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What’s wrong with being Muslim anyway?

October 19, 2008

Colin Powell was interviewed on Meet The Press this morning.  He spoke to Tom Brokaw about the damages of the negative messages coming from the McCain campaign.  He posed the right question at one point: ‘Why shouldn’t a 7 year old Muslim child be able to think about being president someday?’

Considering the way the McCain campaign has been carrying on its negative attacks, Powell said he will be voting for Barack Obama.  As voters we can send a strong message to politicians of both parties – vote against negative election tactics this year. The passion of an election is no reason to tear down our principles.

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Wealth redistribution in America

October 19, 2008

Barack Obama told Joe (the Plumber) Wurzelbacher that his tax policy would “spread the wealth around”.  As a result Joe’s become famous world wide.  The McCain campaign has exploited Obama’s gaffe and the media created a human interest story that didn’t quite pan out.  I don’t know if I feel sorry for Joe, even though some of his personal problems have been exposed.  It seems he has liked being in the spotlight.

As Bob Herbert wrote in the New York Times, there are much more pressing stories to tell than Joe’s.

Wealth redistribution through tax policy sounds pretty bad, but wealth redistribution has always been a key part of the American dream.  I have to believe that trickle down Reaganomics is another form of wealth redistribution that used tax policies as part of the scheme.

The people that Mr. Herbert wrote about and the thousands of others like them are victims of a different kind of wealth redistribution.  Wherever there are economic bubbles (as there was in housing in this decade) there is wealth redistribution.  Some people get away with more than their fair share and others are left with the pain of their losses.  The mortgage practices of this decade were a massive wealth redistribution scheme with at least some amount of government support and a number of winners but many deeply damaged victims.

We have seen a widening gap between the haves and have-nots in America over the last few decades.  Some call it the shrinking middle class.  To me it seems like it is probably a clear case of wealth redistribution and its a topic worth exploring in a lot more depth.  The question is what has government’s role been in this decline.  We don’t want to become a welfare state, but figuring out what a fair distribution of wealth is a much more difficult question than what is being portrayed in the campaign now.  Its the main reason I don’t believe in unregulated economic systems – it doesn’t look like they work for most of us – whether we are the Joes of the world or the elderly and recently homeless.

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My big rolling digital accessory

October 18, 2008

Car deals are pretty good right now with the meltdown and the credit conundrum screwing everything up.  So me – being a pretty cheap guy – went out to by a car.  I like the idea of savng gas money, but hybrids are not being discounted much so I started to look for decent mileage in a mid size sedan – accord, camry, sonata, malibu, legacy, etc.

The last car I thought I would check out was anything made by Ford.  I just didn’t think they were doing anything interesting except making wide-ass SUVs and trucks.  But the discounts offered in the Mercury News were huge, so I thought I should go in case I was missing something.  And I was, like usual.

I am a tech-geek of sorts.  I don’t have an iPhone – just a regular iPod and a Motorola Z3 with bluetooth.  But both of them work like a charm with the Sync system in the Focus and Fusion.  I’m also an audio-whacko and do most of my listening behind the wheel because I can crank it up there past the threshold of Gretchen’s pain.  I was instantly in love with the ability to talk to my car to hear the music I want on demand (much faster than scrolling the iPod’s interface) and calling people without having to turn down or pause the audio (it does that automatically) and having to wear my hands free earpiece.  Yo, and I was pleased to find out that I can plug in a USB stick with MP3s and it plays them without having a player like an iPod.

The Audiophile sound system Ford offers is very nice – I like it much better than the JBL sound system in our Highlander – which is overly punchy in the low end.  It doesn’t quite measure up to the custom stereo in my Jetta, but its still big, huge and beautiful. The control options with Sync puts it way over the top.

I ended up buying a Fusion from Gilroy Ford.  They were real easy to work and negoitiate with.  I’ve had the car now for just a few days, but I’m really loving it. MIleage is pretty good because its a 4 banger and its a very clean buring engine.  The ride is fine and it seems to want to go down the freeway as fast as I want to.   4 wheel disk brakes, power-adjustable drivers seat, power windows. It doesn’t have sports options like the spoiler and oversized wheels like so many of the big audio cars that are in dealer inventory, but I didn’t want to pay for that stuff anyway.  All I want to do is talk to my car and get instant satisfaction.

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Dont vote for mudslingers

October 17, 2008

I’m an independent voter from California, but I tend to side more often with Democrats than Republicans.  Neither are perfect, that’s for sure. If you get enough of either side together – like during a convention – its pretty obnoxious.   Not a lot of problem solving going on when there is so much chest thumping to do.

And name calling.

The name calling really bugs me and that’s one of the reasons I tend to like Democratic candidates more than Republican candidates.  Republicans can’t seem to leave that one alone.  Heck, they systematically do it, as they are doing now with the “Obama is a terrorist” robocalls.  That is not at all OK with me and my guess is that it’s not at all OK with many others either.

I think the journey is just as important as the goal – and the journey is pretty ugly right now.  I don’t think it’s OK to make viscous lies about your opponent in order to win. The end does not justify the means.

Please join me in voting against ridiculous, fabricated, personal attacks.

One side says the other pals with terrorists.  That doesn’t seem very likely.

The other side says the other is erratic.  That’s probably an overstatement.

Comparing the two, it seems to me the friend of terrorist charge is the more ugly and irresponsibe.  So, I’m voting for Obama – unless his campaign comes up with something more ugly and stupid than what the Republicans are doing.

Send a message to politicians this year. Cut the crap.

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Montana is still Big Sky Country

August 11, 2008

Just got back from a week on the Boulder River – south of Big Timber.  Ity was spectacular.  I’ll post an underwater photo of a Brook Trout later.

Here are the trout pics: (click to see the whole photo)

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CFLs suck – we’ve been duped.

May 16, 2008

This isn’t necessarily new news, but it was new to me. Carbon fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) have dangerous levels of mercury, need to be recycled (not thrown away) to be environmentally safe and don’t last nearly as long as they say they so unless you leave them on for extended periods of time.

The wikipedia entry is probably pretty decent, but I wonder what the truth is about how long the bulbs need to be on to ensure long life.

This post at the environmental defense fund’s site is a very interesting read. Make sure to read this comment by lees on March 13, 2008. I don’t know if Dr. Jim Balbus, the author of the blog post was trying to spin this up or not, but I have to say, my bullshit sensors went off just from the way he presented his arguments. The line about throwing them away in a ziplock bag really got to me – talk about a crock of shit.

So, I think we’ve been duped about the great benefits of CFLs. The idea that consumers will somehow become educated on the “proper applications” and disposal of light bulbs is seriously irresponsible.

Its not as bad as WMD, but its bad. Do you know where you can recycle these things? When is the last time you recycled one? How about your workplace? Are you using them there and do you think they are being recycled correctly? I bet most of them are being tossed in the garbage, just like most fluorescent bulbs were for decades.

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An old idea I never bought, but still like

May 16, 2008

I took this video almost a year ago, but never had a reason for posting it to one of my corporate blogs. The thing that’s goofy is that I really like the idea of a travel router. You see, one laptop doesn’t really cut it when you’re trying to produce audio and video and have 4 email accounts and 5 blogs and so on and so forth. So the well-wired geek should have 2 or 3 laptops and a travel router – right? Yeah its hard to explain, but there are some readers here that understand the disease. Anyway, I never bought one, but it might be the perfect thing for father’s day – that or the emergency cell phone caller that calls yur cell when yur trying to get somebody to stop yapping at you.