Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pissing In The Wind

There's been a lot of talk over the Obama administration's war with Fox News. Besides being a bad move on the part of the White House, making them look petty, small and bullyish, there is another down side we should be seeing soon, and have already seen the beginnings of.

First off, I'm going to go right out and say what many on the right will not say, or cannot see: Fox News is biased.
Ok, you got that?

They are biased just like CBS, NBC, ABC, MSNBC and CNN are equally biased toward the other direction. All reporting is biased. It has to be.
There just is not enough newsprint, bandwidth, or broadcast time to report all of the news. There are not enough reporters to investigate all the stories, or possible stories, or to follow every lead.
Therefore, just the decision to report a story, or not, is a display of bias.

Now that have I got that out of the way...

The Obamians are pissed off at FNC for the stories they run. Were it not for FNC, we wouldn't know about the racists and radicals O has placed in positions of trust. Of course, one can ask the question: Do we really need to know those things?

I guess it all depends on if you think we would really need to know if Bush had a health care czar that called for the assassination of abortionists, or the *booting homosexuals? I would say so. How about you?

The Obamians are in a hard spot. They've largely gotten a free ride from the elite press, with nearly every correspondent getting in line to buff The One's helmet.
Now, he's gone and blown it. For a while, anyway.

In singling out FNC, he wasn't very smart. He's shown no evidence of a story falsely reported. No lies. No mistruths. No fake memos. He's got nothing on FNC except "They won't fall in line."
What he's done instead, through his exposition of Fox for not falling in line, is to expose the rest of his fawning water carriers for what they are.

He just might be starting something that could have unintended consequences long term, as news agencies-other-than-Fox scramble to find something to report that isn't so complimentary. And they will have to, just to show the world that they are what they claim they are: truly reliable, and credible, sources of information.
My question for them is: are they capable? or does the messiah worship run too deep?



*Booting: the tactic of repeatedly kicking somebody who has been knocked down, preferably in the head. Popularized by racist skinheads of the 80's Hardcore era, for it's use against 'queers'. The idea being you might get AIDS if you strike them with your fists, allowing their blood to pass into any broken skin of your own. 'Booting' was a safe alternative.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's Not Jim Crow

Ahh, here's one sure to bring out the race hustlers in the city that gave us the anti-race hustler for president.

A well-known bar in Chicago's Gold Coast is being accused of racism.

Some college students from St. Louis say they were barred from going in and they're not buying the reason they got.

This is about a senior trip for nearly 200 students from Washington University in St. Louis...

Six African-American men in the group were denied entry to the bar last weekend.

Student Regis Nurayi says the bar's manager told them their jeans were too baggy.

But Murayi didn't buy it.

So he switched jeans with a shorter, white student.

The white student, who now had very baggy jeans, was let in, and Murayi was still kept out.

The story really doesn't give much detail, nor has the reporter bothered to quote any response from the accused. Shoddy reporting, if you ask me. But what's new...

I'm assuming there's more to the story than just the side presented by the aggrieved.

But just assuming for the sake of argument... that the bar didn't want 'African-American' men in their midst, there's probably a law violation in there, some where.
But should there be?

Private property is private property. If a business doesn't want to service a certain kind of people, they shouldn't have to. One man's right to have a drink doesn't obligate another man to bring it to him.

The only stipulation I would demand that any restrictions to entry or service be clearly posted. Let the proprietor deal with whatever (peaceful) fallout may come from the public.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Non-Sufficient 'Me'-ness

California has this Unclaimed Property Division. I'm sure you all know what that is. You know, the place where you go to find money you didn't know you had? Yeah.

They also have a website, where one can go to see if your name is on the list. I ran my name through the search, and found that I was owed about $400 from a finance company.
I last had any business with said company, HSBC, sometime in 2003, when I paid off a car loan. It looked like maybe I had gone a payment too far, so I applied for return my funds.

This included:
An official request form.
A notarized affidavit claiming that I was who I am.
Any document that contained my name and Social Security Number (like a pay stub, S.S. Card, etc.)
A photo-copy of a government issued photo I.D.

I gathered all this up, and sent it off to the State Controller's office for processing (which was stated that I should allow up to 180 days for anything to happen).

This was on February 7th of this year.

Last week I received a letter (dated August 3rd, just within the 180 window), denying my claim.

The reason: I must furnish documentation showing that I had an account, or did business with, the company (HSBC) that reported the unclaimed property.

Now I'm pissed off.
The State already knows that funds are owed to 'Me'.
They have advertised that fact publicly on their website.
In response, I have already sufficiently documented my 'me'-ness.
And why isn't the fact that HSBC, who held the funds for 'Me', under my name, before surrendering them to The State in my name proof enough that I had a relationship with them?

California has already been sued, and lost, in the courts over it's rather shady attempts to keep unclaimed assets for itself. The website is a result of one such lawsuit that claimed the State wasn't following the law in attempting to find the proper owners.
(Other suits have been to prevent the State from continuing it's overly aggressive attempts to seize inactive accounts and safe-deposit boxes.)

It looks like I may need to place a phone call to my local politician to see if he can cut some red tape for me.


(cross posted @ Grumpy Old Men)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We Are All Pussies Now

Some anthropologist dude has published a book documenting his findings of the athletic prowess of earlier mankind.

It's an interesting article to read, but I do find a little fault where he compares modern mankind's abilities to run and jump with those of neanderthals, who are a different species from us in the fisrt place.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Hopefully, after some time Friday morning, more folks can answer me with a 'Yes'.

I'm going in to see the doctor, again, who will attempt a little more doctoring with my paralyzed vocal cord.

I'll let King David and Mr D be judge of any improvements.
You have my voice on record, fellas. Lets see how it compares.

Of all the things, I think I miss the ability to speak more than I missed the ability to swallow and eat.

No complaints,though.
I refuse to complain, for I have been given much already.

*Update: Postponed.
Doctor forgot to tell me not to eat or drink anything beforehand. We have to reshedule, which pisses me off, cause I was so looking forward to some improvements.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Evil Widescreen

The influential lobby group Consumer Electronics Assn. is fighting what appears to be a losing battle to dissuade California regulators from passing the nation's first ban on energy-hungry big-screen televisions.

California used to have a reputation for truly progressive policies. Policies that cast off the old way of East Coast thinking, and allowed the state to prosper for generations, serving as a magnet for migrants from every corner of the nation.
Sadly, it hasn't been that way for over a generation.

Now, what passes for 'new' thinking is just the same old nannyism, chasing dubious ideals with policies that have always failed in the past.

This latest in just another chapter in the screwing of California citizens, dressed in the same old lies:
"We would not propose TV efficiency standards if we thought there was any evidence in the record that they will hurt the economy," said Commissioner Julia Levin, who has been in charge of the two-year rule-making procedure. "This will actually save consumers money and help the California economy grow and create new clean, sustainable jobs."

(Exactly how banning certain televisions will increase jobs in California has not been explained, and needn't be, for the result will be the same, and the Starbucks/Wholefoods crowd just eats up mindless rhetoric like this.)

The claim is that we will be saving $30 per year in electricity savings for every television set. More bullshit. California already has the highest cost in the nation for consumer electricity rates. The state refuses to allow any more electricity generating plants to be built (it's been at least 30yrs since a new plant has come on-line), and keeps punishing the folks for using more electricity.

They look at past usage; before there were computers, Hi-Fi stereo, microwave ovens, and nice color televisions in every home, or in more than one room, and declare that we are wasteful and need reining in. Instead of allowing us to have the higher standard of living modern technology delivers, we lectured about not being 'green enough', while they raise the cost of electricity, and willfully contribute to it's scarcity.

And in the next breath claim to be on a mission to increase California living standards. The big surprise is that they haven't manage to drive us into Second World living conditions already, though they are working on it.

Oh, and that $30 we are supposed to be saving? It will likely just get taxed away through even higher costs per kilowatt, which never seems to stop increasing because... the more you cut back, the more they need to raise the rates to recoup
the profit they lost, or else we'll face blackouts when they shut down the power plants that can't make money.

It's the same thing with the water utility. When we have a drought, rates rise to spur conservation. When the drought eases, water rates rise again to build more increased reservoir capacity to hold all the extra water. It never ends...

Look at your own electric bill. Are you paying up to 30 cents per kWh? We are.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I get this feeling that Balloon Boy's fifteen minutes won't be over any time soon.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

I remember back in the early 90's when President Clinton attempted to lift the ban on gays serving in the military, and the howls of protest, not to mention the snickering, that emanated from the public at large as well as from within the ranks of the armed forces.

By position then was, and still is, that such decisions would be better left to the military to decide.
I also thought it was pretty ridiculous for Clinton to carry the rainbow banner so early in his administration. Just plain silly stupid on his part. He paid at the polls for that one.

I've heard all the arguments of how homosexuality doesn't fit well with the military lifestyle and then all the other tangents that to me really weren't legitimate issues at all. I've never served in the military, but most-to-many of my friends had served in some capacity or another. They basically all said the same thing: it just wouldn't work. (Although they didn't seem to think it would be as strong of an issue for lesbians.)

Now, President Obama is getting the pressure to lift the ban that President Clinton didn't.

The early 90's were a long time ago. Things have changed. Social attitudes have become more accepting of homosexuality, and living conditions among military personnel are not the same as they were back in the early 80's. I'm assuming they have also become less communal since the early 90's as well.

But human sexuality and the military's need for behavioral discipline have not changed. And likely never will.

And once again, I think this issue is best left for the military to decide, maybe on a gender by gender, service by service basis. Whatever they decide, I think it's a fool's game for civilians to attempt to force the issue in one direction or the other.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fits And Starts

For the past several weeks I've had shit running through my head, things I've wanted to say, and some things I still do want to say, but the fingers won't co-operate with the thought process.

I really envy some of you who can poke out a thought with hardly any thought to it at all.

See ya tomorrow. I think I'll have something for ya by then.
Thanks for checking in, anyway.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Maybe it's time we started to officially view the health care industry as a public utility, since we seem to act that way already?

OK.
Debate over on that.
Now what?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Ugly American

So you've all heard about President Obama traveling to Denmark to lobby the International Olympic Committee on behalf of the totally awesome city of Chicago's bid to host the games in... what? 2016 or something like that?

The usual partisans are doing what partisans usually do. The haters of Obama are acting like a bunch of ragging bitches, and the disciples of Obama can't cut the palm branches fast enough.

Personally, the more time he spends in Denmark is less time he spends interrupting scheduled programming with platitudinous speeches, so maybe it's all good in the short term. But I would like to add: chilling with the IOC guys isn't exactly presidential level type stuff. He'd be better off, POTUS-wise, giving another speech to kids, hugging a disaster victim, or throwing out a first pitch.

What is missing from the cacophony is this thought that nobody seems to be thinking:
With the United States already dominant in Olympic Sports, and just plain dominating across the board worldwide, in damn near every category of human and national achievement, do we really need to be challenging an emerging nation (in this case,Brasil) for an even greater share of the three week spotlight?
Isn't collecting the most bling enough for us?

Growing up, my Dad use to tell me that in Italy the saying was that Americans are like manure: everywhere.
He explained it: "Outside, itsa good to have around. Ina house, it stinks."

Typical of southern Italians, our family was decidedly pro-American, and enjoyed the fruits of strong ties to family members who were Americans.
This was not an insult, but a statement of observation.

An observation so simple that Amercans can't seem to grasp it, though we should try.

Understandably, the world is tired of having the US up in their grill all the time. It's not just the militaristic Neocon Bush stuff. It's everything. It's economics. It's pop culture. It's technology. It's science and discovery. It's politics.
It's the standard American swagger that never ends, mostly because, like manure, we are good to have around.
And like manure, too much intimacy breeds contempt.

It's a point worth considering for this administration that promised a less aggressive stance on the world stage.