altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
Farrier scheduled for the horses, 8:30 AM. This part went well. Mark is punctual and efficient, and the horses seem to like him well enough. We were concerned to learn that he needs hip surgery though. (He is much younger than we are.) He was all prepared though and has enlisted help to cover for him during his recovery, which is reassuring from the horses' standpoint.

The farriery meant that we had barn chores done early and the rest of the day was "available." Gary wanted to go to the Driver Services office to have his license updated, as Illinois recently made it possible for military veterans to have a designation added to their license recognizing their service. Supposedly all that was needed was his official discharge papers and his current license. Since the office is in the same strip mall with the ALDI we generally use for most of our groceries, I planned to pick up stuff from the grocery list while he waded through the perpetual line at the vehicle/license bureau.

Our usual route to the ALDI was blocked by road repairs of some sort, with the road marked "CLOSED" but no detour marked. Fortunately this is home territory now so we know the next shortest route and made it to the grocery and Secretary of State branch office soon enough.

I was only half through the shopping list when he came into the ALDI and told me that they wouldn't accept his original discharge papers, nor the certified copy from the County Clerk that he had. He would have to go to the Office of Veteran Affairs to get a certified copy from them. That office is just 5 minutes away, in the National Guard Armory. So we finished the grocery shopping and headed over there.

He let the Garmin choose the route from one side of Woodstock to the other. Bad idea. It sent us down an unpaved gravel road, full of pot holes, and ominously marked "Private Road, No Access" to get us there. It was headed the right direction, so we went anyway. For a couple of miles it wandered between barns and several horse pastures, past many "Private" and "No Trespassing" signs. Fortunately no one came charging out with a shotgun to challenge us. The road did have a name, and was marked on maps. The very end of it arrived at the parking lot of the Armory all right, though I quickly realized that the slightly longer route I would have taken might actually have been faster because it consists of paved state and federal highways. I stayed in the car with a book while Gary went in to get his third "certified" copy of his discharge papers. About 5 minutes later he came back and said the office was closed with sign on the door saying "Back at 2 pm." It was already 1:42 so we decided to wait. Sure enough, they unlocked the door again at 2 and Gary disappeared for about 40 minutes. Two or three others who had been waiting in the parking lot went in at the same time.

It was almost 45 minutes before he returned with his new certificate. It seems they had computer issues and in fact the other people who had been waiting gave up and left. In a situation that has become all too common today, the small office was absolutely dependent on a computer, scanner, printer, and internet access in order to function. However, no one in the local staff knew anything about maintaining the software, or the equipment, or the network. They said they had been having issues for about a week. It took them six phone calls to reach someone who could help, but they did finally get it to run at least long enough to provide what Gary needed. Mind, this is a federal government agency, located on a military property where there are undoubtedly people with the necessary technical skills for support. But since veterans affairs is not a military function, the military personnel can do nothing for them. And of course, since both the US Congress and the Illinois government are locked in ridiculous budget battles between the two useless political parties that rule our lives, neither has any budget for support or maintenance anyway.

Surprisingly enough, when we got back to the Driver Services facility, it only took a few minutes for Gary to get his revised license. That and a $5 fee that was not mentioned in any of the announcements of the new service. That fee will not go to help keep anything running, since the idiot elected to the governor's office last year has impounded all state money and some over which his claim of control is dubious at best. In other words, money continues to flow into the state treasury, but none is being let out except where courts have already ordered this moron to allow payments to be made. Politicians are the most worthless people on earth, I think. Totally out of touch with reality, locked into ridiculous dogmatic positions, refusing to negotiate or compromise, and without the least concern for their real responsibilities to contituencies and the services they are sworn to support and provide.

Anyway, what was meant to be a 90 minute excursion, including time for lunch, ended up eating the entire afternoon. It was a good thing that the barn chores were already done.
altivo: Rearing Clydesdale (angry rearing)
It seems to be the same in most of the Western developed nations. Fewer voters actually exercise their right to vote, and those who do are making shallow choices driven by negative campaigns rather than candidates who tackle real issues.

The real problem, I say, is the fact that elections have been co-opted by wealth. What we have is no longer democracy, but plutocracy. It's an environment in which candidates who have huge sums of money to spend usually prevail by shouting down their opponents and beating the voters to death with strident (content-free) television advertising and clever slogans and posters that say nothing about commitment to ideals or practical solutions. In the US, the long standing controls designed to keep factions from "buying" elections with huge amounts of cash are breaking down.

The collapse of our educational systems continues as both ends of the political spectrum continue to peck away at the funding that built them and kept them going for the last century or so. Declines in literacy, driven by poor educational methods and standards and the ubiquitous pablum supplied by television and Hollywood have developed into a feedback loop that may be very difficult to break.

Unfortunately, this feedback produces a disinterested electorate that doesn't vote, or that is easily swayed by loud single issue publicity campaigns. The frightening success of xenophobic policies presented by the GOP in the US and the UKIP in the UK are good examples of this.

In my own county, voters who turn out seem to vote for the GOP without even investigating policies or candidates. It's an automatic, unthinking act. When asked, they can't really tell you why they do it, or even what the difference is between two candidates (when there actually are two... far too many are running unopposed.)

Is it any wonder that voters don't turn out when they are faced with a ballot that really offers no choices?

Illinois offered two candidates for governor, neither of whom is stellar. One inherited the office from a previous incumbent who was convicted of corruption. The other is an out of touch millionaire businessman who doesn't give a shit about working people, but has lots of money to back him. Such disheartening choices do little to energize reluctant voters.

The results are schizoid. Illinois voters backed (by about 2 to 1 margins) liberal ballot propositions (most of them non-binding) to raise the minimum wage, increase the tax rate for millionaires, strengthen protection for minorities, etc. Yet they voted into office a slate of candidates who oppose every one of those propositions, often in no uncertain terms. This doesn't suggest to me that there is much rational thought being put into how ballots are cast.
altivo: Rearing Clydesdale (angry rearing)


Written more than two centuries ago, these words or their authors could never have imagined the internet, the telephone network, or the image communication formats we have available to us today. However, I am entirely certain that these writers would have included such information explicitly could they have known of it.

Tell the government, Congress, the NSA, and the Obama administration that enough is enough. The Patriot Act is an unconscionable violation of the 4th amendment to the US Constitution, and it always has been such. Now that we know of some of the abuses being perpetrated under cover of that heinous and illegitimate law, it is time for us to stop them. Click on the image above for more information about what you can do.
altivo: Rearing Clydesdale (angry rearing)
Statistical Abstract of the United States, the annually-produced compendium of data about the US economy and population, is doomed.

I missed the original controversy last year when in a fit of (no doubt GOP-inspired) cost cutting, the Bureau of the Census decided to stop producing this report. The estimated savings? They cut 24 full time jobs and saved a measly three million dollars a year, effectively killing a reputable source of information relied upon by social, economic, and marketing researchers since 1878.

But wait, the annual volume will still be prepared by the private corporations ProQuest and Bernan. The Bureau of the Census will no longer even collect the data, though. ProQuest must come up with the figures on its own. I don't know about you, but I trust a private capitalist corporation to do this impartially about as much as I could single-handedly throw the entire set of volumes from 1878 to 2012 across the street. This is like appointing Fox News to publish the Federal Register (and maybe that will be next.)

The 2012 volume, last to be printed and distributed by the Government Printing Office, cost $36 in paperback or $41 in hardcover. So what is ProQuest's price for the 2013 volume? It just arrived on my desk with an invoice for $180. If the data were still being generated by the federal government and paid for by taxpayers, this would be unconscionable. ProQuest can no doubt justify the price based on the need to collect the data itself, but I question the methodology and do not trust the impartiality of the result.

A lot of what can be derived from the Statistical Abstract is pretty embarrassing to the United States, when you come right down to it. Levels of poverty, education, health care etc. are far worse than we are often led to believe. Availability of high technology such as broadband internet, digital television, or cell phone services is still concentrated in the densely populated areas and often completely lacking in rural communities. The Bureau of the Census has done an admirable (if politically unpopular) job of detailing and reporting these facts over the years. Now we are about to trade those facts for a glossy, shined-up corporate report on the glories of free markets and capitalism. Blech.

I have recommended that we cancel our standing order for Statistical Abstract and return the 2013 volume to the publisher.
altivo: My mare Contessa (nosy tess)
Photos of that restored spinning wheel are here.

Photos from the handspinning craft show at the library are here.

And the Boone County Conservation District's Pioneer Days (last weekend) are here.

Trying to be amused rather than angry about political candidates who think that "middle class" is defined by income of $200K per year, or that commercial airplanes should have windows that can be opened at will. I will not be voting for either of the major candidates. As far as I can see, there is little difference between them. Obama is just as much a sellout to the corporate interests as Romney is, he just conceals it more carefully. And he not only signed the NDAA with that horribly unconstitutional provision for detention of US citizens (or anyone) without habeas corpus but is now insisting on appealing it after a federal judge threw it out as unconstitutional. Nope. Totally lost my vote. I'm voting for the Green Party again. Sure, they will never win, but at least I'm voting for what I believe in rather than the "lesser" of two huge and disastrous evils.
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
Today's heat index hit around 114F according to Wunderground, which includes sensors just across the road from us. It felt like it too. We are not putting the horses in their stalls tonight, trying to let them get what little advantage they can from more freely circulating air. Of course, there's not a whiff of a breeze at the moment but at least the temperature is dropping.

By now I'm sure just about everyone knows that the Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (also called the Health Care Reform Act of 2010, and derided as "Obamacare" by Republicans and other right wingnuts.) Some of you know that I'm not particularly impressed with this so-called "reform" either. I believe it lacks adequate cost controls, and leaves far too much to the whim of capitalist market forces and private corporate boards. It has no public coverage option, and does relatively little to protect lower middle class individuals, particularly unmarried ones. As usual, the politicians have been beating the "family, family, family" drum to the exclusion of fairness to anyone who doesn't fit their narrow definitions.

However, the fact that this particular court, conservative as it is and constructed largely of justices appointed by Dubyabush, still managed to uphold the constitutionality of the act is something of a hopeful sign that partisanship and polarization do not yet completely control the US.

So what's to be embarrassed about? Well, you've also seen me complain about the sheer, wilful ignorance of so many US citizens and voters. You know, the ones who refuse to accept the validity of science, don't believe in evolution, and still insist that gays and lesbians should be stoned to death? Today I've seen numerous right wingers announcing that they will "move to Canada" rather than submit to the "big government health care" changes. Ignorant is a generous word to describe what this actually suggests. Do they not know that Canada has genuine socialized medicine, something that the ACA does not really achieve? Are they aware that Canada has legalized and recognized same sex marriages on a national level, and requires equal treatment in all provinces? That Canada's abortion laws are more liberal than those of any US state? Or that the Canadian population includes far more self-described atheists than the US does? (Some estimates run as high as 45% of the adult population.) Evidently, no. Surely none of these Obama haters would consider moving to a country so liberal and socialist, unless they simply had no idea what they were talking about.

I suggest that they move instead to Mexico, which really does have less government, is nowhere near recognizing gay marriages, and remains highly religious and opposed to abortion and birth control. And once they move there, let's use their own proposed anti-immigration laws and measures to keep them from ever coming back. Good riddance.
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
Much of the day spent setting up new equipment, which is now running overnight so it can download updates. Hopefully we'll be able to test a new authentication system tomorrow and then swap this for two machines that are to be replaced.

Our old cat Tikki is not doing well. She'll be 19 years old in another week, but only if she makes it that far. She has nearly quit eating now and seems almost catatonic at times (no pun intended.) We're sorry to see her go, but she's had a very long life for a cat and it's becoming clear that one way or another she's going to be leaving us soon.

Otherwise, we seem to be poised for a full jump into summer now. Yesterday's temperature made it to 90°F and today was clear and sunny again. I hope this isn't heading into a drought. There was some serious rain and hail in the area yesterday, but we only saw a brief shower here, perhaps an eighth of an inch accumulation.

And that's the news. more or less. I'm all grumpy about idiots spewing anti-gay hate in NC and moronic politicians here in Illinois claiming that this weekend's NATO Summit was some great feather in the cap of Chicago when in fact it looked like another case of the rich and powerful refusing to acknowledge the effects of their actions on the rest of the population. Guess I need to go to bed and sleep.
altivo: My mare Contessa (nosy tess)
What wolf are you?
Your Result: Omega Male/Female
 

you are the omaega male/female you tend to be a loner and you have only a couple close friends.you prefer to be alone . and you are not much of a follower.

Regular Wolf
 
Alpha Female
 
Alpha male
 
Beta Male
 
Beta Female
 
What wolf are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


After reading the first three of four books in Patricia Briggs' "Alpha and Omega" series, I realize that when I created Argos, an Omega wolf as she defines it would be just about exactly what I intended. I've always said that Argos is myself, in a sense, so when I came across this quiz I figured I should take it and see. There's the outcome.

Day started sunny but turned cloudy in mid-afternoon. Then thunder, rain showers, more thunder, a rattle of small hail, more thunder. Nothing serious, at least not here, just nuisance.

Fortunately, we went to the open house of the Sun City Model Railroaders while it was still nice out, since they feature a garden railroad setup, as well as indoor O, HO, and N scale layouts. There was a Z scale layout in a briefcase, too, which was kinda cute but really tiny.

I have to admit I had a negative reaction to the environment, though. The first people we encountered in the garden area were loudly discussing the "fact" that Obama is not a true citizen and that his birth certificate was "faked" in order to get a black into the Oval Office. It's incredible to me that anyone takes that stuff seriously. (Not to mention the fact that his birth certificate is irrelevant as long as his mother is a US citizen, which she is.)

A lot of money was in evidence. Unfortunately, not a single black or hispanic person was visible, and a lot of narrow-minded attitudes were being expressed all through the exhibits. Way to make a good impression folks.
altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
North Carolina demonstrates why it is inappropriate to let the majority decide on the civil rights of any minority, and why "activist" courts are needed to protect the rights of unpopular groups. Fortunately, this will not stand for more than a year or two the way things are sliding in the US.

Obama's declaration that he now supports the rights of gays to marry, however, is more irritating. He has mumbled, dodged, and refused to address this issue for years. Does he think that saying this, and following up by supporting the rights of states to decide for themselves, that he is winning any real support? As usual, he is just proving himself spineless. He has made no real effort to get rid of DOMA. The keystone of this whole issue rests on that law, which was never constitutional and has been struck down repeatedly in lower courts. Without DOMA, federal case law requires all states to recognize a marriage solemnized by any state. So NC would still be forced to recognize a gay marriage made in Massachusetts or Washington. Their silly constitutional effort would be overridden by federal law.

Romney, of course, is worse. He would try to twist his executive authorities to enforce conservative church attitudes on everyone. He has said as much. Never mind the fact that his own church treated women as property, allowed polygamous marriage, and denied the humanity of blacks for its first century and more.
altivo: Blinking Altivo (altivo blink)
Without the comic relief of Rick Santorum, the GOP race for the presidential nomination is no longer going to be amusing. It will just become abrasively irritating. They really have nothing to campaign on other than "We hate Obama, so vote for us." Warning: Pay attention closely, not just to what those candidates are saying, but to the implied subtext. Electing any of them will result in more shakeups and changes than Obama promised in 2008, and far more than have actually come about. (Frankly, other than a badly written reform of health care policy that is in fact no reform at all and will achieve next to nothing, Obama has yet to deliver a thing that he promised.) The GOP candidates are making bigger promises yet, promises that would force the destruction of the Obama health care plan, yes. They would also likely try to privatize social security, cut taxes on the wealthy even further, eliminate more social programs, and feed even more money to the military industrial complex than Dubya did. Is that really what you want?

In other news, tiny bears, rather cartoonish and menacing, are now complete and ready to be installed in the railroad scenery. Still need a fox and a couple of coyotes if I can get them done. It's cold outside, has been all day and was so last night. We appear to be making up for the warm March by freezing our tails off in April.
altivo: Rearing Clydesdale (angry rearing)
In honor of today's political circus in Illinois:

Understanding the GOP
  • Anything that puts more money in the rich man's pockets is good.
  • Birth control is bad. It lowers the supply of serfs, wage slaves and cannon fodder.
  • Mittens, Newt, and San[c]torum don't seem to stand for anything so much as they just stand against things (and each other.)
  • If it doesn't work, cut taxes on the rich. If it still doesn't work, cut taxes on the rich.
  • The environment matters... except when it cuts into the profit margin.
  • Science is too hard to understand, so it must be a lie.
  • Our popularity ratings are down. Quick, let's start a war and wave the flag harder.
  • Anything goes as long as it has the word "family" in the title.


Understanding the Democrats
  • We're short on imagination and vision, but proud of our traditions. Ruts-R-Us.
  • If it doesn't work, throw money at it. If it still doesn't work, throw more money at it.
  • Obama doesn't need to stand for anything. He got this far without standing up for his 2008 promises, so why add more?
  • There is no victory without compromise. Let's compromise everything and call it a victory.
  • Accounting is too hard to understand, so it must be a lie.
  • Our popularity ratings are down. Quick, hand out some more money.
  • Anything goes as long as it has the word "family" in the title.
  • Almost anything goes if it calls itself "Homeland Security" because that's too dangerous to criticize.


No apologies to the loud mouthed and empty headed partisans. Minor apologies to those who already saw me declare most of this on Twitter.

Goosed

Mar. 19th, 2012 09:44 pm
altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
I didn't have time to get a camera, but two geese landed on the ridge of the library roof this morning and sat there for several minutes. No idea why they would do that, but it sure was odd looking.

We are still being goosed by junk political callers, too. No way to tell tham that we voted last week and they are wasting their time and ours. As far as I can tell, all the calls are from Republicans, as usual. And all of them consist of negative campaigning against an opponent rather than positive ideas and concepts being presented. Republicans are defined by what they are against, not by what they favor, apparently. The great party of the perpetual "No!"

Raccoons are out in force, as are the chipmunks. Last night we saw two large 'coons in 0ur yard. Today I noticed a dead one on the edge of the road. Still busily enlarging itself, it had blimped up by about 50% over it's former dimensions, sort of like a Mandarin duck.

Think it must be time for bed, can't keep my eyes open.
altivo: Rearing Clydesdale (angry rearing)
I absolutely never vote for any candidate who uses robocalling techniques to invade my privacy. I don't care who you are or which party. This tactic is so obnoxious and disgusting it will lose my vote forever.

I only vote for candidates who present positions on real issues. If your "campaign" consists entirely of statements that amount to "Sure, I'm a rat, but the other guy is even worse," you can forget my vote because you won't get it.

I use only print sources to evaluate candidates. If your campaign consists entirely of television advertising and sound bites, you will not get my vote. If you decline to answer written questions from journalists and voter advocacy organizations, you will not get my vote. If you respond to direct questions about your position by running your opponent into the ground rather than answering the question, you will not get my vote.

Yes, I'm hard to convince and demand proof of every claim you make. And my vote will go to a third party or write-in candidate if none of the frontrunners satisfies my requirements (see above.)

The American election process is badly broken folks. It is so severely damaged that it no longer represents any kind of consensus, but just reflects who spent the most money, who had the cleverist public relations firm, or who was the best at cheating.
altivo: Gingerbread horse cookie (gingerhorse)
It was hot today. This is the Ides of March, not traditionally a sweltering day in the sun in this part of the world. We got to 77F here with some significant humidity. It's cooling off now, and supposedly we are in for dense fog and possible thunderstorms.

First barbecue of the year, after we went out at lunch time and voted in the nearly pointless Illinois primary. I do usually vote for a handful of Republicans, but they are in local offices in this totally GOP county were there are often no Democratic candidates at all. Fortunately, some of them do a good job at what they are doing (not the sheriff, alas, but the county clerk and the state senator are at least OK and the county board members from our district are in favor of conservation, preserving farmland, controlling development, and keeping property taxes down.) I might not want some of these same people to be in Congress, but locally they are good. Anyway, take a Republican ballot? No, not interested. On the Democratic ballot, there were really no significant choices. One candidate (or none) for each slot. Except for a choice between two for US congresscritter. The incumbent is a Republican and the usual sort of anti-everything jerk who hates women, gays, unions, and the environment but loves big corporations. Alas, he will undoubtedly win. But I want a real candidate to run against him. We actually had a choice between a gray-haired businessman who takes few positions in public but makes a big deal of the fact that he's a Catholic, married, with kids. Sorry, but I can just guess how he would vote on gay marriage, women's rights, or other issues near and dear to me. Fortunately, the other candidate is in his 20s, a geeky information technology type with longish hair and a beard, and has taken public positions in favor of gay marriage, pro-choice, public health insurance, and other issues I support. He gets my vote and I took the Dem ballot specifically to vote for him. Of course he won't get the nomination, but I tried.

Gas prices are going through the roof. In Harvard they went up by 24 cents just today. Oddly enough, one station in Marengo was bucking the trend and went down by five cents. This made for a 41 cent difference in the price of unleaded regular between Marengo and Harvard. The distance between the two towns is only about 12 miles.

Went over my Argos fursuit and conclude that it's as ready as it will be for an appearance Saturday as the library book wolf. Then that evening I have been arm-twisted to sit in with one of Gary's groups for a St. Patrick's Day session at a local restaurant. Their lead violinist is unavailable that evening and they asked for me to play flute (not violin, not up to that) with them. I agreed, but reluctantly. I understand we get dinner for free and the crowd was reasonably polite last year, so I'll survive it.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Yeah, I know, robins can be seen here year round. But not out on open grasslands. I've seen them in December myself, in a more likely place: a sheltered river bottom. This one was sitting in the crabapple tree right outside my little window at work.

And today was a likely day for it, though it's probably the earliest I've ever seen a spring robin. It was clear, sunny, and the temperature made it to 57F. Almost all the snow disappeared in one day. Tomorrow is supposed to be nearly as warm, but with some light rain possible.

Made pizza tonight, with soup and some leftover salad. Agreed to go to the Audubon lecture on Thursday night, which will be on birding in Asia, along the edge of the Himalayas.

Moon isn't quite full, but sure is bright even though the sky has hazed over a bit. Wind is gusting loudly too, but it's still quite warm. I think spring is finally arriving, and with it the stink of election politics has become downright unbearable.

I'm delighted to see Rush Limbaugh taken down a peg or two, though. He's quite the hypocrite, and hates everyone who isn't white, male, and rich.

Sun and fog

Mar. 5th, 2012 10:35 pm
altivo: My mare Contessa (nosy tess)
Didn't get as warm today as predicted. There was fog this morning wherever large open fields were covered with snow, and when the sun hit that layer of ground fog it lit up and became well nigh impenetrable. Talk about diffusion...

We had so many leftover things in the fridge that no cooking was necessary for supper tonight. It's unusual not to have at least one course to do something in preparation.

I remain completely puzzled as to how anyone, regardless of political leanings, could support any of the GOP candidates. They say such outrageous things. If some of that stuff came out of the mouth of some foreign leader, the US would be slapping him with a human rights violation or worse. Santorum obviously doesn't understand how Constitutional amendments are processed. He thinks that once he is president [goddess forbid] he can just amend the Constitution to suit himself and force his religion on everyone in the country. Note that he considers Islamic law and the enforcement of Islam upon a country's people to be a human rights violation, but enforcing right wing Christian prejudices on everyone is OK.

Romney is no better at all. Same garbage spews from his mouth as from any of the others, plus he tries to lie about his past positions and statements. Likewise with Paul and Gingrich, though I think they're well out of the running now.

Just when did the GOP become a theocratic party anyway? Certainly they weren't that way back when Barry Goldwater ran for president, nor when Nixon became president. Somewhere between Nixon and Reagan seems to have been when it happened.

Of course most of the social conservative, pseudo-religious talk is just a coverup anyway. The real GOP doesn't care about that stuff, but does care about protecting corporations from any and all regulation, control, or taxation. They also want to increase the divide between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of us. Very few voters would favor those goals, so they keep them hidden, and use outrage over social changes to distract us from their real agenda. All the candidates are millionaires who have lived their entire lives sheltered from the realities of ordinary workers. They frequently take a "let them eat cake" view, and no one seems to call them on it.

Once again I'm reminded of the reasons that democracy really doesn't work for very long in most cases.

Mind, I don't like Obama at all. I consider him to be one of the least productive and most useless presidents of my lifetime. He has sold out on everything, and really is no different from his would-be opponents from my point of view. Even Bill Clinton was more effective, and that's saying a lot.
altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
For some reason, our connection is so slow tonight it's worse than dialup. Holding all wordy discussion topics until later.

Congratulations Maryland on having the good sense to pass a gay marriage law, and to their governor for having the backbone to sign it. Of course, as usual, right wingnuts are prepared to spend a fortune to try to get voters to repeal it by referendum. Time to get a clear federal intervention on this bullshit.
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
You know, the W ones.

Good news: another Federal judge has declared DOMA to be unconstitutional (not that there ever really was a question about this, but it's getting Congress to realize that the law is null and void.) This judge was appointed by none other than George W. Bush himself. Of course, they'll still call him a "liberal activist judge" and/or accuse him of being gay.

Verizon again changed our IP address at home, locking me out of my connections at work until I could go in and modify firewall rules. The fix to do away with this problem is to get VPN/IPSec to work. Unfortunately that's such a large headache that I'll probably keep on just modifying firewall rules as necessary.

While adjusting the firewall I tried to update the VPN configuration, but so far I still can't connect to it. That's about normal. I did once manage to get VPN over PPTP to work for a while, but a software update to the firewall box broke that and I've never gotten it running again. Now I'm trying IPSec since there are claims that it works properly, but so far no joy.

Rain this afternoon followed by patchy heavy fog at quitting time. Made the drive home unpleasant, though it has certainly been worse at times.
altivo: Wet Altivo (wet altivo)
So the stock markets went nuts over a "great" employment report. Guess what, morons. To get back all the jobs that have been lost since the real estate bubble burst, we'd need that much improvement every month for about a year and a half. Do you really think that's going to happen? I don't. What I want to know is, with all this talk about "job creation," what kind of jobs were created? Part time with no benefits? Minimum wage burger slinging? That sort of thing is what I suspect. But just watch. This probably half-phony report will be used as an excuse to try to cancel the payroll tax reduction, and the GOP will continue to push for more tax cuts for the richest Americans.

I see the Susan G. Komen Foundation is now back-pedaling on their decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. No, I don't believe for one minute that they were not influenced in that original decision by the political and religious right. Those groups hate Planned Parenthood passionately. And I can see no reason at all for Komen to cut off funding grants to the group unless it was being influenced by anti-abortion groups in some way. Nothing they say now can erase that doubt. They've lost their credibility with me and also lost the hope of any future support from me.

90th egg

Jan. 6th, 2012 08:54 pm
altivo: Geekish ham radio pony (geek)
Yes, the duck laid her 90th egg this morning. In 90 days. She did skip one day, but another time she left us two eggs in a single day. One egg was lost because it was laid with almost no shell, and one got frozen because she laid it outside in the yard when there was snow on the ground and the temperature was in the teens. All things considered, though, that's a pretty darn good record. Most have been left right in the nest box where they stay clean and are easy to find.

Gary got the fittings needed to set up the compressor for me, right at Ace Hardware. Hope to get a chance to try it out over this weekend. Guild newsletter has to come first, though.

The last (I think) N scale purchase for a while arrived today. It's a 50 ft. gondola with droppable ends. This type of car was used to transport automobile frames into the River Rouge plant when I was a kid. I remember seeing long trains of them, maybe 70 or 80 frames to a car standing on end and slanting slightly against each other. DT&I had custom braces built at the ends of the cars to support these. The car is already painted with DT&I number and logos. I just have to figure out a way to make the stack of frames and the end braces. Haven't found a photo of the real thing yet, but did find an article explaining how another modeler did it.

First paycheck of the new year today, and as I expected, it's smaller yet again. Health insurance went up once more. I think state taxes have increased as well, And when the Republican congress inevitably refuses to continue the tax break, federal taxes will go back up as well, making it shrink even farther. "There's no inflation" my ass. Bernanke should try living on an ordinary person's shrinking take home. Shrinking pay, and shrinking food packages, both constitute inflation just as much as actual price increases do. And if the price of gasoline continues to increase at the present rate, the economy is going to start sliding downward once again. The oil companies export refined gasoline and other oil products, which helps to keep prices higher here at home of course.

I will probably commit to FCN in the next few days. That will be the first con I've attended since 2008 if I do it.

May 2017

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