Friday, May 29, 2009

The Rush of Time

In re-reading my past entries I see I seem cranky--even surly. Not surprising, considering I was writing aobut things that help raise my blood pressure.

Thank the gods for influences like music, music that helps remind me of what it means to be human, to live in the midst of the great upwelling of humanity and the cultural revolution that is the Internet.

The past 50 years have been like a rushing wind, filled with images and sensations of our world steadily--yet slowly--improving. Should we limit our vision to just the past few days--focus only on the here and now--then indeed all seems a hopeless mess. Yet it seemed like a hopeless mess in '68 (it seemed like a terrible mess in '69). Yet The Bomb is gone and The Wall is gone and the Internet is helping to make Democracy a real thing.

Take pictures. Make videos. Keep blogs. Twitter. The Good Ol' Days are here and now.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

E-Book Readers Sweat

Oh, this is too rare. By the end of the year (2009) all those fancy, high-priced e-Book Readers are going to be obsolete.

Snapdragon-powered Smartbooks: in case your smartphone / netbook ain't cutting it

Why buy a 400+ USD Kindle when you can buy a 100-200 USD Smartbook? And with a Linux-based OS, these smartbooks from out of the box will be able to handle most of the common formats both text and video--plus act as Internet terminals.

On the minus side, however, this is how we will finally get the "$100 Netbook" we've been eternally promised. Oh well--bones with the mutton.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, It Gets Worse

As I feared--and dreaded--poorly supervised American soldiers at the Abu Ghraib detention center did more than humiliate and torture.

Abu Ghraib abuse photos 'show rape'

I wondered why Obama suddenly reversed himself. All they had to do was show him the photos and he knew this would endanger the soldiers who still possess their ethics and integrity. As a veteran myself, I know releasing these photos would severely damage morale amongst our soldiers.

There are over 400 of these incriminating images. I shudder to think of what else they may contain. And conservatives want to call these criminals in uniform heroes?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"California's top court upholds Prop. 8 ban on same-sex marriage"

Oh great. The California version of don't-ask-don't-tell.

A big lesson from Thomas Paine: When a mechanism for oppression is in place, it will be used.

Here is the nightmare our loving fundies have opened the door to:

Original Text:
"Shall the California Constitution be changed to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry providing that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California?"

Now that it's written into the state Constitution, just a few tweaks would be needed in the future:

Nightmare 1:
"Shall the California Constitution be changed to eliminate the right of same-sex and non-white couples to marry providing that only marriage between a white man and a woman is valid or recognized in California?"

Nightmare 2:
"Shall the California Constitution be changed to eliminate the right of same-sex and and non-Christian couples to marry providing that only marriage between a Christian man and a Christian woman is valid or recognized in California?"

Oh, you think this won't happen? Why not? We've already trashed the Bill of Rights through this legislation. By removing a civil right for one group of people that civil right is gone.

Now it's just a matter of wording, that's all.

Friday, May 22, 2009

What is Known and What We're Told

"The Labor Department tabulates six different unemployment figures each month, ranked U1 to U6. Their midpoint, U3, is the standard figure released to the press and reported on to anxious readers before they head to work (or don’t). The U3 indicator measures the number of jobless Americans as a percent of the labor force. It doesn’t include those who have stopped looking for work but want a job, or part-time staffers who’d prefer full-time employment. That tally is represented by U6, which hit 15.8 percent in April. Nearly one-fifth of Americans are either unemployed, underemployed or have given up."

Wired-o-Nomics: Why Is the Real Jobless Number So Elusive?

The emphasis is mine. And this doesn't include those who have dropped off the public assistance / unemployment databases. They are swallowed up in an underground economy and we have no way to measure that--except in terms of the lives ruined and/or destroyed. Those figures are lovingly cultivated by conservatives to argue we need to reduce the safety net even further for the victims of the economy they're exploited by.

Don't wonder why I'm a liberal. Liberal is the only thing that makes sense.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Eyes Wide Open"

Conservatives congratulate themselves on being smarter and more pragmatic than others, their "eyes wide open." Then with these wide-open eyes they commit the fundamental stupidity of taking away our civil rights.

It Ain't so Easy

"My father 'has an obligation to speak out,' Liz Cheney told the hosts of MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' on Tuesday. She compared his outspoken defense of harsh interrogation techniques to Al Gore's public role since leaving office. He would much rather be fishing, she said, but he felt it was his duty to defend the Bush Administration."

Liz Cheney Defends Dad On MSNBC (VIDEO)

Sorry dear, but it's not OK just cause Daddy says so. Daddy didn't have the authority to authorize torture for interrogation and never did. Per the Constitution, no one did--but Daddy's fishing buddies never played by the rules, regarded such rules as for us wimpy citizens only and considered themselves above the Law.

I'm sorry to break it to you this way, but that's why we have the Constitution, that's why we have these rules. We can't live in a society where it's all OK 'cause Daddy said so. For if we did, I assure you, the results would be very, very bad.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Wish In One Hand...

Let's look at this again:

You want me to buy an Amazon Kindle e-book reader for USD 489...

When I can buy an Acer mini-laptop (about the same size) for USD 289 that will read almost any text format, bit-torrent download e-books for nothing, play videos, access the internet, email, chat and so on and so on...

What customer surveys are these people reading?

The New Ruth

I look at this and I can see in my mind's eye all the Christian magazines with Ms. Cargill on the front cover as "Woman of the Year."

Cargill: The universe isn't expanding.

No, of course we're not talking about religion.

Stars, moving away from us, redshift. Always. Always.

I recall a t-shirt that read: "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Stuck Record

So we have high-priced laptops aimed at power-users; we're coming out with high-priced netbooks aimed at power-users. And now we have a new search engine, Wolfram Alpha, supposedly more powerful than Google as a relational search engine--but intended for use by academics and professionals.

And the gulf of the Digital Divide grows ever wider and deeper...