Monday, March 23, 2015

Street View

In a bout of nostalgia, I googled 'Sevres, France' the other day, a suburb halfway between Paris and Versailles, where my family moved to, after the War. Not only did I google it, I ogled at it with Google map's 'street view' , zooming in on the minutest details of the place where I grew up. This turned into a daily obsession and I found myself maneuvering my way around the narrow streets of a place that until now had the decency of only existing in my memories and my dreams.

I knew Sevres still existed, but who cared? 'Apres moi, le deluge' was my motto, when it came to memories. But street view burst my bubble. There was no deluge apres moi. Sevres was as alive now as it had always been. It hadn't even changed an iota. I felt cheated. What was the use of lugging all these memories around, when some present day high tech camera can drive around and record in a few minutes what had taken me a life time to preserve in my head? Read more...

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Persecution of Hillary Clinton

For Hillary Clinton, all hell has broken loose. As the Dutch say, “het hek is van de dam.” It was only a matter of time. Anyone with half a brain could predict that sooner or later, they were going to start her destruction. The only question was the choice of alleged “crime(s).”

The “crime:” She used her private e-mail as Secretary of State. Just for good measure, they are also piling on another charge: her foundation accepted money from Arab countries.

“Benghazi” had become stale. In its heyday, Benghazi generated a lot of commotion, even though it was always 100% contrived. Ask ten random people what Benghazi was about, and not ONE would be able to tell you, apart from aping Fox TV and saying that “Hillary lied about something.” In reality, nothing fraudulent happened. See my articles  Benghazi ad nauseam and The Benghazi Pseudo-issue.

So they are now trying something new. The e-mail thing. This will go on, and there is no doubt that they’ll find other “fun” topics to throw at her. Who are “they”? Obviously the Fox-GOP complex is the prime actor, its actions and motives easily explained by the cui bono principle.

Monday, March 9, 2015

In Varietate Unitas?

Once upon a time there was a large family with lots and lots of children. They were always fighting with each other and causing a lot of trouble. One of the children, whose name was Germaine, was a little bigger than the others and quite aggressive by nature. She wanted all the other children’s toys, so she broke into their respective rooms, beat up the children and stole their toys.

A distant uncle by the name of Sam, didn’t like what was happening in that family and decided to put an end to it. He went over there and kicked some ass until Germaine had to run back to her room with her tail between her legs, so to speak.

After Germaine was duly punished, the children realized that they had made a mess of things, always fighting and breaking things. It would be in everyone’s best interest if they were nicer to each other. So three of the children by the name of Ben, Ned and Lex started a Fan Club. At first only a few of the children joined, but as they saw that being a member of the Fan Club had many advantages, like access to good restaurants, good sports clubs and good hospitals, many of them wanted to join. Read more...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Over 70? Driver's License Renewal? Take a Written Test

I passed 70 a while back, and more and more of my friends are doing so as well. If you are in the same boat, I hope that this article helps you:

Until now, whenever I had to renew my drivers license, it was a cinch. But this time, there was a nasty surprise: for the first time in half a century, I had to take a written test.

When I first got my renewal notice a few weeks ago and I saw that I had to take a test, I was cavalier about it, thinking that this was a formality. But then, I talked to some acquaintances and neighbors, and I discovered that many people FAIL this test. Web sites report first-time failure rates up to 72% (!).

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Net Neutrality: A Good First Step

The Federal Communications Commission's recent ruling to reclassify broadband as a public utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, is a step in the right direction, but probably will not break the stranglehold that the major ISP's have over our entire nation.

The FCC's new ruling prevents an ISP from offering 'paid prioritization', i.e. slow and fast lanes, depending on how much the content provider pays the ISP. Before Netflix gave in to the bullying tactics of Comcast, the largest ISP in America, streaming a Netflix movie was a pretty bad experience. This is a typical example of the consumer paying the price when network operators argue over money. Throttling and blocking are two other no-no's under the new rules and for the first time, open Internet rules will be fully applicable to mobile devices. In other words, the FCC now can regulate some aspects of how major ISP's conduct their business.

But one of the most important causes of the deterioration of broadband access in America, is the lack of competition. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler did not seem to have the stomach to confront that issue.