Jan 06 2013
Always hit the "save drafts" button! Other wise you do what I do, inadvertently hit the back button and all your work just quietly goes away. There is probably an analogy for this year in their somewhere.
So, to start again-have been busy getting ready for a busy January. I am also more than happy to see the holidays wind down, because now I can see my travel schedule start again. With a new year comes a new total of Frequent Flyer miles to get. I'm only 100K away from Million Miler status with United. Time to get cracking!
The saga of the car continues. As I expected, Volkswagon did not honor the repair of the windshield under the warranty, so I had to file for it under my insurance. They are taking care of it-and the car is scheduled to be repaired next week. The only problem is I will be in a training class next week-so the S.O. has to take the car over to the repair shop-which is way over towards Esslingen. She is having kittens. She doesn't like to drive in the city. I put it to her simply-she has to do this. She acquiesced but it was long and painful to get her to do so.
Which is probably a good analogy for other things with her.
Back in the land of my birth, Congress has yet again "averted" a disaster it created, by finally voting to restore taxes on some folks to their proper levels. Myself I would have preferred all the Bush tax cuts to go away-but their is some merit to the argument that the effect on the markets would have been too bad. What is disturbing, however is that in their petulant manner and strong desire not to compromise with the black guy, the did not come up with any long term solutions. So in two months the same tea sniffing assholes will put a gun to our collective heads again.
Professor Krugman is tired of trying to reason with you people:
The fight over the fiscal cliff was just one battle in that war. It ended, arguably, in a tactical victory for Democrats. The question is whether it was a Pyrrhic victory that set the stage for a larger defeat.
Why do I say that it was a tactical victory? Mainly because of what didn’t happen: There were no benefit cuts. This was by no means a foregone conclusion…
There were also some actual positives from a progressive point of view. Expanded unemployment benefits were given another year… Other benefits to lower-income families were given another five years… Oh, and not only did Republicans vote for a tax increase for the first time in decades, the overall result of the tax changes … will be a significant reduction in income inequality…
So why are many progressives — myself included — feeling very apprehensive? Because … the G.O.P. retains the power to destroy, in particular by refusing to raise the debt limit — which could cause a financial crisis. And Republicans have made it clear that they plan to use their destructive power to extract major policy concessions.
Now, the president has said that he won’t negotiate on that basis, and rightly so. Threatening to hurt tens of millions of innocent victims unless you get your way … shouldn’t be treated as a legitimate political tactic.
Of course it will be used as a tactic by our Galtian overlords, and on my Facebook page I will be subjected to the usual lectures on "stealing money" and "socialism". God, I do tire of people passing around the same lies, month after month. And when you try to disabuse them of the lies? They just turn around and attack you personally. Probably what is most disturbing about that is the unwritten idea that they are putting forth that gutting these programs somehow won't hurt them-when in fact they will. Quite badly. But the lectures continue-and in a demonstration of the really corrosive affect that Fox News has had over the last few years-one hears over and over the "47%" mantra. It is indeed troublesome-because its just not true.:
According to the normal rules of politics, Republicans should have very little bargaining power at this point. With Democrats holding the White House and the Senate, the G.O.P. can’t pass legislation; and since the biggest progressive policy priority of recent years, health reform, is already law, Republicans wouldn’t seem to have many bargaining chips.
But the G.O.P. retains the power to destroy, in particular by refusing to raise the debt limit — which could cause a financial crisis. And Republicans have made it clear that they plan to use their destructive power to extract major policy concessions.
Rather than do anything long term-egged on by the spoiled children who make up the GOP today the Congress condescended to only do the minimum required of it. Sometimes I wonder if the US would not be better off with a Parliamentary system where at least the Parliament can be dismissed when it is non productive. But in our current times that would happen so often it would be worse than Italy in the 1960's or France in the 1950's.
Which is kind of a good description for our current government anyway. Until the spoiled children that are the average American citizen, is made to understand that you cannot tax cut your way to prosperity-nothing of substance will get done.
On Saturdays, in downtown Stuttgart there is an outdoor antiques market at the plaza next to the Markt Halle. It's a good way to spend an afternoon. The S.O. loves to walk through the stands and pick and turn over each and every piece of china, I usually just wander off to a stand that has old books. These are almost always in German, of course, but they are really remakable in many cases. Found a picture book about World War I entitled "Ein Welt gegen Uns" ( A world against us is what it translates to -which pretty much summarizes the German view of that period and the one that followed). The book was really interesting with lots and lots of pictures from all four years of the war. It also had pictures of the war against Russia and other actions in Italy , for example. The stall owner wanted 35 Euro for it. That was too much and my efforts to negotiate with him failed-so the book was left on his table as we finally left. I really wanted to buy it-but not at that price.
Following the S.O.'s 2 and 1/2 hour ordeal of looking and looking at the same pieces of china over and over again. We adjouorned into the Markt Halle. Which is the Stuttgart Market Hall and has stands selling fish, vegatables, meats, olives, national specialtties from France, Greece, Italy, Hungary, and Turkey. Their Asian spice stands are pretty interesting too. They had one stand selling nothing but Hungarian Wine and I was tempted to buy some-but we still had many other places to go to, and did not want to lug three bottles around in the back pack forever and a day.
NPR ran a rather interesting story about the "stand your ground laws" that gun nuts have used as one of the hat racks to hang their absurd desire to have an arsenal of all kinds of weaponry at their disposal. They discovered something obvious-that discerning the "good guy" from the "bad guy" is not as clear cut as they thought it would be. Shocker:
If a stranger attacks you inside your own home, the law has always permitted you to defend yourself. On the other hand, if an altercation breaks out in public, the law requires you to try to retreat. At least, that’s what it used to do.
In 2005, Florida became the first of nearly two-dozen states to pass a “stand your ground” law that removed the requirement to retreat. If you felt at risk of harm in a park or on the street, you could use lethal force to defend yourself. The shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., drew national attention to these laws.
Now, researchers who’ve studied the effect of the laws have found that states with a stand your ground law have more homicides than states without such laws.
Hoekstra recently decided to analyze national crime statistics to see what happens in states that pass stand your ground laws. He found the laws are having a measurable effect on the homicide rate.
“Our study finds that, that homicides go up by 7 to 9 percent in states that pass the laws, relative to states that didn’t pass the laws over the same time period,” he says.
As to whether the laws reduce crime — by creating a deterrence for criminals — he says, “we find no evidence of any deterrence effect over that same time period.”
Hoekstra obtained this result by comparing the homicide rate in states before and after they passed the laws. He also compared states with the laws to states without the laws.
Still, based on the available data, it appears that crafters of these laws sought to give good guys more latitude to defend themselves against bad guys. But what Hoekstra’s data suggest is that in real-life conflicts, both sides think of the other guy as the bad guy. Both believe the law gives them the right to shoot.
In a separate analysis of death certificates before and after stand your ground laws were passed in different states, economists at Georgia State University also found that states that passed the laws ended up with a higher homicide rate.
That study also tracked the increased homicides by race. In contrast to the narrative established by the Trayvon Martin shooting — many people believe black men are more likely to be the victims of stand your ground laws — this analysis found the additional deaths caused by the laws were largely concentrated among white men.
“The imperfect but growing evidence seems to suggest that the consequences of adopting stand your ground laws are pernicious, in that they may lead to a greater number of homicides — thus going against the notion that they are serving some sort of protective function for society,” he says.
Que the "black people just want free stuff" chorus.
Over the Christmas season, I gave myself a gift of 4 seasons of the The Big Bang Theory. I had not paid the show any attention when I was in the States living-but now I have gone back and given it another look. I saw several episodes on a Comedy Channel in Israel when I was there this past fall. I really came to like it. So I have watched Seasons 1 and 2 and 5 and in the middle of watching Season 6 now. I also found a nifty little drinking game to go along with it:
The S.O. and I watched "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" on Friday night. I had wanted to see the movie for a long time. I was suprised the S.O. hung with me to watch it-she does not usually like English movies that rely on a lot of dialogue. But we both enjoyed this one. I liked it a lot. The scene where Bill Nighy tells off his obnoxious wife really spoke to me. ( I got a very curious eye from the S.O. as I leaned forward to watch it closer). I had figured it would just be light entertainment, but in the end it was a more powerful movie than I expected. ( Young Indian actresses are pretty hot too).
This is Tena Desae:
And finally, I am still with out my cell phone. In the end I had to send it back to Samsung so that they can fix the damn thing. It seemed to be suffering from "Sudden Death Syndrome".
There has been a common issues with many Galaxy S3 devices around the world that has started to bother a lot of people. The problems is this: Galaxy S3 is suddenly dies and doesn’t turn on again until you take it to be repaired.
All around the world people are bringing their devices in service because they will not turn on again. This problem has been named a “sudden death” for Galaxy S3. It’s like the phone is “committing suicide” out of nowhere. The issue with this problem is the fact that it doesn’t have a common pattern. The Galaxy S3 dies after charging, during charging over night, after turning the screen off it will not turn on again. As far as I can see it is a pretty scary problem.
The most common situation with the Galaxy S3 dying is when charging the phone over night. When you try to turn on the screen, it will not respond. You will not be able to turn on the phone with the power button. Pulling the battery off and on again also doesn’t help. It seems that the only resolution for this problem is to take your phone to be repaired in a specialized store.
The good this is that Samsung is responding well to this issue, meaning that they repair all the phones that are brought to them with this problem, or more likely they will give you a new one.
There is no official statement regarding this issue, but seeing how more and moreGalaxy S3 owners are complaining about this, we can conclude that there are some real hardware issues with the Galaxy S3.
As I said-I hope its not a harbinger of things to come.