Archive of ‘Comments’ category

Iraq Improving, Not

It’s interesting to hear from general Petraeus report on the improvements in Iraq. I just checked the death and injury statistics for March each year and they differ very little from March 2004 to March 2008, generally mid 30′s for deaths and mid 300′s for injuries. Just what has improved. There is still no progress politically and no plan for an exit by the US troops. This war IS identical to Viet Nam in its un-winability and being unnecessary. Are we actually worse off for leaving Viet Nam? Are the people of Viet Nam any worse off? I think not.

What will really improve conditions in Iraq is our departure. Any impact will be short term and then nil.

I do believe we should establish and keep a secure military base (naval and air) there like in Cuba. From there we could watch and take immediate action if required but let them work out their own future otherwise.

Has anyone else noticed this is the 7th year of this “war”. We’ve conquered the world twice before in about half that period. We’ve fought three executive follies (Korea, Viet Nam, and the current Iraq conflict) since then all with no significant benefit. The loss of life by our military in each of these actions, statistically, was much greater than in the real world wars.

Bad Business

I mistakenly subscribed to Popular Science magazine a couple of years ago. My mistake was using a credit card with a business like Popular Science’s publishers or distributors, whoever they are. That’s part of the problem.

Last year I saw a charge for Popular Science renewal. i didn’t intend to renew and never received any correspondence from them regarding the proposed renewal and didn’t agree to a continuing renewal. It didn’t cost much and there is an occasional article of interest in the magazine, not many though that’s why I intended to cancel.

This year, I did receive a card in the mail. The print was all 6 point so it was more than your typical small print notice. It did not mention what it was related to except that deep in the notice, it had a phone number that I needed to call in order to cancel whatever it was. I suspected it was the Popular Science subscription so I called it. It was an automated system. It requested I enter the Subscriber number from the form. It was difficult to find and read due to placement and size. When I entered the number it said the account didn’t exist. On the 6th try and after attempt to get me to enter every other form of identification that might relate to me, it finally recognized the account. It then asked if I wanted to cancel. I said yes. It said to the effect, “fine and since you’re such a good customer we’ll cancel the subscription and send the magaazine to you for 6 months for free. If you then contact us we’ll not enter your charge subscription”.

It was actually worded such that probably 99% of the people answering the question would end up with a continuing subscription thinking they had canceled.

This is an example of a business that doesn’t deserve anyones business. I will not read another PS magazine nor anything else from the publisher of it.

I normally use disposable credit card numbers to prevent just such nonsense and I’m not sure how this one by passed that. I must have been in a hurry and thought they were a reputable business. A mistake!

The problem is that they aren’t too different than most other businesses.

Some gas stations deliberately swap the grade selection at the pump in such a way that a user who normally selects the lowest grade as I do will select the highest grade. It’s easy to see it was intentional because, where I’ve seen it, they aren’t in order. Normally they are placed highest to lowest left to right as a normal person would suspect. At the crooked dealers, I have seen them Medium, lowest then highest, left to right. Cute.

How about the nice market that advertises a sale product and then places higher priced similar items in the space below the sign. They may have the actual item nearby but the placement doesn’t appear accidental. And then there is the stuff along the shelves near the registers. I’m sure the moms apreciate all the candy being placed there.

And then there’s the City of Santa Cruz with their parking violation scam. They consider the posting of a sign as unimportant to inform the driver of parking restrictions, if, a sign is posted someplace else in the city. Just shows you don’t have to be a slimy business man to be dishonest. “Public” servants can be as well.

These are just a few and possibly not the most significant attempts at swindling us recently.  The problem is, they are not isolated incidents. It seems to be the norm for business activity recently. For that reason, I am intensifying my efforts at not doing business with such organizations and making life as difficult for them as I can in every other way I can. I just wish there was more I could do to put such business out of business more quickly.

The Post Office Needs Fixing.

I hate what has happened to our postal system. Rising costs, reduced service and all that junk mail.

More than 98 percent of our mail is junk mail. Why can’t they be customer oriented and allow the customer to specify they don’t want to receive that junk saving the customers the aggravation and the system the cost of delivery and the environment the impact of tree usage and disposal impacts?

The cost of a letter has been rising about $.04 per year recently and probably will continue to do so. I can’t even buy a roll of stamps anymore and use it before the price rises and additional stamps are needed to supplement the rate. I guess they do now offer lifetime stamps but at what cost and impact to the system? The letter carrier now drives house to house in older areas so that they can deliver the handfuls of junk mail every day whereas they used to deliver one or two letters to each customer every few days. The major reason the cost of a first-class stamp has risen is to carry the junk mail, which is delivered at a reduced rate. Don’t tell me you can’t by politicians votes . It’s cheaper to buy votes than to pay the delivery costs.

And then there is the waste of the time of the customers having to sort through all that junk mail.

Supposedly you can “opt out” of receiving junk mail but it doesn’t work or we wouldn’t be receiving it. Why opt out? Why not opt in? Because no one would. So they pay to keep everything opt out. They say it would be unconstitutionally violating their freedom of speech. I say they’re violating my right to not have to listen.

That would be how I would define “the right to the pursuit of happiness?”

Left or Right?

I have a pet peeve. I hate people who don’t know how to walk. I shouldn’t be surprised, they probably are the same people who don’t know how to drive but I still hate meeting them. There isn’t a law, but there should be. When approaching someone, you should pass on the right. It seems simple to me but too complex for far too many people. It seems far too many architects have the same problem because they are always placing the in door on the left when it should be on the right. There usually is absolutely no reason just ignorance.

Interestingly, the majority of the world drives on the right side of the road so these people should have no problem. But the folks from England and many of their former colonies drive on the left side so you would think that might influence their erroneous passages but I think not. Most are not from such places so can’t claim that as the cause, just ignorance and/or inconsideration. They are probably the same people that crowd in line, don’t hold the door for others and don’t open doors for ladies, the disabled and the elderly. They are also likely the people who poke along two or more abreast making it impossible to pass them from either direction and probably the same folks that block the pathway to chat.

They really annoy me!

Perverted Justice

I may be an oddity but I have and still feel OJ Simpson has gotten a raw deal. The evidence indicates he didn’t commit the murder of his ex wife and her friend. The evidence does indicate the police, at the minimum, were incompetent and biased throughout the investigation and at the worst, actually planted evidence, and presented false evidence. In any case, OJ was not convicted. Now some may say that doesn’t mean he didn’t do it. However, our justice system says he was innocent, or sort-of says that. The problem is that , even though found not guilty, he was then sued and lost that case. Exactly how is that possible. If he’s inocent, how can he be responsible for the deaths? Legally, he shouldn’t be, that’s a perverted part of our justice system. He happened to be an arrogant black man. That’s the only thing he’s probably guilty of. The media, looking at the financial benefits of inciting the mob, and making a good story, relentlessly attacked him. Comedians made jokes about the jury’s decision. Something wrong here!

Now, even if OJ is guilty of a couple of murders, how is that worse than cigarette companies murdering millions, or Bush’s decision to start an unnecessary war and causing 100′s of thousands of deaths. Something perverted here! Our justice system does nothing about these much more serious crimes. But, of course, there’s money to be made, so lets not make waves.

Perverts!

Now, OJ’s back in the news, “stealing” his own stolen property. Again, the evidence doesn’t seem to be there to show his guilt. There’s actually more to show he didn’t than that he did. But, the worthless news median, rather entertainment media, is back on the job. comedians back with more jokes. The judge refused to allow bail. Now, isn’t that perverted too.

This looks like an episode of Law and Order where everyone is charged with the crime, without completing the investigation, unfounded charges made and inappropriate actions taken with the probable reason to be in the news and be the guys who get OJ.

Some of my concerns are:

  • There are two supposed victims, one made the complaint, one says OJ did nothing wrong.
  • This supposed event occured in a Las Legas casino, a place where security is unsurpassed. If something occurred, after the “criminals” left, there was a phone in the hotel room to call security to stop their exit. No call was made. Police were notified the next day.
  • One of OJ’s “friends” was recording the incident. I wonder if they had financial or legal reasons to do so. Sell the tape, record for the police in a sting of OJ for immunity for other crimes of their own?
  • I’m not surprised that the police found guns where the suspects were staying. But, finding them there doesn’t mean they were at the site of the reported “crime”. That could have been confirmed if the crime had been reported in a timely fashion to hotel security.
  • Persecuters seem to have shopped for a hanging judge, the one who refused bail. They ended up having to follow procedures and a different judge held the arraignment and allowed reasonable bail.

The prime motive here seems to be a rush to injustice. Is there any surprise that the arraignment was held live on national TV? Like they would for anyone!

I really worry that there is no hope we will survive when people don’t recognize that something is wrong with all this. But what the heck, too few are protesting the shredding the bill of rights. They’ll never miss it, or so they think!

Finally, a Backbone

Well, the Democrats, most of them and a few of their friends finally are standing up to the idiot, I mean “president.” They aren’t giving the fool what he wants, a never ending “war.” Mr. Bush continues to threaten to veto the bill. When he does, I hope both houses just re-approve it and send it back, unchanged. Even if they rush that, Mr. Bush may still run out of money for his “war.” I wonder if that happens, if he would consider stopping and bringing them back immediately as the Constitution requires or continue to disregard the Constitution as is his habit.

It’s also interesting that both houses have authorized subpoenas as well. Unfortunately, Mr. Bush may prevent his lackeys from testifying as our Constitution requires. The Bush court would probably disregard the Constitution and support Bush. So, if they do disregard the subpoenas, in my opinion, they should avoid the court and just use the wallet. Cut off funds for Bush’s office until he complies. If he then ignores it, impeach him for continued violation of his oath of office.

Why Me?

I’ve been stopped by police five times.

  1. Once for speeding.
  2. Once for standing in the street.
  3. Another time for speeding.
  4. Once for entering my car suspiciously.
  5. Once for looking suspicious.
  6. And three times for having a light out. (A headlight out, no tail lights, and a brake light out.)

The most recent was the brake light out last Friday. This might be an OK record, but most of them are ridiculous stops. All those light outages were within minutes of the outage.

The tail lights went out as I crossed a railroad track with an officer behind me. This took only ten feet for the red lights to come on.

In the case of the headlight, I left a Restaurant in Sacramento headed East on Hwy 80. I was stopped within a 1/4 mile from leaving the restaurant. I saw the working headlight in the windows as I left. Now, that driver side headlight did burn out often, but really, a 1/4 mile of outage and a stop?

Item 1 for speeding was justified, I was speeding, 30 mph in a 25 mph zone. I was on a Honda CT90. The officer kindly gave me a warning.

My friends and I were stopped for standing in the street, an actual offense, when we stopped to chat with a friend and were talking to them on the drivers side of the car, in the street. Another justified, but really? (Result, a $12 ticket for each of us)

Item 3, speeding was for going 27 mph in a 25 mph zone on an Air Force base. How accurate can they be? (Result, weekend duty)

Item 4, entering my car suspiciously was when I was going to work, in my Air Force uniform in Mountain View, Ca. (Result, just the stop)

Item 5, looking suspicious was in Guadalupe, Ca. We were in our hippy looking VW van. (Result, just the stop)

In addition to these, My criminal career includes a parking ticket when I was parked in compliance with the signs. I fought in court, got my $5 fine back and cleared my name. It only took about 10 hours of my time. It also caused a problem with the bank. The bank managed to cash the check without crediting my account for the $5. That took nearly a year to straighten out because banks never make mistakes, even though I had the cashed checks and the account statement didn’t show the deposit. I’m not sure it was all worth it?

My most heinous crime was making out in a park at night on my old high school campus in Bakersfield. We were stopped and separated by four officers in three cars as we were leaving. They separated us, called a matron to talk to Lou and before they were through with us, there were thirteen officers involved. Other than taking 30 minutes of our time and theirs, nothing came of it. Evidently, the school had had some break-ins and the janitor called the police. Not much happens in Bakersfield.

Total cost of this crime wave was $12 in fines. However, it also makes me a little paranoid. Why me?

No Respect

On our way to the Palo Alto Wine And Art Festival, Lou observed a man writing on the wall of the Whole Foods market. “Die Jews”. She decided to report him to the store manager while I kept an eye on him. This was easy, he went shopping in the market. He went directly into the bulk food area. I was a little concerned by that but he just got some cereals. The manager called the police who never came. The man finished his shopping, checked out and left. We watched him leave and the manager was outside looking at the wall, he knew what the man looked like because we had pointed him out. He asked the man about the graffiti and he said, I don’t have a pen. (other than the permanent marker I saw him place in his left shirt pocket).

Anyway, the real point of all this is that the police didn’t show up. The police headquarters is two blocks away. This is the real problem. The quality of the police in Palo Alto has deteriorated over the time we’ve lived here. When we got to the festival, three blocks away, there was no shortage of officers standing around. At least eight. Seems like one of them could have walked a few blocks, maybe even drive one of their illegally parked cars over?

This isn’t the only indicator. They also don’t write speeding tickets any more either. It used to be if you went over 30 mph you were assured of a ticket her, there are only three streets with speed limits over 25 mph in the city. Now 60 mph in the residential areas is the norm. Seems we’ve received too many lazy officers from San Jose.

They spend more time trying to be a big city department than being policemen. A few years ago, I attended an interdepartmental organizational meeting for the World Cup Soccer event here. I came away from that meeting worried about the capability of the Palo Alto Police. I have less respect for them today.

Broken News

A few years ago, a local independent TV station (KTVU), which had the best news in the San Francisco bay area at that time, became a FOX affiliate, part of the (un)fair and (un)balanced network. I couldn’t trust their news any longer, even though up until then , they were fair and balanced, because they were now affiliated with the conservative propaganda network. For a while the contrast between their local news and the Fox news was about 180 degrees. Of course, they had to start using Fox content in their own news cast and Fox doesn’t produce news, only Republican propaganda. This is sad.

Three or four years ago, the local NBC affiliate (KRON) lost the affiliation because NBC wanted to own their station here. NBC bought the local San Jose ABC affiliate and converted it to NBC. KRON has tried to produce local programs to replace the network loss. They did a pretty good job, having the best newscasts in the area. There really isn’t anything on the networks, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Especially Fox, that’s worth watching, with the possible exception of CSI, so local production was refreshing.

With the big combination of the UPN and WB networks into the CW network, and with Fox trying to fill the leftovers with the new MyTv network, KRON has become the local MyTv affiliate. Bye, Bye, KRON.

What’s left. I’ve appreciated CBS as the only real “news” on the network TV. They have journalists who do seem to present impartial news. I am very worried that Katie Curic has become the news anchor there. Seems too much like it might become entertainment news rather than journalistic news. We’ll see. I do miss Dan Rather.

I really worry that the people of this country no longer recognize what news is. Anyone who watches Fox News and considers it news is lost. Fair and impartial is easy to recognize, provided you don’t just reset your analysis when the newscaster says “we’re fair and impartial.” Listen at what they say and what support they have for what they say to make that evaluation. Any true look reveals it for what it is, slanted, one sided propaganda.

True Americans, people who deserve the rights provided by this country, aren’t fooled by these fools.

Combine ownership of the “news” machines with ownership of the voting machines and I fear we are in for a very bad future not much different from the former USSR or current China.

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