Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Why Believe Anything?

Fake typing at it's finest. 

So why would I believe anything in news reports that stage things because they need video or decide what to report because they have video? Hint: I don't.

Friday, November 21, 2014

History Channel, This Is On You

This student comes in and is researching statistics of World War II. He needs help finding casualties, cost, etc. I show an interest and try to engender more interest in this student. We are in the middle of a very interesting discussion of WWII based on what his teacher taught him and he sits up in his chair and says excitedly "Did you know they stole Eisenhower's brain?"

Yeah, he got that from the History Channel. Congrats.

Sad Days as I Look Forward to Retirement

I have worked in a library of some kind for over 40 years. I began in the summer when I was 16 as a volunteer. Over those 40 years I have seen a lot of change. Despite many social improvements in areas like equality, society does not appear to be better in some very basic ways.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Feeling Ignored?
It is still a toss up. Now, if you were at a fair and had a chance to throw a wet sponge at Mitch's face sticking through a hole in a cutout wouldn't you shell a few dollars out? I have. Take this one, Mitch. I encourage you to also do so:

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Cynic is Either Correct or Pleasantly Surprised

I try to believe the world was somewhat like my parents' world when they were so frustrated with my anti-Vietnam war politics, my long hair, and my antisocial behavior. When I look at the people around me, I try to think that things have not changed that much and that the change that is apparent, the change that frustrates me, is somehow part of a normal pattern.

I try... but I really don't think the world exists in an "everything works out for the best" scenario, that my father was fond of.. while he was frustrated with me at the same time.

I know my father could intuitively feel the danger, for me, his other children, and the world. He served in World War II and he saw the kamikazes. He noted that we had the power to destroy entire cities with one bomb. He intuitively felt this new level of power. The higher the stakes... the worse the danger obviously is. Bubonic plague was not as dangerous as the invention of the nuclear weapon. To use this new power to "shorten" a war was short term thinking in any way I look at it.

Inventing something before someone else does because of fear probably just puts the power in the hands of the already powerful. I doubt there was some guiding principle that gave the power, just as I doubt there is a guiding principle at work now in who has power over someone else.

With all the assault weapons and guns in the world, of course, individual people have more power to change things in the way they alone want things to change. Making it easier to purchase weapons that can kill more people at once, well that just makes it easier for one person to effect a great amount of change. A nuclear weapon, relying on chain reactions for it's explosion, can also create a chain reaction when used. That was the concept of mutually assured destruction. It gives complete power to destroy the world to someone.

Global warming is a process that seems to be unstoppable once started. Perhaps it will be stoppable but to me this is in the same book as "perhaps we are not causing it" and it is a natural thing. "Everything just works out for the best." I just do not believe that and I think my father had his doubts despite this optimistic aphorism.

"Things are different." That is an aphorism I can trust. It is not my father's world. It is not his father's world. I'm sure that there must have been a time when some leader seemed to have as much power as a country today with nuclear weapons. I doubt it was true. Let's say Europe managed to destroy every human being in a massive war in the middle ages. People just fought until plague and pestilence wiped them all out. That is a stretch but let's just stipulate that might have happened. Let's further stipulate that the far east managed to get involved in the massive catastrophe.  We would have the civilizations in the America's to carry on, and eventually they would cross the ocean, etc. 

I guess we might end up with some kind of post apocalyptic paradise that springs out of the troubles we are causing. Global warming probably will not kill everyone. Maybe we should root for global warming as being the best of the two possible apocalypses, and hope it slows us down before we do something even worse.

Perhaps the only hope is that there is some intervening power that makes "everything works out for the best" work. We believe in evolution in this way. The strong survive. Boy, this a great system. Let's base our economic system on the same concept! Capitalism telling us how and where to apply science... wheeee!

Man himself is not doing very well in my eyes with or without that intervening power, be it as it may be. Man's science has created the technology for all these devices that kill others and those that destroy our habitat. I certainly would not want to be the judge of what side effect that creating dynamite might have. Deity status must be a total bummer... I mean when looking at the world as it has become. "Really?!! This is what you call a successful planet for the science fair, Son of Me?"

I just don't know. I wonder what my own father, who might also reside above, might think now that all is revealed. "Is your aphorism correct, Dad?"

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Great ads from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's challenger...

Previous ad in series:

All of these ads are wonderful... and not only apply to McConnell but to his party.

Current Real Clear Politics polling data.   Toss-up:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Professionalism. No, just kidding.

From 8 Lies Most Bosses Tell:
#4 “We're one big happy family.”
In real life happy families don’t keep secrets from one another, and tend to share everything equally. The most wretched places to work are those in which bosses and employees replicate the yelling, spanking, criticism, deception, and cruelty that play a huge role in the horrors of a miserable childhood. Your best bet is to quietly refuse the entire premise of the lie and remember that it’s not personal, it’s business.

You have got to admit that this is some skilled, competent, and able advice.

I liked reading this article, although it did not seem professionally written... really. Even so, using the article's standards, I seem to have had fairly honest bosses... or is that part of the "8 Lies Employees Tell in Public Blogs" thing I was writing?

And by all means... on #4, professionalism is the way to go. I highlight this one section here because you should believe it, son. Wherever I have made mistakes, it always involved the personal. Leave that personal stuff for others to make mistakes with... because participation in mistakes is not mandatory.

I came from a fairly dysfunctional family. It included yelling, spanking, deception, and yes, even cruelty... most of which I actively participated in myself, ashamedly. Families may just be like that or more likely, it was a myth that I had a happy family. It would have been nice had I remained professional in every way... had I just known what it meant to be professional and how to apply that to... a.... family... I guess... oh hell.

But alas... everything is so darned personal these days. And you, yeah you reading this... just leave me the heck alone.

Oh.. by the way, my wife and current family are all awesome! I just don't bring them to work.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Republicans Have Blocked Every Serious Idea

“Lifting the minimum wage, fair pay, student loan reform – (the GOP has) said no to all of it… the Republican plan right now is not to do some of this work with me – instead its to sue me. That’s actually what they’re spending their time on. It’s a political stunt that’s going to waste months of America’s time. And by the way, they’re going to pay for it using your hard-earned tax dollars. I have a better idea – DO SOMETHING, CONGRESS. Do ANYTHING to help working Americans…

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Our Founding Fathers Were Thoughtful

In response to Hobby Lobby's Website quotes, because, after all, our founding fathers were not devoid of reason :

“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
- George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia (1789)
“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.”
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr (1787)
"In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced, and both by precept and example inculcated on mankind.”
- Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists (1771)
“Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity.”
- Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1791)
“Congress has no power to make any religious establishments.”
- Roger Sherman, Congress (1789)
"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."
- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack (1758)
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people build a wall of separation between Church & State."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Danbury Baptists (1802)
"To argue with a man who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead."
- Thomas Paine, The American Crisis No. V (1776)
Note: You can read Paine's whole pamphlet, where he expresses his atheistic beliefs, here.
“Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.”
- Thomas Jefferson, A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1779)
"Christian establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects."
- James Madison, letter to William Bradford, Jr. (1774)
"There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness."
- George Washington, address to Congress (1790)
"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
- James Madison, General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia (1785)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Birth Control Information - Links

  • Birth Control Pills - [x] [x]
  • Mini Pill (Progesterone-only Pill) -  [x]
  • The Patch (Ortho Evra) - [x] [x]
  • The Shot (Depo-Provera) - [x] [x]
  • Birth Control Sponge - [x] [x]
  • Vaginal Ring (Nuva Ring) - [x] [x]
  • Spermicide - [x] [x]
  • Implant (Implanon and Nexplanon) - [x] [x]
  • IUDs (MirenaSkyla, and ParaGard) - [x] [x]
  • Condoms (Male and Female) - [x]
  • Withdrawal (Pullout Method) - [x] [x]
  • Diaphragm - [x] [x]
  • Breastfeeding - [x]
  • Cervical Cap - [x] [x]
  • Sterilization (Male and Female) - [x]
  • Abstinence - [x] [x]
  • Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FAMs) - [x] [x]
MYTHS ABOUT BIRTH CONTROL (All the myths below are dispelled 
through the links given):

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Elizabeth Warren for President

I have thought long and hard about this choice. This is a turnaround for me. I no longer have complete faith that someone will do the right thing unless that person is Elizabeth Warren. This is certainly not the safe choice, but neither was Barrack Obama after the first primary in 2008.
 (And of course I will support whoever the people choose as the Democratic nominee obviously.)

 For now, with no indication that she is running,
I am positive that she is at the right place in history,
having made the correct choices all along.
She has gained my trust over time.

It is inequality, stupid. 
It is not pandering to the middle class and giving Wall Street free reign in order
 to build campaign war chests and the support of the wealthy. 
That turned out not so well, Bill.

The switch to "middle class" agenda is the old politics of not threatening the
 wealthy's self perpetuating money siphon too much. 
One more time down the unregulated Wall Street road
 and America will be unrecognizable.

Our country needs Elizabeth Warren.

"We didn't truly know the dangers of the market, because it was a dark market," says Brooksley Born, the head of an obscure federal regulatory agency -- the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC] -- who not only warned of the potential for economic meltdown in the late 1990s, but also tried to convince the country's key economic powerbrokers to take actions that could have helped avert the crisis. "They were totally opposed to it," Born says. "That puzzled me. What was it that was in this market that had to be hidden?"

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Current Coverage of Iraq is Damning for the US Media

This analysis looks spot on perfect. I invite you to follow Fair TV with me on YouTube.

We are going nowhere with corporate news which is pandering to us based upon whether we watch and believe their commercials, rather than journalistic standards.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"TV Land" : The Purse Snatching Scum

[It has been so long since I posted here that I forgot the original concept. But it came to mind today. I noticed I had not posted in a while and I was searching to remember why this blog was here. :) This is of course all quite ironic considering the title.]

I don't usually watch commercials. I do all I can to avoid them. I am probably one of the earlier time shifters. My adventure with VCRs started in 1977. I have told the story before so I will shorten it. My primary goals were to skip commercials and simultaneously shift programs to available time around my school and study schedule. In the early days one would have to fast forward, not scan forward, and just guess blindly where the commercial ended. It took lots of practice.

When they made it easier to skip things with the onscreen scan, which we are all familiar with, life got much better. TiVo introduced the 30 second skip as well as the ability to record more than one channel at a time plus better indexing of shows (which required a notebook for me, with each tape numbered.) When TiVo came around my earlier ideas that television advertising as we knew it would be more or less doomed someday became an inevitable reality.

As new technology has emerged, it is easy for me to see that companies could just use black electronic boxes with proprietary software that forbade people to change the software and commercial content. Next they would have to offer better programming or less commercials for consumers to want to use them. This is the Netflix business model, in other words, with the addition of commercials that are unskippable. In today's world, this is the only way I see that they could effectively save commercial television. When I see Netflix stock tumbling because of the current problem with cable companies not providing the bandwidth (to blackmail them), I see this ability to add commercials as the trump card that Netflix has never played. For instance, they could divide themselves into two services (one with commercials and one without.) That would provide them two pricing structures. Or they could provide content with commercials as extra content on their main feed. This would certainly be something the broadcast networks might jump at. Already they have an Internet presence of providing programming with unskippable commercials. I believe Hulu has used this model as well.

Additionally, the P2P protocol would be a weapon of mass destruction Netflix could easily use. P2P currently runs only pirated material. The ISPs rake in lots of money selling fast lines to people who want to view or deal in pirated material. In fact, a vast majority of the Internet itself consists of pirated photos and videos etc. Facebook, YouTube... etc.  Copyright problems are so rampant one would wonder what material would be on the sites if it were not for pirated material.

Netflix running P2P would work much more efficiently for Netflix and for cable it would be a disaster with them doing most of the traffic, up and down. Netflix just recently rolled out this option as a possibility to fight the blackmailing cable ISPs. I have little doubt that that whatever research Netflix has done in P2P distribution methods, it is now being ramped up for final testing.

But, TV Land, the purse snatcher - wasn't that where I started?  With all the commercial skipping and the other methods of distribution like DVDs, Netflix, and pay channels things have changed. A great proportion of commercial watchers have run away. It can best be seen on TV Land and local channels. Currently most commercials on standard television are very different from the ones I remember in 1976. The majority of current commercials are  slimy ripoffs. There are lawyers chasing ambulances trying to find people who will sue over their auto accident. There are life insurance rip-offs, informercial style rip-offs, and prescription medicine advertisements (do I need to add "rip-off"? I think not.)

Recently, I saw an advertisement for a prescription medicine which was beyond the pale. There is a rule that if you tell the exact health benefits of a product one must also show the problems and side effects of the medicine. At first the advertisers used expensive animated characters to distract while telling of the horrendous possible side effects. After all, these drug commercials masquerade as patient information to justify their existence. But what this commercial did was unconscionable. The swiftly talking narrator was mentioning insomnia and suicide or whatever, while at the same time other completely different side effects were rapidly displayed as text below. There is no earthly way someone without special savant powers would come away with an inkling of the "patient information" being imparted and the pharmaceutical company knew it. [Disclaimer: I have no love lost for big pharma and their role in my life.]

But, TV Land seems to have the gurgling bottom of the sewer sludge commercials as the only viable way to remain operating. And because TV Land consists of old shows like "Gilligan's Island," one big constituency of their audience is senior citizens. I don't know the entire demographics but judging by the commercials one would guess senior citizens make up a large part. All the bottom of the barrel commercials were basically aimed at ripping off the seniors. Some of this of course would have to do with TV Lands younger viewers using DVRs, a foreign technology to many seniors. The remaining people who watch commercials are not the young or the rich. And it seems that for those remaining viewers, only con jobs are profitable.

All of this reminded me of something. I used to work in a branch of the library that was in a shopping center. About three times we had purse snatchers working the area. Seniors were the most popular target. They fight back less. They are the weakest. Whatever the demographics of TV Land the seniors are their easy targets. I'm not sure who would want to DVR this crappy version of Gilligan's Island but if the choice was between this and watching those incredibly numerous commercials, any person with the ability would certainly choose to use that DVR. The commercials are so numerous it is almost impossible to imagine that the episode of Gilligan's Island is anything but vastly sped up and edited. It is actually quite easy to see this. Look how incredibly fast they are talking, but their voices sound the same pitch fast. This is because there is a technology that speeds up the show but lowers the tone of the voice so they do not sound like chipmunks. At first it was used fairly carefully on TBS and the like to squeeze in an extra commercial or two. But it is obvious that market forces have led networks in the direction of a speeding up the show to super levels. I really found it staggering just how many commercials they had in a row. And of course they were just con jobs.

I don't know if this speed mechanism is used on the commercials themselves to tell us all the side effects of medications at lightening speed but I would not doubt it, considering their use of disclaimers in voice and other disclaimers in print at the same time.

My conclusion was that TV Land in particular was a purse snatcher preying on the seniors.....actually worse as at least a purse snatcher probably gets away with far less when successful and has no executives making vast sums of money in charge.

by Michael DeVore