Customer Service (with the agricultural definition)

I just bought a laptop that came with Windows 7 Lite (or whatever POS name Microsquash put on the cheapest, most limited version of their lame new OS). I thought I'd use it for a while and see if I found a reason to put up with a new interface and learning curve. A week later, I'm stumped. I can't find a thing to like about the new system.

I admit, I lived with my old Dell laptop for more than 10 years and the only reason I'm replacing it is because the keys are coming off when I type. Nothing about the system is slow, cumbersome, or inconvenient. While I worked at finding a reason to like the new OS, I stumbled on this website, "I don't like Windows 7 and I want to go back to Windows XP. Is this possible and if so how can I do this?" on the Microsoft "Answers" webpage. An older user asked how to turn back the software clock on a new laptop similar to mine. What she got was attitude and arrogance from Microsoft's "help desk" (a business oxymoron if there ever was one). I am amazed (a little) that Microsoft's management has left the condescending replies on the site for old users to see, but it's a little enlightening.In my case, I bought a reconditioned Dell that originally had an XP/7 OS option, so I don't have to worry about having drivers for XP. Other users are less fortunate.

The question the Microsoft characters completely avoided answering was in providing some reason for "upgrading." Since most of the new OS features are only visible to IS dweebs, that makes for a lame sales pitch. Without a practical justification for changing, most computer users don't care one way or another how the work gets done, let alone what the OS number might be. And that's, apparently, all that changed for Win 7.

Mac users have put up with this crap forever. Apple could care less about legacy users. The company regularly blasts out "upgrades" that disable older computers and, sometimes, does serious damage to customers' data. I have often found myself in the position of needing a computer to fix one of my Apple computers, when an OS X update disabled my machine. Since I have a fully functioning audio/video Mac and haven't seen a reason on the planet to change what works, I expect my current Mac tower rig to outlive me. If it doesn't, it will most likely outlive my career and that is good enough.

Corporations have grown past the point of considering customers to be the people their products serve to imagining customers obligated to buy the crap they build. As a society, we're no longer "citizens" but "consumers." As individuals, our rights are subservient to corporate profits. As a nation, we're far past the point of no return on the path to when greed and power are the sole motivations of those who imagine themselves to be the "job providers" and when citizens are left with no democratic method to regain control of government and our lives. Microsoft and Apple are perfect examples of how indebted crass corporations imagine citizens to be and they are equally powerful examples of confused businesses that are likely to fall hard when they fall.

(Postscript: I did replace Win7 with WinXP and experienced a dramatic improvement in performance. Things my computer was unable to do with Win7 in charge, the computer did easily with WinXP. That settles it for me, I don't need Win7's features and can't tolerate the lack of performance.)


Contradicting Yourself

NASA and other astronomers have identified a large (aircraft carrier large) asteroid that will be passing between the moon and the earth Tuesday, November 8. There appears to be no sign of panic from the global warming deniers or the usual panicked crowd of conservatives and religious nuts. This thing is going to be close, an estimated 202k miles from the earth and about 150k miles from the moon. Still, no panic.

Explain this to me. According to conservatives, these same scientists are incapable of accurately measuring the temperature of the earth or calculating the extremely predictable expected increase in temperature based on the last 100 years of measurements and experience, but we're all supposed to be warm and cuddly since these same people say the asteroid is going to miss us "this time?":  How do they hold these two conflicting opinions in their tiny little minds?

Even more comforting, the scientists say we're safe, "this time." For at least the next 100 years, we don't have to worry about this thing hitting the earth, causing "a magnitude-7 earthquake and 70-foot-high tsunami waves." At my age, that is comforting; sort of. For my grandkids, that will certainly have impact (no pun intended) on their children's lives. Being the short-sighted animal we are, I'm sure planning for the actual impact will begin a week before the expected hit.


Apple's Inventions

What wouldn't exist without Apple and Steve Jobs? 

Personal Computers
1976 - Steve Wozniak was selling a 30-chip circuit board, the Apple I computer.
1977 - The Commodore PET was the first commercially available personal computer.
1978 - The Tandy TRS-80 computers and the Apple II began shipping.
1980 - The  Commodore 64 sold 17 million units and was the best-selling single personal computer model in history.
By 1980 there were dozens of personal computer companies in the US, making a variety of computers using a collection of operating systems.

Graphical User Interface
1973 - Xerox developed the Alto personal computer with a bitmapped screen and a graphical user interface (GUI), but didn't use it in a commercial product until 1981 with the Star personal computer.
1982 - Tandy pasted the Deskmate GUI over MSDOS and made it available on their  TRS1000 machines and for other PC's.
1984 - Digital Research Inc. offered the GEM GUI operating system for Intel machines and the OS came standard on the Atari ST personal computers.
1984 - Apple introduced the Mac computers.
1985 - Windows 1.0 was introduced, the GUI-based operating system for the IBM and clone computer market.
1985 - Commodore introduced the Amiga with its Workbench GUI that introduced widgets, graphics library, multi-tasking capability, keyboard, mouse, and and other input devices.
1985 - Sun Microsystems introduced PostScript-based NeWs OS. Sun's systems ran both NeWs and X-Windows concurrently. 
1986 - X-Windows or the early version of UNIX was introduced by MIT engineers, this has become the standard layer for GUI systems, including Apple's OS X, since its introduction.
1986 - Apple released the Apple IIgs, an upgraded Apple II that ran Apple GS/OS with the introduction of the4 "folder" concept (instead of the more technically correct "directory" terminology) and a new video graphics chip.

Laptop Computers
1968 - Alan Kay began to work on his Dynabook concept at Xerox PARC facility and demonstrated the first concept portable personal computer in 1972.
1975 - IBM introduced the first commercially available laptop, the IBM 5100.
1981 - Epson introduced the HX-20 portable computer, with an LCD screen, a rechargeable battery, and a small printer. HP and Tandy also offered portable computers with similar features that year.
1982 - The GRID Compass, followed by the GRID Gavilan, portable laptops were used by NASA and the military. The GRID products were commercially available, but at an $8,000 price tag they were rare.
1991 - Apple introduced the Mac Portable to slight notice from consumers. By 1991, IBM, Compaq, HP, Epson, and several other companies were on their 3rd and 4th generation laptop product lines.

MP3 Players
1979 - Kane Kramer designed a digital audio players, the IXI, which managed about 3 minutes of playing time and never became a commercial product. but it did not enter commercial production. Apple hired Kramer as a consultant and used his work to claim "prior art" when Apple tried to take ownership of personal players.
1996 - Audio Highway announced the Listen Up player, but only a few were sold.
1998 - SaeHan Information Systems marketed the  “MPMan” player sold as the "Eiger MPMan" in the US. The MPMan had 32M of flashRAM and could manage about 20 minutes of playing time.
1998 - Diamond Multimedia introduced the Rio PMP300, another 32M player.
2000 - Creative released the 6GB micro-drive based Creative NOMAD Jukebox.
2001 - Apple introduced the first generation 5G iPOD. 

1992 - The IBM Simon is demonstrated as a concept product at COMDEX.
1996 - Nokia introduces the Nokia 9000, which combined a cell phone with HP's personal digital assistant (PDA) features.
1997 -  Ericsson coined the name "smartphone" when the company displayed the concept phone GS88
2000 The touchscreen Ericsson R380 Smartphone was the first device to use an open operating system, the Symbian OS.
2000 -  Nokia 9210 communicator was the first color screen smartphone.
2001 - Palm  introduced the Kyocera 6035, the first widely used smartphone in the US.
2007 - Apple release the company's first iPhone.

Graphical Pads
1968 - Kay's Dynabook was the first concept for a graphical pad.
1991 - GO Corporation, Pencept, and Linus introduced a variety of tablet computers to little consumer success.
1993 - Apple introduces the Newton to minimal customer notice.
2000 - Microsoft attempted to market a line of Windows-based Tablet PC  touchscreen pads to little consumer interest. The Windows CE operating system was used by several Japanese and US mini-computer companies, including the NEC MobilePro product line that used touch screen operation, a drawing pad feature, and communications. Compaq, Acer, and other computer companies introduced and attempted to market a variety of touch-screen computer devices.
2010 - Apple introduces the iPad and the iOS interface.


A New PC Code Word

Foreign Policy recently published an article by Phillip Longman claiming that Darwinism was going to make this a "conservative world." Because, as he explains, "conservatives" in places like Salt Lake City are reproducing at the highest rate in the nation, he says "conservatives" are going to rule the future. He quotes statistics that proves Vermont (one of the most liberal states) and other liberal states have a dramatically lower birth rate than Utah, Alabama, and other hot best of "conservative" ideology. He notes that states that voted for G.W. Bush spewed out at least 10% more children than those states that voted for Kerry and Gore. He concluded the article by claiming we in for "a far more conservative future, one in which patriarch and other traditional values make a comeback, if only by default."

All through the article, I couldn't help substitute the word "conservative" for "stupid." C.M. Kornbluth told this story in his classic, The Marching Morons, in the 50's, but who would have believed it would come true so quickly?


Ponzi Schemes

Texas lunatic, Ricky Perry, claims that Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme. That's cute, isn't it? An ex-cheerleader Texas governor who claims to be a "conservative" and who brags about running a state with a balanced budget (and who "balanced" that budget by paying of an $18 billion deficit with federal TARP funds) and who barely passed his college Economics class at Texas A&M (not a rocket science university) pretending to understand multi-syllable words and criticizing a 75-year-old federal institution that has provided stability and security for three generations of Americans.

Even funnier, the bozos on Wall Street and the Wall Street Journal are joining in with Perry in trying to tear down what's left of the US economy to enrich themselves as they scavenge what's left of the nation's bank accounts. Normal humans would be embarrassed to be so wrong, so often; which is why the Extreme Court has given more rights and privileges to corporations than to real people. As Andy Borowitz said, "“Rick Perry is qualified to be President in the same way that Olive Garden is qualified to be Italy.” That fact, unfortunately, doesn't stop Repuglicans from running raving lunatics, complete idiots, vicious criminals, and sociopathic corporate executives for office.

All this is distracting the voting, taxpaying public from the fact that the real Ponzi scheme is all of Wall Street. Any idiot who managed to remember the news of the last 20 years would know that the SEC has been cut down to a fraction of the police force required to keep Wall Street and international corporations from running wild in the streets, setting fire to every corner of the country. The number of companies that have crashed and burned after years of filing quarterly profit reports without a glitch in the pretty picture painted by their "accountants" until the trail of lies started crashing around the CFOs' heads ought to stretch the credibility of any numbers posted on the stock market.

Until Americans wise up and realize that "regulation" means the country is policing the biggest crooks in the nation, we're going to keep trashing our future to enrich the Wall Street sleazebags at the expense of everything worth protecting and preserving. "Amoral" is an insufficient word to describe their character, but it's the best English has to offer. Perry, on the other hand, isn't smart enough to warrant any adjective more complicated than "idiot."


Crazy People

One of Michelle Bachmann's constituents, Nancy Bjorkman was quoted in an MPR article saying,  "I think she's willing to take a stand and stick to her guns, even when the guns are against her. And I appreciate that." I think that says it all. Minnesota District 6 is clearly one of the places we put the tube when the world gets an enema.

For some reason, my wife and I watched the July 4th show in Bachmann's eastern territory last night. Three things were apparent:
  1. There is a lot of money in that place
  2. Musical taste is not a right wing quality
  3. The people in Bachmann's world can't drive for shit. 

Damn! There are a lot of dumb folks in Stillwater. Escaping that silly town after the fireworks show was like getting out of Stillwater Prison. It reminded me of driving through a small Midwestern town at noon, when all of the churches let out their inmates. Traffic resembles random motion.


Why Do They Hate Us?

"Why do they hate us?" I heard this question a year ago from a young man who had just dropped out of a state university engineering program because it was "too hard" and was pursuing one of the most remedial and disgraceful programs offered by any educational facility: criminal justice (talk about an oxymoron!), police science or law enforcement. Pick a program name, they are all the same and they are all equally simple.

My response was lame, at best. "You're kidding?"

The kid was, of course, excelling at the idiot program because he is of normal intelligence and moderately conscious. If you are unable to pull an "A" in classes like:
  • CPS 103 Particular Forms of Crime - Analysis of conventional property crime, criminal markets, criminal organizations, white collar crimes, and corporate crimes. Consensual and non-consensual delinquency, and "victimless" crimes. Factors that can be used to differentiate several dimensions of forms of crimes. (4 credits)
  • CPS 105 Deviance and Social Control - Competing theories of deviance, deterrence and control, relations between deviant actors and reacting audiences, and how deviant individuals explain or justify their behavior. 
  • CPS 170 Domestic Violence - Comparative approach to power and violence in family systems including detailed and in-depth analysis of the devaluation of family relations. 
  • CPS 171 The Criminal Mind - Psychological aspects of criminal behavior, personality of criminals, the psychological processes affecting behavior, and the violence that is often associated with criminal behavior. Dealing with fear and anger, offering and counter-offering, and negotiating in high-risk situations.
  • CPS 172 Comparative Police Systems - Selected police systems in the United States compared with a variety of police systems in other countries. 
Honestly, I can't go on. The titles of these classes sound like exactly the kind sociology program titles that would study the anti-social behavior of police officers around the world.

This goofy kid appeared to be completely clueless about why ordinary citizens hate the police. Even in St. Paul, where the local police and country sheriff's deputies went 1968 Chicago-style on local and visiting protesters during the 2008 RNC debacle, it appears that a police candidate can remain ignorant of the history of the occupation he desperately wants to join. He asked me, repeatedly, to cite reasons why so many citizens "hate cops." As you might expect, he had excuses for every abuse and every anti-social police act committed in modern history. As I should have expected from someone so disconnected from human history, he imagined none of this violence applied to his possible future.

It's hard to imagine this level of avoidance, but it's critical if what's left of our society expects to create "order" from the chaos of corporate socialism and pusedo-capitalism. The fact is, fear is not respect. Fear is a close emotional relation to hate and as far from respect as love is to hate. While there are cops who deserve respect for trying to do the right job in a system designed to repress human dignity and freedom, most are exactly the vicious characters pictured in these video links and the photos on this page. For example, any animal capable of intentionally smearing pepper spray in the eyes of environmental or political protesters is unfit for socialization. Any society decadent enough to instruct its stormtroopers to commit such a crime is undeserving of history's charity. Cops have been used to break up legal protests, as strikebreakers, as an armed force dispossessing citizens of their legal property, and as a protection force for corporate criminals and other organized crime figures since the middle of the 1800's.

The fact is, most of us don't hate cops. We do fear them, however. They represent us in our national decay and "we have met the enemy and he is us."

Cops serve the worst of our society and repress the best. Regardless of the deranged fairy tails Hollywood and television create of hard-working, dedicated, clever police protecting society from terrible criminals and solving complicated crimes, many cops are nothing more than lazy, cowardly, tenured, over-armed, arrogant, brownshirt terrorists who repress any attempt of the public to regain control of their nation. (Not just true in the US, but in many corporately controlled nations.) What kind of person wouldn't fear that kind of police force? When some citizens get past fear and hate, and act accordingly, we call that "revolution." Remember that when you finally get your corporate welfare job and are asked to remove your badge and any other form of identification before committing a psychopathic act of brutality. Being ignorant of your own motivations and the history of your chosen occupation is no defense. When you are the fist of repression and the weapon of fear, you will have to get used to being the object of fear and hate.

Why Say It Then?

". . . it is important to recognize that profession of noble intent is predictable, and therefore carries no information, even in the technical sense of the term." [Noam Chomsky, Hedgemony or Survival]. Chomsky was making a technical and detailed explanation of the old saying, or "actions speak louder than words."

If claiming patriotism, nationalism, the moral high ground is exactly and predictably the "last refuge of a coward" or a criminal or a con artist, why does anyone listen? "Why" is the right question. The fact is the majority of the thundering herd (or the "beast" as Alexander Hamilton called us) are primed and ready to stampede off of the nearest cliff like lemmings chasing a change in weather and overpopulation. Why are humans so inclined? Why doesn't our education system provide some immunity to our idiot natural inclinations?

I'm sorry to say that it appears to be because we, as a species, are freaking morons. Someone with a far better grasp of the history of human societies said, in the middle of this past decade, that America is on the cusp of the point of no return. If we continue to waste our wealth and talent on the military, the military-industrial complex, phony finance schemes, our inclination to provide military assistance to any international corporation's demand for other nations' natural resources, and the rest of the perverse fascism that is in the long list of failed world powers playbooks, we're going to become the next fallen empire.

Obviously, the real downside to our failure is that we are likely to be inclined to take the rest of the world with us in our demise. It's a terrible truth, but the current random proliferation of nuclear weapons in the 3rd world may be a good thing, since nuclear retaliation is the only thing that appears to stand between an attempt by the corporations (represented by our government and its military) to take over the world's resources and to destroy all forms of democracy. If those psychopathic CEOs and CFOs weren't worried about a terrorist lugging a suitcase nuke into their palaces, they would order the forcible takeover of every asset on the planet.

Of course, that's a double-edged sword.

As we found in 2003, any hope that we can defeat the rest of the world's crazies by employing our own crazies in that battle is probably a defend-able definition of insanity. Arming all of the Bin Ladens, Kim Il Sungs, Moammar Gadhafis, and Dick Cheneys of the world is not a formula for world security. Sooner or later, one of these idiots is going to say "to hell with all of you" and start launching bombs for the fun of it. And they will do so claiming "defense of the motherland, fatherland, little brotherland" or whatever. As we're all going up in nuclear smoke, the last words we'll hear will be G.W. Bush babbling, "I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace."1

1 G.W. Bush, being his usual irrational self.

Dumbing Down the Nation

A recent poll found that 26% of the country doesn't know that the American Revolution was a revolt from British rule. Fox News has 3.3 viewers every day. Americans listen to the voices of fools and corporate shills and ignore pretty much any information that comes from sources with above sub-human intelligence. I actually had an acquaintance recommend that I listen to Limbaugh and Beck to "learn something."As George Carlin said, "."

NOTE: When I want to learn something I look for intelligent sources. I have absolutely no interest in what the fools of the world are thinking and saying; if you are willing to give them credit for the capacity to think.Listening to Glenn Beck in the hopes off "learning something" would be as stupid as asking G.W. Bush to explain quantum physics.

In 1950, the country listened to the inane babbling of Joe McCarthy and voted for Ike because the conservative majority was terrified of an intellectual President: Stevenson. Nearly half of the country voted for Nixon in 1968 out of the same fear of Kennedy's intellect. Nixon won two elections, even when there was every expectation (and hope) that his criminal regime would end in a huge collection of jail terms (for folks who ended up in the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II regimes) . A look at the interesting and informative list of those pardoned by past Presidents says a lot about the ethics of those people.

The conservative majority has little respect for law and even less respect for our Constitution or our history. Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, and all of their cronies and fellow mobsters are all working for purposes that serve a collection of masters who are disinterested in the best interests of the United States and its citizens. The Republican congress is working for those same un-American, un-democratic, regressive wealthy interests. Unfortunately, those interests are not in sync with the interests of the nation as a whole.

Desecrating the nation's education system is a terrific way to convince the public that "four legs are better than two" or "two legs are better than four," depending on the propaganda of the moment. Even a conservative as wingnutty as Phyllis Schlafly is worried about the quality of the US education at the college level. Of course, she wants the world rewritten to reflect her nutty view, but that's nothing new for the far right. The problem with providing a scientific, mathematical education is that knowledge goes in all directions at once. That was the reason the religious right dumbed down public science education in the 1950's, to suppress all discussion of evolution. At best, I suspect today's idiot public education system motivations are to create more gullible consumers.

One of the nation's founding fathers, Roger Sherman, suspected we'd end up in this condition if the country opted for "one man, one vote" democracy. He said, "the people . . . should have as little to do as may be about the government. They want information and are constantly liable to be misled." The gross ignorance of much of the media's audience proves Sherman's fear that the public would lack ("want") information. Their willingness to follow the advice of fools and criminals proves the are easily "misled." The dumber we get, the more likely this advice will be prophetic and accurate. Without an active, focused attempt to rein in the media's corporate propaganda, the idiots will rule and the criminals will profit from the fall of this nation. 


A Nation of Assholes

This weekend, I'm polishing off a book titled, The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton. The book reinforces a lot of the arguments I've made in the past on my old Rat's Eye View website from the days when that collection of essays was mostly about business practices and management/mismanagement.

However, toward the end Sutton has a chapter titled "The Virtues of Assholes" where he attempts to explain the success of so many certifiable assholes (one prime asshole he constantly returns to is Apple's Steve Jobs). After describing how some assholes manage to become rich and powerful, he lists three "blind spots" successful assholes often have. One of those blind spots is that "experienced victims use [defensive measures) to protect themselves from cruel and vindictive actions, measures that have the side effect of shielding assholes from realizing the damage they inflict . . . victims avoid their oppressor's wrath by reporting only good news and remaining silent about, and even hiding, bad news." Sound familiar?

In 1816, the north eastern United States went through a catastrophic "year without a summer." The prevailing theory describing the reasons for that "last great subsistence crisis in the Western world" is that a record low solar activity and the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora caused record world-wide crop failures at least 200,000 deaths in Europe and similar devastation in North America and China. 200 years later, science is in a position to be able to predict the results of this kind of event and, even, allow for planning that could moderate the effects.

The real question is, are scientists likely to provide that information? I'm betting the answer is no.

The hostility aimed at scientists who have made predictions about global ocean and climate changes most likely has an effect similar to the distortion of reality created by asshole bosses. First, scientists will be inclined to keep their cultural heads low to prevent the anti-scientific "community" (read "Republicans" and pseudo-conservatives) from going ballistic with their loony counter-arguments. Unfortunately, going loony isn't all that the Republican drone crowd does. They attack scientific institution funding, eliminate critical national and state research facilities, and go after state university research funding. Since they can't understand the data, they attack the messengers. Our primitive citizens aren't the first monkey-people to use these tactics, failed empires liter history with their foolish ancestors. However, it's possible that the costs of allowing these idiots to speak in public might be a lot higher than it was in pre-industrial times.

Imagine yourself as a climate scientist, an astrophysicist, or a biologist. Your research finds that something international corporations is doing is likely to cause a worldwide disaster. Or your data tells you that our society's inability to wean itself from its excesses will cause climate change, famine, and war. Or your observations spotted a fast moving asteroid heading in our direction. The problem is, you're doing science not something simple like banking or something idiotic like pretending to know the minds of the gods. Science allows for predictions with tolerances. In the case of the asteroid, maybe the odds are 2:1 that the asteroid will strike the planet somewhere and the odds are, if the strike occurs, the same 2:1 odds exist that the strike will cause a world-wide disaster. What do you do, if you're one of those scientists? Do you tell an ignorant, superstitious world about the problem and the cure or do you keep it to yourself knowing that your fellow humans are too stupid to do the right thing even with the right information?

Based on what we've seen over the last 25 years of the global warming crisis, I'd suspect that any scientist with a lick of sense would keep quiet and let nature (human and global) take its course. Especially in the superstitious US, we're too dumb to care about our children or their planet. We're too greedy to be concerned with the welfare of any generation beyond our own. We're willing to burn up the world's natural resources in a single generation, leaving future generations to suffer for our greed. Who would step into the political cesspool for a species as foolish as that? A nation of assholes, led by a pack of corrupt and vicious corporate assholes who are as psychopathic as the worst serial killers in history.


Factual Statements

The dumbest state in the Union appointed one of its many idiot residents to jabber on the floor of the US Senate until his monkey-talk becomes common "knowledge." Yes, Arizona's junior three-term moron senator, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (whose parents were incapable of spelling either of his names correctly), stood slope-shouldered on the floor of the senate and claimed that abortion was "well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does." Of course, Kyl is as clueless about Planned Parenthood as he is about every other subject the Senate might address. CNN's Don Lemon described Kyl's response when he was asked why he made up these "Republican statistics" (politispeak for "lies"),"We did call his office trying to ask what he was talking about there. And I just want to give it you verbatim here. It [Kyl's response] says, 'his remark was not intended to be a factual statement, but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, a organization that receives millions of dollars in taxpayer funding, does subsidize abortions.'"

As Stephen Cobert rightly exclaimed, "this is so liberating!" We can say anything we want, just like Faux News, and explain it all away by claiming what we said was not intended to be a factual statement. Or, in more plain words, we were lying.

So, with the playing field wide open here, I'd like to enter the following information into the public consciousness:

First, Jon Kyl is an alien. Not the kind of alien that Arizona wingnuts are terrified of, but the kind of alien that Arnie fought in Predator (the kind that killed Governor Ventura just after he said "I ain't got time to bleed."). The kind of alien that killed off a ship full of astronauts and practically molested Sigourney Weaver in Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, and I'm not sure which of his relatives were which in Aliens vs. Predator. I suspect that last documentary was produced by Kyl's alien Republican bosses to confuse the issue. Kyl's species was even more accurately depicted in John Carpenter's 1988 masterpiece documentary, They Live, which exposed the infiltration of of aliens into the ranks of the Republican Party, trendy yuppie grocery stores, and corporate middle and upper management. 

The 170-year-old Kyl announced in February that he would be giving up his seat in the senate because he had been recalled to duty in the Klingon Air Force. Insiders suspect this is an early sign that the Klingons will be attacking Earth in the next century. Kyl served four terms in the House before invading the Senate in 1995, under the leathery wings of John McCain. Terrifyingly, Time Magazine labeled Kyl one of the 100 "most influential" people in 2010, a clear sign of the alien apocalypse.

 As is obvious by his picture (at left), Kyl was the inspiration for television's favorite zombie,Gomer Pyle. From his dopey, crooked face to his "gollee, Sargent" and the phrase he always uses when he remembers that Arizona voters were dumb enough to send someone of his ilk to Washington, "surprise, surprise," anyone could see that the braindead alien executives who cobble together network television comedies were inspired to create a carbon copy of Arizona's boy idiot senator.

Kyl's easy political successes in Arizona politics has led some to feel that the state may no longer boast of any triple-digit IQ residents. The more obvious conclusion might be that all of the carbon-based, humanoid residents have been terminated by Kyl's alien relatives.

Of course, it goes without saying that some of the above comments were not intended to be a factual statements but rather to illustrate that Senator Jon Kyl is the dumbest, most dishonest, enemy of rational thought produced by the state of Arizona; probably the world's hub of dumb ideas and irrational people.


Thieves with Fountain Pens

"They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost. They remind us that freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. You and I must protect and preserve freedom here or it will not be passed on to our children and it would disappear everywhere in the world. Today the workers in Poland are showing a new generation how high is the price of freedom but also how much it is worth that price." Ronald Reagan

"Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

"And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home." Pretty Boy Floyd, Woody Guthrie

"The thieves who rob you with a fountain pen, they take it all." Elvy Day, 2011

We're right back in the corporate welfare mode. Wisconsin's corporate shill government is stripping away middle class protection, Minnesota's Republican majority is working toward the same ends, the country is being prepped for whichever hopeless idiot the Republicans will foist off as their 2012 presidential fodder, the US Congress is focusing on completely useless crap, and the specter of "socialism" is being hyped by the nation's right wing press as the worst thing that could happen to the country. 

Meanwhile, the "too big to fail," under-talented, perfectly corrupt financial institutions are sailing along as if they hadn't bankrupted the nation and a good bit of the world with their shenanigans. While they are dipping into the nation's credit, free of interest (thanks to their boy Bernanke and Obama's collection of financial idiots - particularly Geithner and Larry Summers), the new Mob is charging consumers nearly 30% interest on credit cards, stifling anything that resembles liberal and rational reform and regulation of banking, speculation, insider trading, derivative roulette games, or any of the giant money-stealing scams that pass for "financial services" in this demented place and time. 

It's long past obvious that the solution to the nation's pressing problems is to refocus criminal prosecution from the bottom of the social ladder to the very top. The Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, the basis for RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) states that "a person who is a member of an enterprise that has committed any two of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering." Among that collection of RICO crimes is embezzlement, fraud, gambling, money laundering, obstruction of justice, bankruptcy fraud, securities fraud, bribery, and theft. If you don't haven't noticed at least five of those crimes committed by every one of the major banks in this country in the last five years, you are both a Republican and a fool (redundant, I know). You could educate yourself here or here or here or here or here or here or here or any number of places that accurately recorded the catastrophe we call "finance" or "banking." 

[Of course, one of the beauties of being "conservative" is not having to read, think, or investigate the truth; conservatives just chant "two legs better than four" until they are unable to babble. As Mr. Cobert wisely warned, "reality has a liberal bias." Better to keep what's left of one's head deeply buried in the shit.]

As long as the FBI remains incapable of investigating and prosecuting these worst-of-all-criminals, they are a useless and feeble arm of law enforcement and deserve to have their funding cut to levels insufficient to maintain a secretarial staff. In fact, I recommend that we follow the libertarians' idiotic advice and eliminate all regulation, including regulation of the airwaves and, when what's left of this once great and democratic nation is reduced to rubble and chaos, the rest of the world will have a fair warning of everything to avoid.


A Look at Reality

One of the basic precepts of modern quality manufacturing is that you can't fix a problem that you don't acknowledge. In manufacturing, that means you count defects, analyze processes, and keep it all out in the open so that everyone stays focused on fixing problems. That, of course, is the exact opposite of the 1950-1980 American manufacturing process and that is why we got our asses handed to us by Japan in the 1970's and why we are still a second-rate manufacturing nation. We're a hell of a lot better than we were in 1970, but so is everyone else. Today, the United States is only #1 in markets where reliability is unimportant (military-industrial garbage) or where cost is a non-factor (US medicine and military-industrial garbage). It also helps that nobody else is seriously competing in those markets, because Japan and Europe could kick our asses in either area if they gave it a half-hearted shot.

My wife and I had a heated discussion about the future of humanity tonight that brought up my manufacturing experience. She is an eternal optimist. She desperately wants to believe that humanity will pull its head out of its ass and find solutions for social inequality, global warming, overpopulation, and vanishing natural resources. I do not. She believes that a few dedicated, intelligent, hard working idealists can fix these catastrophes-in-waiting even though the mass of humanity is perfectly clueless about the problems; let alone the likely end results of ignoring these problems. I do not.

She was on a pretty fine altruistic roll with her argument for a "few good humans" until I asked her how that worked out for her at Home Depot; her last inhuman employer. To be clear, she was exactly as successful as I was at influencing my equally psychopathic past employer, Guidant. We didn't make a scratch in those institutions' hard callous patina.

Nor will a few million dedicated environmentalists, social reformers, Planned Parenthood volunteers, or the world's scientists. As long as the head is dead, a few sentient organs will have no effect on the actions of the body. The human brain has been officially pronounced "dead" for centuries.

The problems are obvious. We are running out of fossil fuels. We have no viable alternatives. Our natural resources are vanishing as quickly as the energy to abuse those resources. Human population is far beyond the point of sustainability and when the energy issue comes to a head billions will starve. The world's air, water, and climate are being stressed beyond practical recovery. Social injustice has been ignored for so long that many of the world's democracies are that only in name, the United States especially.

With those big problems facing every semi-intelligent person, what are the big issues our own government wants to address? Reducing taxes on the filthy idle rich. Banning gay marriage. Removing all barriers from corporate pillaging of the nation's savings and resources. Providing a more regimented education to people who will never have a job or a purpose in their lifetimes. Eliminating labor unions. Freeing the corporate media from any social responsibility or even the pretense of honesty.

Not a one of those "big issues" will amount to a second thought when one of the true big issues comes to a head. Of course, by then it won't matter one way or the other. Every single big issue will solve itself the way every major human issues is resolved; in catastrophe. When we hit the rapid downside of the Hubbert Peak, the population issue will take care of itself. Before the Industrial Revolution and the energy-driven society, world human population stuck to 100-200 million for tens of thousands of years. After we harnessed cheap energy, population exploded. As we burn through the last of the oil reserves, we're going to see the other side of that population curve as reality informs our not-so-bright species about sustainability.

I was suffering a National Geographic show on human evolution a while back. One of the "experts" repeatedly chanted the foolish pipedream that "humans are the most adaptable animal on the planet." I'm unconvinced, considering that we are somewhere between 100,000 and 1,000,000 years old, as a species, and that there are crocodiles that have survived virtually unchanged for 200 million years, sharks that can track their linage back 400 million years, and cockroaches whose relatives were pretty much the same 300 million years ago. Roaches can live on postage stamp glue. Crocodiles can and do eat anything and tolerate fresh or salt water and do pretty well on land. Sharks are . .  sharks. I wouldn't bet on human adaptability against either of those opponents.

Our claim to fame is our amazing ability to comprehend our own demise. However, most of us (84%) have invented a Big Rock Candy Mountain imaginary afterlife because we can't comprehend a universe without us.

Our confidence in finding the next great solution is well documented in science fiction, but reality tells a different story. Every big break science has provided has produced a secondary effect that is likely to be a much bigger catastrophe in the future. "Solutions" actually solve problems. Stop-gaps are notoriously dangerous tactics when applied to life-threatening problems.

Until I see some significant portion of society begin to work on solving the big problems with the kind of long range focus and objectives that these problems require, I will stick with my belief that humanity is just a blip in the evolutionary process and no more significant than any one of the tens of thousands of now-extinct species from the earth's bloody past. We are one failed growing season, one moderate-sized asteroid, one environmental disaster, one giant volcano, one world war away from a massive culling of the species. So don't bring your superstitious happy talk my way. My patience for fools is damn close to exhausted.


What's It All About, Newt?

Listening to the new Republican majority in the house list their top priorities this morning, I realized that it is entirely possible for this crowd of morons to pull off an unintended conspiracy. Their agenda is to strip the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, to eliminate any federal funding of Planned Parenthood, to bankrupt the Social Security system, and to undermine health care legislation. Their campaign monkey-talk about "jobs" and "it's the economy, stupid" was a smokescreen for the brainless morons who vote Republican but live Democrat. Now that they are in the driver's seat, their "plan" is to eliminate every federal government activity that provides value to working people. That was the idea behind Newt Gingrich's "Contract on America" and Ronny Wrinkle's "government is the problem" and Bush/Cheney's outright pillaging of the nation's banking account.

None of that is new news. The only question one might ask is "Why?" I think the species-suicidal green house gas agenda is the key to the answer.

Republicans have always--with the momentary exception of Teddy Roosevelt and, sort of, Abraham Lincoln--been the tools of international money. Every action an American conservative takes is intended to either preserve the assets of the idle rich or put more money in their pockets. Global warming, especially ocean warming, presents an emergency to these powerful, useless, corrupt, and lazy people.

If the working class woke up to the threat to our species and to the world, huge resources would be spent on saving future generations. The only people who have huge resources are that 1-10% who own the majority of assets in the industrialized world and who control the world's income. Those people have two characteristics: they are incredibly greedy and incredibly foolish. Those qualities have worked for them for centuries and they expect them to keep working indefinitely.

Apparently, their theory is that the world is going to suffer a catastrophe regardless of what we do now. After all, scientists have been saying the world is heading toward a point of no return since the mid-1960s. Fifty years late, we must have past that point, right? So, if we can't save the world we might as well finish raping and pillaging every culture and resource on the planet right up to the end of life as we know it. Because many of those filthy rich families have pulled this off for the last several hundred years, they expect it will keep working for them, at least, for the rest of their lives. And they are probably right.

Worst case, my generation will suffer the result of the last 100 years of unrestricted industrial pollution and profiteering near the end of our lives. Which leaves out children to live lives of suffering and misery, one environmental catastrophe after the last, depleting resources, collapsing societies, and many of the horrors that science fiction has depicted in thousands of apocalyptic end-of-times scenarios. While most of us worry for our children, the rich have no such limitations. The ruling class has been willing to eat its young for convenience, entertainment, and profit since Roman times, at least. Every one of these crusty old families is willing to sacrifice humanity to preserve another week or two of their own opulence.

Since the 2010 elections, they have accelerated their misbehavior; tossing off even a pretense of doing what they do "for the good of the nation." Today, it's all about grabbing as many resources as they can hoard with the hope that they can hole up in their gated castles while the rest of us suffer the consequences.

The media is doing a damn good job of distracting the marching morons from issues that matter, too. Jabbering about Charlie Sheen's latest stupidity, Justin Beiber's ass, and all of the rest of the mindless crap that passes for "news" is just a way to eliminate any focus on anything that actually matters.

The real question is, "Will it work when the sky really begins to fall?" Ask the Roman ruling elites or the German Nazi elites or the British ruling class or King Louis the 16th's buddies. Obviously, it worked for a few of them, but a bunch of those useless inbred horse-faced, big-toothed, cousin-marrying hillbillies went down in a wave of pissed off peasants. I hope I live long enough to see our Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Girards, Biddles, Morris, Fords, Hiltons, Mellons, Kochs, Vanderbilts, Bushs, Murdocks, Trumps, Waltons, and the rest of that pack reap the humiliation and lynching they so well deserve.


Sad Times for the GOP

The Gay Old Party is having a tough time with getting its act together. The crazies in the House of Representatives pledged to focus on the economy ("It's still the economy, stupid.") and immediately turned their toilet-tube focus on abortion, union busting, and jabbering about socialism (a form of government that their hero, Reagan, badmouthed and loved at the same time). The crazies at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) wrangled publicly about who was going to sponsor the event; crazy religious freaks or self-destructive pseudo-conservative gays.

 The CPAC event is wrapping up showcasing the micro-intellects the Republicans have to offer for the 2012 presidential campaign: the corporate criminals' best friend and the poster boy for everything-not-family-values, Newt Gingrich; Abramoff's buddy and medical tort reform hypocrite, Rick Santorum; the trust-fund baby with the dead squirrel comb-over; and the Minnesota state bird masquerading as a US Representative. Palin was probably there, too, but I can only digest so much crazy before I lose all faith in my country.

 Eventually, you'd think these loony memes would self-destruct and the species would begin to rebuild. Wouldn't you?

I am often accused of being a pessimist. As soon as my constant downgrading of expectations begins to prove wrong, I promise to accept that label. As long as expecting the worst from my fellow human is a reliable predictor of future behavior, I'm sticking with what works.It's a sound investment strategy, too.

NPR drew some sort of idiotic conclusion from interviewing some "young Republicans" at CPAC. That bunch (NPR and the spoiled brats at CPAC) confirmed my expectations from that crowd. Supposedly, these were "college students," but when asked about their field of study the response was repeatedly "business," "communications," "theology," and other fluffy subjects barely suitable for an adult's afternoon recreational reading. Not a science, engineering, or pre-med student among them. This isn't higher education, its a continuation of the K-12 babysitting service. I know that reflects the "education" distribution in the general college public, but that is nothing to brag about. The dumbing down of the American public began with the watering down of "higher education."

The only upside to all this nuttiness is the entertainment value. Suddenly, Republicrats are as disorganized as Demolicans. The only thing that has allowed me to pretend that Demolicans slightly represent my positions is the lack of lock-step marching from members of that party. While both parties are corrupt, inept, and corporate sponsored, the Demolicans occasionally show signs of independence. Republicrats are wholly-owned subsidiaries of international corporations and, therefore, useless as the tits on my chest. Is it possible that actual citizens of the United States have crept into the GOP?


What Our Government Is Doing in a Time of Crisis

I'm lying. No one in our government has near enough talent to intentionally put together a funny YouTube video. They are accidentally hilarious, though.


Distracting the Morons

After listening to the new collection of Republican nutballs jabbering away like a flock of demented crows, it struck me how easily the mass of Americans can be distracted from important issues. After campaigning on giving healthcare back to the insurance companies and the drug dealers and babbling about how the stimulus didn't magically fix 8 years of Bush/Cheney madness, their first big issue is . . . abortion.

Supposedly, we were warned. Maybe, but not with much intensity. Of course, anyone with a functioning memory should expect Republicans to begin the distractions as soon as they warm up their office seats. Since their mission is to lie, cheat, and steal, it's obvious that they will be pointing in the opposite direction of where the action really is. So, it's "look over here at this abortion stuff, dummy," while they are pillaging the nation's bank account and dumping the silverware into their gym bags.

Cause, let's face it, nobody in the Tea Party cares a wit about poor people having abortions; especially poor non-white people. The Teabag Ladies don't give a damn about anything poor people do, but they are big on making people do whatever dumb shit they want them to do this week.You can't top the corporate hacks behind the Tea Party Patriots when it comes to gathering up authoritarian nutsacks and getting them into robot marching formation.

As far as getting abortion under their thumb, even a dimwit like Michele Bachmann has to be smart enough to know that cat is out of the bag forever. She doesn't have to say she knows that, though. She just has to pretend to give a shit and the illiterate dimbulbs who stumble along behind her and the Bimbo Führer will keep chanting "four legs are better than two." Yeah, you can make the legal, safe medical practice of abortions illegal, just like you can make natural vegetation illegal. However, telling nature not to grow poppies, marijuana, the coca plant, the peyote cactus, rye fungus (LSD), nutmeg, psilocybin mushrooms, betel nuts, morning glory flowers, salvia, and the rest of nature's recreational bounty is an exercise in arrogance. That arrogance is made even funnier by the fact that most of the plant-banners pretend to be awed by God's brilliant plan. I firmly believe that 99.99% of modern "Christians" are every bit as atheist as me. If they weren't, they'd be very afraid of an afterlife where they have to explain why they thought God is a moron.

The abortion cat is out of the bag, up a tree, and telling all of the other cats about the holes in the bag. A quick Google search on "home abortion" (in quotes to limit the false positives) will return 25,400 hits as of today. Tomorrow, I wouldn't be surprised if another thousand resources appear. Everything from large doses of ascorbic acid to carrot seed soup to mutton marrow is supposed to cause a miscarriage. Even Wikipedia lists 14 references and more than a dozen "solutions." Toss out the doctors and the result is most likely going to be more abortions with more casualties among the mothers-not-to-be.

Legally, the Republican antiabortion stance is one of the most disingenuous arguments in human history. Not only do they not give a flying damn about 90+% of the abortions in the country, but they are tiptoeing around who is going to be criminalized if they get their way. They don't have the balls to tell girls and women that they are going to imprison, execute, or condemn them as witches for having abortions. If they did, today, they would vanish from the face of the national discussion. No, these clever fruitcakes are pretending to be caring, loving human beings while planning the kind of fanatical religious persecution history has seen so many times. Why they feel compelled to piss on our democracy when there are so many theocracies already making life miserable for those citizen-victims is beyond me. As I always ask these characters when they raise their venomous heads, why don't you move to Iran or Pakistan? Those places are exactly the science-hating, superstitious, anti-democratic, totalitarian and miserable places you claim to love so much.

Crazy Is As Crazy Does

The Department of Homeland Security linked Jared Lee Loughner to a collection of right wing hate groups that the DHS called "anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG [Zionist Occupation Government], anti-Semitic.” Sounds like Fox, doesn't it?

The wingnut bin has been trying, predictably and desperately, to separate itself from responsibility. That's the beauty of being conservative; you can be wrong on every issue and still claim you're Right. When you're Right you're always right.

Of course the other side of that position is it's hard to tell crazy from stupid. Rush and the Bimbo Führer are both crazy and stupid, but they aren't foolish. In our idiocracy you can be a moron and still be powerful, corrupt, and completely unhindered by any form of civility or common sense or any interest in the common good. They are anti-democratic, pro-corporate, and sponsored by elite money that has no loyality to any country, let alone the United States.

Limbaugh, Palin, O'Reilly, Beck, and the Faux News cast of fools and lunatics are running from their own words in terror of taking any responsibility for their constant hate agitation and fear mongering. In a just world, Faux News would be held accountable for all sorts of national disasters, not just the most recent tragedy. As the sheriff of Pima County, Clarence Dupnik said, “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government—the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country, is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

If we were a country ruled by laws, these people would be immediately held responsible for the damage they do. We are not. Obama and the Justice Department are pretending that a "lone gunman" (when have we heard that one before?) is responsible for this assassination attempt and the associated murders. Screaming "fire!" in a dark auditorium is no longer a criminal offense, even when lives are lost. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' father replied, when asked if his daughter had enemies, "The whole tea party." "Enemies," not opponents. Palin and her gang of ignorant "patriots" considered Giffords an enemy because she disagreed with their nutty, perverted mutation of what a society should be.

When taking a political position is sufficient to become a hated enemy, you know crazy has taken over and rational discussion is beyond hope. When a national figure can generate a hit list, publish it nationally, and talk about "reloading" in reference to defeating an opponent, rational dialog is not on the table.When our government stands by and allows this kind of rhetoric to contaminate the tiny minds of fools like Jared Loughner and pretends that those who incited murder are above the law, we are that much closer to becoming the kind of country the Bimbo Führer dreams of.

Look at this map littered with gun-sight bulls-eyes. Tell me you think those are anything but a call to shoot the opponents Palin has listed here. Give it your best shot, but you are only deluding yourself. Of course, if you think Palin is anything but a dangerous fool, you're pretty good at delusion.


Test Yourself

Here's a test worth taking. Political Compass. I found it oddly comforting to be left of Ralph Nader and more libertarian. I can't be embarrassed by the company I keep in this quadrant, either. After you take the test, I recommend you look at the analysis of other places and people. The chart that allows you to look at the politics of a variety of US states is particularly interesting.

The question of right and left has always seemed incomplete to me. The aspect of government that I oppose is authoritarian. The aspect of government that most wingnuts represent would have its sticky little hands and corrupt amorality placed right in the middle of all of our lives. The wingnuts would force their fake religion on everyone. Their phony brand of "liberty" would focus on corporate "freedom" to pollute our water, air, and food and to control any political discussion with floods of money. Whenever a corporation decided to send the nation into war, the wingnuts would do anything in their power to suppress dissent and discussion. Individual freedom would always be sacrificed for the corporate good. I don't care if the authority is the state or federal government or Walmart. Authority and money are moral standards for the pseudo-right and I have no interest in the world they would build.

Obviously, the authoritarian left has lots in common with their buddies on the right side of the vertical axis. I have never been able to tell the difference between Mao and Hitler or Nixon and Stalin or G.W. Bush and Lenin or Sarah Palin and Ayatollah Khomeini. They are all the same character.

Palin thinks Wikileaks editor, Julian Assange, should be on a terrorist hit list. Disagree with the bimbo Führer and you're on an assassination list. Considering her idiotic interpretation of Christianity, Palin's resemblance to Ayatollah Khomeini and his hit on Rushdie is identical. I have no use for either of those authoritarian fools or the morons who chant "four legs are better than two" whenever their timid leaders raise the call.