Category Archives: Life in America

Contemplations of issues in American life

Refactoring this site..

Just to separate things, I’ve decided to start a second weblog for my Life in America entries; that way I won’t be wasting your time when you come looking..

If you care, you’ll find those entries here

I’ve also started a separate blog for the Repellicans ‘cause they’re a mess and I like to isolate messes like that.. as in refactoring.

You can find the mess, and the fun over here

Two More Repellicans

Anne Coulter – Noteworthy only for her capacity to say outrageously false things with conviction.  Nomination accepted.

John Boehner (R) – Minority House Leader, who believe that the government stimulus package should give more money to people to pay down debts or invest somewhere instead of having the government actually spend it in the country thereby stimulating the economy.

The Democrats have a majority in both houses.  Why is this an issue?  There are ways to stop a filibuster in the Senate too, so that shouldn’t be an excuse.

Looks like the Democrats’ Leadership needs to get some backbone.  Still.

Charter Members of the Repellican Party:

  • Chris Wallace
  • Senator John Cornyn (R)
  • Anne Coulter
  • Representative John Boehner (R)

Unfortunately, the membership committee is still accepting nominations

New Name: Repellicans

My wife came up with a new name for the Obama naysayers:  Repellicans.

These folks are not necessarily Republicans because there are a large number of Republicans who are openly supportive of the new president, including, but not limited to, Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina.

Her first nominee for this ‘party’ is Chris Wallace of Fox News (what else?) who apparently was the first to call into question whether President Obama was legitimately sworn in yesterday.

(Note: I said, as soon as Chief Justice Roberts flubbed the lines, “The right wingers are gonna be all over that!”  And, sadly, I was correct.)

I think I’d have to add the senator from Texas, John Cornyn who is holding back on the confirmation of the nominee for Attorney General, Eric Holder. 

Repellican Party Charter Members:

  • Chris Wallace, Esq
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R) Texas

Voter Registration Fraud is Not Equal to Voter Fraud

The current mountain out a molehill from the McCain Campaign is that somehow, ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is perpetrating massive voter fraud that “threatens the very fabric of democracy”.

Baloney.

What is happening is that ACORN hires people, sometimes lazy people, who sometimes make up names instead of actually registering voters.  The law requires that ACORN turn over all the voter registration forms, including the fraudulent ones (which are typically marked as suspect),so they can’t keep them out of the process even if they want to.

The key concept here is that this is voter registration fraud, not voter fraud.  And the fraud is on ACORN because they paid for the bogus registrations.

By the way, even if any of these bogus registrations made it through to the voter roles how many of the non-existent voters would turn up to vote anyway?

Oh No She Di’int!

I was watching the Vice Presidential Debate this evening and I was immediately struck by Governor Palin’s illiterate use of “nu-kew-ler” –the way W says it — instead of the real word, nuclear — as in \ˈnü-klē-ər.

To me, she didn’t have an impressive performance because it was obvious that she was avoiding real, non-scripted answers in favor of those she was able to memorize.

She didn’t completely drown, as she did with Katie Couric last week but by changing the subject away from the questions she was unable to answer she tried to segue into sections of her standard stump speech lines. 

But my biggest problem with the governor’s performance came when she answered the question about the powers of the vice-president’s office.

She said, paraphrasing, that she believes in the expanded power of the vice-president’s office.  From the New York Times transcript:

PALIN: Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president’s agenda in that position

‘Supportive and cooperative with the president’s agenda’??

So the vice president is a separate branch of government after all.  Off the books; do what s/he wants?

This kind of interpretation of the constitution is what has brought us to our current predicament.

Watch out.  Vote wisely.

Back to the Stone Age Part II

So I moved to a new apartment, this time closer to the 101, and this time, I can have a cable internet connection.  Hooray!

I also get digital cable, HDTV and HD-DVRs.  All the good stuff of the 21st century.  Or not.

Actually, all of the above is true.  Except the DVR part. 

Time Warner Cable (California) must have the worst DVR software on the market.  South Carolina’s Time Warner franchise has much better software.  Better user experience and much better control.

For example, the SC version lets you jump to the end of a program and go backwards to the point you want near the end.  Not CA’s.

If you accidentally fast forward too far to the end of a show, the SC version lets you rewind.  The CA version says “Delete?” or “Don’t Delete”.  If you say, “Don’t Delete” then you are returned to the recordings list.  Because of my previous point, you have to fast forward through the entire program to get where you wanted to go to the first time.

Oops, the DVR doesn’t respond to your commands quickly enough, sometimes storing several fast forward commands — but you don’t know that because nothing is happening — all of a sudden.. “Delete?” or “Don’t Delete”.

AHHHHHHH!!!!

I feel sorry for my neighbors.  Good thing their kids are too young to understand the garbled exclamations of frustration.

Who knew that, yet again, South Carolina would ‘out technology’ California?

What More Drilling REALLY Means

The thing that drives me mad is the insistence that more drilling in or around the US will somehow benefit Americans directly.  Ever.

What the oil companies are looking for are more leases on areas to drill in.  They already have hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions of acres of leases in the US that they are not drilling; haven’t really even explored.

So the insistence that they get access to more drilling leases off-shore or in ANWR really amount to an attempt to horde supply for the future. 

The Republicans are doing the handiwork of Big Oil too.  They recently blocked a bill that the Democrats put forward to require that the oil companies explore and drill the leases they already have before they are granted more by Congress.  It seems reasonable that they should use what they have before asking for more, no?

If you really don’t believe that this is the case, ask yourself these questions.

Who drills for oil?  The oil companies; private, shareholder-owned corporations do the exploration and drilling. 

Where does the oil go that’s pumped up?  Does the oil go directly from the ground to the refinery?  No.  It’s offered for sale on the world market where it is bought by refiners.

The key here is that those refiners are now more often foreign refineries who are willing to pay more for the barrels they need to fuel their amazing growth.  Most often, these are nationalized oils companies.

Who gets the profits from drilling in and around the US on leases granted by Congress?  Obviously, the American people right?  I mean, it’s our national resource that we grant to the oil companies.  Nope.

Sure there are some royalties, but you’re not hearing anyone, on either side crowing about how this energy market is benefiting the nation’s bottom line. 

On the other hand, notice what is happening in the middle eastern oil kingdoms, Venezuela, heck even Canada.  These countries have oil resources and balanced or surplus budgets.  They also have national oil companies.

Now notice the quarterly earnings of the American oil companies; record after record.  Look at the budget projections for the US government’s budget; record after record, in the red.

The structure of the way we manage our oil resources in the US guarantees that any oil here goes to the highest bidder.

No way does more drilling on-shore, off-shore, or in ANWR mean that we will have lower prices.  But the oil companies will be just fine.

Back to the Stone Age

Holy Crap!

I am setting up housekeeping here in California and I’m living on the banks of the 101 freeway (read: high-tech corridor) and the apartment I moved into has: no cable Internet service, no High-Definition cable channels, they don’t have Golf Channel and they don’t even have MSNBC! 

WTF!

Coming from Columbia, South Carolina I’ve had cable Internet service for 10 freaking years!  Full digital cable and HD for 3 years..

What gives?

Do you remember DSL?  I don’t..  but I will now.

California.  High-tech corridor.  In the same town as AmGen and Countrywide.

Who knew..