More US politics

One of the parties in the US is currently dominated by
  • Limbaugh -- a guy who was raging against liberal tolerance for drug addicts while sending out two of his staff to illegally buy the opiate that destroyed his hearing.
  • Beck -- a self-described "rodeo clown" who cries for his country using vaporub under his eyes.
  • Palin -- a politician who got bored and quit halfway through her first term as governor.  Someone who couldn't name a single newspaper or magazine that she reads regularly (other than "all of them").  Someone who couldn't remember a single supreme court decision other than RvW only two months after someone wrote an editorial under her name about a supreme court decision affecting Alaskan oil policy.
  • Guiliani -- sometimes described as someone with a chance in 12 after not picking up a single delegate in 08.
  • Romney -- ran a fairly liberal state as a liberal, campaigned for a hard-line right-wing federal party as a hard-line right-winger.  He'll be whatever you want him to be.  And you can count on him to be just that once he's in office.
The party insists on alienating any minority available and anyone under the age of forty.

I criticize others when they fail to post

I criticize others when they fail to post, so I guess I owe an update.

I've pretty much drawn down my more liquid cash-side reserves and my line of credit.  Thus, I'm starting to draw down my RRSP funding.  I've had my record-best year so far this year, but it's only 2/3 of the way to fix last year.  My retirement and rainy-day savings re-advance to 2007 levels.  I'm still in black ink, overall, but I'm not drawing my school funding out "at the top".

My two biggest debtors continue to make routine payments.  Both of them have surprised me with no surprises.

My body is on the wrong side of fifty.  Re-adjusting to the caffeine load I use at college after a summer at rest is hitting my blood pressure, appetite and stomach acids.  Sigh.  I need the coffee for the IQ boost.

I broke the "key" nut while changing over to winter tires on Moria's car.  Oops.  The car is at my mechanic's while he works on drilling grab holes or chiselling it out or some such.  We find out tonight how he solved it.

Shrug.  Other stuff happens, but none of it is coming to me now.


Shaw Sucks

Sixteen months ago, I dumped my ISP because I was getting phone modem or less speeds over my supposdly 1.5 megabit connection.  I was unable to do a particular homework item to meet a deadline without driving to the college and doing it on the internel network.  Now I'm staying with a relative who uses the same ISP.

Note the ping time of just over a second and a half.  Note the upload speed lower than a 28.8 kbaud phone modem.  At least the download speed beats a telephone modem.  But the price doesn't.  How do I tell my hostess that she needs to dump her ISP and start over?


A geek dilemma

I'm in college, rebooting my career.  For the final semester, we have to choose two electives from a slate of six.  Two I've already eliminated as not relevant for the types of jobs I would be looking for.  So that leaves me with four.

Two of these are topics where I already know 80% of the material.  This will boost my grade point average and allow me to devote more attention to other courses -- boosting my GPA there, too.  But the OTHER two are knowledge that will be useful in my career.  So which should I choose?  Paper or brains?  Credentials or skill?  A piece of paper that says I'm a genius has a lot of value for the initial entry into the job market and I totally suck at interviews.  That initial boost will be handy.

But can a geek reject the chance to learn something useful?  Or as a newly minted bean-counter, can I spend a quarter of my $2500 a semester tuition to learn something that I already know?

Sigh.  Decision is due by 8 AM tomorrow.

Law Story #2: Shire

In February of 2008, I joined a land development syndicate that was planning to turn a quarter mile of just-annexed-to-Calgary farmland into houses.  Sixteen months later, the promoter hasn't transferred the title to the syndicate and the $19M (not all of it mine) seems to have disappeared. 

Yesterday I filled out the paperwork and paid my share of the legal bill to join the class action suit.  Later yesterday, I got an email.  On monday, the promoter had obtained a court order freezing everything in place while they attempt a restructuring.  The lead plaintiff thinks that this is a good thing, but I'm not so sure.  The lawyer hasn't spoken (or emailed) yet.  I'm still trying to wade through 36 pages of unfamiliar legalese.  Not easy when my eyes are watering from some newly discovered allergy.

Law Story #1: Wordless in Texas

The East District Court in Texas has granted an injunction forcing Microsoft to stop selling word sixty days from now.  The journalist covering the story says that "We're guessing this one gets solved with a little slip of paper containing a lot of zeroes."  Apparently Microsoft thatought that a particular patent covering a way of reading XML was invalid, but the judge disagrees.

I'm a bit sympathetic to MS here.  The US patent system is a mess.  Just about anything other than perpetual motion and cold fusion gets its patent granted, and the courts figure it out ten years later.  The absurd patents that have been granted in the past twenty years mean that you cannot depend on the existence of the patent as a sign that you should steer clear.  I wonder if Star Office is using this technique?