Sunday, February 18, 2018

Russia is Watching!

Is this possible evidence that Russia is watching the internet in the US?  I haven't published a blog for a few weeks.  But where are all the pageviews coming from?  That former major republic in the once Soviet Union.


Interesting that they are using Internet Explorer on a Windows platform.  Perhaps Microsoft should be glad about their market penetration!

Grief in Florida

Where does one begin to describe the grief in Florida, where, yet again, evil intent in a man's heart rips again the fragile vale that separates this domain of the living where we dwell and the domain of death?  Lives lost.  Grief unreconciled.  

We've seen evidence of the carnage caused by this evil, sometimes in the hearts of misguided religious fanatics, sometimes in the hearts of others some with serious mental health issues, and others whose motives remain unknown.  In all cases, the evil consumes lives:  lives ended all too soon.  

And the grief spreads.  To families, to friends, to neighbors, colleagues, acquaintances, and those who hear the news.  Are we even at a point when virtually anyone in this land can name someone who died in a mass killing?

Will these horrors go on forever?  Can they be prevented?

Some point to a failure of the FBI to act on information about this perpetrator.  Some point to the need for more security.  Some point to gun control.  In many cases, there may not be definitive actionable information beforehand.  And in most schools there is a good degree of security, but short of armed troupes, could any security stop a well-armed intruder?

Perhaps, 20 to 30 years ago, the political climate allowed politicians to propose and enact "common sense gun control."  Now, this is virtually impossible in the face of a strong anti-gun-control lobby with ties to the current national majority party.  While millions own fire arms without harming others, in the hands of a person possessed by the evil to kill, a fire arm can magnitude that hate and evil within into the consumption of multiple innocent lives.  The weapon may not be inherently evil, but it can certainly magnify the damage of that evil.

I can only speak for myself, but at times I feel frustration and anger.  At those times, I would not want access to a weapon that would magnify that anger.  Better to wait for it to pass.  Better for it to remain no more than a passing series of pulses in the neurons of my brain.

In the end, there are no easy answers.  But we know that light overcomes the darkness.  We need to reach out and reinforces our bonds with family, friends, neighbors and others we come to know.  We need to talk, with open minds, about how to protect the innocent from the hate, anger, and frustration of those who might make manifest the evil within.  We need bolder leadership to lead the way, a leadership that we don't seem to have fostered of late, but perhaps that form of leadership will arise from the grief in Florida.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Government Not Working? Refund Out Taxes!

With the Federal government shut down, can we get a discount on our Federal taxes? 

I'd propose we get a refund 1/365 of our annual taxes for each day the government isn't working.  If the government isn't working, then refund our taxes!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

No Shithole Nations

This week we heard reports that the elected leader of the US used an obscene and derogatory term to refer to Haiti and African nations, saying why do we want people from those nations and not a nation like Norway.

Besides the blatant racism of the statement, it is blatantly untrue that the desirability of an immigrating person is related to the nation from which they come.  As a civil engineer, I've worked with other engineers who have come from these countries, including Haiti, Eritrea, Kenya, and Lesotho, specifically. Besides being nice people, they were also good engineers.

I have to conclude that good and talented people come from all nations, even the poorest nations of the world or the nations where some might not expect talented people to come from.

Some nations may be poor. Some may not have the resorts for the rich and famous. But, there are good and talented people that come from these nations.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Health Insurance and Working Americans

Breaking news:  the latest Republican health care bill in the US Senate is now 2 votes short of passing.

And so goes on the health care political football.  When the Democrats controlled the Congress and White House, they forced through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Flawed in places and perhaps not stable over time, it let the health care genie out of the bottle.  

For the first time, many working Americans could afford the benefits of health insurance.  The could afford the medicine they need to treat their chronic conditions.  They could feel assured that they were not one bad diagnosis from loosing their home and the job and falling into poverty.  

Cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, stroke:  who knows when they may befall someone.  And without health insurance, any of these could take a productive, working American from a role of being a self-supporting, productive, tax-paying citizen of this land and make them a ward of the state, and burden to taxpayers.

But now the Republicans in Congress and President Trump want to repeal the ACA and replace it with some variation of the various plans that have seen the light of day, each of which would result in so many Americans loosing health insurance.  It seems their idea of freedom is the choice of not getting insurance and either (if you're healthy) spinning the wheel of chance that you stay healthy, or if not so lucky, perhaps unable to afford care, medicine or necessary procedures.

In this case, I don't know why they don't understand that a healthy working American is a productive and tax-paying member of society, something they value.  And for those in America who have to work for a living - which is the vast majority of those who voted for President Trump and those who voted for Hilary Clinton - affordable health insurance helps keep them productive and tax-paying.   Isn't that what Republicans value?

All I can figure is that got themselves twisted like a pretzel:  they couldn't participate in creating the ACA, so they must kill it!  They are convinced that's why they were elected:  to repeal the ACA!

But that's no longer in touch with their constituents.  Affordable health care ensures working Americans can remain productive, self-supporting and tax-paying even if bad health should befall them.

The people want affordable health care!  So, reform the ACA, make it better and sustainable, but don't deprive working Americans of the opportunity to afford health insurance.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Let's Make America Kind Again!

January 21, 2017.  Kindness and respect. 

I went to the march today to reinforce my belief in respecting all people. We live in a nation founded on the belief that all are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights. I believe in a God who created every person with the dignity of being formed in the Divine image.

We have seen in the campaign words that came across as not being respectful to other individuals and groups of individuals. We have seen some increase in acts of harassment and violence against individuals because of their race or religion or ethnicity or gender.

I want to say "no" to all violence against individuals and "yes" to respect for all people, regardless of who they are or where they are from or what they believe in or who they voted for. I wanted to say "yes" to protection of the rights of all individuals.

Saying yes to kindness and respect and love is a choice. A very good choice.

No to Torture!

February 27, 2017.  Donald Trump is now tweeting about a return to torture by the United States.  This is wrong.  It is not the American way.  We do not torture human beings now or ever!

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