Saturday, August 2, 2008

Pet Peeve Alert! Grammar


I've decided to blog about a serious pet peeve of mine that I encounter on an almost daily basis online.

It's a grammar issue.

As far as grammar goes, I may not be the best, but at least I make the attempt to be proper and when I suspect a problem, then I try to find the correct solution before I put something up for the world to see.

Here's my gripe.

I've noticed many business websites and craigslist ads that improperly use the word "then".

For example: "Our products are better "then" the competitors..."

The proper word is "than" not "then." "Then" is an adverb (modifies a verb) denoting a time element. "Than" does not. "Than" is a conjunction (similar to "and") denoting comparisons, like "Better than that" "Then" is more about "way back then".

It takes all of 30 seconds to look up a grammar issue on the internet.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Loss of Freedom is occurring behind the scenes and in gradual steps: Beware Folks!

Here's a little thought experiment for those of you who think that Bush and the Republicans advocate "freedom".

The DHS claims the authority to seize travelers laptop computers, review the data, share the data with other agencies, and use it to prosecute people--ALL WITHOUT A WARRANT OR PROBABLE CAUSE.

That's right folks, welcome to the land of lost freedom and the government poking around in your personal private stuff. I have Attorney-Client Privileged stuff on my computer and I'll be damned if I'll turn it over without a fight.

Did this happen while a Democrat was in the White House? No.

This is nothing more than a naked power grab at our expense.

I'll say it again: We need a Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing a right to privacy.

If you support these policies then you are a fool and don't deserve the freedoms we are losing daily to these fascist pigs.

Economic models predict an Obama win this Fall, but not by much.

The scientists who have successfully predicted presidential outcomes by using economic models have offered their prediction for this November's election.

Obama wins, provided nothing major occurs between now and the election.

The model doesn't predict a landslide, so the country is still rather divided.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Some stop Mike Myers before he strikes again...

Mike Myers is at it again with another movie. This time it's a sequel to Austin Powers.


Someone please stop him before he shags again...

Black Plague may become history if vaccine proves effective.

A team of scientists has possibly found a vaccine for the Black Plague.

This is great news if it bears out in human trials.

The Black Plague is a scourge that killed a significant portion of Europeans during the Middle Ages.

At one point, it was made worse when a Pope called pilgrims to Rome to pray for deliverance from the plague. All those people together, then carried the fleas back home a spread the plague further.

Great news from the world of medicine.

Hate crime fad

Slate takes a poke at the Knoxville Church shooting.

The headline reads: "Is killing Liberals a Hate Crime?"

The whole hate crime craze befuddles me. How can you execute someone more just because they are animated to kill by prejudice? Killing is by definition showing extreme prejudice. What more do you need?

Hate crimes never made sense to me because laws already on the books deal with the results of hate crimes.

Do I approve of prejudice? No. But, it crosses the 1st Amendment line of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, etc. when you criminalize someone's beliefs, regardless of how disgusting you may find them.

This guy in Knoxville is guilty of murder, plain and simple. Tennessee has the death penalty, so chances are he'll be put to death. I personally, don't agree with the death penalty, but in the context of hate crimes, you cannot punish this guy any more than execution without violating the 8th Amendment.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Diploma mill performs a public service--it shows the character of those who use them.

Here's a story that a lot of people may find incosequential, but it really isn't.

Almost 10,000 people have gotten degrees from a diploma mill in Washington State. Many are using these fake degrees to get jobs and pay raises.

All without doing the work to justify those degrees.

I'm a little insulted by this behavior. I spent 20 years of my life getting a traditional education. I earned every grade and put in the actual study time.

How people can justify using a fake degree escapes me. Where do they get off?

I suppose the status of education is so important to some that they willingly take short cuts to get it. I'm sure cognitive dissonance comes into the equation if they profit from their subterfuge. Meaning, they feel justified in their actions.

National Enquirer is ticking me off with their failure to release alleged photos and story about John Edwards--Enquiring minds want to know already.

The John Edwards - Rielle Hunter thing is showing the difference between real news and tabloid news.

Tabloids, like the National Enquirer, hold the photos and the story until they can get the biggest bang for the buck...or until they can manufacture some evidence.

Mainstream Press puts it out there quickly, then cleans up the mess later.

I"m growing suspicious of the Enquirer's approach. The longer they delay, the less credibility they have...if they had any to begin with.

I want to see the proof. Get it out there and let me puzzle it out. Don't sit on it to build buzz and then drop it. That points to some backroom shenanigans or at least the suggestion of it.

Socialized health insurance should not be conflated with Socialized Medicine

Just a note on the state of our health care system.

I frequently speak of socialized health insurance. Some, especially those opposing anything with the word "social" in it conflate socialized insurance with socialized medicine.

The two are mutually exclusive. Both may travel together like they do in the British health care system, but they are not required to do so.

Socialized health insurance doesn't make doctors or hospitals employees of the government, whereas socialized medicine does.

My advocacy of socialized health insurance derives from a serious and significant problem common in capitalistic systems: Externalization of Costs.

Our current health care system externalizes the cost of providing care to poor and under-insureds to the rest of the system. They do this by increasing costs to those that can pay.

My position on health care has a moral component, but more importantly is economic. Morally, is it proper to harm a segment of the population and to charge the remainder more for health care than is necessary? I think not.

The costs of providing health care cannot be avoided forever and to best deal with those costs, it is better to manage them from a proactive stance of socializing them rather than using the current ad hoc approach.

Ad hoc approaches are not cost-effective due to inefficiencies that inevitably creep in. Ad hoc approaches still socializes the costs, so why not get control of those from the outset rather than letting the chips fall where they great and unnecessary expense?

If we can reduce by 20% or more health care costs for the country as a whole through socializing insurance for basic and preventative care, then we're doing everyone a favor. It's the fiscally conservative thing to do.

My proposal allows people to maintain private insurance and allows doctors and hospitals to work for themselves instead of the government.

I challenge anyone to call my plan socialized medicine. It isn't.

I also challenge anyone claiming to be a fiscal conservative to continue advocating a system that adds upwards of 20% to the cost of health care for no apparent reason other than to give windfalls to doctors and hospitals while letting insurance companies off the hook.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

High Context versus Low Context Cultures

Here's a link to a site containing information about cross-cultural communication issues that arise between "High Context Cultures" and "Low Context Cultures"

This concept is very useful when trying to understand people from different cultures and communication situations that arise.

For example: High Context cultures carry a package of information and communication between members includes much that is left unsaid.

On the other hand, Low Context Cultures allow easy access to information because members regularly convey what's needed and are explicit.

Fascinating stuff when applied to the world at large.

Arab countries, France, Asia and Latin American countries are all high context.

Whereas, the U.S., Britain, and Germany are low context cultures.

This concept explains so much when we see other people getting angry over things we're not fully aware of, like say their peculiar history.

Woman wins lawsuit against cold-footed groom to be---Explain how this is just

I'm a little flabbergasted by this verdict.

This is a woman, perfectly capable of making her own money, and doing so, successfully suing her fiance when he ended the engagement.

Back in the day, when women were economically dependent on husbands and family, this type of lawsuit was understandable. Sometimes it was the only viable option for a woman who had no choice but to bank on a good marriage prospect for her livelihood.

But now?!


Who will marry this woman now?

I can see the eHarmony headline: "Marry me or I'll sue your ass."

There's a winner.

This guy will win on appeal. I'll bet good money on it.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell nothing more than bigotry. Time to move into the post-modern world.

"Don't Ask Don't Tell" is a stupid idea and anyone who thinks it is workable is stupid.

Here's why.

The ostensible reason for enacting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was to prevent disruptions (whatever that means) in the military brought on by openly gay service members.

Now correct me if I'm mistaken, but who would be causing these disruptions? Would it be the gay personnel? Knowing that historically most homosexuals are pretty tight-lipped about being gay in mixed company, I suspect they wouldn't be the disruptive sort.

So who does that leave? The straight service personnel who are uncomfortable by homosexuals. Why would the straight service members be disruptive over serving with the openly gay?

The obvious explanation is simple: The straight service members would create trouble because of their issues.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is nothing more than a bigot-protection policy. The military wants to protect all the bigots within its ranks. At whose expense though? Qualified personnel who just happen to be gay.

The military's position doesn't hold water historically.

Take the Spartans for example: Spartans were known to encourage homosexuality amongst their soldiers. It served to improve unit cohesion if everybody was screwing everybody and everyone cared.

Would anyone in the modern military dare call the Spartans substandard from a military perspective. Hardly.

In the end, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" came about to give the military adjustment time.

The U.S. military has had 15 years to get used to the reality of gays in the military. It's time to own it.

Venality runs rampant with Senator Stevens

Look at my previous post regarding corporatism.

This dramatic turn of events with the Alaska Senator, should highlight what I meant by patronage being the problem with to close a connection between corporate America and policy makers.

At least we can hope the Justice Department will do their job.

Founding Father saw the danger of fighting wars

Came across a quote from James Madision--the father of the Constitution.

It's important to remember when we think about the last eight years of the Bush administration and their naked power grabs and the erosion of our liberties in the name of security. Or to use the administration's words: Fighting them there, so we don't have to fight them here.

The quote:

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."

James Madison

Jon Voight's mouth is at it again...this time America's youth are too stupid to make decisions for themselves.

If poor old Jon Voight didn't have enough trouble with his big mouth, he had to go and accuse American youth of being too stupid that they'd fall for "programming" by the Democratic Party.

Voight is a great actor. Being a celebrity though doesn't make him an expert on political matters. He's only an actor, not a political wonk.

His celebrity got his opinions printed in the Washington Times --a known conservative paper founded and owned by the Moonies and regularly cited by Fox News as a source. Give you any clues?

I suspect his daughter would take issue with his stance since she's in the younger generation and tends to support liberal causes.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Church shooting involved a jobless man who hated "liberals"

Here's a story of a tragic event that occurred in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Apparently the man opened fire in a church because he hated their "liberal" views.

This is sad. The man had issues and a history of aggression.

Justice Department replete with law-breakers it seems

Here's a story that confirms what many of us have suspected. The Bush administration is not only incompetent, but they broke the law too.

I refer you to this morning's post about Corporatism where I noted that patronage is more akin to Fascist Italy under Mussolini.

The Justice Department under the Bush administration became a place where loyalty to party and party boss (read: the President) superseded competency and ability.

Bush demonstrated his utter hypocrisy by trumpeting the free market and the value of competition, but followed a completely different plan (namely, a spoils system) when it came to running the government.

The Justice Department folks who brought us this stunning display of incompetency were represented by a lawyer and Republican party Storm Troopette, Monica Goodling. Incidentally, she obtained her legal education under the auspices of Regents University Law School (Pat Robertson's religiously affiliated university).

For a graduate of a school started and operated by a televangelist who touts high moral standards, Ms. Goodling certainly took the low road to criminality and ethical perdition in the service of her Fuhrer, I mean President.

Mukasey should prosecute the bad actors, but I suspect he won't since that would give a black eye to his patron and give the rest of us too great a shock. Many of us have known all along that Bush and his kind are a bunch of sleazeballs. For Mukasey to actually do his job as Attorney General would be too out of character for a Bush appointee.

Despite what people wish to believe, it's much better to have a Justice Department devoid of partisanship---OF ANY KIND. Those advocating partisan application of the law suffer from the same old ideology that fuels the likes of Fox News--that everyone has an agenda so it's okay to be partisan to somehow "balance" the world with a particular version of the truth.

This doesn't work. We're seeing the results of this approach to government.

Where's Dick Nixon when you need him? At least he was competent.

Beware of the dark side of capitaism: Corporatism

Stories like this one underscore why privatization is not the cure-all its proponents claim.

I'll be the first to admit that capitalism is a great system. When it's doing what it does best, it's incomparable.

But, as with all isms it carries the seeds of its own failures within its strengths.

Private companies that seek government contracts resort to scratching the back of public officials, and if they're lucky, they may get a president who supports their efforts with no bid contracts.

The upshot is this: When private companies gain government favor without the necessary competition of the marketplace, then we get a system not unlike that of the Third Reich---corporatism. A corporatist state is one where corporate interests become one and the same with the state and mutual backscratching for business is the norm rather than the exception. Here's a lengthy definition of corporatism.

Privatization of government functions is, to be punny, tricky business. Some government functions should never be privatized because they involve such heavy policy matters that direct government oversight is necessary to insure that the sovereign (read: the people) has a say.

Capitalism is great, but when business seeks favor through patronage rather than through competition, then we're not dealing with capitalism anymore---it becomes corporativism. That's nothing more than a polite way to say fascism.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

National Enquirer's focus on Edwards may have its roots in Hillary Clinton's camp

John Edwards has been a favorite of mine for years.

That being said, the National Enquirer's piece about him and Rielle Hunter provides some circumstantial evidence of a love child.

Appearance of impropriety--yes. Nothing else though. A smear works by innuendo and implication--a mainstay of tabloid journalism.

Then, I recall that Roger Altman owns a big chunk of the National Enquirer and remember the candidate he supported in the primaries: Hillary Clinton.

This leads me to suspect that Hillary's people are doing everything in their power to torpedo a potential rival for the VP slot.

It deserves investigation, both Edwards AND the Altman-Clinton connection.

This doesn't give Edwards a pass for his seemingly suspect behavior, but it does provide some perspective on the possible reasons for the Enquirer's focus.

This is politics baby, and the Clintons are masters at personalizing the game. They don't like losing and if Hillary's not on the ticket, it's their last real shot to remain in power.