October 10th, 2007

#621: Ahhh ha ha ha ha ha!!! San Francisco and the homeless! HA HA HA!

This is amusing.

"...We're not some white, yuppie parents saying we can't take this...but...the other day Jenny is bringing the kids back from the park, and some guy is standing on the corner throwing up on himself."

Okay, just admit it: you can't take it. It's okay. There are plenty of people out there who don't like having bums around. Itinerants lower property values, smell bad, and panhandle. The ones which are sane enough to recognize their situations aren't interested in changing, and the insane ones aren't either.
"Homelessness, and quality of life issues, are dividing the liberals and the progressives in this city," says David Binder, a statistical analyst and founder of David Binder Research. "The liberals will say we've got to get tough on the homeless and the progressives are more old-line liberal."

How that debate will come out is anyone's guess, but it is hard to disagree with Latterman's blunt assessment, which is, "People are just pissed. For the first time, even the left is saying they've had enough."

In an informal poll by SFGate.com, 90 percent of respondents said Mayor Gavin Newsom's crackdown South of Market was a great idea.

Latterman points to the neighborhood uprising in the Haight when it was proposed that a needle exchange program be moved to the Hamilton Methodist Church. When some 200 residents showed up, mostly to protest the idea, it was shelved.

"One sample doesn't make a trend, but it is telling," says Latterman. "C'mon, they live in the upper Haight. They're liberal by definition."

But they are also, in many cases, homeowners and thus have a sense of ownership and emotional investment. That's another part of what has caused this sea change in thinking. From TIC (tenants in common) units, to condominiums, to luxury townhouses, the city has created the potential for an influx of buyers, despite the downward trend in home sales in much of the country.
And this is just too funny! What's the difference between "liberal" and "progressive"? A progressive is an "old-line liberal"! What the hell does that even mean?

The funny thing about it is how much hypocrisy there is here. "We're so progressive, we're not going to be Hitler and make the homeless get jobs or anything." We're going to move a needle-exchange program closer to your neighborh-- "Don't you dare!"

What's especially hilarious is how the article demonstrates an assumption that a desire to crack down on vagrancy and such equates to being Republican. No self-respecting San Franciscan would ever be that, of course.

San Francisco has been a "sanctuary city" for the homeless for quite some time. I recall Limbaugh discussing the issue on his radio show a number of times. The equation of "rich liberals plus the homeless" always comes out one way: "okay, you guys need to stay away from us."

Rich liberals pretend that they're egalitarian and sophisticated, but when it comes right down to it, they're even less tolerant of differences than the people they accuse of being neanderthals, bigots, racists, sexists, and homophobes. They want to look like they're tolerant of the less-fortunate, but they don't want the less-fortunate to be anywhere near their homes. Such as: "We go out to drive the kids to school,...and there's human poop between the cars."

Well? Guess what: that's what people who don't have homes do. They go wherever they can. If there's not a public restroom around, they'll find a place.

But no, that's wrong! We paid a lot of money for this condo in SF and we have rights!

How do you fix the problem? You make vagrancy a crime. I realize that doesn't fit in with your ideals of the soi disant utopian society, but in a utopia vagrancy wouldn't exist anyway. If you don't like the idea of doing that, you're going to have to accept that one price of feeling good about how egalitarian you are is that occasionally you're going to see someone throwing up on himself, and you're going to have to watch your step, and deal with panhandlers and needle-exchange programs and....

You can't have it both ways, guys, no matter what your professors in college told you. Better get used to the real world, where everything is a trade-off.

They are upset because of a problem of their own making. They don't like the solution to the problem, which is why they're in the situation in the first place.

And so I laugh at San Francisco.

#622: Send an ambulance!

McAfee sent me an email. Subject: "You're expired,..."

Uh, no.

No, I'm pretty sure I am not expired. (Never mind that ambulance.)

Now, my subscription to McAfee's "security suite of dubious utility" has expired. It came with the computer, was good for--what, three months?--and expired long ago, and I found acceptable freeware on-line to take its place.

I had to download a special utility to uninstall McAfee, but how do I uninstall my e-mail address from their stupid spam server?

Oh wait! There's a link in the e-mail! And look what I get when I click on it:

What a freaking surprise that is.

So I've done the next best thing: I added them to my "blocked senders" list.

I've discussed the shortcomings of McAfee before. In fact, I would have liked things better if it hadn't been installed on this machine in the first place. When I ordered it, I tried to de-select all the spamware/crapware/craplets/junklets that Gateway included, because I knew I would just uninstall it anyway--but of course, I couldn't order the machine without all the shitware. Gateway gets a few bucks per machine for including that stuff.

I don't want this or that MP3 player, because WinAmp is free and works perfectly. I don't want McAfee; if I was going to buy antivirus software, Norton would be my first choice--but I don't buy that software because there are plenty of free antivirus packages out there which are perfectly acceptable and don't spam your mailbox with crap. The same goes for firewall software (ZoneAlarm is the best, and free for home users) and multimedia (video) player (Media Player Classic works fine).

In fact, the only commercial software I really use--other than the OS--is MS Word and my games. To do just about everything else, I find freeware.

To make CDs I use Power2Go, which was included with the computer and apparently is (or was, anyway) the only CD/DVD authoring software which works under Vista that doesn't cost $100 per copy. I might (only "might") buy the latest version of Nero, eventually, but I recall how well version 7 worked on my last machine--it crashed if you looked at it funny--and am not inclined to risk it. In any case I dislike having to buy a new copy of the latest version of a program solely because the version I own won't work with the latest version of Windows. And "can't be patched"? Bullshit.

As for McAfee, I know what their business model is: they pay Gateway a few bucks per machine to install the BS. They don't include an uninstall program with it, and demand the user's e-mail address at first boot. That way, when the trial period expires, most people will heed the "ZOMGWTFBBQ UR COMPUTER IS GETTIN A VIRUS IF YOU DON'T RENEW" (not quite an actual McAfee e-mail subject line) spam e-mails and pay McAfee Too Much Money (tm).

They'll do it, not knowing that they don't have to; that they can uninstall the BS and use other programs. Some folks won't even understand how to find the uninstall program on-line, download it, and run it.

If I had bought that Gateway laptop Best Buy advertised at $300, I would have scrubbed the hard drive down to bare metal and reinstalled just the OS, then added this and that a la carte. And that would have taken me at least four hours to do, if not more.

But it would be better to do that than dick around with all the crapware, 'cause I can just about guarantee that I've spent at least that much time dicking around with it anyway, on this system. And I don't like to waste time on dickage.

McAfee, stick your spam where the sun doesn't shine. And stop bothering me; I'm not interested in your junk.

#623: Damn you and your fairy stories! They're smashing up my home!

That's what it sounds like.

It's 9 AM here at the bunker. The guys who are going to side the house are here, have been for an hour, and they are making many loud unpleasant noises with the sides of the house and various hand tools.

As for me, I woke up naturally around 8:30, and I've been awake since. I'm hoping they'll get the area around my room done before I have to go back to bed.

By "done" I mean they're going to pull off the shutters, rotten wood, etc, and then sheathe the house in insulating foam. The whole process will take days.

And the cats are terrified.

#624: Wow, that's fast.

...the south side of the house, the north side of the "west wing" are done. The west wall of the "west wing" is nearly finished. The porch is in progress.

The entire back of the house is yet to be started, although some insulating foam has been put up here and there.

Of course it's a work night for me and I can't sleep through all the hammering. Argh etc.

What interests me is that they even use hammers, though. I mean, the roofing guys use nailguns, which are easier, faster, and quieter than regular hammers. Put the head where you want the nail, pull the trigger, PFFT! you're ready for the next one.

Granted, nail guns require a compressor, air hoses, etc. These guys are speaking Russian or Polish or some crotobaltislavonic language. I get the idea they're a subcontractor for Sears (through whom we're having this done) and a couple bags of hammers are cheaper than all the BS you need for pneumatic tools and the tools themselves, particularly when it comes to buy professional-grade tools.

I'm not kidding; when you're using a tool to make money you don't go to Harbor Freight for it--you go to Mac or Snap-On, or you at least go find the professional-grade tools at hardware stores. You can get a pneumatic nail gun for about $80 at Harbor Freight but you'll need three of them to ensure you've got one that will work all day long at a site--so it's simpler just to buy one high-quality tool that you know will work all day, every day, without breaking. And the same thing goes for the compressor; a contractor-grade compressor is not an inexpensive item.

Hammers, on the other hand, are cheap and have no internal components. They either work, or they don't work, and if they don't work it's obvious why. And you can buy a lot of them for the price of one good air tool.

However, when it's your "night before work" and you'd like to be able to sleep, such logic is hard to come by. At least they're almost done with this side of the house, and then I should be able to grab a couple hours' sleep, anyway, before I have to get up for work.

And ear plugs only help a little when there's some guy hitting the wall with a hammer. It makes for a rather large bass drum, thud thud thud thud thud! and it makes sleep impossible. *sigh*

The house looks good though.

#625: Oh, Jimmy!

Carter sez Cheney is a "disaster".

Carter is trying to build himself a legacy that doesn't include "that guy between Ford and Reagan, he sure sucked, didn't he?"

Carter clearly belongs to the Democrat camp which believes "George Bush is a moron and Dick Cheney is calling the shots".

Hey Jimmy! Yeah, you, peanut farmer! Cheney is the vice-president, he's not running for office, and at least this administration isn't presiding over:

  • double-digit inflation
  • a huge economic recession
  • an energy crisis, including gasoline shortages and rationing
  • doing basically nothing after an act of war was perpetrated against us
  • a botched covert rescue operation attempting to rectify the latter

Comments posted after that article pretty much hit the nail on the head: Carter doesn't have the right to say anything about how this administration has handled things, much less call it the "worst in history".

#626: It's the seriousness of the charge!

If Henry Waxman (D-California) is indeed "investigating" Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin, then that's a pretty serious situation.

These guys are private citizens. If a Representative is having his staff compile information on what they say on the air, that could be construed as government bringing political pressure against someone in an attempt to squelch his freedom of expression, particularly in light of this "background" statement from "a House leadership source":
"Limbaugh isn't the only one who needs to be made uncomfortable about what he says on the radio," says a House leadership source. "We don't have as big a megaphone as these guys, but this all political, and we'll do what we can to gain the advantage. If we can take them off their game for a while, it will help our folks out there on the campaign trail."
Limbaugh is right; Democrats--when they are accusing Republicans of perfidy--have said that "the seriousness of the charge" alone is sufficient to investigate and possibly indict, regardless of how good (or bad) the evidence is.

Well, there you have it: the charge is that Waxman is trying to find a way to shut down citizens engaged in a lawful business, to wit providing political commentary as part of an entertainment program on radio. That is a really serious charge, and I think there has to be an investigation.

Looks like we're going to need a case of "gander sauce" for this one.