Days of Change

On to 2015

December 31, 2014
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Here are my wishes for 2015.

Obama uses his phone to call people who then tell him where to stick his pen.

John Boehner learns the lesson that you can’t be the head of the opposition party if you don’t oppose anything.

Doctors go private and refuse the lousy payouts of Medicare and Medicaid and we learn how health care will really have to work.

That NYC cops are safe and protesters walk the streets in fear of the people they claim to represent.

That biology continues to term limit the dinosaurs still hanging on in the Democratic Party.

We all find the strength and resources within ourselves.

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What’s Going to Happen Next Year?

December 30, 2014
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I’ve occasionally written a set of predictions for the next year of what would happen based on the old year. Do any of the commentators have any? I may throw some together tomorrow.


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Who Makes Money From Poverty?

December 29, 2014
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Today I watched a trailer for a documentary called “Poverty, Inc.” This should not be confused with another documentary series of the same name that seems to be out about how US companies are supposedly exploiting the poor.

In any case, the trailer is from a group called PovertyCure. They are focusing on the various instances of poverty and hunger in parts of Africa and looking at solutions. The “solution” for decades has been a sort of global war on poverty, where Western nations throw food at desperate people with no food, so they become desperate people with some food. We are engaging in the large-scale equivalent of “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.” We are not teaching anyone to fish.

I’m a fan of libertarian John Stossel since his days on 20/20. For as long as ABC tolerated him, he was the lone voice of self-reliance and limited government on network television. His report was the first I heard about how the poor in Africa could have the opportunity to be working class citizens if they had property rights and the ability to keep what they made.

That goes against progressive ideals, however. Providing food and education and wells and every other municipal service is a great way to control what people do with themselves. it also has the byproduct of making them dependent. Giving people rights and opportunities is more of a gamble. They could do the wrong thing. Worse, they could do something the self-appointed ruling class would object to.

Ironically, China (the #1 economic power thanks to Obama) is literally making inroads into parts of Africa. They see a potential market as well as a new production hub. Africa is not one unending desert. Infrastructure is what keeps places hard to live. Without technology, places like Las Vegas and Southern California would be desolate, too. The lack of traditional infrastructure actually makes it easier to set up next generation technology, like solar power and wireless communication nets.

Giving Africa opportunity might put them ahead of North America in economics in a generation, especially when this administration is importing Africa policy to the US.


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Awareness

December 28, 2014
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About 20 years ago, the movie “To Die For” depicted someone who was both very dumb and very driven to become famous. In that era before the Internet was something regular people used, TV was the way to become seen. This movie was an early criticism of the desire for fame and celebrity and how being infamous was the same as being famous.

Now you don’t even have to become the weather girl on a local TV station. Social media lets you become a tiny broadcaster hoping to collect enough followers to satisfy your ego. Even as a follower, you have an identity. This micro-fame has created an awareness industry where tweeting about an issue can raise awareness about it.

Awareness brings to mind a kind of Jungian construct where people just thinking about something makes it more real. It also makes something less real. Awareness is rarely about doing something, because doing things is hard and so many fewer people will go along with that. It’s actually a lot like commerce on the internet. Many dot coms went out of business in the years before people actually wanted to pay for things online. The news business still hasn’t figured it out.

Over the last months we’ve seen protests and social media intending to raise awareness over people who died during encounters with the police. The problem is that everyone is aware of this, but we have different views of why the death occurred. The fastest way to get those same protesters to deny their efforts is to bring up a murder.

Two NYPD officers were murdered by a likely unstable individual, but one whose anti-police screeds were drowned out by identical remarks by others on social media. Cop-hating went viral, yet the patient zeroes want to deny that their actions mutated the virus into lethality. The question is not if social campaigns like this are effective, but what effect is intended. It seems like no one knows.


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At Least He’s On Vacation

December 27, 2014
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I guess my outrage at the government is a little stale now that Congress skipped town and Obama is on vacation. Even Joe Biden wasn’t the story today, since NYC Mayor Deblasio was the most offensive speaker at the memorial for two police officers. His lack of confidence in the professionalism of the NYPD has made him very unpopular with the police for good reason.

I am amazed at the cognitive dissonance of the race baiters and perpetual protesters against the police. They claim that making comments on Facebook or Twitter did nothing to put the police in danger. Does that mean all the “raising awareness” activities are a bunch of BS like everyone else knows it is? What about those who claimed Sarah Palin encouraged a Congresswoman to be shot by making a comment?

Now the Left is becoming discouraged because their anti-social social network behavior is making them unpopular. That’s the problem with rage. Even unfocused, it spews a lot of anger toward just about everyone. When you are done raging, it’s hard to find anyone who you cared about what you raged against. The only evidence is the ruined lives.


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The Twelve Days of Christmas

December 26, 2014
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While Christmas is over, the “season” is just winding down. I didn’t partake in any mythical after Christmas sales, but I will take some time off before the New Year. January 1 usually marks the end of the season, although I tend to drag it out to January 6, the Feast of Saint Nicholas.

My gift is that for the rest of the month, there is no snow to be found. That comes in January and February these days.


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Now That We’ve Celebrated Christmas…

December 25, 2014
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Does anyone know where to get one of those Kwanzaa candle holders?


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It’s Merry Christmas

December 24, 2014
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The concept of the War on Christmas seems to be popularized by Bill O’Reilly over retailers attempting to avoid the ire of those who adamantly refuse to accept Christmas. There are other holidays around the same time, although they don’t have anywhere near the economic impact of Christmas.

I was talking to someone at work about the terms “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays.” He switched to the more generic term because of people and co-workers who are not Christians. I can understand the whole season or holiday felicitations during the month of December. However, in the days before the 25th, we are really dealing exclusively with Christmas. Where I work, someone might spend Christmas day at home drinking tea or watching reruns on television, but they’ll be doing it at home. Regardless, they will be enjoying a day off because of Christmas.

Still, I won’t be forcing my Christmas on people. I generally reciprocate the greetings and well-wishes of others, rather than “correcting” them to it being a merry Christmas. I will not, however, be wishing “Happy Holidays” to anyone this week.


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Techpocalypse

December 23, 2014
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Over the last few weeks, I’ve had technology fail from my old VCR to my new networked storage drive. The part that’s worse is that these devices represent history, with their stored information and ability to retrieve it. In this case, my ability to “back up” kept losses to a minimum, but the disruption is significant.

I tend to consider technology not only by what it can do, but if it is convenient and reliable. The remote control television was probably the pinnacle of that standard. You could sit and change channels, you turned it on and it worked. TVs started getting smarter in the last decade and were more prone to troubleshooting instead of using.

Computers are still inconvenient. You have to know about computers at a fairly technical level to eliminate the trouble from them. Still, you end up with technology that advances faster than its reliability. Mobile devices try to be less prone to break down, but I had a “smart” phone that couldn’t work long enough to make a phone call for a couple of days.

I think we are on a path to faster, bigger, lighter and more complicated. I think technology should be unobtrusive, useful and long-lasting. I guess that’s why I don’t design technology.


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This is Not That Day

December 22, 2014
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At some point this week, I will put down my pen of righteous outrage and write about Christmas. It won’t be today, however.

The Obama sniffer site vox.com has covered the attempt and failure of Vermont to implement single-payer health care by the state. This is somewhat of a surprise, because the editor of the site has said that this highlights the trouble for liberal ideas. Is it a Christmas miracle?

Go back to the previous paragraph. Vox is not a bunch of liberal idealists. The site is for progressive Obama worshipers who agree with Jonathan Gruber that Americans are stupid and must be lied to affect real change. What’s the enemy of Obamacare? If you said logic, you are correct. However, for political purposes, Democrats upset with Obama are complaining that he should have pushed a single-payer plan instead of Obamacare.

In this light, Vox is doing exactly what I would expect them to do. They want to promote the Obama administration. If you are a liberal who thinks that Obamacare was a bad idea, you are now wrong. Vox has provided proof that single-payer is unaffordable in the United States for some nebulous reasons and that Obamacare is the closest thing.

The reality, of course, is that Obamacare is exploiting the fact that people can’t afford insurance and are not getting health care to prove that it is financially viable. At the same time, the administration is using enrollment numbers to show “more” people are getting health insurance without subtracting the number of people who lost their insurance because of Obamacare. Single-payer is bad. Obamacare isn’t any better.


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