Archives For January 2013

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FlashFor those of you who don’t know what Adobe Flash is it is an add-on to your web browser that allows you to view all the videos around now. But, it also is used to make many of those flashy things that distract you from reading content. Those just bug me to no end! Maybe being deaf I am more sensitive to that flashing than most people are?  To remove this pain I have purposely chosen to do without Flash.  I can tell you my web viewing life is simpler now. I used to have a large post-pad handy to cover up all those flashing ads; that did a pretty good job but it was cumbersome. Continue Reading…

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Source: Republican Re-Branding: The ‘Happy Party’? – ABC News.

Smile“We want to build a massive party that’s exciting, that smiles, has a good message across America, and that’s what you’re going to see,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told reporters at a news conference on Friday shortly after he was re-elected to another two year term.

Sharon Day, a GOP activist from Florida who serves as co-chair of the RNC, put the party’s new approach even more bluntly: “I will talk to a head of lettuce if I can get them to vote Republican.”

I am glad to see that the leaders in the Republican party finally “get it”. The catch-phrase “as rare as a Republican with a smile” is funny but I really want them to succeed as a party. We need a two party system in this country. Without it tyranny is the likely result. So, when I read this article about all the things that the GOP is doing to change its image it made me well, smile.

But, I hope they realize that change is not just all talk, there has to be some substance to it also. It is interesting  how they seem to be listening to Newt again when he told them they need to be a “happy” party. Yes, I agree with him that depressed persistence doesn’t work at all but surface changes only are not the answer either.

In order for me to once again start voting Republican once in a while:

  • They need to show me that the are moving away from balancing the budget on the backs of the poor.
  • They need to convince me that they are willing to take a big chunk of the deficit from the DoD budgets.
  • They need to show me that they agree that we don’t need to be the policemen of the world.
  • They need to show me that they are also concerned about the ever increasing violence in our society. Their answer can’t simply be to “lock up the bad guys”; they must be willing to tackle the underlying problems.
  • They need to show me that they are not against almost everything except unlimited access to guns and shutting down government.
  • They need to show me that they are serious about tackling climate change, immigration, and real healthcare reform.
  • They need to take a pledge that they will “never say never” again.

I don’t want to be talked at as if I am a head of lettuce. Treat me with respect and as someone with some intelligence and I just might believe in this new GOP. Most importantly of all they need to show me that I can trust them to keep their words about the above and their “new” party is not just all talk. A big part of this reconfiguration will be to reign in the their tea party members. They can’t let that small radical group run roughshod over them anymore.

If they can get back to the party of Nixon or even Reagan I would almost be satisfied that they are serious about being a party of the people instead of only big business and rich donors.

Source: Thomas Edison hologram chats at Detroit Auto Show – CBS News.

electric carPast met present at the auto show Monday when a holographic image of Thomas Edison was used to promote vehicles from electric truck and van maker VIA Motors.

Bob Lutz, the retired General Motors executive who led development of the Chevy Volt, took to the stage at the North American International Auto Show to listen as a hologram of a person portraying the inventor gave advice about the potential for electric vehicles.

“Thank you very much, Mr. Edison, and I assure you we will not let you down,” Lutz told the image.

Thomas Edison is another one of my heroes. I was a weird kid in that I didn’t have any sports heroes, except for briefly Duke Snider from the Brooklyn Dodgers, my heroes were inventors, writers, and such.  I think I read a book about Edison before I was in double digits of life. His inventiveness fascinated me even at that early age. I think he is one of the reasons I became an engineer.

But even Tom had a dark side. When his previous assistant Telsa came out with the idea of AC voltage to challenge Edison’s DC voltage, Edison went about in some pretty unscrupulous ways to discredit him. Unlike Edison Telsa, even though he won the AC/DC battle died penniless.

Maybe if Edison had put all that animosity that he had for Telsa toward working on an improved motor for cars, our country might look much different from what it does today. If the electric car had won the Steam/Electric/Combustion engine battle  we would not be on the verge of destroying our world with CO2. We would not have sacrificed so many of our young people to maintain our addiction to foreign oil.

It is always interesting to think about alternative histories if “this” happened instead of “that”.  Maybe someday Edison at least post-humusly will finally win the battle for powering automobiles. It is time we replaced the one-hundred year old technology of the internal combustion engine. I think Mr. Edison and Mr. Westinghouse would be proud if we replaced it with a much more efficient electric motor.

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Source: http://rjscorner.net/2012/02/27/where-are-you-john-sherman-when-we-need-you/

PrintIt seems literally impossible for another Republican to take charge of these types of matters (controlling fraud and abuse). Most of those folks are just too beholding to big business to ever try to reign them in. So, currently that leaves the Democratic party to take up the mantel. I don’t see that as much of a possibility either. Where all this “too big to fail” will end I just don’t know.

I don’t find myself quoting myself very often but when I re-read this post from almost a year ago about how Republicans have been the party of big business in Will Rogers day and are even more so today it got me to thinking.  Republicans seem to believe in the innate goodness of our corporations. I don’t know how else you can explain their deregulation fever of the last three decades.

When Ronald Reagan came into office the first thing he did besides firing everyone who belonged to the Air Traffic Controllers Union was to finish up removing almost all regulations from the savings and loan industry. Here is what Wikipedia says about that:

The deregulation of S&Ls in 1980 gave them many of the capabilities of banks, without the same regulations as banks. Savings and loan associations could choose to be under either a state or a federal charter. Immediately after deregulation of the federally chartered thrifts, state-chartered thrifts rushed to become federally chartered, because of the advantages associated with a federal charter. In response, states such as California and Texas changed their regulations to be similar to federal regulations.

Of course we also know that within ten years the S&L industry almost disintegrated with fraud and abuse and it cost us taxpayers billions to bail them out. But that would not be the last time our friends in government showed their belief in the innate goodness of business. Soon after we recovered from the S&L fiasco they went about  you guessed it, de-regulating the entire banking sector. Again within a short period of time the banks “too big to fail” cost us about a trillion dollars to clean up their abuse of the mortgage business. After these two meltdowns the Democrats put back a few of the necessary regulation via Dodd/Frank bill  but the Republicans fought it tooth and nail. That I just don’t understand. Why do that seem to be totally ignore history, even recent history?

How can these guys in Washington continue to put their total faith in the innate goodness of an unbridled business sector. Profits are approaching all time highs while wages have remained stagnant for the last three decades! Given that fact, how else can you explain how they never seem to see a regulation that they don’t want to eliminate. It seems like they would eventually learn that capitalism depends on brisk and stringent regulations to contain the innate greed, not goodness,  that is built into the system.

Before my conservative friends attack me here I want to declare that I believe capitalism is the best system in the world but it only works when it is adequately regulated.  To my friends that think I am too critical at times I am really questioning the idea of almost total de-regulation mantra of Republicans. Do they really believe that regulations have no place in our business world? I would really like to know? Their two failed attempts at de-regulating our financial sector seem to say something. Or is that just me?