Monday, October 22, 2012

Politically Speaking, The Poor Are the Enemy

I’m noticing a lot of talk about “The Poor.” It is an impersonal non-descriptive term. The prior incarnations were applied to “The Women”,” The Negro” and “The Asian (well, in the past this would have been referred to as The Chinese)” followed by the word “Problem.”

During most elections, “The Poor” would be invoked as a badge of concern or at least a focal point of attention. This time is different. “The Poor” have become the enemy.

In December 2011, Newt Gingrich made a statement about how poor children don’t have a clue as to understanding responsibility, ethics or the habit of working. This, by implication, means that their parents don’t have those qualities either.

Think about that statement. Every single poor person in America is engage in illegal activities. Sound idiotic. Yet many people agreed with the ignorance of that statement.

When Gingrich asked the potential donors in the room had they ever babysat or performed yard work as a comparison to an imaginary poor child, who hasn’t appeared to do anything but breathe and eat Skittles, I guess you could work up a bit of indignation.

Perhaps their understanding of “The Poor” is what they see and hear in the local and national media. It is a distorted vision.

But that was the beginning of the wave of “The Poor” being transformed into the enemy.

There are memes of taxation and certain Ayn Rand plug-ins presenting “The Poor” as picking individuals and corporate pockets in order to receive healthcare, education, and food. There are people ready to tell you that, in their perception, have done nothing to deserve it.

Never mind that you can’t live a day in this country without paying some form of local, state or federal taxes. And many people who should know better ignore the fact of millions of poor people do work and have taxes pulled from their checks each pay period.

No, don’t let the facts get in the way of the emotionally self-validating “live and let die; it is not my problem or concern.”

The main kicker in “The Poor” is the enemy campaign is when a presidential candidate Mitt Romney states that he is not concerned with the 47% and the reason why he is not concerned:

“…These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. And he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that's what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people—I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. 

For the record, “The Poor” are hyper proactive about obtaining food, shelter and not walk around half naked.

Poor people take the jobs they can find. Many of those jobs are in the service industry or whatever employment is available. It bears repeating that many low wage jobs have been shipped to China, The Philippians and other countries.

We need to be really careful about defining who is worthy of concern or not. My understanding is that providing education was a non-negotiable part of the American experience. Have we decided that we now want a permanent class of illiterate citizens?

Are retired seniors unworthy of the money they invested in Social Security payments? Should disabled veterans have a time limit on re-entry support or medical care?  We do a terrible job of it now but we can do worse if we put our minds to it.

If you are not in the above groups and you do not make a lot of money what exactly makes you unworthy of being considered a full participant and recipient of the government’s resources?

There are real people behind the political rhetoric and quotes of the week. You wouldn’t know that from the political discourse of the past three years. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon after the election.

I do expect that if we as a people want to portray “The Poor” as the enemy there will be a price to pay.

From the thought, to the word, to the deed.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Shaved Ice Cream Is a Mighty Good Thing

I wanted to walk. I got a chance at the October CicLaVia. I started in Chinatown, then past the courthouse and the new Grand Park across from City Hall.

At the Los Angeles Times building there were food trucks. I have learned to at least inspect them to see if it is the real deal or is somebody trying to push foo-foo food on me.

I wasn't supposed to go near those trucks in the first place. Trying to cut back on carbs and the lard of the land.

Over yonder was a truck that had something to do with shaved ice. Now I was raised a water ice girl, which is not the same thing. It is better. But I was far away from getting any rum raisin water ice anytime soon so you gotta go with the flow.

I was dehydrated. Which is why I ordered a stawberry, coconut and mango shaved ice concoction with a base of vanilla ice creme.

I ordered the small one but I got a huge ice cone of wonderment. I rested my body along side of the Times building and just slurped. It was hot, the bikes were bressing by and all was right with the world.

I walked around the corner I found a ledge I could sit on and continued to suck and slurp. I was indeed orally fixated.

There was a bike in the shape of a motorcycle. Then a  old rattly one just out of the garage. Expensive gear that must have cost a good $500 to start.

There were the sound of bikes. But it was also quiet. Peaceful.

You don't get that often in a big city. You have to work on it.

The above photo was when I was just about to break though to the ice creme level. I figured I should have something to show for my pleasure. It was small enough by that point that I could place it on the ledge to take the photo.

Shortly after the photo was taken there was nothing more to slurp. I walked and walked and walked.

It was a good day for it.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pull Up from The Myopic Grindstone

This a a nerd post. I'm venting. Okay, here it is the situation. I'm helping a friend install her old software to her new computer. I have my doubt about Norton Internet Security. The prior week it would not allow her to go enter certain web sites.

Couldn't see where to dial down the firewall. I looked every. I say frack it, next week I'm bringing AVG and be done with it. Backed up her system (it took a long time, old XP trooper that it was).

Finally got the stuff over. This week things are working, able to go to websites and get online mail.

Matilda* wants to re-install Eudora. I should mention that Qualcomm stopped developing and supporting Eudora. You can get the software from the site and the help info but there has been no work done on it since.

I wanted her to go to Thunderbird. On-going development. Spam protection. Better search. She was going for it until what ever blocked everything else last week blocked both Eudora and Thunderbird.

Today, Eudora is working. Thunderbird is not. 

No, I had nothing to do with it.

So, Matilda asked if she could import her contacts in Eudora. I had exported them out as a CSV file. The programs files were also backed up.

I was of a mind to grab a hunk of the old files and overwrite the new installation. Check with a few tech sites that gave the thumbs up. Checked with a few more that said don't do that, Windows 7 is less forgiving about allowing files to overwrite an existing installation.

If it isn't coming from a manufacture installation Windows 7 isn't that tolerant of being goosed.

Ok. Plan B - look for a CSV to LDIF converter.

There are some. Shareware for $49. Not doing that. There are some free ones, if you know a programing language or two.

There was one that might have worked, was free and gave it all. But Windows 7 is 64Bit OS and the software was old school 32Bit.

I even tried to download that 13 year old version Netscape Communicator because I think it had multiple export options. Not happening on Windows 7.

Ok Plan C - look for a PST to LDIF converter.

PST is the old Outlook mail file format. Eudora can read that file. If I could find a CSV to PST converter that might work.  My search ended. Nada.

What Is True Here?

I need to convert the CVS file to LDIF in order for Eudora to import it. Could Thunderbird do it? I know it can import CVS. Can it export LDIF?

Why yes. Yes it can.

I cleaned up the CSV file in Excel and then imported it. Three frigging minutes later I had that pesky file. Two minutes later I e-mail the time sucker file to Matilda.

Victory. Of sorts.

On the one hand, I spent three hours chasing down programs that don't exist or find vendors willing to provide a solution for a good chunk of change. Not saying the software wasn't worth it. I'm saying that there isn't a true repository you can go to find out your software options.

You have to find your person or beacon of information. Not a lot of modern folks writing about converting Address Book files.

The answer was in my face. I couldn't see it for hunting down the "software" I believed existed.

Once I let go of that search the answer came to me. Being methodical is one thing. A great thing. Being pig-headed about were the answer should be is truly putting your nose to the grindstone. It will hurt sooner or later.

Pull up, breath and let it come to you.

The techies will say I should have followed a specific process for file transfers. They are right.

The safety folks will say why did you allow her to download a obsolete program? It wasn't obsolete when she first started using it seven years ago. I installed maleware and system protection. I warned her of the risks. I can do no more than that.

The Thunderbird folks will say why didn't you call her ISP and ask for help.  I'm not in front of her computer. And that is something I did suggest. Or contact Norton.

I hope this is the end of it. I know it is not. I just have to hang on to hope.

*No, that isn't her name.  I'm not that sure she know what a blog is. She does go to parent sites, some of which are blogs. It is still a web site to her.  Let's just say I don't have coupons.

A Few Words on Depression

It sucks. There is the clinical kind depression and the environmental kind of depression.

They both suck.

I'd elaborate more but I'd come to the same conclusion.

Let's just say that when you hear some person tell someone to snap out of being depressed understand that human does not have a clue of what he or she is saying.

Some times you get lost. You have to find your way out. That takes time. Or medication. Or an inspirational word, song or movie.



There is no one way out. There is no snapping.

We are not light fixtures.

We are human.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Speech That Should Viewed To Be Understood

I love animation in just about all the forms possible. I was telling a friend earlier in the day that I had purchased a comic book program that will animate the panels into a comic book motion graphic type video.

The tools to create are becoming more accessible. But it still takes talent and writing skills to get the job done. I need more hours in the day to do what I want to do. So very much to do. For those of you on the non-progressive side of the fence you might want to hook up with me later.

You won't like the video. I just know it. The video takes a speech of President Obama's and animate it to visual clarity.

The video was created by Why Obama Now by animator Lucas Gray.

In this current election I have been exposed to 21st century verbal and political hate that hasn't been this proud and loud since 1954. I am not using hyperbole. It seems that every other week we have a wack job busting at the seems trying to tell me that we need to turn this country back.

There is a politician in Arkansas that wrote a self-published book about just how noxious he finds African Americans to be; if you got the stomach for it you can read a bit of it at Talking Business.

My understanding is that Arkansas is trying to get tech folks to move to that part of the the country.
They are having a hard time with the pre-existing stereotypes that the locals are trying hard to shake.

This business and civic campaign might take awhile when you have a Republican state senator, Jon Hubbard, codifying what my great-grandmother must have heard at least once in her life.

Ok, maybe twice.

“… will it ever become possible for black people in the United States of America to firmly establish themselves as inclusive and contributing members of society within this country?” (Page 187)
I've heard this before. Seen it. Read it. Oh, the above statement is mild. I have no intention of reading the book.I will not co-sign on being called lazy or the reason of the fall of the white man. Even now there are commentators and other bloggers trying to defend what this guy is spewing.

Being a member of this society I have to defend Hubbard's right of free speech. Don't have to like it. Just as Hubbard is now finding out you have to stand and accept the judgment of others who may or may not approve of what you have to say.

As for me? I like the animation better. Go figure. 

Thursday, October 04, 2012

You Can't Have Too Much Software - Can You?

I finally got a new computer last Sunday. I could take no more of the lock-ups, the figuring out of what could I open when I was doing something else and being forced to shut down in the middle of a thought.

I wasn't emotionally ready to buy the $1,500+ machine. I saw something at Fry's that I could upgrade and twiddle with; it became good enough. I'm in the middle of re-installing software.

Trying not to load it up like I did with the last one. The deeper question is, "does a person really need four different video editing programs?"

Well, yeah I do cuz I have a tutorial informational blog on web video.  But it doesn't stop there. I have conversion programs, an encyclopedia that I can run from the DVD. Writing programs. Bookmark programs stuff with links I don't remember linking to in the first place.  Screen recorders, image editors, Librivox is a sickness I tell you.

Should I install iTunes and not worry about it slugging stuff up? Evernote? Left to my own devices I could load this bad boy up with 200 programs.

I so don't want to do that again.

Hang On...

Lightworks just finished downloading.

It is a good thing there is no longer a chain bookstore near me. That has cut back on my access to the UK computer magazines. Those suckers always had a DVD full of software whispering to me to come closer.

I have a 1.5 terabyte drive. When I get a spare moment I'm installing another terabyte drive just for the videos. I remember the day when I thought I was hot stuff for even having a hard drive. I don't even think there was gigabyte drive s at the time.

I just looked up and saw a box for Dragon Naturally Speaking Essentials. I bought that two years ago and never finished installed it. The system couldn't handle it. Now all I gotta do is find my prefered microphone.

I recognize there is a problem. I really do.
Should I add Lightning to Thunderbird or get a separate app?