Stream of Consciousness
For those who have gotten this far through this website, thanks for hanging in there, and all comments are appreciated.
Our subconscious is an idea-generating engine. It operates without limits, scruples, or decorum. Our conscious mind is primarily an observer and occasional referee of those few activities of our subconscious that make it through the brain's filters between the two levels. The following is the place where my subconscious enjoys an out-of-body experience. It is not for the prudish or faint of heart. It contains unfettered thoughts that not only surprise me and with which I do not always agree, some of which I am rightfully ashamed. The purpose of showing them is not to convince but to provoke your own thinking. Hopefully none of it leaves you permanently damaged.
Again, Fair Warning!
(Mom, please hit the Back button now.)
A priest and a rabbi go into a bar …
In Japan …
In the Hollywood version of Japan …
The rabbi says to the priest "Father Rabinowitz, I am having such a hard time! It's almost impossible to get people to go to Temple these days!"
The priest replies: "Oy veh! Rabbi O'Houlihan, you think you've got troubles! My getfildeheh Bishop told me just this morning that if I don't get attendance up at Mass, I'm going to be defrocked!
Rabbi: "Defrocked?! That's terrible! What are you going to do?!"
Priest: "I don't know, but I'm thinking I could get people interested in coming if I could get some of the good monsters to show up. The kids would really like that."
Rabbi: "That's a really tall order, but now that Godzilla is a good guy, maybe you might have a chance with that."
Priest: "Yeah, and I was also thinking of inviting Rodan."
Rabbi: "No, no, Godzilla and Rodan have always been terrible enemies. But, Mothra and Godzilla made peace some time ago."
Priest: "That's a great idea, but I want to dress them up in vestments, and Mothra has those huge wings and tiny little arms. Godzilla could put on his own robe, but Mothra would have a really hard time. Maybe Godzilla could help her?"
Rabbi: "Maybe, but you wouldn't want to get them that close together - they might get back into a battle again."
Priest: "Yeah, that would not be good."
Rabbi: "So who are you going to get to help Mothra put on her frock?"
Priest: "I don't know, but whoever he is, he'll have to be one really big Mothrafrocker!"
Corporations are People?
Heard a good one on a talk show: "I'll believe a corporation is a person when the great State of Texas executes one."
(Thoughts that arise when I haven't had enough sleep, caffeine, red meat, or you-know-what.)
Existing noise-abatement laws should be rigidly enforced. Every misused boom-box in every home and car should be confiscated and destroyed. I can think of a good use for all those thousands of RPGs found in Iraq: Bring 'em home, mount them on all the telephone poles, and every time some idiot in a thumper car drives by, kapow! No warning, no "tolerance". Anyone who thinks they have the right to make other people listen to their noise is someone the rest of us can do without.
Drivers have enough to deal with avoiding drunk or texting drivers and unpredictable pedestrians. Cyclists are idiots. They run stop signs and red lights. They move through traffic space at pedestrian speeds and through pedestrian space at traffic speeds. They expect pedestrian privileges without getting off their damned bikes! They think the whole world revolves around them. At traffic lights they block traffic by sitting in the middle of the lane or out in the street instead of taking a half-second to move out of the way where they belong (like waiting on the sidewalk). Like everyone else, I hate the idea of photo ticketing, but when it comes around, I'll be insisting on it being used to keep the idiot cyclists on foot!
I find drivers that hog the fast lane or don't "keep up" as annoying as most people do, but drivers who are aggressive with their vehicles need to be shut down permanently. Anyone whose license has been suspended or revoked should be required to wear an ankle monitor that gives off a signal whenever it is moving at traffic speeds, so the cops can know that if the vehicle has only one occupant, he belongs in jail.
Drafts and Oldies
(To be updated and merged)
Hope there's really such a thing as Free Will
Limited future-sight is hopeful evidence for Free Will.
The purpose of government is to protect us from exploiters and zealots. Unfortunately the exploiters and zealots have control of the governments and other terrorist organizations. The exploiters are the best organized, the zealots are the second best organized, and the rest of us are a distant third. Our internal enemies are apathy and ignorance. Ignorance is UnAmerican! Or, perhaps, sadly, too American.
The Holy Grail
Our souls are snippets of the Cosmic Consciousness (aka "God"), cast off and abandoned to provide the CC with the random stimuli it needs to avoid stagnation.
When we die, the CC takes whatever it wants, and discards or recycles the rest. The Holy Grail of Life is to avoid "becoming one with God" for as long as possible.
Modern HR Policies
An employee's average workload should be reasonably commensurate with compensation. An employer's short-term productivity requirements can be expected to occasionally conflict with important long term factors such as reduced productivity caused by interference with an acceptable quality of life, burnout, and turnover. HR's role is to support the employer and the employee by ensuring that the employer gets its money's worth while at the same time not shooting itself in the foot by overstressing the employee.
Employee off-track, put idea on schedule, expect benefit eventually ...
...For example, if a programmer raises idea about getting Unit C to communicate directly with Unit G, thereby making intervening sensors, controllers, and feedback systems unnecessary, add idea to schedule with low priority. Eventually, this idea will come up at a meeting, and you can say "I've already got one of my best people working on that - I'll make it a priority". If the programmer says "I already finished that on my own time", give the programmer a big bonus. If the programmer also says, "by the way, I looked at all the redundant systems, and we'll need to keep the monitoring data from Unit D, to keep net output in equilibrium with gross input. Otherwise, it will all blow up." In this case, forget the bonus, give the programmer a promotion!
Workaholics: Enjoy, but HR needs to help them get a life before they burn out.
Anonymous ID -Taxes - Homeland Security
Taxes: Legislators, community leaders, and business leaders are all called upon to balance priorities which often conflict with each other. The critical needs for more affordable housing and better funding for schools are in conflict with cities' needs for increased retail sales tax income to provide the additional infrastructure new housing would require, and voter's resistance to property taxes and local tax proposals.
Homeland Security: The maintenance of rights to privacy and due process conflict with the need to track certain individuals who are under investigation for criminal or terrorist activity.
These issues may seem unrelated, but they may both be resolved by the same innovation, which I refer to by the oxymoron of an "Anonymous ID" card.
The concept would be to include information in a chip on ID card, with restrictions on when and how particular types of information could be read and reported.
The primary, anonymous use of the card would be to encode the user's home and work zip codes, so that a portion of the sales tax collected could be earmarked for these locales, in addition to the retailer's locale. No identification or other information about the user would be accessed for cash sales.
With controls sufficient to protect the user's rights, use of the card could be reported by financial institutions to law enforcement for tracking of the user. Such reporting would require a court order similar to those authorizing search warrants, and could be used to track parolees, habitual criminals, persons under investigation, suspected terrorists, visitors from unfriendly countries, etc. Such tracking would be reported by the system directly to the designated law enforcement agency, who would also be held responsible for protecting the user's rights.
Other points to consider:
Nearly every sales transaction is handled by a computerized system, including cash transactions. Use of a smart card will facilitate the programming and communications required for distribution of taxes to the appropriate zip codes.
Consumers are accustomed to presenting store membership cards (such as Safeway and Albertson's) for discounts, in addition to a credit/debit card or cash. Credit card and discount card distributors look for ways to expand the usefulness of their products, and could be asked to include home and work zip codes in the information scanned from the card or printed on checks; however, this would not provide automatic tracking of the customer when required.
Legislators are working on ways to greatly expand the information contained in driver's licenses, medical histories, parole status, etc. However, consumers may be expected to object to presenting a card containing such personal information to retailers each time they make a transaction. The solution is to provide a smart card that displays for the user's approval all information that will be transmitted, with all transaction information displayed for the user to approve before being transmitted optically, not electronically.
The card could be issued with each driver's license or other ID, and use of the card could be encouraged by initially giving a modest discount to the sales tax when the card is used during an introductory period, then required after a certain date.
To support tax distribution without the card, retailers would be required to enter the two zip codes manually; this may sound burdensome, but some retailers (such as Orchard Hardware) now periodically ask customers for their zip code, so as to know where to spend their advertising dollars. The card would automatically provide retailers the information needed for area-level advertising strategy, without providing any personal information.
The card could be used as a cash card in lieu of food stamps, automating the entire process and eliminating black marketeering. Recipients would have the cash balance on the card updated at their case worker's office or other locations, and avoid the stigma of using stamps in the checkout line (as wells as delays for other customers). Case workers could be provided with a secure electronic device which could update the cash balance on particular cards in preset amounts, both for food stamps and rental assistance, as well as for medical assistance. In situations where the physical welfare of a child, spouse, elder or other person is a concern, case worker make surprise visits, and would be far more welcome with an cash card update in hand.
The card could also be enabled to be used as an ATM-activated cash card, reducing the need to carry cash, and would make a welfare recipient's transactions in the checkout line indistinguishable from anyone else's.
As part of the same system, product bar-code information could also be used to identify manufacturing locales, as well as the locales where raw materials and intermediate processing were obtained to create the product.
In the broadest sense, such a card would enable gathering nationwide, even worldwide information on the resources used to produce a particular product, and use the information to more intelligently distribute sales tax receipts, and focus aid or tariffs as circumstances indicate.
The invasiveness of personal income tax, the threat of property taxes putting people out of their homes, and the difficulty that bedroom communities and low-income areas have with raising funds for basic services, can all be dealt with by taking advantage of the fact that virtually all commerce is now done electronically.
Citizens would be taxed based on what they spend.
In response to the concern that "sales taxes are hardest on the poor", low income areas would be given a larger fraction of the collection to assist in building educational, health, and safety infrastructures. In addition, sales tax would be minimal on food, utilities, and other necessities, and the definition of "luxury" would be expanded to include "non-essentials" so that progressive tax rates can be applied to a broader range of products and services. While applying a higher tax rate to a pair of shoes that cost over $200 might seem complicated, it is not only feasible but relatively simple in a computerized society. (For those who really enjoy tilting at windmills, we could reduce taxes dramatically and stabilize the stock markets overnight by taxing each transaction, rather just than the net annual gain.)
Federal and state personal income taxes and property taxes would be abolished, the IRS and state tax agencies would stay out of everyone's personal lives and their abuses would be curtailed; they (and their budgets) would be limited to enforcing the seller's collection and payment of sales taxes.
Issues about taxing "interdepartmental transfers" within a conglomerate, wholesale transactions, foreign transactions, etc. have been hashed out in the legislatures and courts, and in other countries, and should not present a bar to converting to a strictly sales-tax system.
Citizens could even be given a greater voice in how their money is spent. For instance, the zip code capture protocol could provide for more than two zip codes; for instance, with more zip codes, the funds would be distributed not only to home and work areas, but to any other locale the citizen wishes to support (such as those of their children's schools or parents homes), as well as coded to fund a collection of special programs (education, medical research, etc.) pre-selected by the citizen.
With sufficiently sophisticated chips, smart cards could also act as a peer-to-peer wireless servers for phone and text communication, eliminating the threat of bringing the nation to a halt that is posed by the fragile internet infrastructure.
Providing funds to tax-poor areas, increasing housing and school funding, reducing commuting, invigorating the economy, freeing citizens from the incomprehensible tangle of intrusive personal income tax laws and property taxes, freeing employers of the cost of handling payroll taxes, providing citizens a greater voice in how their money is spent, protecting our rights and our way of life - aren't these the sort of things that a government is supposed to do?
December 28, 2007
Honorable Chairman Henry A. Waxman
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 110th Congress
Dear Chairman Waxman,
Six days of every week Americans are reminded that this Congress continues to represent Corporate America rather than the citizens. This reminder comes in the form of unwanted junk mail using private information without permission.
A simple and cost-effective solution would be for each USPS facility that accepts mail from the public to be required to provide a bin or slot for refused mail, which would be stamped "Refused - Remove from mail list" by the USPS and returned to the sender. The automated mail sorting system would be modified to keep a record of returns, and in the event that a subsequent refusal is processed from the same addressee to the same sender 30 days or more after the initial refusal, the USPS would charge the sender a fee, preferably in an amount far above simple postage, perhaps $10 per instance, as may be approved by Congress or other authority having jurisdiction.
Not only will such a program eliminate the daily hassle of dealing with junk mail for millions of Americans and provide a source of revenue for the USPS, it will serve as a message that this Congress is willing to put the citizens ahead of the special interests.
The Legacy of the Poorly Raised
We are living, and leaving for our children, the Legacy of the Poorly Raised, generation after generation handing down the mindless mindset of asking for answers, instead of asking for ideas and taking responsibility for our own answers; indulging in the false comfort of religion and the foolish notion that the rich and powerful parasites that run the world can be trusted to put the greater good ahead of their own interests. The parasites know better, as do too few of those who seek to promote the greater good. The parasites have been raised to see everyone and everything as a resource that they are entitled to exploit, and have a vested interest in keeping the world in chaos. The purpose of their wars is to use our brave troops to advance their own interests, if only to waste as much military equipment and supplies as possible so that filthy rich war profiteers can get even filthier resupplying all sides, as they succeeded in doing in Iraq. We have only ourselves to blame if we do not become informed and take the minimal effort to vote. We also need to spend less time preaching to the choir and instead try to reach the other choir, enlightening them about the fact that "small government" is the parasites' code word for "let the corporations run wild", and that our future depends on replacing the parasites' toadies in Congress with people who recognize that the purpose of government is to protect us from the rich and powerful, instead of it being their mechanism for making us easier to exploit.
CNN and Fox employ "journalists" who regularly go overboard trying to turn whatever they are reporting on into something "sensational". In interviews, they waste most of our time trying to put words into the mouths of interviewees in attempts to get the interviewees to make statements that can be used as the next hot sound bite.
During all the coverage of the New York power outage, Blitzer was the only "journalist", of the many I heard, who simply could not resist referring to the situation as "a crisis", while standing in front of a background showing tens of thousands of people calmly walking home. He and the rest of the media constantly repeated "no signs of rioting", "no signs of looting", etc. Their implication that, under these circumstances, rioting and looting should be considered preordained and imminent was nothing less than incitement to those looking for an excuse to riot and loot.
"Composite of reasons" - why Iraq? Why not Syria, NKorea, etc?
It is bad enough that your interviewers don't listen to their interviewees, and frequently interrupt them when it is obvious to the viewer that they are about to finally saying something really interesting.
CNN and Fox producers need to come to terms with certain basic facts: TV news channels appeal to a limited audience; tv viewers who would respond to tactics aimed at the less affluent, lowest common denominator of popular tv viewers aren't watching news channels. Your attempts to sensationalize news items, your interviewers insipid attempts to get sensational sound bites out of otherwise serious and interesting interviewees, and your interviewers' inability to listen to their interviewees and go with the flow of interesting responses rather than scrabbling back to the few points for which the interviewer has prepared, are symptoms of incompetence, and are a disservice to the viewers who actually watch news channels.
False articles of faith make peace in the Middle East impossible:
1. What the Germans did to the Jews justifies what the Jews did to the Palestinians in 1948 and continue to do today.
2. Zionism has divine authority.
3. Islamic hegemony has divine authority.
4. There will be a divine reward for acts of violence.
5. It is an honor for anyone to die in Jihad, justifying Hamas' using schoolyards and marketplaces to fire their rockets.
Violence in the Middle East will only end when the people on both sides face the fact that their "leaders" are simply wrong about having any "divine" authority, and that mutual ancient rivalries do not justify oppression of modern Palestinians or attacks on modern Israelis. The old rivalries and religions are just being used by despots for political opportunism in pursuit of enhancing their personal wealth or status. Arab countries need to help the Palestinians economically instead of continuing to use them as political pawns.
The old saying can be updated:
If Hamas would stop firing rockets, there would be peace.
If Israel laid down its arms, there would be no Israel.
No More Offices
Doing office work from home has the obvious benefit of convenience for the employee and potential benefits of reduced costs to employers, but employers need assurance of productivity.
The most Orwellian, but simplest, solution is to set up a web cam in the employee's home work area, with similar expectations of attendance and privacy as would be expected in the office environment.
The ideal arrangement would be simply that the employee's supervisor is aware of the employee's performance and no special monitoring is required, except perhaps for maintenance by the employee of a progress log.
Alternatively, a schedule of assignments would be maintained, with priorities among the assignments made by the employer, and target completion dates negotiated between the employer and the employee. In this arrangement, compliance with modern HR policies would be essential.
Schools provide socialization as well as education. Unfortunately, public K-12 schools have succumbed to political correctness and have put making students feel unjustifiably good about themselves ahead of teaching them how much they still need to learn, and by failing to segregate troubled students (regardless of race), they have pulled the rest down into the morass of education/policing for the lowest common denominator. K-12 students are more concerned about finding a safer school and a better social environment than a better education.
Even in well-managed environments, the education a student receives is only as good as the teacher. Teachers' unions' only solution for poor teachers: is unlimited "retraining"; they refuse to even consider the option of getting rid of even the worst.
Just like classroom classes, online courses are only as good as the teacher.
The coming election should be a shoo-in for President Obama in light of the Republicans' "strategy" of returning to disastrous Bush economic policies, but arguments about economic policy fall on deaf ears for Republicans conditioned by resentment and racism, both subconscious and overt, that keep half of America with their heels dug in, willing to settle for "anything but Obama". I'll tell you why.
In the 70s our educational "leaders" (read "Democrats" or "liberals") decided that the purpose of school was to make kids feel good about themselves rather than teach them how much they still needed to learn. I remember the day when our school board sent a memo to the teachers directing that from that point on no student was to receive an F – the worst student was to receive a D and everyone else was to be graded on the curve from there. That was the end of our world-class American education system.
Before that era, bullies were sent home and if they did not straighten out they were expelled, but suddenly schools found they could not send a minority kid home without being accused of racism, so none of the bullies were sent home, and all of them became emboldened, ingrained, and unavoidable. Teachers suddenly began spending more of their time as policemen than educators. School was transformed from a haven to a place to be feared. Standards for "behavior" quickly dropped and have never recovered.
Then our "leaders" stepped in again and decided the solution was to bus well-behaved kids to terrifying schools, and to bus troubled kids to schools that previously had no significant behavior problems. This fomented what had been declining racism, destroyed any trust the government might have had, and was the beginning of the nation's swing to the right from which there is no sign of recovery.
Not only are the Democrats blamed for ruining the educational system and putting children into mindless, useless, unnecessary danger that is endemic throughout the nation to this day, Republican voters feel disenfranchised, discriminated against, and let down. Some Affirmative Action programs are open to all but happen to disproportionally assist minorities and the poor – which is just as American as apple pie. But other programs, with racial goals and quotas and other forms of reverse discrimination, are considered unconstitutional and a slap in the face of hard-working citizens. When a minority student is given preferential treatment, it's not some rich kid who loses out, it is the poorest white kid who otherwise would have just barely qualified for the opportunity. Such programs only succeed in further entrenching racism and resentment among Republican voters.
We have the dilemma of how to deal with problems in a humane way without encouraging more of the same problem. This applies to troubled children, drug dependency, illegal immigration, etc. The Democrats decided to try to solve racial and economic problems by creating problems where there had been no problems before, and they did it to our children! And to our schools! The coarsened environment our children face at school impacts us every day. Liberals have no plan to deal with people deciding to have more children than they can ever hope to support, which is the source of the stresses that produce troubled kids.
Republicans add to the problem by clinging to the past with knee-jerk religious dogma, foisting mindless "abstinence only" "education" on our kids instead of giving them the information and contraceptives they need to avoid unwanted pregnancies, and filling our prisons with people who were in possession of recreational drugs for their own use instead of treating addiction as a medical issue, making drug dealing an irresistibly profitable lifestyle for the most vulnerable, creating hardened criminals, and filling many peoples' lives with violence.
Republicans (read "businesses") want to keep importing illegal aliens to exploit, and Democrats want to do the humane thing for illegals who were brought here as children, but have no idea how to keep the "Dream Act" from encouraging more illegal immigration – maybe there is no way.
In the broad picture, Democrats need to recognize that parasitism is perceived to exist on both ends of the economic spectrum, tell us what they intend to do about both problems, and come up with better ways to deal with social issues. This is the only way to get past the "us vs. them" attitude ingrained into Republicans.
For instance, regarding bullying, no child should be afraid to go to school. Disruptive students must be segregated from those who come to school to learn. I don't know what the solution is for troubled students, but it certainly is not to mix them with the rest of the students – it only makes things worse for everyone. The rights of the bullied are more important than helping the bullies.
One key innovation that the Republican leadership would immediately label "socialist" but might appeal to rank and file voters, and would go a long way to helping troubled students deal with the home life that fails them, as well as eliminate the black market in food stamps intended to feed children, would be to replace the food stamp program for children with meals at school, 3 times a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Making the program available to all children would eliminate any stigma and encourage social interaction in a positive setting. Considering the social and economic cost of dealing with alienated kids for their entire lifetimes, the cost of this program would be a good investment. In general, the cost of the program (taxes) would be partly offset by costs saved at home, disproportionally for the poor, but again as American as apple pie.
Social issues aside, Democrats need to do a better job of getting economic points across (that is, finding the right sound bites), for the following simple facts:
No one, particularly not Romney, can justify destroying companies and jobs that could have been saved.
Any corporate policymaker who will not say anything and do anything to keep stock prices up and bonuses flowing is immediately replaced by someone who will.
In large corporations "business ethics" is an oxymoron.
The free market's internal controls on greed and incompetence only work in the long term and on global scales, not in the short term and local scales in which financial disasters occur and destroy people's lives.
For all of the above reasons, intense regulation and oversight is necessary.
Finally, political corruption and incompetence can only be addressed through a paradigm shift in the system. Political experience should lead to statesmanship, but in reality only leads to more adept corruption. Career politicians need to be replaced with Mr. Smiths by prohibiting consecutive terms. This is the only way to get elected representatives to deal fairly with the people's business instead of perpetually working on re-election and their future career as a lobbyist.
Dear Sir and/or Madam:
The document at:
Apr 15, 2014 12:00 pm Eastern
whereas DARPA BPA-14-22_MUSE.pdf at
states on Page 38:
no later than April 15, 2014, at 1200 noon (ET)
While there may be some (aberrant) schools of thought on the "issue" of when "pm" ends and "am" begins, it is possible that some proposers might be misled by the different descriptions of the due time, and some would not necessarily become apprised of any future clarification; therefore the only obvious, sensible, right-thinking, non-bureaucratic, right-thing-to-do would be to officially and unambiguously and quickly extend the due time to midnight.
For the record:
11:59 pm is one minute before Midnight
11:59:59 pm is one second before Midnight
11:59:59.999999999999999999999… pm is the instant before Midnight
While the instant after Midnight is incontrovertibly am, "12:00 pm" is still MIDNIGHT, not "Noon"!
Anyone who means Noon should say Noon, like the BAA does. Same goes for Midnight.
(Obviously, I've had this discussion before)
Sincerely, Thank You
Romney was right that the job losses he created were the product of the free market - a poorly regulated free market.
Boycott Walmart until they put a Made in America section in every store.
Replace unfair trade agmts w/ reciprocal protection for business plus punishment for putting global profit ahead of Middle Class
Define "Made in America" as made from materials made in America except for materials not available in America.
Toggle multi-level menus like Excel
Show onsite videos without downloading
The concept of "chastity" is one of the ruses used to make people mindlessly feel invested in a religion. It is a vestige of perceiving women as property whose only value is virginity. Still, for those unfortunates who have only received "abstinence only" "education", it also continues to reduce unwanted pregnancies and disease. It is no more "moral" than giving self-serving clerics your money and maintaining self-imposed delusions with ritual chants, prayers, songs, pilgrimages, etc. "I gave up sex for the fun of sex, my money, and rational thought. God really owes me for that." http://www.gosto.org/#Sex