April 14th, 2011

#2672: There's an awful lot of linkeration today

A lot of it has to do with the budget non-cuts which the ruling class is attempting to spin as "significant".

Actual real cuts total only $352 million.

Budget : $3,800,000,000,000
Deficit: ..$1,500,000,000,000
The cut: ...........$352,000,000

So we're cutting spending by 0.0092% of the total federal budget. Oh boy! We're really being tough on federal spending, aren't we? Hot damn! We're on our way to a balanced budget!

All we have to do is cut that much every year, and we'll get to a balanced budget!

...in 6272 AD.

Boehner's office is spinning it. "It will compound!"

Doubleplusundead says, "[G]o FUCK yourselves. The whole fucking lot of you can get fucked. This isn’t just bullshit, it’s a fucking stick in the eye to everyone that put your worthless ass in power." (Emphasis theirs.)

National Review Online: "Strike one!"

Mark Steyn also at NRO. He points out that, "in its own way" it's "kind of impressive".

It's impressive the same way that a skilled pickpocket is: you have to admire the mastery of technique, even while you're canceling your credit cards and going through all the bullshit of getting your IDs reissued and buying a new watch.

But this isn't what we voted for, and you can bet that in 2012 the Republicans will all be standing around with their jaws slack in shock, wondering, "What happened?"

* * *

Unemployment rises--get ready for it--UNEXPECTEDLY!

* * *

So in the wake of the budget battle, old Obomber gets up and gives a speech about how we have to start showing "fiscal responsibility", which--coming from a Democrat--always means "we're going to raise taxes now."

There's a WSJ editorial about Obama's speech yesterday. "Mr. Obama then packaged his poison in the rhetoric of bipartisanship—which 'starts,' he said, 'by being honest about what's causing our deficit.'"

What's causing our deficit? Runaway spending. The supposed "one-time" stimulus of $800 billion somehow got rolled into the regular federal budget.

Okay, in 2008, when Bush was President, we had a budget deficit of $455 billion dollars, and that was just the most awful thing ever. It was profligate! It was unsustainable! We had to cut spending immediately, and we had to do it by stopping the effort in Iraq and bringing the troops home, because that war was costing us too much money!

Two years after Obama took the oath of office (twice, because repeating after someone is harder than it looks) our budget deficit is more than three times the deficit in 2008; the wars continue--including a new one!--the spending continues, the economy is in the shitter...and no one cares. Now that a Democrat is in the White House, it no longer matters what the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and now Libya, too) cost. There is absolutely no room for cuts in the federal budget!

All we can possibly do now is raise taxes.

* * *

Alan Caruba predicts a fiscal train wreck.

Anyone with half a brain knows we can't continue to run deficits like this ad infinitum. The Democrats don't care; obviously the Republicans don't care, either. You wold think at least the party of low taxes would, but they don't...and of all people it takes Nancy Pelosi to spell it out for us.
More significant, I think, is the admission that she and her "Republican friends" "have shared values about the education of our children, the growth of our economy, how we defend our country, our security and civil liberties, how we respect our seniors." Meaning there is little disagreement about government controlled education, regulation of industry, social security, "national security" (which for both parties seems to involve eliminating civil liberties as rapidly as we allow), etc. That’s right--it turns out that between Nancy and the minority-repressing grandma-starving corporate-slave Republicans, there really hasn’t been that much conflict of ideology when it comes to the business of ruling over the little people.
Hard to argue the point, isn't it, when the GOP isn't bothering to fight for any spending cuts at all?

* * *

The last paragraph in this Hot Air post makes the point that Obama's budget proposal (such as it is) reduces the total debt in 2021 by $4 trillion...but that the current projections for total debt in 2021 are $26 trillion.

So with Obama's plan, we'll only owe $22 trillion instead.


* * *

I know a lot of people on my side of the aisle are getting very wound up over this; it's impossible not to. I mean, if we wanted the Democrats in power, we would have voted for them.

I'm pretty honked off myself, but I'm not as honked off as others are simply because I expected this. I knew what was going to happen; I predicted it in October of last year:

#2374: "Oh, Ed, don't soil yourself!"

And the day before the election:

#2379: So the election is tomorrow.

Why would the Republican leadership change? There were all kinds of warning signs coming from the top, stories about how the leadership wanted to place "experienced" staffers with the incoming freshmen, how the guys at the top weren't going to allow the "upstarts" to control party policy--and the voters be damned!

Michael Steele was head of the party for how long? The guy was practically a Democrat. And all of this came after years of "compassionate conservatism" which is, at its core, code for "Democrat Lite". George Bush championed and signed the largest expansion of federal education spending in history, and it does not take a Yale graduate to understand that the Department of Education is not exactly a conservative stronghold.

Under the GOP, spending continued to increase, and none of them was willing to fight for serious tax cuts even when they controlled Congress and the White House. The last time there was any conservative leadership in the party was 1995-1996, when Newt Gingrich was speaker. And even that was considerably less than ideal, considering the liberal anus in the White House at the time.

Spending money is how Congress exerts power. Of course the GOP isn't going to relinquish any of that power. Why would it? They worked so hard to get it!

They'll cloak it in high-sounding rhetoric and they'll tap-dance around the issue, but that's really the core of the problem: spending money is power and they don't want to give up any. And if it means driving the country to fiscal ruination, so be it.

* * *

Big plane hits little plane. No injuries or fatalities; just two broken airplanes. But there's a security cam video at the end which shows the collision, and you can see the difference in mass between the two planes by how the smaller jet is tossed around.

That's the only reason I linked it; the video's kind of interesting.

* * *

PC sales in the toilet.

I think we've finally hit a point at which the hardware has comfortably outstripped our capability for clogging it with bloatware. It's still possible for a company to generate a piece of software which will choke a four-core processor running at 3 GHz, but even Microsoft is having trouble doing that these days.

And then I read the article, and--lo and behold!--"'While it's tempting to blame the decline completely on the growth of media tablets, we believe other factors, including extended PC lifetimes and the lack of compelling new PC experiences, played equally significant roles,' Bob O'Donnell, IDC vice president, said in the release." (Emphasis mine.)

That means that there's no compelling reason to upgrade to a faster machine when everything you do runs satisfactorily on the old clunker.

Hell: I'm running WoW on a dual-core machine that cost $600 in 2007. I have put perhaps another $200 or so into memory and a better video card subsequent to that, but it's still a computer that's four years old. (As of March 10th, in fact.)

In 2007, this machine replaced one that was six years old. Nothing I did on the computer--at the time--needed more horsepower than a P3 running at 1 GHz couldn't handle; mainly I was getting sick of certain web sites chunking badly (Flash stuff, mainly) and I figured six years was a long time to keep using a computer.

Heck, my Mom's computer was vintage 1998 and she got along fine with that. It's slower than molassess on Pluto, but it does what she needed it to do.

...so it's not terribly surprising that the PC industry is seeing a slowdown when we're experiencing the worst economy since the 1930s.

* * *

I finally faded out last night about 8 PM, after waiting for #2 to call me back.

I don't know about all this.

One of the things that really, really worries me about this entire situation is the expectations the owner of the place has taken great pains to lay out for me. He tells me he doesn't want to hire a CNC/robotics technician; "we don't need that." He wants someone who can develop new ways of using robots to do the things they currently have people doing--and when I suggested "you mean, R&D," he rejected that. (I don't know what else to call it.)

I can't get a handle on what he expects of me, other than "work hard". I feel like I am being set up with an impossible situation, where if I don't arrive and immediately demonstrate the ability to fundamentally transform their manufacturing paradigm, I'm out the door.

How I am supposed to be able to demonstrate that kind of ability in two weeks, I don't know. If I were a guru like Og, I could. But I'm entry level. (I'm pretty sure they wouldn't want to pay a guru a proper full-time guru wage, anyway.)

His son, on the other hand, told me at the interview that one of my functions is going to be a backup for their (current) sole robotics/CNC guy. I suppose that--for the first year, anyway--those two goals are not mutually exclusive, since I have to learn what that guy knows in order to be able to do robotic manufacturing process R&D.

The worst part is, once the owner decides a phone call is over, you can't keep him on the phone; so at the end of the call I try to ask a question or just thank him for his time--and simply get, "Goodbye," and a click.

It all leaves me feeling jittery about the entire thing. Some of it is nerves, of course, but not all; I intensely dislike walking into a situation like this where I am going to have to perform at maximum level but no one will define the conditions for success. Especially when I'm in a critical situation where if I blow this, I'm fucked.

Then people wonder why I'm not happy and excited.

* * *

But I have 11 more days to straighten that out, so WTF.

* * *

Yesterday's weather was beautiful. I think it hit 65 here; it was comfortable with the windows open, so I turned the thermostat way down and let the house ventilate a bit. When the sun started setting, I closed the windows, but left the thermostat where it was; when I got up this morning it was 65 inside the house.

When it hits 65 at the thermostat, usually it's colder elsewhere. I bumped it back to 69; but unless I miss my guess I won't need to run the heater much longer this year.

All this nice weather means I'll be cutting the grass soon; probably this coming weekend. Could be worse.

#2673: The anime playlist

It's been a few days since I last watched anything. In fact, Sunday was the last session.

Today's playlist:
Rio-Rainbow Gate
Infinte Stratos
Kaichou wa Maid-sama
Fairy Tail
Kimi ni Todoke s2
As promised, Rio--Rainbow Gate is pretty stupid--that much is obvious even after only one ep--but the fan service is good. Pururuun for the win!

Infinite Stratos looks like it might be pretty entertaining.

Maid-sama I have discussed before and I'm about 60% of the way through it.

Fairy Tail continues the Erza-centric arc (which is probably better referred to as the "Paradise Tower" arc).


First, watching the first episode (ep 1, I mean, not "ep 0", which was all about Kurumi) felt like I was spending time with old friends. Second, I was smiling throughout it, just like with the first season.

WHY did they only do 12 episodes? Whaa.

* * *

Today was pretty frustrating.

After I got Mom's taxes done, I came home and sent my brother and sisters an e-mail about the situation. Nobody bothers to reply to my e-mail or call or anything for four days; and then suddenly it's a big emergency and I have to drive up to my brother's place this weekend to pick up a check so we can pay the taxes on time.

And I'm the bad guy when I suggest that my brother or sister in law go to their bank and do a wire transfer, instead of making me waste four hours and $50 in gasoline.


* * *

Well, I made beef stroganoff, and I don't know WTF is the problem. It's just not as good as it was the first few times I made it. I made it correctly this time (following the recipe I got from wherever the hell it was) yet it came out...wrong. Not as good.

Then again, the crock pot is leaking water.

I don't mean the contents of the pot leak out; I mean that water is coming out of the thing's interior, and I don't understand how it got there. I never immersed the thing; I did fill it with water and let it soak for about five days--after the first time I made this stuff--in order to get some burned-on crap off the ceramic. But is glazed ceramic porous? Can water migrate through it?

When cooking, I use those disposable plastic liners that Reynolds makes, and they haven't leaked, so the liquid isn't coming from that.

Anyway, I guess that means that the crock pot is no longer all that good a crock pot, so I'll probably end up tossing it and getting a new one.

...as if I don't have enough to worry about.

* * *

I was up this morning at 7:30; and I think I'm going to be hitting the hay relatively soon, because I'm feeling pretty tired.

After reading the last post's fretting about the new job, Og sent me a note which started, "You need to chill out." Well, I'm not taking Paxil and Xanax because I like drugs. Heh.

Anyway, around all the family bullshit and the other nonsense, I got Ormus past the 83rd level mark, and got a nifty ring from the guild bank for 200 GP that has some nice bonuses.

* * *

So while looking for pictures of Erza I found this one:

Look at the image name: "Erza_enjoying_the_sunset_by_Zagtul.png".

The place I saw this posted, the guy who posted it ("Zagtul", I guess) said it took him 24 hours to create this image. I was impressed by how well this image matched the anime production character design for Erza.

...until I saw ep 33 of Fairy Tail and saw a pan cel that looked suspiciously identical to that image, only with a background. Sample:

In other words, the guy didn't create anything; all he did was do a screencap and then Photoshop out the background, and maybe alter the colors a bit.

It always bothers me when people take credit for creating something they basically lifted from someone else. It's not a bad job of Photoshopping; why can't he just say, "I screencapped this and cleaned it up"? (Also, somehow I doubt it took him 24 hours of work to make this image.)

For cripes' sake, if you're going to plagiarize something, can you at least not be so frickin' obvious about it? Jeeze.

* * *

Oh yeah, it's 8 PM and I'm fading fast. Time for bed, I guess.