Saturday, March 31, 2012

Replace Money with Cards? Yeah, Right.

Those lazy buns that want to replace cash money with credit cards and stop the government from circulating any money are due some rue from the clue canoe. Credit cards store more than financial amounts. They store information, and their information can be stolen and misused, as happened recently. I think it is completely idiotic to propose doing away with money. Money is free to use and carries no information with it. Money is the perfect payment vehicle, and if we had not already invented it, it would be the perfect successor to that primitive, insecure, expensive and dangerous antique known as the credit card. Credit cards will never replace money, and if money is eliminated, then the world will be less free as a result and less secure.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Keith Olbermann

I've never watched any show with Olbermann, but did see clips of him on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He seemed to be the liberal equivalent of Rush Limbaugh, so I never felt any desire to tune in. There is something to be said for being nice, funny, or cute. I can do angry myself. I don't need somebody else to do it for me.

Looks like Olbermann is wasting a whole lot of time and money of liberal and progressive people by taking Current TV to court over his expensive fifty-million dollar contract. In the first place, I don't know who is worth fifty million dollars. Maybe Jon Stewart is. I don't know about Keith Olbermann. I don't even know anyone that watches him. At least Jon Stewart can appeal to the other side through the lubrication of wit.

If I were going to watch anybody on politics besides Jon Stewart, then I'd probably give Rachel Maddow a go. In fact, I may do so. Lately, I've gotten tired of Jon Stewart. His recent shows have seemed a bit boring. I also don't understand why he brings in a constant stream of airhead celebrities to talk about their stupid movies. I suppose he's taking money from the studios, but why should I watch an insipid interview about a movie I never plan to watch?
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, March 30, 2012


A common problem with small time gamer or forum sites is they have an inadequate test environment, typically little or none. Debugging should only ever be done on a test site, and the changes placed into production only after all possible (or rather, foreseeable) bugs are fixed. Those bugs that can't be foreseen are the only ones that production users, or customers in a business setting, may encounter. Unfortunately, small time web sites tend to make changes on the fly, with the result of inconveniencing some or all of their users. The best changes are slow ones done with care and deliberation and prior notice to users.

I think testing is the single greatest weak point in the software industry, encompassing all the security holes, bugs and failures caused by software that simply was not tested enough. The same could be said of hardware, of course. A web master with a track record of unrolling changes that are perfect for most users and approved by them is a real professional, and he must have a good team of testers.It is very difficult to attempt to anticipate every possible variable or even to identify all the variables at play. Much in computer science has always been assumed. One common and costly assumption was that the first two digits of any four-digit century would always and forever be "19" instead of anything else, like oh, say "20". Another assumption is that electrical power will always be available. What if it is not? Many programs have lost data due to something as simple and common as a power outage. The list goes on. Testing can become quite expensive and time-consuming depending upon the amount of thoroughness desired. The balance between cost and benefit depends upon the application.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Homo Sapiens 2.0

The temporary and precarious nature of our existence sometimes disturbs me and makes me fear for the people I care about, but for myself, I am not so worried. I suppose it would be unfortunate to be deprived of additional pleasure and fulfillment, but I have already had more than my share, I think, particularly when one considers the sometimes abbreviated, often more difficult lives of those ancients who had more talent and contributed more to the world than I did. Just to name one instance, Shakespeare did not live past the age of fifty, I believe, and certainly many of my acquaintances have already exceeded his span, and it is likely his life was more difficult due to the times he lived in.

We are fortunate to be human, compared to say squirrel or cat, but being human does carry with it the curse of mortality, impermanence. Perhaps one day scientists will develop Homo Sapiens 2.0.

My vision of Homo Sapiens 2.0 stores our identity in bits and bytes upon a computer system. In the first place, I realize it is very controversial to propose that a human personality can be broken down into bits and bytes and stored on a computer. I believe that it can, that there is nothing to our psychology that cannot be translated into software. If I like something, I like it to a degree that can be quantified on a scale from one to a hundred, and if I dislike something, that dislike can also be quantified, and rules and provisions can be established that further refine my likes and dislikes. All of this should be immediately apparent to anyone who has ever programmed a computer. It is the non-programmers who tend to think that computers will never simulate human beings. I would never make such a rash presumption. Already, computers play better chess than human beings, and they do many other things better than we do as well. In time, artificial intelligence will eclipse our own native intelligence, and then it will be a simple matter to simulate our little personalities.

However, in order to interact with each other and with the physical environment, I think it will always be useful to spawn organic clones that are robust yet replaceable in the event of injury or death. We will, each or some of us, spawn clones to get things done, but when these clones die it will be of little or no concern to the entity that dwells in safety and redundancy on a computer system.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

A Review of Sellyourgold.Com

 I checked out this site for selling gold, but like all gold-buying sites, it left me cold. For one thing, that web site does not specify how much they pay for gold. They prefer to remain mysterious. I and everyone else in the world want to know the minimum scrap price they are willing to pay for gold. None of these gold-buyers reveal that essential bit of information.

That site quotes prices that they have paid in the past (when gold was how much? $50 a gram? $20 a gram? who knows?) per pennyweight of gold, an archaic measurement. Pennyweight has no relevance in the modern world. We might as well go back to measuring distance in furlongs if we are going to use pennyweights. The metric gram is sufficient for all measurements of weight. There's nothing complicated about milligrams and it is understood universally.

Any fifth-grader worth his salt can calculate the commodity value of any marked piece of solid gold jewelry using nothing more than a metric scale with an accuracy of +/- one milligram and a magnifying glass to read the mark. Read the mark to determine karat weight. Divide karat weight by twenty-four to obtain the percentage of gold. Weigh the jewelery to obtain gram weight. The last variable, the current price per gram of gold, must be obtained online and will vary from day to day, even second by second, although I only care about the daily price and would accept anything within a dollar or two of it. Multiply the percentage of gold by the total gram weight by the current price per gram, and presto, the commodity value is obtained. Easy. Nothing to it. Javascript to help people estimate commodity value could be written in a single afternoon. I do not know why these gold buyers don't offer such a service, when they have clearly spent a small fortune on web design.

I have decided to hang on to my gold jewelery, because I don't trust any of the commercial gold buyers. I have yet to find one that pays a decent amount, in the 85 - 90% range for scrap value at the current commodity price.

Gay Marriage Vs. Civil Partnership in the UK

Although I am pleasantly surprised by the conservatives in the UK, I find it difficult to get enthused about Conservative PM David Cameron's proposal to open the institution of marriage up to gays. In the UK, gays already have civil partnership. Apparently there are few advantages to be gained by changing the already existing "civil partnership" into "marriage". One gains the title, the religious ceremony, and the ability to divorce in the case of adultery. To the best of my knowledge, civil partnerships already offer the option of dissolution (akin to divorce), and therefore, I do not find those things very advantageous for gays. Perhaps there is a piece of the puzzle that I am missing due to inadequate reporting in the media.

However, I suppose it is an encouraging sign that the UK Conservatives are embracing gay rights at long last and showing their ideological brethren in the U.S. how to become relevant in the 21st century. I certainly would have to look at the Republicans a second time if they came out in favor of gay rights. Today, many Republicans go out of their way to offend gays. Not every Republican is a bigot, but bigots vote Republican, if they vote at all.

For my part, once gays win civil partnership rights, that is pretty much all that is needed, other than avoiding censorship and other efforts to marginalize gays. I am not concerned about the terminology used to describe a same-sex union. I am not interested so much in the word "marriage" or the religious ceremony as the practical, necessary, real-world benefits bestowed by civil partnership. Our lives would not be as hard nor as precarious if we had the many rights and privileges our straight friends enjoy as a matter of course. If the Anglican bishops want to have a separate arrangement in their Church for gay unions, "separate but inferior," that is of little consequence to me, and I would be inclined to not care at all, for the simple reason that I am not Anglican or Catholic.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Castro Meets the Pope

There is something poignant and meaningful about Castro meeting the Pope and speaking in civil and cordial terms. Their friendly meeting shows that killing off one's enemies is not the best way to go about things. Far better to show patience and understanding and to wait for the imperial court of the world & the times to settle the great Questions. I can remember when some Republicans were calling for the assassination of Castro. It is probably better that he lived without undue interference. If nothing else, a superb accomplishment of Castro is the free public health care system in place in Cuba, as well as the Cuban doctors and nurses that are exported throughout the third world. I believe that the sanctions in place against Castro's regime should be lifted. His regime is not as bad as others that we do business with.

In truth, Castro and the Pope have much in common. While inhabiting different sides of the political spectrum, they are both representatives of declining ideologies.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Marijuana & Obamacare

If the U.S. Supreme Court now throws out provisions of the health care reform, then a reinterpretation of the Commerce Clause has occurred, which would have implications for marijuana prohibition, were the Supreme Court composed only of honest individuals. However, I suspect the Justices vote along party lines with little or no regard for logic, reason or the Constitution. They pick and choose based upon their own prejudices.

They may rule that the federal government "exceeds its authority" in compelling citizens to purchase health insurance, and then turn around and support previous rulings that a citizen growing a non-toxic, non-addictive, medicinal natural plant may be imprisoned. In the former case, the Court supports "individual freedom," whereas in the case of marijuana, the government can do whatever it wants, anytime it wants, and for any reason, whether valid or not.

I think that this Supreme Court has been clipping away individual rights and freedoms for a long time, and it will oppose health care, while claiming that they are supporting "freedom," namely the "freedom" to suffer and die without health care or with substandard health care. Meanwhile, marijuana, which has never caused death, unlike substances such as prescription drugs, tobacco and alcohol, continues to be the most common excuse that the government uses to wage war against its own citizens.

Good Republicans are Eliminated

Good Republicans get eliminated by the base. The only Republican I may have voted for over Obama, Jon Huntsman, was eliminated early in the Republican primary. Only far right-wing nuts survive the primary process, because only they reflect the Republican base. You have people who do not believe in evolution, who want to make birth control an issue, who think women are sluts, and who want gays to go back in the closet. They think education is a misdemeanor at best, and war is the only way to improve the country. In a nutshell (not the Republican one), that's why I vote for Democrats, every time. I hope that one day the Republican party will start nominating intelligent and reasonable people again, like they did back in Lincoln's day.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Florida Republicans Say, "Thou Shalt Kill"

What if the New Black Panther Party decided to launch a Neighborhood Watch program of their own, riding around black neighborhoods with loaded guns and questioning any random white man or woman they see walking along the road at night?

In the Wild, Wild West of Florida, anyone has the right to kill anyone they please due to Florida's Stand Your Ground law, the brainchild of the Republican Party & the NRA, which allows people to kill anyone they want, anytime they want, as long as they remember to tell the cops they were in fear of their life when they shot and / or killed the unarmed victim. They certainly won't be contradicted by anyone, as dead men tell no tales!

Republicans think the Ten Commandments must be posted in public spaces all over creation. I suggest they learn how to follow the Commandment that says, "Thou shalt not kill." That's the most important one of all. Once they master that one, then they can progress to the other nine. But by that time, they will have become Democrats.

Republicans hate gays, marijuana and birth control, but they love guns, war and now just plain ol' shootin', murderin' and killin'.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

One Thing About Obama: He's Smart

One big reason I like Obama and will vote for him in 2012 is that he's smart and has good morals. I even get the impression that he is smarter than me, and that's a good thing. He damn well better be smarter than me if he is going to lead the United States! In this article, Obama demonstrates awareness of American Sign Language.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Cash Money, Now and Forever!

Some in the mainstream media are eager to celebrate the end of cash. They want to eliminate cash from the world and replace it with credit cards.

If cash isn't used, then the government is disenfranchised from the economy, which sounds good to conspiracy theorists, but consider for a moment the alternative methods proposed for paying for transactions. Using a card of any kind, whether it goes through Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, or any bank enriches a private corporation, which then accrues immense wealth and power. Some of these corporations are already wealthier and more powerful than some states in the United States and some countries in the world. These private tyrannies remain unaccountable to voters or to anyone other than a small group of large stockholders or private owners. They can and will do whatever the hell they can get away with.

The choice between cash and cards is an easy one. Cash for me, thank you very much, whenever I can. Most merchants I know are happy to receive cash, and some of them offer a discount to those customers that pay with cash, because otherwise the merchant has to pay the credit card company a transaction fee. I don't know what rock the writers searched under to find these strange business owners that don't like cash.

Calculating how much cash to pay, how much change to make, and storing the little coins and paper are all helpful and restorative exercises for the brain. Using the brain is a good thing. I like to perform simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Sometimes I like to do simple algebra as well. These tasks are fun, not boring or difficult. As for cash itself, it can be beautiful, when designed properly. My favorite coin is the Walking Liberty, and my favorite bill is the 1976 two-dollar bill with the interesting scene on the reverse.

Making everything as easy as splat is a bad idea. A transaction needs to be slow enough to permit people to stop and consider what they are doing when they make a purchase. Cash is a powerful defense against the impulsive purchases that cards encourage. I wish that paying for things took ten times as long as it does now, because few would then buy the useless plastic crap imported from China and sold at Wal-Mart.

If the lazy idiots and conniving capitalists win this war they are waging against cash, then I will mourn the humble little coins and bills that used to circulate, those elegant symbols of our Republic and its long history, so useful for the education of children and reminders of the great minds that shaped our world. The death of money would be a long nail in the coffin of our democracy.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Test Scores Mean Zip

The No Child Left Behind Act, the No Child Right Behind Act, or whatever federal, state or local programs that emphasize tests, tests, and more tests, and even more tests on top of the tests that students are already being tested on, are bad ideas based in good intentions. When salary is tied to students' test performance, guess what, the test scores  are going to improve just like magic, or just like teachers spent a couple hours in the staff room erasing answers and marking in the right ones.

There is a difference between tests to control pass or fail and the tests the government requires in order to evaluate teachers and schools. I think students are government-tested entirely too much. In my day, the kids had one official statewide test at the end of the year, period, end of story, and even that one was a week-long hassle and detracted from learning. Testing is not learning. Testing is just a gimmick to appease anxious parents/voters.

It is no great mystery why Johnny Stupid can't design rocket ships. Stupid kids with stupid parents are not going to perform well, and no amount of effort by teachers will change that. No amount of government money thrown down the toilet is going to change that, either. Until stupid people start using birth control, there are going to continue to be a lot of stupid kids in the world. The answer to education problems is a nineteen cent condom along with an instructional video on how to use it.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, March 23, 2012

Good Times?

I have a funny feeling that these years we are living through will be remembered as the good years--maybe even the best, although for my money the 1990s were the best for me from the perspectives of health and wealth.

The environment seems like an important issue simmering on the back burner, ignored altogether by Republicans. What if the weather turns really bad and stays really bad for a long period of time? I suppose that those of us alive today will be glad that we were alive today and look back upon this time as a good one.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

An Infatutation with Firearms

When I was a little boy, I was drawn to fire--flames and burning--but not firearms, other than toy guns or squirt guns, because they simply weren't available (we had no guns in our house). As a teenager, guns were regarded as foreign and dangerous objects, and when I did encounter them, I treated them with apprehension and mild disdain and did not fire them even in play.
I'm glad I don't have any infatuation with firearms, but I'm aware that a number of men do seem to be in love with the things that go bang. They are drawn to guns like moths to a flame. Some get into a great deal of trouble and bring enormous hardships down upon themselves due to their actions involving firearms.

Human beings have no natural defense against the metal missiles fired by guns, and that is why guns are such a big problem in the world, responsible for so many life-altering injuries and deaths. If there were some defense, such as a natural protective armor or self-regenerating capacity, then we might as a species take a more liberal attitude toward guns and their users. But once a man is shot, he tends to go down and stay down. Many are the gun owners that wish that the person they shot could get up again and be safe and sound. Many are the gun owners that regret pulling that trigger.

In regard to the unfortunate incident in Florida, I think a self-destructive urge was at play, a death wish closely related to the need to prove oneself. I would imagine that appointing oneself as the Neighborhood Watch, when nobody was asking or paying for this service, and taking it upon oneself to go out at night and hunt and confront a young man walking alone in a neighborhood was motivated by the desire to express machismo. Such an act was only possible with the addition of a firearm, because the same individual would never have been able to prevail in any fair fight. A coward, unversed in combat and lacking in actual courage, turned to a gun in order to supply what Nature did not, force and courage.

Instead of being the lauded hero of the neighborhood, as perhaps he imagined before our prospective Batman set out on his foolish solo mission with a loaded gun, he is now the detested villain, known throughout the country and even the world for a single act involving a firearm. No one has much to say in his favor, but many speak ill of him, and the vultures are circling, and his remaining days upon this Earth seem dark with many shadows. He went looking for trouble but didn't find it and decided to make it. So it is often with men that feel that they have something to prove, that want to show to others that they are a man and can't seem to find an appropriate and rational avenue to pursue that goal.

I would think he would have been better off volunteering at the local fire department, animal shelter or community theater rather than driving around at night with a loaded gun, looking for trouble.

I think that television is partly to blame for indoctrinating so many young people with the idea that guns are the way to prove oneself, that guns are the solution to problems, for idealizing violence. In real life, things seldom work out they way that they do on television shows. Of course, no one ever volunteers at the local fire department, animal shelter or community theater on a television show. More likely in T.V. land, they are associated with the mafia, a corrupt police cabal, Mexican gangs or are solitary vigilantes. (I betray my age with the references to television, because these days, video games occupy more time of young men than anything on television.)

Law enforcement strategy is largely based upon noticing things that are out of the ordinary, that do not fit an accepted pattern, an assumed version of what is normal.  Black people were out of the ordinary for the neighborhood. The perpetrator did not expect that a young black person would have any legitimate reason to be walking alone at night in that area. His imaginative faculties clearly are very poor in view of his actions that night. If anyone should never have appointed themselves to the Neighborhood Watch, he is a prime example. His doom may be wrought on the basis of stupidity, cowardice and overreaction rather than malice in his heart toward any specific group. That does not excuse his actions. Stupidity has never been an acceptable defense for any sort of crime, only a mitigating factor that might be considered during the sentencing phase--or might not.

Robert A. Heinlein once wrote that there is only one capital crime in the universe, and that there is no appeal and no parole and the sentence is carried out immediately, and that crime is stupidity. Most of us spend our lives just trying to avoid making any stupid mistakes. I think it is a double tragedy when someone commits a stupid mistake that results in harm to another person. It is a tragedy for the victim as well as the perpetrator when he is eventually apprehended and has to face the consequences.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

The Gym and Other Wastes of Time

There is plenty of work to do in the world, and working out at a gym seems to me a silly or at best a selfish act, because no good work is getting accomplished by the shifting of dead weights or the turning of a treadmill. I have always preferred doing something physical that either serves a purpose or else makes money. Working out at a gym, or going for a walk with no other purpose in mind than walking, always struck me as a slightly foolish waste of time and energy. That said, I've spent plenty of time going for pointless walks and runs and lurking in gyms. But no more. I think it is better to find personal projects around the house, yard or community to work on and complete rather than buying a gym membership. In that manner, the imagination and the soul (and possibly the bank account) are exercised and enriched in addition to the body.

Rather than lift weights at a gym, a prospective bodybuilder would be well-advised to sell his services as a mover and be paid to lift, rather than paying for the privilege of lifting. Rather than walk in a park for no other reason than exercise, a man would be better off working a job that requires him to spend some time on his feet, thereby getting paid, in effect, to walk and move around.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Yet Another Stupid Republican Law

Florida's Stand Your Ground law has been shielding killers and keeping them out of jail for quite some time. Mr. Zimmerman is just the latest rocket scientist to apply the Republican-crafted law to defend himself against charges of murder.

On a related note, the former Mississippi governor, a Republican, pardoned several murderers and even bought them cars for their personal use, which begs the question of what sort of favors these murderers did, or will do, for him.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Is Red Meat Bad?

A recent finding by researchers indicates that any dose of red meat is bad for health. I find that rather surprising. However, I have reduced my consumption of meat to once a day. I may reduce it further, to once every two to three days, if there is a health benefit. I am pretty flexible on diet and will eat anything that seems to improve health, as long as it does not taste too bad or cost too much.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

So-Called Terrorist Bombings in Syria

I wouldn't put it past the Assad regime to stage the so-called terrorist bombings in Damascus and Aleppo. The fact of the matter is that the regime is an expert in those sort of bombings and finances them around the world. No one is better at it than Assad's regime. If some other actor is responsible, then the Syrian regime can hardly complain, because the chickens are coming home to roost. A dose of their own medicine might do them some good.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Saturday, March 17, 2012


The billions we spent in Iraq have resulted in a pro-Iran, anti-American government that allowed the Iranians to use Iraqi airspace to send Iranian troops and war material over to Syria to assist Assad's regime.

Republican leaders must hate the American people, because they want to spend taxpayer money on hostile or indifferent foreigners, but begrudge every penny spent on unemployment insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, Social Security, or any other program that helps ordinary Americans.

Friday, March 16, 2012

An Obvious Injustice

The outrageous case of Mr. Zimmerman, self-appointed vigilante who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, is bad news for everybody, because it will inflame racial tensions and foster a sense of injustice. The harm is compounded by the inaction of the local police department.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Assad's Personal Emails

A bit of black humor is on display in the exposure of Assad's personal emails, which reveal a shallow, self-absorbed man detached from the horror and brutality all around him and focused only upon personal pleasure. Then again, I suppose most criminal psychopaths are the same. There seem to be plenty of similar types right here in the U.S.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wall Street Banks

If perfect justice were done, the big Wall Street banks (like Goldman Sachs) that are responsible for the economic crisis and that took billions of dollars in government bailout money and used it to buy T-bills would be nationalized, and the executives put to work doing something productive for a change, such as shoveling coal. If that sounds communist, then maybe it is. Corrupt capitalists are the entire reason that communism ever existed in the first place. A little taste of communism might be just the right medicine for these Wall Street types.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Scott Deathly

Scott "Deathly" traveled to small undeveloped countries around the globe spreading an ideology of hate. Seems like Deathly was persuasive in Uganda, because that country is once again considering legislation to murder gays. A number of innocent people in Uganda have already been butchered by vigilantes. I hope that the lawsuit against Deathly succeeds where moral arguments and media attention have not.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth

Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth.

(I know, that's a dated expression, ain't it? I'm from the 19th century, how are you doing?)

Malawi is complaining because Madonna has spent only 3 million of a promised 11 million in charity so far. Sounds like corrupt officials are upset because they can't get their greedy little paws on the rest of the stash.

One thing about me is that I do *NOT* look a gift horse in the mouth. If someone does something for me, I keep a ledger in my head that shows their debits and credits. I remember good deeds and seek to pay them back in whatever way I can. In the case of bad deeds, I may avenge, forgive, wait or may decide to sever contact, depending upon the situation. But I know that if I were Malawi, I would not be complaining about 3 million dollars in free money and more to come. Let Madonna build those schools wherever the hell she wants. They are FREE!
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Arab Dependency

A likely reason the Arabs have done little to assist the Syrian people is that they have come to view the United States as the policeman of the world, scrambling to do the bidding of any oppressed people anywhere in the world free of charge. The problem with that scenario is that we are an unpaid policeman, and meanwhile, our national debt is enormous and growing. Arab newspapers blame the U.S. for everything wrong in the world, even the crackdown by the Syrian regime, which is our fault because we have not donated billions of dollars to the Syrian opposition yet and because at one time in the past, before the recent crackdown, Hillary Clinton offered some words of praise for Assad. If a dog sneezes in the Arab world, it is the fault of the United States. They have nothing but blame and criticism for the U.S. on a regular basis.

I think the U.S. should not intervene in Syria. It is the Sunni Muslim Arabs who are suffering. If their brothers of the faith in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt don't give a damn about them, then maybe they aren't worth a damn to begin with. If those countries want to contribute financially toward a rescue operation, then the U.S. should sell its military services, but only if the price is right.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Monday, March 12, 2012


Our leaders may have attended college, but they learned absolutely nothing from the Viet Nam experience. I don't know whether they were paying off their professors for grades or just skimming by with a barely passing grade, but they definitely did not take the lessons of history to heart. Afghanistan is the modern-day Viet Nam. A big, fat, stinkin' waste o' money to be paid for by you and me, with the outcome that an entire nation hates our guts and will rejoice to hear any bad news befalling us.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

I Don't Mind Gingrich as Much

Out of morbid curiosity, I checked out the campaign web sites of both Gingrich and Santorum tonight, and without a doubt it was Gingrich's I preferred. He does not go out of his way to offend gay people like Santorum does. Santorum is a real bigot, the worse I've seen running for President since Jerry Falwell. I think Gingrich is a little bit smarter than Santorum to say the least.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Not Surprised

I'm not surprised by research showing that cats can't taste sweetness. The only time my cats have shown interest in sweet food has been when it contained dairy, fish or meat.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

The Washington Times

I never expected I'd have a reason to read something on the Washington Times web site, much less that I'd enjoy it. Here's an interesting article about the beliefs of voters in Mississippi and Alabama.

Let us not generalize about ignorant Southerners, now.

These are Republican primary voters, who obviously are more likely to be conservative. A majority of them don't believe in evolution, they love Rush Limbaugh, and they think Obama is a Muslim. They must be amazingly happy, because I hear that ignorance is bliss.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Consolation for the Middle-Aged

Turns out the over-40's are the pinnacle of evolution!
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Sunday, March 11, 2012

NJ Gov. Chris Christie, a Typical Republican

Gov. Chris Christie had harsh words for a former Navy SEAL.

What a typical Republican!
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Just Like My Dad

This article about drunken celebrity actor picking a fight with his pot-smoking son reminds me of my Dad.

Those who drink tend to seek out conflict with others. They are trapped in a cycle of violence and anger, which alcohol reinforces. There is a great contrast between the alcoholic and the pot smoker. The pot smoker prefers peace and quiet. That is the fundamental difference between the alcoholic and the pot-smoker. Booze promotes violence, while weed promotes peace.

The fact that marijuana is illegal demonstrates the primitive nature of our legal system. Man has not fully applied his reasoning capacity toward the law. Many laws remain on the books due to tradition, prejudice, paranoia, ignorance and superstition.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

An Excellent Point

A retired public school worker in Seattle, who voted for McCain in 2008, summarized my viewpoint on Santorum, Gingrich & Romney in this superb article in the New York Times:
“They’re nothing but hatemongers trying to control everyone, saying, ‘Live as I live.’ ”
That is why I vote for Democrats, Libertarians, Independents--or not at all. Republican is not even an option for me, because Republicans want to get up on their high horse and tell me they know what's best for my personal life.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments


Our leaders aren't mentally retarded, one might hope, and so the only plausible explanation for our perpetual investment in Afghanistan is that the "right" people are making a massive profit off the war. Afghanistan is another one of the many mechanisms used to transfer wealth from the middle class to the rich.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Losers Shop at Wal-Mart

Losers shop at Wal-Mart. That would include myself, as of yesterday. I went there to pick up a few things, none of which I found. Wal-Mart does not carry good brands, such as King Arthur Flour, but instead carries inferior garbage, which tends to be popular. I could not find my favorite brand of gum, UP2U, at a reasonable price, nor Terra, my favorite brand of vegetable chips.

The shopping experience at Wal-Mart has been specially designed, and I admire the designer, to be the most unpleasant experience I have ever had in a store. I admire the designer because it really takes a lot of effort and imagination to make the shopping experience as intensely unpleasant as Wal-Mart's. The noise level, traffic congestion both inside and outside the store, lighting, store layout, and everything is just horrible, which guarantees that each and every customer will feel worse after they shop at Wal-Mart.

Instead of shopping at any big store, the smart way to gather necessary household items is to comparison shop online and then buy them in bulk via Amazon, WEBstaurant, and other web-based wholesalers. The United States Postal Service, derided by some but never by me, will ship goods to your front porch at a very low rate and with surprising speed. (They will also pick up packages from your front porch if you ship via USPS Priority Mail, something inconceivable from a private shipper.) By buying as many goods as possible in bulk online, I have managed to save 20 to 50% on costs and have had a much better experience overall.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Friday, March 9, 2012

Gun Violence

Seems like every time I read the national news, there is a story about gun violence somewhere in the United States. Usually some man (always a man) gets angry at someone else and shoots them or just shoots random people that happen to be in his path. This is really a disgusting scene that gets replayed, it seems, on a daily basis, judging by the headlines.

There does seem to be a problem with anger management in our country, and that problem is compounded by the easy availability of guns. Instead of working through disagreements, people just want to pull a trigger and solve their immediate problem, as though the gun is the remote control to a TV and pressing a button will change the channel to a better show. In reality, pressing that trigger changes everybody's life for the worse. Fools lack the imagination to forecast what the world will be like after they pull that trigger.

One small step to reducing the amount of anger in this country would be to switch the national recreational drug of choice from alcohol to marijuana. It is self-evident based upon even a cursory glance at the data that alcohol promotes violence, whereas marijuana reduces it. But the conservative Republicans are engaged in a jihad against marijuana, which they think is the spawn of Satan. They think that marijuana is the stepping stone to meth or heroin. In reality, alcohol is the stepping stone to meth or heroin, and before that, sugar and tobacco.

Republicans hate freedom with a passion only rivaled by their hatred of minorities, so they pass laws that force workers to urinate into a cup in order to get or keep a job. Republicans delight in humiliating people and reducing them to the state of animals. Republicans understand that urinalysis is heavily biased against marijuana, more so than any other drug. Pot is detectable for up to a month after use. The same is not true of any other drug. Thus, one can better avoid detection by using meth, alcohol, heroin, or crack. One of the factors, certainly not the only one, that increases the amount of anger and violence in this country is that people feel it necessary to avoid marijuana in order to get or keep their jobs, but then they resort to things like alcohol and other substances. I know a lot of people who drink simply because they are afraid to smoke marijuana due to the threat of urinalysis.

Some people think that urinalysis is a good idea because drinking is safer than marijuana. The reality is that drinking is not better. Drinking is far worse. What happens when people drink and get angry is that violent reactions are more likely to occur. Sometimes gun are used. Two contributing factors to the high death toll from gun violence in this country are the prevalence of alcohol and the prohibition of marijuana.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Thursday, March 8, 2012

This Editorial on Iran Makes Sense

Of all the opinion pieces I've read concerning Iran--and I did read some from conservative Republicans (for balance)--this one by the Lake County Bee makes the most sense to me.

Let Iran produce nukes. If Iran strikes Israel, or if any terrorist group in the world gets any radioactive material whatsoever, then Iran will no longer exist as a territory inhabitable by human beings. Iran is giving an insurance policy that no one will use nukes, because if anyone in the world uses nukes, then it is Iran's fault by default.

In the meantime, Iran can learn all about suffering with never-ending sanctions as an educational experience.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Sabu the Clown

That Sabu clown sounds like a real jerk. Worse than his hacking was his keeping the neighbors up all night with his muzak, selling smack and just plain old stealing from people. It is exactly that type of clown that goes around vandalizing web sites.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

What If I Were Hacked?

My recent post about Sabu and Lulzsec made me consider possible retaliation, because those so-called "freedom fighters" do not really believe in freedom of speech after all. They believe in crime and retaliation and that is all.

In the back of my mind, I consider the possibility that my blog, email address or other cyber-identity might some day be hacked or otherwise compromised by cyber-vandals (otherwise known in the media as "hackers," but they ain't nothing more than common vandals, little different from the clowns who deface road signs) or even paranoid law enforcement or some other element that I haven't yet considered.

Sometimes I edit a post and Blogger reports that there are conflicting edits, which makes me wonder whether somebody out there is trying to hack this little insignificant blog. Then I think, "Nah, couldn't be. My blog doesn't matter enough to be hacked." But you never know.

The simple fact of the matter is that I do make back-ups of my stuff on a semi-regular basis, so the complete destruction of my cyber-posts would inconvenience me for about five minutes at the most. Besides, I ain't Shakespeare and don't feel like I'm composing anything irreplaceable on here. I know better than to post my best stuff online, because people will steal it and claim it as their own. Also, I'm not proud and don't really care if someone posts "f*** u igor" or some other derogatory message. Similar things have happened before in the past and I'm sure will happen again at some point in time, the Internet being what it is.

Sometimes I have been contacted by people on fishy pretenses who seem a little bit too eager to learn more about me, while being mysterious about their own identity. As far as law enforcement is concerned, I don't feel I have anything to hide, and if they want to waste their time examining my activities then I would find that amusing, although the taxpayers might not be quite so amused by the waste of government resources.

My blog serves as a place where I can post my many grievances, complaints, insights, observations and predictions. If people find something useful or amusing here, then that is fine by me, but if not, that is okay, because I'm not in a popularity contest here. If I wanted this blog to be popular, I'd post exclusively on narrow technical topics, as so many bloggers do, instead of controversial topics such as politics and philosophy, because not many people really care what igor has to say about those things. But I don't care that they don't care. I post for myself. This is my public diary, not so much concerning the mundane events of my life but rather the intellectual threads that interest me. Take it or, more likely, leave it.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Listen to Kofi Annan

I respect Kofi Annan, who has impressed me as an ethical, objective and intelligent spokesperson for the United Nations. Annan advises against Western intervention in Syria. I think we should heed his words. Turkey is also opposed to intervention by non-regional powers. It is not our responsibility to be the policeman of the world. I think that the Arab powers can pony up some cash to fund and arm the opposition, if they so desire. The Arab nations are certainly not lacking in either money or weapons. They need to back up their words with actions. The United States has carried the cross for freedom for far too long, and we have discovered through bitter experience that many people don't care as much about freedom as they do about their narrow tribal interests. Afghanistan and Iraq may prove to be gigantic wastes of U.S. taxpayer dollars.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Punishment of the U.S.

The whole fiasco in Afghanistan is karma coming back to punish the United States for supporting the Islamists against the Soviet Union in the 1980's. The same people we armed attacked the World Trade Center and have been fighting against us in Afghanistan. It would have better, all things considered, if we had supported the Soviet regime in Afghanistan. By now, Afghanistan might be a semi-modern country. Certainly women would be better off under a non-Islamist government.

Ronald Reagan was one of the greatest fools that the United States has ever had as a President. His stupid and obvious blunder in the 1980's was to cost us billions. I think it is revealing how all the Republicans worship Reagan almost as a rite of passage during the nomination season. They would probably be even worse than Reagan and make blunders costing many trillions of dollars more.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Islamic Intolerance

The muslim states walked out of a United Nations conference discussing human rights for gays. In Muslim countries, gays are arrested just for being gay, and sent to prison or executed. That is a simple fact. The more Islam in a society, the more intolerance, the more oppression, the more barbarity. The only antidotes to Islamic ignorance are other religions and other belief systems. Almost any other religion in the world is preferable to Islam from a human rights perspective. Islam remains trapped in the Middle Ages.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Fare Thee Well, Kucinich

I never really knew much about Rep. Kucinich (D-OH), other than the fact he is a liberal Democrat, until he made headlines by losing his election in his newly gerrymandered district. Gerrymandering is another flaw in our imperfect Republic. The Republican-controlled state legislature targeted Kucinich for elimination and redesigned his district with that specific goal in mind. Their evil strategy brought the desired result and deprived his former constituents of their desired representative.

After reading a hostile review of Kucinich in New York Magazine, I checked out an alternative media source for balance and learned about the various issues that Kucinich has been involved with. I think on the balance that Kucinich was a good leader that raised important questions and contributed worthwhile ideas on a regular basis. I think it is a good thing when somebody in Congress is not going along with the majority, but is following his own conscience. Kucinich was against the Libyan intervention and is against intervention in Syria or Iran. Although I believe differently, I think it is valuable to have someone in Congress articulating a different point of view, because the present Congress seems to be all too eager to jump into Middle East conflicts. We should not have gotten involved in Iraq and we should not have gotten involved in Afghanistan and had we not, our country would be over a trillion dollars to the better. So I say that people should listen to Rep. Kucinich, because he has some valid points to make.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I Voted for Jon Huntsman

When I got to the ballot machine, I changed my mind and voted for Jon Huntsman, even though he has conceded. Huntsman better reflects my values than Ron Paul. Unfortunately, I don't know of any media source that is reporting the number or proportion of votes cast for Huntsman. The media is only concerned about the top four candidates. I still have the satisfaction of knowing that I cast a vote for a good person. I didn't feel right about voting for a man who wished gays went back into the closet, according to his newsletters back in the 1980's. Well, this gay was at the voting booth rather than the closet. And I always vote and I don't care whether it matters or not. The reason the country is in the mess it is today is that so many good and decent people do not pay heed to politics and do not bother to vote or have gotten into the habit of "holding their nose" when they vote, voting for bad people just because of their stance on one or two issues.

If you feel like you have to vote for a bad person, just because that person agrees with your position, then maybe your position is wrong, because bad people tend to support bad things. I would be forced to reconsider my whole philosophy if Santorum was my candidate.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Sabu of Lulzsec

Turns out the leader of Lulzsec had no ideals and believed in nothing except himself, which is about what I expected out of that clown. Time to pay for all that cyber-vandalism, d00dz. Can anyone say "pwnd?"

When I read the details of how he was busted, I realized that all the talk of his skillz was hogwash. Facebook? Really? LOL!
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Monday, March 5, 2012

McCain on Syria

McCain may be right about intervening in Syria. Iran and Syria are the main supporters of terrorism in the world today, so anything we can do to exterminate their leadership may be in the self-interest of the U.S. It might save a lot of money in foreign aid in the long run if we don't have to endure Iran and Syria-sponsored terrorism and nuclear brinksmanship for years to come.

On the other hand, if we let the fanatical Muslim element take over in Syria, the situation there could go from bad to worse for gays, women, Christians, atheists, and anyone other than the Sunni Muslim majority.

I'm still undecided and don't really know which way would be best. It's really a gamble either way. A civil war may actually be preferable. I don't see why the United States has to pay to solve Syria's problems, only to get slapped in the face once the majority takes over and starts hanging people that believe something different from what they do.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments

Rush Limbaugh and His Big Mouth

Rush Limbaugh really stepped into it this time with his "slut" comment. That mistake indicates that he may be falling into old habits. Limbaugh would be better off with weed, but that is a therapy that people like Limbaugh never consider because of its old association with hippies. My advice is lay off the pills.
by igor 04:20 8 replies by igor 09:32 6 comments
techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions