Monday, January 31, 2005

Iraq wins election. Killers defeated

I am not Bush's biggest fan and I dislike Kerry too. I am so glad only one of them could win. I am libertarian in my views so people on the right think I am a left wing liberal and those on the left think I am a neo-con conspirator. I only hang around with people who don't watch politics now-a-days. That being said I am in favor of the U.S. military's action in Iraq. Not all of them, mind you. Prisoner abuse is totally unjustified, morally and practically and I really think lives would have been saved if Rumsfeld had been replaced with someone that could take advise like maybe that chimp that Ronald Reagan once stared with. Ok I just lost any potential right wing readers with that one) I am in favor of people and freedom and democracy. It was not perfect on January 30, but it represented the will of the people of Iraq and they have every right to be proud of themselves.

The Sunnis were not represented, you say? Many voted and some of those who didn't were observing the boycott which is itself an expression of their opinion. Some Sunnis decided it was too risky to vote where they lived. That is tragic but should an entire national election be considered illegitimate because one fraction of one minority group decided it was not safe? Especially since it was members of the same group that were causing the situation by calling a boycott and giving the killers an excuse to single them out. When an ethnic group suppresses itself how is the rest of the society to blame? It was only areas where Arab Sunnis were the vast majority of the population where turn out was low and not even as low as it was expected to be. People have no right to say that the Sunnis are now going to be repressed because, and I may be mislead on this because the information comes from the left leaning media but... Aren't many or most Kurds also Sunni? Are they really going to team up with the Shias to oppress their own religion just for vengeance? Should the votes of those who were brave enough to turn out in those areas be discounted? Let me see if I can come up with a possible answer to that.

(Think... Think... Think...WAIT I HAVE THE ANSWER) NO.

I think it is disgraceful that the media has blacked out all reconstruction news. With the Internet, any clever person can sort through the facts, fiction, true arguments and sophistry that are really out there. One can gain access to stories that the media report yet bury on page 49 or don't report at all. Does the media really think that by hiding this stuff from a few people that no one will notice that they have completely chosen the side of people who feel that Iraq must burn so that Bush will not be proven right? I know these guys smoked dope during ethics class at journalism school but what about simple logic? (I will address reason and logic in an upcoming post.)

I was telling a friend of mine about the reconstruction work that has been done to date (www.usaid.gov/iraq) (www.grd.usace.army.mil/index.html) and he expressed surprise. "I thought that with all the violence there basically was no reconstruction going on?" That is the story as reported by all Western and Middle Eastern media. Either organizations like the Army Corp of Engineers and USAID are lying to the world and the media has been too chicken to say so outright, or the media is lying. Which is it? Ok, now I have lost the potential left wingers with that one. No wonder no one ever reads my blog.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Do you have a link for me? Well? DO YOU?!?!?!?

The main and most important purpose of this blog is to serve me. My need to practice my writing skills (or lack of same), my desire to spout off about things no one cares about and ability to tell people I am a writer without being a complete liar (okay, I am a complete liar but so is everyone else) are all causes that are served by this site.

There is however another reason for this site. It allows me to take one address in my head that has all my favorite links on it. Now I have been told by a party who shall remain nameless that I should avoid having more than 100 links on any given page which gives me lots of room for some more links. Most of my friends have different interests from me so they are generally useless as a source of new links so I will put it to my "readers" (meaning people that came to this site as part of a search that went horribly wrong) -
That being the case, please leave links in the comment section that I would find interesting. If I do find them interesting and I feel that I will be visiting them regularly, I will add it to my list of links which I hope to organize more sensibly when I learn how and have time. Who knows? Someone else who finds this site because of a bad search might see the link you left and use it. You will have changed someone's surfing habits (mine at least) and, like the flapping of a butterfly's wings, you will have caused a small change that will magnify over time to change the universe. (You know that chaos stuff, it is not like I made that up. STOP JUDGING ME!) If I don't like it, it will stay in the comment section and never be seen by anyone ever again. The following are criteria for what I would find interesting:

1) Sites that contain articles or news on science and technology are great. Real science and technology only please. No sites that claim that the scientific community is suppressing or ignoring the stories because they are all closed minded jerks or that everyone agrees with them but are afraid to say so because they are being pressured by corporations or the forces of political correctness or others. No conspiracy or pseudo-science like creationism, holocaust deniers, or theories about humans being created by or mating with UFO pilots. No mental vibration, crystal gripping, herbal licking, chakra aligning new-age sites passing as science.

Sites must be readable by a general audience or by someone that is scientifically literate but might not have specific knowledge of the subject being discussed. Sites with too much math will not usually make the cut.

2) Political sites especially international politics. No partisans, pundits, left-wing economic socialists, right-wing theocrats or nut bars. No anti-corporation and anti free trade types like Michael Moore or Lou Dobbs. No corporate welfare apologists or pseudo-capitalistic "don't make our industry compete in the real world" cry-babies. No losers that are panicking about the sudden existence of homosexuals, immigrant or Jewish people. In fact, no sites by anyone that says "the Jews" instead of "Jewish people" or blames their problems on someone else. No conspiracy sites. No sites about the war (pro or anti) that think that people who disagree with them are evil. No sites that use the term evil in a comfortable, matter-of-fact kind of way.

3) Sites that deal with the future or trends through time such as demographics.

4) Sites that deal with solutions, good news, and progress rather than whining, complaining and blaming.

5) No pornography. I have nothing against it (legal stuff at least) but the Adsence people are not fond of it. Nothing violent or revolting for the same reason or misogynism because it will anger me. I like females. Everyone should.

If you are not sure leave the link and let me decide. It is not like you will ever be back to this site ever again anyway so what difference does it make? If you like the links that I accumulate, feel free to use this site for the same reason.

Thank you, you anonymous strangers in Cyberspace. In my imagination you are all beautiful women.

Now, LEAVE THAT LINK!

Friday, January 14, 2005

GESTION and its damage to humanity.

In Canada there is a small province called New Brunswick. It is not the smallest province and it is not the poorest area in Canada but it is not for lack of trying. New Brunswick relies heavily on Federal money because the economy there is not healthy enough to support the taxation rates that are necessary to support our "workers paradise".

New Brunswick is very rural compared to the rest of the continent and like other underdeveloped regions (and like Canada in general) we rely heavily on resource industries and agriculture. Farming, forestry, fishing, and a small number of family empire businesses employ most residents, with government jobs, unemployment checks and a few brave entrepreneurs filling out the rest. Different provincial government administrations have, over the years, tried to diversify our economy to only modest success.

Why is this little region of the planet important? Because of what has been discovered there.

In this little province is a phenomenon that baffles, horrifies and most importantly, lays plain the fundamental flaw in all human organizations and government in particular. The phenomenon is called GESTION.

The beginning of GESTION is shrouded in the mists of history, the early 1990s to be precise. Folklore tells us of a time when computers were beginning to be adopted even in government offices for word processing and other simple tasks.

One day, an employee of one small school district office who's name seems to have disappeared from history, looked at the way that the payroll system worked and thought to himself "This does not all need to be done manually." He asked the government of the day if they would consider developing a computerized payroll system. It would increase efficiency, save money and allow employees to do the jobs they had trained for instead of copying data from one form to another for most of any given day. Naturally, the government said no. If the radio and newspapers found out that the government was spending Education Department money on administrative software (at a time when most people didn't know what "software" was) there would be hell to pay.

If that unnamed man had been less innovative, if he had been the kind of person to take no for an answer, all would have been well. If only he had not been a computer programmer... If only.

He decided that if the province would not computerize the payroll system, he could at least create a program to input some data and print out one kind of the many forms that must be sent to the Department of Education every two weeks. It was just a simple tool, a form printing device. It should have been a great idea. It should have increased productivity with no expensive contracting, investment; a brilliant in house solution. It was named GESTION.

GESTION is written in all capital letters because, as a home-grown, DOS based program it could not accept lower-case letters. The program would not allow mistakes either. A missed key stroke would mean that you have to input information until a form such as an employee time sheet was finished because it would not accept null fields, then you would have to go back several menus, erase the form you had inputted and re-enter the form. As bad as it was, considering that it was the early 90s, home-grown and DOS based it was a miracle and many older employees who remember the manual way still as think it is pretty slick.

The following events occurred and like clouds of a storm, their order of arrival is not known or important:

() The author of the software left the governments employ under circumstances which would not encourage him to be available to answer questions about his creation.

() Someone in higher office saw the program, liked it and decided to implement it in all school districts in the province.

() Over the next few years more code was added to increase the "functionality" of the software. In effect they attempted to make a payroll/human resources system out of a home -grown, DOS based word processor/patchwork quilt/spaghetti code monstrosity.

() Since desktop computers are cheaper to replace than software systems, and since desktop speed and efficiency increased and new versions of Windows emerged from wherever they emerge from, the government one day discovered that the nightmare that is GESTION could not be run on Windows 2000 or XP and our fancy new desktop computers were now too fast to run Windows 98. Necessity is the mother of abomination so the government licensed Virtual PC for all Payroll and Human resources department computers. Virtual PC allows our super fast machines to emulate slow machines that can run Windows 98 and thus keep GESTION in a state of living death needed to function. A clever solution if you are willing to poke out your brain's frontal lobe to accept the futility of it all.

I.T. departments at both District and Department of Education levels kept telling those in government with the power to do something that this was nonsense but nonsense is the only thing politicians understand. The administration that created the problem ignored the GESTION beast even as it grew stronger.

At one point their conscience must has given them a nudge because they brought together some I.T. folks and Payroll employees to look at software products on the market. They soon discovered that nothing could handle all of our different collective agreement subtleties and provide the functionality (HA HA HA! Oh mercy!) of GESTION. No one would ever want to produce anything with the functionality of GESTION but that is beside the point. The government was faced with a choice: invest in a new computer system before it was too late or close their eyes tight, click their heels together three times and say "pour me a double".

While the powers that be retired to their bars, taverns and respective graveyards, secure in the knowledge that they had saved a chunk of money now, only to cost the province a fortune later on during someone else's administration, and successfully avoided having to explain concepts like "investing in productivity" to a slack-jawed, irrational and emotionally unstable public the civil service went back to their desks. They all had their own ways of coping with the situation. Some remained faithful to the system by remembering the bad old days of manual input. Little did they realize that even worse was yet to come. Others took a "practical" approach telling everyone that complaining was useless because this is the system we have and we just have to accept it. I guess accepting gross incompetence by our elected officials and waste of public money comes easy to some people. The rest of us just went quietly insane and dreamed of moving to some land far away where careers in the private sector could be obtained.

One day the Province had an election and a new administration was issued in. Someone in the Department of Education who had first hand Experience with GESTION was given a job where it was possible to convince the new government to cut the thing out by the roots and a bidding process started, a contractor was chosen (a good one too!) and payroll, H.R. and I.T. workers from various districts were brought together to discuss the replacement system. Replacement system. Those of us that had struggled to stay sane after years of exposure to the GESTION began to live again. Money was set aside in the budgets, this was really going to happen!!

We were regaled with tales about how the Teacher's Certification system would be tied in so that when a supply teacher got there certificate their pay rate would change them having to come in to us, without us having to pull out a form and send it by courier to the department and without the supply teacher waiting three weeks for an adjustment to be made. We would not have to go back and count their days of work to see how much we would need to request for them in back pay. Information that was entered in payroll could create reports for accounting (without printing it out and typing it back in.) Payroll information, once put in the system would not need to be printed out, couriered down to the provincial capital city and typed into their system by a sweat-shop of data input clerks. The payroll employees would not need to spend weeks in the summer checking and correcting the computer's math for recording teacher's seniority. We could start doing our jobs during work hours instead of playing catch up during unpaid overtime! We might even be able to take a vacation day now and then without dreading it.

This all took a few years and as the time to begin standardizing our data between district for the great day, an election crept up. The project was put on the shelf. When all the gunslinging was over the government survived but with such a slim margin that they had to start explaining and justifying their budgets to their own back benchers, who are just as pathetic as the general public. Somewhere in the post election horse trading the shelf that the replacement project got put on was turned into wood pulp. GESTION was back and decided to make everyone pay for the attempt to destroy it.

By the time I lost contact with the situation the system was spending more time in a non-functional state than actually working. Data was often spontaneously deleted, sometimes by large amounts and often without any notice. People would try to print out information (generally to type it back in to another part of the system) only to find that two days of work had disappeared. To my knowledge no one has committed suicide or gone postal over the working conditions yet but to this day no one has tried to fight GESTION again. Also, while everyone working in the schools thinks that it would be great to get a district office job, no one takes one in Payroll. That is where GESTION lives.

I have gotten on with my life. I know that there are hundreds of GESTIONs around the planet. (The F.B.I. has huge numbers of GESTIONs and their attempt to replace them is coming back to bite them in the ass. I pray that their GESTIONs don't destroy them. Only time will tell.) GESTIONs drink money; they eat time, they destroy dreams and they prove that there is no future for human civilization.

The people get the government they deserve. GESTION is the product of human ignorance not just by those in power but by those who pressure them, the lowest and greatest common denominator. Some of them may read this post one day. To them I can only say: One day you will find yourselves touched by a GESTION and I could not be happier about that. I hope it destroys you as it nearly destroyed me.



Thursday, January 13, 2005

Prince Harry, run for the hills!

Halloween is a time to dress up like scary monsters but it seems like Prince Harry picked the wrong monster to dress up as. He went to a party in a Nazi uniform. He has apologized but the British opposition doesn't accept his apology. They want to see him in person, squirming over his misdeed. Actually they just want to use the issue to look strong against racism. Opportunism is the life blood of politics.

Has it perhaps dawned on any of Prince Harry's critics that perhaps he is just a young and somewhat sheltered man that is entitled to make mistakes? Lots of regular people dress up as Vikings, Nazis and cult leaders. Some people get a kick out of it, some people feel it is in bad taste (these are the people that show up dressed as clowns, and bunnies - oh... scary!!) but no one pitches an indignation parade. When someone apologizes in good faith, it is unseemly to complain about the format and medium of the apology.

Prince Harry's biggest mistake, the only thing he has never seemed to grasp, is that even though he will get none of the prestige of being a king in waiting, he has no right to be a normal person. He should have this right but life is not fair. Being rich must be some compensation though. Why does anyone think Harry is a celebrity anyway, he has no power, he has never made a movie, written a book, except for wealth and relatives he is no different from me. Where are my paperatzi, damn it!

P.S. I have since found out that the costume party had a theme. It was "natives and colonials". Given the ethnocentric theme, a Nazi uniform seems quite appropriate. What else are you going to go as, a native with a bone through his nose or a brave British explorer in a pith helmet? Give me a break. I think Harry has the right impression about colonialism. His brother is said to have attended the party dressed as a lion which while slightly out of context is a clever way to avoid controversy.

P.P.S. Harry, it is time you told the British people to take their pathological obssesion with you and their hurt feelings as well and shove them someplace warm. Then move someplace warm, get a job as a bar tender serving drinks to tourists, renounce your title and citizenship, hire a photographer to saturate the British market with pictures of you in your new life until it bores and annoys the crap out of everyone, allowing yourself to fade into anonymity. Try Austrailia. You could eventually get a job at that crocodile hunter guy's zoo. He knows how fickle and whiney the public can get and how fast they can turn on you.

P.P.P.S. To Prince Charles: Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, Chuck! After all the crap your kids have put up with from you you have no right to throw a morality party now. Stop scoring political points off you kid and stand up for him. Also, genetic modifications rule, you sissy. You have been eating GM crops for years sucker!!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

My first post.

So. Here I am... Blogging.

When I first heard of blogging it was just beginning to be spoken about in the outside world. I happened to come across some blogs while googling and I couldn't help think, "Man! What a stupid thing to create a new word over."

Blogging, back then seemed to be just a bunch of nobodies putting their diaries on-line so that they could bore the world with their insane ramblings. Then I realized that that is pretty much what the mainstream media is doing when they publish and broadcast except they have degrees in journalism to make them sound educated. Also they can type entire paragraphs without using Internet shorthand that I never understand, lol! Also when the media hate someone they are slick enough to slather them with fallacies, sophistries, rhetoric and character assassinations. The most that the common Internetarian can muster is "He sucks!!!" (Ya, I am a misanthrope. Sue me!)

Then I heard that the media actually looks at what is being discussed in blogs and uses this info to help them decide what stories people are interested in. This makes me feel sorry for the media because their reporters and writers need to go to the Internet to find out what actual people think. Have they no friends in the real world? It also gave me a real sense of power. If I start a blog, if enough people link to me, some reporter might think I represent the opinions of some of their readers. I love fooling people.

Since I have exposed myself as having an anti-media lean, you may wonder if I am left-wing, right-wing or a "centralist". After all, both the left and the right claim that the media is biased against them. Actually I feel that the media is biased towards the lowest common denominator because they are common and as such represent a large market for sponsors. Stories that happen to favor the right go unnoticed by the right but prove to the left that the media is biased against them. Stories that favor the left don't activate the long-term memory of the left but get the right wing into a tizzy. Certain shows, papers and editors are biased to either left or right but they are so ignorant that they can't stay on message anyway.

Even the left and the right can't figure out what they believe. If you took the labels of Republican, Democrat, conservative and liberal away from them, no one would be able to figure out who's side they were on. Remember how Republicans used to be in favor of free trade, free enterprise and free speech? That was before Jesus took over the party. Clinton spent most of his presidency trying to figure out ways to let the FBI into peoples computers undetected and make the entire Internet into a G-rated nightmare with no porno or harsh language. I wonder what is on his hard drive. And now the left is sympathetic to Islamic hardliners? I guess with Jesus having been copyrighted by the republicans they need a new religion to cuddle with.

Am I a centralist then? A moderate? Who are you and why do you care? Who sent you!?!?!?

No. A centralist is someone that thinks there is a compromise between the left and the right. This is, as far as I see, like compromising between schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder. The right and left are completely and fundamentally wrong about everything. Start thinking about issues for yourself instead of latching on to personalities and teams. This is life not sports.

I have completely lost all focus now so I will end this post. Maybe after I have edited my profile this blog will take on some kind of structure or purpose.

Don't count on it though.



 


Day By Day© by Chris Muir.