Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Vermont Senate, a few steps ahead...

The upper house in Montpelier voted last Friday to call for the impeachment of both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Their resolution stated that the Administration's actions have raised "serious questions of constitutionality." Like duh. Do you think? Well, at least someone is finally waking up.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) takes the lead?

Can an impeachment occur for incompetence, for lack of good judgment? The Constitution may be unclear on that point. Other countries disband governments based on votes of no confidence; it seems like a good idea. Perhaps it is something the Constitution should address. However, the Constitution is clearer on the point of high crimes. Treason is just about the highest. It is at this point that Cheney and Bush should be scared, very scared. Given the evidence as revealed over time, either the American military and intelligence services, amongst the most well funded and well trained in the world, are totally incompetent -- or Bush and Cheney manipulated the data from those agencies to present a reality that suited them. In which case, they intentionally put America, and Americans, in harm’s way for their own purposes. That is about as close to a perfect definition of treason to a democracy as imaginable. Impeachment is only the first step.

Monday, April 23, 2007

What the Founders envisioned

Venus Ramey, 82, who in 1944 was America's first redhead Miss America is in the news again. This time for toting a pistol. Did Ms Ramey mass murder a bunch of innocent students? or shoot up a post office? No, Ms Ramey, who uses a walker, defended herself from theives who were robbing her property, and she even managed to capture one of them.

You go girl!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

More evidence

Another police station in rubble, a fourth chairman of the Fallujah city council assassinated (like the three before him), more evidence that we can't even keep the authorities safe in Iraq, let alone the civilians, and ourselves. In the meantime, American tax dollars continue to be poured like water into the Iraqi sand. Work continues on the billion dollar U.S. embassy in Bagdad.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Alternatives

President Bush may object to the idea of being impeached for incompetence. I suppose that is understandable, however it is a better option for him, for all concerned, then the other reasonable conclusion regarding his performance. That would be that he intentionally lied and manipulation the situation in order to put America in harm’s way to his own advantage. However, since that borders on the definition of treason, I don’t think we as a country want to go through that trail. I doubt that George does either. Perhaps he should talk it over with his friend Saddam? A verdict of competence and an entry in the annals of bad presidents would likely be a more comfortable alternative for young George.

Parallels

Nick Leeson brought down Barings bank. Will George Bush bring down the United States of America? Only if we let him. But dear readers, please do not for moment doubt that the United States of America can be brought down. Such over confidence is the first prerequisite for making such an occurrence possible. Just ask the Barings family.

Time for a poll…

Raise your hand if you think the American military is incompetent?

I thought not. I don’t either.

So please explain to me why we can’t even keep the Iraqi Parliament building secure? (Eight people were killed there last week when a suicide bomber walked right in and blew them self up during lunch hour.)

The reason we can’t maintain control in Iraq is that the situation is uncontrollable. It is a civil war between religious sects in a foreign land whose culture and language we literally cannot understand. Reports vary on the actual numbers, but there is generally agreement that, of the thousands of U.S. employees in Iraq, only a handful is fluent in Arabic. Is it any wonder we can’t figure out what is going on? Not to put to fine a point on it, but this is Iraq’s problem, not ours. It is just making us look like fools, or rather, at this point, even more like fools.

Looking like fools is what George Bush did to us, when he suckered us into believing in weapons of mass destruction, when he convinced us that the tin-pot dictator of a third-rate third world country was a threat to the most power nation on earth. It turns out the biggest threat to the most powerful nation on earth was, the leader of the most powerful nation on earth. "we have met the enemy and he is us." Where have I heard that before? (Thank you Pogo.)

We should withdraw from Iraq now. Cut our losses and come home. Not next August, not next month, or next week, but now. It is costing precious American lives, valuable tax dollars, and scarce diplomatic credibility. At this point, all of that is being spent with nothing nobler as a possible outcome then to salvage the reputation of an incompetent chief executive. A peaceful, democratic Iraq is no longer an option on the table and George Bush knows it. In our hearts, we all know it.

Salvaging George Bush’s reputation is that last thing on which money, let alone lives, should be spent. Rather the opposite should be on the agenda, presenting the bill. As soon as we are clear of Iraq, we should forthwith get about with the business of impeaching, for gross incompetence, the man who has brought America to the brink in so many ways.

For those of you who haven’t been paying close attention, our country – the sole remaining superpower on the planet – is perched on many precarious precipices…

The value of the U.S. dollar has collapsed in world currency markets. Don’t plan on traveling to Paris or Tokyo anytime soon. You can no longer afford it. Besides, you won’t be welcome. Americans are pretty much persona non grata anywhere these days. … At home, inflation is skyrocketing. I was in a Burger King the other day that had “value meal” on the menu priced at $7.95! Iraq is costing us – our children, and grandchildren – a fortune. However, with all those, “ I won’t raise your taxes promises,” the only way to pay for the war is to simply print new money – which is exactly what the government is doing. Reports are circulating that the military has been flying crate loads of freshly minted dollars to Iraq to pay for things off budget, under-the-table, in cash. All that new currency is causing significant unreported inflation, and inflation is just a hidden tax – which you pay every time you check out at the register. … America’s diplomatic credibility has evaporated. We were once the most listened to nation in the world. Now, to put it politely, even our allies only might invite our Secretary of State to dinner if they needed to avoid thirteen at the table. We are no longer welcome. Six years ago the world was laying wreaths and tears on the steps of our embassies, today our tourist money isn’t even welcome.

In the event of a real crisis, we have no reserves: no military reserve (they’re all in Iraq, on their third extended tour), no financial reserve (in the black seven years ago, but deep in the red now), and no diplomatic reserve (everyone is tired of the lies, even our friends).

And we have primarily one man to thank for this, George W. Bush.

Who is Nick Leeson?

Nick Leeson was the young trader who single handedly destroyed Barings Bank, one of the oldest merchant banks in England. As noted on the Wikipedia, America didn’t buy the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon; we bought it from Barings, the bank that underwrote the sale.

Leeson managed to convince Barings that he couldn’t be make a mistake, and consequently oversight was suspended on Leeson’s trading activities. He then proceeded to loose $1.4 billion(!) through speculation in futures contracts. By the time anyone realized what had happened the bank was already bankrupt. The whole collapse happened within the span of only a few days. When it was over, one of the most respect financial institutions in the history of the world was sold to a competitor for the nominal figure of only $1.

Nick Leeson is a cautionary example of how one man can make a difference – the wrong difference. And how, even the oldest, soundest, and seemingly most solid institutions can be destroyed through na├»ve over confidence. More on this in a moment…

Anonymity

An explanation: It is said that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. I’m not so sure of that. A corollary statement might appear to be that in the land of the color blind, the color-enabled man would be da Vinci, or at least Michelangelo. I suspect though, that if the poor artist were foolish enough to talk about hues, tints, and shades, to people who could not see them, he more likely would be declared a whack job than the monarch. And that, my dear readers, is why I write anonymously. The Snarkmeister sees the world through different eyes; he sees things that other people do not see, or chose not to see. Given that, he knows that he is just as likely to be considered a whack job as a genius, and, quite frankly, he doesn’t want to be considered a whack job, at least not publicly. It is nice having the respect of friends and neighbors, being able to get credit at the store when needed, and being able to walk down the street without having to look over his shoulder. So, at least for the time being, he publishes his observations discretely.

Where have all the white hats gone?

Didn't Apple tell us just a few weeks ago that the rumors of a Leopard delay were false? That Mac OS X 10.5 was, in fact, on schedule. Doesn't this mean, pretty clearly, that Apple lied?

If Apple will lie to the public through its public relations agents, will it also lie to its stockholders, or to the SEC? Maybe we should be more suspicious about those stock options. Where is Apple drawing the line?

If Apple's executives find it expectable to lie about business, do they also find it acceptable to lie to their spouses and children about other things? If they can’t be trusted at work, can they be trusted at home?

If Apple's employees find it acceptable to work for a company that lies about business, do those same employs follow that example for their own purposes? Do they lie to Apple on their resumes and expense accounts? Once the line starts getting moved around, who is to say who gets to move it?

Does anyone in America tell the truth anymore?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wordpress

Readers,

This is in follow up to my post below regarding problems with
Blogger. Please consider this version of Snark's Review on Word Press.

http://snarksreview.wordpress.com/

If you can give me your comments and feedback as soon as possible, and if you are happy with it, completing migration would require nothing more then registering a DNS (domain name system) change.

--TSM

Transcendency

Throughout history there have been thousands of works of fine artistry, whether on canvas, or paper, in marble, or on celluloid. Sprinkled amongst those are hundreds of masterpieces, but within those are yet another subset even more transcendent. These are the sine qua non pieces, the peerless moments, singular passages, and sole individuals who embody inspired genius. "Me thinks the lady doeth protest too much," as a metaphor for the guilty over-protesting their innocence is perhaps one of history's truly inspired turns of phrase. This from a man who turned out masterwork turns of phrases as casually as Fords. Thank you Mr. Shakespeare.

I bring this up because I'm starting to think that a particular "lady" is perhaps protesting too much. In this case, the lady in question is the Grand Old Party, who is letting herself be spoken for by hirsute conservatives such as Jonah Goldberg and Bill O'Reilly. The other lady involved in this story is Rosie O'Donnell, who dared to question the veracity of the official 9/11 story on open mic television the other morning. Apparently open, unscripted discussion is more then the GOP can risk any longer because both Mssr. Goldberg and O'Reilly, and a lot of lesser known Right-wingers, are screaming for Ms. O'Donnell's removal from the public discourse.

What was Ms. O'Donnell's crime? She brought up her concerns, concerns shared by millions of other Americans. Like millions of other Internet users, Rosie had finally seen the 9/11 "conspiracy" sites, most notably loosechange.com (video) and 911weknow.com (video), and she wanted to talk about them. That is what they do on The View, it's a womens' morning show, they talk about their concerns.

The videos, by the way, are famous for making the point that in the history of high-rise construction that prior to 9/11 no steel-framed building had ever collapsed due to fire. It's a valid point. (Watch the videos. They will leave you wondering.) But if a fire couldn't have brought down those buildings, what did? That's what a lot of people have been asking. That's what O'Donnell dared to ask.

And, that's what certain segments in the Right-wing are objecting too. They are screaming that anyone who watches these videos is anti-American, anti-Christian, not-supporting out troops, etc. The government is so innocent we are told, that such discussion of possible guilt cannot even be tolerated. Well, that to me, sounds suspiciously like the lady protesting too much.

Mr. O'Reilly and Mr. Goldberg, I've got some news for you.

Long before you two troglodytes dragged yourselves out of the slime there were principled Americans on this continent who actually believed in something other then imperialism and theocracy. Some of them, even now, are Republicans. They're not about to let you two tell them that they are anti-American just because they are starting to wonder if George Bush and his theocrat buddies might have pulled a fast one on America. Yes, it may simply be a wacky conspiracy theory, or it may be the truth, but how dare you call them anti-American for using their god-given minds to make their own analysis! That's their prerogative. And that goes for Ms. O'Donnell too.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Market Response...

Readers,

Please see the thread below from the Blogger support forums, regarding a support issue that has been left dangling since last November. Blogger is the Google company that currently hosts the Snark's Review.

As you can see, Google isn't exactly providing great service to it's customers. Now you might object that it is a "free" service, but that would be a simplistic analysis. Writers provide content for Google through services like Blogger. Google in turn indexes that content and makes billions of dollars in advertising sales on the hit pages from searches of that indexing. So Google really isn't giving anything away anything for free, it is a fair exchange -- and as part of that exchange Google should provide a satisfactory level of customer service; they aren't.

As a result, the Snark is probably going to move the Snark's Review to another hosting service, such as TypePad, OpenPress, etc. What I'm asking readers is, do you have a preference? I know that many of you are sophisticated consumers of the blog-o-sphere, and, some of you, bloggers yourselves. What service have you found to provide a high quality of service and a good quality of technical sophistication? Please post a comment or write to the Snarkmeister.

Thanks for your input,

--TSM




1. Dreadful
Feb 14, 11:45 am
I've always posted from the Mac Dasboard (Blogger Widget) but since have upgraded to the New Blogger I cannot login. I've tried again and again but it doesn't work and now I gotta do it from the Blogger Dasboard (website). I've searched for the same problem on this group and have found 3 users with this problem without solution, so it would be great if someone give us a solution. Thanks in advance... :-)

2. Dreadful
Feb 16, 6:18 pm
I cannot post from the widget, from the email and gotta go to the Blogger Dasboard to post! :-(

3. BuddyBoy
Feb 25, 2:42 am
I am having the same problem. Has anyone come up with a solution? It seems to be impossible to contact Google directly on this point.

4. Dreadful
Mar 1, 9:39 am
Welcome to the same problem, you're the fourth, we are not alone. We need help! : (

5. TheSnarkmeister
Mar 5, 12:33 am
It's been almost a month since this was first posted here and this still has not even been acknowledged by Google? That is pathetic. Yahoo has made some major advances on Google technology wise, if service and support isn't going to be any better, maybe there isn't any real reason to stay here.

6. Dreadful
Mar 11, 8:54 am
Does anybody read us? I hope this will be fixed soon because I don't like Yahoo as I like Blogger, understand it as a full configurable weblog service. Why things cannot work as great as before? If the widget doesn't work why is still downloadable from the Apple's Dashboard site? Please fix it!

7. Dreadful
Mar 16, 6:59 am
I just have read this:
"The Blogger Dashboard widget for Mac OS X cannot be used to post to the new version of Blogger. - latest update on Monday, November 13, 2006"

http://knownissues.blogspot.com/search/label/macintosh

Why Blogger doesn't alert about this BEFORE encourage to migrate???
Why Blogger doesn't fix the widget as SOON as detect the problem???
Why Blogger doesn't ALERT or REMOVE the widget from the Apple site???

Just three questions easy to reply... if somebody from Blogger would read this... : (

8. Dreadful
Mar 23, 7:02 am
Please, fix it. Just trying to keep it live to keep the faith.

9. TheSnarkmeister
Apr 11, 12:09 am
It has been another month and Google, with all their billions in resources, has still not bothered to fix this. I'll be migrating my blogs ASAP. Blogger had already fallen behind in the technology curve since Google snarfed them up anyway. In the real world the market moves on, Google is going to have to learn that lesson. They can't coast on their name. Anyone have a particular favorite or recommendation in regards to possible alternatives?

Easter Sunday

Like a lot of heathens, I got dragged to church on Easter Sunday. This one, in the small Midwestern village where I grew up. The place was packed, even though I know that normal attendance is low enough to worry about the church's future. Since it took three adults and two children to drag me, I suspect the dragged heathen count was insufficiently high to explain the variable. Most likely garden variety lazy Christians made up the difference.

Somewhere through a much too long, pedantic, and dismal sermon -- something topical about having to ask forgiveness for dreadful sin -- an auditory flapper jostled me fully awake. Something to the effect of, 'You have to ask forgiveness! I should know; I'm a dreadful sinner! I've broken every one of the 10 Commandments!' I turned to my cousin sitting next to me and whispered, "Your minister has broken all ten of the 10 Commandments? That's a little alarming." She whispered back, "Given the rest of the sermon, I doubt he knows what the Ten are."

I'm not certain which is more disconcerting, that Christian standards have gotten so low that churches are hiring parentally disrespectful, murderous, thieves as preachers, or that these sin hounds don't know even know the 10 Commandants.