgage without government help?
Can you purchase a vehicle that is appropriate for your circumstances with respect to fuel economy and ability?
Can you be responsible for yourself?
I'm not saying Republicans are perfect, but the game is rigged, and we are all but forced to choose for one of the two major parties. For now, for me, Republicans are the lesser of two evils.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
It turns out, even asking for citizens to report on each other may be illegal. According to the Department of Justice, “the purpose of the Privacy Act is to balance the government’s need to maintain information about individuals with the rights of individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasions of their privacy stemming from federal agencies’ collection, maintenance, use, and disclosure of personal information about them.”
Further, anything is considered a “personal record” if it identifies an individual (an e-mail address would qualify), and “federal agency” specifically includes “the Executive Office of the President.”
Curiouser and Curiouser! Note, however, that Dear Leader wants both the agitator and the snitch:
It has come to my attention that if you send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to report unwarranted criticism of President ∅ your IP address will go into a permanent file.
No anonymous snitching you snitcher!
Troubled? Don't be. Just have some fun with them:
For the record, I'm not completely freaked out by the White House having my IP address permanently in a database. Because I know the more I post email@example.com here and around the web, the more robo site-crawling spambots will join me on the enemies list. The White House hates re-financed boner pills from Nigerian governments-in-exile. That address again: firstname.lastname@example.org
I doubt our humble blog will catch enough traffic but what the hell! email@example.com
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Fannie Mae plans to tap $11 billion in new government aid after posting another massive quarterly loss as the taxpayer bill from the housing market bust keeps growing.
The mounting price tag for the rescue of Fannie and its goverment-sponsored sibling, Freddie Mac, is surpassed only by insurer American International Group Inc., which has received $182.5 billion in financial support from the government so far.
Fannie Mae's new request for $10.7 billion from the Treasury Department will bring the total for Fannie and Freddie to nearly $96 billion. Freddie is expected to report its quarterly results on Friday.
The government has pledged up to $400 billion in aid for the two companies. . .
$Four zero zero, zero zero zero, zero zero zero, zero zero zero. zero zero.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
The last few days have been crazy. SWMBO and I were sans children the last two nights, so we ran to the movies!
We've also watched a record number of movies and shows on DVD the last week.
DVD - Taken - Rented via Redbox. Great movie. Didn't know it was possible but here's a film were Liam Neeson was badder than a Jedi. Great fun, and better than all Bourne movies combined. At least Neeson's character has a real purpose for all the mayhem.
DVD - Gran Torino - Rented via Redbox. When I reach a suitable age I will growl just like Clint. Great film.
DVD - Coraline - Rented via Redbox. I love animated movies, and great stop motion is even more fun nowadays due to the quality of CG available (as in a showcase of what's possible using real props). Fantastic fantasy.
DVD - John Adams, parts I and II - rented via Netflix. Good stuff, but I was a little disappointed. Two more discs to go and we've already reached Independence! I love the move 1776 (despite the flaws) (and the singing), because it spends so much time on the debate surrounding Independence. But we'll see where the series goes before final judgement. (BTW did Charles Adams -the second son - become famous (or infamous)? They constantly get onto him in the first two parts.)
In theaters - The Proposal - this was SWMBO's pick. Not bad for a chick flick, but there are better ones (and certainly there are worse ones). I liked how Sandra Bullock was not afraid to choose a younger looking man as her co-star. Reminds me of Cary Grant, who in several films (North by Northwest; To Catch a Thief) was as old as the woman playing "the old lady" (I.E. his mom, or his girl's mom), while the girl's were young.
In theaters - Transformers 2 - ROTF(L) - At best it was OK. Very crude (and I'm not a prude - or a poet). Essentially the same story as the first movie with 10x more Transformer Action. The only reason to see this in theaters is for the gigantic robot fighting, but even that's not really enough.