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Back to normal` October 29, 2006

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Ok, I’ve gone back to my normal color scheme for my blog.

Anyhow – whats new? Oh health stuff.

First, my ear infection is an inner ear problem. Of course the RNP didn’t listen to me and she and the doc suspect auto-immune but thing is, I’ve gotten ear infections since I was a kid, almost right after my tonsils and adenoids were taken out. So now they have me on a low sodium diet and on a diuretic for thirty days, then I go back to the audiologist for hearing and balance tests.

The hearing tests are interesting. First they sit you down and just pump tones into your ears. Then they put you in a sound isolate booth and run tonal and speech recognition tests. They also do bone conduction, etc. A big change from when I was a kid and they put those heavy ass headphones on you.

The results are that it isn’t a nerve problem (Could have told them that!) that my hearing is moderately impaired in my left ear (Could have told them that too!). The audiologist was a little surprised I knew about the logarithmic qualities of decibels until I explained to her my background in radio, having both my amateur extra and general radiotelephone licenses.

In other news a few days ago we noted that our female cat Emily was looking a little thin and acting funny. I suspected upper respiratory infection (URI) and Keyron took her to the vet. Sure enough, URI. She’s on .5cc of antibiotic every 12 hours for ten days. She’s acting normally again and even eating so I think she’ll be alright.

Interestingly I looked into pet health insurance. It’s a rip-off. I explained to Keyron that for the two senior cats we’d be shelling out $500 a year plus we’d be on the hook for the first $200 for each cat, so call it $900 a year. We’d be better off dropping $75 a month into an emergency fund so that’s precisely what we’ll do.

Emily is 14 years old, Randy is 17 going on 18. So they’ve both been around for awhile. And nine months ago I had the episode with Cosimo, $1,300 later and the end result was we had to euthanize him. In fact that one month period I spent $1,800 on vet visits for all the cats.

I’ve also reached the conclusion that the vet I go to has house and boat payments to make. I mean they’re quick to do sub-q fluids on a cat that doesn’t need it. And here is the best part, the vet was the one who originally spayed Emily and ever since that there’s always been a small lump on Emily’s belly. Well at the latest visit the vet re-discovered this lump, even though she’s examined her not 8 months ago and not even noticed it. So I’ve learned to take everything this vet says with a grain of salt. She doesn’t like when I take the cats in because she knows it’s going to be a basic visit without all the little extras like sub-q, blood panels, etc. Once a year or so is fine for blood panels, every six months isn’t fine.

So we’ll both live, this whole thing just re-confirms my general distrust of physicians and vets.

This is interesting, I think this is my first ever me, me, me post.

Yes, I am an atheist October 24, 2006

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I’ve long been a fan of Richard Dawkins. He is arguably a bit strident about the New Atheism but he makes some valid points.

Now an article in Wired of all places examines the path of the Brights as atheists are wont to call themselves these days.

I’ve never had a belief in a god of any sort. That awakening happened sometime between my first communion and my confirmation. I think that seeing what the Roman Catholic church was all about helped considerably.

For example, I was there when Father David told my father that since my family hadn’t tithed enough to the church, he might not be able to give my mother a Catholic mass and burial. I’ll never forget the surprised look on the face of that priest when my father wrapped his hands around his neck and started choking him, while uttering a string of obscenities at the priest.

Of course the priest changed his tune after that. Father David was always a son of a bitch anyhow.

Then of course there’s my confirmation. By this point I was a sophomore at a Catholic high school. I highly recommend Catholic schools, because while they may have that religious education component, they also teach you to think. And if you apply thinking to the religious education you clearly see that it’s bullshit.

Anyhow, back to the confirmation. In essence I had to be bribed to make my confirmation in order to keep peace in the family. Keeping peace meant appeasment of my grandfather.

I’m not at all ashamed of being an atheist. Even when my father, now a holy roller himself accuses me of not having a belief in God, I’ll admit it freely and openly. I’m sure this causes my father no end of grief that only he and his pastor can reconcile.

It’s funny – I’m ultra-left liberal. I often wondered where that came from. I know it certainly wasn’t from my father. Having lost my mom at 13 I wasn’t sure where I got it from. While talking to my aunt I found out was that it was my mother that was the free thinker in the family. So thanks mom for giving me what I needed to know.

Watch Barney Frank expose the hypocrisy of the Republicans October 21, 2006

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First off, the Republican idiot from the WSJ editorial board still thinks the Republican party is for small government, contained expenditures, etc. But what we’ve seen is that when Repubicans have a majority, they shit all over the little people. Government gets BIGGER, not smaller.

Anyhow, watch Barney shoot him down:

Who Killed The Electric Car? October 15, 2006

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I’ve previously posted a snippet of this movie, now you can watch the whole thing on Google video.

The level to which corporations control government is shameful. How did we let this happen?

Muslims take offense once again October 11, 2006

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This time it’s all because of the Apple store in Manhattan. They say it looks too much like the Ka’ba (Cube). Supposedly Muslims first worshipped there, so fucking what?

Do they even realize they’re worshiping a god that was pulled out of the ass of Mohammed? He was high when he had the visions leading to his writing of the Koran. It’s pretty common knowledge in historical circles that the old boy was an opium addict. So he pulled the worst from Judaism and Christianity, and then searched around in the old Hershey Highway for something to add a little misogynistic twist.

Let’s face it, Bullshit + Bullshit + Excrement = shit. That’s precisely what all three monotheistic religions are, a constant flow of shit. The world would be a much better place without religion. But until that golden day comes I’ll just have to keep slugging it out with believers.

CNN’s Lou Dobbs postulates on how to gain the attention of our elected representatives October 11, 2006

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Well now, Dobbs makes an interesting point but to be honest I don’t think his suggestion to change to disaffliated/independent would really work. After all, in Rhode Island a pretty fair amount of us are disaffiliated, yet our Republican and Democratic pols still think they can fib to us.

I want to take Dobbs’ suggestion further. We need something that will get our elected officials attention. Maybe instead of going independent, we all refuse to vote until:

a) Our system is changed in many ways. The two party system only serves to make it easier for corporations to control our lives. I’d love to see viable 3rd, 4th, 5th etc. parties on the ballot. And how about implementing run-offs.. there are a few communities that do the above and it seems to keep any one party from gaining ultimate control.

b) Veritable elections. By veritable I mean an absolute paper trail. You can electronically print the ballot, something like what happens with the AutoMark machines used for the disabled. But the ultimate count is the scanning system which scans the ballot, updates totals, and stores the ballot.

That’s it. Pretty simple stuff.

The Murder of Habeas Corpus October 11, 2006

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The concept of Habeas Corpus is central to the Constitution of the United States. Yet the Republican control of virtually all branches of government has done all it can to deny us this basic and inalienable right.

Keith Oblermann does a very good analysis of the death of Habeas Corpus. But in brief, why should you care? Because the suspension or abolishment of that concept means that you can be snatched off the street and imprisoned without any chance to challenge because of a contrary opinion, for instance exposing an illegal search by the means of tapping phones. That’s right – they’re trying to quash the ability of the lapdog media to expose their consitutional shennanigans.

The only avenue left us are the courts and lately the Republicans have been doing all they can to pack ideologues onto the courts. So whats left? I leave you to study the constitution, maybe read about the birth of our nation. Then you’ll have your answer for our forefather knew the dangers of a tyrranical government and codified relief in the Amendments to the Constitution. I’ll give you a hint, it’s somewhere between the 1st and 3rd Amendments.

Interesting little poll, 7/10 Americans knows someone gay October 10, 2006

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Intersting little Harris poll states that 70% of heterosexuals know someone gay. What I found more interesting is the self identified gay people who know gay people is only 98%. That means that 2% don’t know any other gay people.

More interesting is how many gay people there actually are. When you break it down, gay people were 11% of the total. This isn’t a good sample size but it is interesting. If you do read the article, read the breakdown tables. Some very interesting information in there.

Who knew that that class in Sadistics (Yes, that’s our name for it when a friend of mine taught the class!) would come in handy so many years later.

America: Freedom to Fascism October 9, 2006

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Aaron Russo does a very nice presentation on the transgressions of our allegedly servant government. It’s available for viewing at this link. The video is almost 2 hours long so get comfortable.

I oppose the Real ID act, the New World Order, the Federal Reserve etc. too. The question is how precisely do we stop it? I’ll recommend that we put our elected leaders on notice, maybe even use the tactic that Martin Luther did – tack our theses to the doors of the office of our congressional leaders. Demand to be heard!

As far as states with electronic voting systems, refuse to vote elections in districts with Diebold and ES&S systems. It’s been amply demonstrated that those machines are easily hacked. Do you have that much confidence in the process? I don’t.

I’d like to see the system used in my home state used everywhere. We markup a paper ballot, connecting the two ends of an arrow with a black marker to indicate our vote. The paper ballot is then scanned into a machine which updates tallies, prints out a paper tape of the vote, stores the result in a memory pack and can transmit the results very easily. The paper ballots are held inside the machine.

Try stealing an election utilizing that. Oh I’d make improvements like anti-tamper devices on the machine, etc. But those would be minor.

Watch Donny Boy Rumsfeld Twist in the Wind October 8, 2006

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No matter how he tries to spin it, Rumsfeld flat out can’t deny that he said the things that Ray McGovern is quoting verbatim. I remember watching it and thinking it was all bullshit at the time.

Of course even during the Reagan years, Rumsfeld was kept at arms length. With such lovable clowns as Ollie North et al, they knew even then that this son of a bitch was trouble with a capital T.

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