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Celebrating geezerdom

I saw what follows on the BBC, written by a young teenager and good sport named Scott Campbell. I laughed practically non-stop through the whole thing, coming at it from the geezer side myself. I have to share snippets with you.

BBC | Giving up my iPod for a Walkman

My dad had told me it was the iPod of its day.

He had told me it was big, but I hadn’t realised he meant THAT big. It was the size of a small book. …

From a practical point of view, the Walkman is rather cumbersome, and it is certainly not pocket-sized, unless you have large pockets. It comes with a handy belt clip screwed on to the back, yet the weight of the unit is enough to haul down a low-slung pair of combats.

And you probably thought we didn’t wear those diaper pants because we weren’t cool, huh?

… It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser ….

I love it.

You can almost imagine the excitement about the Walkman coming out 30 years ago, as it was the newest piece of technology at the time.

Perhaps that kind of anticipation and excitement has been somewhat lost in the flood of new products which now hit our shelves on a regular basis.

Personally, I’m relieved I live in the digital age, with bigger choice, more functions and smaller devices. I’m relieved that the majority of technological advancement happened before I was born . . .

Bwahahaha.  Sort of reminds me of whoever it was before Niels Bohr and Einstein burst upon the scene, saying there was nothing new to be discovered in physics.  The boy’s in good company.

. . . as I can’t imagine having to use such basic equipment every day. …

Did my dad, Alan, really ever think this was a credible piece of technology?

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Racist Wanker

Gary Frago

Gary Frago

You may recall the original report about this story.  From the Merced Sun-Star:

Violent and racist e-mail jokes alluding to the assassination of President Barack Obama, the killing of Latinos and violence against black people were forwarded by Atwater City Councilman Gary Frago during the last six months, according to more than 200 new e-mails obtained by the Sun-Star from the city of Atwater.

The councilman, who forwarded the newly obtained e-mails to city staff and a county supervisor, among others, has been under public pressure to resign since it was learned in July that he had sent other racist e-mails in late 2008 and early 2009.

One of the most troubling of the new Frago e-mails, forwarded in January, joked that Nokia had designed a new cell phone for “nervous white people” who want to make calls in a series of cities known for their large black populations, such as Oakland and New Orleans. The phone was a gun.


Another e-mail forwarded by Frago on Dec. 9, 2008, was in the form of a fictitious letter sent by Sen. John McCain to John Hinckley Jr., a man obsessed with actress Jodie Foster, who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981. The letter said that Hinckley would be released soon and he should know that Obama was sleeping with Foster now.


A third e-mail joked about killing illegal immigrants and Obama delegates. The joke is about a man applying for a position with a police department. As a test, the chief tells the applicant: “Take this gun with 13 bullets and go out and shoot six illegal immigrants, six Obama delegates and a rabbit.” The man asks: “why the rabbit?”

“Fantastic attitude,” says the chief. “When can you start?”


Frago, who says he won’t resign from the council, is already in hot water after revelations surfaced in a Sun-Star story July 17 that he e-mailed a series of racist jokes about the president, first lady and blacks in general.

Frago has begun racial sensitivity classes and this week resigned his honorary position as mayor pro tem. “I have made a mistake, I should have known better,” he said at a special meeting on the e-mails in late July.

His “sensitivity classes” should require him to go to downtown Oakland and tell those jokes to the residents. This guy has no business holding elective office.

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Gun-packing Paultard Birther Idiot

The price of freedom is having to put up with morons like this:

One of Tuesday’s big mysteries was the motivation behind anti-Obama protester William Kostric, the man who brought a loaded gun to the town hall meeting and carried a sign referencing Thomas Jefferson’s famous credo, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots.”

On Tuesday afternoon MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked Kostric why he carried “a God-damned gun” to a meeting with the president, “given the violent history of this country with regard to presidents and assassinations,” and whether he supported the Birther movement. Kostric insisted his intentions were peaceful, and that he’s not affiliated with Birther groups.

But at least one of those statements doesn’t seem to be true. A right-wing activist named “William Kostric,” who’s left a lot of footprints around the Web, is listed as a “team member” of the Arizona chapter of We the People, the far-right group best known for joining a lawsuit challenging Obama’s right to be president based on his not being a U.S. citizen. Kostric told MSNBC he recently moved from Arizona to New Hampshire.

Why is someone who is “peaceful” armed and dangerous?  This guy is so stupid he doesn’t realize he is discrediting every right-of-center protestor in the country.  The police said he wasn’t breaking any laws but thankfully he wasn’t allowed anywhere near the President.

From Allahpundit:

Considering the lengths to which the Secret Service normally goes to investigate threats against the president, I’m amazed he wasn’t hauled in for questioning at the scene as a potential threat. People are going to beat the Second Amendment drum in the comments, but (a) I doubt it would have sat well with our readers if lefties carrying Bushitler signs had shown up to Dubya’s events packing heat and (b) having a right doesn’t mean you’re obliged to exercise it, particularly in circumstances where it would be provocative to do so. I’ve knocked atheist groups for suing for the right to display a “Darwin tree” or whatever on public grounds next to a Christmas tree, not because they’re not entitled but because they’re being spiteful, incendiary douchebags by doing so. How is Captain Sidearm here any different?

Here’s another spiteful incendiary douchbag:
Continue reading

Your Breakfast Read, Wednesday Edition

Heath Care Nightmare

One of the most maligned persons in the whole debate takes the stand. It was all started by Betsy McCaughey (who else as soon as it’s about reforming health-care?)
Ezekiel Emanuel, Obama’s ‘Deadly Doctor,’ Strikes Back

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the medical ethicist and oncologist who advises President Obama, does not own a television, and if you catch him in a typically energized moment, when his mind speeds even faster than his mouth, he is likely to blurt out something like, “I hate the Internet.” So it took him several days in late July to discover he had been singled out by opponents of health-care reform as a “deadly doctor,” who, according to an opinion column in the New York Post, wanted to limit medical care for “a grandmother with Parkinson’s or a child with cerebral palsy.”

“I couldn’t believe this was happening to me,” says Emanuel, who in addition to spending his career opposing euthanasia and working to increase the quality of care for dying patients, is the brother of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. “It is incredible how much one’s reputation can be besmirched and taken out of context.”

It would only get worse. Within days, the Post article, with selective and misleading quotes from Emanuel’s 200 or so published academic papers, went viral.

Another bogeyman
‘Evil and Orwellian’ – America’s right turns its fire on NHS

The National Health Service has become the butt of increasingly outlandish political attacks in the US as Republicans and conservative campaigners rail against Britain’s “socialist” system as part of a tussle to defeat Barack Obama’s proposals for broader government involvement in healthcare.

Top-ranking Republicans have joined bloggers and well-funded free market organisations in scorning the NHS for its waiting lists and for “rationing” the availability of expensive treatments.

As myths and half-truths circulate, British diplomats in the US are treading a delicate line in correcting falsehoods while trying to stay out of a vicious domestic dogfight over the future of American health policy.

Is life just an endless loop? Why do we keep seeing the same things over and over again?
Health Care Protest Deja Vu: Welcome to 1994

Across the country, the Reform Riders encountered demonstrators bearing signs like IT’S SOCIALISM STUPID and pro-life campaigners worried that their tax dollars would be funneled toward abortions. The protestors were “vocal, virulent, menacing, and well organized,” shouting about guns, gays, and socialized medicine. Is any of this sounding familiar? So why weren’t the Democrats ready this time?

What is it with us and national health-care for everybody?
Health care debate a long-running story

President Barack Obama’s campaign for a health care overhaul is an intense installment in a long-running story, dating to Theodore Roosevelt in 1912.

How Democrats And Republicans Exploit Emotion

Around The Nation

2 U.S. Architects of Harsh Tactics in 9/11’s Wake

Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were military retirees and psychologists, on the lookout for business opportunities. They found an excellent customer in the Central Intelligence Agency, where in 2002 they became the architects of the most important interrogation program in the history of American counterterrorism.

A Vindication for Iglesias?

Newly revealed e-mails may show that Karl Rove and the Bush White House had a more active role in the 2006 U.S. attorney firings than previously disclosed.

A President as Micromanager: How Much Detail Is Enough?

In briefing President Barack Obama one day this spring, White House economist Jared Bernstein delved into such arcana as the yields on different forms of credit relative to the risk. Later, Paul Volcker pulled Mr. Bernstein aside. “Why would the president want to know that level of detail?” asked the former Federal Reserve chairman.

“That’s what he wants,” Mr. Bernstein replied.

Economy Watch

Economy may be improving, but jobs slow to come

Because labor is the biggest expense for most companies, that kind of caution is typical at the end of recessions. After the last one, in 2001, unemployment kept rising and didn’t peak until June 2003 — 19 months into the economic recovery.
This time around, some economists say unemployment may not return to healthy levels until 2013. Companies have been slashing workers’ hours, squeezing more work out of the employees who are left and relying on cheaper temporary staffers to fill the gaps.

‘A Recovery Only a Statistician Can Love’

The pile of economic data indicating that the worst of the recession is over just keeps growing. In the past few weeks, the government has reported that businesses last month shed the smallest number of jobs in nearly a year. The savings rate, after rising rapidly, held steady at levels not seen in at least five years. And from April to June, productivity surged to a six-year high.

But the same data also explain why any recovery isn’t going to feel like one anytime soon for millions of Americans. Its existence will be confirmed by statistics, but, over at least the next year, the benefits are unlikely to materialize in the form of higher wages or tax receipts or more jobs

The Final Days of Merrill Lynch

Last September, as Wall Street turned to rubble and panic threatened to come unleashed, Ken Lewis, the CEO of Bank of America, agreed to swallow one of the country’s most toxic investment houses. The deal was not altogether voluntary; as details have slowly emerged, the coercive role of the Fed and Treasury has loomed larger. What exactly happened in the weeks leading up to the merger? Did the deal save us all from economic apocalypse? And what does the government’s unprecedented role in it portend for the future of our economy?

Debate in Germany: Research or Manufacturing?

As more investment goes to research, Germans are confronting the idea that manufacturing may not be their economy’s indispensable foundation.

Op-ed Columns

Eunice Kennedy Shriver: A Gladiator For The Voiceless

Eunice Shriver devoted her life to full-effort people. On the Bermuda grass at Timberlawn, where she hosted a camp for children with mental disabilities, and later at the Special Olympics, she could be found gamboling among the participants — encouraging, prodding, congratulating. She truly believed, and she instilled in those events, the idea that it’s not what you achieve in life, it’s what you overcome. A morally driven and politically astute woman, she sprung open doors globally for the mentally disabled and opened minds that had too long been closed to accepting people with Down syndrome and other disabilities.

Who was that gun-toting anti-Obama protester?

One of Tuesday’s big mysteries was the motivation behind anti-Obama protester William Kostric, the man who brought a loaded gun to the town hall meeting and carried a sign referencing Thomas Jefferson’s famous credo, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots.”

Change We Can’t Believe In?

Candidate Barack Obama offered a lofty vision of how his White House would operate. When the details of health reform were being hammered out, he vowed, “We’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.”

Soaring deficit may defy forecasts

Stagnant unemployment, shrinking tax revenue and a struggling economy threaten to quadruple the size of last year’s federal budget deficit, raising more questions about the timing of costly proposals to overhaul health care.

As the White House and Congressional Budget Office (CBO) prepare to release new deficit estimates this month, several economists say the news is likely to be as bad as or worse than forecasts.

Fun, Berlusconi and Putin’s Bed

Part of the reason for Berlusconi’s longevity despite his many stumbles is cultural. As in other Latin or Mediterranean countries with a strong Catholic tradition, Italian society long ago learned to accept serenely a life of duplicity: on the one hand, a strong attachment to church and family values, and on the other a second life – often lived in plain sight – composed of mistresses and other “dubious” connections.

Around The World

The race for TV ratings sometimes brings the worst out of hosts but this is taking it to another level.
Murder for ratings? Brazil cops suspect TV host

In one murder after another, the “Canal Livre” crime TV show had an uncanny knack for being first on the scene, gathering graphic footage of the victim.

Too uncanny, say police, who are investigating the show’s host, state legislator Wallace Souza, on suspicion of commissioning at least five of the murders to boost his ratings and prove his claim that Brazil’s Amazon region is awash in violent crime. Police also have accused Souza of drug trafficking.

“The order to execute always came from the legislator and his son, who then alerted the TV crews to get to the scene before the police,” state police intelligence chief Thomaz Vasconcelos charged in an interview with The Associated Press.

I wonder if the results here would look any different.
Sex and China’s credibility gap

The majority of Chinese people believe that prostitutes are more trustworthy than Communist Party and government officials.”

If this were a viewpoint made by a report or commentary in overseas media, it would definitely have been furiously refuted by Beijing as “venomous slander” of the Chinese government with some “ulterior motives”.

But this is not a sensational bluff by some tabloid newspaper. It is the result of a recent survey on the respective credibility of various social groups by the Research Center of the Xiaokang monthly, a sister publication of the bi-monthly Qi Shi (Seeking Truth) – the mouthpiece of the central committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). As such it must be taken seriously.

Afghan woman defies threats to run for re-election

Conditions for women in Afghanistan have improved since a U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban in 2001, but that’s true mostly in urban centers. The fundamentalist Islamic militia banned women from working or going to school and flogged them for appearing in public unaccompanied by male family members.

Yet even the country’s educated elite prohibits female contact with men outside of immediate families. A woman must have her father’s or husband’s permission to go out, and must wear a burqa when she does. Doing otherwise risks punishment for “un-Islamic” behavior.

Taiwan mudslide survivors found

About 700 people missing in southern Taiwan after Typhoon Morakot have been found alive, army officials say.

Hillary Clinton demands arrests over Congo sexual violence

Hillary Clinton today called for the arrest and punishment of those responsible for the widespread sexual violence that has blighted eastern Congo for more than a decade.

The US secretary of state, who is in Goma to draw world attention to what she has described as “one of mankind’s greatest atrocities”, toured the Magunga camp

From The World of Astronomy

Traces of planet collision found

The collision involved one object that was at least as big as our Moon and another that was at least as big as Mercury.

The impact destroyed the smaller body, vaporising huge amounts of rock and flinging plumes of hot lava into space.

Strong meteor shower expected tonight

The annual Perseid meteor shower is expected to put on a good show this week for those willing to get up in the wee hours of the morning and wait patiently for the shooting stars.

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