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Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Almost there

I'm just about back in business (heh). Sorry I had to put all of that information on my blog, but I needed to show my soul to others. Granted, if anyone started watching my site in the meantime, the lack of new information has probably lost them.

Unfortunately, the information channels are chocked up because of a dying woman. Now, I've done my best to not have an opinion of the Schiavo case. I think it sucks what this woman has to be put through, but aside from that, that is all the commentary I'm going to give. But, with all the news, and it is depressing, it's hard for me to focus on business news. I'll be back on track soon, you know all the things I've just been through, and it's going to take me some time to recouperate, but it shouldn't be too long. I'm coming along, getting better. Things are looking up again, even if I am single. Hopefully there'll be a term of the day today, but I can't make any promises. If you've got questions, I'll try my damndest to give you answers, just shoot me an email and I'll get in touch with you. Lets make the most of this, I say.

Thursday, March 24, 2005



Well, if this was all a test, then I think I passed it. We're no longer together. She slept with another guy so she could have an easy way out. She led me to think that nothing had happened between the two of them, but that's all cleared up. Thank you all for your prayers, you've made this much easier on me. I can't believe I'm so strong, I hope this lasts forever.

I'm back home, and what do you know, but it's spring break! So, without further ado, let's get this show back on the road, I feel I've let all of you down by being gone so long, and I owe you guys (and girls) one.

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Taking a Vacation

I'm going to Beaumont, TX with Amy. So, just like last week, my posts are going to be sporadic. Please pray for us, we've a lot to work through apparently. I may be setting myself up for some major pain, but I don't think so. I kind of had a dream last night telling me that everything was going to be just fine, that this IS a test. So, just, well, pray for us. Please.


So I don't know what to do , think, or say. Up until yesterday, 3/19, everything was going along well. Amy came in the sunday before, and we got more alone time, as well as work done together, than we usually ever get to do. But then friday night, through sunday, everything between us has gone suddenly stale. She wants to stay together, but take a break. I had set up a vacation with her to Beaumont, where she lives, for this week, leaving today. But now that may not happen. Amy wants some time alone to think about us, to take a passive role and to figure out whether we should stay together or not. Last night, after I had heard everything, I decided that an active role was the best way to handle this situation. I'd like to go to Beaumont with her, as I do need that vacation. If I don't go, this may be the end of it all. A year and a half gone to waste. No. I promised myself that I would stay positive throughout this situation. Ordeal, actually. I want what's best for her, because what's best for her is best for us. And I could go on, but I won't. I'm going to wait to talk to her today, get some things figured out, and then this story will go on. To either an ending, or a new beginning.

I love her.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


Still not working

I've three XP disks and a 2000 disk, and they're all scratched. I'm going to fix all that somehow (probably borrow a clean disk), but in the meantime, I'll just switch over to Linspire (not exactly the linux flavor of choice, but close enough for now). I'm going to try and take care of that later on today after class, and it is my birthday, so that may factor into everything. If you are interested in which Linux OS I prefer, it's Xandros. I don't know why, it's really nothing special, I just happen to enjoy it. Anyways, we'll see how everything goes, and I'll give everyone an update.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


Going to be a while

Windows crapped out on me today, I had my firewall turned of as well as my virus scan. Wanted to see how long it would take for me to get something fatal. 14 hours on Windows XP Service Pack 2. Just so every one knows, used only Internet Explorer the entire time, and just browsed online. I'll take a few hours tonight and get my system running. Luckily I set up a partition for all of my data, so hopefully the only loss was windows. If you're wondering where I am, I'll be fixing my computer. Hope no one minds (if they notice, that is).

Monday, March 14, 2005



Something to consider today...if you smoke you're paying higher costs for your life insurance, correct? Social Science & Medicine estimates that for a person in their twenties, a smoker's life expectancy is 7 years lower than that of a non-smoker. It makes sense for the insurance companies to charge them higher rates. Other factors include drug abuse, and high risk activities (pilot, etc.). What isn't a factor is homosexuality. Perhaps here is the best place to put the usual disclaimers, one of my best friends is gay, he in fact introduced me and my girlfriend a year and a half ago, and I really owe him for it. He lives with his boyfriend, and we hang out as often as possible (they live in Houston, I in Baton Rouge). According to the Omega Journal of Death and Dying, a homosexual has a lower expectancy anywhere from 20 to 30 years, as compared to a non-smoking straight person.

So why is a gay person paying less for life insurance than a smoker? Yes, in this day and age, it is very politically incorrect to ask such a question as "are you gay?" Especially in regards to any form of insurance. But doesn't it make sense that if you engage in a high risk activity, and life insurance companies base their rates on life expectancy as it relates to those activities, to ask such a question? And doesn't this mean that you and I are subsidizing lower insurance rates for homosexuals because the companies are keeping their rates down (even though it does cost them more to insure a homosexual rather than a straight).

I, for one, will factor the "are you gay" question into my decision when choosing a life insurance provider, as everyone should pay their fair share.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


Rethinking the Military

Take a look at our modern American military, taking form over the last 50 years. All are highly trained professionals, especially in combat and peacekeeping. Peacekeeping. Hmmm, maybe we need to focus on this one. Our men and women who serve no longer need to focus so much on combat as they once did, and instead need to branch more and more into an international police force. This may go against conventional wisdom, but the truth is, we are the world's police, making sure that human rights violations are minimal (if we weren't stretched so thin, we could aid Darfur), and that dictators lose power as soon as possible. Used to be the United Nations worked as a police force, as well as a forum for diplomacy. These days, however, the UN has become a rogue nation in and of itself, controled by the power hungry and egotistical.

We're losing more soldiers after the war in Iraq was declared won than during combat. This isn't due so much to an increase in insurgents (although undeniably part of the promblem), but the soldiers inability to cope with a national police force mentality. Our job in Iraq has gone from deposing a dictator, to quelling regional conflicts, not something the military is proficient in. The Armed Services would do well to recruit more Police Officers, people who understand complex yet localized conflicts. Rule of law must become the norm in Iraq, and the US Military was trained to bring down the status quo, not to enforce the status quo's replacement.

I'd feel much safer if we brought the most of the troops home from Iraq, and in their place sent both the LAPD and NYPD. I'm not sure why the military hasn't begun developing police programs, they're almost a necessity in this new era in defense. Will we ever see any change? Probably not. But it would be nice if the Defence Department would at least give some thought of change.

Friday, March 11, 2005



If you don't want to read about the browser wars, then don't read this post. Don't tell me I didn't warn you.

So I use Opera and Firefox, primarily Opera. They're both better than the standard and you can get them easily. But I'm noticing a problem. Used to be, developers didn't focus on optimizing for the "third" browser, Opera. Many pages would come out looking pretty badly, as the developers would only write code specific to Internet Explorer. This could have had a terrible impact on Opera ASA, the company that produces Opera, except for the users compelling developers to use w3c standards (w3c is short for "World Wide Web Consortium"). Luckily, Opera users, and internet users in general, have benefited from standards compliant websites.

Now there is a new problem, two major companies have thrown their support behind specific browsers. Microsoft websites (MSN) are written with an Internet Explorer bias. Google has it's own bias, toward Firefox. Whether these sites target Opera specifically or not I cannot say, but I do know this: a public website should be written for all, and should comply to universal standards. It's understandable that some websites work for some browsers, and that not all developers are as proficient as others. But we're not talking, we're talking about two giants in the field. With more and more browsers being thrown into the mix (Netscape's return, Mozilla, Firefox), and the flaws in Internet Explorer being exposed near weekly, all sites should try to serve the needs of everyone, lest they lose users. I'd like to see more browsers thrown into the mix, open source or otherwise, as the overall quality of the internet can improve dramatically. But it starts with you. If you're an opera user, get in contact with Microsoft and Google, and tell them that you want their sites improved. If you're a Firefox user, and you're having similar problems, do the same. And if you use Internet Explorer, try Opera or Firefox, branch out, you'll be impressed.

Social Security

Back on track now, let me give you an idea I had. We're given a promise that when we retire, our money will be given back to us, in installments. That sounds all well and good, right? Good. But it can't work that way. The world doesn't work that way, and for all intents and purposes, the government operates in the real world (no, we can't send it back). There was a lot of mention of a "lock box" in the 2000 presidential election. It's not that bad an idea, but we don't have one right now. Our Social Security Number only defines us as a citizen, not by how much money we've put into a program.

Not that it would be too hard. What would it take to reform social security? Now, if you've read any of my other posts, you know what I feel about this program. Recognize that we're arguing politics, when we should be arguing how to reform the system. We've been set up. Arguing the politics of the situation is called divide and conquer people, and it's exactly what the political parties want us to do. But back on track, what's the harm in making the program at least a little bit secure? There's a school of thought (one I subscribe to) that says the money I put in is mine, and you'd better have a damn good reason to get a piece of it. I recognize that some people, under specific circumstances, lose money as they get older. It's call hospital bills, theft, and any number of assorted hardships present in the world. I have no problem helping you out if you've been wronged or gotten sick. That's really no big deal to me, because it'll only mean a few pennies off the top because it'll be evenly distributed.

But I need more than a promise, especially when it comes to 12% of my income. You know what I trust, much more than the governments oral promise? Something in writing. Something like a savings bond. The government puts that money taken out every paycheck and puts it into a sort of savings bond, but it has to be in the benefactors name. It collects the standard interest as far as savings bonds go, and you are given that amount when you retire. As a savings bond, cut the interest after 30 years, I don't mind, I just want to have confidence in the system once again.

Guy and girls, I know you're reading this. And I ask, could you email me? My address is in the sidebar. Give me your ideas, I want to hear them. Any that I do get, I promise to pass along to all congressmen. Lets further this debate, but lets take the politics out of it. I'll do my best to respond to any ideas, we can work together. I understand that everyone has their biases, left, right, or whatever. I don't mind personal bias, but giving me rhetoric just gets you deleted. And for those of you who missed it, the address is

Saving Ourselves

I have a huge problem with the state of social security. Specifically, why am I told that I MUST give my money to the government (who will "look after it"), only to have that money given back to me when I'm older? There is another problem, I'm told, that involves solvency. Yeah, right. Social Security will always be solvent, they don't have to give me that money back, they can instead give it to some guy who thought "why don't I not save, that way the government has to pay me!" Problem with that line of thinking is, if you didn't save for your retirement you have no right to complain when you're 80 and hungry. Ok, I'm finished, no more political correctness here. Welcome to life, I only care about myself, my family, and a few other people thrown into the mix (at my discretion). I don't care about somebody else's grandma. I care about my own, I don't want you caring for her also.

Look people, you have to stop relying on other people. I'm sorry if I come across as uncaring, but I am. If you piss off your children, don't expect them to take care of you when you're old. If you don't save your money now, you won't have any when you're out of work. You need some investments, be actively involved in your finances, otherwise no one can help you. A year ago I needed to save for a "new" car. I'm not there yet, but I gotta tell you, I killed my spending. I'm not buying albums any more, I quit smoking, I cut down on my coffee intake (and this is the guy who practically had an IV filled with the stuff). I didn't demand that my government buy me a new car, did I?

I'm sick of it, I tell you. Maybe you've noticed, but we're no longer protected by the government. Used to be, back in the day, the government served very specific purposes. To defend us, to help us stay in touch, and to provide a nationwide monetary unit. We're killing each other, people. We're robbing ourselves because someone who didn't have the money wanted to have children. And the ones who didn't, we helped her pay to kill her kid. People with drug addictions aren't sent to a recovery program, they're sent to government housing and given a check.

I was going to write about saving Social Security, but while writing this, I changed my mind. We don't need to save a government program, we need to save ourselves. There are problems in our government and don't tell me you can't see it. No longer is our government protecting our interests, it's protecting itself. I'm going to remain a conservative who wants reform, I'd like to see some liberals who want reform, but as it is, we're funding the status quo, we've been static for 10 years. We need a change, and if we don't do it now, in another ten years it may be too late.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005



This is either borderline satire or what I really think. I'm not even sure.

Here's an idea for some welfare reform. Coming from a conservative, I am not a welfare fan. The general idea is fine with me, actually. The problem I have is the incentives in place, specifically cash. If a single mother of two is on welfare, I don't want to pay for another bundle of joy. It is unethical to reproduce if you can't even sustain the children you already have. And since when did general welfare mean money? If there's one thing people on welfare don't need it's money, instead they need a job which they work for such a luxury.

How about this, potentially cheap option: instead of giving welfare recipients tax dollars (most of which gets sucked up by the federal and state machines, fun fact of the day is that only 17% of the money given to welfare actually makes it to the recipients), why doesn't the government give them food? How about shelter? Clothing? If they need anything else, they have to work for it. But for the general welfare recipient, he/she is given food stamps, not money for junk food. They're given an appartment, not money for a new car. They're given clothing (and we're not talking the latest fashion). I don't mean to sound insensitive, but if you don't need welfare, you shouldn't be on it, and you shouldn't want to be on it. A welfare recipient should feel a little bit ashamed at being unable to support himself and his family.

But there is hope! Millions of welfare recipients are capable of some form of work. Teacher's aides, and other low skilled jobs can be filled easily and affordably. This is a way to give them not just food, clothing and shelter, but also some spending money. Just a thought, I'll get a little bit more in depth after class.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


Don't Shoot

So a woman is taken hostage in Iraq, an Italian reporter. She's held for months, and with the help of the Italian army is found, negotiated for, and released. Bearing in mind Iraq is considered a war zone, why are people upset that she was wounded and her saviour killed? I do think it is unfortunate that it happened, that American troops fired on her vehicle. But, as I said, war zone, unmarked car. When American troops tried to stop the car, the driver thought that driving past them was just fine. And the soldiers, trying to stop a suspicious vehicle had every right to fire on that care after it failed to halt and identify. This is not America's fault that an Italian driver had no common sense. If this man's death, and this woman's wounds had been avoidable, it lay in the driver's hands, not the American soldiers. I'm sorry, but some people need to grow up.

Friday, March 04, 2005


Open Source, Anti-Capitalism, and Ramblings

I write this inside of Open Office, and I post through Firefox (reluctantly, would use Opera if it weren't for this damned WYSIWYG). Quality programs, to be sure. Not too user friendly, not heavy on aesthetics (Office especially), but they're cheaper than the alternative. Open Office is a free alternative to Microsoft Office, which can run you anywhere from $100 to $300. Firefox is a free web browser, and is directly competing with Internet Explorer (a “free” application after purchasing Microsoft Windows), and indirectly competes with Opera ($40, $20 for students).

Both of these open source (defined as “software distributed in source under licenses guaranteeing anybody rights to freely use, modify, and redistribute, the code”) programs are free and fairly reliable. I support the open source model, as I support volunteerism. But there is a movement underway, one that can potentially damage the integrity of the “open source model”. I describe it as the “Firefox effect”, where consumers will not consider a product unless it is free, even if quality and safety are involved. I attribute this to the anti-capitalist movement which has taken control over the Firefox movement. This new breed of anti-capitalist demands that websites not be ad supported, that profits made off of software and websites are inherently evil, as it threatens to control the public.

Unfortunately for these people, if we were to use the anti-capitalist movement's model, we'd be browsing their websites on Commodore 64s on 14kbs modems. The brilliance of Firefox is not that it is free, but that through Firefox 25 million people have demanded a change in Internet Explorer. In the past 6 years, Microsoft has updated Internet Explorer a total of 2 times. In the past nine months, Firefox has been updated twice. Opera leaves both in the dust, with a total of 5 updates in one year, including tens of previews, betas (and a major new release, 8.0 within the month).

Look at these three programs, each using a different model. You have MS Internet Explorer. As the leader in Internet browsing, and aided by the default installation on nearly every computer, it has had no motivation to change. IE easily maintains a 90% browsing share, although consumers complain about its reliability, as well as the hundreds of security holes (as documented by Secunia). According to Secunia, Internet Explorer has been subject to 79 security risks within the last 2 years, with 20 still unfixed. Firefox is an up and comer, which is slowly gaining on IE (holding anywhere from 4% to 6% of the browsing share). Relying on word of mouth and advertising in media outlets through donations, Firefox has the power to change Internet Explorer's “business” model, from being seldomly updated to more frequently. It offers secure browsing, free of charge, and I have to commend them for that. Only 3 out of 11 vulnerabilities documented over 9 months remain unpatched. Then there is Opera. A small Norwegian business, Opera lives and dies by its consumers and product reviews. Surviving without benefit of donors or attached to a Fortune 500 company, Opera must give its consumers security, reliability, and functionality relevant to browsing. 35 vulnerabilities have been documented within the last 2 years, with 2 remaining unpatched.

So we have a mega-corporation with a faulty and unreliable product, an organization with a reliable yet potentially hazardous product (through “extensions”, or third-party add ons to the product), and a small Norwegian company which is affected daily through market trends. Which would you, the consumer choose? Apparently, if you don't particularly care about how your computer runs, or are new to computing, you choose what is provided to you (obviously IE). If trends mean anything, if you are a starving college student who is concerned about security (don't want to lose your stored work), or are a vehement anti-capitalist, you use Firefox. And if you can afford it, and don't mind supporting an overseas company for providing a quality product, you use Opera. Is there any way to change how the public thinks about these three entities? Probably not, every niche has its product, and if you don't fit in, it seems you don't belong (if you're a nerd like me, that is). Hopefully, with the public awareness of browser options, all three groups will be diluted. Most people don't have a problem with Internet Explorer, and through more competition, Microsoft can provide a safer environment for the average user. The anti-capitalists which have the potential of running Firefox's parent, The Mozilla Foundation, into the ground, can be thwarted (and are in the process of being so) through consumer awareness and dilution. Opera will remain the same, acting as a small company among media giants. Remember, you have options when it comes to your computer.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


In response to Michael Higgins

In response to Michael Higgins at I do realize that the tax proposal is a bit flawed. Throughout the week I've personally
deconstructed the plan, and was hoping that others would help in finding some of its problems. It is all too much a reality that while the budgetary controls could be passed along to the tax payer, the federal government would pull rank and do with the money as it wishes. Unfortunately, there is no realistic way to control the budget (which i will get to in the next post). Another idea I'd had was to prorate government spending based on the efficiency figures provided by the Office of Budget and Management. Unfortunatly, if we were to give more money to the least efficient programs, the tax payers' dollars would be wasted. If spending on the most efficient programs increased, while the least efficient were short changed, the roles would be reversed within the next few fiscal years. To top it all off, government efficiency
is a very relative term.

The story Mr. Higgins provides, while probably untrue, seems like something a Louisiana politician (Huey P. Long comes to mind)would do. While the figures he suggests (40% defense, 40 social spending, with 20 left to the government's discretion) hold some value, the difference of one percent could be very effective (what's the latest budget number? $2.6T). The only real reform we can look forward to, however, is the paring of the tax code itself. Of course, all the loopholes that many have been taking advantage of will be closed immediately, so we're probably going to wind up paying more. But we'll be saving at H&R Block (and for us do it ourselfers, well we get screwed). Ah, the life of a tax paying American. Isn't it wonderful.

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