545 People

I came across today, through Twitter, if you can imagine, an article simply titled “545 people vs 300,000,000″ – Huh, I thought.  I read it, realizing it wasn’t even the original article.  Did some digging and came across the truth that the original had been WRITTEN in 1985 by Charley Reese and first published by Orlando Sentinel Star newspaper in 1995 – W.T.F.

I am going to quote the full text here myself, it is WELL worth the read by any American, regardless of political affiliations.

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.”

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does.

You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason.. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.
What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall.. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi… She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red ..

If the Army &Marines are in IRAQ , it’s because they want them in IRAQ

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems..

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees.

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

I’m not going to sit here and type out what I believe we should do to fix the problem, I am not going to get on a high horse and start shouting at the top of my lungs that I have the absolute answer – I don’t.  What I do have, however, is the simple ability to read the above quoted words and realize they are true without going any deeper into specific issues.

Do I really need to start talking about how much I hate that our troops are in Iraq, getting killed for something I don’t believe in?  No, for that leads to serving our country, blaming of the past President of the United States, big oil, etc ad nauseam.  What’s that have to do with those 545 people misrepresenting my best interests?

Do I need to whine about how the Social Security Tax I am paying with my hard work, isn’t going to be around when it’s my time to collect it?  No, for that leads to the defensive talks of having to help our elderly, disabled or otherwise entitled people of age survive while unemployed.  Personally, that’s what they call a SAVINGs account and oh, I’m a big fan of Soylent Green.

We need not discuss any of that distracting nonsense.  We should not blind ourselves and clutter the field with items that are irrelevant to the above quoted truths on the 545 people who should be serving their country but by all appearances, are only serving themselves, their careers, their interests and agendas, etc ad nauseam.  They want us, the American people, to focus on the specific issues so we forget the larger truth.  They want you to zoom in on the minor cracks in the foundation, the ones that will take years and years to do real harm, while completely ignoring the rotting, termite infested regions that are causing the cracks to begin with.

545 people are acting like that brown-nosing co-worker who always blames other employees.  Shirking away from responsibility.

545 people are saying they stand for Truth, Justice and Liberty….while blatantly taking a piss all over the words.  Hypocritical.

545 people know exactly what the left AND right hands are doing, but choose to ignore them.  For if one hand isn’t help them, it’s helping someone who can help them!  Selfish.

545 people only speak out against those hands, when they aren’t doing anything for them.  They only speak up when it seems to make them look good.  Manipulative.

545 people are spending taxpayer money that we already don’t have and saying they will lower taxes.  Lying.

545 people are making every single United States citizen a chump.  545 people are being copied and mirrored.

Sure, we all need to better ourselves but when these 545 people make the decision to be in their positions, they have to rise above the blame game and take responsibility for their actions and live with the consequences; maybe next time they will learn.  When these 545 people say they stand for and believe in something, they need to make their votes, the ONLY actions that matter from them, represent their words.  When these 545 people see one hand being naughty, they need to make sure it gets slapped and punished accordingly, even if it means taking a little heat or getting nothing in return themselves; maybe next time they will learn.  When these 545 people open their mouths to speak, the words that come out should make sense, for they should be common sense, the words of the people, for the people they serve.  And when these 545 people say they want to stop spending, they need to simply stop spending; yeah, it’s not that easy but they know this – so why continue to make the claim when these people know they cannot make good on their promise?

So this 1 citizen is asking why these 545 people seem to have the same qualities and attributes that he normally sees in other every day average citizens, even himself sadly at times and he is asking himself, can we do better?

Charley Reese

My next smart phone, the Samsung Galaxy S4…

..is in transit to the lovely state of New Hampshire as we speak and, barring any exceptions, I should have the device in my hands tomorrow afternoon.

I’m debating to record a proper unboxing video, but that would need me to wait until I arrived home to open the box and I’m not sure if I have the willpower to do that, or that I want to at all!

The Galaxy S4 is the talk of the web at the moment along with the HTC One, so do you lot really need yet another person reviewing a device that’s not too far removed from its predecessor?

If you’re reading this, let me know if you think I should, and I possibly shall.  :)

like a cat with catnip

Using “tags” to filter TV shows, like ratings!

Imagine as parent you don’t want your young child watching any television programming that is tagged with let’s say “realistic violence”.  You power on the web-enabled TV, cable provider set box or ISP modem and enter “Tagging” mode with a password.  Once into the system, we browse the selection of tags and choose just realistic violence.  Other options could include animated violence, sex, nudity, partial nudity, frontal nudity, swear words, drugs, to name a few.  You accept and walk away, knowing that your child will now not be able to view ANY video on-line or ANY specific television show through cable that has this specific tag.

We live in a world where this is possible, yet why isn’t it being done?  We have this “ratings” system that gets plastered everyone, is usually with most television shows, but doesn’t really get used by the end user with tangible results.  It’s more about being a visible but yet invisible safety net, giving comfort to the masses.  I strongly dislike things done for pretense and appearances.  If effort and time is spent on ratings, they should be used and not taken for granted.

If television series were asked to take it a step further and if we made a more detailed set of tags to be used, I think something like this could have practical and positive results, almost immediately.  We already have data that is piped down the cable line with TV shows and videos online.  I can’t say for certain if say, Comcast or an ISP would need more involvement to make this work transmission wise, but obviously on the set top boxes there would need to be a more configurable system for parents.  Same with ISP modems or operating systems and any TV’s that have tuners.  Modems, for online content, may be a bit more tricky to achieve, so actual television broadcasts would be a better first step.  It shouldn’t take much overhead, not even though warrant any fee increase or the like I’d say, but I’m sure all interested parties would find a way to see that happens.

I however feel strongly this wouldn’t be all that hard to implement.  Once a detailed set of tags has been created, and agreed upon like the current ratings, it would be easy to tag shows properly.  There could be self-moderation as long as there was no outcry, and heck, we could even use SMS technology to better improve the system through customer feedback and engagement.  Feel a tag is wrong or missing?  Send a text to ” “!!

I should really patent these ideas I have.  Though, if you get rich off it, a little hush money would be appreciated.  Or…I’d be more than happy to help make it a reality and would just need board and meals paid for!  What can I say, I’m cheap.  :)

This is a test using Ping.FM! :)

Angry Birds coming to the 360, but HOW will we control?

I read article after article announcing that Angry Birds, made popular on Maemo, iOS and Android mobile platforms, is due to land on the 360, Wii and PS3 some time next year.  Awesome.  Played on my N900 and it’s a typical “repeat until you achieve x” game, not a huge fan of those games personally, but I don’t need to be a fan of the game to have had a lot of fun with it, or an idea or two!

Me, I want to talk interface here people.  The interface is everything, right?  Sure, on current platforms you use your finger to dictate the angle of flight moving up and down, while left and right increases or decreases, respectively, the flight of the bird from the slingshot.  Easy, simple.  Perfect for what’s available.

How about on a Microsoft Xbox 360?  Is the game really going to be limited to using a joystick only to perform the above?  Why can’t we ask for a little more?  I mean, the Kinect was just released, right?

In addition to being able to control the shots with a joystick, let’s add some options to also use your body, and here’s how I think it could work!

  1. Play as if you are literally standing behind the slingshot to fire the bird.  Call this 1st person view.
    • Nice beautiful landscape in front of you, rich 3D environment.
    • Static otherwise, no zooming from this view.
  2. Include a PIP view as if we were playing on a smart phone.  Call this side view.
    • Make views swappable, 1st person view can be in PIP box.
    • Make it optional.
    • Ensure you can zoom in and out easily with hand gestures and move left and right.
    • Have the dotted hint-line optional.  (Can be made into “Hardcore” mode, for completing game with hint-line turned off. Replay value, achievements, unlocks!)
  3. The motions for manipulating the slingshot could be simple(Depending on Kinect’s ability to detect hands, this can be fine tuned).
    • For game to think you are holding or releasing the sling shot:
      • To hold, position hands about 8-16 inches apart, and make fists as if holding mugs.
      • To release, open both fists as if you were releasing the mugs.  If pulled back to fire, this will fire the slingshot.
      • If only one fist is released, other hand now able to manipulate PIP view.
    • To change power level of shot:
      • Pull your hands towards you to increase power.
      • Push your hands away from you to decrease power.
      • Alternately, you could step forward/back to achieve the same results.
    • To change the angle of fire:
      • Drop hands down to increase angle towards sky.
      • Raise hands to decrease angle towards ground.
  4. When bird is launched, have options to:
    • Follow bird in 1st person, flying over that beautiful landscape.
    • Follow bird in 3rd person, with ability to swivel around bird.
    • Switch to PIP for watching from side view, as is current on mobile platforms now.
    • Take perspective as if you were standing where bird is to land, looking towards the launch site, following the bird as it approaches.

I believe that sums up how I’d like to think it could work, assuming the Kinect can properly interpret your hands as fists against your body.  Since I would imagine ideally people would want to be facing the screen to play the game and not having to face left or right, knowing how the Kinect handles that situation in recognizing you limbs, is very important.  Sadly, I don’t have a Kinect nor the programming expertise to test this kind of stuff on my own, yet.

Anyone else have any suggestions?  I’d be glad to add them and give credit!  I wonder if Rovio has already thought up this kind of control schema?  Not being a huge developer like say, EA, they may be thinking outside the box and already on top of this, which would be cool, too.

Happy Meals getting the Ban Hammer?

According to this article on CNN, the city of San Francisco is going to try to ban any children’s meal that doesn’t meet certain nutritional standards for healthy food and has a toy from movies, possibly any kind of toy.

San Francisco’s board of supervisors is expected to formally approve a ban on most of McDonald’s Happy Meals in current form during a meeting Tuesday.

Under the proposal, McDonald’s and other restaurants would have until December 2011 to improve their meals’ nutrition with fruits and vegetables — if the chains want to keep offering Captain America figurines or toys tied with latest films.

Personally, I think this is a great idea and here’s why.  My father is constantly using fast food as dinner for his eight-year old son that he raises alone.  We could sit here and argue about how he could do things different to avoid fast food joints, but that is not the point and another discussion, so don’t be sidetracked.  The point is, he does and so do a lot of parents just like him for various reasons, justifiable or not.

Parents and some organizations are going to whine, cry and bitch about this potential ban without actually thinking about it, simply citing it as a “Parenting Issue”.  They will have a knee-jerk reaction to trying to be helped, for some of them simply because it’s “The Man” trying to help them.  For others, because they truly believe it is a parenting issue.

Those who have a knee-jerk reaction, ignore them as usual.  They never bring their own ideas to the table and any good points they do bring probably came from some other source.

Those who truly believe, are important.  They deserve to be heard, listened too and reasoned with.  Here’s my reasoning, quite simple, too:  This ban isn’t saying you can’t buy your child these meals that don’t meet the nutritional standards, it is saying you just won’t get a toy with them, instead.  Is that really so bad?

If you want the toy still, buy the unhealthy meal and pony up for the toy, because you care for your child, right?  I hate making an attack statement next, but it has to be said:  If you really cared for your kid, you wouldn’t be feeding them unhealthy fast food.  Only option you say?  Funny, San Francisco seems to be trying to do something about that without preventing you from still feeding them poorly and what was your first reaction?  Stop them from trying!

If you truly think you are a good parent, ask yourself honestly – does that sound like good parenting?

 

Taking Life

It was hard-hitting as I lay in bed somewhere between “tossing and turning” and “never going to get to sleep” when my eyes suddenly just shot open wide.   The soft blue LED from my clock alarm illuminating sharply the ceiling above me, my subconscious immediately and unforgivably reminding me of the  missing silhouette with pointy ears usually laying across my stomach, the one that started me down this dark path once again.

Glancing over at the time, the numbers appearing unfocused and fuzzy without my glasses, music I have playing in trying to help me sleep seems to sense my rustling and the next song starts playing that matches my mood “Godsmack – Sick of Life”.   Much to my surprise, as I try to find reasons by grasping at straws, immaterial objects and the few friends I allow to stay close but never form deep relationships with, my eyes wander to the green, red and blue lights being thrown onto the wall and ceiling by my computer and accessories.

“That’s all I have left.” crosses my mind. It’s not the first time this thought has done so, hopefully not the last, either.  I prop up on my right elbow, an unusual position for me, glancing over in the direction of my computer, the only meaningful connection I seem to have in this world.  Nothing more than a black silhouette, the multi-colored lights it casts on the wall behind it making it stand out easily in the darkness.

My eyes close as I mentally navigate my room.  Knowing I could stand up in this darkness and easily walk to my computer, sit down, type the password to log into my account all before needing a light to see wasn’t helping me in this situation.  The familiarity with my surroundings, the memories; were a large part of the problem my mind pondered.  My subconscious again noticing the lack of a certain weight my body has brown accustomed to over the years while sleeping.  A purring weight.

As my ears listen to the end of the song, my mind no closer to reassuring itself, my left hand reaches over to pick up my mobile phone from the nightstand, bypassing the drink I noticed my girlfriend had left there earlier, easily scooping it up in the darkness like I could see it.  Even as I lay back gently, my right hand reaching for my glasses on the nightstand and sliding them onto my face in one motion, it isn’t until I’ve input my code and unlocked my phone, that my eyes open to see the WordPress client already loading to type this.

Are Apps the mobile version of Video Games DLC?

I mean really, do I need to even pen this article?  To an apt person the subject will get your brain mojo flowing, heck you have probably already answered the question and even if you continue reading my article here, nothing I say is going to change your mind, irregardless of the points, suggestions or arguments I make.  Which would actually make you a person that is NOT apt, as any smart person is going to want to know the truth, defend what they feel is the truth and actually hold an intelligent discussion to do such, not just ignore everything.  That’s what we call arrogant people, but you aren’t one of them, right?  :)

So, let me make a sharp 90º turn right here:  If you think of your favorite mobile cell phone as a video game and all those wonderful little applications you buy for it as down-loadable content …are you happy having to make other purchases to get full enjoyment from the original product?

This is a very deep subject, of course, so I am just focusing on skimming the top of this beast.  We could dive right into how games on mobile add to the enjoyment and are not necessary to get full enjoyment, and you would be right.  Which is why I want you to focus on those purchases that are made that replicate functionality you would find on any other mobile cell phone or you so you can experience what you have become accustomed to on the desktop.

You can nitpick effectiveness, it’s a better experience with the application, or however you prove your purchase – It doesn’t matter to the point I am trying to make here.

When I buy a product, ANY product, I expect a certain amount of enjoyment from it.  I expect a certain amount of productivity from it without having to relay on more secondary purchases to get rid of that feeling that my original purchase was a half-finished product or they “held something back” to make more money.

So how do you feel about your mobile cell phone?  I know how I feel about mine.  I paid $379.00 for it in November of 2009.  Since then, I have spent $0 on secondary purchases that increase functionality or productivity.  My original purchase has been able to efficiently, effectively and enjoyably handle all the ways I have wanted to use it without having to buy anything extra.  You can cite “open source” all you want or that since I have had to download even free applications it makes my point moot.

But honestly, if you do….you are sorely missing the point I am trying to bring up with you.  So go back to playing your half done game while waiting for the next paid installment to be released and leave those of us who are fiscally responsible alone as we try to decide what to do with all this extra money!  :)

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