Too tight

I’m watching the results on the web. It’s looking like we just might be making history this evening.

One thing appears certain, the Democrats now have a solid filibuster proof majority in the Senate and we even have a solid majority in the House too. So even if McSame does manage to get elected, he gets to contend with an unfriendly congress.

But think about it, in my lifetime I’ll have seen a man who identifies as black become President. I think of the speeches given by the Reverend Doctor King and I just choke up. It’s such a shame that King couldn’t be alive to see this.

I just want it to be over, I want to wake up in the morning to the alarm that’s set to the local NPR station and hear “…President Elect Obama..”, it’ll make the last eight years seem like the nightmare that it is.

As it stands the tally of electoral votes is 207 Obama, 135 McCain. Not the landslide I’d imagined, but it’s not over yet. I want McCain and the Rove/Bush policy of the last eight years to be thoroughly discredited.

That reminds me, in one of his final acts as President, the Shrub has actually weakened the Clean Air and Water Act.

I so hope they send UN troops in and on January 20th they escort him from the dais and transport him directly to the Hague for trial on war crimes charges. With any luck it’d be a speedy trial and he’d be executed by hanging.

But for now it’s pins and needles. Last time I felt like this was the 2006 election for Rhode Island governor. I was a volunteer on Democrat Charlie Fogarty’s campaign. I canvassed, did phone bank, stuffed envelopes, worked parade routes, everything in that campaign. To see him lose by only 8,000 votes was heartbreaking. That the people of RI could be so stupid as to re-elect Don Carcieri astounded me.

Political Activism

It finally struck me the other day. A co-worker was a bit agog that I actually KNOW a sitting U.S. Senator, I worked for the guy when he was Attorney General of Rhode Island. So far as I’m concerned, Sheldon Whitehouse is righteous Senator and I’m glad he’s in Washington.

But then I thought back, I am what one would call politically active. Not holding up signs, oh wait, I’ve done that. Damn, I’ve made phone calls, stuffed envelopes, canvassed door to door, emailed my state rep and senators, and the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate, essentially calling them hateful and bigoted assholes.

I’ve testified at a hearing for marriage equality, I’ve created a database of all judicial committee members with their full contact information and shared it with Marriage Equality Rhode Island.

I do this because I am of the firm belief that the politicians should be there to do OUR bidding, not that of the corporations. Can’t remember where I’d seen this but someone compared the U.S. political system to those in France and Germany. They said that in the European countries, governments were actually afraid of the people whereas in the U.S. people were afraid of the government.

My hope is that in my lifetime we see politicians in the U.S. scared of we the people and the enormous force that we can generate for political change.

Look at the Obama campaign, it’s heavily branded, and very well managed. The people on the campaign believe in their candidate and to me that’s a wonderful thing. Look at the fund raising. The vast majority of his donors gave < $200. Then look at McCain and who funded his campaign and the answer is the big oil, banking, and other industries. Who would you rather have, a puppet of big business or a true leader like Obama?

What I find interesting about the Obama campaign is it has used a populist message to tap into the power of the zeitgeist.

For many years I would disaffiliate when I left the polls on primary day but this year I just let it slide. I did it because for the first time in my life, I have some faith in the Democratic party. I still abhor the fact that both parties get a majority of their funding from big business, but I think we may be on the cusp of a major change

What I find interesting is here in little Rhode Island they’re expecting between 500,000 and 700,000 people to vote this election. And most of those people, registered Democrats. Consider RI’s population hovers around a million people. Of that million I’d say maybe 15% are kids who can’t vote so we’re left with 850,000 people. Say 5% of that total cant’ vote because they aren’t citizens, we’re left with 807,500 people. If we get 700,000 votes that means that voter turnout would be close to 90%!

I hope that we’re entered an age of the more politically conscious citizen. But we still have an awful lot of distraction out there. We need everyone to get involved.

Read an interesting bit a couple weeks ago, it said that if newspapers want to survive they have to get hyper-local. Our local rag, the Providence Journal needs to park a dozen or more reporters at the State House.

Then media won’t be a distraction anymore, it’ll be informative. But I fear that the owners of the media can’t see the forest for the trees, and so they’ll just continue down the path of ruin until they spontaneously combust.

As a people we need to dig in, we need to become more fully a part of the political discourse and continuum. Because if we don’t we have no control over our own lives.

Start off gently, write a letter to the editor. Email, phone or visit your state representative and then go up a level to the federal representatives. Participate in a political campaign, donate money to one. Take control.

Reasons to vote no on Prop 8 in CA: Mass Resistance and the Wirthlins

So I recently became aware of the fact that Mass Resistance has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and decided to do a bit more research.

During my research I saw the sporadic contacts between the Wirthlins and Mass Resistance. Apparently they had their sensibilities hurt when the book King and King was read to a second grade class, one that their precious son was in.

A fairly innocuous book if you ask me. But the Worthless Wirthlins had a different view of the book. So much so that they had to meet with Estabrook School Principal Joni Jay and the teacher, Mrs. Heather Kramer.

And of course the Wirthlins showed THEIR notes. And for more Mass Resistance wackiness read here.

I absolutely love Ms. Jay’s comments that the Wirthlins could read every book in the library. That was great. I’d love to see her notes on the meeting, I’m fairly certain that the words ‘anti-gay’ show up in the notes several times.

And the Wirthlins saying they weren’t assuaged, that was just over the top. Assuage means to lessen the intensity, to pacify, quiet, appease and quench. In other words, the Wirthlins want it their way or the highway.

It is very understandable why the Southern Poverty Law Center would classify Mass Resistance as a hate group, the evidence is overwhelming when you think about it. And as a special treat, here are the Wirthlins on video defending their point. Robin Wirthlin gets very emphatic about homosexuality.

Troppe informazioni Martedì: Un giorno di ritardo, un dollaro a breve (TMI #157)

My apologies for being a day late and dollar short on this. I’ve recently started using my home computer less because I get so fed up using the computer at work. Most of that stems from Microsoft Access 2007. I’m an absolute whiz with it, but 2007 tries to be overly helpful and still has the same limitations that Access 97 had.

You know, how you can’t have more than 255 fields in a table. Well, Access also counts changing field types and parameters too. I went off on that in a Microsoft forum. Cant’ wait to see the responses because I also called MS-SQL a piece of shit.

1. Have you ever felt guilty or ashamed after a sexual experience?

Can’t say that I ever have. My sense of guilt is somewhat less developed than other peoples sense of it. I guess 12 years of Catholic schools do that to you.

2. Did you ever own a fake ID?

Never had to. When I was 16 I knew the cashiers at the liquor store next door to where I worked. They’d let me buy whatever I wanted as long as I had the cash.

Then I got lucky when they started raising the drinking age. First I was legal in MA but not RI, then I was legal in RI too. Worked out well enough.

3. How often do you tell white lies? Is it with or without thinking?

Not very often. But then there’s the “Do I look fat in this?” that absolutely REQUIRES a little white lie.

4. On a scale of 1-10, how well do you receive constructive criticism?

About an 8. But whoever is offering it had better not be blowing smoke. Otherwise I’m known to jump up get within inches of their face and give them a bit of destructive criticism.

5. Have you ever shaved your pubic hair?

Yes I have. Very uncomfortable when it starts growing back. I’m naturally VERY hairy so you can imagine the hell I went through.

Bonus: What percentage of women do you think are capable of handling being in a “friends with benefits” relationship? How about men?

I’ll do the last part first. I’d say 95% of men could do Friends with Benefits. As far as women go, I’d venture they’re almost up to that level. I know several women who are as sexually adventurous as we men.

This weekend

So last night Keyron and I hung out with Nick and Beth. I met them both through Keyron a few months back.

It was the night of great political discussion though Nick and I are pretty much solidly in what Nick likes to refer to as the Commie Pinko Left liberal side of the political divide. We talked about Palin and what and I think we agree with Lincoln Chaffee, she’s a cocky whacko.

We also talked about McCain’s deer in the headlights look when Obama said his health plan wouldn’t penalize small business owners and they wouldn’t pay a dime. Then of course I mentioned a story I’d seen that indicates McCain is starting to reconsider his choice of Palin.

Later on I setup Firefox, iTunes, AVG 8. on his new Vista laptop. Did I mention, Vista SUCKS! It isn’t really hard to find anything it’s just that the UAC is really annoying. Xp’s SP3 has included a little more UAC but it isn’t as fucking obtrusive as the one in Vista. I also had the sad duty of informing him that his printer didn’t do wireless printing, that the card wasn’t present in the slot.

Had a good meal of Chinese food from the Pagoda Inn in North Kingstown, RI. Good food, but I must admit I like the Chinese food available here in Providence at three places. The first is Chef Ho’s while the other is Phoenix Dragon which is right around the corner from me.

I also introduced Nick to a few new things.

He wanted to setup a blog and I got him setup on WordPress and gave him a basic tour. It’s funny, my default edit mode on WordPress is html, but I noticed they now offer the non-html editor as well as the html editor. I left him hooked up with the non-html editor. You can visit his blog if you like.

Also introduced him to RSS feeds. RSS is something that not a lot of people know about. In essence I consolidated all his newspaper feeds from the Boston Globe, NPR, etc. I also did the Mass Department of Education feeds as well as showed him the link to all MA DOE regulations. In all the instances I mentioned, all I did was go to their web sites and in the search box type “rss”.

I still have to get him up on Usenet (Aka Google Groups) because I think that is what he wants more, a forum where he can discuss ideas with people.

Only problem is that Google Groups kind of sucks. Not to mention that many of we old Usenet denizens killfile all postings from Google, gmail, etc. I’ll probably download a copy of Gravity for him and get him setup on Motzarella soon. Motzarella is a free public newsgroup server. I use it exclusively now since Cox’s news servers have started sucking big time.

I did explain to Nick that it wasn’t for the faint of heart of the thin skinned. I remember the days of Usenet where one had to don their asbestos underwear for the flamewars that occurred on a regular basis. Usenet is a bit more tame now, particularly since most of use have gotten older and wiser. But every now and then you get a Usenet Newbie that needs to be soundly pounded before they understand the rules of etiquette as they apply to Usenet/Google Groups.

I was glad to help, I like showing people how freely information can flow.

Someone else almost gets it! But socialism isn’t THAT bad.

The following Letter to the Editor in today’s Providence Journal.

Elizabeth J. Comeau: Moving toward National Socialism

01:00 AM EDT on Saturday, October 18, 2008

My attention has been diverted from the presidential election to our economy and the infamous bailout (a.k.a. rescue) plan. But, a rose by any other name . . . And, a mistake by any other name . . .

Before the House voted on the plan, we heard, “Passage of this bill will save us by providing immediate relief for the banking institutions; the companies that are struggling, the people in danger of losing their homes, their jobs, etc.”

The bill passed, and the market continued its downward spiral. Now we hear, “Change won’t come overnight. It will take time — even years — to recover.”

So far Ms. Comeau gets it. The give-away to the big corporations posing as banks was nothing but a money grab on the part of the business. Corporate socialism if you will.

Wasn’t it Mussolini who said, “The first stage of fascism is the merger of state and corporate power”? If we know our history, we know that in fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, the state gained control over the corporations. In modern America, it seems the corporations have gained control over the state.

The evil deeds of the infamous fascists were condemned, and the fascists defeated. Yet, I fear, the practice of economic fascism was not defeated and is alive and well, living in America, with our democratic system leaning more toward the philosophy of National Socialism.

This is where Comeau fails, and fails hard. It was the corporations that pushed Italy and Germany into the expansionist policies that brought about WW II. If you ever get a chance read the book titled “The Arms of Krupp 1587-1968” by William Manchester. And next time you step on an elevator take a look at the logos, I guarantee you’ll see at least one with the familiar logos of Thyssen (A stylized arch) and that of Krupp (Three interlocked circles) or the two bound together as Thyssen-Krupp. They still make steel and stainless steel, those are the hallmarks of the Krupp Conzern back in the day. That same metal went into German and Italian weaponry from the 16th through 20th centuries.

Why else would corporations hire huge armies of lobbyists to influence congress? It isn’t because they’re trying to stop fascism, it’s because they’re trying to make as much money as they can. The side effect of such activity is a rise in fascism.

Why else would they form PAC’s (Political Action Committees) to move unencumbered money to the candidate of THEIR choice.

Of course it is all base on the notion that a corporation has the same rights as a flesh and blood person. This is a false notion. They have no such rights as we do. That point needs to be made abundantly clear to them.

Put it this way, I don’t mind paying a fair price for goods and services. But right now we have too many monopolies and duopolies and oligarchies for my tastes. What choice do I have for electric service or gas service? The same is true of the video market, you can have cable, FiOS or Satellite television. Sure there is over the air programming but that’s so saturated (As is cable, FiOS and Sat) with advertising pushing us to buy, buy buy.

Don’t even get me started about cell phone and the idiots who think that computing is going to be centralized again. It isn’t because the centralization model require a subscription method. So you pay over and over and over again. Not to mention that connectivity isn’t as ubiquitous as they’d lead you to believe.

It begins innocently enough with programs like Social Security, Food Stamps and entitlement programs. But, the programs become less innocent, more sinister (the Patriot Act being one example) as we hand over more authority to the government.

I fear for us, our children, and all the children to come as we witness the destruction of our national structure. And, I fear, the most difficult times have only just begun.

ELIZABETH J. COMEAU

Johnston

Sorry Ms. Comeau, the so called ‘entitlement’ programs you mentioned do not lead to fascism and they most certainly didn’t lead to the USA PATRIOT act. That disgusting bit of legislation was written by the corporations that would benefit the most. The scanner manufactures, the security firms like Blackwater, and the large contractors like Halliburton. They benefited to the point where they’d destroy brand new trucks because they needed an oil change.

How about the $700 Billion in corporate welfare we just gave to what I call the shadow banks. Those are the ones who operated outside the regulatory framework. Did the government force that on them, hell no. Ask yourself the question, where did the money go. Follow it and all you questions will be answered.

It is the other way around – corporate greed eventually destroys an economy. There have to be strong regulatory laws to prevent this. Look at telephone service and electric service. They were deregulated and what happened. It costs us MORE for phone service now than it ever did. Yet the bottom dropped out on the long distance side.

I remember in 1982 I had my own phone line and I rented a red Western Electric 2500 set from then New England Telephone. My total monthly bill was $12. Now my VoIP service is $24.95 a month as has far more features, but then to add insult to injury it rises to $32 to $33 a month because of FUSF and all the other bullshit fees that go right into the carriers pockets, it isn’t used to build out broadband.

Broadband only gets built out in areas that they think have a high profit level.

I did a bit of googling on Ms Comeau, seems she works for the CFC (Combined Federal Campaign) the company allowed to solicit charitable donations from federal employees. So you’d think she’d understand the true role of the safety net programs.

Seems she’s never heard of the concept of economies of scale. Explain why the VA Hospitals (Walter Reed is NOT part of VA) have the least cost but best service? Imagine applying that to the entire country. It could be done but the entrenched insurance and billing lobbies would never let that happen. The VA is the exception that they want to keep quiet.

We need to rise up and fight the corporate dominance and fascism occurring in the U.S. today.