Saturday, February 26, 2011

Khadaffy & Sons and their Transparent Lies

Khadaffy & sons remind me of thugs from high school. Long on meanness, short on brains.

[Saif al-Islam] promised journalists they would find the streets peaceful and support for his father strong. Do not confuse the sound of celebratory fireworks for bursts of gunfire around the streets of Tripoli, he told them.

Does he think we were born yesterday?

I read news about Khadaffy's attempt to stay in power for black humor more than anything. I laugh at the lies that seem contrived by idiots, but am dismayed by reports of atrocities.

I read somewhere that Lionel Richie, Beyonce, Usher, and Mariah Carey went to Libya to play for the tyrant. Such celebrities may* deserve criticism for aiding and abetting a war criminal. I have never admired these performers or their music, so there is no question about not listening to them anymore.

"Hello? Is it me you're looking for?" Radio stations played Lionel Richie's stupid song repeatedly in the 1980's, once an hour at least, enough to make me want to puke. One reason I stopped listening to radio is that the stations are bribed by record companies to repeat certain performers over and over. Such performers may or may not produce good music. I have better luck picking and choosing what I listen to on my own. Radio I equate with garbage music, much like television is equated with garbage shows.

* I am not certain that the celebrities mentioned did any worse than everyday people who have purchased Libya's oil for decades. In a way, everyone who drives a vehicle that runs on fossil fuels has aided and abetted many tyrants of the Middle East, Khadffy being just one of the scum-buckets. Certainly I have purchased my share of oil, some of which derived from Libya or Iran. Is it correct to single out celebrities who assist a tyrant with music rather than petro-dollars? Maybe not! The modern world's relationship to oil is fraught with ethical problems. Hopefully, regimes in the Middle East will fall and convert into republics, removing the ethical difficulties.

I read about Saif al-Islam obtaining a doctorate from the London School of Economics and am tempted to believe his scholarship was the result of deceit and fraud, which characterizes his entire family and himself. From what I have seen of Saif al-Islam, as he prosecutes the war against the Libyan freedom fighters, he is a stupid fascist of zero worth and without any scruples. He that would slay and torture thousands in the service of a tyrant would not hesitate to hire a poor scholar, or several scholars, to write all of his papers and reports. I suspect that he bribed his professors and the school administration. The awarding of a doctorate to a tyrant's son represents a scandal for the London School of Economics that will persist into perpetuity.

Colleges have for a long time sold advanced academic degrees to the rich. As George W. Bush understood all too well, only the poor must study or work. The rich may play.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Writing an Autobiography

I have the rough draft of an autobiography written ten years ago, but the older it gets, the less I value it. When fresh from my hand, I took measures to safeguard its data, including numerous backups on CD amid fretful worries that an I/O error might erase all my labor. I imagined it would be useful, supplying grist for a novel that might gain for me material things. Writing has always seemed a viable path for a poor person to gain wealth and influence, even though those already prestigious, like Donald Trump, have an advantage, because people will read them in the hope that some of their magic might rub off.

After some experimentation with online publishing, I downgraded my own evaluation. There are many writers that must be better, because they earn a living by writing, whereas I've never been paid for the slightest article or web page, even though I have designed an entire web site from the ground up and written many articles. Also, while I've received some encouragement via fan mail, it hasn't been often. In ratings competition with other writers, I rank in the middle. Editors of publications have rejected submissions and queries. One draws the natural conclusion from the accumulation of such experiences. I think if I had showed promise, surely somewhere along the line, a proper place for me would have been found somewhere, if only as a writer for alternative newspapers or magazines.

Now I think of the autobiography as false in many parts or misguided or a collection of events only half-perceived in their totality. There is a focus, for instance, upon individuals, eight or ten in number, that I no longer care anything for and vice versa, youthful infatuations that seem like overripe onions to me now, and no one is interested in those biased histories besides the author anyway. I read the stories and think, what foolishness, and want to bury the knowledge. All the ones I used to place above the Moon and Stars, I now see as unimportant particles of dust. They are better forgotten, and I am only too glad they are strangers to me now. There's no possibility for good as far as I can see.

To dream about the past is an odd and solitary occupation, because most think about the present and the future, always looking to acquire more possessions in the belief they 'win' if they have more stuff in the end. Where is the accountant, and who pays his salary, and why should he concern himself with the trifles of the deceased?

I like writing on a blog as I do now, without any expectations, as a message in a bottle to an alien visitor from another planet. Sometimes, I find posts that I dislike, especially if they expressed anger, and these I delete. My regrets all had their origin in anger. Anger is a relic of our animal origins that I think cannot have much currency in the future. It is a throwback. It had a purpose, even an advantage back in the days of tooth and claw, but not within the context of modern society, I think. Often, anger seems misplaced in retrospect, overwrought, or the result of disordered thoughts.

It is commonplace to see anger expressed in the media. I remember reading the Reader's Digest in the 1970's and 1980's. The Reader's Digest was like Fox News today. Just about every article was calculated to enrage an ordinary person and persuade them that liberals caused every problem under the Sun. I was at one time an avid reader of the Reader's Digest. All my relatives subscribed to it and their opinions were formed by it. And all of it was nothing but lies, a steady stream of half-truths, exaggerations and distortions calculated to turn working people into voters for Ronald Reagan and, later, the Bushes. And it worked. Humans are quite easy to deceive and mislead and can be operated like puppets. This is well-known. No one is immune, no matter how smart. I have crafted my predictions of the future with this in mind.

On the other hand, every once in a while, I read an earlier post and think to myself, "that is not half-bad," and it gives me satisfaction as a kind of validation. If I like my stuff, then that matters more to me than if others do. However, my evaluations change. I sometimes look back on a story that I used to like and find that time and distance have changed my perception. I'm sure other writers must feel the same way. For instance, even the great Mary Renault's early romance novels left a lot to be desired. I couldn't finish any but The Charioteer. The others just seemed boring.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cretinous Critics at The New York Times?

The critics of The New York Times praise the execrable "Fringe" while condemning the good and correct "Tudors." How can this be? Are their critics cretins? No. It is likely that the hacks at The New York Times praise whoever bribes them and disparage whoever does not. Writing does not pay well, living expenses in New York City are high, and our mainstream media are no more scrupulous or high-minded than our politicians. Such a combination of factors sometimes leads to good shows being panned, and bad shows being promoted. The same general theme can be observed regarding public policy.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Saturday, February 12, 2011

ATI Radeon 3000 ati2dvag causing crash bsod blue screen of death

For a couple of days after upgrading the video driver on one of my computers, I experienced intermittent crashes involving the ati2dvag driver. Online forums recommended a hundred different fixes that sounded bogus. Some recommended cleaning the dust on the motherboard, doing a virus scan, or uninstalling, then reinstalling the video driver. Wastes o' time. I was feeling frustrated until I quit reading the forums and started using my noggin.

Point of fact: the computer was fine prior to the video driver upgrade.
Conclusion: video driver is bad.
Solution: drop back to previous version of video driver.
Complication: AMD/ATI do not offer the previous version, and I can't find my install CD.

I searched on Google until I found, a worthwhile site that fills in the chasm left by negligent hardware manufacturers.

Dropping back to a driver released last year solved my problem. The version of the good, working driver is 8.771, dated 8-25-2010. The ATI Install file is "ATI Catalyst Driver version 10.9."

Hardware manufacturers such as ATI fail to thoroughly test their drivers and fail to offer older versions of their drivers. Once I see a manufacturer's brand name on a blue screen of death, that tends to stay in my memory forever. The BSOD informed me that the driver was stuck in an infinite loop, which smacks of sloppy programming.

Nota Bene: although the old driver is better, it may be a good idea to disable its "ATI Hotkey Poller" service to avoid unexplained crashes.

Update: In retrospect, I recommend that everyone who has embedded video graphics in their motherboard use only the video driver provided by their motherboard manufacturer. Since reinstalling Windows and installing the video driver provided by the motherboard manufacturer, I have had no problems. Don't second-guess the motherboard manufacturer and don't worry about having the latest version of the driver. Although a new version from the ATI web site will install without any warning or problem and may even give a performance boost, it may not play nice with your combo motherboard! The choice is yours--speed or stability.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Egypt, WikiLeaks, and Western Justice

I am pleased the tyrant Mubarak has been evicted from his palace, although he should not be granted a permanent refuge in Egypt. His crimes against his people cannot be overlooked. It is likely that at the present time, he is liquidating much of his fortune and attempting to spirit it out of Egypt, foreseeing his dim future in that country. I suspect he will eventually emerge in Saudi Arabia.

I hope that Egypt evolves into a multiparty republic similar to the European republics. There may be a place for the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt's equivalent to our Christian Right. Ignorance and evil are no disqualifications to voting, for better or worse. Indeed the Christian Right has access to the very highest levels of government, including the offices of our Senators, Representatives, Governors, and even our generals. It can be argued that the Christian Right is responsible in large part for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They wish to bring about the end times to fulfill the fantasy drama in their heads. To this end, they are willing to wage war and commit any act which serves to revert the modern world to the world of Biblical times.

If WikiLeaks made any small contribution to the current turn of events in the Middle East, then it must be allowed that Julian may be smarter and better than he at first appeared. I do believe all charges against him in the sex case in Sweden should be dropped. It is probably true that the prosecutor in that case is a man-hater. It is also probably true that the Swedish government is persecuting him for political reasons.

Western law in general has moved to a position that is anti-male. Today, few would dispute that women have a distinct advantage in most areas of legal justice. Divorces deprive men of half their life earnings as well as their children, even in cases where the woman was only married for a few years and only married for money to begin with. For biological reasons, it is easier for women to remain monogamous than men. Sexual mischief is punished severely in civil and criminal cases, even in instances where the harm was negligible. Harm should be evaluated carefully and punishment doled out in proper measure to it.

There needs to be an accommodation made for the male of the species. On the other hand, if men are not a desirable counterpart in our species, then society should eliminate the Y chromosome and switch from natural reproduction to cloning. This would incur certain risks. It is interesting that almost all the leaders, inventors and discoverers in history are male. We can argue about the reasons why this might be so, such as the patriarchal social structure of earlier times, but it does not change the fact. If our species were all women, perhaps we would be more at peace, but still huddled around a fire.

On the other hand, the Islamic world tends to be anti-female, another extreme, and even more anti-female than Western society is anti-male. The Islamic world seems preoccupied by excessive concern over female sexuality. I believe women should have the right to fraternize with whomever they choose, and their fashion is not an issue for the police. I would not be offended even by nakedness, although I wouldn't recommend it. Women should have free access to education, birth control, and the same occupations as men. Iran may be the most anti-female country in the world at this time. I don't know why the Iranian regime despises women, but they despise homosexuals as well. I can't think of anything more tedious than to live in such a repressive and ignorant society. My hopes for regime change in Iran have not died, but been delayed.

On another topic, an argument has gained currency among the right bemoaning the popular uprising in Egypt on the grounds that transition into a free European-style republic is impossible in the Middle East. I am undecided. There is no example of a Middle Eastern country that has transitioned from dictatorship to republic, but that does not prevent Egypt or Tunisia from breaking new ground. In any case, I do not believe that fear of an Iranian-style Islamist regime should stand in the way of democratic change. Perhaps the people will succumb to ignorance and evil. Perhaps they will choose radical Islam over peace, freedom and prosperity. If so, it is their choice. Certainly our people have made their share of mistakes. Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II were all mistakes betraying poor judgment on the part of the electorate, and each mistake had consequences for poor citizens and for foreign people. The U.S. national debt is in large part the result of those mistakes. Most social ills in our country can be laid at the door of those Presidents, who preferred squandering vast sums of taxpayer money on foreign wars instead of investing in science, energy, infrastructure, or education. Those who would argue that Egypt is better off with a tyrant would also place a tyrant in our own country. They have declared themselves as enemies of freedom. Democracy, of course, is not without risk, even grave peril.

Mubarak is a fiend to argue Egypt is not ready for democracy. He had several decades to prepare Egypt for democracy. What was he doing all that time? He was stealing vast sums of money for himself and his own family, that's what. His manner of government involved equipping brutal thugs with policeman's uniforms and an array of weapons and torture devices and letting them do whatever they please against the working class. There are some on the right wing that believe this is fine and dandy, and they would like to have society ordered in a similar manner in the West. The evil of Nazism lingers on in various forms.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Magnetic Pole Shift

Some media reports have sounded a shrill alarm over the shift of Earth's magnetic pole.

I prefer reading a report by NASA, which seems calmer by far.

We read a lot about government agencies that commit acts of evil, such as the DEA and the CIA. I prefer to read about government agencies that are benevolent in nature, such as NASA, dedicated to expanding the fund of human knowledge and thereby protecting the human species from destruction. The DEA should be disbanded and its funding diverted to NASA. As for the CIA, its activities and projects should be scaled down. Much of our interference in the affairs of other nations proves counter-productive and is a waste of our time, talents and resources, besides exposing our country to charges of unethical behavior. We need an intelligence agency in order to operate in the world, as has every country since ancient times, including the Romans and the Persians. But oftentimes the goals of our leaders are not informed by wisdom and are instead guided by arrogance with no regard to either ethics of even self-interest. The U.S. should attend to its own house rather than setting fire to the houses of others. Becoming selfish would actually represent a step forward in terms of wisdom. Is it really a good idea to slip billions of dollars into corrupt hands in Afghanistan year after year, when that money could be used on projects here in the United States? Selfishness would say no. Selfishness would be correct.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Mubarak the Torturer

Here is an account of torture committed by the Egyptian Army at the orders of Mubarak.

The U.S. pays Mubarak over a billion dollars a year. He is our chief torturer in the Middle East at this time.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Come Fly with Me

Come Fly with Me is a great show featuring Matt Lucas and David Wallliams, of Little Britain fame. The first episode may have been spotty, but the show grew stronger as the episodes continued, and the last episode was the funniest. Some may not understand the cumulative effect of the comedy. When a joke first airs, it may not be funny at all, particularly if the humor is dry. As it gets repeated, it becomes funnier. The audience has to grow accustomed to the character and the situation and suspend disbelief. This takes time. A patient viewer, willing to follow the show to the end, will be rewarded. I think Come Fly with Me is just as good as Little Britain was, which is saying something.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The $1.99 Soft Drink

At a mega-grocery store, the deli has a pernicious rule. They don't allow customers to buy drinks from the rest of the grocery store; only from the deli. Why, I don't know. It seems like a strange rule. Maybe they want customers to buy the sugary sodas that have a higher profit margin. I don't like sugary sodas. I like the juice of carrots, grapefruit, lemons, or oranges, which are sold in the grocery store. Due to this rule, which the cashier rigidly enforced, I ate my meal without drinking. However, the thousands of dollars I spent at that grocery store over the years won't be repeated. There are other grocery stores, after all. The dozen-odd people I recommended the grocery store to over the years won't be repeated. Now I have a different story to tell instead of gushing over the food selection, which again, are duplicated by other grocery stores. They ain't the only game in town, not by a long shot. It does seem odd to me that the one-time possible sale of a $1.99 soft drink is preferred over goodwill. The urge to control customers can be taken too far. Greed is short-sighted, snatching for pennies while losing dollars.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

The Hunt for Life...on Earth

The Russians are on the verge of exploring a lake that has been sequestered beneath Antarctic ice for over 15 million years. It will be interesting to learn what ancient life forms, if any, exist in that isolated environment.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Huffington Post

I removed my link to The Huffington Post after reading that AOL is going to acquire HP for $315 million cash. AOL is bad news.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ronald Reagan's Incompetency

I don't know why the media insists upon lionizing Ronald Reagan. That president oversaw the largest peacetime increase in the national deficit, increased the senseless war on drugs, declared war on the little island of Grenada, sold arms to Iran, funded what would become the future Taliban, and supported the terrorists in Nicaragua. His Presidency was a complete and utter disaster. He set the stage for our problems in Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq. However, at one time I did support him. I was mistaken. In retrospect, his failings are clear. He was lucky enough to preside during a period when the former U.S.S.R. was dissolving and Gorbachev was seeking reforms. For that reason, right-wingers have deluded themselves into thinking "Reagan beat the Commies," when in reality, the Commies beat themselves with foolish economic, foreign and domestic policies. In no way was the U.S.S.R. ever a competent government.

Conservatives make noise about reducing the deficit only when there is a moderate in the White House. When their party controls the White House, their nature moves them to spend the maximum amount of taxpayer money possible. That is why Reagan increased the deficit every single year that he was in office. He used the money to expand the military, so that we could wage pointless and counter-productive invasions of foreign countries. This is because right-wingers have a deep craving for enemies. They want to be hated. If there are no enemies, they go around the world creating new enemies.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Time Magazine on Archer

I was amused by TIME magazine labeling the new cartoon series "Archer" as "bawdy and brilliant." Bawdy, yes. Brilliant, no. TIME magazine would think it was brilliant. They are clueless about everything else, so why not television as well? TIME magazine is primarily composed of photographs, charts, graphs and extra-large fonts these days. I can read it in the amount of time I spend in a grocery store checkout line. Why would anyone buy such a magazine? It's not really a magazine, but just a collection of pictures, and not very good ones at that.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Heroes in Egypt

Real courage is demonstrated in Cairo, Egypt, by demonstrators who are willing to stand up for freedom, day and night, in the open, in public, against government-paid thugs who are using machetes, clubs, fire bombs, whips, and guns against them.

Witnesses who spent the night in Tahrir said there were major shooting incidents at 11pm and 4am, the latter involving a sniper equipped with a laser sight. Seven protesters were reported to be confirmed dead at a nearby makeshift medical centre, with three other bodies still unrecovered.

--The Guardian

Mubarak sent a sniper equipped with a laser sight to murder seven civilians under cover of darkness. A typical deed for such a tyrant as Mubarak, who should be tried for his crimes and placed at the mercy of the Egyptian people.

It is embarrassing to read that billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer money has been squandered upon a torturing, brutal savage such as Mubarak, a coward who turns guns upon defenseless people. In this way he is no different from the Iranian dictator. Perhaps the two dictators differ upon the single issue of Islamic extremism, but otherwise they are soul-mates.

No one wants another Islamic regime to replace Mubarak, but when people are held down in poverty and desperation for many generations, they do have a tendency to turn fanatical, superstitious, and irrational. Violence and oppression have a way of being perpetuated. It may be that another anti-American, anti-Israel Islamist regime is created in Egypt, and perhaps that will be in part a reaction against U.S. aid and support to the dictator Mubarak for so many years.

Billions in U.S. money given to Mubarak: why? I find it difficult to comprehend. Just because someone consents to become the enemy of our enemy is not a good enough reason. We become complicit in crimes beyond our control, and the final cost is difficult to foresee. Our acts are writ in history, unalterable. People remember.

The trouble with so many of our intelligence analysts, political leaders and other big-shots is that they are cunning. Yes, they are very good at what they do. They are focused on precise objectives and they succeed in obtaining short-term goals. If they were dumb or wise they might think, "Oh, but to support an evil man is wrong!" All costs are not apparent. Some are hidden. There are repercussions for committing acts of evil in the world. It would be better to remain uninvolved and unengaged, focused upon domestic issues, instead of blundering around the globe getting involved with other countries in a foolish and short-sighted manner. We are wasting our money creating new generations of enemies that would otherwise be content to leave us be.
by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments
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