The Great Recession is a term that is a pun on the Great Depression of the 1930s, and is used to refer to the financial crises that started in American and later spread to the rest of the world in the late 2000′s (2007-2010). In extremely general terms, it is fair to say that The Great Recession came about because of greed and complete irresponsibility for all things sane in the financial world, especially on Wall Street.
We are entering a time of a Great “Political” Recession – one where greed and complete irresponsibility for all things sane in the political world, especially in Washington D.C. rein. The consequences will be one that could make the financial recession look minuscule in comparison and its effects will be no less global. We aren’t talking about one-off debatable issues like Obama-care , the Stimulous , or the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell “. These topics are not a testament to or the rebuff of the alleged Political Recession, but rather a consequence of. A canary in the mine , as it were.
Sure, the Political situation in Washington D.C. has been reprehensible for as long as anyone living can remember, with very few exceptions. The difference today, is the shear amount of disregard for the dangerous direction that American heading in right now. Just like the bankers’ and lenders’ complete disregard for the early warning signs of the post-dot-com bust era that showed that lending to people and organizations incapable of paying back their debt, was a bad idea, the politicians have complete disregard for the financial instability of The United States of America. In both cases, the Bankers/Lenders and the Politicians had one incentive in all that they did and do, to stay in power.
Sure I know that it is powerfully common amongst politicians and is the general rule, but unless both the Democrats and Republicans in Washington D.C don’t start leading, rather than following their own desires for power and ultimately for the White House in 2012, than America will be damaged for generations to come. That is not a cliche, but a very real possibility.
America’s debt is huge and mounting. The problem is that Republicans and Democrats have not been working together at all to combat this. They each stick to their talking points and their own agendas. Democrats want to raise the poor and Republicans want to keep the wealthy getting wealthier. While this over simplifies, it is true and dangerous at the same time. Politicians must come together and together with economists formulate a short, mid, and long term plan. They must exclude lobbyists and special interest groups because they all want to protect their little (or big) gardens. If this means increasing taxes and cutting spending – including the ever so holy benefits and military spending, than so be it! Otherwise, America faces a crises of huge proportions.
America is in the middle of a Political Recession! Politicians, the extreme right and the extreme left are holding each other hostage, all the while holding Americans hostage. Am I being naive to think for a moment that the Political parties could come together and raise taxes and cut spending in a responsible way?! Yes! But one must hope and dare to speak. Otherwise, if this Political Recession of will and ability to lead will bring about a global Depression and change the world in ways we don’t want to see. The time to act has already passed, but acting now could still save American and the world from a lot of suffering!
Today, I watched closely from afar as the iPhone 4 debuted in Hungary. I have a 3GS and enjoy it, but at the same time look at Android with feelings of longing for a time when I can move away from Apple’s Communistic Hold on all things app in their phones. Having said that, I was prepared to buy an iPhone 4 today (mainly for the retina display and the ability to FaceTime with my kids when I travel), but because of the Hype, I was denied a phone in today’s wave as they were all sold out throughout the entire country by the time I could break away from obligations to get one. This whole process made me think and I came to a couple of important conclusions.
Apple has the market cornered on Smartphone hype. There is no question about that. Each release of the iPhone is preceded with huge rumors, hype and speculation. Following each announcement, the hype grows as the release of said generation of said phone approaches. As the date of arrival of the iPhone comes close, lines begin to form and hype reaches maximum volume. And that is only in the States. This whole process repeats itself over and over again during a 3-4 month period of time in countries all over the world as the latest iPhone makes its debut in each country.
Why this is, doesn’t really matter. What is interesting is that many that are outside of or oblivious to Steve Job’s“Reality Distortion Field”, feel that this hype is at best silly, at worst a sign of serious problems and that hype just distracts one from the important things in life and that those “obsessive” people are just __________ (fill in the blank with your favorite way to describe someone who is crazy).
Those that love iPhones, iPads and all things Apple (call them fan boys and girls if you must) say that Apple just simply makes beautiful products and that it just feels good to use those products because the exterior designs are sleek and the software running the products are well thought out and work well.
The truth is that while the hype of the iPhones and iPads are, to many unrealistically grandiose and even worryingly out of proportion to reality, these products bring hope, not hype to many.
It brings a Hope that our technology can serve us and we not be subjected to our technology. Hope that our technology, gadgets, electronic work tools will be able to help us and save us time and not cost us more time to get them to do what it is we wanted them to do in the first place. Hope that technology can make the “Average Joe” feel good and not just get geeks excited. Hope that technology will just make us feel good, a pocket full of warm fuzzies if you will.
The most important is that these products bring Hope that the market will continue to improve for things that make our lives easier.
For those that wish to take part in the hype, good on ya’! For those who choose to watch from afar, don’t be agitated, but let the good times roll and know that our lives are made better, whether you own Apple or not – and that is no hype!
Sarah Palin, a polarizing American politician made waves when she was taken out of obscurity by John McCain in the 2008 Presidential Election when he made her his running mate for Vice-President. Since then, Sarah Palin has been adored by half of America and despised by half of the American electorate. The real story, however is more than that. The real story cannot be found in her rise in prominence, nor is it her recent unexpected resignation as Governor of Alaska.
The Real Story of the Palin Syndrome
While many people on both the left and the right of the political spectrum are trying to make Sarah Palin indicative of their point of view the real issue is not Sarah Palin the politician, but the severe division that she represents. Mrs. Palin symbolizes the Left’s outright discrimination and hypocracy and the Right’s inability (or unwillingness) to compromise for fear of ceding ground to the Left.
Hence the reason Mrs. Palin gleans so much attention – oddly enough to her detrament. Shear jelousy and anger on the left that a popular women politian dare be conservative (read anti-abortion) and yet a popular icon.
While the cards are stacked against het for any Presidential run in the near future, if she plays it right she will become a powerfully influential voice in American politics.
That is a question that many pundits have been trying to answer, some with logic, most with partisan spins -either way.
In reality, outside the Washington Beltway, the question itself is as good as it is flawed.
Why is the question good?
Partisans on both sides of the ailes are trying to figure out where President Obama stands. Most of the time he takes clearly left leaning positions and sometimes puts a moderate spin to them in a way that still satisfies the base, but brings in moderates and independants. But sometimes, President Obama comes out with a clearly moderate or even right wing position. The realease (or lack thereof) of the detainee photos was one recently, but another recent indident is his reversal on his position regarding Military Tribunals , by allowing them to go forward afterall.
The question is a good one on whether Obama is Liberal or Moderate, because people really want to know what to expect and knowing can assist in understanding where the President is coming from – whether one agrees or not. It helps to understand the logic of a decision and helps to have a clear view of the person who has been elected by the people of the US of A.
Why is the Question Flawed?
Partisans, especially on the right could make the case that the question is flawed, because Obama is only a moderate showman, but a Liberal politician. There is argument for that, but real reason the question is flawed, is because President Obama, hopefully is not making decisions based on politics, but for the good of the Nation and sometimes those decisions will be liberal, but sometimes they will be moderate, or even conservative. That is an extremely naive notion, but that is the President’s job. Too often, the public feels that the President is working on behalf of the Nation when his decisions jives with our own and scream that he is being partisan when the decision does not agree with us. That is wrong.
The right way and the correct question is not whether Obama is Liberal or Moderate? Rather the correct question is, does President Barack Obama have the Nation’s interest & safety at heart no matter what the politics are?
Historians will judge that in years to come. In the meanwhile, whether you like him, or you don’t, it is your responsibility as an American to support him!
Until recently, President Obama supported releasing additional photos that would have been released by the Defense Department due to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The reversal decision was just announced a few minutes ago.
This an excellent move by President Obama to call off the planned release of these photos for a number of reasons! The White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs cited a fear that releasing the photos could put U.S. troops in dangers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. He added that releasing the photos would not add anything to the investigation. While these are certainly a valid points there is, however, so much more, but the White House couldn’t expound because doing so would further irritate those on the Left.
For instance, to add on one of Mr. Gibbs’ reasons, that the release would not add anything to the investigation, it would also not anything to the debate! The world knows about the abuses and inappropriate actions taken in years past. But what is really gained from releasing them? For those on the Left, it is to reinforce and prove the incompetence of the Bush years. Wrong reason to be doing it!!
Additionally, the Left seeks to embarrass the United States and will use any method possible. That would be wrong and Obama is not letting it happen. The President is looking to the unintentional consequences that could come from releasing the photos. The ACLU and those on the Left aren’t or don’t care an ounce.
Finally, too many people on the debate on torture, on the debate of ‘enhanced interrogation methods’, or on these abuse pictures, confuse the subjects. There are actually two very distinct, but seperate issues, but the debate on how to handle each cross because one may have led to the other.
Many feel that the Bush Administrations allowance of Tortue or ‘Enhanced Interrigation Methods‘ led to the abuses of detainees at Abu Ghraib and other U.S. prisons. One will really never know, but we know that the abuses happened and they were wrong by any standard! Releasing additional photos will not change that fact.
Then there is the highly controversial Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. Many Americans feel that those methods such as water-boarding should never, ever be used under any circumstance. Others feel that the President should have the authority and he alone to be able to allow it in extreme circumstances. Again, releasing the detainee abuse photos will not help either side in the debate.
So why release the photos?! To satisfy peoples crave for more Bush blood. Not worth proverbially shedding Bush’s blood at the expense of shedding U.S. Soldiers’ blood! It is high time the ACLU begin to protect American and not their own Left Wing agenda!
At this time last week, the name Susan Boyle meant nothing to the world. In literally, a few short days, Susan Boyle, a middle-aged lady from Scotland has gained world-wide attention and fame and is loved and respected by tens of millions of people. She has become an overnight sensation before our very eyes!
For those of you who haven’t seen Ms. Boyle, on April 11, 2009 she auditioned on the English TV Show Britain’s Got Talent . Because of her plainly appearance and homely style, when she came out, the audience and judges snickered – most everyone snickered. In a uniquely touching moment for millions, however, when she began singing the snickering turned into tears, awe and applause. That is because with her crystal voice of an angel, Ms. Boyle, a middle-aged unemployed charity worker, dazzled and amazed as she sung ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from Les Miserables… with a perfect pitch and a power that could rival any singing star today.
Boyle is now making the rounds in the media, they are anxious to speak with her, because we are fascinated by her and want to get to know her better. In a recent interview on CNN she said that she won’t change her looks, “why should I?” she asked rhetorically. Then she predicted:
“I won’t be lonely, I certainly won’t be lonely anymore.”
What happened when seeing Susan Boyle performed like a star, most if not all of us were ashamed because we had judged on her looks. We saw an awkward middle-aged lady that is probably going to do some amateur trick that would be as awkward as we had ‘judged’ her to be. When we heard her sing, our first impression was replaced respect and a sense of shame for having put her in the box she had probably been placed in her entire life. Surely we will be privileged to hear her singing for many years to come, and all the while we should remember the lesson that she has taught us – to not discount someone just because they don’t look the way we think they should.
Susan Boyle, to you we say:
Thank you for reminding us that there is a little ‘Boyle’ in all of us and we are looking forward to loving you for years to come!
This week, NBC’s new police drama, ‘Southland‘ Premiered in the slot previously held by ‘ER‘ for an unprecedented 15 Seasons – until last week’s Series finale. To say that the ‘Southland’ pilot was not a good show is too simple and is not exactly accurate. The episode struggled and teetered, once or twice on boring, but saved itself in the end.
Michael Cudlitz (“A River Runs Through It”) plays John Cooper an experienced Los Angeles policeman who is assigned to train young new cop, Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie, “The O.C.”). Cooper’s straight, honest approach to the job leaves Sherman questioning whether or not he has what it takes to become a police officer.
The acting by Cudiltz and McKenzie was great, they were involved and absolutely felt the roles. The supporting actors and the script were a bit week. As is often the case with new shows, it takes a few episodes to find its groove. Southland has an extra hard task – taking over a time slot that had been the king of time slots for many years.
There is hope in this new show but they need to turn it around in a few episodes. ‘Southland’ needs to pick up the pace, get rid of the boring moments, develop the characters nicely and have great story lines. Otherwise, it will show up sick in the ER!
Afghanistan is a better place today than it has ever been and it is thanks to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Allies and the superb work and the effort each Allied Country has given to the effort. Afghanistan used to be a messed-up, warlord governed, decentralized, unstable, chaotic country and that was after the Taliban were forced from power by the US Led NATO operation against it in the wake of 9/11. But today, Afghanistan is safe because NATO came together at a critical time.
NATO Countries sent in tens of thousands of troops, specialists, trainers, engineers and a myriad of other civilian and military professionals to give Afghanistan the chance it deserved. The Allies came together, united and strong, supporting the central government in Kabul and were not afraid to put their troops in harms way, knowing full well that a united NATO would not only help defeat terrorists, Narcotics traffickers, and violent warlords in Afghanistan, but also knew that as NATO united, a global pressure would mount on Pakistan to convince them to cooperate. This has directly facilitating the capture of Usama bin Laden and hundreds of other deadly terrorists has made the world considerably safer today!
Up to this point, this blog post has been pure fiction – a fantasy! The blunt truth is that we are further away from this than ever.
Today, Afghanistan is not only hosting Taliban attacks, chaos, violence, drug crops and trafficking, but could be the place where NATO, as an Alliance and organization has come to die. There is a crises inside NATO and unfortunately it is has been severely under reported.
This writer was floored to read the exact opposite in a recent TIME Magazine Commentary from Josef Joffe entitled “Soldiering On” where Mr. Joffe asserts that NATO is doing well and is “healthy”. Quoting he says:
“So the old Lady [NATO] now celebrating her 60th birthday in fine health, should have died a long time ago”.
“In fine health”?! If NATO is in fine health, I would hate to see what it would look like if the ‘old Lady’, as he refers to NATO, were to be bedridden or ailing!
NATO’s problems started on September 12, 2001, one day after the horrendous attacks on The United States in New York City and Washington D.C. by Terrorists flying Commercial jets. While the entire world was reeling from the devastation inflicted on American, NATO came together in an unprecedented way. This writer will never forget when the then NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson issued a Press Statement announcing that Article 5 was been instated for the first time, meaning that an attach on one NATO Nation was an attack on all. I was proud to be a World Citizen and was proud of NATO and the member countries to take this stand and was confident that the fight would be relatively brief as NATO banded together in unity.
You can listen to the brief statement here.
On the subject of Afghanistan, it seems that September 12, 2001 was the first day and the last day that NATO was united. Judging by the reaction of some NATO countries, if they will ever be attacked, they will just sit and not react to the attack, nor do anything to defend themselves.
According to the most recent report on NATO in Afghanistan by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) titled, “NATO in Afghanistan: A Test of the Transatlantic Alliance” the first issue that NATO forces face in implementing their United Nations mandated Mission in Afghanistan are national “caveats”. These are restrictions that “allied governments, or parliaments, place on the use of their forces”. Quoting from the report,
“NATO commanders have long sought to minimize the number of caveats on forces dedicated to [the Security Forces in Afghanistan], an effort that has met with mixed success. In September 2006, former NATO SACEUR General James Jones expressed frustration at the limitations that some allies placed on their troops. ‘It’s not enough,’ he said, ‘to simply provide forces if those forces have restrictions on them that limit them from being effective’ “.
The report specifically notes that in addition to The United States, Britain and Canada have provided substantial support, as has Poland with increasing commitments from France. Other countries’ support have been limited, restricted, or withdrawn.
For years, pundits and political commentators have been saying that the US’ primary stumbling block to obtaining greater support from other European and NATO countries was President Bush and the Bush Administration’s stance and attitude, especially stemming from Iraq.
Just in the last few days, this theory has been proven wrong. On President Obama’s first trip to Europe, he tried to obtain pledges for greater support in Afghanistan from NATO Allies and was not successful. So it wasn’t the Bush Administration after all!
Success in Afghanistan would not only benefit The United States, but the entire world – failure will not only hurt The United States, but the entire world. It is imperative that more countries step up and provide more than “caveats”. Germany’s recent commitment of 150 personnel to train is absurd and their attitude that is shown by that “commitment” is dangerous. The United States must be more aggressive in pointing that out to other countries – going as far as threatening to withdrawal from NATO if other countries do not give substantial, unrestricted support to the effort against the War in Afghanistan.
If the U.S. can succeed in garnering more support, then the fantasy of a successful operation in Afghanistan would become reality. Otherwise, NATO will be rendered useless and insignificant and the world much more dangerous place than it is today – that is reality!
The world is desperately searching for more blogs, more words, and more thoughts and I am here to give the world exactly what it is looking for!
Okay, so that is not true. One could certainly make the case that the last thing the world needs is another blog. I however, make the case, that this blog is one of the type that the world needs. I will spend the next days, weeks, and months giving you the opportunity to test my theory.
Not only is the first paragraph of this post inaccurate, but actually the title is as well. A ‘re-launch’ would imply that this blog had been operating before and is being launched again. While it is true that I had written a couple dozen posts back in 2007, I didn’t keep up. This time, I will provide content that will be enjoyable to some and good material for many.
While my prime topics, Politics and Technology are broad, I will give my perspective on some topics that on the face are narrow in nature. For instance, I will most certainly be covering Hungarian politics in the coming weeks. On the face, to those that don’t have direct interest, connection, or knowledge of Hungary, that could seem like a powerfully boring topic. Stay with me anyway, because I will enlightening aspects of it, that are applicable to us all.
I will also be providing Special Coverage of broad and narrow topics. I had started doing so in 2007. I will not continue those because they have become outdated, but I will enhance the pattern I started.
To sum it all up, I will be providing an unusual mix of Tech and Politics from an unusual American-centered, European Centric perspective with a dash of religion that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere! All at the same time, I will challenge you, your thinking, and give pause to some.
If you read this blog regularly, you will learn some things. If you comment, I will learn many!
That will be a Teddism and I invite you along for the ride.
As I have had a number of blog-worthy confrontations with technology lately a question keeps coming to mind: is technology working for us or against us? This is part 1 of a 3 part series entitled, “Technology: Is it Working for Us or Against Us?”.
At the beginning of September 2007, I suffered the loss of my laptop and naturally I blogged about it. The time came to make a decision that I had been contemplating for a long time: Do I buy another HP (a high end configured HP Pavillion 9500 to be exact)? Or do I buy a MacBook Pro? At the time we knew that Leopard was coming soon. I made the decision that since the MacBook Pro was more expensive and a slightly weaker machine than what my HP Configuration would be, and since Leopard wasn’t out yet, I’d buy the HP. First, however, there was one stipulation! It had to have the ability to go back to XP in case my software wouldn’t run on Vista. I was equally fearful, because I know a number of people do not like Vista.
I called HP, went through the needed configuration that I would need, got the price, got a good discount ($500) because the last 4 laptops I bought were all HP. This made my HP almost $1,000 less expensive than a MacBrook Pro would have been. The clincher was when I asked the representative if I could replace Vista with XP if it doesn’t work out for me. The representative did not know and he had to ask his supervisor. The gist is that the answer I got was, and I quote:
“Sir, if you need to replace Vista with XP after receiving your laptop, please call us back and we will help you do that!
Fast forward a few days – my laptop arrives. I turn it on, set it up and promptly install my most critical business software As I feared, during installation, the installation crashed – it was not Vista compatible. (Before you ask, I also tried to run it in XP mode and that did not help). I talked to the makers of the software and they have no immediate plans to make a Vista compatible version. No worries though, I’ll just call HP and with their help install Windows XP.
After two hours on the phone, the same person who had promised help to install XP, had to admit that he had lied. I accused him of just saying what I wanted to hear to make the sale. Furthermore, HP informed me multiple times along the way, that if I install XP, I will void my warranty. If I don’t like that, I can certainly return the unit for a full refund.
I have solved my problem with virtualization because the laptop and I are now in Europe and I didn’t want to go through the procedure and I wanted to move on.
While Vista has many issues (some of mine are listed here), that is okay because so did previous versions of Windows when they were released. My biggest issue with Vista, though, is that Vista is being forced on the consumer! In a CNET Forum, The Buzz Out Loud Lounge, I’ve been involved with a discussion thread along this line. It started with a forum member ranting that people complain too much about Vista and that previous versions had problems too.
While I agree with the basic premise of his argument, I maintain that with previous versions of Windows consumers were able to purchase machines for a long time with the previous versions. Now, however, if I don’t want Vista, than the only other choice is to buy a Mac (Linux, while an excellent Operating System, is not an option the average consumer would consider right now). If someone wants a Microsoft box, they have to buy Vista and therefore has no choice. That is not right!
Microsoft has done the consumer and consequently itself a great disservice by forcing Vista on us.
To answer the question we started with: At Microsoft, technology is working against us – especially with Vista!