various braindroppings. infrequent. some incoherent. Please COMMENT, critique, complain, and send me a link to your blog or photos page. You can also click "follow" and get an email upon addl. posts. thnx!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Where'd my GOP go?

I'm honestly starting to think that one of the biggest problems our country has, is just watching too much Fox "news" (any, is too much),  and not realizing that it is a movement, not journalism. The neo-conservative movement in the country is a tool of a few very wealthy and powerful people that want to get a lot wealthier, and most of all, more powerful. They look at other countries like Mexico and dozens of others, and long for the glorious structure those counties have of a few people that own almost everything, and almost no middle class. In this country they are people like Rupert Murdoch and the Koch brothers and others that are so self-absorbed, they fashion themselves “Kings”, not just successful, wealthy, and fortunate citizens of a democratic country. I think when they were young, their parents didn’t just tell them they could be president, like Condi Rice’s parents did, I think they were told they could buy as many presidents as they wanted. But they picked the wrong country! And all the billions they spend buying politicians and media outlets trying to get our fellow countrymen riled up and mobilized about the few problems we do have in this country, is still, so far, not enough to overcome the free thinking open mindedness that is engrained in the average, educated, free-speech and free-press-benefited American citizen. So far. ‘That’s what I think. But the gap does seem to be narrowing, for some reason. Perhaps because of the new “global marketplace”, which makes corporations more powerful than ever imagined. Enabling them to buy more powerful laws than we ever imagined, like “Citizens United”. Which give them more and more power to shape the public’s mind view into their twisted version of what’s wrong with the country and how we should change it. Which always seems to play on fears, and ends up with less rights, and income, for the “little people”. They’ve hijacked the Grand Ole Party over the last few decades, which is such a shame, as it used to be such a respectable group of people that helped limit the size of government, when the democratic party would get too carried away. But they changed it to the party that only talks about limited government to get elected, and then expands it in the form of military spending and massive debt, once they get in. Because that, and de-regulating commerce, is what is needed for the “Kings” to take more power. They’ve also become the “party of no” and, sadly, the “party of hate”. They are the “anti-party”. They are anti-government, anti-taxes, anti-regulation, anti-jobs stimulus, anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-women’s reproductive health care rights, anti-welfare, anti-gay, anti-science, anti-stemcell research, anti-evolution theory, anti-rehabilitation, anti-public lands, anti-electric cars, anti-renewable energy. What does that leave, that they’re pro-about? I can’t think of anyth… wait,…they’re pro-war. 'If not pro-veteran support services.  I think this presidential election won’t bring changes to the white house, but, if we also don’t get changes in the House majority, we’ll still have the stalemate that has crippled the country these last two years. And, long-term, I just don’t know how long we can hold off these wolf “kings” at the door. ‘Troubling times, indeed.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 me, this sorta sounds like treason. No?

The republicans are trying to win back the white house by saying “this guy has to go because he is spending more than any other in history, he hasn’t made the economy recover fast enough from the collapse, and he wants to end the Bush tax cuts on the rich (they call it “raising taxes”). They say this is so much the number one, most important thing for the good of the country, to get Obama out, that they admittedly voted no on every single jobs bill and reform proposal made in congress, so that the economy would stay bad, so that Obama would look bad by re-election time. 

Now, to me, this sorta sounds like treason. No?

They say that Romney is the guy that can fix the economy because of all his business experience.  But I don’t think they have too much confidence in their candidate winning. Possibly because of his refusing to show his tax returns, or having recently had money in the Cayman Islands, or his “little” scandals like his bullying in college where he cut a classmates long hair off, etc. But for whatever reason, they’ve implemented a campaign strategy that includes raising seven times more money than the blue team, passing voter suppression “ID” laws in several “low income” states, and, for the first time in an American presidential election, admittedly peppered campaign speeches and ads, with out and out, bold faced lies.

Hmm. ….You know,…I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to work.

We, the people, aren’t, on average, as smart as the guys that run these campaigns like Rove and Ailes, but we’re not quite that stoopid (SP?). The guy we have in there now may not always get everything right, but he’s been pretty good at keeping this country going, after experiencing some extremely, extremely (no, I know, I repeated for emphasis) turbulent times. He’s got a calm nature that helped negotiate with panicky bankers that were ready to jump out the window, automakers that were ready to close up shop and walk away, and third world dictators that were tired of just oppressing their countrymen, and were taking up genocide as a hobby. He’s improved America’s image abroad by 26% in international polls.
He served longer than any president in decades without a personal scandal. He helped pass a health care reform program to reduce health care costs. He reversed Bush torture policies, repealed don’t ask don’t tell, and expanded medical support for veterans. He began closing some of the dirtiest coal plants, raised efficiency standards on cars, and encouraged investment in renewable energy. He brokered an unprecedented victims compensation fund from BP. Expanded the Wilderness and Watershed Act. Has spent less than any president in recent history:
‘Has a plan to reduce the deficit:
Found bin laden, and a trove of al-Qaeda documents. Ended the war in Iraq. Began draw-down in Afghanistan. Signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, Credit Card Reform Act, Food Safety Program, and the New START Treaty. And he’s the first president to dare suggest that we consider possibly reducing the huge tax breaks we give to the oil industry. 
And some other stuff. Here’s a list:
And he's kept us safe!
And he knows how to pronounce “nuclear”.

-‘Works for me!         - Romney might be as good at this job, but then, why would they have to lie and all that stuff, just to get him elected?

I'm Fred Bellows and approve this message.

Friday, August 31, 2012

A good example of why I think facebook can be interesting, engaging, and positive:

Bigotry is something that is typically slow to change, over generations. However, here, a racist man blogs about being personally offended that a "mexican" was working at the "American Pavillion" at disney! Unable to conceive that he could be an example of a true American. Well, in this new, connected world, someone posted it on facebook and in 10 minutes it's forwarded around the world to hundreds of millions of people (in this particular case, fueled by the timing of the GOP's RNC convention and because the bigot was a staunch republican), helping us all realize how much racism is still out there, and helping this man realize he still has racist attitudes. It is a powerful, accelerated force in the evolution of mankind to educate us all about how we should be treating each other. 

people responded on facebook with all sorts of insights like this one:

i think it's a good sign that we're seeing more and more about these kinds of attitudes and incidents. there's nothing new or unusual about this man's attitude... half the country feels like that and thinks it's fine.'s a good thing that they are being dragged out into the light where they can curl up and die (my apologies to the insect world). twenty years ago there was no way of subjecting this man (and people like him) to the kind of global ridicule that can make him realize that there's actually something terribly wrong with his attitude. so it's a good thing all around, i think.

So, we can poo poo facebook all we want for being a waste of time, which most of it is, reading about our not-even-very-close-friends' trip to the grocery store or something, but hell, even there, we become a little more aware of society! And sometimes, like this racists post, a whole lot more powerful things happen.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

"change it back"???

I saw a bumper sticker that showed the obama logo and said “change” “it back”. and I thought, ...really? You want to go back to 2008? When the United States was just about to go completely belly up? Was that a fun time for you? You liked having jobs on a severe decline, the country in debt up to it’s eyeballs, engaged in two huge wars, our auto makers about to declare bankruptcy, and our housing market (and personal savings) destroyed by greedy bankers who, themselves had no idea how to fix the mess they created, and were about to implode as well??   -‘Yeah, those were good times!!-”Take me back!!!...- I don't think so.    -Imagine where we’d be right now if some ordinary President, not even an idiot like Bush, but just an ordinary President, like say, Reagan were at the helm over the last 3 years, instead of a smart, reassuringly calm guy like Obama. It would not be good.  Obama’s got some problems, -overly cunning and stuff, but it’s still clear that he single-handedly saved our asses from the abyss. I say, “don’t change it back”. Let him finish what he wants to try to do, (he’s earned it) and we’ll see if it’s better than what the previous guys did. (like that’ll be hard).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Annual CES Summary - 2012

My Annual CES Summary - 2012

This year, Ethans’ school schedule kept him from attending, however, Regina and her boyfriend Bryan, and his friend Matt and I took the rv up for the whole week, and Wendy flew up for the last ‘coupla days and drove back with us. ‘Perfect weather and a lot of fun!

2011 was a rough year. For global civil rights, for the economy(s), for natural disasters, and even for consumer electronics. But the best consumer electronics triumphed, as usual. A year ago I wrote about a new cell phone from Motorola that could dock into a desktop cradle or a “lapdock” and do 98% of all your daily computing.
It came out, and sold well, (I’m posting this on mine), as well as several more "dockable" phones, along with millions more tablets, which are just large screen versions of these hand-held computer "smartphones" (iOS/Android). In fact, tablets out-sold laptop computers this year! So, it is just one more revolution of 2011.

Microsoft is absolutely terrified. 'Remember Microsoft? They made a personal computer, along with Intel, about a quarter of a century ago. And it never did work right. Many screwups and poor performance along the way. In fact, a few years ago they took another giant step backwards with Vista. Remember? Anyway, they are now realizing that they are very replaceable. Very. With Apple surpassing them as the largest electronics company, and Android surpassing the iphone as the most popular smartphone, they are starting to realize that they may actually have to innovate a bit to stay in business. So they got to work and developed a smartphone OS that, for the first time, is actually good! They (smartly) teamed with the world's best phone hardware maker, Nokia, and came up with a great phone! We'll just have to see if it is too late or not.

I hope not. Because more competition is always a good thing. We were all very thankful that AT&T was turned down by the Feds on their bid to buy T-Mobile. We need more cell providers, not less! Oh, and while we're on the subject of computers and Microsoft, 2012 CES debuted a revolutionary new portable computer from Microsoft and Intel called the "ultra-book"! (do you hear the sarcasm?) These new, thin, lightweight, fast, multi-touch, solid state, 20 second boot-up machines perform almost as well as the three-year-on Apple "Air" netbooks (and cost almost as much too)! 'How’s that for innovation? And people say Microsoft is just a me-too/follower company!?! But seriously, isn't competition great? If not for Steve Jobs, Google, and free enterprise, you can just imagine what we'd still be typing on right now!

2011 also marked perhaps the apex of one of the best and worst computer companies. Apple makes the best tech’, but the people have spoken, and chosen the open source Android more often, declaring their dislike for Apple's confining, controlling, "ecosystem" business model. I think 2011, in so many ways, reminded us that “the power of people is more than the people in power”.

Intel and AMD even (finally) jumped into the handheld market with some new processors for phones, helping prove that we ain’t seen nuthin’ yet in the way of palmtop computing! I think in ten years we’ll be trying to remember what a desktop or laptop was. Or who Microsoft was.

All right,... ‘enough bitching! (“my humble opinions”) - So, what was cool this year???....

OLED (“organic light emitting diode) TVs from LG and Samsung with ultra high contrast and less then half inch thin screens, will be in stores by summer but won’t be cheap:

Sony showed a prototype of the first “real” LED TV. Sets labled LED today (inc. the OLED ones) are LCD with LED backlighting. But this demo from Sony called “Crystal LED” has no LCD and no backlighting, just 6 million individual leds (2 million of each red, blue, and green. And it looked way better than the regular lcd tech model next to it! ‘Colors popped! 6 million points of light! Just think, that’s 6 thousand times better than HW Bush’s “thousand points of light”!:

But then there was Sharp’s prototype “8k TV”! Our current 1080p HDTV’s have about 2 million pixels. They say “4k TV” will be our next plateau, (with 16 million pixels) and it will be several years off. But this was a demo of what 32 million pixels will look like when our great grandchildren watch their saturday morning cartoons and cereal commercials someday! It was spooky. We walked up to it and could read tshirts on people in 1000+ crowd shots (no kidding):

Tablets with the latest Android OS (4.0 -“ice cream sandwich”) from as little as $100!:

Samsung showed a phone with a ginormous 5.3” screen which we played with and we actually think it is not too big to fit in your pocket or even hold up to your ear if you can’t find your bluetooth headset. And surfing, reading, and typing on it is a breeze! It just may be big enough to never need a tablet! (which saves you another $30/mo data plan):

Still no confirmation of the release date for the PadPhone from Asus (but I’m waitin’):

Finally,... a good FM headset with bluetooth!! (remember FM?) If you’ve read my ces summaries in the past, you’ll recall I’ve been looking for this for quite some time. I’ve asked in every booth, every year. Finally someone listened! I will buy this when it hits the street. Hopefully my (second pair of) 10 year old, Sony SRF-H4 FM headphones will last till then!):

Let’s see,... There was a 4 foot high, 8 foot wide, 10,000 watt speaker for your ipod: (and, if this wasn’t silly enough, Klipsch had one too!?)

and there was some dumb stuff too.

We stopped and talked with a woman from Boston who was checking out the booths in the south hall. She was in Boston when we ran into her and talked to her:

We also saw Justin Bieber there. Only he was actually there.

Fitness products are still all the rage. I don’t know what these marketers are thinking. (have you seen Americans today? They obviously aren’t interested in fitness crap) ‘Little watches (actually big ones) that tell you if you’re dieing yet from working out too hard. Or keep track of which songs helped you last time to “pump you up!”. Or keep track of where you jogged and when (like you really want to keep track of that?) Here’s one from Sony: and Motorola:
….and another fitness bracelet thingy from Jawbone:

So, there was a little bit of innovation there, as always. However, according to the signage in the booths, every booth featured “INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS” This industry really has to come up with some new buzzwords. We’ve worn out all the good ones. “High Tech” was the last good one, and that was 30 years ago! So, if you have any, let them know. Like I did with my FM/bluetooth headphones. Maybe we can all make a difference in small ways. And take the time to research and shop carefully, and vote with your consumer dollar. Because,...the power of people is more than the people in power!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Our New Year's Day party:

Our New Year's Day Yard Party with 2011 Recap Video/countdown/fireworks: