Archive for the ‘Political’ Category

Latest TV Poop

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

To give perspective, the bill to switch to digital TV was passed four years ago, in 2005. The date was Jan 4, 2009 when they ran out of coupons, which drives the rest of the following nonsense.

Update – Hawaii converted to all digital and now all the little dark rump birds can rest easy.

Not so good on the mainland – As expected, the government is trying to delay the conversion to digital TV, until it can bail itself out. Seems like the technology is ready, the broadcasters are ready, the public is ready, but the politicians forgot to do their part. To be fair, they only had four years to prepare.

The transition team wants to delay from the current Feb 17 until June 12. This was voted down this week, but will be brought back next week for another vote. (The word ‘vote’ has taken on a new meaning, just like the word ‘illegal’ has. If you lose the ‘vote’ ignore the results like in California, or call for another vote until you get what you want.)

“Obama officials are concerned that the government is not doing enough to help Americans – particularly those in rural, poor or minority communities – prepare for and navigate the transition.”

Obama’s transition team co-chair Podesta says (without admitting any fault), “With coupons unavailable, support and education insufficient, and the most vulnerable Americans exposed, I urge you to consider a change to the legislatively mandated analog cutoff date.”

The various numbers are:

$19 Billion was taken in to the government from the sale of the analog spectrum to be used for additional wireless functions.

$1.34 Billion has been allocated and spent to date.

They (our esteemed elected officials) want another $650 million and are considering adding coupons to help pay for antennas in addition to the set top boxes. This is on top of the $1.34 Billion already spent by the government. Billion is such an overused word these days.

MSNBC says 20 million people do not use digital, satellite, or cable.

Nielsen says about 7.75 million people are not ready for digital TV and about 11 million still have at least one analog TV

2.1 million have applied for the coupon and not received it yet.

The waiting list at a program to provide subsidies for digital converter boxes may swell to more than 6 million requests in the next month, according to Podesta.

Many (unnumbered) could lose 1 to 2 TV stations, because digital signal does not carry as far as analog.

24 million people have requested 46 million coupons.

60% is the number of coupons that have been redeemed.

2.15 million calls to the call center expected the first week

10 million might not be ‘taken care of’ unless Congress ponies up another $1billion according to the Consumers Union

2,600 “low-power” television broadcasters will be allowed to continue broadcasting their signals in analog after the conversion to digital.

1 guy, Henry Waxman, D-Calif. has proposed that they overhaul the coupon program to make it easier (like having them available maybe? duh!)

1 guy, Democratic FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, said “the program has been badly mismanaged. It’s not ready for prime time.”

1 guy, Murray, counsel for the Consumers Union said, “It’s no one’s fault that we didn’t realize how much demand for the converter-box coupons there would be.”

Bottom line – As usual, the numbers do not add up and they will piss and moan and blame Bush, then spend another billion bucks and delay another three to four months and we will all have digital TV, birds will sing, and life will be good.

Friday Thoughts

Friday, January 16th, 2009

I get a monthly email from the aptly named  Project Gutenberg and as of December 2008, it has 32,552 e-books, in its library. Project Gutenberg is the life work of Michael Hart, who wants to make available free e-books for the world. He started in 1971 digitizing out-of-copyright books. Since then, he has volunteers from around the world, scanning, reading, proofing, books and making them ready for the world to access for free.

I downloaded the Sherlock Holmes series a few years ago and most of Edgar Allen Poe’s stuff. Great reading! It’s fun just to browse through the catalog. If you like reading, you will find a treasure trove of goodies. You can also get audio books and CDs. The only downside is that you can preview so much that you will be lost for hours. If you have children or grandchildren in school, it might be easier to get them to an online library like this one.
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“I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb. . . and I also know that I’m not blonde.” – Dolly Parton
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Sony’s new camera for $500 has web access to send your photos instantly from the camera to the web. The only thing that doesn’t seem to have web access these days is the toilet. We have shower screens to check email in the shower (what geek came up with that one?), TV screens behind the mirror so you can get your fix while you shave or put on your makeup. Refrigerators and ovens have built in screens, cars have direct access, phones can do everything. Next, they will probably put GPS, phone, and email in rifle stocks so you can find out where you are and tell the world what you just shot, send a picture, and call your friends to help you drag the poor critter back to the truck – all in real time.

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More health woes – Experts worry about recession weight gain with numerous studies linking obesity and unhealthy eating habits to low incomes. Health professionals worry that the current recession will spur weight gain. Experts are concerned people will cut back on healthy, but relatively expensive items, such as fresh fish, fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and instead purchase cheaper foods high in sugar and saturated fats.
So, we eat too much when times are good and we are too prosperous and we eat too much when in a recession. Why do these fear mongers always have to tie the economy to everything? We eat what we like, what’s to study? My only fear is that the new Obamarxists will begin to outlaw what is bad for us. I’ll give up my potato chips when they pry them from my cold dead hands.
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Sex cures headaches. Endorphins released into our bloodstream when we have sex not only give us pleasure, but also act as painkillers. Useful information for the next time your partner uses a headache as a reason to say no.
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Global warming wrong, again – The recent acceleration of glacier melt-off in Greenland, which some scientists fear could dramatically raise sea levels, may only be a temporary phenomenon, according to a study published last January.

Researchers in Britain and the United States devised computer models to test three scenarios that could account for rapid (by the standards applied to glaciers) melting of the Helheim Glacier, one of Greenland’s largest.

Two were based on changes caused directly by global warming: an increase in the flow of water that greases the underside of the glacier as it slides toward the sea, and a general thinning due to melting.

A team led by Faezeh Nick of Durham University in Britain found that neither of these scenarios matched the data. “They simply don’t fit what we have observed,” said co-author Andreas Vieli in an interview. “The third computer model, which hypothesized that melt-off was triggered by changing conditions in the confined area where the glacier meets the sea fit like a glove. You cannot maintain these very high rates of peak mass loss for very long. The glaciers start to retreat and settle into a new an relatively stable state,” he said. The Helheim Glacier, along with several others in Greenland, started to slow down in 2007.”
Guess the slowing of the melt-off doesn’t fit the algore model of scarem and snarem fearmongering.

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Digital TV – Had to sneak this one in from Yesterday. You probably know by now, the analog TV shutdown mandated by Congress to free up space in the airwaves for other services, is scheduled for Feb 17, except Wilmington, NC, which started last September. Hawaii’s change started yesterday so analog transmission towers can be taken down before the nesting season of the dark-rumped petrel, a volcano-dwelling endangered bird. (How cute)

The federal government has run out of money for $40 coupons to subsidize converter boxes, so President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team (this team of vultures is un-endangered) has asked Congress to delay the shut-off. No word on approval yet. Stay tuned.

PS – If you are planning to replace a ‘tummy TV’ or other old TVs, make sure the new one can handle digital without the box. I have been looking for one to replace my 34 year old Trinitron in my bedroom and found a number of cheap HDTVs, but the specs show that they are only NTSC compliant, not the new ATSC for digital (meaning I would have to buy a box or add it to cable). Caveat Emptor.
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It has been determined the most used sexual position for married couples is the doggie position. The husband sits up and begs and the wife rolls over and plays dead.
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A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.

Wednesday Thoughts

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Work is something that when we have it we wish we didn’t;
when we don’t have it we wish we did, and
the object is to be able to afford not to do any someday.
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Women wear perfumes that smell like flowers to attract men, but men don’t like smelly flowers. They should wear a scent called new car interior.
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Thought I would share someone else’s opinion of the global warming situation.
Buzz Aldrin, Astronaut
“I absolutely do not feel that we as humans are threatening the survival of the world. The world’s been here a very long time. We’re inhabitants. We make use of the resources here and the world is changing, and it has been changing because of the position of the sun in the Milky Way galaxy; and the perturbations, the changes in the orbital parameters, are always going through cycles, and the world will recover from whatever cycle it has to be going through. We can be very concerned about what’s changing and say, “Wouldn’t it be nice if it just stayed just the way it is?” Well, as other people — this is not original with me — but as other people have observed, what right do we have to say that whatever exists right now should be the way it should be forever and ever? It may get much, much better for a number of people, it may get much, much worse. And we can expend all sorts of energies trying to maintain a stable condition at great cost.”

Another one –
The General Motors exec behind the Chevrolet Volt electric car hands environmentalists another twig to beat GM with when he reportedly calls global warming “a crock of shit.”
Bob Lutz, GM’s vice chairman for product development, later addresses the uproar on his own blog: “General Motors is dedicated to the removal of cars and trucks from the environmental equation, period.
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Barack and Michelle Obama are looking for a church in Washington to attend. Apparently, the Obamas ask every prospective pastor the same question, “Have you ever been videotaped screaming ‘God damn America‘?” – Conan O’Brien
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Our government bailout in action
When Congress is done with it, Paulson’s proposal for saving the U.S. financial system balloons to 451 pages and is loaded with pork barrel spending – including, a cut in taxes on toy arrows and an extended tax break on “wool products.” Backers of the arrow tax exemption – section 503, say it reverses a wrongheaded 2004 law that sharply increased tax rates on cheap kids’ arrows. Also provisions for company credit for employee bicycle riders, cost recovery for motorsport racetrack facilities, tax incentives for investment in District of Columbia, Indian employment credit, income averageing for amounts received from Exxon Valdez incident, Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, special projects on Federal land, carbon tax code audit (this one will cost us), etc. I could go on. Bottom line – Why should we believe change is in the air – except money changing from our wallets to those slugs in Washington.
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Last time I went to a hotel, I told the receptionist, “I hope the porn channel in my room is disabled.”
She replied, “No, it’s just regular porn, you sick bastard!”
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Now for something completely different, Bruce Lee playing ping pong with nunchucks. Absolutely amazing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqGQ72bre30

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Why I would hate to be an egg.
1) You only get laid once.
2) You only get eaten once.
3) It takes you seven minutes to get hard.
4) You have to come in a box with 11 other guys.
5) The only one that ever sits on your face is your mother.
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And now to end with an oldie-but-goodie.
An Irish woman of advanced age visited her physician  to ask his help in reviving her husband’s libido.

‘What about trying Viagra?’ asked the doctor.

‘Not a chance’, she said. ‘He won’t even take an aspirin’.

‘Not a problem’, replied the doctor. ‘Give him an ‘Irish Viagra’.  It’s when you drop the Viagra tablet into his coffee. He won’t even taste it.  Give it a try and call me in a week to let me know how things went’.

It wasn’t a week later that she called the doctor, who directly inquired as to the progress and the poor dear exclaimed, ‘Oh, faith, bejaysus and  begorrah! T’was horrid! Just terrible, doctor!’

‘Really? What happened?’ asked the doctor.

‘Well, I did as you advised and slipped it in his coffee. The effect was almost immediate. He jumped straight up with a twinkle in his eye and his pants a-bulging fiercely!  With one swoop of his arm, he sent the cups and tablecloth flying, ripped me clothes to tatters and made love to me passionately on the tabletop! It was a nightmare, I tell you, an  absolute nightmare!’

‘Why so terrible?’ asked the doctor, ‘Do you mean the sex your husband provided wasn’t good’?

‘Twas the best sex I’ve had in 25 years! But sure as I’m sittin’ here,  I’ll never be able to show me face in Starbucks again!’
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Hope your new year begins and ends on a happy note and not a B flat.

English

Monday, December 15th, 2008

English is spoken by 334 million people in
Akrotiri, American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, The, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cayman Islands, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Dhekelia, Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Fiji, Gambia, The, Gaza Strip, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guam, Guernsey, Guyana, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Jamaica, Jersey, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea, South, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Micronesia, Federated States of, Monaco, Montserrat, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pitcairn Islands, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Virgin Islands, West Bank, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Spanish  or Castillian Spanish is spoken in Argentina, Aruba, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Gibraltar, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Spain, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Virgin Islands.

Why in the heck should we in the USA, have to ‘press 1’ to speak English?

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Friends
If you’re happy and you know it, thank your friends—and their friends. And while you’re at it, their friends’ friends. But if you’re sad, hold the blame. Researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Diego have found that “happiness” is not the result solely of a cloistered journey filled with individually tailored self-help techniques. Happiness is also a collective phenomenon that spreads through social networks like an emotional contagion.
In a study that looked at the happiness of nearly 5000 individuals over a period of twenty years, researchers found that when an individual becomes happy, the network effect can be measured up to three degrees. One person’s happiness triggers a chain reaction that benefits not only their friends, but their friends’ friends, and their friends’ friends’ friends. The effect lasts for up to one year.

The flip side, interestingly, is not the case: Sadness does not spread through social networks as robustly as happiness. Happiness appears to love company more so than misery.
For over two years now, Christakis and Fowler have been mining data from the Framingham Heart Study (an ongoing cardiovascular study begun in 1948), reconstructing the social fabric in which individuals are enmeshed and analyzing the relationship between social networks and health. The researchers uncovered a treasure trove of data from archived, handwritten administrative tracking sheets dating back to 1971.

Here’s an interesting survey result – 71% of US employers want think the only way to fix healthcare is a complete overhaul, but they want to maintain the employer based insurance system. That is quite a surprise to me. Maybe they are afraid of government takeover also.