Saturday, October 29, 2011

Seized With Disease

I went and got a flu shot on Wednesday afternoon. During the day at work yesterday I realized that I was, in fact, coming down with flu. Sore throat, sneezy, congestion and aches. It is now in full force and I am grateful that I had today off so that I can be miserable without any interruption. Hopefully, it is just a  reaction to the shot and I will bounce back with vigor tomorrow but today I feel like hell. Then again this may be completely unrelated to the flu shot and I just have a common cold. Whatever.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Running Scared

By all indications the 1% are beginning to be frightened by the Occupy Wall Street bunch and the associated demonstrations in other cities. Last night(actually early this morning) Oakland police overwhelmed the protesters in that city and arrested scores and wiped out the encampment. Arrests on trumped up charges are occurring everywhere. Here in Atlanta the mayor has reneged on his agreement to allow the protestors to stay until 11/7 and it is only a matter of a day or so before you see the demonstration broken up.
The media, for the large part, are ignoring the fact that these demonstrations are merely and legally excercising their rights under the First Amendment to peacefully gather and protest.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It is that simple folks. The fact that the police in cities across the land are encroaching or outright preventing citizens from exercising their First Amendment rights means that the PTB's have realized that this is not going away and what's worse that these people have lost faith in government and corporations. The protestors have rightly come to the conclusion that the issues of joblessness, income equality/equity/disparity and all the rest of the woes facing we 99% are not going to be solved by either the government or the corporations that control the government. The curtain has been drawn back and revealed the truth. We are being governed by people who do not care whether we have jobs, food security, health, nor any other basic requirements for a healthy society as long as they continue to make more and more money. While the demonstrations are still, for the most part peaceful, it will not take long for the realization to sink in that the police, DHS and others at the bidding of the PTBs are breaking the law and will not allow for peaceful demonstrations and when peaceful demonstrations are not allowed that leaves the other side of the coin which is violence and increasing civil disobedience. It is going to get ugly.

More Crazy For You

Sorry to have been so MIA around here lately but life's little pressures are interfering. Anyhow, and true to form, the "clown car" of GOP presidential candidates have delivered us another crazy tax plan. This time it is Cowboy Perry and he has a flat tax for us.
  1. An optional flat tax of 20 percent. ( Do the math and you will see that this is actually only a tax cut for people making more than about 70K$ per year of regular income.)
  2. Reducing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent. (The real problem with the corporate tax code is that it is rife with loopholes that allow corporations to avoid paying any taxes. This does not even address it.)
  3. Completely eliminate taxes on long-term capital gains. (Let me see now...who makes most of their income off capital gains? Another giveaway to the wealthiest.)
  4. Cap federal spending at 18 percent of GDP.  (Federal spending hasn't been this low since 1966. Even under Saint Reagan it never fell below 21.3%.)
  5. Allow younger workers to opt-out of Social Security. (This fits nicely with the GOP plan of destroying Social Security. This will starve SS of revenue and kill it quickly.)
I guess we should be grateful that the idiots have finally quit trying to disguise their economic policies as "good for the average Joe" and are now just brazenly trying to destroy the middle class and enrich the rich further.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Focus, Focus

If you are a photographic geek like me you are familiar with the annoying problems of deciding where to focus and how much depth of field to work for. Too narrow an aperture and sloppy focusing has ruined hundreds of my photos or if not ruined then winding up with an image that is less that its potential. No more worries if you have a few hundred bucks.
Interested? If so, check out this gallery of pictures taken with the Lytro light field camera. Light field pictures allow you to choose the focus point of the image after the fact since the camera and its software capture the entire light field and all of the information in it, unlike a conventional camera. This allows you to basically ignore aperture and focus when taking the shot and then focus after the fact...way cool. Stanford researchers introduced the "light field" concept about 15 years ago but it took dozens of cameras and a supercomputer to actually process the picture. No more, Lytro introduced a new camera yesterday. It’s $400 and appears to be no more complicated than a point and shoot. This is going to very, very hard to resist.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Winter In The Air

Cold an raining here in Altanta and the forecast is for the lows to be in the mid thirties for the next few days. I guess it is the first threat of winter. Good day to work, which is where I am heading in about an hour. Scheduled to be in outside garden today so I will have to bundle up a bit. Should, however, be extremely slow since folks don't do the garden shopping and stuff on days like this. I might just have to take the Ipod to keep me entertained. A little Queen, ZZ Top, Springsteen and of course Little Feat and Clapton.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More Trouble With Police and OWS

It looks like the police are getting serious with respect the Occupy protests here and about. It now appears that at least in NYC and Philly that they have deployed LRAD.
The Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) is a distance hailing device and non-lethal crowd control weapon developed by LRAD Corporation to send messages, warnings and harmful, pain inducing tones over longer distances than normal loudspeakers. ... LRAD systems are used by maritime, law enforcement, military and commercial security companies to send instructions and warnings over distances, and to force compliance.
This is serious. This is a military weapon and at ranges less than 100 meters can cause serious and permanent injury(according to the manufacturer). The police in many of the large cities are already outfitted as combat troops and using urban combat techniques against lawful protesters but it now seems they are going to take it one step further. These weapons are not meant to be used in such settings and people are going to get hurt. It is getting harder and harder to recognize the "shining beacon on the hill".

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Small Things

I have always been a fan of graham crackers but when everyone started making them with HFCS I gave them up. Finally, Nabisco has seen the light and introduced Graham Originals made with sugar and no HFCS. Tonight as my bedtime treat I had them with ice cold milk. There is a precise timing when "dunking" the sections into milk. Too long and they self destruct but just right they turn the cookie into a glorious little bite. Cold, almost crunchy, just a little sweet. If I had to pick a last meal, proper graham crackers and cold milk would be very close to the top of the list. I limit myself to two cookies(8 small sections) but I could easily eat the entire package and even want more.
Oh! And a note to Nabisco, if you are listening. I have never forgiven you for changing Nilla Wafers and adding artificial vanilla. They were glorious when they were made with real vanilla but are basically crap now. I haven't had a vanilla wafer since the change and my life is poorer for it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What The 1% Do with Their Pocket Change

Via Greg Sargent, Vanity Fair has a long, very positive piece on Elizabeth Warren, “The Woman Who Knew Too Much“:
... At a time of record corporate profits, a time when 14 million Americans are out of work, when millions have lost their homes and, according to the Census Bureau, the ranks of those living in poverty has grown to one in six—that Elizabeth Warren could be publicly kneecapped and an agency devoted to protecting American consumers could come under such intense attack is, ultimately, the story about who holds power in America today.

When the C.F.P.B. was first proposed to Congress, in early 2009, the Chamber of Commerce, the leading business lobbying group in the country, announced that it would “spend whatever it takes” to defeat the agency. According to the Center for Public Integrity, from 2009 through the beginning of 2010, it would be one of the biggest spenders among the more than 850 businesses and trade groups that together paid lobbyists $1.3 billion to fight financial reform…

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2010 the financial industry flooded Congress with 2,565 lobbyists. They were financed by the likes of the Financial Services Roundtable, which, according to the Center, paid lobbyists $7.5 million, and is on its way to spending as much or more this year. The Chamber of Commerce spent $132 million on lobbying Washington in 2010. The American Bankers Association spent $7.8 million. As for individual banks: JPMorgan Chase, which received $25 billion in TARP funds from taxpayers, spent nearly $14 million on lobbying during the 2009–10 election cycle; Goldman Sachs, which received more than $10 billion from taxpayers, spent $7.4 million; Citigroup, which was teetering on the brink of insolvency and received a $45 billion infusion, has paid more than $14 million to lobbyists since 2009. And none of this money includes the direct campaign donations these organizations, and their surrogates, made to members of Congress.

The banks “do not like to lose,” says Ed Mierzwinski, of the National Association of State Public Interest Research Groups, which was part of the grossly outmatched consumer coalition that managed to scrape together a paltry $2 million to lobby in favor of reform…
You know they are spending a lot to keep their shell game going but when you see the hard numbers it kind of leaves you breathless. We are so owned by the oligarchy. Oh, and this is part of what Occupy Wall Street is about.

No Jobs For You Until That Black Muslim Socialist is Gone

Every single Republican voted against even discussing whether or not to pass the jobs bill.  Every freaking one of them( and two fucktard Dems). The media mostly described the vote in the Senate as a defeat for Obama's Jobs Bill and you have to wonder why they don't tell it like it really is. This was not a vote on the Jobs Bill. It didn't matter what was in the bill or even whether it was a good or bad bill. It didn't matter if some of it was good and some was bad. It was a vote to say we ain't even going to talk about it. No discussion. No compromise. Nothing. There is/was some possibility that it might actually, you know, create some jobs and the really, really scary thing was that it was Obama's idea and that he might get a win.

I'll say this one more time and I'll keep saying it every time this happens. There is no mystery as to why the GOP is doing this—the GOP loathes Obama. They hate that he is black(though according to Cain...not black enough). They hate it that he can actually speak whole sentences. They hate every thing about him. They hate him so much that they are willing to sacrifice the livelihoods of millions of Americans hoping that they can render him unemployed in thirteen months.

For the next thirteen months, the GOP will block everything that the president supports because they are spoiled children not to mention fucking assholes.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Violence Is Overdue

I haven't posted about the Occupy Wall Street thing as yet. I think it is a good thing and even though there is no specific demands or platform it shows that the 99% are not happy and it is putting pressure on the 1% to do something. As the protests spread (bubbled up in Atlanta yesterday) and more and more and more of the Plutarch realize that they don't have the traditional leverage over these crowds.(Many are jobless, foreclosed or mortgage less already) they will resort the desperate side. They will have to find a way to disperse these crowds and the quickest way will be to instigate violence. They will find willing plants from somewhere to instigate some kind of violence whether it be looting or whatever and this will cause the police response to escalate and some rookie or bought and paid for white shirt will take it the rest of the way.
We saw it during the civil rights marches and again during the anti Vietnam marches (Kent State anyone?). Unfortunately, I think it is only a matter of time. The march has gone from getting no media attention (NPR didn't cover it at all for the first 8 days) to global attention on all the media. This doesn't bode well for the plutocracy and they know it. The sociopath Koch brothers have shown what a lot of money can buy and there is a lot of money behind the 1%(half of American wealth). It will be a shame but it will happen. There is some good news though and that is that a lot of the people associated with the OWS know that this is what will happen and are prepared for it.

The Drones Have a Virus

Even if you are just a dilettante when it comes to computers and networks you should very concerned with the news that the computers running the U.S. fleet of Predator and Reaper drones has a virus. Wired reports that the U.S. fleet of Predator and Reaper drones have been infected with a virus that allows keylogging. No one appears to know if there has been any RED information transmitted across BLACK networks and no one seems to know if the virus has other aspects other than keylogging. These software systems are supposed to be isolated from the public networks but evidently they either aren't or someone has used hardware to bring the virus in. It is reported that the virus has been removed repeatedly but just reappears. This isn't good news.

I guess we should also wonder whether these virus infected control systems can cause extra-judicial executions all on their own. From a software point of view there isn't a lot of difference between surveillance and triggering a firing order. Jeebus, the difference could be just a bit or two.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Another Day Off

Yeah! another day off. I've done my two hours in the gym and now I am gathering my spit for an attack on the garden...what a mess though there are lots of all kinds of peppers ready for harvest. I took a huge sack of all kinds to work the other week and a friend of one of my associates took them for making jelly. I just got sample of each and all are very nice. The pineapple/habanero is kicking!
Whoops! I just fell asleep for a minute... I better get on my feet and outside before I miss the day sitting behind this stupid computer or should I say snoozing in my chair...whatever.
Later and have a nice Friday.

Thanks Steve

As usual I am a little late to the game but I just wanted to put in my two cents worth on the passing of Steven Jobs. I was reminded this morning at the gym as I threw my Android phone in the bag put the earphones on and fired up my IPod Touch just how much of an impact Mr. Jobs has had. If not for Jobs and his vision and dedication to getting it right would we even have the Android phone or even a Windows PC? I wonder if left to their own devices would Mr. Gates and the boys at IBM ever have moved us off DOS and would we still be typing cryptic shit on a keyboard? Who knows but Apple sure set the standards for UI on both the personal computer and then the IPod, IPhone and now the IPad.
Most people take all of the new stuff like touch screens, apps, and all that for granted but all of it we owe to Steve Jobs either directly or indirectly. Who can even imagine a PC without a mouse?
Happy Trails Steve.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A Degree of Normal

Been really busy around here and the almost full time part time job has had me working into the evenings most everyday. Today is finally almost normal and a day off. This evening work has put a serious dent my kitchen endeavors and tonight will be the first actual meal I have been able to prepare in what seems like weeks. Madam scored some nice Long Island duck leg quarters(the local Whole Foods has stopped carrying them?) on the girls outing to the Dekalb Farmer's Market so we are having them slow braised with fresh greens from the greenhouse and brown rice. We have a nice baguette to soak up the braising juice(which will be reduced here shortly) and some nice German Riesling to top it all off.  I have to work again tomorrow but Friday is another off day so maybe we will actually get two proper meals in this week.
While it was a "quicky" meal last night Madam also bought some fresh bratwurst at the market yesterday and they were made with locally raised Berkshire pork which I simply roasted in the oven. Again fresh Mesclun greens from the greenhouse and homemade applesauce made a nice quick meal. the "brats" were very nice.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Treason Or Not

I've been so busy with stuff that I am a little behind the news cycle but there is something I just have to comment on (even though my car is full of stuff from the Flea Fling yesterday, the grill is still full of ashes, and on and on).

There is a reason there is only one crime actually spelled out in the Constitution of the United States....

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

While our founders were concerned about unfair taxes, their greatest concern was for the history of the crown declaring domestic enemies as treasonous and then using that as an excuse for executing them. The assassination of the cleric Al Alwaki by the United States was a terrible miscarriage of justice and it surely has the founding fathers and mothers turning in their graves. To prevent this type of lawless assassination was precisely why treason is defined so carefully. When the government can murder a citizen without due process and then suffer no consequence we are all in terrible trouble. Just because the assassination was carried out in another country is irrelevant. This is a precedent that we should all fear. Terrorism, GWOT, "Global Battlefield", Al Qaeda, etc. etc. are all just loaded words that are used to cloud the issue that it is now apparently all right to declare an American citizen treasonous and summarily execute same without due process. Not Good.