Thursday, December 31, 2009

Be Careful

This road has two solid inches of compressed snow that melted and refroze into solid ice.

Today's weather was just warm enough in the morning to melt some of the snow on the road which later re-froze this afternoon.

By around 3:00 PM the temperature dropped into the 20 degree range. I was out walking the dog and slipped on what I thought was wet pavement, but was really a thin layer of clear ice on the pavement, also known as "black ice."

Tonight is New Years Eve. What we have here is a near perfect storm. A large amount of snow followed by a thaw, then a deep freeze followed by drunken revelry followed by driving.

Drive safely and have a happy new year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We Got Fooled Again!

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was going to have a quiet sun-filled ocean-side tribunal in Guantanamo Bay Cuba, but someone had the audacity of hope for justice and decided that, to be civilized, KSM should be tried with the full benefit and weight of the U.S. Justice System.

Well, he's getting the full weight of the U.S. Justice system all right. He's getting a whopping security detail that will cost U.S. taxpayers more than seventy five million dollars. Since security is only part of the whole ordeal, imagine what the rest of the iceberg will cost.

This magnanimous gesture of civility filled the hearts of liberal progressives with warm fuzzies, the rest of us with gnawing pains of hunger in our stomachs, and the pockets of New York's legal industrial complex with our cash. What is up with New York Anyway? Didn't Wall Street get enough of our investment money? Didn't they get enough of our bailout money?

Well, it's always just about the money. The next time you feel your heart-strings getting tugged, take a breath and really start thinking about how much it's going to cost.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

GOP News Control Plan C - A and B didn't work out so well.

GOP Event at Hoogland Center on Monday evidently Hush-Hush

On the evening of Monday, December 14, 2009 my mother wanted to go to a GOP event because she had a really good question for them. I wanted to go so I could take notes and compare what I heard with how the news media reported it later.

A while ago, perhaps weeks, my mother wrote the event down on her calendar. How or where she found that information was forgotten. Monday evening she wanted to confirm it so she looked it up in that day’s Illinois State Journal-Register. It was not in the “Happening Today” section.

I looked up the schedule for Hoogland Center for the Arts and they had “Geppeto and Son” on the 13th of December, followed by “Every Christmas Story Ever Told” on the 19th of December. Nothing on December 14th.

Mom was frustrated because it was on her calendar, but neither of us could find any supporting evidence that the event was still going on. The Illinois Times dated December 10-16 didn’t mention anything for the event either.

Tuesday morning’s Illinois State Journal-Register has an article titled “GOP candidates against Thomson housing detainees” [ ]

According to the article, the event was hosted by the Springfield Citizens Club. I went to their website [ ] to see if they had any information about the event, and the latest event they had on their website was a public policy breakfast they had on November 20.

“Friday, November 20: Public Policy Breakfast, Tom Cavanagh, County Treasurer and Jim Langfelder, City Treasurer, Hoogland Center for the Arts, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.”

So, we have an event discussing public policy by candidates running for public office, but the venue holding the event does not have it in their schedule, the hosting organization of the event does not have it in their schedule, two of the largest local news publications don’t have it in their schedule. What are we supposed to assume from that?

We can assume that any news reported the following day about the event was completely fabricated because the event itself was entirely controlled and held secret by collaborating organizations.

IS this GOP news control plan C? Plan A was planting a blogger with press credentials in the White House press pool who would ask softball questions. Plan B was paying Armstrong Williams to write GOP leaning news articles during the Bush Years. Plan C appears to be staging top secret press conferences for the purpose of fabricating news. As bad as A and B turned out, C is really the only way to control the situation from start to finish.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Seasonal Affective Disorder is man-made.

‘Tis the season to watch others express joy and love.

Do jewelry advertisements capitalize on the gift-giving season? Not really because the primary function of jewelry is reward. The secondary function of jewelry is expression of wealth, and finally, investment. The order might be different for everyone, but that’s another story.

During Christmas, the perceived context of the act of giving, changes from a wide variety of rationalizations throughout the rest of the year, to a sharp focus at Christmas. At other times of the year I could think of a dozen other reasons why some guy would spend a few months salary on a diamond for his wife or girlfriend.

During that time it doesn’t become personal for me and so the advertising slips away into oblivion after the commercial is over. It’s like that for me because I’m single, but also because one advertisement I see most frequently is the one with the jealous GPS device that won’t let the man out of the car. The other non-Christmas ads portray women talking about some other woman who received jewelry.

But at Christmas, the frequency of jewelry advertising increases, and the context of the advertising shifts from a variety of scenarios to one sharply focused, unambiguous global ritual to which we men measure our own value.

The commercials shift directly to the source of the commotion the other actors were talking about the rest of the year, straight to the couple. And I watch as others are able to give and receive love and joy this holiday season.

I can’t give someone a diamond. I can’t give someone a car. Maybe that’s why nobody calls. According to mass media hype, if I could give away diamonds and cars I would have a massive entourage. If you ever watched shows like “Where Are They Now” or any show about lottery winners, you would understand that the entourage disappears when the money runs out. It’s really sad when you’ve got nothing else anyone wants.

It is my perception that others’ expectations are beyond my reach. I feel this way most of the time but especially during the holidays when it seems like everyone else is capable of giving something that someone else appreciates.

Happy Holidays.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Product Alert: Sony Movie Studio 9 Platinum Edition

Sony Movie Studio 9 Platinum Edition comes with a program called Cinescore Studio that is alleged to generate music for your videos. This program is not supported for Windows Vista 64 bit systems, and will crash on Windows XP systems after about four or five uses.

Tech support is absolutely lacking. The worst experience with tech support I ever had was with Sony products. You get that when you deal with a company that has adopted an arrogant self-image.

Sony totally fails in the software area. They should stick with stereos and cameras and stay out of the computer software business.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

S.A.P. Sapping the state retirement fund.

Did you know that the Illinois Supreme Court has a historic preservation program? Back in August of 2007 an act was passed that funneled five million dollars ($5,000,000.00) of state funds into the program (705 ILCS 17/20-c).

I never heard of the program, but the fantastic thing is that it creates nine jobs, all of which are appointed by the Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the house (705 ILCS 17/10, 1-5).

But don’t worry, nobody gets a salary (705 ILCS 17/10 – 5(g)) “The members of the Commission shall receive no compensation for their service, except for their actual expenses while in the discharge of their official duties.” What ever that means, they get to hire staff (705 ILCS 17/20).

I suppose that’s the point leading to my next little steaming nugget.

I heard many times about a bad habit from inside sources, (yes, I have inside sources) there’s a bad habit going around the state I call the State Accelerated Pre-Retirement Promotion method of draining the state’s pension system. People who are close to retirement are getting promoted so their pensions will be much larger than they would be naturally through normal merit based promotions.

It’s not enough that state employees already make such incredibly rich salaries on the backs of poverty level private sector taxpayers that make up nearly one-third of the state’s population; they need to rub it in by appropriating funds away from social programs that subsidize corporations that pay low wages.

Besides that, why is there a separate historic preservation commission away from the Illinois State Historic Preservation Agency? Is that not a little redundant? How many other redundancies are there like this?

Source: (705 ILCS 17/) Supreme Court Historic Preservation Act.