Friday, November 30, 2007
I have a hard time understanding Paula, on CNBC, other than as a finger pointing, blame anyone but the rich, "B" word.
Who basically owns and controls the banks, credit reporting institutions, and mortgage lending companies ?
Who then set the rules for the current mortgage debacle ?
Who was best in a position to know and understand the terms and consequences of the loans they granted to harried, barely making it folks, desparate for a roof ?
And now who is looking to stick the resulting mess to good old John Q. Taxpayer ? And spend a great deal of time and money, shaping the public thought streams to blame the little guys and gals for the mess?
Look also at the stock market and the brokerage firms connected to it? Would you sit in on and play at a gaming table, with your life savings, when the bigger and often nearly the biggest players are watching your hand, know everything that is in it, have access to your credit scores, and know what you currently are thinking about doing, under conditions X, Y, and Z ?
The larger brokerage firms have the ability to forecast statistically with a high degree of probability what is going to happen, given moves that they may or may not make, and can electronically factor in the moves of the other large players on a second by second basis.
There is an unspoken agreement among them to not tip the boat too much in any given direction, and to remember that they make their money doing trades. Doing trades thus becomes their prime motive. They do not really care which way the underlying economy goes, and can't really control it, as that is affected more by White House, Congressional, and world economy factors than their trading. But they can give the appearance of a get rich card game, and steadily fleece the customers on a regular basis. With the right word here and there, and the right counterbalancing buys and sells on their own part, the boat keeps rocking side to side, settling lower and higher, but always churning out cash for the brokers.
The general disregard for the condition of the boat, on the part of the of rich, the politicians, and frazzled John Q. Public middle and lower classes, and the fact that, $100 million dollars per year gross, corporations can lobby for even more laws in their favor, will lead to the complete destruction of the United States as a world power, and possibly as a country, if people do not wake up from their stupor. Bush might as well be spending his time pulling the lever at a big casino in Las Vegas, for all the leadership he offers.
We need major repairs and changes to the country's infra-structure. Alternative energy and fiber optics everywhere, plus upgrading railroads and other items would be a nice place to start.
Also, all individual contracts ever made should be available on-line, to the parties that made them and their attorneys, and stored in a government or non profit controlled site. The typeface should be setable by the viewer, and any terms unfavorable in any degree to the party that doesn't write it up, should be in red or a color of the viewer's choice. Likewise neutral items should be in green. In addition, a version should be available where all the favorable items, and all the unfavorable items, and all the neutral items, are in three separate piles. The placement shall be made by the writer of the contract, and that placement shall be disputable at a later date, at the option of the non writing party, often described as the consumer.
No more hiding behind 9 point or smaller type sizes!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
"I'm Popeye the Sailor Man.
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man.
I'm Strong for Kucinich,
Ah eats Organic Spinich.
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man!"
(A Keachie Ditty)
For the debunkers of the Global Oven Effect, how about 50 years of research, and what's the atmosphere of Venus, surface temp around 700 degrees fahrenheit, made of anyway?
NOAA and 50 Year of Research, starting in Hawaii and the South Pole.
Don't pollute and you might get snow. Google founders supporting alternative energy systems in a big way. See yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
In another blog I found the following quote and responded:
"This is similar to the recent protest by the blind in front of the MDE. The blind people were protest hybrid cars on th premise that the cars were too quiet while operating on battery power. The group sponsoring the protest wants the EPA & the MDE to require hybrid automotive manufacturers to create a minimum standard for how much noise a car produces. Its ridiculous. Really."
The part that is ridiculous is the technology requested. i.e., noisier cars. If cars had transponders outputing GPS location and velocity and direction, a device used by either the deaf or the blind, with appropriate sensory inputs, could be programmed to give a warning with the direction of the potential threat.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
California developer with nothing but solar homes.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Your Tax Dollars at Work.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I just had occasion to call O'Reilly' to see if there was some wild chance I could get a replacement CD for one of O'Reilly's books. The service was absolutely out of this world ! A human operator in 3 rings on immediate pickup of the call. A quick transfer to customer service after listening to my need accurately. Another quick transfer to the CD replacement operator. He'll be burning a CD and sending it out this afternoon. No stories like, "you need to buy another book and CD combination." Or stories like, "we can't do that, it violates copyright." Or stories like, "we're out of stock," or like, "that'll be $19.99 please....plus shipping."
On the negative side, not connected in any way to O'Reilly, I did a bunch of research the other day on GPS units for laptops and cell phones, for a client, visiting many sites, and signing up at several vbulletin sites for memberships, always using a throwaway address.
Now I am getting email spam on the topic of buying such devices. The scary part is that the spams are not coming to the throwaway addresses. Instead they are coming to an address that is only posted on the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce. For some reason, the NCCofC insists on putting our emails right out in the open, where they are easy pickings for even the dumbest of spiders.
What seems to have happened is that either by my signups, or my site visits, a database some where has gotten wind of my interest (my client's interest) and has linked to me via an email they never saw during my search. This nicely excludes the parties to whom I gave the throw away addies from any blame, because they can claim they never gave away the email. They didn't, but apparently they did give away (more likely sell) the name, and let the third parties take the hit via my alternative addy.
All the more reason for assuming a totally fake persona, a computer just for web use, with cookie and history claarings after every session, and no true personal info. I think I may become nolo volente or maybe Nick Volentia, just to really screw them up.
Also, you know it is kinda funny. Amazon.com gives excellent service too. Is it perhaps because book readers won't put up with the kind of problems I've had with Best Buy and Hopeless Home Depot ? The America public seems to be headed for Ideocracy, the movie.
I went into a fast gas and food place the other day, and picked out a pound of butter, plainly marked $3.99, to avoid a trip into town. I asked what the price per stick was, and the clerk said, "$ .50" I said, "The pound is $3.99 and the price per stick, 1/4 pound, is $ .50?" He said "yes." Somebody should come up with a software program that runs on a cash register screen that offers clerks a chance to win extra cash for learning and demonstrating skills in division...
At the the other end of the spectrum, check out this "Merry Christmas" from Princess Cruises:
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Do you want to know what it is called ?
"Pasta La Vista" baby!
An original, my copyright, my contribution to general funny-ness, since the writer's strike and gas prices are leaving everyone rather cranky, with no comic relief in sight. Yes, I am politically irresponsible. How about that baseball playing, Asian Hip Hop artist with the cello ?
Yo Yo DiMaggio
It's a contest. How many groups can you mix it up with in one joke ?
All in good fun, I love everybody who is not trying to kill us or take everything we have.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
A terrible tragedy in St. Louis, occurred when parents decided to teach a 13 year old, off again, on again, friend of their daughter's, a lesson. In a nutshell, they set up a phony account on MySpace, supposedly hosted by a very attractive young man, who asked to be the teen's friend. Through chats and the like, they become online romantically involved, and then he, out of the blue, dumps her. Distraught, she commits suicide.
Don't Believe Anything in Cyberland that isn't confirmed easily via normal reality. Be sure to engage the "too good to be true," filters, especially where the heart is involved. Adults can and often are, stupider and crueler than kids. Why is it so hard to get the Golden Rule straignt ?
For a much more extensive look at the story, try this link.
More on the Story
Saturday, November 10, 2007
To insure that my aerial customers get what they are looking for, I do preview work on Google Earth before the plane ever uses a drop of gas. By creating a series of images like this one, we can discuss the needs in detail, and avoid most needs for reshoots. In fact, some customers are happy with just the Google Earth images, or with images taken from a very tall ladder.
If you have a legal situation, a flight can clarify many things.
The email addy first part above, and second part below, just needs a little human interpretation to reach me. I list it this way to avoid spammer spiders (a form of network scouring robots) from picking up on it.
530 If you can do the email, you can also do the phone number 277 You just have top put the pieces together in order. 3456 .
Friday, November 09, 2007
It happened again. I click on an Adobe Acrobat document at a distant website, the website is slow or none existent to respond, I try to escape via the escape key, and then via the CTRL-ALT_Delete, and my entire laptop freezes. To get back to work, I have to unplug both the power supply and remove the battery, and then restart, redial, and login in again. A total and complete waste of my time by Adobe. It happens about once every three days, and this time I vowed I'd write it up.
I try to avoid Acrobat anytime I can, because I know it is such a gamble. When Googling, I always go for the html.
It is very arrogant of Adobe to grab such deep control of my machine, and then not offer a simple way out. They can afford programmers who can write:
1. Something which determines the size of the document, and gives you a chance to opt out of the process.
2. A graceful way to stop a download in progress and return to the last page.
3. A way to preview the document by downloading the document table of contents first for review.
4. A way to pick and choose chapters for downloading.
5. A cheaper way to upgrade the latest version of the full product, instead of going for $100/year as they seem to be doing.
I want to commend Netmeter and Snort, plus ZoneAlarm and Computer Associates, and last but not least, Steve Gibson at Gibson Research Corporation, www.grc.com for all working to keep my machine free of the baddies. I feel like the CIA in the Spy vs Spy World, of who's buggering my computer now? Except that here CIA stand for Computer Information Analysis, a job I used to do for San Francisco Unified School District. Running Snort seems to drive off the pirates fairly well. The combination of all of the above allows me to such down anything suspicious and then redial for a new IP addy, for those critters that get around the normal firewall and antivirus protections.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
(From a comment in our local newspaper, by yours truly.)
As for solutions, again, if you've just got one, it's because you're not thinking creatively enough.
Case in point, the "Osama Problem."
We actually know where he is, we're just trying to make sure we round them all up at once. Look for an attack on USA about next June - Sept, and the "capture of Osama" by early October, to be attributed to the "brilliant Republican strategy," in hopes of retaining the White House.
Back to the problem.
Airdrop $100 USA bills in an area where you suspect him to be. If you drop one thousand of them at a time, each drop will cost $100,000 + delivery. Have a drawing each month for one of the serial numbers out of all the dropped bills ever, and the winner is awarded $1,000,000 cash and the option for he/she and family and friends to all get instant USA citizenship and transportation. 24 hours after the drop, Announce the location to the world. Do this once a month. Talk about reality TV! Do the drop at least once a month, and maybe pick on a poverty stricken area, if you have no clue as to where he might be. In fact, just to vary things, and maybe make it easier for the folks who receive the cash to use it, maybe dropping smaller denominations, but more of them, still adding up to $100,000, would be a good idea. Given the cost of everything else, this is a cheap program.
As for violating other nations' rights, well, that certainly didn't stop us in Iraq. Besides, the most likely spots are Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to what the Bush administration wants us to "know." I'm sure the locals would view this as a big improvement over bombs. Embedded information might just as well be shredded information. Our current government doesn't trust our own reporters to tell the story the way they (in government) want it told.
If the drop is near Osama, his own people will leave him to grab the dollars to discourage others from getting them. IR (infrared) camera equipped drones will pick the excess activity. Each individual Osama supporter will also have mixed feelings about what to do with the bills. They each are worth their face value, which is a ton of value in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and they have their potential at the big prize.
The event would focus media and world attention onto the search. It will attract thrill seeking trust fund babies and bounty hunters equally well. It just might turn the Pakistani Northern tribal types against him. If I read them right, they love their privacy and social structure, and this is going to mess with that like mad. This is called "applied anthropology." Osama would become a pariah, a typhoid Mary, a carrier of cultural destruction.
So what's your idea of how to catch Osama ?
I personally think he is squirreled away in a manmade luxury cave in Switzerland, and travels to and from the Mideast via the modified keel of a very large sail boat.
An actor can become governor, can become President, if the right people chose to back him. What experience as an actor even came close to the official set of "job skills," supposedly required for these transitions ? Maybe it would be better to ask who defines these job skills in the first place ? "Oh my, you can't jump out of an airplane with a parachute if you've never done it before."
The reality is that a great many people within an organization probably have the background information, aptitudes and attitudes needed for the top slot. A fair number of those who do, also have the willingness and desire and ability to put in the typically long hours which come with the territory.
So why not select one of these people, who would be happy with a modest salary boost ? Probably because a fair number of them are already identified as being aligned with one clique or another within the organization, or have nerded themselves out of the social pecking order. A second reason, however, is a selection committee too cowardly to take a chance on an "unproven candidate" who might screw up. And then there's the third reason, a mystique promoted by those at the top that only those at the top with experience at being at the top could possibly know how to do the job well. Net result, a ridiculously small pool of "qualified" candidates, a marvelous self fulfilling prophesy that assures a scarcity of "talent" and thus the ridiculous wages.
Hat's off to the CEO class, who know a good thing when they've got it. For the finest example of this, watch the hirings and firings of principals and superintendents in large urban school districts. The rotten ones just keep on bubbling back up elsewhere. You have no idea what a total gem you had in Terry McAteer, and still have with him as a teacher. Step down in salary and status? Unbelievable and most admirable!
Monday, November 05, 2007
Now that Global Warming is so obvious that even Bush (Emperor's New Clothes..."we need more studies") admits it is happening, we are left with, "what to do next?". Now comes the assigning of the blame, that's going to be our first priority Not solutions, but blame, will be considered first, because we've got to find somebody to pay for the solutions. "We have seen the Enemy and They is Us," Walt Kelley's Pogo strip, from way back when. NBC's morning show is covering it this week, from North Pole to South Pole this morning.
"Why it's the fault of the American Consumer, if they didn't demand all that stuff, and burn up all that gas trying to make the money to get it, then there wouldn't be global warming."
Sounds like a plan, you can bet the third and second and the rest of the first world have fun chanting it. In our country too, the chant is carried on by the Sierra Club, the Libertarians, and all the stock holders of advertising and other corporations, and a ton of politicians who need to point fingers anywhere but at themselves.
Bad, bad, American Consumer ! But what is the American consumer ? Stacked up against the MegaCorps, how well armed is he or she ? Let's see, the comsumer is typically born into a family where the members work for others, often megacorps, and is educated in a school system that is directed by people elected by massive advertising campaigns, funded by, you guessed it, more megacorps and special interest groups. The consumer groggily grows up in this environment, being told over and over how inadequate he or she is, and that the only cure is to BUY whatever megacorps are pushing. Megacorps quite often have nearly infinite life spans, or at least the fortunes (Rockefeller family, for example) funded by them do, even if the megacorps the fortunes own, change from time to time.
The time of our representatives in Congress is owned by those who can afford lobbyists. I frankly think that it should be lotteried off to voters chosen at random from those voting in each major elelction. They in turn could sell it on a spot market, so we could really see how much each of our Congresspeople are worth to the MegaCorps. It would be a darn sight more honest than the current haze we have surrounding them. Besides, it would carry the theme of Capitalism nicely, so that kids could easily understand at a much earlier age how the system really works, and what they are up against, growing up in America, starting from the bottom. One eighth of this country makes not more than 20% above minimum wage. That is sad.
The way the system is set up, Anyone can grow up to be rich, Wonderful !
The way the system is set up, there is absolutely No Way that Everybody can even make to what was called the middle class, and it is getting worse.
On one middle class income my dad bought a three bedroom house, and raised three kids, and sent them to college. He did this on $4,000/year, and the house cost $14,000. His same job today pays $70,000. The house is worth $700,000, you do the math. From 1:3 to 1:10, that quite a change in sixty years. Dr. Seuss's "The 500 Hats of Barthollemew Cubbins"got it right, in terms of social structure in America.
Would we have such rotten mass transit and rail systems if the consumer really had a say ?
Would we not have a Manhatten Style project for alternative safe and non polluting power ?
(not to mention, non-terrorist funding power)
The A Bomb was impossible, but American know-how and money made it happen, likewise the Man on the Moon. Why not safe, clean power as a similar national priority ? Maybe lifting 15% of the financial yoke from the "little people" is not in the best interest of the MegaCorps ? If everyone's making their own power, what happens to Con Edison ?
As it is, PG and E punishes the consumer who uses more electricity, but offers a flat rate per kilowatt, all you can eat, to business. GE will gleefully sell everybody nuke plants. Oh Joy!
The oil companies build no new refineries, they know the changeover is coming, if fact, all of MegaCorps have known for years, but they're squeezing out every last dollar before shutting down our antique technologies. In the meantime, they just lied to the consumers about the situation, to gain time to be sure of being at the reins of the new paradyme, and to squeeze out those last dollars. BP is the biggest manufacturer of solar panels. Like I said, is this a fair fight ? You can bet the Spin Machines at very level will do their best to make it all the fault of the American Consumer. And to make the American consumer pay for it, along with the mortgage bankers' bailout via inflation caused by lower interest rates.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
....prohibits the well as well as the sick from using pot. It also prohibits Republicans as well as Democrats from using pot. It also prohibits all kinds of other activities, and requires certain behaviors too.
But mainly it is an enabler, enabling anyone to shout "It's the Law ! We are a nation of Laws ! or We are Nothing ! "
If all laws were enforced by all seeing, all knowing, flying robots that accompanied every person everywhere, this kind of logic might make sense. As it is, all laws are selectively enforced, and so this type of argument is pure cow exhaust.
This imperfect world has many causes, many roots, for the imperfections. It is so wonderfully convenient to pull out the "It's the Law!" whip and start flagellating away, for those who see the inhalation of fumes or some other thing as the root cause to everything that is wrong on the planet.
What's more important, stopping Osama via energy independence, and intercepting heroin, crack and Cocaine via Fair Trade payments to Colombian and Afghani farmers, or wasting resources chasing the green fields of California and freaking out over Hilary ?
I wrote this in the The Union, our local paper, in a debate over a drug bust.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
In some respects, not buying anybody a Christmas present, except those created from materials already on hand, might be the most effective political protest in terms of getting Bush and the rest, including the Dems, to do what the people asked for back in November, 2006.
This, in conjunction with the mortgage crisis, just might get the politicians to pay attention and reconsider their actions, or lack thereof. The Dow just slipped 200 points in the last hour.
On the other hand, running the whole country into a depression would not be cool. We'd like to refi again, and see if we can get even lower, but refi's don't happen during depressions. As long as the ruling class stays too greedy, and the middle and lower classes stay too ignorant, this country is in deep trouble. Anyone can be rich in America, Yes, But.......The System is set up so that not everyone can be rich, all at the same time. This is the dirty little secret that is never taught in school or talked about in polite company. No relevant truths in this country about the poor are readily available to those on the bottom. Knowledge of reality might lead to revolt.
Curiously enough, the rich and poor don't trade places often. 1/3 rd of the Forbes 400 start with inherited money. Donald Trump is a fine example, and Bush is a several generations' example. At the other end of the spectrum, the numbers of one racial group in jail, through generations, seems to be an indicator of a semi-permanent tenancy, a cycle which should be broken, the sooner the better.
Someday I will sketch out my ideal school for the inner city. It would not be cheap, bt it's cheaper than 3 million Americans in jail, that's one in 100, that the rest of us have to pay for, and from whom we derive few or no benefits.
Oh the poor oil companies ! Shares down. Could it be that they build no new refineries because they already know that there will have to be a major shift away from oil? BP is one of the biggest producers of solar panels. I think that the corporate Megacorps know darn well, and have known for years, that fossil fuels have got to go. They're just trying to squeeze out as much as they can from their existing plants, with as little new investment as possible, so that they'll be in a position to control alternative energy sources too. Citibank can't find any more suckers either...
PGandE charges home users more money for using more electricity to encourage home owners to conserve. Less stress on the existing generation plants. Business owners pay a flat rate, regardless of what they use, according to Dr. Bill Wattenberg on KGO talk show.
Closing Bell is now at -367 at 13,562, BOOOIIINNNGGG
I am so happy to learn from Albert Synder on Matt Lauer this morning that the Phelps group out of Kansas is going to have to pay 10.9 million for not respecting Mr. Snyder's and his dead son's rights to their choice of religion and privacy.
For me, religion is a very private matter. We are all faced with the obvious, existence appears to cease, when all the molecules of the body decide not to cooperate with one another. It is also obvious that we all hit this state, usually within one hundred years or less. For some reason, the fact gets co-mingled with a whole set of beliefs about how we should behave while here, often with consequences in the afterlife, if there is one.
Of course with 6.6 billion people on the planet, there is no wonder that Yale University records at least 1300 major and different belief systems around these concepts. They can't all be right, can they ? Some belief systems do allow for them all to be right, but most express the notion that they have got the one, and the only, truth about what happens after death. This has led to quite a few wars, and currently fuels the Bush vs Osama situation, at least on the surface.
I frankly feel that extreme cases of religion fanaticism are really cases of "It's all about me!" gone wild. The Phelps case is really an amazing example, as they are very self aware that they are trying to attract attention to themselves, and are breastbeating themselves as a public spectacle, with the goal of "promoting their view of the afterlife and rules for admission to happy places, and unhappy places." (That's paraphrased, this is a family friendly blog.) Others hang themselves from fish hooks for hours to prove their version of God(s) loves them. I do not understand this behavior at all. Do they really need to go to such extremes to "prove" to themselves and the world that God loves them, or do they just want all the rest of us to look at them, and thus re-affirm their insecure grasp on existence ?
I don't know who neglected these people as children, or if that even has anything to do with this affliction, but I do know that it is really annoying to the rest of us, and life threatening (maybe better to say, "life-shortening"?) in some situations. Stem cell research blockage, forcing children to be born into unloving homes, and other "look at me" issues all seem to be nurtured by some basic inner need for security and a fear of death. The power of reason and logic mean nothing to these people.
They are a silly as I was, assuming that other people will follow my lead, if I just show them the path, which is so obvious to me. After my first marriage dissolved and I couldn't convince my parents to invest in real estate in the 60's and 70's, back when a Victorian in downtown Aspen Colorado was going for 30 grand, I grew up a bit and stopped trying to change people, and went on to finding people I agreed with, or vs versa. Yes, I do blog my beliefs, but that stems from a belief that I might acquire of few more like minded friends, and that it is important to make a public statement about one's beliefs, but in a way that does not get in everyone else's face. No one forced you to read this far, you made that choice, as you make all your choices. The Phelps offered the Snyders, and many, many others, no such privacy.
Yes, the Phelps are getting attention here. Let them gnash their teeth, their treasury will soon be dry, and more tolerant people shall prevail. It is not smart to shout "fire" while going up the down escalator. When faster than light drives arrive, and every nut group can get a planet of their own, then maybe there will be peace, at least for a while. The lovely little children on those planets will become teenagers........
During the Sixties, there was a bumper sticker which said, "Those who claim to know the Truth are very irritating to those of us who do."