Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Sunday, May 22, 2016

iTunes tech tip

Are you an Apple iTunes user? Do you ever run up against that computer authorization limit? I have, and here's a way to get around it, as found in the New York Times.

Resetting the iTunes Authorization Counter

Q. I am getting messages from iTunes that say I have already authorized the five computers I am allowed to use with my iTunes Store purchases, but I no longer own three of those five machines. Is there a way to un-register them from my iTunes account?

A. You can de-authorize the computers you no longer own in your iTunes Store settings, but in doing so, you must de-authorize all your computers associated with your account. Once you de-authorize all the Macs and PCs you have used to play your iTunes Store content, you can go back to each computer you currently own and authorize them again.

To get to your iTunes Store account settings, open iTunes, go to the Store menu and choose View Account; you can also log in by clicking on your name or profile icon on the right side of the iTunes window and selecting Account Info. Log in with the Apple ID you use to buy iTunes Store content.

When you arrive on the Account Information screen, go to the last line of the Apple ID Summary section, called Computer Authorizations. Click the De-authorize All button to reset your number of authorized machines to zero. (Keep in mind that de-authorizing the computers does not remove the iTunes content from each one but merely denies the machine the permission to play the music and videos.) You can only de-authorize all your computers once a year.

Now that you have removed all the computers from your iTunes Store account, you can add each one back. Open the iTunes program on each Mac or PC, go to the Store menu and choose Authorize This Computer; if you do not see the Store menu in the Windows version of iTunes, press the Control and B keys on the keyboard to reveal it.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

10-minute craps!

The whole damn clan is headed to Las Vegas, Nevada next weekend. So, naturally, I'm looking to brush up on the craps skills. There is a lot of, ahem, CRAP out there about playing craps. Like most things, I guess, you have to search high and low and separate the wheat from the chaff.

The video below is pretty good. Solid, basic strategy: Pass Line bet with odds; two come bets with odds. 

It's from the "Players Network".

Friday, May 20, 2016

it's Hillary


It's a damn shame that Hillary Clinton carries such baggage. If Bernie Sanders were the only "Democrat" in the race, he would probably be waaay ahead of Donald Trump. 

Alas, we have to deal with the Clintons once again. Bill Clinton was very frustrating with all of his "triangulating", especially his support for NAFTA, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and welfare reform, not to mention his "bimbo eruptions." I do believe that Hillary would be far better for America than Trump would be, but Sanders would be far better than Hillary.

(sigh)

Hillary's Problem Isn't Bernie -
It's Hillary

By Steve Bhaerman

It used to be that elections in America were dismissed as popularity contests and beauty pageants.  Not anymore.  Should Trump and Hillary face off in November, the opposite would be true.  We would have an unpopularity contest, and an ugly pageant. 
 
And while the Hillary folks are complaining about the unreasonable "Bernie or Bust" people, the bare truth of the matter is that Hillary's most formidable opponent is her own record.  This isn't even about her personality, or about her being a woman or any of that. It's about what she has stood for over the past 20+ years, and what the Democratic Party has become under the influence of the Clintons -- undemocratic.  It has abandoned blue-collar workers, and the economic well-being of the underclasses, and has become the party of a small, out-of-touch liberal elite.  It has focused almost completely on "identity" issues -- the symbolic rights of women, gays and minorities -- while conveniently ignoring the "identical" issues we face, like clean air, water and soil, and an economy that works for all.
 
With the notable exception of the nuclear deal with Iran, neo-liberals like Hillary and Obama have largely continued the neocon foreign policy of Bush and Cheney.  And if we move from the Middle East to our own "neighborhood", the Americas, their record is even more disturbing.  Shortly before she was assassinated, Honduran indigenous environmental activist Berta C├íceres called out Hillary for helping to install the regime that ended up killing her.
 
And while Hillary now says she opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that would essentially allow multinational corporations to overrule the wishes and rights of American citizens, she has always been a supporter of such deals. 
 
No wonder she wants to focus on that upstart Bernie raining on her party.  Except "her" party is really OUR party ...
 
The Democratic Central Committee's lament that insurgents from the left will put Donald Trump into the oval office is reminiscent of blaming Ralph Nader for the Gore-Bush fiasco sixteen years ago.  As their narrative goes, that pesky devil Nader insinuated himself into the election and took votes from Al Gore, putting Bush in the White House. This notion conveniently ignores three factors:

  1. Gore's biggest obstacle in 2000 was having to run against not just George W. Bush, but Bill Clinton, whose narcissism and duplicity completely occupied and ruined the final four years of his presidency.
  2. The main reason why Nader was in the campaign in the first place -- the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the "Battle in Seattle", where more than 40,000 protestors showed up to oppose the World Trade Organization and globalization.  More than anything else, the Clinton administration's response to the protests and their whole-hearted support for globalization (what Swami calls "gobble-ization") set them apart from their constituency and led to the Nader candidacy in 2000.
  3. The Democrats' own unwillingness to stand up to Republican bullies in Florida and demand a full and complete recount of all precincts.

All of these add up to what Hillary is up against now.  She represents -- whether she likes it or not -- the Democrats' complicity in the corrupt plutocracy that has replaced rule of, by, and for the people.  Instead of being able to represent working folks against the excesses of capitalism, she is having to fancy dance her own support for the "rule of gold" over the Golden Rule.  While Trump can fully embracing being a narcissistic asshole and use it to his advantage, Hillary has to pretend she isn't the poster child for the status quo - the same status quo that so many Americans have come to despise.
 
With Trump gaining on Hillary every day and Sanders beating him by ten points, maybe it's Hillary who needs to step aside.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

threat to America

Some things bear repeating. You know they say that the best way to learn something (and remember something) is through repetition, and I believe it. Hear something only once and it might be cogent and witty, but you likely won't remember it months later. Hear it again and again and you are going to remember it. Unfortunately, the same process works with lying as it does with truth-telling.

The GOP has been trying to dumb down America for years now: cutting funds to public education, demanding creationism in schools, re-writing history to gloss over the warts.

One can only hope that enough educated Americans will step up and do the right thing: that is, keep the wanna-be fascist dictator Donald Trump out of the White House, but with those unverifiable electronic voting machines all over the country....who is in control of them now?

The editorial below appeared in The New Zealand Herald in July 2015 and is, to my mind, the truth. And it does not speak well of America.

The greatest threat to America? Republicans

...The takeover of American conservatism by evangelical Christianity, Fox News and a handful of shadowy billionaires has transformed the Republicans into the party of willful ignorance: doctrinal purity is more valued than intelligence; tolerance has been supplanted by persecutory moralising; paranoia has replaced realism.

This process may be reaching its logical conclusion with the emergence of property billionaire Donald Trump as the front-runner for the party's presidential nomination.
Trump personifies everything the rest of the world despises about America: casual racism, crass materialism, relentless self-aggrandisement, vulgarity on an epic scale. He is the Ugly American in excelsis.
You might expect a tycoon/buffoon cross to be a political player in some Latin American failed state or backward former Soviet republic, places with no democratic tradition or public institutions that have stood the test of time and no such thing as "the people" in the sense of an educated, civic-minded citizenry.
The fact that so many Republicans are comfortable with the thought of this monumentally unqualified individual in the Oval Office shows how warped the party has become. To borrow the rhetoric of their candidates, the party is now an existential threat to America's leadership of the global community.
There is more to the editorial here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Labor History in 2

"Labor History in 2" is an entertaining and quite informative series of two-minute-long podcasts focusing on a "today in labor history" idea. The series is created by the Illinois Labor History Society and the Rick Smith Show. I think you can guess which way it will "lean."


With so many attempts to re-write history these days, and with so many things simply left out of our history books, it's gratifying to find people interested in preserving the truth, no matter how ugly, horrible, or embarrassing. Or uplifting.

Some sample dates:





and many more.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

another oil spill

We are gradually killing our oceans, and our planet. Somehow, we have to break the stranglehold that the fossil fuel industry exerts upon our Congress. They pour so much money into Capitol Hill, and they get such huge tax breaks, that our congresspeople are buried in a blizzard of bucks. And they all have oil and blood on their hands.

I notice that some oil companies are finally getting serious about investing in renewables. It may just be too late for these dinosaurs to adapt to a changing market. And if so, all the better. This is one industry that needs to be broken up and dumped onto the ash heap of history.

Oil Spill Response Is A Joke

from Before It's News
Thank you, Shell, for demonstrating quite convincingly over the past 4 days that oil spill cleanup is nothing more than a convenient fantasy.  At about 11am local time last Thursday, Shell reported about 90,000 gallons of oil leaked from a pipeline 90 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico in the Glider field, one of their recent cutting-edge deepwater developments in water 3,400′ deep.  Oil from wells in the Glider field flows through a single pipeline to the Brutus tension-leg platform (TLP) about 7 miles away.  Apparently this innovative “cost-effective flow assurance method” sprang a leak.  Here are a few unfortunate things we’ve learned from this:

Pipeline leak detection is unreliable.  This spill was discovered accidentally by a helicopter pilot flying over the area who happened to spot the slick.  That’s right: a modern pipeline at a high-tech deepwater development project leaked thousands of gallons of oil, and that leak was accidentallydiscovered.  Not because high-tech telemetry on the pipeline signaled an alarm due to a drop in pressure; not because flow metering detected a difference between what was going in one end of the pipe vs. what was coming out the other.  How long would this leak have continued, if not for the sheer luck of having a vigilant pilot happening by? 

Oil spill response vessels grossly underperform. As of yesterday, 5 spill response vessels (4 oil skimming vessels and a work boat named the Harvey Express) were dispatched to tackle the slick as it drifted steadily west away from the source of the spill in Green Canyon lease block 248.  The first to arrive, a fast-response boat named the H.I. Rich, showed up about 11pm Thursday. Two other skimmers, Deep Blue Responder and  Louisiana Responder, arrived at 2am and 3am on Friday morning, May 13. The last one to the party, Mississippi Responder, took 26 hours to make it out to the slick, arriving at 11pm on the 13th. By that time the slick had drifted more than 30 miles away from the Glider field.
Skimmer vessel working at Shell oil slick in Gulf of Mexico, May 15, 2016.
Photo courtesy Dr. Ian MacDonald / Bonny Schumaker – On Wings of Care / EcoGig-2
These skimmer vessels are rated to remove thousands of barrels of oily water per day: 12,500 bpd for the H.I. Rich, and a combined 39,220 bpd for the others.  At 42 gallons per barrel, that’s a total capacity of more than 2 million gallons per day for these 4 vessels.  Sounds pretty good, huh?  By noon on Sunday, based on the arrival times of the skimmer vessels that we tracked using their AIS broadcasts, more than 6 million gallons should have been collected and this 90,000 gallon oil spill should have been long gone.  
Yet on Sunday the Coast Guard reported only 50,000 gallons of “an oily-water mixture” had been recovered.  Video taken Sunday during an overflight by Dr. Ian MacDonald of Florida State University with pilot Bonny Schumaker of On Wings of Care shows thick stringers of emulsified oil in a slick several miles long, similar to what Greenpeace (pics) and our Gulf Monitoring Consortium partner Jonathan Henderson (video) encountered on Saturday.  Dr. MacDonald observed that the response vessels seemed to be missing the thickest parts of the slick and were generally making very little headway, despite operating under fairly calm conditions (average wind speed of 7 knots recorded at Brutus TLP over this time period), nearly ideal for oil cleanup operations. 
Federal permits for deepwater drilling rely on wishful thinking. Since the BP / Deepwater Horizonspill, companies applying to the federal government for permission to drill in our public waters are required to calculate a worst-case scenario oil spill should they, for example, lose all control of a well as BP did in 2010.  Then they must present a response plan that asserts they have the capacity and ability to adequately respond to that spill. The most recent plan [warning: humongous, unwieldy PDF file] for Green Canyon block 248, dating from 2013, envisions a worst-case spill averaging 15.3 MILLION gallons of oil per day — every day — for up to 92 days
The response plans to match these massive potential spills rely on oil skimmers performing at their rated capacity.  Yet by noon Sunday, after two full days of cleanup response with four of these vessels and 130 workers,  only 50,000 gallons of oil and (mostly) water had been recovered, possibly even worse than the performance of an older generation of skimmers during the BP spill in 2010.  Once again we see that in the real world, these vessels don’t perform anywhere near as well as they do in the fantasy world of offshore drilling regulation.
The upshot?  Our government is indulging in a troubling fantasy that is eagerly abetted by the oil industry and pro-drilling politicians, dressing up deepwater offshore drilling as a safe operation so they can continue to rubber-stamp permit applications that contain laughable oil-spill response plans.  But as Shell just demonstrated, this emperor has no clothes.  When will our government and the global oil industry wake up to this reality and get serious about oil spill response?  If the BP / Deepwater Horizon spill wasn’t a disaster big and costly enough to provoke a serious overhaul, then what will it take?  
On Thursday, The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Capitol Hill to critique the federal government’s offshore oil and gas leasing program.  Expect to see pro-drilling politicians taking this opportunity to pound their fists and wag their fingers at government officials for not doing enough to accelerate the pace of offshore oil drilling.  You might even see a few unicorns and fairies sitting up on stage behind the politicians, nodding in agreement.   

Monday, May 16, 2016

Full Frontal

Samantha Bee, previously on The Daily Show, has a new weekly show on WTBS called Full Frontal. It's basically a 30-minute rant each week, and if you're liberal or left-leaning, you will love it. If you're a rightard, you will hate it.

This week Sam took a look at the rise of the religious right and how they have captured the Republican Party. The 10-minute video is below. These guys hate the Constitution. They want a government permeated with and deferential to religion. They want to be able to tell you HOW TO LIVE, and it's just a little bit counter to the whole freedom idea.

Wake up, America. It's time to banish the religious right to the wilderness for another 50 years. They are nothing but toxic to the body politic, all in the name of their mythical Jesus. We don't need that crap.

The Daily Puppy

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Bernie Sanders 2016

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