Category Archives: Opinion

Telemann Concerto for 3 oboes and 3 violins B flat major (c. 1740)

(Originally posted on 2016-05-06)

This video is from The Academy of Ancient Music. It’s Telemann, so it’s baroque. If like baroque music then you need to check it out, if not, then you really need to check it out.

It’s awesome. It has melodies that simultaneously create chords (not harmonizing, separate melodies, on separate instruments).

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Proof Of Citizenship Is Not Trivial For My Child

(Originally posted on Nov 25, 2015 as /archives/10617)

This is from Episode 10 of “The Newsroom” by Aaron Sorkin. In it, Jeff Daniels, as Will McAvoy, takes on the Tea Party.

In it he says, among other things:

Dorothy Cooper is a 96 year old resident of Chattanooga Tennessee and has been voting for the last 75 years.  This year, she has been told she can’t.  A new law in Tennessee requires residents to show a government issued photo ID in order to vote.  Dorothy Cooper doesn’t have a driver’s license, because Dorothy Cooper doesn’t have a car. Dorothy Cooper doesn’t have a passport; a vacation abroad was never in her future.

In Kansas It’s Far Worse

In Kansas we need to show proof of citizenship to vote, and to get a driver’s license: not just ID.

If you are a US citizen, then your child becomes a US citizen as soon as they become legal residents. The combination of your proof of citizenship, your adoption papers, and their proof of residence is proof of citizenship.

However: in my experience government employees are not familiar with this law, and do not know how to read this law, and will demand that you produce the Certificate of Citizenship for foreign born adopted children.

In Kansas, in order to get a learner’s permit, so that my child can drive, required me to educate four levels of management at our DMV. It escalated to the highest level. It took many hours of time, over a couple of days of time, to get this done. That’s with extremely helpful people. If they weren’t so helpful, it would have gone much worse.

Natural born citizens can use a birth certificate, but it costs $550 for any person that is already a US citizen, but wasn’t born in the USA, to get citizenship papers.

In our case naturalization was automatic when my daughter was adopted by her American mother. INS doesn’t automatically provide proof of citizenship for adopted children, but adopted children are naturalized citizens. It was very difficult to convince the DMV though: I needed to convince four levels of management that a foreign birth certificate, and adoption papers, are proof of citizenship, because of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. (Ironically, Sam Brownback’s children have the same status.)

My child, who is a US citizen cannot vote without that $550 piece of paper, because: Sam Brownback.

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Here is the video.

Here is the transcript. I copied it from DAILY KOS, and they copied it from the video:

Good Evening, I’m Will McAvoy.  Today is Monday, August 8 [2011].

And this past Friday, for the first time ever, Standard and Poor’s downgraded the credit rating of the US Treasury.  You would think that would be tonight’s top story.  Or you might think it would be the Dow closing down 634 points on its worst day of trading in 3 years.   Or the austerity riots in Europe.  Or any statements of the Republican candidates running for president. Or the President himself.  But it’s not.

Tonight’s top story is a woman named Dorothy Cooper.  

Dorothy Cooper is a 96 year old resident of Chattanooga Tennessee and has been voting for the last 75 years.  This year, she has been told she can’t.  A new law in Tennessee requires residents to show a government issued photo ID in order to vote.  Dorothy Cooper doesn’t have a driver’s license, because Dorothy Cooper doesn’t have a car. Dorothy Cooper doesn’t have a passport; a vacation abroad was never in her future.

Tennessee isn’t alone.  At this moment,  33 states have proposed or already adopted the same voter id laws that have disqualified Dorothy Cooper from the one fundamental thing that we all do as Americans.  It’s estimated that 11% or roughly 20 million people don’t have government issued voter ids and will be disenfranchised this November.   Why?  To crack down on the terrible problem of voter fraud.  Governor Rick Perry of Texas, who is about to enter the presidential primary race, is serious about cracking down on the problem:

>Video of Perry:  “Making sure that there is not fraud, making sure that someone is not manipulating that process makes all the sense in the world to me.”<

Me too.  Because voter fraud is such a huge problem that during a five year period in the Bush Administration, when 196 million votes were cast, the number of cases of voter fraud reached…86.   Not 86,000.  86.  Here’s what that number looks like as a percentage of votes cast.  .00004%.  Four one hundred thousandths of a percent.  This would be called a solution without a problem, but it’s not.  It’s just a solution to a different problem.  

Republican’s have a hard time getting certain people to vote for them.  So life would be a lot easier if certain people just weren’t allowed to vote at all.  I’m ashamed to say that 32 out of the 33 voter id laws were proposed by Republican legislators,  and passed by Republican controlled statehouses.  And signed into law by Republican governors.   I am not ashamed to say that I, however, am a Republican.  And that brings us to tonight’s second story.

I’m what the leaders of the Tea Party would call a RINO:  Republican in Name Only.  And that’s ironic because that’s exactly what I think about the leaders of the Tea Party.   Because the most conservative Republicans today…aren’t Republicans.  

Republicans believe in a prohibitive military.  We believe in a common sense government.   And that there are social programs enacted in the last half century that work but that there are way too many costing way too much, that don’t.  We believe in the rule of law and order and free market capitalism.  The Tea Party believes in loving America but hating Americans.  Tea Party Congressman  Allen West of Florida.  

>Video of West:  I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama bumper sticker, I recogonize them as a threat to the gene pool. <

 They believe in loving America, but hating its government.  Conservative activist, Grover Norquist.

>Video of Norquist:  I don’t want to abolish government,  I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub. <

And they believe that anybody who disagrees with the Tea Party has sinister anti-American motives.  

>Video of Herman Cain:  The objective of the liberals is to destroy this country.  The objective of the liberals is to make America mediocre.  <

Most of all, you must never, under any circumstance, seek  to reach a compromise with your opponent.  Or do any of what Democrats and genuine Republicans both call ‘governing.’  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:

>Vidieo of McConnell:  Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.<

And one other plank in the Tea Party platform.  If you are poor, it means that you are either too lazy or too stupid to be rich.  Here’s Andre Bauer, Tea Party Leader and the Lt. Governor of South Carolina [McAvoy read’s Bauer’s words] :  My grandmother was not a highly educated woman but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals.  You know why?  Because they breed.”

It’s almost hard to believe that Republicans can’t get Dorothy Cooper to vote for them.

During Tea Party rallys and in campaign speeches, we’ve been told that America has been founded as a Christian nation and if the founding fathers were here today, they’d tell us so.  Here’s John Adams in the treaty of Tripoli:  “As the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.”  And here’s Thomas Jefferson:  “…that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions.”  And here’s the first amendment to the US Constitution:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

What’s more frightening than the perversion of our great history is that sensible strong smart Republicans, the very men and women who should be standing up to radical fundamentalism, are so frightened in losing primary battles to religious zealots that they’ve thrown in the towel on sanity.  So we get this:

>Video of John McCain:  Yes, that the constitution established the United States as a Christian nation.<

It’s ironic because the biggest enemy of the phony Republican isn’t Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid or Hillary Clinton or Barak Obama.  It’s this man.  [image of Jesus Christ].  He said ‘Heal the sick.  Feed the hungry.   Care for the weakest among us.  And always pray in private. ‘  

On screen behind McAvoy while he reads:
–    Ideological  purity
–    Compromise as weakness
–    A fundamentalist belief in scriptural literalism
–    Denying science
–    Unmoved by facts
–    Undeterred by new information
–    A hostile fear of progress
–    A demonization of education
–    A need to control women’s bodies
–    Severe xenophobia
–    Tribal mentality
–    Intolerance of dissent
–    A pathological hatred of the US government

They can call themselves the Tea Party.  They can call themselves Conservatives.   And they can even call themselves Republicans.  Though Republican’s certainly shouldn’t.  But we should call them what they are:  The American Taliban.  And the American Taliban cannot survive if Dorothy Cooper is allowed to vote.  

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My KISS Story

(Originally posted on 2016-06-08)

By Alberto Cabello from Vitoria Gasteiz (KISS) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I went to see KISS at the Glens Falls Civic Center in the 1980s. My seat was on the floor (where the hockey ice would be) way in the back, the seats in front of me were roped-off and watched by security. This kid walks up to the security guard and starts messing with him. While he is harassing the guard he looks at me and says, “What are you waiting for? Go!” So I go up to the stage.

When the concert starts I get crushed by bodies, but I know all these KISS songs, because I used to play them on bass; Robert Pulsifer, a guitarist, made sure that I knew them. So Gene is in front of me, and I am doing air-bass identical to what he is doing. All the people around me push back, and give me room (weird), and now I can really pretend to be Gene Simmons right in front of him. He is singing and watching my hands. Between songs they switch places, but before-going he leans over the bouncer pit and flicks his tongue at me.

That’s what KISS fans were like. They will crush you to get closer to the band, unless you need room. Also, they will mess-with-security for a stranger.

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So that’s what a tank slapper is…

(Originally posted on 2007-06-21 as /archives/22)

I experienced my first tank slapper on 2007-06-20.  That’s when a harmonic instability causes the handlebars to swap from side-to-side as far as they can go (AKA full lock).  I purchased a Suzuki SV650SA7 one month earlier (2007-05-19), and I already have over 1200 miles on it.   Anyway, I was coming out of the parking lot on the NE corner of Iowa and 23rd in Lawrence, KS after lunch.  These cars were coming at me pretty fast so I wanted to accelerate out-of-there.  I gunned it while I was leaned over.  First the rear wheel starts spinning, or I hit a false neutral, or who knows what (VROOOOOOM), and then the handlebars are doing a high speed dance (JIGGY-JIGGY-JIGGY), and left foot comes of the peg.  Afraid?  HAH!  Danger is my middle name!  Embarrassed?  You bet.

Here is a video of a tank slapper that looked like mine:

Here is a much-worse-ending one:

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Find Your Next Job Online: Even In A Recession

(Originally posted on Apr 20, 2009 as /archives/2531)

I had this experience back during the dot-bomb bust. Obviously I need to paraphrase here, because this conversation happened long ago.

By Tulane Public Relations (Career Day Uploaded by AlbertHerring) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Recruiter:

“How are you doing your online job search?”

I then describe how I search for positions via friends, Monster, etc.

Recruiter:

“That will never work. Those ‘known’ positions potentially have hundreds of applicants. It doesn’t matter how good you are. There are just too many other applicants.

Here is how I find potential applicants. One of my clients contacts me directly to fill a position. These are typically not positions that are widely advertised. My client wants to interview a small number of highly qualified people. I go to one of these Web sites (she then shows me Monster).

Then I search on the keywords that are in the job description, the potential applicant’s location, etc. Then I contact the folks on the first page. I am almost always able to fill the position for someone near the top of my search results.

So, the most effective way for you to find a position is to be on that first page. You don’t look for positions, because too many other people are applying for those very same positions. You simply position yourself so that I can find you.

See this? The results near the top were edited recently. Make a resume. Put it on here.

Put all the technologies that you know on it, and update it every single day, even if you simply add a space somewhere. Editing it every day puts it near the top of the search results. This advice will help other recruiters find you. In the meantime I will see if any of my clients need you now.”

Needless to say, this turned everything upside down. My job wasn’t to look for a job. My job was to market myself.


The advice above eventually generated many leads over the next ten years: long after I stopped updating my resume online. So this plan did work.

That said, you never know where your next offer will come from. I met a Walmart recruiter at a Diversity Job Fair during the dot-bomb implosion.

The Dallas Metro area lost over 78,000 IT and Telecom jobs during the 12 month period prior. Many of those folks were at this job fair.

There were two extremely out-the-door lines to the only two tech companies present, and a lot of empty booths for non-tech companies.

One of the tech companies was interested in applicants with flight simulator engineering experience. The other said, “Go to our Web site. We are not taking resumes.” O… K… I was near the start of the line, so I let others know what I learned, and I heard a lot of, “Thanks, now I don’t have to waste anymore time here” in response.

So, I introduced myself to a Walmart recruiter at her empty booth, because why not? She took one look at me and said, “I am not recruiting computer programmers. I am recruiting night stockers in Dallas for the holiday season.” I reply with, “That’s OK I was a Night Stocker at Ames Department Stores. I like retail, and I like stocking shelves. Also, I would like to move to Bentonville Arkansas to be a computer programmer.” She took my resume, told me that she would bring it home, and give it to a tech recruiter. That led to the highest paid position that I have held.

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Loud Parties, Playing the Bass

(Originally posted on 2016-05-29)

Author: Ethan Prater Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eprater/4380249444/ CC License: Attribution 2.0 Generic
Author: Ethan Prater
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eprater/4380249444/
CC License: Attribution 2.0 Generic

The guy below me (at 30 Larnard St, Potsdam NY, in the early 90s), had a loud party, and played metal and classic rock records, real loud. Did he invite me? No.

Kids: if you are going to have a loud party, then you always invite the neighbors. In most cases they won’t come, but they will appreciate it, and they won’t call the police. Here endeth the lesson.

So I invited myself by plugging in my bass amp, and playing along with all of the songs. He eventually turned it down.

Did that end it? Not exactly: this started to become a regular thing, but at least he turned it down much quicker.

So one day his girlfriend stops me in the store, and says, “Hey, you’re the guy that lives above us. Every time that we have people visit, my boyfriend turns up the stereo, and then lowers the volume so that he can show everyone how you play the bass!”

All righty then…

 

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