Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Stupid, Lazy Parents Strike Again

The article goes on to say that it's just too darned hard to follow the law and ensure that every child gets a booster seat. And so, I guess we shouldn't judge the worthless, shiftless, incredibly stupid lawbreaking parents who are simply too fat or stupid to wedge another booster seat into the back seat of a car.

I hope they don't let children ride up front. That always boggles my mind. Everyone knows that a kid should be in the back seat, strapped in, and sitting on a booster seat or in some sort of secure seat. The mentality that just goes, "aw, to hell with it" is found in people who are going howl about not knowing and not being told and not having a warning sign on their dashboard. Those are the people who screw up, cause a tragedy, and then end up suing someone.

Europe Has Always Been a Dirty Word in American Elections

Well, there are two fallacies in this article.

The first one is easy. Europe has always been a dirty word in American elections, and was used against John Kerry in 2004. The Republicans have always tried to exploit anything "worldly" about Democrats. I can remember the lines of attack that were tried on Bill Clinton, which ran the gamut from how he acted as a college student in Britain to any travel he might have done.

The second one assumes that there haven't been any "crazy" lines of attack in the Republican Primary. ALL of the lines of attack have been crazy because the Republicans are running their crazies and their lickspittles and their problem children.

The status quo wants Obama re-elected. Enough said.

The End is Near for 30 Rock

Alec Baldwin loves to create controversy, and that's all this is, I believe.

Love the show, hate the drama that goes with it. Big [sigh].

Monday, January 30, 2012

Deadbeat Daddy Jon Voight Endorses Mitt Romney

Wingnut actor Jon Voight has gone all-in for Mitt Romney, thereby solidifying his betrayal of the hard-right fans who have supported his many thoughtful and interesting op-ed pieces over the years.

His "tell me about it" quip is one worth highlighting, however. For him to suggest that he actually had an active role as a parent in the life of his daughter, actress Angelina Jolie, is hilarious. Voight's personal history is well documented. Angelina Jolie was raised in relative poverty because of his neglect.

He was yet another deadbeat daddy of the 1970s, which was a time when millions of parents basically walked away from their obligations and abandoned children left and right in this country. It took the work of family advocates and activists to establish databases that could track down these deadbeats and force them to pay child support (there's more about that here, but, please note, the laws didn't really get tough until the 1980s and are still not tough enough).

My question is, why even accept Voight's endorsement and then talk about family? How does that square with being a family values candidate and how does that contrast with Newt Gingrich in any substantive way? Why would Romney celebrate the endorsement of a man who ran out on his family obligations?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The End of Jane Addams Hull House in Chicago

This is a tremendous blow to the community and to the overall history of the city of Chicago. This effectively snuffs out one of the few remaining links that people have to their past.

When someone brings up "the good old days," remind them that women used to live in routine fear of being beaten to death by alcoholic husbands and that children were routinely neglected and abandoned. That's what went on in the good old days, and that's what still goes on today, and that's what Jane Addams Hull House fought against for 122 years until the money ran out and the lights got turned off.

Tomorrow, someone is going to be in need of assistance, and this organization won't be there. What a tragedy.

Step Back and Watch the Republican Party Destroy Itself

It is somewhat amusing to hear that Allen West has been redistricted out of existence (well, something akin to that, anyway). The Republican Party establishment has a problem, and that problem is represented by loose cannons like West who have their own constituency and support (and therefore don't NEED the Republican establishment).

The GOP, like the Democratic Party, wants members who toe the line. They want members who have to swallow their pride and vote in lockstep with the party in order to get their money and their access and their seat at the table.

Getting rid of Allen West makes sense. The Democratic Party has a problem with Dennis Kucinich; they're simply two examples of the same issue.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Jonah Goldberg Cannot Handle the Fact That Bin Laden Is Dead

If that doesn't read like someone's sad, sad confession into their tear-stained pillow, I don't know what would. You can practically hear the sobs coming from under the fainting couch.

Jonah Goldberg cannot handle the fact that this President kills terrorists dead. Does this mean that Goldberg wishes that Bin Laden were still alive?

The Bush Administration used the uniformed military repeatedly for visuals. At the height of the Iraq War, President Bush appeared in front of uniforms so often, you would have thought that the White House Rose Garden had been moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

And so, here it is, 2012, and conservatives still cannot handle the fact that a Democrat is in the White House, killing terrorists and using our military to kill even more of them at a faster and faster rate (which won't really solve the problem, but still). It contradicts everything the conservative media has tried to establish as fact for the last forty years or so, which boils down to "the democrats are weaklings who won't defend America."

Two words for Jonah: Mars, Bitches.

Running on Whippits and Red Bull

In case you haven't been inundated with this already, Demi Moore ended up having a bad week. And, it just sort of hit me when I was trying to ignore this story and not blog about it. We have been treated to an alternative version of Demi Moore for the last decade or so that has been a complete and utter fraud.

Well, maybe not a decade, but the thing with Moore has always centered around the fact that she has stayed extremely attractive for her age and that she has maintained a very attractive figure well into her 40s. Weren't there TwitPics and people making a big deal out of her looks? Weren't there accolades and film roles based on the fact that she had a great body?

It was all based on her being addicted to Red Bull.

There are stories coming out now that she has been living off of Red Bull for ten years. How is that possible? How is it possible that she was able to do that? (Then there's the girl who lived on chicken nuggets--how awful if, in fact, it's even true).

In her attempt to maintain a career and a public image, Demi Moore has probably ruined her health. Was it worth it? Of course not.
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Yanked From the Shelves, As it Were

Oh, boo to that. The blue hairs won again.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Prime Minister Julia Gillard Has a Bad Day

Australia Day is a little contentious this year. Part of the problem stems from the fact that the protesters weren't entirely calm or polite because they're tired of having to protest all the time.

This poor woman, who is Prime Minister Julia Gillard, had to be dragged away, and lost her shoe in the process. And this on a day celebrating the country.

Hatin' Immigrants Is Never Going to Go Out of Style

The issue here is a very simple one. The Republican Party, as personified by the likes of Governor Jan Brewer, can't survive unless it demonstrates that it hates illegal immigrants
more than anyone else. Despite the fact that hating people has never really been a great vote getter in the long run, and despite the fact that the agricultural sectors in Alabama and Georgia are taking a huge financial hit, this unhinged tactic has begun to run its course because people don't think demonizing poor people will make their lives better. And Jan Brewer can't survive unless she gets the occasional photo of herself wagging her finger under the President's nose.

Her base loves this sort of thing. You can figure out the rest.

Dwight Schrute Needs a Nemesis

If you follow the link to the Deadline site, you'll get to read about the logic of creating a spinoff featuring Rainn Wilson's character Dwight Schrute. It goes without saying that this is a character worthy of a spinoff and there are only a handful of comparable characters that you could say this about. It makes sense from a business point of view. And, since the Deadline commenters hate the idea and bring the usual "inside baseball" snark, it goes without saying that the general public will probably accept it. In all of blogdom, the commenters on Deadline rival everyone with their ability to pose as industry insiders from their lofty perch upon toldja! mountain.

The new element that needs to be introduced into any Dwight spinoff would have to be a good woman to keep him honest, a buddy who backs him up with a mighty bromance, and an enemy worthy of praise. He needs a nemesis who is secretly just as weird as he is.

This is (almost) the exact formula for the Drew Carey Show, and it's a damned good one, since that show was one of the better pre-Office workplace comedies. It would be a mistake to think that a show entirely about Dwight being socially inept would work; people have to be able to relate to him and watch him interact in meaningful relationships.

Wilson has done a stellar job of creating and shaping this character's performances. The writing has always been exceptional, but let's stop hating on a guy who has done his job.

Politifact Rolls Over and Goes Belly Up

Once a wingnut shill shack gets caught trying to stink up the place with crazy ideas, it's over. Politifact is just that sort of place and I'm ashamed to have ever linked to them. The idea of presenting ratings and assessments for the statements made by politicians is an excellent one, but in the hands of hacks it becomes a joke. Politifact made itself into an irrelevant joke with this issue, and I'm done with them.

I think that the idea is a good one, but it needs a level of truth and honesty that is rare. It isn't enough to be bipartisan since being bipartisan in the modern sense means tolerating the "working the refs" efforts of a good many liars on the right and the purity trolls of the left. Where are you going to find another mega-blogger like Nate Silver? That's what an idea like this needs. It needs someone with the political acumen to spend 12 or 15 hours a day in the weeds on this issue.

Politifact tried to be like Nate Silver. Instead, we got Confederate Bob's Beauchamp Boogaloo.*

*Yes, I got that here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Case Against Andy Dick Has No Merit

When you go to an Andy Dick show, I think you can expect to be shocked, surprised, and maybe even a little entertained. My question is, did these two young men pay money to see Andy Dick without knowing anything about him? Were they expecting Larry the Cable Guy?

The case was filed in order to beat the statute of limitations. This means that the gentlemen in question are expecting some sort of settlement in order to make the case go away. There's a good shot at a settlement, but I think there's an ever better shot that Dick doesn't pay anyone for being in the audience at his show, especially if he can convince a judge that that's what he does.

I used to not be sympathetic, but I am fully sympathetic to Andy Dick these days and I think he's getting piled on here. He does what he does. And my opinion about him changed because of Marc Maron's WTF Podcast with him back in April of last year. If you haven't already done so, sign up and give this a listen and decide for yourself. There are few things on the Internet worth paying for, but WTF is worth it and I can say that because I'm not getting a dime for saying so.

An Expert In His Own Mind

Contrary to popular belief, LTG William Boykin is not really able to "speak his mind." As a retiree, he has to watch what he says and does to a degree that would probably surprise most Americans. His "crusader" rhetoric is old hat, of course. No one really believes there is a crusade going on right now; we're disengaging from the Middle East and our wars of choice didn't really turn out so well for Boykin and his ilk.

You can pass anyone off as an expert, but, really, what is Boykin an expert of? Certainly not diplomacy, common sense, or self-control.

You Have to Dance With Them What Brung You

William Kristol wants to be able to push himself back away from the table at the club and look off in the distance and tell the assembled, hushed members of his enormous posse, "I knew we were going to lose to Obama, I just knew it!"

If Mitch Daniels actually was running, they'd be obsessing about his bald head (Mitt's got better hair!) and his lack of Civil War knowledge (Newt's our General Lee!) or his failure to put Indiana on the gold standard (Doctor Paul will Save Us All) or his inability to make the gays go poof! and run away (I don't know if Santorum has accomplished this yet, but he's praying to Jesus for extra powerful smiting powers). They'd be smashing his record, looking at his wife funny, or wondering why he isn't conservative and insensitive enough.

I mean, really. Indiana? Does Kristol think being governor of a small, failed state matters? I thought Bill Clinton was proof that it did matter.

The Republicans are headed for a demographic election battle that they can't win. They've demonized Hispanics for the better part of the last decade. They've insulted women every chance they get. They don't even bother pretending to hide the Confederate flags anymore. They can't get enough people who have skin that is darker than a whiter shade of psychedelic pale to even consider voting for their candidates. They are really, really good with the white, Southern males, though.

All of the traditional indicators of Presidential electability or re-electability are thrown into the air. People may not be happy with who is President but they're not going to embrace crazy and trust the country to someone who can't articulate anything past the usual dog whistle responses.

I mean, if the American people suddenly fall asleep or become collectively stupid enough to elect one of the four remaining Republicans to the Presidency, then it will be a four year ride with Mr. Toad on his Wild Ride, and nobody's getting off without skinned knees and elbows and a massive concentration headache.

Disney Gets the Joy Division Treatment

Ignore what the concern troll at this link has to say. Disney doesn't care. Disney wants sales. People want things that do not suck. This does not suck.

Want. This. Now.

Megan Fox Island

This is not awful.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Senator Rand Paul Does Have Some Points Here

I find myself in agreement with what Doug Mataconis is saying here. What happened to Senator Rand Paul is very much a comment on how the way we travel and secure ourselves is broken. But, there is a part here that is fairly dangerous and that's the third paragraph that I've posted above, which is where he goes off on a tangent. To say that he "knows" why the machine didn't go off the second time is laughable. That's pure conjecture on his part. How do we know that he didn't remove an item from his pocket the second time through?

Is Senator Paul qualified to assess the technology now? As far as that subject is concerned, Senator Paul should be careful about asserting his opinion as a fact.

But, there is one thing I don't get from this story and that is the sense that Senator Paul felt "entitled" or "special" and that's to his credit. There are plenty of people who go ballistic when they are asked for identification or when they are asked to submit to a routine search, and members of Congress are famous for the stock rhetorical question, "do you know who I am?"

Senator Paul is taking a very hand-on approach to this subject, and, out of his indignation, there might be a good debate on these issues. It is a broken process. He should have a choice about being scanned or patted down. He definitely should have been informed of his rights if he was, in fact, detained or in some sort of custody. And everyone needs to be treated fairly and respectfully.

If there's anything good to come out of this, I would say that an assessment of the whole security theater apparatus is long overdue.

No Question Anymore

I'm sure that this will be written off as some nutty incident, but, really. there's no question as to what this was about. Someone, in that town, hates the idea of liberals, and hates the idea of cats even more.

Someone hated, in the abstract, no less, the idea that this liberal had a home with children and a pet, and decided to commit an unspeakable hate crime.

Someone had it in their head to do this, and write "liberal" on the side of that dead cat.

Someone decided that this would be a great way to spend their time, killing and mutilating a defenseless animal.

I don't know who that person is, but I can bet you one thing. They're in a place no one would wish on their worst enemy.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Salman Rushdie and the Threats Against Him

Clearly, Salman Rushdie wanted to go home and participate in this festival. I don't think he had any other motivation than that, although there are some people who might use such a thing as blaming the police for a bit of publicity.

It's a curious thing, the rule of law. You know it when you have it. You know how it feels to live in a society that has the rule of law. And then you know when it's gone, and when it's gone, it feels like anything can happen at any time and no one can stop the police or the government or anyone with an agenda. Several billion people around the globe don't know what one day under the rule of law feels like.

Does Rushdie even need the publicity? Does he need to invent such a thing? Or does he simply want to go home?

Red State Goes Straight For the Gutter

These are the dregs. These are the commenters. These are the jabbering clowns who shit themselves over anything to do with liberals, liberals, liberals. These are the people who cheered when JFK was shot. These are the people who were obsessed with the fact that Bill Clinton had sex (but are shutting their traps when it was revealed that Newt Gingrich was a sex-crazed open-marriage perv). They want guns and bullets and shit going down do that they can come out on top. These are the people who know what the gun clubs were all about. These are the people who know what that dog whistle of racism sounds like.

Hey, it's all good. As the man says, keep it classy.

To them, it's about the horse race. Fine. Let's make it about the horse race. How's your side doing right now, Chumley? I guess when the possibility of taking back a seat in Congress comes around, you've got to get your jollies any way you can. But don't get all high and mighty when your side collapses and when your guys run for the exits and leave you holding the flaming bag of turds.

Never forget what this fight is really all about. It's not about finding good people who say earnest, hopeful things. It's about finding people who will fight these assholes every single day of the week and then stay up late on Sunday night and find a way to fight them smarter for another week and for the rest of the year. These bastards need to be marginalized, humiliated, broken, and scorned. They need to go back to Xeroxed newsletters passed around the American Legion. They are the scum of America. They're not worth one more comment.

Gabrielle Giffords Steps Down

Friday, January 20, 2012

Poor Chuck Todd

No one has done more to "marginalize" the effectiveness of the media's responsibility to call bullcrap on politicians who lie than corporate apologist and shill extraordinaire Chuck Todd.

He's just sore because Colbert is appreciated and loved and he's only well paid and regarded as a necessary evil.

This is what we're reduced to hearing from the likes of Todd--the smart, talented person who cuts to the heart of the matter is getting too much attention because he makes people like me look bad. His shrill whining is pathetic.

I Don't Care What These People Owned

It's pretty clear to me that the authorities are trying to make these characters as unsympathetic as possible. Instead of a simple case of using the rule of law to go after people who are suspected--but innocent until proven guilty--of media file piracy, a complex game is being played with the facts, with the law, and with the extradition treaties of countries like New Zealand.

By making them appear in court in this manner--unkempt, wrinkled, dressed down, and sweaty--the governments of the United States and New Zealand are embarking on a campaign of destroying these men before the judge even has a chance to begin considering the case. We have been treated to stories about the property that was seized in the raids.

Who cares?

I mean, really. Who cares what these men owned? I thought that the media was supposed to serve as the gatekeeper between what they were learning from the government and what they felt it was important to tell the public. Was due process followed? Are the indictments clear and concise? Were proper procedures followed? Are the rights of the accused being protected?

It is nobody's business if they owned fancy cars or guns or anything like that right now. What matters is that their rights are not violated. Then the case against them can be heard on the merits. But the government knows that if it demonizes these men and destroys them before the judge can even issue a preliminary ruling, it will have, effectively, terrorized dozens of other "file locker" companies into shutting down.

This is what a chilling effect looks like, sweaty shirt and plexiglass and all.

There Is Nothing Wrong With Using a Cougar as a Mascot

Technically, Courtney Cox is not a cougar. She just plays one on television.

Now, this is ridiculous:

For a school in Utah to use the cougar as a mascot is entirely appropriate. This is a lot better than dipping into the issue of Native American names as mascots; and it's a lot better than calling yourself the turds or the magic underwear brigade.

The problem here is that these adults have applied something that applies to them to their children; they have applied the term "cougar" to children. There's nothing wrong with a school using a cougar as a mascot. I think people are smart enough to realize that the high school mascot uses the large feral cat and not the oversexed forty-something adult female.

Perhaps this incident says more about the maturity of the parents than anything else. Who are these people and how is it that they have the time to sit around and worry about such things?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sarah Burke 1982-2012

The loss of Sarah Burke is a profound tragedy. She was a creative and innovative competitor and she deserved a much longer life.

iBooks Author is Out

I think I'll get this next month. I was planning on an upgrade to Lion anyway, and it is required in order to run this app.

My hope is that the templates will work for what I would like to do. If not, I'm sure that there will be designers out there who will get in there and find the best practices that go with templates. Or, maybe I'll come up with something on my own.

This is where things are headed. Might as well get on the bandwagon now.

The Gingrich Campaign Goes For the Swinger Vote

Ethics are for the little people, of course. And 'open marriages' are just another euphemism for being forced to serve Satan while serving the American people.

Seriously, I hope Newt gets the swinger vote. Somewhere, Roger Stone is doing a jig.


Rick Perry is now, officially, the stupidest politician in the history of the United States. Just as he decides to drop out of the race and endorse Newt Gingrich, he has to deal with the fact that Gingrich wanted to have an "open marriage" with his wife. Conclusion: Rick Perry endorses the second stupidest politician in the history of the United States.

Bruce Hood Uses a Phony Argument

Bruce Hood seems to want to operate from the assumption that professionalism and integrity mean nothing. By using the "fight or flight" analogy, he fails to make a serious argument.

The Costa Concordia was a modern cruise liner and was, therefore, a major responsibility. Schettino demonstrated that he was an incompetent master of his ship. Not only did he take the ship into dangerous waters for the sake of vanity, he failed to ensure that he was safely passing through an area known for danger. He then failed to ensure that safety protocols were followed and lost control of his crew.

There are plenty of "captains" at sea who would have done their job properly and avoided transiting an area that has been known to wreck ships for several millennia (I wonder who his Etruscan counterpart was before there was a settlement called Rome). Hood's argument fails to merit consideration because there are a multitude of serious, sober professionals who would never place themselves in such a situation. And, if they were placed in that unlucky spot, they would have acquitted themselves properly. There will always be shirkers and bad captains; there are still plenty of goods ones who are forgotten because, well, doing your job the right way every day means you get to fly under the radar and get taken for granted.

This was not a military ship nor was it your average, run-of-the-mill seafaring responsibility. And so the real blame lies with those who entrusted such a grossly unqualified man with the Costa Concordia in the first place. This is why much of the blame and the lion's share of the vilification are being directed towards Schettino--in doing so, people forget that his employers should never have given him the job in the first place because he has done this sort of thing before. It fails to acknowledge that Schettino was likely promoted for his charisma and his ability to flatter his employers; somewhere, an Italian ship captain with far less responsibility is no doubt exercising vastly better judgement.

Hood fails to understand that Schettino was not "one of us." He was not a third-rate opinion column writer in the dying British media industry. He was not an idiot blogger living in Germany. He was not a crusty boat captain with a handful of desperate crew members. He was entrusted with the safety of several thousand passengers and over a thousand crew members. And he proved himself to be in over his head and unable to cope with a crisis that he caused in the first place.

A Bromance Crashes on the Rocks

Somewhere, Silvio Berlusconi must be smiling. He's no longer the most hated man in Italy.

To think that Franchesco Schettino did what he did in order to blow the ship's whistle for another captain is hard to comprehend. All of that, and for a little shout out at sea? Amazing.

Zooey Deschanel Turns Her Back on Gawker

People get tired of being mocked. People also get tired of celebrities who complain about websites that mock them. The best thing to do is to stop worrying about which site does what and do whatever it is you do and get on with it.

Zooey Deschanel has been hitting the interview circuit pretty hard lately, and that's fine with me. This backlash against her indicates that something she's doing must be working. The only reason why anyone would call you a labradoodle is if you were making your mark.

Legal Insurrection Has Some of the Craziest Commenters

Here are a pair of comments from William Jacobson's Legal Insurrection blog.

I guess I'm naive. I did not consider the possibility that Newt Gingrich should be elected president solely because he had sex as a teenager and because he's a ball buster. It simply wouldn't do any good to point out that, prior to 1995, the age of consent in George was 14, but, really, why expound on all of that? Wouldn't it be smarter to emphasize some other aspect of his candidacy?

This is why you have to scan right wing blogs. Missing this stuff would hurt too much.

David Letterman Still Has a Problem With Women

My guess is that Letterman simply doesn't care. He's going to ride out the last few years of his career and retain that nasty veneer that others seem to gloss over.

In American pop culture, you can be an iconic talk show host and no one will call you out for having serious issues with women and no one will take notice of the demise of what you do. There isn't any reason to pay attention to what Letterman does anymore. They will make a big deal out of his retirement and then he and his show will simply vanish.

Will there ever be the kind of nostalgia for Letterman that exists with Johnny Carson? I highly doubt it. People will look back at the Letterman show and conclude that he was simply too mean and cranky to remember fondly. He's the younger version of Andy Rooney, and no one misses him, either.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Calm Down, Scooter

I have to admit that this was pretty funny. But, it's really only funny to me because I make my way through all of this by trying to be up on current events. I knew Wikipedia was going dark and it didn't affect me because I don't really use it or rely on it. Shut it down for a month or two and then see if the masses rebel.

These people do rely on it, and when it was taken away, they lost their shit.

Why, though? Don't they know how unreliable it is? Don't they understand that much of what they go to Wikipedia for is copied or grabbed from someone else? And that what hasn't been stolen is usually written by someone who cannot write?

The best "meme" I've seen so far centers around people on Google+ trying to help some poor school kid (who is always called "Scooter" because he's a dope) do some project for school but he can't because Wikipedia had a sad today over censorship.

I am firmly against SOPA and PIPA, but I have a hard time accepting Wikipedia as an entity that is against censorship since Wikipedia is home to some of the most relentless and anal retentive censors ever known to man.

When Converting eBooks Goes Bad

The above is the sample cover page of an eBook that has been "converted" and then uploaded to Scribd. This allows me to vent a little bit about the various eBook platforms and formats that are out there and show how they can really mess up the text of a book.

This eBook was converted with the ABC AMBER LIT Converter, which is a piece of freeware that puts the file into a format that will work with a device being used to view the material. There are LIT and PUB and all these other kinds of formats and I find them to be pretty annoying. I do understand the need to make proprietary things for specific machines in order to hook people into buying things. The problem is, the eBook reader market is in its infancy. What do you do with something like this?

The problem with it is evident:

Each paragraph is rendered as a horizontal block across the page. Some are four lines thick; most are just a line or two. Reading this is difficult because of how broadly stretched the text is across the page.

Converters need to be a little more flexible. I'm sure that there are settings and formats that could have been played around with. If this is the best that the converter can do, why bother? It's unreadable in this format, at least it is to my eye. The annoying banner across the top of every page is a feature of the software used to do the conversion by the way. Yes, every page has that distracting piece of text on it that tells you what you already knew.

Reviews of the ABC AMBER LIT Converter are witheringly bad, by the way. I don't know if that's fair, though. It is a free converter. What were you expecting?

What's Not to Like About This Piece?

Big, Easy Style by Bryan Batt - Excerpt

This is a really elegant piece of technical writing. There are some design elements here that work very well.

It's a real treat to select something like this and try to tear it apart. It has been done by a very good designer or team of designers; I would imagine that this book employed a fairly talented team of people who adapted a working set of rules to what they were trying to accomplish.

There is a centered sort of feel to it; when I scanned it, and read through the text and the examples, my eye was drawn towards the middle. The text was done in two columns, with the ragged right of the column, which is a little easier on the eye than two columns of justified text. This avoids the double chimney effect and makes the page a little more readable. And going with black text on a white background is great for a reader device or even on a computer screen. It has always served me well.

I also like how the pictures are run right up to the edge of the pages. The full-page photos bleed off the edges and have a tremendously evident glossy feel. If printed out, this would be a high-quality magazine spread; here, in book format, the magazine style is expertly adapted.

Why say anything bad? It's a great piece of material.

I Can't Tell if This is Good or Bad

This is another one of those indicators that attempts to say something about our economy. The trouble is, there are good things here as well as bad things that defy an easy explanation.

When people are out of work, it becomes a serious drag on the economy. Their wages aren't going towards future enhancements, like new cars and new products (or upgrades of older ones). They're not paying taxes on their income and they're not paying sales taxes on what they buy. This, in turn, causes the government to come up short. What you put into the machine sustains the machine; thinking that you can stop putting money into it and get the same results is not a serious way in which to proceed. But, yes. You do have to keep things running at a sustainable level.

So, with older cars on the road, you see two things--one good and one bad. What's good is that cars are more dependable and of a high enough quality to stay on the road, on average, for at least ten years. The cars they were making back in the 1980s weren't that good; many of them were of such inferior quality that it was a stretch to get them to last seven years. What's bad is that there will be fewer and fewer new cars sold, and that, in turn will lead to cutbacks in the auto industry and maybe layoffs.

In any event, there isn't an easy answer. I do think we need to be less consumerist in nature and that we need to cut back on some of the things we consume. But I'm not a purist--we do need some consumption and some turnover or our economy will suffer.

Give the People What They Want

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rick Perry Is As Dumb As They Get

Our NATO ally, Turkey, has a right to be outraged at the brazen stupidity of the Governor of Texas. Sadly, this is only the stupidest thing Rick Perry has said in a matter of days. If he understood the role Turkey plays in the security of Europe and in the region where it is located, he wouldn't say such things.

Turkey has a problem with Islamic fundamentalism, but it is not ruled by terrorists. Perry is too incompetent to know this. He would have to be fairly well versed in the leadership of that country and the difficult road ahead for the people of Turkey. The battle between fundamentalism and secularism is difficult for any country, and the United States knows full well what that means when it has to deal with the likes of Perry, Santorum, et al.

Unfortunately, this man knows nothing and he has demonstrated that he cannot and should not be President. He's simply too stupid to hold down the job. This is the year of the brutally moronic simpleton. The more drivel and nonsense you emit, the louder the claps from the brain-dead dolts who pull the levers for you. Anti-intellectualism is practically a requirement when running for higher office under the Republican banner. Yukking it up about God, furriners, and guns is your only hope.

Rick Perry yuks it up pretty well for a man like himself. And yet, he's still too slow to comprehend the fact that he was blown out of the water in Iowa and New Hampshire. In point of fact, he's just too goddamned dumb to drop out of the race; someone is going to have to hold his hand and gently lead him, smiling and waving, from the stage and into the ambulance with the padded walls and ceiling. Hopefully, he won't have any pens in his pants pockets.

Now, did he mean well? Of course. He meant to stir up anger at anyone different from us so that his tribe could select him to be their nominee for the presidency. He's no worse than any intriguing, loud-mouthed Turkish politician who is using fear and ignorance to shore up his power.

Is Rick Perry then very much a disgrace to the idea of freedom and democracy? Yes. And an ignorant one at that.

They Were Saying Bruce!

I simply cannot believe that the Republicans of South Carolina were booing the fact that Mitt Romney has Mexican heritage. They must have been booing the fact that Mexico was allowed to secede from the United States.

The South Carolina Republican Party is simply too classy for such things. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to turn off the snark machine.

That's Not What a Good Samaritan Means

I sympathize with the family and friends of Mr. Alvarado, but he is not a "Good Samaritan" and the use of that term in the context of the story and the headline here are misleading and flat-out wrong.

A Good Samaritan is someone who selflessly comes to the aid of another person. In the legal context, the "Good Samaritan" laws typically excuse a person who tries to render aid to someone else from being sued for liability or damages if they have made a reasonable attempt to help someone else.

Mr. Alvarado should not have attacked that robber. I realize that is is difficult to accept being robbed, but in practically all cases, the best thing to do is to just hand over the money and let the police handle the situation. In areas where the police are completely ineffective, this sort of thing happens (and it happened five years ago, according to the text of the story).

It's tragic and I hope there is a good outcome. But it is incorrect to call Mr. Alvarado a Good Samaritan because he had no business trying to use force to stop a robbery. I'm surprised that the police haven't come right out and cautioned people not to attack or fight with armed robbers. There has been a celebration of vigilantism in recent years and that's wrong as well.

Stop Being Afraid of China

I'm not about to join the ranks of those who fear the rise of China and who claim to see profound developments every time the Chinese government releases some new set of statistics. The world is still trying to get flatter, but the Chinese are still waiting to see what this new globalization looks like.

This means something fairly significant, however. It means the end of the peasant as the basis for China's communist revolution. The peasant is on his way to join the serfs, the farmers, and the tenants of yore. The peasant is no longer the symbol of China's present day reality. The overworked, underpaid, and unhappy plant worker is now the symbol of the new China.

China has a host of problems that undercut much of the recent developments that are coming to the forefront of world economic analysis and consideration. It is a potentially vast market, if only a company can get in there and sell and not see themselves copied or pirated. It is an engine for economic growth and progress if only it can keep its workers happy. It could be the home of the largest middle class on Earth if it can find a way to marry the rule of law to economic freedom and upward mobility.

Societies are measured by their standard of living. China's standard of living has to improve, and soon, and that won't happen unless a certain measure of freedom is granted to people. One of those freedoms has with it an inherent belief that there are competing economic theories as to how to maintain the viability of the largest middle class on Earth. That would be the choice between theory one or theory two, or the process of creating political parties. There has to be a choice because the state isn't infallible. The average Chinese citizen has to be free to choose one set of corrupt bureaucrats over another, if only for a while, so that there can be the occasional taste of what we call "good government" in this country. Progress cannot come from the current Chinese system because too many people are now completely and utterly aware of what corruption is doing to Chinese society.

That's why they need to be able to choose between one set of bums and another set of bums. There's no other way to get the bureaucracy to occasionally do the right thing once in a while.

If the average Chinese person cannot make a living wage while working in a large urban area, expect another revolution. The basis for the old revolution has shifted to the cities and has abandoned the idea of working on a farm for the benefit of others or for a a meager living. Whenever you concentrate a large amount of humanity in a manufacturing economy, social unrest and change are sure to follow. It would be a miracle if the Chinese people living in all of these expanding cities simply rolled over and accepted the exploitation that continues to create a pretty good economy from the outside that is, in reality, a hollow shell built on the misery and toil of a people who are rapidly reaching the end of their patience.

These Jobs Are Headed For America

This is one of those rare examples of how jobs can be relocated into the United States as opposed to out of it. But are these good jobs?

I don't think Americans want genetically modified crops, either. In fact, this is probably going to end up being another "not in my backyard" situation. Either that, or they'll produce the genetically modified crops and sell them overseas. Well, except not in Europe, of course.

The Bureaucratic Mind in Action

Let me say up front that, yes, riding on the roof of a train is dangerous. There are few good answers available to the authorities when it comes to putting a stop to this practice.

Having concrete balls hit human beings on the head is not one of those answers. This is draconian and frightening.

Somewhere, an Indonesian bureaucrat is tickled pink that someone finally listened to one of his or her draconian suggestions. This is what makes a place very difficult to live in, and you have to ask yourself this about your town: are the people running it as stupid as this?

If so, you have to move.

The Inevitability of Mitt Romney

The only way the Republican Party is ever going to get rid of Mitt Romney is to let him run for President and lose to President Barack Obama.

This race will finish two careers. Both Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry are vying for the title of living laughingstock of the Republican Party. No two candidates had more handed to them and no two candidates did more to throw it away faster than these two did. Does anyone miss Michele Bachmann? No, of course not. She'll be the vice-presidential nominee.

Anyway, this is an interesting graph. It shows the moderate improvement in Ron Paul's support. Each and every time he spins his nonsense, another disaffected voter who hasn't been paying attention suddenly comes to Jesus and jumps on his non-bandwagon. There are many lost souls littering the American political landscape. Ron Paul is their Jesus. But he's a weird Jesus, and he won't take them to the promised land and he isn't going to do the loaves and fishes trick. He might get them to believe that he walks on water, but that only speaks to the gullibility of an uninformed electorate.

Anyway, after South Carolina, it's over. Romney will spend the rest of the year failing to adequately run for President. No one will be enthused by his candidacy. And when he's gone, he'll be gone. They'll never tolerate his nonsense again.