Sunday, September 25, 2011

Last Call

What a coincidence, if Michele Bachmann were elected President, she'd embrace the whole "President Zero" thing too.

At Thursday night's Republican presidential debate, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) proposed the elimination of all taxes, but then added that the government did need some money to run.

"You earned every dollar, you should get to keep every dollar that you earned," the candidate said. "That's your money, that's not the government's money."

"Barack Obama seems to think that when earn money, it belongs to him and we're lucky just to keep a little bit of it. I don't think that at all. I think that when people make money, it's their money."

Bachmann added: "Obviously we need to give money back to the government so that we can run the government."

Yeah, those are called "taxes", Michele.  But remember, Republicans are fiscally serious people with real plans for saving America's economy.  In a real party, Bachmann would have been laughed off the stage for her idiocy and ignorance.  As it stands right now, it's a forgettable gaffe because she's said much worse things and survived politically.

The Second Time As Farce

SNL mines a good ten plus minutes out of the rich vein of last three GOP debates, with Alec Baldwin doing Rick Perry.  Hysterical stuff.

And you'll laugh all the way through until you realize that there are millions people who will vote for these morons on purpose.

Shutdown Countdown: Here We Go Again, Part 3

FOX's Gary B. Smith flat out says at this point that the Republicans should absolutely shut down the government over FEMA and disaster spending.

On Fox’s Bulls & Bears, Smith displayed total apathy when asked whether he was concerned over the government possibly shutting down over the battle for emergency FEMA funding.

I really don’t see the downside in all of this,” Smith said. “The government has to learn at some point to pay the bills.” 

"Yeah, the only people who would be hurt by a government shutdown are working class Americans and the poor who rely on government programs, not Real Americans.  Besides, we'll just tell the schlubs that vote for us that it's all the Kenyan Usurper's fault, and they'll buy it.  We'll be heroes for sending the economy into a depression!  The voters will reward us!"

And sadly, that seems to be the entire Republican plan right now:  a twisted game of Good Cop, Bad Cop where millions of voters brag proudly about how badly they're being extorted because at least it's better than paying those evil schoolteachers and firefighters.

I'm not honestly sure we can avoid a shutdown this time.

Liar Liar, Jackass On Fire

(CNN) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry responded to Rep. Michele Bachmann's criticism of his short-lived 2007 executive order requiring girls to get a vaccination for human papillomavirus, during Thursday night's Republican presidential candidates' debate in Orlando. Bachmann said a drug company that produced the vaccination hired his former chief of staff to lobby him.

Perry's response: "I got lobbied on this issue. I got lobbied by a 31-year-old young lady who had Stage 4 cervical cancer. I spent a lot of time with her. She came by my office, talked to me about the program."

How dramatic. How convenient. How utterly full of shit.

It turns out Perry met the woman after he tried to force teenage girls to get the treatment. So what was his reason? How much was he paid off? Or was it just for the satisfaction of forcing thousands of girls to jump through a hoop for "their own good" from his point of view?

Let's get this straight, and right now. Medical choices are one of the privileges we enjoy as Americans. It means we have the right to refuse medical treatment, or to seek it if we need it. We can make choices for ourselves with the input and advice of our doctors. Others may disagree with me but in my book that covers procedures such as abortion and physician-assisted suicide. I feel that we are able to make those choices for ourselves and face the consequences of those decisions. We are all entitled to our beliefs and how we think we should behave. However, I don't believe anyone has the right to make that decision for millions of people, without knowing them or their circumstances. The right to dictate one's beliefs stops at the point it prevents another person's right to choose for themselves.

Hypocrite. Jackass. Jackassocrite.

But remember ladies, he's just lying because he knows what is best for you.  Now fall in line like good little girls and take your orders.

Chrome Challenge: The Results

For a week I've used nothing but Chrome for my every function.  I never once had to use a program outside of my browser, and with a little creativity I actually improved my output by about 25%.  I took a few notes over the week, and if anyone a good tip by all means please share in the comments.

Why is this important?  A few reasons.  First, this is history in the making.  Ten years from now, people will look back at this time as a major turning point.  This is the first time ever that users are free from an operating system.  Whether you use Linux, Windows or Mac, you can use the same services for the same effect.  This means real freedom for consumers, and should drive developers to continue in the open source meta-platform direction.  Once operating systems lose the power to control their users, the users themselves will make choices based on personal preference.  Nobody loses, even the software giants.  People will be happy, and users will be on board because they chose to be, not because .doc format forced their hand.

This also opens the technology up for tablets to make a major presence in the computing world.  Right now they are treated more like toys and lightweight duties, but this will eventually all come together for a superior blend of size and portability.  Right now Google can seize even more power because their Android tablets and phones work flawlessly with all their services, and now via Chrome you get solid work and play performance.  There's no reason to pay hundreds of dollars for office or business software when you can skip it altogether and work via a browser.  Users can collaborate and with some creativity expensive computers can again be replaced with dummy terminals that don't require storage, just a super fast processor and secure network connection.

This week:

I fixed about two dozen bugs in some computer code for RetroMUD.  With ChroMUD I was able to open files and edit them, and save them.  I chatted with friends and spent several hours helping other coders move files.

I wrote 41 pages of manuscript through Google Docs.  I am working on two manuscripts simultaneously, and I organized all my writing with tags and calendar notes so I can easily tell what has been submitted, and  where it is currently waiting for review.  I also created some invoices from an existing template and billed customers, and entered payments into my ledger. I don't do online banking, I use a spreadsheet on Docs.

Some of you have already noticed I am now writing articles for Angry Black Lady.  Her invitation to contribute came as a complete surprise during my Chrome Challenge week.  I did all my research and posting through a Chrome app, and the best I can tell my formatting and other issues were just fine.  I corresponded with my new editor-in-chief through my Twitter app and my email portal.  I now use the Trillian app for Chrome, so I even talked by IM through my browser.

I have to research a subject I have never had an interest in.  I used Catch Notes to organize my notes by source and in chronological order, so I can easily find what I need to know with a simple search, and can access this from my phone (I love me a good voice memo).

Last but not least, I played Angry Birds and Poppit (my two guilty pleasures) between bouts of productivity.  I used Google+ and Facbook to keep in touch with friends and share pictures that were uploaded from my phone's camera.  Because they are always on and updating, I actually spend less time on the sites, and a quick skim keeps me up to date.

In short, my Chrome Challenge was a success. It can't go on indefinitely, but it's a statement that someone who uses a computer about 12 hours a day can keep up on several projects and manage real life through a single launching pad that is nearly universally compatible.  My phone is now an extension of my computer, and if I had a tablet I would be unstoppable (Helloooooo, Christmas).  I went a whole week without using anything that was not a Chrome app or a cloud service.  I was more productive than ever and my security concerns were nil.  Epic Win.

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

I'm trying to figure out how former Gore operative Bill Galston's piece in TNR this weekend is constructive in any way in helping the Dems win in 2012, but it appears to be one big long string of whining.

If you don’t think ideological perceptions matter in American politics, you need read no further. If you do and you’re a Democrat, there’s something to worry about. Even as the terms of the political debate in Washington, in the eyes of many Democrats, have moved steadily to the right, the electorate is increasingly likely to see itself as ideologically closer to the Republican Party than to Democrats. Unless Obama and Democrats can find a solution to this riddle—and find one fast—they will be contesting the 2012 election on forbidding terrain.

Galston goes on to say that independents are moving closer to the GOP, Obama is losing the base going after them...but then says Obama has no choice but to pursue what little ideological middle is left or the GOP wins.  You know what argument is coming next:

In the face of widespread skepticism and disillusion, it will be an uphill battle for Democrats to persuade key voting blocks that government can really make their lives better. But if they fail, the public will continue to equate public spending with waste, the anti-government message will continue to resonate, and Democrats will be in dire straits when heading into what is shaping up as a pivotal election.

Go after the center, tell the base to eat it and get with the program or we're all screwed.  And if President Obama can't USE BULLY PULPIT to get it done, it's all his fault.   I was wondering how long it would take to see the Hippie Punching For Political Fun And Profit argument again.  Galston even admits that Hippie Punching doesn't work, but has nothing really substantive to say other than "Obama better figure this out."

Way to go, slugger.  What impressive advice THAT is.

Rearing His Head In An Airspace Near You

Former Russian President Vladimir Putin really just wants his old job back in an official capacity these days.  I guess everyone's just tired of pretending that he's not in charge when he is.

Vladimir Putin declared on Saturday that he planned to reclaim the Russian presidency in an election next March that could open the way for the former KGB spy to rule until 2024.

The announcement, greeted by a standing ovation at a congress of the prime minister's ruling United Russia party, ended months of speculation over whether he or President Dmitry Medvedev would run.

The two have ruled in a power 'tandem' since Putin was forced by the constitution to yield the presidency in 2008 after serving a maximum two consecutive terms, and Putin said they had agreed several years ago how to divide power between them.

It was Medvedev who proposed his mentor return as president before thousands of party members in a Moscow sports stadium.

"It is a great honor for me," Putin told the audience. "Thank you, I hope for your support."

Of course.  You know, at least the Russians are honest about their cronyism.  We just send our dictators for life into Congress and back when they're not being Veep and pulling the strings.
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