Month: October 2007

Halloween 2007

This is the first ever Halloween where I’ve actually had trick-or-treaters come to the door. Prior to this I’ve always lived on upper floors on busy streets so I never had them before. I bought three bags of candy and there’s less than 1 bag left. So far there have been about 20 kids.

Two funny things though.

I now have the neighborhood distinction of having the best candy if one kids exclamation is correct.

Second, there was one kid who is a definite foodie. I open the door and the first words out of his mouth was “That’s a home cooked meal isn’t it.. what is it?” I told him it was pork chops with sour cream and dill and he said it smelled really good.

And one little kid got his candy and I heard his mom around the corner telling him to say “Thank You”.

All about connections – a–>b–>c

It appears that Operation Dollar Bill is proceeding along nicely in Rhode Island. Prosecutor Robert Clark Corrente is untangling the web of political corruption in the state. Thus far the only one prosecuted and sentenced as been former Senator John Celona (D) North Providence.

But here’s a list of targets and today that list grew by a few names I’ll add on.

  • Rhode Island Senate president Joseph A. Montalbano
  • Senate Finance chairman Stephen D. Alves
  • Senator and New England Laborers’ administrator Dominick J. Ruggerio
  • Former Rhode Island Senate President William V. Irons
  • Former State Senator and Rhode Island Blue Cross & Blue Shield vice president Thomas Lynch
  • State House banking lobbyist William Farrell
  • West Warwick, Rhode Island
  • Lincoln, Rhode Island
  • CVS Corporation
  • Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island
  • Roger Williams Hospital
  • The Laborers’ Union
  • And now it gets more interesting. Seems that Rep. Stephen Ucci brought his concerns about the tax break for A. Duie Pyle to Speaker William J. Murphy. So that means Murphy’s assertion that he knew nothing is false.

    The other two are Sen. Stephen Alves (D) W. Warwick, chair of the Senate Finance Committee and Rep. Steven Costantino (D) Providence, Chair of the House Finance Committee.

    It just goes on and on and on. I think Corrente’s early statement that 7 pols and 7 companies is starting to look like a conservative estimate.

    Something I discovered

    I’ve always said I loathe micromanagement. Now I need to expand upon that.

    I do not mind two types of management:

    1) A non-structured but colloquial style works best for me since it is the most team oriented approach. There isn’t any one person who is more important than another. It is somewhat egalitarian in style.

    2) A structured and regimented environment works too, but only if the structure and policy are clearly communicated and accepted by all members of the entity.

    Structure includes direction. Without direction you cannot have structure. They’re two sides of the same coin and I pointed this out to a former employer.

    So when I say micromanagement what I really mean is those who expect you to know the rules and regulations when they don’t even know such things themselves. I think the closest I can come to explaining it is to call it sea gull management, they fly in, shit all over everything, then fly out.

    Hmm… a homosexual network in the Vatican?

    Apparently there’s a priest who recently left the Roman Curia due to his being caught on video propositioning a young man.

    I’d be most interested to see the full list. I wonder if Benny Prada/Benny the Rat/Pope Benedict the XVI is on it?

    The Catholic Church is so full of hypocrisy. Everyone knows I have no love for organized religion, but my true venom is reserved for the Roman Catholic Church.

    I’d love to see them marginalized.

    Vintage Video: Thomas Dolby

    For pure synth heaven, you really can’t beat Thomas Dobly. He was a bit of a phenomenon in the 80’s.

    His first hit to make it in the U.S. was “She Blinded Me With Science”.

    The next one I remember is “Europa and the Pirate Twins”. This is an interesting take on first love.

    And here we are with “One of Our Submarines”. I’m decoding the morse code in this, it’s mostly gibberish. They could have at least did the … — …, aka SOS. At least this one features some real guitar. It’s not completely synth driven but close.

    Finally we have “Hyperactive”. A little up-tempo piece by Dobly that is pretty guitar centric with a bit of horn too!

    Pondering life as a citizen

    A friend and I were talking over IM about how paychecks just don’t seem to stretch as far as they used to. He was telling me about another friend of ours who couldn’t understand why his money didn’t seem to buy as much while the inflation indicators were so low.

    My friend and I both know why inflation appears to be so low. They don’t track food, fuel or housing.

    Lets face it, 7 years ago $100 would get you pretty far. Now it gets you pretty much nothing. A banana was 33 cents a pound less than four years ago, now they approach 80 cents a pound which rings in at 242%.

    Gasoline was around $1.19 back then, now it’s around $2.70, a 226% increase.

    And housing is the big one. Prices for homes have accelerated to the point that average salaries cannot keep up with them.

    I believe I’ve told the story of how a $35,000 home in 2000 was bought for $350,000 in 2006. That’s a 1000% increase in price.

    I’m reading a very good book right now, it’s called “The Creature from Jekyll Island: A second look at the Federal Reserve” by Edward Griffin. The Federal Reserve is anything but Federal. It’s a cartel of all the major banks in the U.S. Their policies and procedures move us towards war, they create rampant inflation, etc.

    I’d like to see the world moved back to the gold standard. If you can’t pay for it, you can’t do it.

    Online Movies

    So a friend turned me on to a new movie site, it’s ssupload. Ignore the soft core porn ads and just browse the movie categories. Some will require certain common plugins.

    Anyhow I’ve watched:

    Blow – very interesting story.
    Live Free or Die Hard – Good expansion of the Die Hard serial.
    Breaking and Entering – Interesting little story
    300 – Wow, the allegory is pretty powerful there.

    Damned Telecom fees

    When I first got setup with Vonage three years ago my $24.99 service plan cost $27 once the taxes were added in.

    Now I’ve added a virtual line for $4.99 but my total monthly bill is $38.67. What the hell? Then I looked at the invoice, here’s the taxes and fees.

    Regulatory Recovery Fee $1.98 (Would someone please tell me what the fuck a regulator recovery fee is.)

    Emergency 911 Cost Recovery $0.99 (Passing along the Intrado database lookup costs at a bit under a buck a month, this is Vonage doing this btw so they’re getting some serious dough to provide the service.)

    Sales Tax $2.31 (Fucking State of Rhode Island gets their due even though there isn’t a brick and mortar in Rhode Island. Nice.)

    Federal Universal Service Fee $2.15 (FUSF is nothing but a money grab. Granted, it’s less than the nearly $8 a month I was paying Verizon for a single line but still, it’s primary purpose is for universal service in areas of buttfucke America. Get a damned cell phone, I don’t want to pay for you to have wireline service.)

    State 911 Fee $1.00 (This is what pays for the state E-911 service. Can’t really argue there.)

    State Telecom Education Access Fund $0.26 (Education access fund? Can someone please point me to a public school that hasn’t been wired for phone and network in the state of Rhode Island? Oh, they want us to PAY for it. Fuck em’. )

    A New Idea for Government in Rhode Island

    I have a proposal for the esteemed leadership of the Rhode Island Legislature.

    Next time you give a huge tax break to a new construction project, give that break with the stipulation that they pay for infrastructure or state buildings.

    For example the State Archives should be in a state owned facility that is up to specifications for their needs. Their needs are a large enough space protected from high water tables and climate controlled vaults. Many of the other details have already been hammered out by the staff at the archives.

    But they currently occupy a leased space in downtown Providence with a basement that would flood for the lack of sump pumps that operate nearly continuously.

    So next time we give a $25 million tax break to some developer, tell them they have to kick 10% of that into a construction budget for the state. Hell, be generous and make it 20%. They still get a $20 million tax break and the state gets a new archives, or maybe rebuilding roads, or upkeep for things like the State House, the Attorney General’s building, or the state schools.