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Soon Will Be Time

Soon, it will be time for me to say goodbye.

Netflix: Success, Again

One year ago, Netflix was in some serious trouble, as I remember it. Management messed with the firm's pricing paradigm, and customers were dumping Netflix as their video provider, like it was selling E. coli laced spinach.

Vision is one of those things that Dr. Ron Raya covered, in his graduate-level course titled, Administrative Leadership. If I could just go back and retake that class, I would, and this is the company that I would study. Of course, I'm long finished with that master's program (though, I miss it very much).

Still, Netflix seems to demonstrative administrative leadership, over and over, again. It is an agile company that has morphed from a mail order business, to a video on demand business, to a producer of original content. In the midst of adversity, Netflix seems to have managed.

This is very much contrary to what happened to Blockbuster Video, a company that was badly assaulted by Netflix, and finished off by RedBox.

It's funny, though. I can see what may work for others, but I seem to have lost that sparkly vision, for myself. When I look at myself, in the mirror, I see a face illuminated by a dull, grey light. How do I change my personal vision? How do I transmute adversity to success?

Zimmerman Juror B-37 Drops a Bomb

"B-29" is probably a more appropriate assignment for this idiot. Holy God!

The People Who Love George Zimmerman are the Same People Who Want "Justice" for Dzhokhar!

I have no love for the criminal acts of either George Zimmerman or Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. They both should go away, forever, and be barred from walking among the free for the rest of their lives. What bugs me is that so many people see a difference between the two. I do not, as far as their violent acts go.

I am a little bit sympathetic toward Tsarnaev. He and his brother are nothing but blowback, just like bin Laden was blowback. Our CIA was noodling around, in Chechnya, just like we did in Afghanistan, except that the scales were different. The Tsarnaev brothers were born somewhere along a war-torn Chechen strip of land, occupied by Russia. They were born to be revolutionaries. They were born to kill. When their parents moved them to the United States, they took their goals and values with them. The anger and hatred that they might have directed toward Moscow, they directed, instead, toward Boston.

The funny thing is that, had their violent acts been directed toward Moscow, rather than Boston, then the Tsarnaev brothers would have been seen as heros by their fellow Chechens, in the same way that many Southern whites view Zimmerman. I suppose that murder is murder only when people call it murder. Otherwise, they use nuances, like "self defense" or "revolution."

Warm Relations with Russia: a Disturbing Trend

It is disturbing that the United States has managed to twist the arms of nations around the world to bar Edward Snowden from asylum. Is it that all nations now employ similar domestic spying techniques as the United States, thus making them sympathetic to the US Government's desire to catch that leaker?

What is driving nations, across the globe, to deny refuge to Edward Snowden?

Through Their Children, I Know Them

Members of my parents' generation have begun their final traverse across the plateau of life and over the cliff that all of their ancestors went, before, and down from which my generation will, too, eventually fall. Among my contemporary friends, few of their parents, have I ever met. Without a direct encounter, it is only through a lens of abstraction - the interface of an interface - that I can know those I've never known.

Teresa Wagner, a friend I met five years ago, said goodbye to her mother, today, and I joined her in paying respect. Though I never met her mother, I know her, still. If not completely, then largely of Native American descent, Teresa is one I can describe as very much the salt of the Earth, as were her ancestors, exhibiting only the highest ethical standards. Through spirituality, Teresa seeks personal enlightenment. She recognizes her oneness with this world and her connection with another, intangible place, and her ethos follows suit.

From adversity,
Teresa makes wealth;
from sickness,
she builds health.

She is an Earthly spirit,
a human dove,
who sings the virtues
of God, above.

And so she fought
a very good fight,
that her mother
might sail comfortably,
into God's light.

Goodbye, Hattie Joyce Brown. Though I never met you, I know you. I feel your strength all around, thanks to your daughter, and my friend, whom you gave the name, Teresa.

The Sadder and Sadder State of Paper Mail

Paper mail continues to be the most effective way to communicate with an elected official.  Sadly, this sort of mayhem could take away the ability for average citizens to directly and physically communicate with their government.

Between the slow financial asphyxiation of the post office, through the 2006 postal law, and dangerous mail being sent to people who work in government, I can see paper mail service coming to an end.

Repeal H.R. 6407

Today, I prepared and mailed out three postcards. Two were addressed to California's United States Senators, Feinstein and Boxer, and the third postcard was addressed to my district's United States House of Representatives delegate, Sanchez. Rather than by members of the Republican Party, I am glad to be represented by three Democrats, in the United States Congress, though, even the Democratic Party has moved quite far away from its New Deal and Great Society positions of the past. In comparison with their Republican counterparts, Democrats still exhibit a reasonable degree of lucidity in the legislation that they pass and the Article III judges, whom they nominate and confirm. I changed my party affiliation, in 2002, from Republican to Democratic, because I disagree with the extreme measures to which the greater Republican Party has gone in its effort to overturn Roe v. Wade, by choosing Supreme Court Justices who are apparently willing to define even a block of wood as a legal person in order to justify the eventual reasoning that will be used to overturn the 1973 landmark 7:2 decision, rendered by a very different Supreme Court.

Extremism, among modern Republicans, is found in every aspect of what they believe. Today's Republicans stand in favor of taking away litigation rights from people injured by doctors and businesses. Many of them would like to erect a crucifix in the Capitol rotunda, and pass legislation that permits religious anti science to creep into children's classrooms. They promote training, rather than education. They hypocritically claim that the free market solves everything, but then, block legislation requiring companies to reveal to the free market their use of materials, dangerous to the environment and inappropriate for human consumption. Republicans, today, also seek the total destruction of organized labor. They believe that competing with the Third World involves demoting the American worker to that of the slum dweller.

A majority of Republican Party members even seek to destroy the United States Post Office, which is an agency specifically established, not by amendment, but by the Articles found in the United States Constitution - the Constitution's body - and not within its addenda. The United States Post Office was not some passing thought, considered by the founders of America, a posteriori to the Constitution's ratification. The United States Post Office is an integral part of this country, and mail still matters. If there were no US Post Office, then delivery of products sold by online businesses would be much more expensive, because US postal employees provide inexpensive last mile carriage of many items shipped via UPS and FedEx. Also with the dissolution of the US Post Office, parcel transport service companies, no longer given a pricing counterweight, will raise their rates, making into a luxury, the shipping of parcels and also the hand delivery of paper correspondence.

Furthermore, the United States Postal Service is one of the last strongholds of organized labor, though even there, the power of unions has been eroded. Nonetheless, the postal workers of America, demonstrate to the rest of us the importance and value of organization.

In 2006, H.R. 6407 was passed into law. It was titled the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. The Act requires the United States Postal Service to fund its retirement programs, seventy-five years into the future, and to do so within ten years, henceforth, from the Act's transformation to law. Thus, the bill, passed by a Republican House of Representatives and a Republican Senate, was signed into law by George W. Bush, long before future mothers would give birth to children who might eventually staff the United States Post Office, and who upon retirement, might collect a pension and healthcare from that fund.

Because I am certain that none exist, I am comfortable with challenging anyone reading this wexBlog entry to name one business with a retirement fund that is at all similar to that specified by H.R. 6407. While, in the private sector, no such retirement plan exists, under H.R. 6407, employees of United States Post Office are required to carry the unprecedented burden of saving up money to pay for the retirement of employees who are some three generations removed from those in the present day. How can this make sense? It makes sense, only because the bill was drafted by Republican congressmen, passed through the legislature by a House of Representatives, controlled by the Republican Party, then by a Republican Senate, and shortly thereafter, the bill was signed into law by George W. Bush.

Members of the Republican Party, and particularly its TEA and Libertarian Party subsets, subscribe to a philosophy written about by Ayn Rand, in her novel titled, "Atlas Shrugged." Though fiction, many modern conservatives keep the book on the same shelf as their revered copy of the New Testament, a religious text which they've never actually read. In Rand's novel, she asserts that government can do no good, and society prospers only because of benevolent corporate tycoons.

Extremism never results in a positive outcome. Economic policies are unhealthy where, at one extreme, a nation's government is charged with running all matters of industrial activity, and at the other, where private businesses are delegated with the responsibility to control all aspects of the commons, with no points in between. For example, giving financial incentive to private sector firms that operate prisons will assuredly increase the number of people who are sent to prison. In another example, leaving it to private businesses to self regulate leads to no oversight of things that can be hidden.

Private businesses are innovators that, given the chance, will over innovate. Southern California Edison presents a good example, with the firm's 2006 discovery, and quiet dumping of tritiated water into the Pacific Ocean, at the San Onofre Atomic Power Station. Only when the recent disaster in Japan took place was a harsh light shone on San Onofre, and then, the discovery of and investigation into recently installed leaky steam generators created enough political pressure on the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to force a shutdown of the plant's remaining two reactors. In another example, "Honorable" Pennsylvania Judge, Mark Ciavarella Jr, was paid bribes by the private prison industry to commit people to long term sentences.

Each matter of privatization is different, and seemingly unrelated. However, the perception of dissociation between incidents is wrong. In each case, private sector companies answer to shareholders, who risk nothing but the money that they invest in given ventures, which creates an incentive to drive up profits at any cost to the rest of society. Next up for privatization is the United States Post Office, which is being shoved into bankruptcy by the heavy burden of carrying the unreasonable weight of future retirees who've not yet been born. Then, once the post office is gone, UPS and FedEx will be the only mail carriers left standing, and they will charge whatever the market will bear, with some people priced out of the market, therefore taking away their right to communicate by pen and paper.

Thus, I stand with the Post Office, and I support a bill to repeal H.R. 6407.

Programming Exploration: The Zend Framework

For reasons that are beyond me, I decided to look at the Zend Framework. A framework is constituted by a set of utilities. They are used to create the skeleton of an application, add meat to the bones, and then test functionality. The result is that software is created, following industry standards; developers have more time to devote to design, rather than granular programming. The book that I am reading on the subject is by W. Jason Gilmore, and it is titled, Easy PHP Websites with the Zend Framework.

The following are some basic notes on the first steps in creating a project, using the Zend Framework:

zf create project __PROJECT_NAME will create a directory with the following items visible at the top level:

.zfproject.xml
application
docs
library
public
tests

The following book excerpt describes the top level structure of a ZF project:

File This Under: America's Crumbling Infrastructure

Many people deny that America's infrastructure is crumbling. They express annoyance when they hear the word "infrastructure."

This, they will argue, didn't happen, just like the walk taken on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin didn't happen.

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