Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why the GOP truly is in trouble

Forget presidential approval ratings, popularity indexes, or the outgassings of pundits, I'll tell you why the GOP is in trouble. I saw definitive proof this past week when visiting my 93-year-old grandmother in Clinton, Iowa. When asked what she thought of President George Bush, she turned red as she exclaimed, "I've been a lifelong Republican and I voted for George Bush in the last two elections, but he is the worst president in the history of this country! He should be impeached or worse! The war in Iraq is a God-awful mess -- absolute foolishness -- and there's no forgiving him for it." Her opinion of Vice President Dick Cheney is even less cheritable, "The most mean-spirited crook ever to hold the office."

Now, when I heard my grandmother say these things last week I was shocked. She has been a lifelong Republican -- can't stand the Democrats -- and places Ronald Reagan on pedestal in the stratosphere. So for her to offer more than a mild rebuke of our President came as a complete surprise. What's more, she stated she may vote non-Republican in 2008. She probably won't vote Democrat, but perhaps the Greens, Independents, or Libertarians will pick up her support. So much for the GOP base...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Confounded immigration issue

I don't know where to stand or whom to listen to on the issue of illegal immigration in this country. 95% of the effluent that reaches me from Washington or that flows my way on television news programs makes be believe we are a nation led and fed by sycophants and idiots. Past personal experience working summers in agriculture in Northern California tells me that illegal aliens, if forgiven the offense by which they earn their label, can be as hard-working and honest as any citizen. But my gut tells me the United States simply can't absorb tens of millions of people, most of whom are already marginalized economically, if for no other reason than for the impacts these people may have on the looming disasters that are social security and health care.

I've read widely over the web on this issue, and the only person whose opinions I tend to agree with more often that not is Lou Dobbs, a syndicated columnist whose work appears on cnn.com. Here's a snippet from his June 13th Commentary, titled "Give it a rest, Mr. President." Pointed -- perhaps even a touch of hyperbole -- but let me know if you agree or disagree:
In what other country would citizens be treated to the spectacle of the president and the Senate focusing on the desires of 12 million to 20 million people who had crossed the nation's borders illegally, committed document fraud, and in many cases identity theft, overstayed their visas and demanded, not asked, full forgiveness for their trespasses?

Illegal aliens and their advocates, both liberal and conservative, possess such an overwhelming sense of entitlement that they demand not only legal status, but also that the government leave the borders wide open so that other illegals could follow as well, while offering not so much as an "I'm sorry" or a "Thank you."

What the heck is Electronic Mail?

Computerworld is carrying an interesting story about advertisements from the computing Pleistocene. Choice copy includes "80 Megabytes for under $12,000," "The Personal Mainframe," which has a visual guide to help you determine if you need it, and the "Versatile, Dependable, Compatible, Sexy, 1,200 bits/sec PENRIL MODEM," which looks to have the mass of several bricks and is modeled by a woman wearing hot pants. Below is Honeywell's attempt to educate Computerworld readers about the merits of Email (click here to see the ad with accompanying text):

Monday, June 11, 2007

Problem-solving flowchart

The following flowchart was sent to me by a coworker (without implication, I might add). If you work in software (or just about any other industry) I'm sure you can relate. I'm no stranger to the "You Poor Bastard" loop:

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Electric Sham

I still have a problem with people doing my choreography incorrectly, but we're working through that and I now have a great lawyer who's helping me control this.

--Richard Silver, Electric Slide creator
This is one of those stories that will benefit from the least possible attention, as we don't wish to encourage people like Mr. Silver, but I still feel compelled to share it with the uninitiated.

Way back in the mid-70s, at the dawn of the Disco era, a time perhaps best forgotten in terms of what it gave us in the way of dance, Richard Silver invented and copyrighted a 22-step jig he came to call the "Electric Slide," and it has been his life's passion ever since to preserve all 22 steps of the dance for posterity and ego.

But Richard's has been a tough row to hoe of late, given the number of heathens who are bastardizing his dance by doing it incorrectly, using 18 steps in place of the requisite 22, not kicking with enough flourish, not sliding with sufficient emotion, and what have you. Richard laments in an interview with CNET news.com:
Yeah, my choreography was 22 steps because my birthday is January 22. I wanted something that was uniquely mine, and so I created a dance with 22 steps. And the dances that are being portrayed on YouTube and MySpace and wherever are doing an 18-step dance instead of a 22-step dance. I fought for the last 28 years trying to get it not done as an 18-step dance, and now with all this being presented on the Internet, I had a problem with it....

The only harm is that choreography is being presented incorrectly. By people watching it and learning it from them incorrectly. And prolonging what I've been fighting for for the last 30 years since I created the dance. Every night that I taught the dance I had a dream that someone was going to leave my class and teach it incorrectly and it was going to go around the world incorrectly and I was going to spend the rest of my life trying to correct it. And that is exactly what has happened.
Which is it, Richard? A 28- or a 30-year struggle for the sanctity of your Electric Slide? Perhaps it's just me but I think it's a sign of the End Times that one can copyright a 22-step dance (or a dance of any length for that matter), and enforce that copyright even when the dance has been changed. Is the 18-step dance the same as the original 22-step version? What about an 11-step copy? Where does the madness end?