Top Of My Head

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Not Invented Here

I just finished reading the entire archive for the webcomic, Not Invented Here.  The comic is the standard at work comic, but with very unstandard humor and inventiveness.  The two main characters are Owen and Desmond.  Owen is your typical clueless project manager and Desmond is a developer.  They are supported by a cast of characters including a robot (Marketroid) as the head of marketing.  If you ever wondered about software development, this comic is a much funnier way of describing the process.  If you're in software development, you will see your co-workers in every frame.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Question for Arizonia

Governor Brewer and Senator John McCain keep claiming that AZ has the second highest kidnapping rate in the world. Governor Brewer has even claimed that headless bodies have been found out there in the desert wilds. (A story for which she has no proof, I might add.)

Here's my question -- pay attention -- it's a good one: Why would any American consider, even for a moment, taking a vacation to Arizona when the Governor of the state and one of its respected Senators has basically announced that the state is full of lawless illegal immigrants and, because of them, people are not safe? Where would you like to spend your vacation money: some place safe, like, say Maine or in the wild, wild west of Arizona where you'll be lucky to come home outside of a body bag?

Why would you advertise your home state that way?

Hey, I had no plans to visit Arizona this year nor next year, so it really doesn't matter to me. However; I'm sure a lot of people do have or are making plans to go there. Based on what I know about Arizona, the state takes in a lot of tourism dollars, so why would you want to discourage tourism? Especially, when you offer no proof of your claims?

It seems pretty hokey to me. Is this just so Brewer and McCain can win their respective elections come November?

Or, have they been sitting too long in the Arizona sun and they are suffering from heat stroke?

Just asking.

American Family Association

I'm not sure just how this happened, but I have been placed on the so-called American Family Association email list.  This morning, I received one of their hate-filled emails denouncing the funding for the high-risk insurance group in the state of Pennsylvania.  Not does the AFA want to stop the funding because they claim women can obtain abortions with the insurance, they want to roll back what they refer to as Obamacare.

Well, I was going to remove myself from their mailing list and then I thought - wait, let's see the email they want me to send to my representatives in Washington.  So, I went to the email and thought - I can change the text.  Let's change the text and have the AFA send out the email that I would support.

So, I was thinking, if I can do it -- then everyone can do it.

I encourage all of my readers to go to the AFA website and sign up for their emails.  When you get asked to send an email, send one - on their dime and using their resources, but change the text to match how you feel.

Is it ethical, no probably not.  But, sometimes, as I posted yesterday - I'm just a little shit.

Have a great American Day!

What happened to Andy Taylor?

This past Sunday, Cheryl and I watched a bunch of the old "Andy Griffith Show" episodes on TV Land.  They were all from the first season.  Andy doles out advice to young and old.  Andy puts two young lovers on the path to martial bliss by stopping the feud between their fathers.  Andy teaches Opie about character and how when you give your word, you need to stand by it.
And, just watching these old black and white shows made me wonder just what happened to Andy Taylor?  Why don't we see sitcoms on TV where the parents teach their children right from wrong? Why don't we see sitcoms where the fathers are more than cartoonish men who fail at life, love and fatherhood?
I realize that society never was like Mayberry.  I realize that many children are being raised in fatherless homes and 50% of marriages end in divorce.  I do pay attention to what goes on in the world.
But, don't our children, who spend more time watching TV than playing catch, deserve to see stand up guys on TV as fathers?
Where else is a fatherless boy going to find a good role model? (Yes, Dad, I know there's still the Boy Scouts.)
Where is a child with a bad father going to learn what a father should be?
When I was a kid, we had to be home at six to eat dinner.  It wasn't until I reached my teens that I discovered that not all families gathered around the dinner table and ate their evening meal together.  It was a shock to my system.
I realize that life has changed since 1960 - the year the Andy Griffith Show premiered.  I know that women no longer wear dresses and stay at home.  I get that, but did we have to sacrifice the stand up sitcom dads, like Andy Taylor, to have progress?
Someone please bring back Andy Taylor next fall.  That's a show I would watch.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Furthia High

I just wanted to say thanks to Furthia High - our new sponsor.  There's one spot left.

The Out4Immigration Blog

On July 13th, I wrote a blog regarding H.R. 1024 - Uniting American Families Act of 2009 and I encouraged all of my readers to make a difference and write their Congressional Representatives. On July 14th, I noticed that I have a comment from one of the members at The Out4Immigration Blog. They are a grassroots organization trying to make a difference in the lives of gays and lesbians who are affected by the ridiculous laws that do not allow a gay partner to sponsor their immigrant spouse. They're calling for people to sign their petition. Please take the time to not only check out their website, but to sign the petition.

Disappointing Paul Ryan Response

See the picture?  That's an untouched copy of an actual email I've received from Paul Ryan's office. (If you click on the image, you can see a larger size.) And, I'm disappointed.  I don't know if it is a change in staff or what has happened, but his response used to be better than this.  I'm used to receiving a letter from him that at least names the legislation I've written about.  I contacted him 3 times in the last week.  Once regarding H.R. 1024 - Uniting American Families Act of 2009, once on a recent vote on extending unemployment (I forget the #) and once on gay marriage. This is the response I get? This is highly unusual for Paul Ryan to not give a detailed response. 

I do realize that I'm not his most important constituent, but I am surprised that his answer didn't at least name the legislation. 

I'm very disappointed right now.  I truly am.

Do you think he or a member of his staff has read my blog and realized I won't be voting for him come November?  But, if they did read my blog, you'd think they'd realize I'd blog about his answer.

I believe

I am a centralist lesbian who is liberal in social views and fiscally conservative.

I believe that if you work hard, you can achieve the American Dream.  

I believe that we were lied to at the start of the War In Iraq and I believe that now we're in a huge mess over there that will end up causing more terrorism in the world.  

I believe that the huge tax cuts for the rich and corporations, that started until Ronald Reagan in the 1980's, proved to be ultimately bad for our economy.  I believe that we need to make our borders tighter and work on keeping out both illegal immigrants and legal ones.  In this economic crisis, we can't afford foreign workers to take the few jobs available for American workers.

I believe that without the unions, we would all be working six days a week, without healthcare and without vacations.  

I believe that large companies only care about their bottom line and not the people that work for them.  I believe that without high tariffs and high taxes on companies that close American plants to move them overseas, we will remain in this recession and it will only get worse, not better.
I believe that people who only watch Fox News are missing half the story.

I believe that people who only watch MSNBC are missing half the story.
I believe that we could be a better nation if we all just spent more time watching what happens in Washington and our state legislatures and less time watching the train wreck that is Lindsey Lohan's life and stop paying attention to Sarah Palin.
Speaking of Sarah Palin, I believe she is a "big deal" because the media tells us that she is.  She sells papers, so the couple of million followers she has, appears to be greater.  Fox News having no one else pretty puts her on and the rest of the media goes wild.  I believe her fifteen minutes of fame are up and her base will let her down in November when the tea party Republicans run against mostly centralist democrats.
I believe that the majority of the country are centralists and if they vote in an election, the polarizing ends will lose.  I, also, believe that a lot of people in this nation don't know what a centralist is.
I believe that if we don't educate our children in technology and science at a young age, we will remain 4th for technology and probably fall farther still.  We need to educate our people or we will lose this country and no one will have to fire a shot.
I believe that the First Amendment still is and always will be the most important Amendment.  I don't believe that the Second Amendment really means it is okay for the average person to wear a side arm.  I don't believe that it makes us any safer.
Speaking of Amendments, I believe that if you asked anyone on the street to name the ten that makes up the Bill of Rights, most people probably couldn't name more than five.  (I could only name 9 a few days ago.) 
I believe that the NRA is one of the worse organizations in this nation.  I was a member back in the 80's, so I should know.  Any organization that supports armor piercing bullets really only cares about their own agenda and not what is best for the nation.

I believe that if we keep listening to the fringe wingnuts on the right and left, we will fight ourselves into oblivion.
I believe that people who believe the world will end in 2012 need to be pitied. We've had a lot of end times and they haven't happened yet.
I believe that gay people should have the right to marry whomever they want and the country will not collapse.
I believe that people should have the right to make their own decisions about end of life decisions.  I don't believe anyone has the right to tell them what the decision should be.  I believe that when I'm old, in pain and become incontinent, that I will want to be put down.   I believe that it is too bad doctors can't just give you a shot, like we do with animals.
I believe that God loves me, but He doesn't give a rat's ass about who is president and, He certainly doesn't give a damn about this country.
Speaking of God, I believe that one nation under God was only added to the pledge in the 1950's to combat the godless communists.  I believe that it doesn't matter to most Americans that it is there or not. I believe that if you don't want to say it, you shouldn't have to say it.  I, also, love to tell right-wing Christians that it should be removed, just to watch those veins pop out of their neck and their faces to turn red.  I believe that I can be a little shit every once in a while.
I believe that we waste a lot of money on our nation's drug war.  I believe we should legalize pot and, possibly, legalize cocaine.  I believe that would cause the drug lords south of the border to financially collapse.  I believe it would cause Americans who weren't good for much anyone to do themselves in (the coke users).  I believe we could tax the hell out of these drugs and pay for healthcare.
Speaking of taxes, I believe that President Obama should allow the tax cuts for the rich to expire next year.  I'm not that rich, so they won't affect me and they won't affect most Americans.
I believe that we have a lot of problems in this country and they won't be solved overnight.  We have a long way to go and we need to work together.
But, despite our differences and our problems, I believe that we still live in the greatest country on earth.
And, I believe I'd like to hear what you believe.  That's what the comments section is for.

Living the Straight Life

This week, I read a quick post somewhere that mentioned how gays are always shoving their lifestyles down straights' throats.  And, I thought about it for a little while and it dawned on me that the writer must not realize how "straight" the world is.
When I mention that I'm married, to someone I've just met, they usually ask me about my husband. Most people do a double take when I mention that I have a wife. 
Recently, when I filled out an online form for work, I entered Cheryl as my spouse.  The system filled in her sex as male.  HR had to fix it.  A computer system assumed that I was straight.
We get phone calls asking for one of us that the other will take, when I say Mrs. _______ isn't here, I'm asked if the caller could speak to Mr. ______.   From insurance forms to phone calls and even those dreaded taxes, as a gay person, I'm constantly reminded that the world is geared for straight people.
This isn't a complaint, I get it.  There's more straights than gays.  It's like being left handed.  I read somewhere that 10% of the population is left handed.  The world is geared for right handed people.
But, no one tells someone who is left handed that they are shoving their lifestyle down a right handed person's throat.
Gays are 10% of the population, why is it when we want to be treated as full members of American society, we're shoving our lifestyle down society's throat?
I don't have an answer.  I just don't.  I just live in a straight world.  It's getting better, but we could improve it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Iowa Tea Party Billboard

The North Iowa Tea Party put up a billboard in Mason City, Iowa last week. The billboard compares President Obama to Hitler and Lenin.
At the bottom of the billboard, the statement is: "Radical Leaders Prey on the Fearful & Naive."
I find that humorous.  Isn't that what the Tea Party group that put out the billboard is trying to do - prey on the fearful and naive? Isn't that what the entire right wing has been doing for the last ten years in this country?
That said, the best part of the billboard is the fact that even members of the Tea Party... find it to be wrong: "That's just a waste of money, time, resources and it's not going to further our cause," said Shelby Blakely, a leaders of the Tea Party Patriots, a national group. "It's not going to help our cause. It's going to make people think that the tea party is full of a bunch of right-wing fringe people, and that's not true."
At least it wasn't MY money they wasted.

A Train Wreck Waiting to Happen

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston have not only patched up their differences, but they've become engaged.  Now, while I normally wouldn't say anything about someone else's relationship, I am truly worried about this young couple.  They had a child out of wedlock in front of the entire nation - that can't be easy.  According to the article, they've been engaged for two weeks and they haven't even told their parents.  I could see not telling Sarah Palin, she hasn't been home much, but they haven't told his parents?  That doesn't bode well for a good start to a relationship.

And, then the cynic in me pipes up and wonders, are they being pressured by Sarah to get married?  She's ramping up for a run at the Presidency - no matter what she says - and having an unmarried mom for a daughter doesn't do much to shore up her base.

While I hope Bristol isn't being pressured into marriage either by her own parents or even Levi, I hope she knows what she's doing.  Marriage is a 50-50 crap shoot in excellent circumstances and with the huge spotlight that is following her, the chances for failure go much higher.

I hope they've both thought long and hard about this.  They're both minor celebrities due to no fault of their own and marriage is a tough road.  Being a divorced single mom isn't any better than being a never married single mom.

Cut spending, cut taxes - solve unemployment and debt problem - Really?

Republicans want to convince America that cutting taxes (especially those taxes that affect the rich) and stopping spending will put an end to our growing national debt and deficit problems.
Well, the numbers just don't add up.
Placing less money into the government coffers is not going to make the debt go away.  We have to cut spending and leave our taxes the way they are.  The money we save from spending cuts needs to go to pay off our huge government debt.  Putting less money into the coffers isn't going to solve anything.  It will most likely put us in worse shape, not better.
Republicans love to tell the public that tax cuts help the economy.  It simply is not true.  The 2010 tax rates are the lowest they've been since 2000.  I believe they are the lowest since 1960, but I couldn't find the data to back that up, so we'll just go with 2000.
A married couple earning a net income of $45,000 paid 28% of their income in taxes in 2000.  In 2010, they will pay 15% - a difference of 13%.  A single person earning $45,000 in 2000 paid 28% in income taxes.  In 2010, they pay 25% - a savings of just 3%.
Not that any politician would put their political life on the line to say to their constituents, we need to stop cutting taxes, but it is the truth.  We need to stop.
In case you're wondering, I'm in the 25% bracket.  I pay 10% more in taxes than a married couple for the same amount of money.  Between Cheryl and I, we will pay 40% of our 2010 income in federal taxes and you don't hear us complaining about it.
Enough with the phony cut taxes talk. I want to hear that what we stop spending will be used to pay off our debts.
Who's with me?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This Week at Top Of My Head...

Here's what I'm reading and playing this week at Top Of My Head...

Battlefield: Bad Company

I purchased Battlefield: Bad Companyover the weekend. I got a fantastic deal, since I traded in some games to gamestop. But, now, I'm stuck, so I'm looking for help. 

I'm on mission 3 right after you take out the communication towers and go AWOL. I can't seem to get pass the tanks.  Anyone have any ideas?

I do know this much, it's a good thing I never served this country in war time.  If this game is any indication, I don't think I would've been good at it!

H.R.1024 - Uniting American Families Act of 2009

H.R. 1024 - Uniting American Families Act of 2009 - is languishing in the House.  The poor bill is just sitting there in the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.

We need to work together, fellow citizens, to get it out.

Here's the deal: There are literally thousands of American citizens who are separated from their life partners because they can't sponsor them to become American citizens or even to receive their green cards.  Does that even make sense?  A company can obtain a green card for someone to have a "highly skilled" job that takes the job away from a U.S. citizen, but life long partners cannot keep their families together.  It is a disgrace that we allow this to happen.

So, here's what I want you to do.  I want you to send a letter to Congressperson and ask them to address this situation.  There's an organization who is working on grassroot efforts called Change.  They have a letter posted on the site that you can use if you don't know what to write.  

Let's all join together and make a difference!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Use the AFA to support gay rights!

The AFA (Amercian Family Association) is at it again. Their hatred for gays and lesbians is beyond belief. They're calling for their followers to send emails via a form they provide. So, I used their form to send the following email and I encourage all of my readers to do the same:

Dear Mr. Bell and NBC:

Your decision to recognize homosexual "weddings" as akin to that between one man and one woman is an absolute brilliant idea and one that is very much appreciated!

Please count me as one who will always consider watching NBC's "Today" show and I applaud your attempt to engineer the social acceptance of political correctness.

Click here to go to their site and bring up the form.  Don't forget to change the actual letter.  I stuck pretty close to the AFA's original text  so the changes would be hard to notice.

Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 DS

When I read that a release of LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 DS was on the horizon, I pre-ordered a copy. I don't pre-order very often.  I was thrilled.  I loved Lego: Battles DS and Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. A Lego Harry Potter is going to ROCK, right?
Since the game represents four of Harry's years at Hogwarts, I'll give you my top four reasons for not liking this game.

  1. The controls don't always work.  You think you're aiming at an enemy and you shoot a wall.  I'm pretty proficient in using the stylus on the DS, but it is really difficult to control Harry and the other characters.
  2. There's only one character on screen at a time.  When you're controlling Harry, you only see Harry.  I liked the two character set up of Lego Star Wars and LEGO Batman DS
    . If a character is conversing with you, I'd like to see who is speaking.
  3. The game difficulty.  The game goes from ridiculously easy to ridiculously hard.  You can be stuck in one spot for what seems like a long time, but the next six puzzles will be a breeze to solve.  There's no consistency. 
  4. Finally, did I mention controls?  I did, well, I'm mentioning them again.  Your main control is the stylus.  The other buttons do not do much.  There's a lot those buttons in the DS can do.  They were utilized for the other Lego games, so I'm not sure why they were neglected here.
I've read reviews for the XBoxand PS3 versions of the game, I would recommend buying one of them rather than the DS version.  Total disappointment.

    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    The Queen of No

    There's a lot of talk that the Republican Party is the party of No.  They have no ideas, no solutions and they vote no on everything.  And, now, if Nevada doesn't vote for Harry Reid, they will send the Queen of No, Sharron Angle, to Congress. According to a Huffington Post entry from July 9th, "Democratic assemblywoman Sheila Leslie recently told the New York Times. "She [Angle] took great pride in voting 'no' for everything."  
    Is this really who Nevada wants to send to a National office?
    Why is it that the only message I hear from the Republicans is "Stop spending! Obama's a socialist! Lower taxes!" ?  They don't explain how they plan on stopping the spending.  The Obama's a socialist remark is plain ignorant.  They don't explain how they plan on lowering taxes.
    The truth is that they have no plan in place for when they "take over".  The truth is, they can't lower taxes.  The truth is they have no idea where to cut spending - except, of course, when it will affect real people who can't find jobs.
    Right now, in any state, we don't need a party of no.  We need a party of yes. I urge Nevada to not send the Queen of No to Washington.