Saturday, January 30, 2010

State of the Onion, state of the Apple

First layer of the onion:
Obama swung a few punches finally, in the State of the Union address. If the Republicans are going to oppose everything he proposes, they better start governing by proposing something themselves. Except the word "No."

Second layer: What the hell are those asshats on the Corporate Court, wait, I mean, Supreme Court thinking? Corporations are individuals with the same rights as me? Gimme a break. I've ranted about this before. Corporations are made up of people, but they are not people themselves and they DO NOT have the right to protect their corporate interests in the political arena.
If the Dems (and, let's be fair, some Repubs who are equally dismayed) don't do something to change this, your next senator won't be the senator from your state, but the senator from Pfizer, or Exxon. Some wag ( I wish this were my own idea) suggested future congressmen having jumpsuits with the logos of their campaign contributors on them, like race cars. And just as intelligent.

Second and a half layer: Annoying Justice Alito enough so he JUST HAD to express his displeasure publicly. Oh sure, he didn't know the camera would be on him. Well, it's possible, but he should have been aware the cameras would hone in on him after Obama's remarks. But I don't think so.
All I can say is: Hey Alito (and your conservative buddies) thanks for negating my vote. And what happened to the conservative ideal of "no activist judges?" If ignoring a century of judicial decisions is not activist, I don't know what is.
I WARNED PEOPLE! I was at a meeting, back in double ought, of people where someone opined that there was no big difference between G. Bush and A. Gore. I said then, "Two words, Supreme Court." It's mind-boggling how people forget this. Those asshats on the Roberts court are going to decide the fate of future generations. You want Roberts, Alito or Thomas deciding if your vote counts, or if your daughter should be able to get an abortion if she's been raped—do you? I sure as hell don't.
I think the Supreme Court decision was un-American. Is there any way to impeach these wingnuts and get them the hell out of there?
I'd like to blame this all on George Bush, but it was the unthinking masses who elected him who have created this mess. Poor George didn't really have much to do with it. I think it was Karl Rove—too fat and homely to make it as a politician himself, he had to find a convenient patsy, enter G.W. Bush..
Cheap shot on Karl Rove? Well, I'm too homely, probably too fat, not to mention short, to make it as a presidential candidate myself. So as a fellow "can't get a girlfriend" nerd, I can criticize him at will.

Third layer: telling the Dems not to "run for the hills." God bless Obama for that. I've been ranting on the "feckless Democrats" for some time now. And I'm pleased to see that Frank Rich of the New York Times also uses the word "feckless" to describe Dems. Check out tomorrow's NYTimes. C'mon, it's one thing to feel a little sorry for the guys who got beat, but you should till move on to do what you want to do after that.

The Republicans didn't waste too much time feeling sorry for Democrats when they were in power.

Enough. Moving on…

Even more anticipated than the state of the union address was the Apple event earlier on Wednesday. I confess I was looking forward to this more than the State of the Union myself. Hell, i've been unemployed for two years, I KNOW what the state of the union is.

So every one (every one who counts—i.e., Macintosh Kool-Aid ingesters) was wondering and theorizing and hoping that Steve Jobs (Kneel when you say his name!) would announce, finally, the tablet computer they'd been hoping for.
And you know what? He did. Except it wasn't. Everyone who had something they thought should be on it was disappointed because that item wasn't on it. Doesn't matter what.
As soon as the long desired tablet was finally announced, the fanatics threw up their hands and cried woe. Actually it seems a lot like the Israelites waiting while Moses was on the mountain. Don't you just love the Wall Street journal cartoon that read "the last time a tablet caused this much excitement it had commandments written on it?"
Ya know, I think it's a neat device, but I don't see a use for it in my life right now. Other people see it in their lives, and I hope they rush out and buy one. Apple has 50 billion dollars in its bank account, and it could always use more. I like Apple, not only because it creates the best software in the world, but the hardware it puts that software in is so beautiful.

They could use some help in the marketing department though. Ipad? Is the next, larger one going to be the Maxi-Ipad? Will there be a special name for iPads that you use on heavy business days? Gimmee a break.

Still, if the sales figures come in like Apple and I think they will (that Kool-aid and reality distortion field is STRONG!), people will forget about the name, like they did for the iPod and iPhone. Of which millions, MILLIONS, have been sold. Why o why didn't I buy Apple Stock when it was only $16 or so bucks a share?
I have a friend who doesn't like Apple, but still owns an iPod. Make room for the iPad, Merrie, two years from now you will own one. Really, it's perfect for someone in your situation.

It's not perfect for me, but I'd buy one anyway, because I love the kool-aid. Mmmm, mmm, good.

Random thought: Toyota has been in the news lately, and it has brought to the surface a question that has been festering in my mind for some time now: Does Toyota have a Department for the Creation of Stupid Car Names?
Just asking. Yaris? Venza? Corolla? What the eff is a Yaris? I had a Corolla station wagon once, and I still don't know what it means.
And what ever happened to "station wagons?' And what does "station wagon" mean anyway? Geez, you start asking these questions and next thing you know you're up all night in a cold sweat trying to find answers. Sorry I brought it up.

I am of the generation that came of age with Bel-Airs, Fairlanes, Falcons, Mustangs and of course, Corvettes.
REAL names.
Yaris? No no no no no.

That's just not right.

On "Wait, wait, don't tell me" today, Peter Sagal, talking about the Pope's saying priests should be more active on the internet, said that priests and bloggers are a lot alike in that both of them dress badly and don't get much sex.
I am offended to have my wardrobe criticized so cavalierly.

Okay, I'm about out of steam for the night. One of these days I have to rant on modern art. But not now.
Sleep tight, my two readers.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Internet nonsense

I got to get off politics for a while.
So I'll get on to something else that annoys me. And it's the forwarded emails I get all too often.

Before I start, I want to acknowledge that not all forwarded emails are garbage. You may have friends, as I do, who know what you're interested in or what will amuse you, and will not send you junk.

Then there is the other stuff.

I have a relative who likes to provoke me by sending me things she knows will annoy me. I'll deal with her later. But I want to talk about the things she forwards, and the other emails I get from people who send them in all seriousness, and what we can know about them.
And how you can save yourself aggravation and the effort of reading them.
Get used to the idea that there is nothing you can do about them. Except not forward them to some other hapless soul.

This particular item started off with something like "If you cross the border illegally into North Korea you get 12 years at hard labor."
In all caps.

Of course it was easy to see right away where this was going, so I just scrolled immediately down to the bottom and I was right. After listing what the writer thought would happen by crossing several country's borders ("if you cross the Afghan border you will be shot." Oh really? Tell it to the smugglers and Taliban who practically have highways leading in and out of the country), he/she/it finished off by listing all the supposed benefits of crossing into ours, like health care, driver's licenses etc.
The whole thing was full of partial truths (especially about the benefits of coming to the US) and outright fabrications or guesses, based, if based on any fact at all, on single recent news items.

But I'm not going to talk about that. This is about form, not substance. Actually, there is no real substance to this kind of form.

Savvy internet cruisers already know that ALL CAPS means bullpucky is in the message. All cap emails come from folks who are angry and fearful and otherwise helpless (or just plain evil or in need of attention) and think that shouting is the way to make other people listen to and believe them. Trust me, these folks are not trying to engage in a conversation. As witnessed by the lack of signature, return address and back-up documentation for the statements contained in the email. And the all caps.

I wonder if these people know what it means to engage in a conversation.

And these always start of with FW: or Fwd: FW:—meaning your friend or acquaintance forwarded an email that was forwarded to her/him and (s)he is passing it on. Forwarded emails have a long life, it seems. And are almost always useless.

There are some FWs that are collections of jokes, and I even got one that was amusing, once. But mostly they have some usually extremely far-right asshat political point to make, as above, or they are building on some fear or trying to create some fear in the recipients. These latter usually start off with the notorious, nameless "I."

"I want to warn you about a new danger from over-the-counter fiber supplements. My neighbor's daughter was taking XYZ fiber supplement when she was suddenly stricken with an attack of zombie syndrome and rushed to the hospital. We'd never heard of this before, and our doctor, Doctor Ima Doofus, told us it was something the medical profession was trying to hide to avoid panic…blah blah."

"I want to alert you to a new study which shows that watching cooking programs on TV will cause terrible gastrointestinal problems and make you fart like a pirate."

There will be no names, no documentation. I did get one that was purportedly from a doctor with a name but it still checked out as fake according to, even tho it appeared the doctor was real. Just terribly misquoted and statements distorted.

Snopes is a good resource for checking out these things.

I said these often have right-wing political lies and distortions. I want to know, what is wrong with all those Obama-loving socialists who are supposedly threatening the country? How do they expect to take over without sending their own forwarded ALL CAPS emails to counter the right wing? C'mon guys, you're falling down on the job.

I digress.

To review:
1. If your email is forwarded, be suspicious, especially if it's from someone you know is likely to fall for internet bullpucky. You'll have to look at it of course—for the same reason we have to look at automobile accidents we happen to pass by.

2. If you open it and it is in all caps, be aware you will be wasting your time reading it. Really, you'll hate yourself in the morning.

3. If it is written by the nameless "I" you will know that it has been written to create FUD—Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Or delusion. Move along, there is nothing to see there.

4. If it's trying to scare you in some way, assuming you've gone so far as to try to read it, it's 99% certain to be junk.

5. If you've read it and are starting to be unsure about its validity, in spite of what I have told you (you aren't listening, are you?), check it out with or some other reliable source. One with references you can check to determine the truth or lack of truth in the message.

And whatever you do, DON'T FORWARD IT TO ME!!!!

That goes for both of you reading this.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shame on Massachusetts

It's a travesty. The seat of a senator who fought for health care for 40 years has been given to a man who vows to defeat it. This is a man, one of whose campaign ads started, "I'm Scott Brown. (zoom from close-up to distance) This is my truck." Give me a truckin' break. He also did the nude centerfold thing some years ago for Cosmopolitan magazine. Admittedly he was a hunk. But still, this is conservative family values?

Young people who plan to go into politics, take note—posing deshabille in magazines may be the wave of the future.
And, let me take this opportunity to say that this would be a better country if more women would go into politics.

Uh, no connection to the magazine thing. Honest.

I don't know what was going on in the brains of the people who voted for him. Especially since they have one of the best health care systems in the country.
Martha Coakley pulled a Hilary Clinton and thought she could coast into the senate seat like Hillary thought she could coast into the Democratic nomination for president. The state's Democratic leadership played the fool as well.
I also blame the feckless Democrats in the Senate. They spent too much time trying to play nice with people who had no intention of playing nice back. People who call the president a liar while they themselves spout total falsehoods about "death panels" and other baloney. The Dumbo- I mean, Democrats should have used reconciliation to pass a health care bill with 51 votes a long time ago. The the right wing "can't have that commie Neegrow in the white house" crowd wouldn't have spent so much money pouring money into this state to get a Republican voted in. I just signed a petition to the Senate leadership (and forwarded it to a few people) to do the reconciliation thing. It read in part:
"Voters did not elect President Obama and a Democratic supermajority in the House and the Senate so that health care reform could be written by the likes of Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson.
I signed a petition telling President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid that the Senate must use reconciliation to pass a better health care bill with a strong public option. I hope you'll follow the link below and take action, too."
Here's a link if anyone is interested:

I was right. I won't run out of things to complain about this year.

Friday, January 15, 2010


It's impossible to be snarky in the face of this tragedy. Who cares what some feckless politician in South Carolina says or does when so many people are dead, are injured, or homeless?
To turn on the news, on the radio or TV, is to be ready to shed tears.

What I have heard: Iceland (Iceland for Christ's sake, they were almost bankrupt because of the financial disaster last year) got there early with a plane of supplies. The Russians sent planes. Cuba allows the US to fly through their air space. Canada sent help. China sent a team of trained personnel. On my Facebook page, the Macintosh computer sales and service company Small Dog Computers, offered to match any donations, to the best to their ability. They raised over $15 thousand dollars. In my inbox, an email from Cheap Joe's Art Supplies had a link to a relief agency. And of course the United States is doing its part. As well it should, as our histories are so entwined.
I just have one question: why, dear God, does it take the deaths of thousands for the nations of this earth to join together in the resolution of a common goal? And why can't we keep that level of cooperation up after the crisis has past?

It is sort of bittersweet to hear that Marines are being sent to Haiti for aid. In the past the Marines have been sent to maintain order, mostly to support the ruling class which would not threaten the financial forces which were getting profit from their exploitation of the country.

We supported "Papa Doc" Duvalier, with his TonTon Macoutes, as he plundered and oppressed the country for years because he was anti-Communist. Some of what that country is today is because of what we, as a country, have done in the past.

So it is right and just that we are going in to help now. The Haitians are lucky that we have a president who is attentive to these situations and who realizes the extent of the disaster.

If you know of a way to send help to Haiti, thru Doctors without Borders, the Red Cross, or whomever, please do.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Get naked at the airport

There's a nice wave of hysteria and concern over the December 25th "underwear" bomber. All the stuff we've done since 2001 and there is still a chance for some malefactor to slip through. I suspect we can never eliminate all threats. There is such a thing as "human error." Something pretty hard to eliminate completely. But now security people are trying to see what else they can do to discover bombs and weapons. Like more thorough screening of airline passengers.

So it seems that in order to prevent terrorism we may need to expose ourselves in full-body scans. I expect to see a lot of giggling among TSA people at airline check-ins. I think a better idea would be we all just take our clothes off on arrival and check-in naked. Sure, it'll be ugly at first, unless you're lucky enough to be there the same time as a college women's soccer team, OR a college men's soccer team, choose your preference. I suspect people will be as dismayed at seeing me naked as I will seeing them, most of 'em anyway. But, you know, this may be the answer to the nation's obesity program. I don't plan on flying soon, but I'm going on a diet. I want to be buff if I'm ever flying at the same time as that women's soccer team.

In the meantime, the Repubes are nakedly belligerent and stupid over the underwear bomber. Obama waited 24 hours before he responded! Publicly anyway. This is horrifying. Never mind that Pres. Bush took six days to say anything about the shoe bomber back in the day. Stuff like that is okay for republicans, but democrats, especially black democratic presidents,are held to a higher standard. It's getting pathetic the straws the anti-Obama crowd is grabbing at. There is also the "he doesn't use the word 'terrorism'" crowd. They have been shown up by both Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow playing a montage of clips showing Obama saying "terrorism."
Do tell.
It would be so nice if there were a principled opposition party in this country.

That's enough for now. It's cold and I want to go warm up my feet.

My three readers will have to wait for more later.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010—Please, Please PLEASE be better than 2009

Go ahead 2010, put me out of business, I dare you. What would I do if I didn't have anything to complain about? Lordy, I might have to learn how to be happy. I'd have to change my heading to a face with an inane smile and the words "Isn't it a perfect world?"
Fortunately, if the last weeks of 2009 are any indication, it will be quite a while before I have to face that lugubrious decision.
Republicans. 'Nuff said.

The Republicans haven't run out of negative energy. They are sort of a political anti-matter. Physicists theorize that shortly after the Big Bang which started this whole mess we live in, and we're talking nano-seconds here, matter and anti-matter particles started interacting and blowing each other up—sort of like Sunnis and Shiites, or Protestant Irish and Catholic Irish back in the day (not so long ago)—and that fortunately (or not, depending on your attitude) there was just enough more matter particles so that something survived to become galaxies and planets and the earth and Big Macs and Penthouse girls' breast implants.

So in Washington someone, the President, or even feckless Democrats, proposes something which might actually be useful to the country and its citizens, and the Republicans stand up and say "No!" and many of the useful things get blown up. But some things survive, like the almost totally eviscerated health reform bill. But it is there, and given the hysteria and fear-mongering of the past year that is a victory. The victor is stumbling along with one leg, one arm, one eye, but is still moving.

Tom Ridge and others have come out and fulminated against the "underwear" terrorist (isn't that the ultimate put-down—not only to fail at blowing up yourself and the plane you are on, but to be known for where you stored the explosives?) being tried in federal court. They think he should be tortured for any other information he has.
First, he has been singing like Wagnerian soprano to the authorities about where he got his stuff and who put him up to it. Second, if you follow news reports about this guy you can see that he is a confused and malleable individual who would not be trusted with any important information by any sane terrorist leader (if "sane terrorist leader" is not a tautology.) As far as information goes, where this guy is concerned, there isn't any there there, as Gertrude Stein once said about Oakland.

But what else to expect from the Repubes? Senator DeMint of South Carolina (where else—like I said before somewhere, for the curmudgeon, South Carolina is the gift that just keeps on giving) is blocking the nomination of a Transportation Security chief because he may be favorable to airport luggage handlers unionizing. God forbid airport employees being happy with their work—and maybe being more concerned and alert to security breaches. Preventing unionization is a more important issue for Demint than having a leader for an important security agency.
Go figure.

Then there is CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Committee which is holding a convention partly sponsored by—wait for it—the John Birch Society.
Younger readers may not know this, but the Birchers were the original wingnut radical right organization. Rachel Maddow had great fun last week countering their complaints that she was misreporting their past statements and positions. For the record, they decided that everyone in power in America back in the 50's and 60's was a Communist. We're talking ab0ut President Eisenhower here—he was a Commie, according to Robert Welch, the founder of the John Birch Society and a major flake. Fluoride in water was a Communist mind-control plot, etc. Having these asshats co-sponsor what is going to be a major conservative/Republican event has got to be the nadir of conservatism in America. Will any person of intelligence ever arise to rescue conservative thought from the crazies?
Back in the sixties I thought that presidential candidate Barry Goldwater (google him if you don't know who he is) was a dangerous wacko. He is sane compared to the Republicans of today.

And finally there is Dick "the mouth" Cheney. Not happy that he is being dissed for the things he did as Presi—oops, I mean, as vice-president, he is seemingly everywhere these days complaining about what the current administration is doing. Even when it is doing the same things he did.
Man. I wish he'd stayed in that undisclosed location he used to haunt when he was VP. Couldn't someone have barred the door?

So, in conclusion, I look forward to a cheerful year of complaint and bewailing of the state of the world.
Life is good.