Month: September 2010

Erasing the Middle Class

Great article on the demolition of the middle class.

One point to glean is more people in poverty. This means that crime will rise. If you’ve read this blog, or the book Freakonomics or even Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping Point” you understand that there is without a doubt going to be a rise in property crimes if this continues unabated.

The article does touch on the fact that both the Democratic and Republican parties have both been tainted by corruption and they won’t lend a hand to help us.

If only you didn’t have corporate interests funding the racist inspired Tea Bag/Party crowd you might be able to garner enough power to get people into congress that will do things that will stop the ebb of the middle class. But I don’t know if we have a leader on tap that would be able to unify the masses still middle class and even those in poverty to overcome the dominance of the moneyed class.

This means folks who support home grown jobs in manufacturing. Lets bring it back to the United States. I don’t mind spending say $3 for a $1.25 bowl if I know it’s made right here in the U.S. and that extra $1.75 is in the pockets of manufacturing employees.

Call me socialist but I think it’s time we punish businesses that export manufacturing overseas. But first we need to find the stones to modify the 14th amendment so it EXCLUDES corporations from thinking they have the same rights as you and I. They don’t. Their entire existence is predicated on an erroneous interpretation of the amendment.

We we to be able to do that, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United would be moot. It would also mean the likes of the National Organization for Marriage couldn’t try to hide behind the shield of anonymity offered by their interpretation of the law on political action committees.

And most of all, tax the rich. Tax them until they bleed if the need be. I mean seriously, how can they sit there and do nothing when the middle class, which is their bread and fucking butter, gets systematically destroyed?

Hey NOM – We’re coming for you next

The gory details of NOM’s dog and pony show otherwise known as Vota Tus Valores (Easy one, Vote Your Values) are now emerging all over the web. More infuriating is the Vota Fiorina at the bottom. Just for her destruction of HP I say Fiorina should be put in the dustbin of history.

First there is the great coverage at the Prop 8 Trial Tracker. And that of course led me to this great site, NOM Exposed. The latter is a partnership of the Human Rights Campaign and the Courage Campaign the latter of whome sponsors the Prop 8 Trial Tracker.

NOM’s new bus tour is drawing smaller crowds this time around. I guess hate just doesn’t sell like it did when they had their east coast tour.

It’s a losing battle that they’re fighting. Eventually the issue will wind up in the United State Supreme Court and by then I’m optimistic you’ll have enough justices who will see the constitutional issues and rule that bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional.

The Catholic Church is complicit in anti-gay movement

That’s right I said it. It is why we should be directing our animus here in RI toward the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence.

I would love to see demonstrations during services. Be disruptive and get the message across that we aren’t going to take it anymore.

While we’re at it lets work on our representative and senators on revoking the churches tax exemptions.

Make them pay for getting involved in the political.

And you still believe the Bible is the word of a god?

1) Read this article about the Death of the English language.

Now keep this is mind. The Gutenberg press didn’t make the scene until the 15th century.

So the stories in the Bible relied on either hand copying aka scribing but prior to that were aural only. Even today lots of people get their biblical knowledge from pastors, the same pastors who have their own agendas just like old Saul of Tarsus aka St. Paul. I suspect the mutt had a stroke because he had a sudden ephiphany and wrote his misogynistic and homophobic screed.

It’s all bullshit.

Saturday Evening: Providence Ghost Tour

Before I begin you can visit them here. You can book tickets online ahead of time and if you do you get a $3 break on the price of $18 so you only pay $15. It’s a fairly amusing way to pass a Saturday evening and you get a history lesson in the process. .

We met up with the group as it was making its way out of the park, about five minutes early I might add.

It gets serious geek cred for actually doing the research necessary to make the stories of historical events they tell all the more humorous and/or generally weird. It traipses all over the campuses of RISD and Brown and it entertains with little historical tales.

At the beginning you start with the vocabulary lesson. There are orbs, apparitions, specters and poltergeists, each getting progressively more real and physical.

Orbs are believed (by many) to be ghosts in the form of balls of light. They are life forms that travel in groups and are believed to be the human soul or life force of those that once inhabited a physical body here on earth. Psychics claim to talk to them on a regular basis, and ghost hunters encounter them quite frequently. It is said that they are those spirits that have willingly stayed behind because they feel bound to their previous life or previous location for whatever reason.

The photo below is of two orbs that look mightily like flash artifacts but I’ll let you be the judge.


(On a side note, no thanks to Flickr for screwing up the ability to link pictures on WordPress. Now I have to get the HTML code and parse out the fucking image link. Bastards! But I found the hack around it.)

Apparitions – The term apparition is used for any kind of visual, paranormal related manifestation. The key word to remember is visual. A ghost can take the form of an apparition, like an orb or human figure that you can see. However, not all paranormal visualizations are ghosts. They can be in the form of trains, animals, and inanimate objects. Some apparitions of people might not always be a ghost, or spirit of a person. They might just be visions of things or people that were in that same location years ago. These forms of apparitions will not be conscious of their surroundings or of themselves. They are kind of like a holographic video of something that used to be there. This is called an imprint, and is caused by very dramatic and emotional events that become a part of the land and it’s near surroundings. This is however, just a theory that I happen to agree with on certain forms of apparitions. Most professionals in paranormal fields will use the word apparition to describe all paranormal visualizations to keep things simple and avoid any confusion.

Specter or spectre refers to a ghost which is visible–not all ghosts are thought to be visible. It can be applied to the ghost of a good person or of an evil one.

Poltergeist (helpĀ·info) is a troublesome spirit or ghost which is believed to throw objects about, make noises, etc.

“Poltergeist” from German poltern, meaning “to rumble”, “to make a noise” and Geist, meaning “ghost” or “spirit”.

So now you’re up on your terminology.

An example of a potentially haunted place is University Hall at Brown University that was erected in 1770. During the American Revolutionary War it was an infirmary and the building was split into sections. The further left in the building, the worse off you were until finally in the extreme left they had the body pit.

We went by H.P. Lovecraft’s house that had been relocated, and then to the Providence Atheneum where one Edgar Allen Poe was known to habituate to hear the story of his courtship with a rather bizarre young lady.

We ended up breaking off early. It was going a bit beyond the hour and a half promised and even at that it had started out early so we’d been at it nearly two hours.

There was one slightly sour note though. They encourage people to bring cameras. So I had my Xacti with me and the guy freaked a bit and asked if I was taking video and I told him I was just snapping still frames with it. I could have been smart and said that any camera made in the last ten years does both still frame and video but that wouldn’t be very nice.

Pondering time sheets

Back when I worked at one job in particular we had simple time sheets. Time in/time out. Nothing in between. So long as you got your 7 hours a day in, you were good.

The company I work for now has some interesting policies or lack thereof.

One of them at least for our group is time sheets. Time sheets by the unknown unit. I’ve settled on 30 minutes but I could go 15, or even 7.5 minute increments. But I’ve settled on the 30 minute unit.

Here is my theory on time tracking. It’s self-defeating. For example, ask people to account for their time for resource allocation purposes and you’ll see people padding their times out by one time factor unit. E.g. what would have taken 20 minutes now takes an hour.

So it makes the group as a whole look busier than it actually happens to be, which means you need another FTE to keep up with the work.

When you add the other FTE what happens is that you now don’t have enough work to go around so the pad factor on timesheets expands to ridiculous levels.

It’s really quite amusing to watch.

My thoughts on DADT, ENDA and once again, marriage equality

Lets start with ENDA. I really don’t see what the big deal is about an employment non-discrimination law. A lot of states have them for LGB and T people. RI is one of them, LGB since 1996 and T since 2001.

And want to know how many discrimination cases there have been regarding RI’s EHCNDA (Employment, Housing and Credit Non-Discrimination Act)? None. Not a single one. People know better than to discriminate openly against LGBT in those areas of life. So why the hell can’t the same thing happen for EVERYONE in the United States?

I know part of it is the perception of the transgender community. Some legislators just can’t wrap their heads around it. But they need to get over it and just pass the bill.

As to Don’ Ask/Don’t Tell – our Fierce Advocate President Obama was gung-ho to get rid of this ridiculous policy when he was campaigning for office. Now that he’s President the tune has changed. This whole study and approval process is rapidly moving from the sublime to the ridiculous. You ask why? Because Obama is the Commander in Chief, that’s why. He could, with a stroke of the pen eliminate the policy. But he chooses not to do so. I suppose that’s because we LGBT people are the new radioactive in this land.

Now marriage equality. Rhode Island could have had full equality THIS YEAR but for some reason our openly gay Speaker of the House, Gordon Fox decided not to have hearings or even consideration of a bill this year.

I’m scratching my head on that last one. I’m doing so because:
a) Fox is a gay man in a long term relationship


b) I know for a FACT that we had enough of a majority in the house to override a gubernatorial veto. That’s right we did. Now we’re going to have to start all over again because of this uncertain election year. And in the senate, it was just a matter of Sen. Paiva-Weed growing a pair and LEADING that body to a victory for LGBT people in RI. Nothing like being failed by your leadership.

Now I’m going to say it. The ONLY TIME civil rights advance in this country is when the judiciary finally steps in and resolves the matter. Rarely has a legislative body granted the full measure of civil rights without some prompting by a court.

Doing my part to ensure Rick Santorum never becomes President of the United States

Because I’m going to Santorum this. That’s right, Spreading Santorum.

Click the link. For those too squeamish I’ll tell you what it says:

“1. The frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”

Too funny. Not only that, do a google search on Rick Santorum. It’s the first site. Click away, seriously, make sure this moron is never elected to any other office, let alone the presidency.

Link it on your blog too. Make sure he never takes the top spot with his real web page.

Tech: A week of reboots

Started with Windows updates. I can accept that since Windows updates generally mess with system files so a reboot is required.

However I wasn’t expecting Firefox 3.6.10 to ask for a reboot but then I remember, Mozilla changed its java engine so that means it reaches deep into the system and required a reboot.

Then there is iTunes. I’ve been putting off the iTunes upgrade but said what the hell and let it update this evening. Now it warned me if I didn’t quite iTunes it would require a reboot. So I went into the task manager and killed iTunes, iTuneshelper, and QuickTime. But at the end I still had to reboot.

Anyhow I noted there was an upgrade for my iPod Touch, v4.1. Looking at the release notes I saw the cryptic “Enhanced Bluetooth support”. Thought to myself “Nah, it couldn’t be….”. and went and answered in the affirmative to upgrade the Touch.

Once I’d done so I pulled out my MotoRokr S9’s and linked them up and much to my surprise, ALL the controls now work including track advance, and track reverse. Thanks for finally un-crippling your Bluetooth support Apple!