Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Occupy what?

Remember the "Occupy" movement, mainly made up of unemployed idiots criminals people too busy complaining and camping in public parks to get a job?  Well, they have their latest target, where they expect 30 protesters, 10 of which expect to get arrested.  Apparently, the other 20 have appointments that incarceration would make them miss, or they forgot to set their parents DVR to record Survivor.  Where is the dedication?  My, my, how the mighty have fallen.   

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The presidential debate, part two...

Didn't watch it.  I'm sure I didn't miss much. 

We follow only out of a sense of morbid curiosity...

Hmm, that title could refer to our current election cycle or the actual subject of my post, the television drama Revolution.  My wife and I watched it last night and I wanted to exercise my right to not watch after about 20 minutes into the episode.  This grew intensely when we reached about the 45 minute mark.  Since the writers have already thrown the scifi plot device that all electricity fails to work in man made devices, I guess throwing out the rules of physics regarding steam power was no stretch.

Spoilers below.

Once again, we were interested and amused to see the adaptations used when the power goes out.  The shot of a car (relatively intact) hooked up to the team of horses in the town was cool.  The print shop in operation was also cool.  Seeing the steam train in operation with pullmans and a caboose was a treat.  However, it was ruined by the storyline and the characters.  Having two highly known wanted people walking a town crawling with troops was a stretch.  Having as the third member of the scouting troop a young person who has already proved that she cannot be trusted to control herself was just icing on the cake. 

We follow this with the man who "built the army" making a huge error in basic prisoner handling.  However, this was followed by the members of said army deciding that they did not need to post guards on the back platform of the caboose, or apparently even needing to look out the window while Butch and Sundance ride up and make a mess of jumping onto the train, then walk across the top of all of the cars.  I guess they missed that part.  Then we are treated to the worst poker face in televised history, the worst unconcerned reaction by one of the most suspicious characters on TV and a magical crossbow that appears and disappears randomly.  But, best of all was one of them reaching into the firebox of the locomotive wearing a leather glove for protection to pull out a flaming log/bomb. 

I was so annoyed with the characters that I wanted to turn it off.  But my wife has stated that she is invested because she wants to see how some of these idiots die.  Unfortunately, the only one I can see dying at this point is Aaron, since he is known to have one of the lockets.  And even if he gives it to one of the others, he's still going to die because they know he had it.  So really, as with the presidential debates, I will watch only out of a sense of morbid curiosity.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

VP Debate stream of thought.

We start with Benghazi:
Biden:  Nice speech, but deflected on the actual subject.  Somewhat denying what has been reported to congress by actual people working on the ground.
Ryan:  Addressed the deflections but not addressing the issue initially.  Good point on Paris having a Marine contingent, but not Benghazi. 
Note:  Moderator has already lost control. 
Biden has turned to the attack, but has not been coherent.  Ryan is being polite while the moderator is actually questioning Biden.  Ryan has responded, but not convincingly.
Ryan:  Not selling me on the argument, but did bring up good points. 
Biden:  Starts out arrogant.  Now saying Iran’s nuclear weapons program is not really a credible threat.
Ryan questioned on what Romney would do, not really having answers.  Biden has come back with bluster.  Still denying that the Iranian nuclear progress is an issue. 
Biden:  Still arrogant.  Blaming Bush.  Claims saving the auto industry was great.  Claims Romney was not paying fair taxes, and that the economy is doing great, and that Romney will tax the middle class into oblivion.  Is not polite enough to allow Ryan to answer.
Ryan:  Not answering the question with facts, but not horrible.  Rambled a bit with the personal story about Romney.
Biden:  Starting to ramble.  Brings it back to saving the auto industry.  Claims that Romney will still kill the middle class.  Blames republicans.
Ryan:  Answers with details the issues with Stimulus.  Biden still can’t control himself.
Ryan:  Using homey story.  Starting to use facts and numbers, Biden amazingly staying quiet.
Biden:  Starting to come back with actual numbers. 
Ryan comes back to bring up facts and issues, and Biden can’t keep quiet. 
Morphed into social security.  Both blowing bluster, throwing out numbers and scare tactics.  Moderator tried to take back control, did not succeed.
Biden:  Defending Bush tax cut.  Ironic. 
Ryan:  Details the issues with the Obama tax plan.  Still not selling me on their plan, but now other figures are sited.
Biden:  Stating that the small businesses detailed by Ryan included hedge funds.
Now fiasco reigns.
Ryan:  Stating the they will not raise funding, just not cut it.
Biden:  Getting mad, scares the moderator.
Ryan:  Commented well, pointed that we need to be careful to not leave a vaccum that the Taliban/Al Qaida will fill.
Biden:  All clear, I saw it from a helicopter! 
Ryan:  blaming Obama foreign policy.  Not selling the argument. 
Biden still stating that we can leave, all of it is good (He saw it from a helicopter!).  If they can’t take over their own country, too bad.
Ryan pointing out how the real world works.  Biden stating that the Afghans are good to go, and if not, too bad.
Biden:  Obviously pissed that Obama’s policy is getting questioned. 
Ryan:  Pointing out the failures to work the on the issue.  Not showing any real solution or direction.
Biden:  Claiming great work behind the scenes.  Still getting mad.
Ryan:  Still not giving a new insight.  Argument not really going anywhere.
Religion and abortion:
Ryan:  Claiming to be pro-life because of religion, science and fact.  Not selling me on his argument. 
Biden:  Claiming to be a devout catholic, but does not want to push those beliefs onto others of different religion or beliefs.  Not convinced, however, I agree with his argument.    
Ryan:  Not a convincing argument.  Suggesting to bring Roe V. Wade to national vote.  He and I disagree.
Last question: 
Why the negative attack ads (from military person):
Biden:  Acknowledges author, not answering the question, spinning into the attack with all the subtlety of a rusty crowbar.
Ryan:  Starts with thank you to question author, takes cue from Biden and goes on to attack.  Not answering the question either.
Biden:  Still an arrogant ass to the end.
Ryan:  not a good retort.
What is it best that qualifies you as a man to be vp:
Ryan:  Cited honesty, ironic in a politician.
Biden:  Like Obama, wasted time complaining about time. 
Closing Statement:
Biden:  Spinning faster than a top.
Ryan:  Still shoveling more manure than I had to at the school farm in high school.
I was refreshed that some excellent questions were asked by the moderator, but she was just as ineffective as the last one.  The microphones should be hooked up to a timer that shuts them off.
Biden was better than I expected, but did not sell me in any way and really came off as an arrogant ass.  Ryan brought nothing new.  Neither made claims for their side that I believed.  In the end nothing was really decided or changed for me. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sometimes, my priorities are askew...

There are many things in this world to be annoyed at.  Besides Syria turning into the next Mideast quagmire, the eurozone having one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, there is the continuing violence and tragedy south of our border.  Also, Venezuela decided that they wanted to allow their glorious leader to complete the destruction of their economy and infrastructure. 

Normally, I would look at new stories based in the US and want to rage.  Like the story of Samantha Pawlucy, who was ridiculed by her geometry teacher for wearing a Romeny t-shirt.  Normally I would be asking why this teacher still has a job and if that job status would be different if it was an Obama shirt that was ridiculed.  I might even opine that I find it interesting that the President has not weighed in on the subject, considering that it made the national media. 

Still, in reality, what consumes my annoyance this morning is a television show, Revolution. 

Spoilers below.

My wife and I have been watching this show since it started airing.  I find the idea interesting, despite the obvious science fiction angle concerning the apparent artificial suppression of electrical current flow.  We were interested in how they would portray life after society collapses.  I have seen a number of shows concerning people preparing for the end of civilized society, so I like the idea of seeing 15 years after they have to put their plans into action.  Especially since they usually are prepping for 6 months to a year of survival at best.

I noted in the upcoming episode that the item I immediately thought of was being worked in, steam power.  See I know that the country is littered with heritage railroads, so I knew that it would be brought in at some point.  Since steam has many ways to be harnessed without adding electricity into the mix, I expect in reality it would be fairly prevalent after 15 years.  I also am waiting to see water power harnessed.

So far, we have found that really, while we are still interested in the portrayal of life in this situation, we do not really like the characters.  The only one we do like is Maggie, the British woman.  She is likable, obviously far from home and we genuinely care about where her character goes.  Another is Aaron, the former Google executive, but we are not as attached to him.  The two kids, who are obviously the main focus, annoy us.  The rest of the characters, well, we are just looking at how long they will last before they die.  Which, unfortunately, is what happened to Maggie.  Just as soon as we find out more of her back story, as soon as her presence is explained and we find out what she has to live for, they kill her.  She was, really, the only redeeming character for the show and now we are not sure that we will be continuing to watch.  I like the setting and can deal with the artificial solution to removing electricity from the picture, but with main characters that I actively do not like or care about, I don't give it a high chance of longevity. 

Oh well, I guess I can always just go back to watching the TSA prove that they will always find ways to make all the wrong moves.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Someone has too much time...

Apparently the GOP in Maine has too much time and money on its hands.  They have decided to attack an opposing candidate over... World of Warcraft

Policy proposals?  Nah. 

Experience?  Nope.

Budget plans?  No interested.

Game character in an online game based on a fantasy world peopled by elves, orcs, dragons and fairies?  All over that like stink on sh*t.

Someone at the GOP national headquarters should be discussing the relevance of this information with the state GOP.  Maybe point out to them how much of a joke they are looking to be with the voters.  Might even want to point out that there are actual issues to discuss, like taxes, health care, etc...  Pointing out the flaws in your opponent's plans is even a good idea.  This?  This looks like the GOP is paying interns to play WoW to get the screen captures.  The GOP has generally been characterized as always using yesterdays technology.  This is not how to demonstrate that your party knows how to use the internet.  You are not a frat, stop acting like it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The presidential debate stream of thought

The Economy plans:  both candidates are blowing air.  Obama keeps going back to Romney’s “5 trillion dollar tax cuts” and won’t move on.
What will you do?  Romney has presented proper facts about the president and stayed on time.  Obama is going to the emotional plea and ran over time significantly.  Romney is also more polite with the host.  Obama has made some good points regarding corporate tax items.  However, Romney has pointed out correctly that more people working bring in more tax revenue.  Romney brought up Solyndra, oh snap!  He shot down the oil company tax breaks by bringing up the green tax breaks being equal to 50 years of oil company tax breaks.
Social security:  Obama tells story of his grandmother, brings in the emotional plea right away.  He turned it into a wonderful story of Obamacare, medicare.  Romney is pointing out the cuts that Obama made to medicare.  Obama has come back with pointing out that Romney’s medicare voucher program will be problematic.  Obama likes the name Obamacare.  Romney has rebutted competently. 
Economy regulation:  Romney has brought up dodd-frank, pointing out the poor clauses in the law.  Obama has come back with how wonderful TARP was.  He has stated that Romney wants to repeal it entirely, which he did not say.  He stated that he wants to fix it. 
Health Care:  Romney has started in on his views, some of which I know are inaccurate.  However, he addressed the Romneycare issue before the president could use it against him.  Obama has brought up the good points of his plan, treatment limits and pre-existing conditions.  Ah, here is the Romneycare example used to justify the Obamacare.  Romney has come back with good arguments, mentioned Scott Browns election.  Romney brought up the damage to the 10th amendment.
Education:  Tie.
Role of government:  Romney scores points for specifically pointing out the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  Obama referenced Abraham Lincoln, not properly in my opinion.  Obama has gone back to complaining about Romney’s budget.  I am not impressed with Romney’s rebuttal. 
What would you do to fix gridlock in DC?
Romney has pressed the point well showing what has been accomplished in MA.  Obama claims to be responsible for ending the wars, despite the fact that those deadlines were in place before he was president. 
Closing statements: 
Obama:  He is a good speaker and has a great sense of humor.  Still hasn’t sold me.
Romney:  good speaker, pointed out details.  Still hasn’t sold me, but I lean towards him over Obama.
My wife’s winning quote:  They both seemed baffled by each other’s idiocy.

Lack of results? That never stops government...

Today I read an article from the AP (that comes strikingly close to journalism) about a senate subcommittee actually doing its job in a bipartisan way.  I had to check to make sure that no airborne bacon corps were passing my window.

It seems that in the frantic days after the 2001 9/11 attacks (I feel I must differentiate since someone decided to appropriate that anniversary this year) it was recognized that maybe the immense amounts of law enforcement organizations that have infested come into existence in our fair nation should possibly talk to one another occasionally.  So the idea of Fusion Centers was born to fight terrorism.  I am not sure if this preceded the creation of the Homeland Security fiasco Department, but if fell under their purview either way.  So, unknown amounts of money was supplied by congress and Fusion Centers were created in every state.  Currently, congress "thinks" between 300 million and 1.4 billion has been spent by fedgov on this project.  (I wish I could be that vague on my taxes.)  Based on past performance, I would estimate that we are looking at the higher end, not the lower end.  The frightening part is that this is apparently only 20-30% of the funding for these things.  Remember all of those state budgets that were in the red?

Now, what have they found that these wonderful centers for fighting terrorism have accomplished?  Well, in addition to publishing reports on huge amounts of people exercising their first amendment rights, spending questionably and not stopping (or even finding) any actual terrorist threats, not much.  On the other hand, since we have a new tool in the toolbox, it was decided to expand the mission.  Now we use it to fight crime.  So the same people who wrote inane reports on how Ron Paul supporters and returning veterans were a possible threat to the US are going to be trusted to do the same thing for non-terrorist criminal investigations.  This is like asking the guy who burned down his house by feeding an intact two month old Christmas tree into the fireplace to write a report on fire safety. 

Still, the department spokesman tried valiantly to deny that there was possibly a problem:
"Homeland Security Department spokesman Matthew Chandler called the report "out of date, inaccurate and misleading." He said that it focused entirely on information being produced by fusion centers and did not consider the benefit the involved officials got receiving intelligence from the federal government."

See, when the job of the centers is to PRODUCE INFORMATION, it seems, well, stupid to say that the report is inaccurate because it focused on the information that the centers produced.  Its their job, and they should do it well.  Otherwise, all you would need is a conference center for the different departments to meet in, minus the cubicle farm of analysts who appear to live a little too much in Tom Clancy novels and not enough in the real world.  I might suggest some form of benchmarks and job evaluations, since none exist.  However, if you intend to keep this inane operation running, I might want a job.  Better yet, hire Larry Correia as an analyst.  Then the reports would still be wild works of fiction, but much more entertaining and well written.  And they would have monsters.  Oh, and his publisher would need copies, so they couldn't be leaked early. 

So yet another federal level law enforcement organization is effectively entrenched on the public dime.  And despite the scathing report by this committee, not a thing will be done to remove this wart from the nose of our government because congressional spending and common sense rarely go hand in hand.    On the bright side, this entry will likely get me my own file in a fusion center!