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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Economics 101 at Harvard...

Must be a complete waste of time.

I know, I know. Who the hell am I to make such a claim?

Well, I apparently know more about economics than a senior Economics lecturer at Harvard.  He says to cut taxes but not increase spending in order to end or moderate the current recession.  And anyone who has taken even a basic Economics class at any university (or possibly even in High School) will be able to tell you that both methods are effective at minimizing recessions.

I understand he's saying not just to spend on insane projects, which I completely agree with, but his idea of what is an insane project seems to encompass everything.  Instead of increasing spending to repair failing bridges, highways, and roads, he wants to implement more tolls and higher tolls during rush hour.  Yes, this is definitely a good help for a battered economy where millions are struggling to survive as is.  New & Higher tolls will definitely help those people.  Oh, and how about we repeal some wage laws for construction and dangerous jobs too.  Make sure those poor people get poorer by both lowering their salary and increasing their expenses.

Spend some money on research for renewable fuels.  Who could argue with such a thing?  Well, Jeffrey A. Miron for one.  He says the appropriate policy is not increased research for renewable fuels, but raising taxes on fossil fuels, which will enhance the private sector's incentive to do the research on renewable fuels themselves.  The private sector in this case would be mostly oil and energy companies.  Do they really care if you raise the taxes? Nope.  They just pass on the taxes directly to the consumer.  Another case of adding to all American's expenses. Oh, and this won't increase any research at the same time it does this.  This is a horrid idea.

Education? No, don't spend more money there either.  He does make some good points about eliminating policies that limit efficiency (No Child Left Behind, anyone?), but at the same time, more spending on education in this country would be a good thing.  That's investment in the future and a huge step forward in eliminating at least some of the crazy hate speech by everyday Americans we saw so much of during the campaign season this year.  Standardized tests and funding based on "graduation" levels needs to go away.  If you want a reward system, randomly selected students from each district take a short essay test administered by each state, and reward based on the scores.  This prevents the whole "we'll pass you even though you're a brain dead moron, because we don't want to take a hit to our funding" crap that happens constantly under the current system.

I do agree that spending definitely needs to be done outside the normal scope.  We don't need 10,000 new Zoos. But repairing our highway and interstate systems is not a waste of money, and does put people to work and will help our economy.  Renewable energy will create long term jobs and will help us move away from OPEC oil. Ending the Iraq war would enable quite a bit to be done here at home, and increase the troop and equipment totals in Afghanistan, where we should be to begin with.  And while spending can "lag" in its effect to the economy, there are many projects already scouted out that can be started immediately.  They are sitting around, waiting on the go ahead from the government.  The "lag" would be 2-3 months at most.  And who really thinks we won't still be in need of some stimulus in March or April?

Oh, and I don't know who Mr. Miron is wanting to give these tax cuts too, but if it's the rich (as the Bush tax cuts were) they are pointless.  Reganomics and the "top down" ideas work great on paper, but fail in the real world.  The real world has something that paper tends to forget.  Greed.  You give a man who's made his millions in the cutthroat business/corporate world, do you really think he's going to allow that money to "trickle" down? He didn't become a success and a millionaire by allowing his money to trickle away from him.  Oh yeah, you Regan fans should remember, he spent tax money like crazy, more than tripling our national debt during his Presidency.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

drop = dead phone = new phone = new Apple fan.

Yesterday, I decided to be an idiot and basically ended up with my iPhone dropping off a table and landing screen down on a tile floor. I pick it up afterwards, and it's nothing but a white screen and some lines going down the left half of it. I was ready to cry.

I ended up finding out that the phone was still working, it was just the screen that was fried. I could still answer calls by sliding my finger across the white screen when it rang. Talked on it several times. Making calls out was basically impossible, since you could see nothing on the screen except white though.

24 hours I had to wait with my busted iPhone before I could get an appointment with the Genius Bar at my local Apple store.  I really didn't realize how much I depend on and use the phone until I was forced to be without it. And I was surfing the web looking for fixes, since the suggested idea of running a restore didn't work, not that I really expected it to. I found some people who had successfully traded their phones out after just such an occasion.  However, it seemed like there were just as many who had been told "no" by Apple. I was very nervous.

So tonight I walked into the Apple store hoping I wasn't about to have to shell out another wad of dough for a second iPhone, but basically resigned that I was going to end up throwing a fit, being told no anyway and settling on buying another phone anyway.  However, I walked in, and with minimal questions and in minimal time, I was walking out with a brand new iPhone that looked exactly like my last one.

With customer service being a dying art, I'm now a huge fan of Apple.  I can't say that I'll completely abandon PC however. I still like gaming and Apple is not the system for such a thing. However, I'm pretty sure that the next computer I buy will be a Mac.  I'm sure this will surprise quite a few people, as I've always been completely on the side of PC.  But this really sold me.  That's unbelievable customer service, and I know I'd never get treated like that by most companies.  I'll probably go desktop as PC, and Mac laptops from now on.  Especially that new green MacBook they have, but that's a topic for another time

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hard work equals?

So after much hard work, a whole lot of studying, and putting off of major projects, papers, and study time for tests, I can now say that I am a CompTIA A+ Certified PC Technician.  Sounds fancy, eh?

Unfortunately, that doesn't exactly translate into a job, especially in today's battered economy and job market.  But hey, I passed the certification exams, and in a couple of weeks, I'll have the certificate to hang on the wall.  I'll be spiffy then.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New Era?

Or is this merely a fresh coat of paint on the same old crap we've seen for too long?  November 4th, 2008 had some ups and downs.

Good News:

Obviously, Barack Obama and Joe Biden win the White House over John McCain and Barbie Wannabe... I mean Sarah Palin.  I've ranted enough on this one, and I'll just say:


Even though McCain still got way too many votes.  Especially in my home state of the 4Rs (Redneck Retardedism Run Rampant), otherwise known as Tennessee.  One day, I'll make it out of this backwards place.

Kay Hagan defeated Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina.  Dole spent the last couple of weeks smearing Hagan because she "associated with atheists."  I'm seriously thankful that this poor attempt at defining atheists as evil was met with a 9 point win for Hagan.  On the downside of this, Hagan ran from the atheists at full speed when the smear campaign started, instead of insisting that us atheists are people too.  Oh well, at least Hagan was the one meeting with an atheist instead of swearing we're evil people.

Colorado voted down an amendment to define a person as such at the moment of conception.  This was a measure that was made to circumvent Roe v Wade and was despicable at best.  Good job Colorado!

Washington State voted to uphold the legality of Physician-Assisted Suicide.  This isn't something I care deeply about, but it's nice to see freedoms being upheld, and know there is a place I can go when I can't take the pain any longer and want to be put out of the misery.

Michigan voted yes to amend to the state constitution to allow Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research with certain restrictions.  Even with restrictions, this is a great win for science and for the future.

Both South Dakota and (most likely, votes are still being counted) California voted down an Abortion Restricting proposition.  The restrictions are some that I feel comfortable with, but I still feel it's a woman's choice, and if women only had voted this choice in, I might be OK with it.  But I see it also as a starting block for the anti-abortion crowd to stand on, and we don't need to give these loons any of those.

Bad News:

Florida, Arizona, and even (so it appears, votes are still being counted) California all passed bans against gay marriage.  And Arkansas passed an initiative preventing gay couples from adopting children.  Shame on these states and their dedication to promoting intolerance and preventing freedom.

This infuriates me so much.  Why do these people care?  Because some old cryptic book barely implies they should, and their religious official says they should?  How about the fact that these people are preventing the pursuit of the American dream from people they've never met for something that is none of their business to begin with.  Anyone who voted yes to this, or even considered voting yes to this, the following is addressed to you specifically:

You complain that homosexuals are a threat to the American family.  YOU ARE THE THREAT.  You would prevent these people from having the freedoms guaranteed to them in the constitution because of a religious belief.  That violates the 1st Amendment.  You are the one who is unAmerican, not the homosexuals.  They aren't going against the Constitution, which is the heart of America. YOU ARE!  Stop your hate mongering.  Stop your Intolerance.  Stop letting your religion make your political choices for you.  Otherwise, you're basically the same as the people in Iran.  Their religion controls their government too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Religious Politics

At first, I was almost ashamed to be white.  Then I realized that it wasn't being white that motivated these people and their attitudes, it was ignorance.  I'm truly amazed at the amount of ignorance that lives in the United States.  The racial slurs, the radical views, the ignorant propaganda, and the Religious Politics that fuel all these people are the exact reason for separation of church and state and why we need more emphasis on education.

This just sickens me:

What is wrong with these people?  Mainly, misinformation from FOX News and their other "Conservative" media, which I find to just be a nice way of saying "Extreme Christian Fundamentalist" media.  I'm not saying that Religion is to blame for all of this, just the Extreme Christian Fundamentalist that lead the Political Right now, and all the moderate Christian Enablers that follow in their wake.  This is a religious war on a political campaign that is fueled by racism, bigotry, hatred, and ignorance, which ironically enough, are all things Jesus would not be fond of.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Alzheimers in a Political Setting

If someone has one major point McCain brought up last night, that wasn't Joe the Plumber (which was quite pointless in the first place), I'd like to hear it.  All I heard was the same garbage that has been spewing from McCain's mouth in the first 2 debates, and the same unfounded and downright deceitful claims and statements about Obama's policies and past that his dog (Palin's own words, she claimed to be a pit bull) has been barking for the last 2 or 3 weeks.

William Ayers.  He and Obama didn't really have a close relationship.  In fact, if Ayers wasn't brought up daily by the GOP and Press, I doubt Obama would have thought of him a single time during the entire political campaign. Ayers donated $200 to Obama's campaign fund to be elected the first time into the state senate.  That was in 2001.  Sad that there has been no real links between Ayers and Obama since 2002, and the GOP, McCain, and Palin want to pretend and claim that the 2 men are "close friends" somehow.  Let us also not forget that this man is now a Professor at a University, not a radical bomb-making anti-war activist.

ACORN amuses me greatly.  ACORN is required by law in most states to submit all voter registration forms given to them.  ACORN has a great record of effectively flagging most of the fraudulent registrations for officials to throw out instead of registering them as voters.  Officials many times ignore the flags.  Could be laziness, or it could be they are too busy, we don't know.  Some of ACORN's employees (note, not ACORN itself) get caught turning in far too many fraudulent registrations (ACORN also fires them), and the GOP blows up and claims that ACORN, and Obama by association, are trying to steal the election.  This is just a last minute ploy by the GOP to try to win this election, because McCain has no chance without something catastrophic happening to derail Obama.  This is somewhere along the same lines as blaming a department store if one of it's employees demolished a building across town.  However, in order to get the 2 completely in line for a comparison, you'd also have to make that building condemned and required by law to be demolished. (unfortunately, I don't have time to go site hopping trying to find voter registration laws specific to drives to quote for my info here, but I'm sure you can find it yourself if you have more time than I do.  I'll try to come back later and find and post it in an update, if I can ever remember).

Governor Crist (R) of Florida said this of the GOP claims of "rampant voter registration fraud" in Florida.  Even one of their own is now standing up and saying "what are you people looking at to make these claims?" Fitting.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Teaching Grade Schoolers to be gay?

Or just another overblown load of crap from the hate mongering homophobes of the far Right? I'm going to say the latter.

This makes it sound like they're brainwashing children to be gay in a Massachusetts Elementary School.  Or at least very close.  However, you should read the report from The Boston Globe instead of listening to such dribble from the idiotic community that seeks to persecute and alienate the gay community more than it already is.

They say "Kindergarten" in the first site, while it was actually a second grader.  They also love using quotations from MassResistance, which is just another organization of the Religious Right trying to force their religious doctrine down our throat, as if their opinions lend any weight in this:

"The [Supreme] court did not even bother to notify the Parkers or their attorneys," said Mass Resistance, which said what now will be enforced in the judicial district will be the lower bench rulings that the state has not only the right but "even the obligation … to promote homosexual relationships to young children."

They think it's promoting homosexual relationships to read some fairy tales that involve a homosexual marriage.  I guess if I read Jack & The Bean Stalk to that same class, I'm promoting going against your parents orders, since Jack takes the beans instead of money, as his mother had told him to?  Yeah, that's not far fetched in the least, is it?

Normally, I would say that it's a parents right and freedom to be the one to teach their kids these things, but I somehow doubt these parents (and especially the ones who participate in the protests against gay marriage and the like) would ever teach these children anything but contempt and continued hatred towards the gay community, so I'm not sure I can really stand on their side in this situation, as tolerance and understanding are desperately needed in this country which has become so overwhelmed with religious views of intolerance.

Separation of Church & State was one of the key components in setting up the United States of America and it's Constitution.  It amazes me how the Right wants to say the Left is evil and not patriotic when their religious infusion into politics is directly against one of the key rules the Constitution set down.  And the crap the Religious Right likes to spew that claims "the wall between church and state was not meant that way" is completely false.  If you don't believe it, read the constitution and it's amendments yourself, and do some research on sites that are not Christian in origin (as that would give them a bit of bias).

I personally am grateful to the Supreme Court for putting down this petty attempt at continuing the hate against the gay community.  I do believe Jesus preached tolerance and love, not intolerance and hate.  Read your Bible before you start trying to preach it to the rest of us and make us live by it's outdated warnings and cryptic passages.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Catching up

Well, it's been well over a week, a VP Debate, a Presidential Debate, and a lot of school work since my last post, so I figured I'd chime in (between attempting to get 5 minutes worth of a speech out of the scattered knowledge and the few tidbits I printed on the Knights Templar).

The VP debate:  Palin didn't drool all over herself, and didn't get steamrolled by Biden. Naturally, the GOP is claiming a victory there.  I personally nearly blew my T.V. up while listening to her nasal passages talk.  Her voice, her religious views, and her scowling face just make me want to move to New Zealand immediately if McCain somehow wins this race.

The Presidential Debate:  Obama was on the defensive WAY too much during this debate.  McCain nearly ate him alive, and would have if McCain's policies weren't retarded to begin with.  That said, McCain did an excellent job of selling his garbage and spitting on Obama's policies.  It made me quite sick.

That's about all I have time for, more to come later, hopefully.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Big Bang... or not?

I'm one of the first people to jump in line and say that everyone has a right to believe in what they want to believe in, but sometimes, the stupidity of people amazes me.  I know there are plenty of people (even people I love and respect their opinions) who disagree with certain controversial science.  Such as certain parts of Evolution (normally the "monkey to man" part of it), or the Big Bang, though many religious people take the "And God said 'let there be light'" part of the Bible as a possible metaphor for the Big Bang.  But to just outright say "There was no Big Bang. Period. God created the world in 7 days, end of story," is just plain ignorant.

If you don't really believe the Big Bang happened, that's your deal, I don't really care.  But when you start insulting other people because they believe a widely accepted scientific theory on the beginnings of the universe, you're going beyond not believing at that point.  Religion and the people who follow it amaze me anyway.

All you have to do is look at the past.  Just take a look at how Christianity has handled new scientific discoveries in the past (such as Earth being the center of the universe, or the earth being flat, etc.) and how unbelievably wrong they were.  Yet people still cling to the old views of their religion instead of paying attention to the scientific evidence.  I just don't get it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Science & Tech Advisors

This blows my mind.  Well, if I hadn't already lost all faith in the judgement of McCain with his selection of Sarah Palin for VP it would blow my mind.  It's still a little surprising however.

Obama Science & Tech Advisers:
Harold Varmus: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Don Lamb: University of Chicago
Gil Omenn: University of Michigan
Henry Kelly: Federation of American Scientists
Sharon Long: Stanford University
Jason Grumet: Bipartisan Policy Center
Dan Kammen: University of California, Berkeley

Not a bad line up, even though I'm sure most of us haven't heard of any of them before.  At least they're employed by Universities or other science related facilities (aside from Jason Grumet).

McCain Science & Tech Advisers:
James Woolsey: Former CIA Director
James Schlesinger: Former Secretary of Defense
Robert McFarlane: Former National Security Advisor
Carly Fiorina: Former Chief Executive of Hewlett-Packard
Meg Whitman: Former Chief Executive of eBay.

WHAT THE HELL?!  Only 2 of those are even related to Science & Tech, and I'd call their experience in the field on the business side, not the Science & Tech end of things.  Not surprising, McCain would be a horrible choice for the already battered (thanks to Bush) Science & Tech fields.  It is pretty surprising that a weak point for McCain and he doesn't at least have at least some qualified and experienced scientists on his panel.  The man lacks anything remotely close to vision, though I guess that should be expected of a man at his age.

Group Projects

So when was the last time that you were forced to work with near complete strangers for a common goal given to you by someone else?  If you exclude class projects, which are often argued to help you in the real world, the answer is almost certainly "never" for a majority of the population.  So then why do professors love giving group projects and saying things like "you should get used to it, because you'll be doing it in your profession for years to come" or some such nonsense?

That argument doesn't even touch on the topic of getting stuck with the lazy stoner who you wonder how he remembers to get the class each week, the dumb blonde ex-cheerleader who doesn't stop smacking her gum long enough to contribute, and the overbearing perfectionist that has to have the entire project done his way and cries that nobody else is doing it right in your group.  Luckily, I'm not actually stuck with any people like that in my group for my current "group project," but it's annoying anyway.  I work full time, have a girlfriend that I actually want to see sometimes, and am taking this class, as are most of my fellow group mates.  Attempting to actually get together outside the classroom is a near impossibility because we all have lives.   I just find the college group project to be a waste of time in the "preparation for the future" category and lacking in the overall learning experience.  Instead of learning what the project was supposed to teach, you spend most of your time worried about where you're going to find time to actually meet with the other people in your group.  And yet, every professor seems to have some favorite group project he must throw at you after the drop date has passed and you're stuck in the class!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Strike... um, I lost count... against Palin

It seems that it would be pretty much common knowledge that Sarah Palin lied about not supporting the "Bridge to Nowhere" to begin with, backing off after it became a national punch line on wasteful spending.  But there are those who still defend the act, saying she was the one who stamped out the funding to it, even though nobody can deny that she kept the funds.

However, I now see this woman will lie about anything! WHY WOULD YOU LIE ABOUT THIS?! The woman is bad news, and I just hope that people begin seeing past her "pretty face" to the ugly truth of who this woman is and what she really stands for.

Like, oh, I don't know, supporting the "Bridge to Nowhere" and then backing off and throwing water on the fire and claiming to be a hero by killing the project? How about claiming to be a financial watchdog against wasteful spending while blowing $50k in taxpayer money to redecorate her new office to "look like a bordello" almost as soon as getting in to it? And doing it without the council's approval, which makes it illegal on top of wasteful and in bad taste.

It turns out that John McCain's first choice for VP wasn't even Nick Carney's (Palin's original political "mentor" of sorts) for City Council!

 "It was a very casual process, she wasn't even our first choice. We had known her since she was a girl, she went to school with our daughter. It wasn't that she was the brightest thing on the horizon, a rising star or anything like that."

And this is who McCain thinks should be our Vice President? What planet is McCain living on?

Introduction to the Blog & Why

For the last couple of months, I've debated starting a blog. I like to debate politics & religion quite frequently, but most people seem incapable of debating such things without becoming overly agitated. I myself sometimes get that way when people refuse to think logically, follow facts, or are just plain stupid in their side of the debate. So in realization of these factors, a blog became, in my mind, a way for me to discuss the controversial and enraging topics that come to my mind without the risk of a debate becoming a fight.

As for an introduction to myself, I would say that most who are going to read this already know me, but I'll go through the motions anyway.

Some "Christians" never go to church and know very little of the bible, but will argue with you about those topics. I bring that up, because we all know someone who fits that mold. I, however, would have to say I'm the atheist equivalent of such a Christian. I don't really believe in God (at least not in a religious sense), but I do have doubts as to whether I'm right or not, and I don't go out of my way to make people aware of my religious beliefs, though I'm not ashamed of them either. And I will argue certain points that tend to infuriate certain religious people (normally people who are overzealous to begin with), though the infuriating is NEVER my intention. I also truly believe that everyone has a right to their own beliefs and would never advocate any nonsense such as banning a peaceful law-abiding religion.

When it comes to my political views, I would call myself a Democrat if forced to make a distinction, however, I choose not to just line up with any 'ole thing that the Democratic Party tries to push down my throat either. I even agree with certain policies that the Republican Party claims to stand on (though, they haven't done a good job of following these during the reign of Bush, in my opinion), such as low taxes and smaller government (in many situations, not all). I tend to be a little skeptical of politicians and the things they promise, but not so far to the point to believe that not a single representative in Washington has a heart or could be sincere in their cares about those who they represent. I would say it's the exception and not the rule, however unfortunate that may be.

I'm sure that I'll discuss some things outside of these 2 topics, but those are probably the 2 that will be discussed most and would benefit most from an introduction to my views on the topic. I hope you enjoy the Blog.