Saturday, December 22, 2012

Saturday Morning Rocker

will say I got some immediate results from your prayers and good wishes. I had a consult with a neurologist on Thursday, and she went back and did the spinal MRIs with contrast. That revealed that there was no greater growth either in the intervening week since the first MRIs nor were there any other involvements beyond the nodes that were first noted in the lumbar spine.

The more promising news was that she ordered a lumbar puncture (gosh that makes me think of the name of a rock 'n roll band). I wondered what she was thinking of, but I'm a piece of 200 pound meet in their hands. I was in the neighborhoods for MRIs so I might as well have a tap.

Last night about 7 o'clock the neurologist checked in with me and said that the lumbar indicated some levels of infection in the lower extremities. They are waiting for more detail lab results to determine whether the infection is biological, viral, or fungal. Meanwhile I have been cranked up on a broad range of antibiotics of which come in pill form all of which are funneling through my handy dandy Power Port.

Whether this means that something can be done about the loss of feeling in my legs or not remains to be seen. It does offer some level of hope for some return to normal mobility.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Unicameral Legislature

But Mr. Reid said the House Republicans should forget about passing their bill and not bother sending the Senate anything, but instead go deal with President Obama

That's what the Majority Leader of the Senate said. The nation is on the verge of falling off a fiscal cliff. Make no mistake this is well beyond the question of extension of tax cuts for the middle class and the imposition of more draconian taxes on the wealthiest 2%. This is a package that may impact 100 million American taxpayers if only with regard to the application of the AMT, the alternative minimum tax. It is loaded with taxes on things like inheritances, dividends, capital gains, and of course good old-fashioned income. If you are successful you can be guaranteed that it will penalize you.

Somehow we've managed to watch the Republican talking heads continually offer nothing with regard to the reduction of either the deficit or federal spending while demanding that taxes on the successful must be raised. They don't offer compromise they demand total compliance. And yet, the American people seem to be embracing the belief that when what appears to be inevitable occurs, it will be the fault of the Republicans who repeatedly pass proposals which may be negotiable but are arguably constructive in the House of Representatives.

Now, with four working days until the new year, we have the Majority Leader of the Senate saying that he is not going to act on the proposal that will undoubtedly be passed by the House of Representatives. He tells the speaker to take it to the president. Apparently Sen. Reid has never read article 1 of the Constitution that describes the bicameral legislature. He seems unaware that the two chambers working together offer a balance in perspectives for enactment of national laws. He obstructs, refuses to act, and then continues to blame the house that puts legislative proposals before him.

Reid Goes Home Send Speaker to White House

If legislation and fiscal policy is handled by the House of Representatives and the Pres. we might ask Majority Leader Reid to pack up his tent and go back to Nevada. If he will not debate, if you cannot support his positions, if he will not pursue bipartisan action on the nations problems, there is really no rationale for continuing to support the United States Senate.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Revised ETA

With the flood of discussion on gun control and acting to "save the children" it is worth taking a few minutes to consider some of the tragedies that have occurred in the last 10 years to prompt this debate. I don't need to list the events for you to recall the tragedies I am talking about. We are all familiar.

There's only one thing I would ask you to consider. From the time the first shot was fired in one of these mass shootings by a wacko with a gun that is already illegal for him to possess how long does it take for the first of the first responders to arrive and to TAKE POSITIVE ACTION TO TERMINATE THE TRAGEDY?

Biden Takes the Disarmament Lead

The shooting starts, disarmed and helpless people in a gun free zone are dying, the SWAT team arrives and what do they do? Typically the tragedy is over, and the shooter has either fled or killed himself. The SWAT team establishes a perimeter, checks their command radio net, dons their snappy black fatigues, balaclavas, helmets, suspension gear, and stands around outside the building while ensuring that firing from within has ceased.

If we could point to one or more episodes in which the arrival of the SWAT team or the local police department has resulted in the saving of a life I would be willing to continue this discussion.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Logical questions

With remarkable predictability the Bamster has once again done the sort of thing he is indicated previously that he would not do. He comes before us pleading that we must do something about guns in America "for the children." Somehow the fundamental rights of our Constitution do not impair him. Certainly we must be concerned for children, but we also must recognize that it is impossible to have an entire society live in a Republic which is restricted to only that which might not conceivably harm a child.

No one ever notices the fact that the Second Amendment mentions not a single word about hunting, target shooting, self-defense, home protection, or collecting. The amendment doesn't apply to any of those things. The security of a free state is about protection from the oppression of the government. The armed citizenry is to safeguard of all of our rights.

As we read the newspaper or listen to the TV reporting we must continually be astonished at the ignorance of the journalists. None of them ever seems to validate a fact or even to define a term. If we seek to apply a solution shouldn't we ask if that solution has been applied in the past? If it is been applied the past shouldn't we ask if it worked? And if it didn't work shouldn't we wonder why?

What is the significance of "semi-" when placed before the word automatic in describing a gun? Everyone knows what an automatic weapon looks like. We simply must go to a movie and we will see the chattering machine guns in every scene which doesn't include several automobiles rolling over. An automatic weapon is one which starts to fire when the trigger is depressed and continues to fire without further action so long as that condition is maintained. Trigger down gun shoots.

Semi automatic is one which fires one shot each time the trigger is engaged. And hold the trigger you get one shot and no more. You must release, reset, and reengage before the second shot is fired. That seems simple enough for the average adult to comprehend. Because a particular weapon looks like an automatic or machine gun does not necessarily mean that it is.

Stop at the magazine counter in the grocery store and pick up one of the dozen or so gun magazines from the rack. Don't worry a magazine cannot shoot you. As you page through the magazine you will be astonished to notice that the form of guns characterize by either the American M-16 or the Soviet AK-47 has become common in a wide range of characters and with an incredible selection of supporting equipment to render it as a very reasonable and appropriate choice for a wide range of shooting activities. The cliché that the only purpose is "to kill people" is a joke.

Next week California Sen. Dianne Feinstein will introduce a reiteration of the 1994 assault weapons ban. That was 25 years ago. Much has changed in the design and application of modern firearms since then. That law was in effect for 10 years and we can show no demonstrable effect in reduction of violent crime. In fact the only result that we can confirm is that the attractiveness of the AR and AK style rifle increased exponentially with the prices trailing only slightly thereafter.

Sen. Feinstein proposes to restrict the sale of 100 designated brand-name "assault weapons" and high-capacity magazines. She proposes to create a list of 900 exempted firearms. It's difficult to see how that can result in a significant outcome regarding crimes against children in mass murder of atrocities.

Along the way we will hear the arguments about high-capacity "clips" meaning ammunition magazines.Once again somehow relating that statistic to lethality. Whether the shooter has a 10 round, a 20 round, or a 30 round magazine it only takes one shot to seriously injure or kill the victim. Postulate a situation in which the killer is armed with a 20 round magazine. He fires the magazine out, slaps the release, and as the magazine drops free jams a replacement in. Have we saved many lives by outlawing 30 round magazines?

Three days ago the Dallas morning news reported that the Glock handgun was favored because its light weight reduced recoil. It seems that the modern journalist never got to that basic part of high school physics which offered the formula F = MA. A lighter firearm does not result in lower recoil. It sounds simple enough but yet the world of American journalism appears unable to apply the concept.

That same reporter indicated that the Glock is commonly available-for-sale in the range of $500-$800. It then noted that the other handgun involved at Sandy Hook was a Sig. And the Sig was available for under $300. I was going to send a letter to the editor asking for a list of local gun dealers offering an array of Sig firearms at that price.

Somehow facts have little to do with this debate. In that respect it looks quite a bit like the fiscal cliff issue or even the recent presidential election.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste

It was a week ago Monday that Bob Costas got off the sports track and into progressive politics during halftime for Monday night football. As he discussed an NFL player who shot his girlfriend then went down to the team headquarters and shot himself, Bob opined without constraint on how that possibly would not have happened had we only had the sort of gun control in America that we find in Chicago or maybe in the former Soviet Union. Simply take guns out of the hands of civilians and all of these shootings would go away, wouldn't they Bob?

It didn't take long for the backlash to simply point out that these arguments are old and tired and have never been supportable in the past. Costas sort of backtracked. It was hard to detect whether he didn't mean what he said, couldn't support his argument, realized you gone too far, or just trying to back away from the trouble he found himself in. In short order it became fairly apparent that NBC was not really upset with uncle Bob's editorial position.

Unfortunately we had a tragedy this last week. Once again a young adult with some difficulties in adjusting to society went off the track and engaged in mass murder. He had two handguns, but he was under 21 and therefore that was illegal. He had a semi automatic rifle, not an automatic weapon or machine gun, but the type of rifle that has been become common for hunting, target shooting, home defense, and recreational shooting. In Connecticut he would not of been able to purchase that firearm. I could go on and list another 15 or 20 laws which failed to prevent this individual from acting out this heinous crime. Would it make a difference in the agenda?

Last night, was Monday night football again. Before the game started we were advised that within the first half-hour game would be interrupted for the president to visit Newtown and express his sympathy to those who'd lost so much. We could continue to watch the game on some other channel which we could only find out locally but the primary NBC outlet would switch to the president.

This president spoke for about 20 minutes. The first five minutes were dedicated to expressions of sympathy and Christian prayer. Then with remarkable predictability he began to bewail the loss of children to the common ownership of guns by citizens in America.

In my government classes I would often warn students that when the discussion starts with phrases such as "we must do this for the children," then it is important to grab your copy of the Constitution because someone is about to constrain your fundamental rights.

If this debate evolves around the question of disarming private citizens in America on the grounds that taking away millions of privately owned firearms will somehow save a dozen children and that makes the goal worthwhile than we have a serious problem in America.

And, if we failed to note that one of the four major networks has on two consecutive weeks interrupted a sports broadcast to take a firm position on a progressive public policy then we might also have a serious problem.

Should the president proceed with gun control by Executive Order in clear violation of the Second Amendment of the Constitution we will begin to see the acceleration of the decline of our once great nation.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

And Then It Simply Went Away

The event took place on September 11, not a hard date to remember in America. Much of the Middle East was aflame on that date with major protests against a puerile anti-Mohammed video on YouTube. In Libya, however, there wasn't a real demonstration. What was occurring was a gathering of dedicated terrorists armed with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades. Their intent was not to express political displeasure, their intent was to kill the ambassador and destroy the consulate.

When the evening was through the ambassador was dead, and three other Americans had been murdered. Once again an American diplomatic post had been destroyed and America was proving powerless.

One could make a reasonable case that there was insufficient data at that point to clearly state what had occurred. Within three days, however, the intelligence assets of the United States should have been able to paint a clear picture. On that Sunday morning ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice did a marathon tour of the five major network news presentations. Repeatedly and without equivocation she asserted that it was not a terrorist act and it was an outgrowth of a popular uprising in protest against the YouTube video.

Amb. Rice appeared in lieu of the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. It was clearly stated that as soon as she would be available, Secretary Clinton would appear before the committees of the House and the Senate in Congress to report. Certainly the Secretary of State has a busy schedule and can't drop everything to report to the Congress despite what the Constitution of the United States might indicate.

Now it is more than three full months later. As the impending appearance has neared we encounter this strange confluence of events:

Stomach Virus, Dizzy Episode, Fainting, Concussion, Cancellation

The average stomach virus passes in about 72 hours. Dizziness and fainting were then, this is now. Concussion is serious business but to get such a diagnosis one would expect that even an NFL player would get a hospital evaluation. Within a matter of three or four days an appearance before the Congress particularly after more than three months of preparation would seem possible.

If Sec. Clinton's health is so frail that she cannot appear before the Congress with regard to this critical issue and her unequivocal testimony, might we not conclude that her health does not permit her to carry out the duties of her position?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Taxing the Productive Class

Let me see who is going to bear the tax burden? Why, if we do anything against productive businesses, it will create an incredible burden on the working and middle-class Americans. How could you avoid understanding that? The president and the Democratic Congress have told you that repeatedly. The whole point of the affordable healthcare act was to provide more services of a higher quality at less cost to more people. If you can read that sentence and not see at least four contradictory terms then maybe you need to return to the fourth grade and do a refresher course.

During the Roosevelt years of the depression the slogan was often heard "there is no such thing as a free lunch". You can't get something for nothing in a real-world. Modern healthcare is not simple solutions that were applied in the 1950s and 60s. We have laparoscopic surgery, CT scans, pinpoint radiography, MRIs, PET scans, and modern truly miracle drugs. The days of exploratory surgery in which we open up the chest cavity toss the parts around and declare the body riddled with cancer are over. That sort of therapy is not cheap.

Some of the statements during the Affordable Healthcare Act debate leave you wondering how irrational adult could accept them. Imposing 10 years of taxes for seven years of services and claiming a savings simply does not stand up to scrutiny. To suggest that you can provide health care services for 35 million people previously uninsured simply by cutting excess payments to healthcare providers is ridiculous. Doctors, nurses, lab technicians and healthcare facilities do not come cheap. To demand that they provide services to additional personnel and do so at lower cost is not logical.

Now we are approaching the economic cusp for Obamacare. As we enter 2013 we will begin to see the imposition of taxes, penalties, and regulations. Here is just one of the pending results of government run amok.

Tax to Rise from 45 to 65%

This is just the tip of the iceberg. You can be assured that it is going to get much worse before it gets better. And the first-place you encounter this will be in your own doctor's office.


Saturday Morning Rocker

And who is it that says we won't get fooled again?

Another Gun Tragedy

When will we see the last of these gun tragedies? When will somebody do something to restrict the access of American citizens to firearms? When will a liberal mayor recognize the difference between "automatic" and "semi--automatic"? When will someone make a distinction between gun violence and criminal activity or the act of a madman?

The events in Connecticut yesterday were sheer insanity. It was not at all about guns in America. Had this individual wished to perpetrate his acts without the benefit of a firearm he certainly could have found more than enough means to do so.

A Knife in China

 If we were to deny all of America the right to ownership of an AR style firearm would we really have any impact on this sort of tragedy in an American school? I don't think any logical person can make that argument.

Last Night's Gun Tragedy

That is what I'm talking about when I raised the question of another gun tragedy. You could not imagine another gun law added on the top of the stack of restrictions on gun ownership in the city of Chicago. We find the most extreme progressive politicians in control of both the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois. You are not allowed to defend yourself against thugs, vandals, and gang bangers if you live in Cook County. What additional restriction could you impose on the cowering, fearful, barricaded citizenry?

If you want to discuss the impact on gun control in reducing tragedies of multiple murders with gun violence, then don't look to a school in Connecticut. Look to the streets of Chicago. Imagine you are under threat by a street gang member who does not know you, does not care about you, does not respect you and will not leave you uninjured. Now dial 911 on your cell phone, take a deep breath and wait for the police to arrive. You will be long dead by the time you hear the first siren.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Answering Some Mail

" I'd be interested in your thoughts on Win 8 though. We've just gone through a long period of "gotta have an iPad because...." followed by "how come it can't access office documents, my windows shared folders.....". We're hoping a Windows tablet might solve those problems while preserving some of the iPad's mobility."

I upgraded to Windows 8 on my laptop about a month ago. The upgrade on the existing Windows 7 system was fairly quick and with a bit of study of the users guides available online, in very short order I found the Window 8 system effective and usable. As expected there would be some growing pains and some frustration as you looked for things that it previously been readily to hand.

As a longtime toy lover rapidly approaching Christmas it was only a short leap to begin justifying the purchase of a new computer. The old one had been top-end in 2006 when I bought it and I was still very adequate, but what has need ever had to do with buying a new toy?

I've got a 23 inch touchscreen Dell all-in-one with 8 GB of RAM, a 1 TB drive, and wireless everything. I can see portions of my desk and my bookcase that had not been visible to sunlight for a decade. The migration was far from painless, and I wrote an item about that last week. Now that I've got my essential tools in place and have worked with the new system for three or four days I find it very useful and effective.

Now to address your problem. I love my iPad, but I find it less than effective for doing actual work. It is a media consumption device first rather than a productivity tool. The question of accessing Office documents and window shared folders is not insurmountable. You can use the Apple iCloud, Dropbox, or Microsoft Sky Drive or other cloud storage devices. There are numerous apps that allow you to access office documents in the iOS.

All of that being said, if my concern is actual productivity, and portability is a necessity, than an ultra-book or similar with touchscreen running Windows 8 and Microsoft Office would be your best solution. I'm really not sold on the tablet as an effective workplace tool. The difference in size and weight for an ultra-book with an attached real keyboard and the space necessary for RAM and storage is negligible and makes the investment more justified.

The size difference between a 10 inch screen iPad and a 13 inch screen ultra-book is negligible when it comes to the question of workplace efficiency. Windows 8 is going to build an application store in the next few months that may lag behind Apple's library, but will provide everything of significance that you might need for your Windows 8 system and in short order you will never miss your iPad.

Will there be growing pads and gripes? Certainly, but we saw that when Windows 95 came out, with Vista, and who will ever forget Windows ME?

The bottom line question as always as what's the dollar value of your capital investment fund?

Zimbabwe Redux

Is it just me or does it seem unusual that in the interview all of the grand political leaders, with the exception of Eleanor Roosevelt who was not an elected official in the United States government; is it unusual that all of those leaders are black?

It might be that those are the only individuals they can think of on short notice. But it seems very strange that no white or Hispanic or Asian in a position of American political prominence should be noted.

Work like a Third World Dictator

The fallacy in the entire interview is the assumption that taking a poll of the electorate at large is a way to determine beneficial policy for a nation. There is no stretch of the imagination that could lead one to that conclusion. It is not impossible that the will of the majority could be a positive influence. But in most instances the will of the majority will be little more than redistribution of economic benefits from those who are successful to those who are not. Decisions made on emotion, greed, and long past history are not the direction a successful nation will choose to go.

Daylight come and me want to go home.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Maybe a New Project

"I’ve heard the reports. I’ve seen the news photos. Dog-tired, sweaty and suffering the depth of jet lag that only comes from a trip that crosses fourteen time zones and the international date line, I pay the cabbie and turn my bags over to the smiling Sky Cap at the curb. American Airlines to San Antonio. He nods, and tags the scruffy baggage. He grins at the clothesline. I look around for the war protesters, the name-callers, the spitters. There’s no one beyond the normal airport people going about their business. Maybe some of them are against the war, but none approach me with taunts of baby-killing or any semblance of disrespect. Maybe it’s the scowl and the bags under my eyes, maybe it’s the “try me” glare, or maybe the protesting isn’t as rampant as the media would have us believe. Nobody cares. No one bothers me. I get my ticket and head toward the gate to wait for a departure in a couple of hours.

"A call from a nearby phone booth to San Antonio. No answer. I leave a message on the answering machine that I’ll be home almost exactly on the schedule I had sent in a letter a few days earlier. All the connections have been close to on time. I’ll get into San Antonio about eight o’clock in the evening. I nap in a chair near the departure gate.

"The sun is just setting as the flight touches down in San Antonio. I’ve caught glimpses of the white buildings and parallel runways at Randolph AFB and seen the lights on the Hemisfair tower downtown as we maneuver to land. Passengers file out of the airplane and are greeted by family and friends. I look around, but there is no one there. I retrieve my tired belongings from the baggage carousel and get a taxi to take me home.

"The cab pulls up before the small brick rancher in Universal City. The porch light is on and the living room light glows softly through the window. I drag my bags to the door and ring the doorbell. No answer. My dog, Count, barks from the backyard at the sound of the chimes. I ring again, then rummage through my briefcase to retrieve a house key not used in a year. There’s no one home. I open the back door and Count bounds in, jumping to lick my face and greet me. No notes, no explanations. She still lives here, but she hadn’t lied that night so long ago when I’d told here about the assignment. As Santana might sing, “my house is dark and my pots are cold.” Welcome home."

I've had the urge to maybe pick up and start writing the peacetime fighter pilot book from this point. There are a lot of stories to be told about what is often referred to as WW Cold. The story of how I got from San Antonio to Torrejon Spain and then through four years of deployments, travels, involvements, and career politics might make interesting reading.

The real question is how do I emerge truth and fiction so that in the process of writing the book I don't wind up damaging the lives and families of old friends not the least of which might be my own? The first two books were clearly nonfiction and I made every effort to keep them truthful. This book I would have to make every effort to ensure that no one could ever detect what was actually the truth.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Quality of Work or Irrelevance of Wages

When Karl Marx was writing "Das Kapital" he was living at the end of the Industrial Revolution. Industrialization had taken individual craftsmen out of the marketplace. Handmade products had been replaced by machine made mass production. The result was that thousands of individual craftsmen were replaced by dozens of machine monitors. The impact on the workplace was that factory owners could control wages and simply say "we won't pay you any more, stand aside someone else wants your job."

In short order, factory owners found that they could demand outrageous work hours and effort at low pay. Organization of workers into unions to protect the lower classes and ensure reasonable working conditions and appropriate wage levels was proper.

Something occurred over the last 120 years. The marketplace developed a middle-class. Society was no longer an us-versus- them environment. Competition among manufacturers resulted in a necessity for providing benefits, retirement and competitive wages. Today we find successful companies recognizing the fact that a trained and experienced worker is more valuable than a low-wage replacement. Keeping quality in your labor force is more important than repeatedly hiring new workers for the lowest possible wage.

It is expected that a quality company will provide healthcare, dental care, educational benefits, retirement, profit sharing, and opportunity to move up in the company hierarchy. These benefits do not have to be demanded by a high cost union, that is generally interested in dues which can contribute to political activity and pressure on the marketplace. Successful companies compete for labor without union pressure.

Strangely enough the private enterprise marketplace with owners versus workers is no longer the main function of unions. Go back and review the fact that unions were established to protect helpless workers against oppressive business owners. Now notice that most unions in America are public-sector unions. Why is that noteworthy? Because the public sector doesn't make profit! There is no motivation or even evidence that government tries to benefit at the bottom line by impression of government workers. Government serves the people. Workers in government do so to serve themselves. There is no reason for government to pay government workers a noncompetitive wage. Workers can choose to work for government at the wages offered or not to work for government. If the wage offered by government is satisfactory, government will provide the services. If the wage offered is below the market, workers will not be available and government will have to adjust their level of compensation.

It doesn't take long to examine public-sector unions to confirm the fact that their wages are irrelevant to market factors, and their dues are used to control elections and legislator doors so as to continually milk the tax base for the benefit of the workers who were not at all motivated to succeed or perform at adequate levels.

Michigan Fights Right to Work

How is Michigan doing with regard to union labor? You may recall it was General Motors and Chrysler that entered bankruptcy and required government bailout to survive. The assertion was that these were "the American car industry" but they were only two unionized companies and arguably well less than the major manufacturers of cars in America. Nonunion companies such as Toyota, Honda, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Nissan, and dozens of others are American automobile producers paying very adequate wages in a highly competitive marketplace. Along the way they are profitable and very successful on behalf of their workers.

And if we look at the question of unionized teachers, we find literally the majority of states not requiring teacher participation in unions such as the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

Democracy in America is a legislative process conducted by elected representatives. The legislature of the state of Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states represents the majority of the people across the state. Screaming union workers in the rotunda of the state capital do not represent the majority, and we have to remember that when the legislature acts, it is reflecting the will of the people.

Now, maybe we should pass that message on to the President of the United States who apparently believes that the unions take precedence over the majority of the people.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Making Things Work

I missed a couple days here at ThunderTales. The problem was trying to get things to work and facing the incredible incompetence of technical support at a range of computer software companies not the least of which was Microsoft.

About three weeks ago I took a look at Windows 8 and was very complementary in terms of the ease of adaptability for the system. Whenever we are faced with a new operating system we always have a reluctance to 1) read the book and 2) actually do what the instructions tell us to do. I found by taking some time to read Windows 8 guides that in a fairly short interval I could operate within Windows 8 very comfortably and actually liked it.

That experience motivated me to think about how old my existing desktop computer was. When a desktop, even a top-end model, reaches nearly 7 years old it isn't quite the great system it was when it first entered your office. I'm a pretty easy sell when it comes to new toys. So in short order I was discussing with SWMBO the real need for a new computer. Within about four days a Dell all-in-one powered by an i7 processor with 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB storage drive showed up at my doorstep. Over several cycles of new computers I had learned that lap link PC mover greatly simplified the transition process, moving applications data and system settings to the new machine.

That was then and this is now. If I could personally deliver a B 61 nuclear weapon upon the devil's spawn at lap link I would do it in a heartbeat.

The initial transfer method left most of my critical applications behind. That was because the interface hid those applications from the selection menu unless one checked two dialogue boxes which were not obviously labeled. So, after about an hour of set up and eight hours of transfer I was left with an unsatisfactory move. Lap link technical support seems to be located in some isolated Third World nation where English is unknown. After some unsatisfactory consultation I restored to the pre-move condition and attempted once again starting from scratch. This time the move took 45 hours of transfer time. The suggestion that PC mover would enhance installation of software on your new computer and do it more efficiently than searching through your old installation disks and doing it all manually was clearly false. After the 45 hours and two full days of being inoperative with neither old computer nor new computer accessible I found that although most of the applications seem to have transferred, none of them were functional.

That led to the decision to abandon PC mover and do the job manually. While it is tedious, it is sort of like cleaning out old closets because you are forced to make decisions about junk that you have collected over the years that you will never look at again. My first transfer was one that I considered the most critical to computer operations after an Internet browser and that was the applications that comprise Office 2010. Over the next 14 hours I dealt with at least a dozen Microsoft technical support personnel trying to install Office 2010 using my license installation key.

Strangely enough the license key was denied because there was an existing trial version of Office on the new computer. Opening the trial version indicates that if you have a existing license key you can enter it and Office will be functional. Unfortunately that did not work for me. That began the saga of a day full of technical support calls to Microsoft. Recounts of the problem, transfers from office to office at Microsoft and dropped calls after frustrating waits didn't solve my problem. The logic of a trial version that would not accept an existing Microsoft Office user escaped most of the technical support people.

To make an agonizing and painful story short, after a full day on the phone I finally encountered a supervisor who recognized the fact that Microsoft Office professional academic version is the maximum horsepower version of the software package and is not acceptable for upgrade from the trial version. The simple solution of deleting the trial files and installing from my original Office 2010 disc finally got me operational.

Now with dropbox, iCloud, iTunes, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and Office all installed I am beginning to approach functionality once again. Let me note that none of this is the fault of Windows 8 nor of Dell computers, but really from substandard software such as PC mover and incompetent technical support such as the Microsoft team dealing with issues regarding Office.

What is probably most surprising, is the general lack of training of Microsoft technical support staff on Windows 8 issues.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Over-Inflated Self Image

We would be naïve if we tried to say that we were unaware that this thinking was rampant in America. Yet it seems as though a very small tail seeks to wag a very large dog in the question of federal support for municipal funding. The video here is from a Detroit Michigan city Council meeting and the council member who is speaking believes sincerely in what she is saying.

But Detroit is a city of less than 1 million people. To be more accurate it is a city of slightly less than 700,000. Although we like to think of Detroit as the motor city and the core of the automotive industry that was a long, long time ago. Today Detroit is largely a ruin. And if you sought the cause for that ruination you would have to conclude it was mismanagement by the city government.

The Constitution of the United States doesn't even mention governments below the state level. Municipal government is local and should be handled within the revenues generated by taxes which the city citizens impose upon themselves. City charters tend to be very specific about taxation limitations and their willingness to absorb debt for the good of the community. There is no obligation under any circumstances for higher levels of government to come in and bailout the municipal government.

Take a look at this woman who sincerely believes that her little town of 700,000 people influenced the election and now the president has an obligation to pay back.

We Delivered, Time to Bring Home the Bacon

In the simplest terms we need to make sure that people like this woman, and elected representative of her community, understand that government money comes from the people. It matters not whether it is a federal tax, state tax or municipal tax, it is still money taken from the people. If the city cannot live within its means then it is not the obligation of others, regardless of how the citizens voted in a presidential election, to rescue that city.

And those of us living in rural Texas, small-town America, sure as hell don't want to pay for her screwed up town.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Shaping the Case

When the events first occurred the photos in all the newspapers showed a sweet innocent young man apparently about 13 years old and a older individual looking somewhat swarthy, dark and even dangerous. It was a few weeks later that we saw pictures of an older Trayvon Martin. Trayvon wasn't 13 he was 17 when the events occurred. He didn't have the innocent look of the 13-year-old. He arguably came across as a dedicated gang banger.

The initial shaping of the events in the media were that a nearly psychotic neighborhood watch vigilante head shot Trayvon in cold blood. Network newscasts of the 911 telephone call were maliciously edited to provide the impression that George Zimmerman was a racist. Although there were many pictures taken from the medical care that George Zimmerman received on the night of the events few were published or publicly available. Support for the statement that his head had been bashed on the sidewalk repeatedly was not made available with photographic evidence.

Prosecutors Finally Release Frontal Photos

A prosecutor is supposed to seek justice. They aren't supposed to have an agenda. If laws were broken their job is to find the evidence to support that assertion. If laws were not broken it is not their job to promote a racist or divisive policy. Creating an inaccurate or erroneous perception of events would be malfeasance in office and certainly illegal.

Was Trayvon looking for trouble that night? Was Zimmerman acting within his authority as a neighborhood watch representative? Had Zimmerman retreated before the shooting? Did Trayvon act aggressively and violently against Zimmerman? Was the shooting justified?

Those are all good questions but the one that really should be of concern is what the prosecution is trying to do in this case

Staff Meeting

Monday, December 03, 2012

Punitive Policy

If the president gets to repeal the Bush era tax cuts and raise the marginal rate from 35 to 39% on those making more than $250,000 per year, how much revenue will that actually generate? We are trying to deal with the deficit of $1.3 trillion per year. Will Obama's tax increase have an impact on that? If we run the numbers we find that the tax increase on those who are most successful in the nation and most likely to reinvest their excess capital into new jobs or business growth would equal about one week' s worth of government spending.

Recently the Republicans in Congress have opened the door for discussion of revenue enhancements. More revenue for government doesn't necessarily mean higher tax rates. It can mean addressing the question of carveouts, deductions, exclusions and favorable treatment that pepper the internal revenue tax code. Have you done your taxes with TurboTax? Then you are familiar with the page after page of questions regarding whether this exclusion or that deduction applies to you. You don't have to look very far to find places where money could be saved and revenue could be enhanced.

Of course any time we start to deal with deductions you will get the paired arguments of not wanting to eliminate the home mortgage interest deduction and a particular deduction or exclusion being too minor to make a difference in total revenue or the assault on the deficit. Recent discussions have raised the issue of a possible total On deductions for every tax payer. Don't worry about whether it is a mortgage interest deduction or some special privilege carveouts. Set a percentage or a dollar value for income adjustment and don't worry about where in particular it will come from. Revenue could be increased drastically the debate on where to cut would not be contentious and most importantly, we would not be doing serious damage to the most successful within our economy.

It Isn't about the Dollars

No, it isn't about the dollars. The president doesn't really care about the deficit. What he cares about is income equity. He is a believer in the concept that all persons should have approximately equal success in life regardless of what their input is to the process. If someone is overly successful it is the task of government to make their success available to those who have failed to achieve as much. This doesn't involve questions of deficit reduction or tax rate structures. It involves social engineering and redistribution of wealth.

The president doesn't care about the budget or the deficit. He cares about giving money from people who have created it to those who have not done anything to deserve it.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Who Cares?

So before the election he repeatedly said we wouldn't go over the fiscal cliff. Now he's been reelected and the lame-duck Congress is posturing with regard to what we will see on 1 January. Treasury Secretary Geithner has proposed a magnificent program of double tax increases a 200+ billion dollar stimulus package and several hundred million dollars in cuts to Medicare and Social Security. If that sounds ridiculous then believe that it is. It is a pure nonstarter for a negotiated settlement.

But let's take a step back. We've been operating here for the last four years on the principle of Obama's reverse speak. Whatever he says is exactly the opposite of what he believes and what he will do. When we remember that, we see that his promise not to go over the fiscal cliff is exactly the opposite of what he intends to have happen. He is currently in a situation in which he can get all that he wants without concern over reelection or who to blame.

He is totally comfortable blaming the Republicans and alluding to Grover Norquist having some sort of magical control over the Republican legislature. Rational people know that is not a possibility, but we've proven repeatedly that the American electorate is not rational.

Sequestration in which the Defense Department pays a huge share of the spending reductions is clearly within the Obama agenda. Restoration of the payroll tax reductions and resumption of the additional 2% of Social Security withholding is going to happen. Capital gains taxes, dividend taxes and restored higher rates for income tax are all coming. If the Bush tax cuts which had been in effect for 12 years now are allowed to expire and more than just the top 2% experience the return to Clinton era rates, Obama will have increased revenue and quite easily turn to Republicans as the cause for that penalty.

He doesn't have to cut any spending and he can clearly return to his policy of redistribution to those who supported him for reelection. "Stimulus" sounds like a means of getting the economy going. It is anything but that. It is a synonym for taking federal money and handing it to people who have been supportive of the administration.

Geithner Offers Ridiculous Proposal

Every day we get closer to the end of the year it becomes readily apparent that Pres. Obama is more than happy to see taxes go up on anybody and limits on spending disappear while he easily can point his finger at the opposition party as the cause for the pain that the country endures.

At the bottom line we should notice that the American electorate is totally unaware and simply doesn't care. It is hard to believe that the founding fathers of 1787 could have imagined such an uninvolved populace. As the song goes "we get the government we deserve"

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Taking Care of Iran

Consider this for a moment. Do we have any commonality of interest or foreign-policy goals with Iran? Clearly we don't want to engage in a military confrontation, but we certainly need to employ the most severe economic and policy sanctions that we can short of military force. A nuclear weapon equipped Iran is a frightening concept.

Iran continues to pursue development of nuclear weapons. They continue to publicly announce their goal of total destruction of Israel. They continued to supply weapons of terror to rogue nations and jihadist movements throughout the middle east. The strongest possible action seems to be in order.

The Senate of the United States, controlled by the Democrats, supportive of the president, votes 94-0 in favor of strong sanctions against Iran. Does the president offer his thanks to the Senate? Hardly.

President Seeks Thick Pad of Sanction Waivers

In case you missed them here are some selected excerpts from that news item:
The new sanctions too broadly punish companies that supply materials, such as certain metals, that could be used in Iran's nuclear, military, or ballistic missile programs, the White House worries. 
Or what about reporting to Congress? Can the Intel folks handle this little task?
Finally, the White House doesn't want to implement the part of the new legislation that would require reports to Congress on the thousands of boats that dock at Iranian ports and the dozens of Iranian planes that make stops at airports around the world. Those reporting requirements "will impose serious time burdens on the Intelligence Community and sanctions officers," the White House said in the e-mail. 
One has to wonder how serious the president is regarding the imposition of sanctions to compel Iran to join the community of nations and act like a civilized country.

Saturday Morning Rocker

As the idiots with email jokes always indicate: ....wait for it...

Or simply jump to the 2:00 point: