Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I did not make this up ....
The CIA has announced it has created a new project called the Wikileaks Task Force. It has been created to study the harm done to US policy and operations by the Wikileaks dump of documents.
That's right ... you may be approached by an Agent from WTF.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
There are tons of money spent developing and hosting Facebook - constantly updating and adding improved features. So ... how does all of that get paid for? Where is the profit for those who created it, and those who run it? Are they doing it out of the goodness of their hearts? Out of a dedication to social service? A contribution for the good of mankind?
Here are some excerpts from "Which is Worse - Wikileaks or Facebook", by John Quain, FoxNews.com, published on Dec. 21, 2010.
"In actuality, its (Facebook) only purpose is to collect information on its members in order to make money off that date. It can be in the form of ads directed specifically at you based on your interests (those sneaky "you might like" pronouncements on the right-hand side of the page). It can also be in the form of virtual goods or gifts, not to mention all the digital games people play pretending to be agrarian farmers.
And Facebook has a lot of information on its users. It can know where they live, how old they are, what sites they visit, what foods they like, where they work, where they go on vacation, where they like to party, and who their friends are. In Facebook-speak, it's all mapped to your 'social graph'. Translation: they know who's been naughty and who's been nice.
That could be very valuable information for marketers who want to reach people they think are most likely to buy their products ...
... Facebook - while often frivilous and fun and a possible goldmine for advertisers - has a dark side too. It has also become a tool for cyberbullying ... on a scale heretofore unavailable. People get fired for what they post to Facebook. Others have been robbed by thieves via Facebook."
The information that Facebook gathers from its users comes from what they enter in their profile, their account information, and the automated tracking of what it's users do, where they visit on the internet, what they tell their friends, and who their friends are. Users have no control on what information is gathered, indeed, do not even know it is being gathered. Users have no control over how that information is used, or who uses it.
Information gathering is especially profitable/horrific when it involves kids who use Facebook. Kids blindly believe that they're only talking to their friends when they are on the site. They don't realize that their communcations are open for others to read and collect. They don't realize how information they think is cool to share with their buddies can be used to harm them or their families. How many kids tell all their Facebook friends exactly where they (and their families) are at any given time? Hundreds, maybe thousands, of burglaries across the world have occurred because a kid unknowingly told a thief that their house was empty. How many kids have unknowingly accepted friend requests from pedophiles and predators, and then divulged dangerous information to those bastards?
Information gathered is not only available to those who gather it, but is targeted by hackers. Huge databases of identities and personal information are prime targets for theft.
A huge danger that Facebook poses for kids is social misuse. Bullying. Ridicule. Cliques. All that stuff that our kids face while they grow up. Except, now it is not just verbal, it is spread out on the internet, where the entire world can see it. Some kids always have had a cruel streak in them when it came to their contemporaries. Now, they have a powerful tool to take their cruelty to a never seen before level. Kids are killing themselves because of cyber-bullying, and Facebook is the primary enabler.
Another danger is inherent in Facebook use. Because of its popularity, its massive audience, and the incredible number of files that are passed through it (pictures), it has been identified by internet security experts as the biggest source of computer virus infenction in the world. A photo that your friend posted can easily have a virus scabbed onto it after it is posted, without the friend having any knowledge of it. You view the photo, and you have created a highway right to your computer for that virus to come screaming in. In many cases, commercial virus scanners (the ones that most people have on home systems) are unable to prevent this. Then when you post a photo, the virus attaches itself, and spreads amongst the rest of your friends. Photos are a favorite way for virus' to travel between computers.
Virus' are also imbedded in many of those cute games and apps you see pop up on Facebook. A word of advice - if you see something that looks cute, and you don't know where it came from, don't open it. You'll probably be sorry if you do.
For all you Facebook users, just remember this ... the people who make Facebook, and the people who take advantage of it for illegal/immoral purposes, didn't make it to give you a convenient tool to keep up with the members of the Class of '75. They built a tool to make a profit off of you, or to steal from you, or to hurt you. The benefits you see in using it are their hook.
So, if you use Facebook, Be careful! Watch what information you put out there. Monitor what your kids are doing, what they are saying, and to whom. Buy the best internet security program you can get, and keep it up to date.
Update - Forbes Magazine has reported that the creator of Facebook is now worth $50,000,000,000, and is likely to be MUCH richer soon after Facebook issues its first IPO.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
You see them everywhere. The Salvation Army kettle folks. The gut reaction to seeing one of these people is to try and manuever yourself as far away from them as possible, trying to remain invisible to them as you enter or exit the store. The alternative is to carry a large wad of singles, so you can put a dollar (wadded up to make it look like several) into each kettle that you pass.
These folks spend hours in the weather, ringing those darn little bells. Some of them are paid (a little), but most are volunteers. Don't walk around them. Don't try to sneak by without them noticing you. Walk right into/out of the store as you would normally. Look at the person in the eye, smile, and give them a greeting.
I've never rode herd on a kettle, but I believe that if I did, I would certainly prefer that someone be pleasant towards me than to try and act as if I wasn't there.
If you transgress against someone in your vehicle (cut them off unintentionally, change lanes without looking, etc.), and they honk their horn at you, don't flip them off. Raise your hand in recognition that you have done something wrong. If they can see your face, just mouth the words 'I'm sorry'. You'd be surprised at how many of those people will smile at you, wave back, and say it's OK.
If you are in a parking lot, walking to your car, please don't walk down the middle in complete ignorance of everyone around you and the traffic problems you are creating. Yes, you may have the right of way in a parking lot, but that isn't going to be of much help to you if you are squashed beneath a pickup truck.
For God's sake, if you use a buggy to carry your items out to your vehicle, make sure you put that buggy into a cart corral, or take it back inside. Leaving it there to wander around and damage other shoppers' vehicles is one of the most hateful, self-centered, uncaring, ignorant, heinous, arrogant, stupid asshole things you can do.
The Glastonbury Holy Thorn Tree, located in Glastonbury, England (125 miles west of London) is said to have dated back to the beginnings of Christianity. Local English legends place religious significance on the tree, and many in England consider it a Holy place.
Someone attacked the tree over the evening of Dec. 8/9, sawing off all the limbs and leaving just a stump. The criminal(s) and motives are unknown, though the attack took place shortly after a Christian themed Holiday ceremony was performed at the tree's site.
I admit to never having heard of this tree or its legend before this past weekend. I do not know if it is indeed a Holy site. I do know what I read about the attack, and am disturbed (though not surprised) at the lack of outrage over it.
My main source of info was an online article from NPR. This horrendously liberal group calls itself a source of news. However, I admit that the article did not reach any anti-Christian conclusions. Neither did it condemn the attack, either as an example of religious persecution or religious hatred. I don't think they even consider it to be a crime.
What torques me off about this is the double standard. Since it was an attack on Christianity, it is no big deal. If the tree was a Muslim Holy site, this would have been front page news all around the world - an example of the West's attack against the peace loving peoples of the Islamic faith.
If this wasn't an attack on a site that Christians revere, if it was just some anonomous 2000 year old tree in the English countryside, NPR would be up in arms over the ecological disaster that had occurred, and they would demand the culprits (as long as they were Christian) be hung. Eco-nazis all over the world would be rioting in the streets, trying to find a way to blame George Bush.
Religious hatred is religious hatred, no matter who is the victim. Just because the offended parties are Christian, does this make it any less heinous than if they were Muslim? Why is it that the mistreatment of a Koran is a hideous offense, one punishable by death in the minds of many Muslims (and a horrid offense in the minds of almost everyone else) - and the burning of a Bible is considered to be a protected expression of Free Speech?
Religious freedom and tolerance has to be across the board, no matter what the religion in question is. That's the way it should be. Sadly, it never has been, and doesn't look like it ever will be.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Ireland has aksed for, and received an economic bailout from other Eurpoean countries to keep it from going completely insolvent. A crash in real estate prices has left the government with a huge shortfall in meeting its social program commitments. There simply isn't enough money to pay for all the handouts the government gives, and there won't be for many years.
Ireland follows Greece in doing this. Portugal, Italy, and Spain are in danger of needing bailouts as well. The money needed for the bailous is coming from other nations, in the EU, the United States, and through the IMF. The drain of their cash to give to these countries is creating a strain on the nations that are istill in relatively good shape, phsing them into problem areas.
Spain appears to be the lynchpin. If it goes under, the whole EU may implode. France and Germany will not have the will or capital to save everyone else. England is facing massive problems. The riots by college students this week are because the government addressed college tuition prices. The government took away many of the subsidies it gives to finance students through university. It had to to cut their budget numbers. The effect is that the average student who was using the government subsidies will have to pay 3 times more than what they are now in order to continue their education.The financial situation in England is dire. Whole sections of their defense establishment will be cut to trim expenses, leaving the former Empire relatively helpless to defend itself. Why is England having so many problems - Socialist medicine and other government handouts/entitlements that spend far more than the government takes in.
Obama reached a deal with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts for 2 years. 2 whole years. The result has been a revolt by the far left and most of the Democrats in the House, who see this as Obama caving in to the rich. All Dems wanted the so-called middle class tax cuts to remain in place (rebranding them as the Obama tax cuts). It is tax rate for the 'rich' that has got their panties in a wad. Democrats in the House conspired amongst themselves in caucus (no Republicans allowed) to block Obama's proposal from even reaching the floor of the House for a vote. Reports from multiple news sources say the meeting was angry, loud, and vindictive. One unnamed Democrat Rep was said to have jumped to his feet during the proceedings and shout "F**K OBAMA" at the top of his voice.
The far left has the most liberal/social President in office the country has ever seen. He is their poster boy. And now, he does one thing they don't like, and they are jumping all over him. F**K OBAMA ... who would have predicted that 6 months ago?
Obama, Democrats, and a few moderate Republicans are freaking out at the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the 'rich'. They say it will cost our government over $700,000,000,000 over the next two years. BULLSHIT. The extension of the tax cuts only keeps the tax rate at the level it has been for the past 8 years. It is not aadditional cuts. No one is going to see more money in their pocket from this extension. What it does mean that $700,000,000,000 will stay in our pockets, rather than being stolen from us by the Federal Government. That doesn't COST the government anything. It prevents them from spending that money, money they don't have.
Obama and the Dems have pushed through their huge spending bills by using CBO numbers to help project the cotst of those bills as much lower than they really will be. The CBO had to use numbers based upon expiration of the tax cuts, and the resulting jump in all tax rates to all Americans, to base their reports on.
The left is screaming bloody murder at how the rich are stealing hundreds of billions of dollars from the government through extension of the Bush tax custs for those who earn over $250K. I have heard such incredible claims as it is going to cost the government up to $700,000,000,000 to extend these 'rich' cuts for two years. What an absolute load of political bullshit.
Consider this. The filthy rich, those who the left hates so much, employ armies of lawyers and tax accountants to help them avoid paying taxes. Does anyone in their right mind think that George Soros, billionaire Socialist, payes income taxes on his worth at the current top rate of 35%. No way in hell. I'd be surprised if he hasn't managed to find a way to get the government to pay him! Loopholes and tax shelters createds specifically to allow the rich to avoid taxes are scattered throughout the tax code - put there by politicians helping their rich friends. This theoretical example is entirely possible. Billionaire T.T. does not work for anyone, and hence does not receive a 'paycheck'. He makes millions every year through his investments in tax free bonds and securities. He takes advantage of government tax breaks, and shelters for his money. T.T. could double his fortune in a year, and not owe a single penny of income tax - under Obama, he could even receive a government check back.
Is upping the tax rate on the 'rich' going to make these people pay their share of taxes? If they aren't paying at 35%, what makes anyone think they'll pay at 39.6%?
There have been movements in the past to close these loopholes, but they haven't gone anywhere. Why? Because the targets of such a movement own the politicians who would have to change the laws. It just ain't going to happen.So, what does this leave? It leaves the 'rich' who fall into the category of $250K up to, I guess, about $5,000,000. Rich, perhaps. Paying income taxes, because they aren't rich enough to have the armies to gain all the loopholes with. Upping the tax rate on them by another 5% or so will do what, exactly? It might gain the government an extra $12,500 from someone making right at $250,000, per year. That's less than a drop in the bucket to the government, It is a lot of money to the person it is being taken from, money directly out of their pocket, decreasing what they can spend, what they can invest.
So, if Obama and the Democrats are right in claiming $700,000,000,000 lost from the loss of this tax increase on the 'rich', and presume that the uber rich aren't going to pay anymore than they already do (which is almost none), that means that there have to be about 56,000,000 people in the United States making between $250K and $5,000,000. (Yes, my math is not exact, but it does illustrate the size of the issue pretty well).
Either 1/6 of all people in the United States (men, women, and children) are mid-level millionaires, or Obama's numbers are a trumped up pile of BULLSHIT. I tend to believe the latter is actually the correct choice ....
Update - While they are screaming bloody murder that the Bush tax cuts on the top level tax rate will cost the government $700,000,000,000, Democrats are tyring to push through an overall spending bill to keep the government running, before the lame duck session is over. Republicans are balking, because the 1924 page spending bill is full of pure pork spending. Lawmakers, primarily Democrat, have loaded this bill up with every pet project and vote buying scheme they can think of, and are trying to push it through quickly before anyone can read the massive document. Billions upon billions of wasted money - OUR MONEY. Democrats - absolute f**king liars when it comes to fiscal responsibility.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
In a nutshell, a pre-existing condition is something you are afflicted with/experiencing before you sign up with the insurance company. If you are signing up for private insurance (you pay for it) the insurance company will either adjust the premium you pay to take into consideration this condition, or they may deny you coverage completely. If you are receiving insurance through an employer, the insurance company will probably have something in the policy stating that they will not cover the condition under the policy.
If you are a person trying to get this insurance, pre-existing really sucks. You are either going to have to pay more for your insurance, look for another insurance company, or pay for that condition out of your pocket.
If you are an insurance company, pre-existing really sucks. You know up front what your likely costs are going to be to cover this person with a known condition. You have to make a business decision as to whether to charge more for the insurance, deny coverage for that person, or deny coverage for the condition. If you choose none of those, you know up front you are going to lose a bunch money.
Pre-existing conditions really suck. They are a fact of life. Rarely does your body, your health take into consideration what your insurance situation is.
Obamacare prevents insurance companies from taking any action due to pre-existing conditions. No fare increases. No denied coverage. Insurance companies MUST cover the condition, whether they have collected any premiums for the coverage or not. The private citizen/healthcare consumer in me loves this. I hate the word pre-existing condition in relation to insurance, because it invariably means it will cost me money. However, when I consider the broader implications, I am concerned.
Obama and his minions leave the discussion right there, because it sounds so good. They purposely avoid the difficult questions and situations their declaration brings up. This is by choice, because the American Public as a whole would recoil if they knew the ramifications.
As I've explained in earlier posts, insurance is a risk pool. A group of people pay into the pool (premiums). When a member of the group has a loss (or injury/illness), they can pull money from the pool to recover. A simple example - a village of 20 families creats an insurance pool. They each pay $5 into the pool. One family suffers a barn fire. They can pull money from the pool to rebuld the barn. The pool is depleted until additional premiums are colected form the families to replenish it. If the mayor manages the pool, he may charge a fee, that fee being taken out of the pool.
The village families are the insured. The family who lost their barn is the claimant. The mayor is the insurance company. The system works. The insurance companies make the profits they need to stay in business. The system is so large that many people just can't grasp the fundamentals.
Obamacare's pre-existing ban has a good effect when a person changes insurance companies (due to personal choice or job change). The ban prohibits the new insurance form declining to cover the condition that was previously covered by the other company. This is good for the consumer, but bad for the insurance company.
It is also good when someone who does not have insurance signs on with an insurance company, and that company must cover conditions the consumer already has. This is very good for the consumer, and very bad for the insurance company.
A 'loophole' is created by this last 'good deed'. Under the new law, someone who chooses to not spend any money on insurance can wait until they find out they have a condition/illness before signing up for insurance. the insurance companies cannot deny them coverage, or charge them extra. The insurance company has to shell out money to cover this person without ever having collected any premiums to pay for it.
This is not insurance. This is welfare. It is welfare dictated by the government, but provided by private insurance companies at their cost.
What healthcare consumer in their right mind would pay for health insurance if they are not in actual need of it right then, given the government has told them they don't have to? It would be stupid not to wait until you get sick to take out a policy.
Likewise, no insurance company in their right mind would offer health insurance under these conditions. There would be no money coming in in the form of premiums, just money going out for claims. No business can operate like that. Only the government can do that.
So, if you read the headline description of Obamacare's handling of pre-existing conditions, it sounds great. The detals (all 2400 pages of them) contained within the bill are the real defnition, the defnintion that Obama and the Democrats refuse to talk about.
The end game in this is simple. Obama is on record multiple times stating this is his goal. He wants a single payer healthcare system, where the government controls all healtchcare, and pays for all healthcare. There is no room for private insurance companies or private health insurance, or employer provided health insurance in Obama's model.
Obama's model is not new. Leftists/Socialists in this country have been trying to force it on us for decades. Each time it has been uncovered for what it was, and defeated. This time, they succeeded in fooling enough people to let them put it into place.
Here is Ronald Reagan speaking to theAmerican People back in 1962 about he dangers of Socialized Medicine. Darned near exactly what Obama has pushed onto us. Remember, if you take the time to listen to this, he was a registered Democrat at the time ...
Rep. Boehner called Democrat efforts to pass a half assed measure to extend some of the Bush era tax cuts by what it is - chicken sh*t. Decorum dictated he use a slightly less offensive word, but the message got across just the same ...
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
They stop in the aisle, apparently discussing something. I get to within 20-25 feet, and it hits me. A powerful stench, it causes me to gag out load. I almost lose my lunch right there in the middle of the aisle. At first, I don't realize where it is coming from. As I continue walking, it gets stronger the closer to these women I get. They are actually seperated by about 15 feet now. The stench seems to be a mix of body odor, halitosis, and the putrid smell of flesh rotting.
As I pass the older woman and get nearer the younger one, it is apparent that the older one is the source of the odor. From snippets of conversation I hear, they are mother/daughter.
How awful. How can you stink that bad, and not know it? How can you stink that bad and your family not notice it? Or do they think they are being kind by not mentioning it to you? If I smelled bad, I would want someone to tell me so I could take care of it.
Lady, please ... take a long, thorough shower. Use some deodorant. Your fellow shoppers, and I suspect your family, will be grateful.
(And no, this was not at a Walmart ...)