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Religion, Politics, & Culture: Defined and Explained


Saturday, August 25, 2012

2016: Obama’s America

My wife insisted that we see 2016: Obama’s America. Earlier today we hopped into the car and headed to the local theater. After buying a lunch of soda and popcorn, we marched into the theater and grabbed a seat. 

I was familiar with Dinesh D’Souza’s thesis about Obama, his father and colonialism so I had some idea what the movie would cover.  The movie begins with a compare and contrast of D’Souza and Obama. This simultaneously lets viewers meet both men and also lets you know the perspective of the man who brought his book to your local Cineplex.

The movie introduces a few actions taken by Obama during his first term in office. These events are ones which many viewers will be familiar and had wondered why? Then it moves to the story of both Obama and his father. Much of the narrative in the film is audio from Obama’s two books. Obama did us the favor of recording both books in his own voice. D’Souza interviews Obama’s family and many that knew him earlier in life or had known his father.

The film weaves a more complete picture of the President’s life history than most people have ever heard from their televisions or talk radio. Granted, this movie presents only a thumbnail sketch of these events but the framework is logical and objective. I never got the feeling that I was being manipulated by the filmmakers. Yes, I was seeing what they felt was significant but in most cases I think they exercised good judgment in preparing their story.

The highlight of the movie to me was finally getting to see Obama’s brother, George. George was intelligent and very different from his more famous half-brother. Obama Sr. had five wives and died when George was six months old. George lives in a ghetto in a tiny 10 x 10 hut in Nigeria. It was great to see him on the big screen.

The movie then tries to explain actions taken by President Obama within the framework of D’Souza’s thesis. It finally circles back to the events at the beginning of the movie. You can almost hear Paul Harvey’s words “and now you know the rest of the story” echoing in your ears.

The last few minutes of the film are spent in extrapolating what a second Obama term would be like based on the first term and D’Souza’s thesis. This is interesting especially since Obama has never said what he plans to do if re-elected.

I don’t think everyone will agree with D’Souza’s analysis but if you don’t then what explanation do you have that fits the facts better? On this point those across the political spectrum have been silent. Obama’s actions as President defy traditional flavors of Liberalism in American politics. 2016 is the best window into Obama’s life that has been produced thus far.

Posted by william on 08/25 at 09:55 PM
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Windows 8: Preliminary Review

Yesterday, I downloaded the final code for Windows 8. As a Microsoft TechNet subscriber, I have access to most of the software produced by Microsoft. I chose to upgrade my main desktop machine just to see what the experience would be like.

Unlike other recent versions of Windows, the installation procedure did not run a compatibility check. With only a few prompts, the software seemed to run on its own. Only at the end of the procedure did I encounter problems. Toward the end of the procedure, the user starts getting prompts to select theme color, some default settings and then tie the installation to your Windows account. (For many years this was called the Windows Live account.) It was at this point that the installation process crashed. I got a message that Windows could not be installed and then the program removed Windows 8 and a few minutes later my computer restarted into Windows 7.

My first thought was that my Kaspersky internet security program was responsible. (I am aware that no existing antivirus product works with Windows 8 but it was part of the experiment to see what the average user would encounter.) I uninstalled the program and did the suggested restart. Again I ran the Windows 8 DVD and about 25 minutes later I was running Windows 8.

The final code provides a much clearer interface than previous versions. Before when I ran betas of Windows 8, every item in my start menu appeared as a tile. It was just a cluttered mess to wade thru but the tile experience on the final code is much simpler. I also installed the beta version of Microsoft Office 2013. (I may blog on this at a later date.)

So far I like the program. I did shrink many of the default tiles to the smaller size and add a few but otherwise everything fits onto one screen. The best thing I found in the marketplace was the app to let me run XBOX programs thru my network on my Windows 8 PC. That looks interesting.

Lastly, on my desktop view, all my stuff is there except my Gadgets. I had read that they were deemed a security risk and MS was planning to end them.

I still haven’t checked out dual monitor capability because my other monitor is the TV and Chef Ramsey does not like to be preempted.

My final word is uninstall your antivirus program and the take Windows 8 for a spin.

Posted by william on 08/16 at 02:03 PM
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Amazon Cloud Player with Music Scan and Match Reviewed: Part2

After my first attempts at uploading music failed, I decided that the only way to get further into the uploading process with any prospect of success was to convert all songs in my library to mp3 files. Most of my library is in WMA format. It took two days to convert all songs in my library to mp3 files. I used the conversion utility that comes with the free version of Real Player (http://www.real.com). 

I then tried to upload music to the Amazon Cloud. Thus far I have uploaded about two thousand audio tracks. Amazon never recognizes all the songs—ever when they sell the identical songs on their website and I ripped them from a factory CD. On average, out of a block of 200 or more songs, the cloud service will identify about 35 to 40 percent of the music. Just as a test for this blog posting, I tried the Grammy Award winning album by Bob Dylan Slow Train Coming. As you can see in the attached screen shot, Amazon correctly identified only six of the nine songs; the other three had to be uploaded individually.

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Amazon recognizes some tracks on Dylan CD.

Once the music is uploaded, other catastrophes were waiting to be worked-out. Many songs from the same CD were split into five or six “albums” even thought they were ripped from a single commercially purchased CD and uploaded at the same time. Trying to fix these errors is frustrating and very time consuming. Whether you use the back button or other navigation links in the Cloud Player, you end-up not where you were just working but at the beginning of the list of albums. In addition, the suggestions from the Cloud Player for artist, album and track number are frequently wrong—even when Amazon sells the same CD on their website. Perhaps working in multiple monitors and multiple browser sessions would allow fixing these errors quickly.

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Back to the Future soundtrack is broken into six albums when uploaded.

Once you think you have all the bugs worked out on a particular album, you have no visible indicator to let you know if Amazon matched a music track with their library or what bit rate a song is in unless you actually download it. I have gone to great lengths to use correct year for album release dates in my library however this information only confuses the music identification routine used by Amazon’s software. Amazon favors the date they made something available for download not the year the album or CD was released originally.

So far I have mixed opinions about the Amazon Cloud Player.

Posted by william on 08/14 at 01:33 AM
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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

How to make Joe Soptic Ad True

“I don’t think Barack Obama understands what he’s done to people’s lives since being elected.
I don’t think he realizes that people’s lives completely changed.
When Barack Obama and Biden were elected, I lost my healthcare, and my family lost their healthcare.
And a short time after that my wife became ill.
I don’t know how long she was sick and I think maybe she didn’t say anything because she knew that we couldn’t afford the insurance, and then one day she became ill and I took her up to the County Hospital and admitted her for pneumonia and that’s when they found the cancer and by then it was stage four.
It was, there was nothing they could do for her.
And she is close to passing away.
I do not think Barack Obama realizes what he’s done to anyone, and furthermore I do not think Barack Obama is concerned.”

Posted by william on 08/08 at 07:26 PM
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Amazon Cloud Player with Music Scan and Match Reviewed: Part1

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I purchased the Premium Cloud Player from Amazon last night after reading about it on CNET. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57483608-93/amazons-cloud-music-service-gets-scan-and-match/ . They claim to be able to scan and match your existing music from ripped CDs, iTunes, LPs and other sources and replace them with 256 kbps audio which you can download. Amazon claims a library of 20 million tracks and for their $25 fee you can have a library up to 250,000 songs on their cloud service. I did a test of some of my music. My library is over five thousand songs. I randomly picked some for uploading. Here are some preliminary results.

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As you can see, the service does not match all tracks. All the above were ripped from CDs that I purchased. Miss Angie and Dan Peek are on available for purchase as MP3 downloads. Both CDs with all tracks are listed for sale as downloads on Amazon. Some Donna Summer and 2nd Chapter of Acts tracks are available on the site but not all.

The next issue is, are the cloud tracks that they matched their regular bit rate or the 256 kbps audio that they advertised? What about LPs that I recorded? Are they replaced by the super audio files that are advertised or is the program just uploading the ones that I made?

Stay Tuned…

Posted by william on 08/08 at 02:19 PM
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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Connie Conway Treads Where Fools and Angels Dare Not Go

Not to be out done by President Obama’s claim that “you didn’t build that”, elected Republicans in California have made their own entry into the 2012 lexicon of stupid political statements.

Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway sent out a letter last week to people that had donated to the campaign of Andy Pugno. As a contributor to the Pugno campaign, I was a recipient of the letter. I almost didn’t open it but I did. Wow!

July 30, 2012
Dear William,

As a donor to one of the candidates running in California’s 6th Assembly district, I wanted to make sure you were updated with all the latest information from that campaign.

You may know that conservative Republican Assemblywoman Beth Gaines is running for reelection in the 6th district and she was challenged in the Primary by a Democrat and by another Republican, Andy Pugno.

The Republican Party officially endorsed incumbent Beth Gaines, as did our Republican Caucus. Beth is a valuable and effective member of our team, fighting for lower taxes, spending reductions and
upholding policies that promote strong families. For instance, Beth cast two key votes against SB 48, (the bill requiring the teaching of gay history in our public schools).
During the course of the Primary, Pugno made a written pledge to voters that he would not continue his campaign unless he was the top Republican vote-getter. As it turns out, he barely made it
into second place, far behind incumbent Assemblywoman Gaines.

Now, unfortunately, local newspapers report that Pugno is considering breaking his pledge and launching an expensive and counter-productive campaign against a fellow conservative. I and other
Republican Party leaders have asked him to keep his pledge, but so far he will not commit, and he continues to raise money for a campaign. He may have even asked you for money again.

As the Assembly Republican leader, I hope you will join me in urging Andy Pugno to keep his pledge and suspend his campaign, so we can all come together and concentrate on restoring
conservative leadership to the state.

Thanks for your support.

Sincerely,

Connie Conway
Assembly Republican Leader

Several thoughts ran through my head.
• First, days before this letter was received, the media had widely reported that the California Republican Party was over $800,000 in debt. How could they be in debt? Conway and her crew never campaigned against a single Democrat during the June election. She only spent money protecting incumbent Republicans from more conservative Republican challengers.
• Second, much of that expense was borne by billionaire Charles Munger. What part of Conway’s soul that she had left to sell will never be publically known? It is safe to speculate that the price paid included a provision that CRP will not oppose Molly Munger’s tax hike proposal on the November ballot.
• Third, the whole premise that Beth Gaines was properly endorsed by the CRP is a sham. Gaines did not meet the requirements to receive the CRP endorsement and any claim to the contrary is a bald-faced lie. On this abuse of power alone, the state chair should be forced to resign.
• Fourth, Gaines rejected to offer that whoever came in second should endorse the top Republican and not campaign.
• Fifth, this was the stupidest thing that I have ever seen in politics. Trying to get Pugno’s donors to pressure him into doing anything is illustrative of Conway’s lack of principle and ignorance of people that are governed by principle. Andy Pugno is not another business as usual person. He is a man of great principle and cannot be bought. Politics is not his life. Andy cares about the future that his children will inherit. He wants California to be a petty place for the next generation. This makes him a statesman not a politician.


My first action after reading the letter was to scan it and send it to Andy and a few others that folks. I was mad and insulted. I thought I was done contributing this year but now I would gladly write another check to Pugno. Beth is clearly wounded and weak or Conway wouldn’t need to initiate this stupid pre-emptive strike.

Later, Andy passed my name to a reporter at the Sacramento Bee. I went thru the above reactions with the reporter but all he could do was try to relate this letter to the Boston mayor that slammed Chick-fil-A. (He interviewed me the afternoon of August first.) Personally, I didn’t see the connection. He pressed me on this point which was really peculiar. The only thing I could come up with was that in both cases the people in power thought they knew better. I told him all we need is leaders that follow the rules and treat everyone the same.  I said that the market (or voters as the case might be) should be trusted with the decision.

Almost none of what I said made it into the article that he wrote. Frankly, it was a poorly crafted hit on social conservatives and supporters of traditional marriage. He just wanted to spank Pugno for his support of Prop 8. “But if Pugno were to win the Assembly seat, Democrats would make regular use of him to remind voters that the Republican Party is exclusionary, which would push the once-Grand Old Party further into irrelevancy in this state.”
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/05/4691334/bullying-by-pols-creates-a-backlash.html#storylink=cpy

I disagree. The California Republican Party is finding irrelevancy due to leaders like Gaines and Conway.

 

Posted by william on 08/07 at 03:40 AM
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Monday, August 06, 2012

Curiosity Landing

Last night I watched the NASA channel. I rarely do but when something important happens then I will make an effort to find it on whatever obscure number it was hidden by DirecTV. I was intrigued by the Curiosity probe that was scheduled to land on Mars late last night. I even set the DVR to record it just in case my wife had me watching more tape delayed Olympic results.

The landing sequence for this one ton probe was reminiscent of a Rube Goldberg drawing.  “a comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation” –Webster’s New World Dictionary
If any one step went wrong then this multi-billion dollar project would freefall on John Carter’s head and leave a smoldering crater on the Martian surface. The Curiosity probe was programmed to land with no human intervention since it takes a radio signal about 14 minutes to travel between Earth and Mars. The number of steps that needs to be executed successfully during the fall thru the atmosphere was an enormous engineering challenge. Everything happened according to design and the craft landed like it was supposed to do.

The first photo it sent back was a picture of its tire. Everyone in the Jet Propulsion Lab cheered. Think about it. You sent this complicated gizmo hundreds of millions of miles, land it right on target and to prove it works you get a photo of the tire! I’m thinking dang. My mother-in-law has a whole camera full of photos of her finger in the same frame as Alaskan glaciers and family gatherings. Heck maybe she could have been a rocket scientist too.

As I turned off the broadcast last night I had this mental picture of the JPL folks gathering at the local watering hole to celebrate. I could picture them raising a glass of beer proclaiming, “yes, as a matter of fact we are rocket scientists”.


For more info on Curiosity mission see
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/infographics/uploads/infographics/full/10776.jpg
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-231

Posted by william on 08/06 at 03:09 PM
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Saturday, August 04, 2012

Chick-Fil-A Protestors Stumble Badly

Let me preface this saying I am a southern born (Knoxville, TN) Roman Catholic conservative.  That being said I was taken aback over the recent Chick-fil-A same sex marriage controversy.  As a constitution defending conservative I cannot for the life of me understand the uproar caused by President of Chick-fil-A Dan Cathy, when he said during a radio interview that his values were against allowing same sex couples to wed.  Article I of the Constitution allows free speech for citizens, with the lone exception of when one talks of overthrowing the government, so President Cathy broke no laws in this country.  Enter the kook fringe of the left wing media calling for a national boycott of Chick-fil-A, trying to show the company their homophobic comments won’t be tolerated in the United States.  Little did they know, former Are-Kansas (That’s how we pronounce it in the south) Governor Mike Huckabee, started a national buy Chick-fil-A day on Aug. 1st. 

The event was a resounding success! The line of cars waiting to be served at the drive-thru at the Elk Grove store backed up all the way to the freeway.  Some waited 2-3 hours just to purchase one of the famous chicken sandwiches and stand up for free speech.  So many customers showed up the store contemplated not opening the following day due to a shortage of chicken and side dishes! These claims were nearly proven true as the following day Chick-fil-a did not have the batter to fry chicken, or any waffle fries or any other side dishes!  Talk about a resounding success, corporate bragged how it was a record day for single day store sales!

Not to get lost in the success was one CFO/treasurer of Tucson, AZ based Vante a medical supply company named Adam Smith.  Smith a 40-50 year old man decided to make himself the face of the anti-Chick-fil-A movement.  Smith using his phone, recorded himself going through the drive thru, belittling a young lady working at the window.  Telling her she works for a bad company, and asking how she sleeps at night, following that up by saying he now has a purpose in life by attacking Chick-fil-A.  The young lady at the window showing composure well beyond her age, stayed cool, calm, and collected never gave in to Smith, saying only have a nice day.  Then the most disturbing part of the video in my opinion; Smith claims he is heterosexual and appears to be hitting on the employee!  Smith thinking he won the war, posted the exchange on Youtube, somehow not knowing the video would go viral!  After the video went viral, Smith like any coward would do removed the video, apparently trying to avoid detection….anyone with the IQ north of a potted plant can tell you the internet is forever, not temporary, the video had made its rounds and was on all late night news/cable tv shows.  Needless to say Smith was fired when the President of his company found out, about his escapade. 

I will say this about former CFO Adam Smith…..You’re a coward! Attacking a young lady working the drive thru window to either get her start in the working world, or just working a summer job at the local fast food store, pick on someone you’re own age!  As far as you making a point posting the video on line….good call, you got yourself fired #winning!  I am sure your friends and family are so proud you “have a purpose in life now!”  With the publicity you have received lately Smith, you will be taking advantage of all 99 weeks of unemployment I assume, because I can’t fathom who would take a chance and hire you now!  #epic fail #loser #jobless

Guest opinion submitted by JS

Posted by william on 08/04 at 03:43 PM
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Friday, August 03, 2012

Chick-fil-A Experience

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Photo Elk Grove CA at 8 p.m.

Yesterday, like millions of Americans, I went to Chick-fil-A to show my support of traditional marriage and the First Amendment. Actually, I bought breakfast there for my whole family and returned about 8 p.m. in hopes of finishing the day with a milkshake. We waited about 50 minutes to get to the counter and place our drink order (by then they were out of many food items including ice-cream). Some friends that we saw in the drive-thru line said it took about an hour and a half to get to the place where they could give their order and almost two hours to complete the whole evolution.

The atmosphere was festive, the people were polite to each other and it was genuinely fun to be there. The line periodically did “the wave” and everyone got along great. No one cared that the place was out of food. I heard people say they would settle for a catsup packet if that was all that was left. They wanted to show their support. I thought of the people voting in Iraq that waited in long lines and earned a purple thumb when they voted. Yesterday we voted and the sound reverberated down the spines of the ruling class.

The message was loud and unmistakable. Barry Obama and his minions have struck a nerve with main street Americans. The people have had enough and are ready to shove the children out of the White House. Political correctness finally crossed the Rubicon.
Yes, Mr. President, the Cathy family did build it without your help. Now get out of our way and let our people grow.

Posted by william on 08/03 at 12:27 AM
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