Archive for June, 2010

Tech Update 4: Hulu Plus (Hulu on PS3 console)

Posted in Technology with tags , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2010 by raingeg

Today is a great day. For the last three years I’ve been trying to find ways to make my Playstation 3 and Hulu work together to give me my favorite “television” shows on my television. I’ve tried many things like Tversity and PlayOn which allow you to stream content from your computer, via the web, over your gaming console. That got to be a bit tedious, you had to turn your computer on, open the program, leave your computer on and then watch the show. Sometimes it wouldn’t connect to the web correctly, or there would be lag and then you’d have to wait for it to catch up. Then they started charging for the service, so I gave up on it. You couldn’t watch Hulu over the browser on the PS3 and now they’ve made it so that you can’t even run another OS on the PS3.

Enter Hulu Plus, a subscription based version of Hulu that allows you to access Hulu via the PS3 console. Hulu will not change, but Hulu Plus will give you a more than what is already available. Hulu Plus will be available on a plethora of other devices like the iPhone, iPod and iPad, along with some HD TV’s, XBOX 360 (2011) and other devices. And it will be in 720 High Definition. And for $9.99 a month you will be able to access full seasons of your favorite television shows. Seems like a pretty good deal.

For a while now gaming consoles have had access to the NetFlix library of movies and television shows for $8.99. I’ve been considering signing up for NetFlix because the price is so great. Now comes along Hulu Plus, which will give me the ability to watch a lot of new shows on my PS3, plus a lot of old shows for a dollar more. I do wonder if we will have access to the movie library that is already available at Hulu. I’m also wondering about some of the more obscure cable shows, if they too will be available on Hulu Plus. I’m sure all of these questions will be answered soon enough.

I just thought of something. If I purchased NetFlix and Hulu Plus, for the mere price of about $19.00 per month, I could have many of the features, if not more, available on basic cable. The cable company charges an arm and a leg for basic cable and its not worth it, I guess that’s why I don’t have it, and with the way technology is advancing it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting it in the future.

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The End of the GOP?

Posted in Immigration, Politics, Religion with tags , , , , on June 28, 2010 by raingeg

According to an article at FiveThirtyEitht.com last week by Tom Schaller, author of Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South, the Republican party is on its way out if it doesn’t make some serious changes.

The article titled “The Emerging Republican Minority” sounds a bit more like a Democratic wish list and than it does anything that will help Republicans in the future. For many on the left everything revolves around the leftist trinity of race, gender and class. So, naturally they are going to look at the Republican party through that prism and it just doesn’t work.

FiveThirtyEight:

The Center for American Politics’ Ruy Teixeira, one of the top political demographers in the country, has a new paper out in which he examines the two major party coalitions, with a focus on the current and future prospects of the Republican Party. For the GOP, says Teixeira, things look grim, in large part because the country is becoming less white and more educated. He provides specific data showing how college educated voters are growing, and non-college educated shrinking, as shares of the electorate; likewise for the growing non-white v. shrinking white populations.

“The Democratic Party will become even more dominated by the emerging constituencies that gave Barack Obama his historic 2008 victory, while the Republican Party will be forced to move toward the center to compete for these constituencies. As a result, modern conservatism is likely to lose its dominant place in the GOP,” he writes, adding that “the Republican Party as currently constituted is in need of serious and substantial changes in approach.”

Basically, the Republican party is a bunch of white and uneducated people, and since whites are a dying breed then Democrats automatically have an edge. I don’t know what else to get out of this article than that. This furthers the idea that people on the left only look at the world through their leftist trinity.

Teixeira has some recommendations to the Republicans:

Move to the center on social issues.

The culture wars may have worked for a while, but shifting demographics make them a loser for the party today and going forward. A more moderate approach would help with Millennials, where the party must close a yawning gap, and with white college graduates, who still lean Republican but just barely. The party also needs to make a breakthrough with Hispanics, and that won’t happen unless it shifts its image toward social tolerance, especially on immigration.

The breakthrough with Hispanics is more likely to come from cultural issues because Hispanics are overwhelmingly religious Catholics. But its hard for Conservatives to make a breakthrough with American Hispanics with lefties calling them “bigots” “racists” and “xenophobes.” Coupled with Democrats pretty much bribing Hispanic immigrants by selling them the lie that the American dream is given not earned. Its like their hanging a carrot in front of their faces, letting them get a bite that barley suffices and then pulling the carrot away after an election and giving the individual a bite again only after he once again votes for the guy or gal holding the stick.

Pay attention to whites with some college education and to young white working-class voters in general.

The GOP’s hold on the white working class is not secure, and if that slips, the party doesn’t have much to build on to form a successful new coalition. That probably also means offering these voters something more than culture war nostrums and antitax jeremiads.

Another demographic target should be white college graduates, especially those with a four-year degree only.

The party has to stop the bleeding in America’s large metropolitan areas, especially in dynamic, growing suburbs. Keeping and extending GOP support among this demographic is key to taking back the suburbs. White college graduates increasingly see the party as too extreme and out of touch.

The Republican party is too extreme and out of touch? Current polling would greatly go against this finding (here and here). Now I realize that Teixeira is focusing more on the future of the GOP, but I have to point out again that this is all predicated on the idea that non-white highly educated people are all going to swing in favor of the Democrats, and there’s no guarantee that this will happen. Current data would seem to put that point into question too! The Republican party is a party that is becoming more and more “diverse” (as the lefties like to call it). Now, do I really care about what race an individual is? No, not nearly as much as the left cares about the race of their candidates and those who represent their party. I care far more about what they believe and how they intend to do their job as a servant to the people.

But, for the record, lets look at how “diverse” the Republican party is today! Niki Hailey is a Republican and an Indian woman running for Governor in South Carolina. Marco Rubio is a Republican from Florida who’s parents who came to America from Cuba. Tim Scott is a Republican and a black South Carolinian Congressional candidate. Don’t forget about Bobby Jindal who is also Indian and is the Governor of the state of Louisiana. And since gender matters so much these days think of the women that were just elected in primary races in California, Carly Fiorina who is running for the Senate and Meg Whitman who is running for Governor.

In the long run the GOP has to have serious solutions of its own that go beyond cutting taxes. These solutions should use government to address problems but in ways that reflect conservative values and principles. Antigovernment populism is something the party is clearly comfortable with— witness its evolving line of attack on the Obama administration. But it’s likely not enough to just denounce the other side and what they have done or propose to do in populist terms.

I agree with Teixeira on this one, Republicans need to address problems and in ways that “reflect conservative values and principles.” But the irony of his statement is that all of the suggestions he lays out prior to this are not conservative and do not reflect conservative values. That’s because his suggestions are riddled with leftist cliches and pejoratives. “Anti-tax,” “social tolerance” and “anti-government” are all ways the left sees the right and not the way the right would prefer to be represented.

Schaller writes:

What’s interesting to me about most of Teixeira’s suggested changes is that the GOP is either not doing them, or doing something close to the opposite. If anything, the opposite is happening. Indeed, the single biggest storyline of the past year for conservatives and the Republican Party is the rise of the tea party protest movement.

On immigration, if anything the GOP has taken a turn toward anti-amnesty, fence-building xenophobia. The Republicans may have eased off the gas pedal somewhat on tax-cutting, but the conversational shift to deficit reduction and fears of growing government size still carries strong and familiar anti-government overtones.

This seems to be a bit perplexing to Schaller. They are not pushing left-wing positions and they are winning! Could it be that what the left says about Conservatism and Republicans and what they really are is not accurate? Could it be that the politics of the country is not quite as easy to sum up as those on the left think it is? And could it be that college educated non-whites will vote for Conservative candidates instead of leftist Democrats?

HT:  Memeorandum

Pigeons on the Porch

Posted in Life with tags , on June 24, 2010 by raingeg

I went outside about 3 weeks ago to find a nest full of eggs on my back balcony. Now they’ve finally hatched, here’s my little Pigeon friends.

The Politics of the Border

Posted in Immigration, Politics with tags , , on June 23, 2010 by raingeg

I sure hope this doesn’t turn into one of those blogs that only talks about border issues. Its a problem, I know that, but its not the only problem. Politically speaking, its a problem for President Obama’s administration and the Democratic party in Arizona.

There is a part of me that wants to say that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer calculated this out and understood the political ramifications of the passage of SB 1070, some have speculated that that might be the case. Then there’s another part of me that has pretty much warmed up to the idea that it might have just been what it looks like, a state that could no longer sit on its hands and wait for federal action, with a hint of an attitude that says help us out or we’ll do it ourselves.

I hope that doesn’t give you the impression that I think the passage of SB 1070 will magically fix the border problem, it won’t. Its obviously going to take more than just SB 1070, its going to take real action from the federal government, but I’ve pointed out before what that action should look like. And it can’t be what President Obama calls “comprehensive” immigration reform.

But back to my original point. I’d like to bring your attention to two articles, one by Sean Miller at The Hill and another by Byron York in the Washington Examiner.

The first one brings to light to political ramifications for Arizona Democrats because of the lawsuit proposed by the Obama administration.

The Hill:

Arizona Democrats facing tough reelection races are distancing themselves from the Obama administration as it prepares to file a lawsuit against the state over its controversial immigration law.

Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.) on Monday sent a sharply worded letter to President Barack Obama urging him not to sue.

“I believe your administration’s time, efforts and resources would be much better spent securing the border and fixing our broken immigration system,” the two-term congressman wrote in the letter.

“Arizonans are tired of the grandstanding, and tired of waiting for help from Washington. … [A] lawsuit won’t solve the problem. It won’t secure the border, and it won’t fix our broken immigration system.”

“Congresswoman Giffords wants more federal agents on the Arizona border, not federal lawyers in court arguing with state lawyers about a law that will do nothing to increase public safety in the communities she represents,” C.J. Karamargin, a spokesman for the congresswoman, told The Hill.

Kirkpatrick likewise said the administration should focus on border security.

“I am calling on the president and the attorney general to abandon preparations for a lawsuit against Arizona, and to recommit to finding a national solution to fixing this national problem,” the freshman lawmaker said in a statement released Monday. “The administration should focus on working with Arizona to put together a long-term strategy to secure our borders and reform our immigration policy.

… The time for talk is over, and the time for action is here.”

The three Democrats have also directed their energy to lifting the Arizona boycotts that various groups and local governments around the country have started.

So right now you are seeing Democrats at the state level pitted up against Democrats in the White House. As the article points out, “Another way the suit could be problematic for Arizona Democrats: It could make it more complicated for them to appear with Obama at a fundraiser or campaign with him in-state.”

I need to hurry, since I’m running out of time and I need to leave for work.

Now on to Byron York from the Washington Examiner. Last weekend Sen. Jon Kyl basically told us that President Obama, one-on-one meeting with Kyl, in a roundabout way told him he’s not going to act on the border. He doesn’t want to do anything until comprehensive immigration reform is on the table. Later on a spokesman for the White House came out and said Kyl was lying.

Byron York:

Now, in an interview with KVOI radio in Arizona, Kyl says his account of the Oval Office conversation is accurate.

“What I said occurred did occur,” Kyl said.

“One way you can verify the validity of what I said is that that’s exactly their position,” Kyl continued.

“Some spokesman down at the White House said no, that isn’t what happened at all, and then proceeded to say we need comprehensive immigration reform to secure the border.

That is their position, and all I was doing was explaining why, from a conversation with the president, why it appears that that’s their position.”

After Kyl’s radio interview, a Kyl spokesman sent a note emphasizing the senator’s point. “There were two people in that meeting and [spokesman] Dan Pfeiffer was not one of them,” spokesman Andrew Wilder said.

“The White House spokesman’s pushback that you must have comprehensive immigration reform to secure the border only confirms Kyl’s account.”

So this makes for interesting politics. You have Arizona Democrats distancing themselves from the White House and sounding almost like Republicans when it comes to action on the border. And you have the White House ready to sue Arizona and hurt the Democrats running for reelection in the state. Not to mention that if the White House continues on their current path it further validates Kyl’s claim that the President is not after anything but “comprehensive immigration reform.”

Learning to Listen

Posted in Life, Politics with tags , on June 22, 2010 by raingeg

Often times I now find myself staying out of political discussions with people I don’t know or people I’ve just met. I suppose I’m slower than I once was to vocally announce my values to the world, or to people I’m meeting for the first time. This probably comes from my desire to learn about people before I get into a knock down drag out fight over abortion or torture or even boring subjects like the value of a voucher program in the educational system.

Before, when I was younger, it was more about winning arguments than it was about engaging in meaningful conversation with another human being. It was more about converting, sans a desire or willingness to be converted. But, as I grow older, I’ve found that I’m more willing to look at the issues, desiring to understand why a person believes what they believe, rather than thinking a person is bad for believing what they believe. I’ve become more willing to stand in complete ambivalence on some issues and not mind at all. And believe me, as a person who likes to have an opinion on everything, ambivalence is a hard position to take.

Don’t get me wrong, I have opinions, and most people that know me know that I’m not afraid to share them with you. I’ve just become more accustom to listening and observing. I’ve also come to realize that just because I don’t agree with a person on everything doesn’t mean everything they say is void or lacks incite. Far too often we throw people into a box and say that because they believe X then Y and Z can never be looked at and that person must always be defined by X, a mindset I find appalling.

In politics today we are always on the look out for the hypocrite or what is known now as the “flip flopper.” I can see someone being disgusted with a person like Arlen Specter, who for one reason, to keep his political career going, switches parties. The guy is a creep and doesn’t deserve to be a servant to the people. But we have to be careful that we are not pinning the hypocrite label on someone that just simply changes their mind.

This post is geared more to those young people that want to get involved with politics, the best thing you can do is listen. Form opinions, and don’t try to convert people, just understand them. Let people know that you understand their point of view and make sure they understand yours.

Obama to Kyl: Won’t secure the border

Posted in Immigration, Politics with tags , , , , , on June 20, 2010 by raingeg

Arizona Senator Jon Kyl reveals President Obamas border plan at Tempe town hall.

Red State:

On June 18, 2010, Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl told the audience at a North Tempe Tea Party town hall meeting that during a private, one-on-one meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office, the President told him, regarding securing the southern border with Mexico, “The problem is, . . . if we secure the border, then you all won’t have any reason to support ‘comprehensive immigration reform.’” [Audible gasps were heard throughout the audience.] Sen. Kyl continued, “In other words, they’re holding it hostage. They don’t want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with ‘comprehensive immigration reform.’”

Sen. Kyl also said he reminded President Obama that the President and the Congress have an obligation, a duty, to secure the border.

And here’s the video from the town hall meeting.

HT: Red State and Memeorandum

A Tale of Two Governors: Jindal and the Spill & Brewer and Illegal Immigration

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 18, 2010 by raingeg

Here is a really quick tale of two Governors, in two sates, dealing with two very different problems, both asking the federal government for help, in an area where the federal government is actually needed.

Let me first preface what I am about to say with this brief statement about the role of the federal government. The federal government has a role to play in the United States, the problem is that it often over steps its bounds, becomes too bloated or is accomplishing a task that could easily be handled by the states, or already is to a degree handled by the states, creating redundancies in government, that make it more and more difficult to be about the peoples business. The oil spill is a perfect example of how the many levels of government bureaucracy get in the way of the peoples’ business and actually make the job more complicated than it needs to be.

On to story one, brought to us by none other than ABC News, from Louisiana, where Governor Bobby Jindal is having trouble connecting with the federal government.

ABC News:

Eight days ago, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered barges to begin vacuuming crude oil out of his state’s oil-soaked waters. Today, against the governor’s wishes, those barges sat idle, even as more oil flowed toward the Louisiana shore.

“It’s the most frustrating thing,” the Republican governor said today in Buras, La. “Literally, yesterday morning we found out that they were halting all of these barges.”

“The Coast Guard came and shut them down,” Jindal said. “You got men on the barges in the oil, and they have been told by the Coast Guard, ‘Cease and desist. Stop sucking up that oil.'”

A Coast Guard representative told ABC News today that it shares the same goal as the governor.

“We are all in this together. The enemy is the oil,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dan Lauer.

But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.

After Jindal strenuously made his case, the barges finally got the go-ahead today to return to the Gulf and get back to work, after more than 24 hours of sitting idle.

Is this really what we are worried about? I understand safety measures and such, but maybe someone can inform me as to why we are supposed to call the people who built the barge in order to see if its equip with fire extinguishers and life vests? And why does it take 24 hours to perform this task? You’d think that in this day and age, where I can get a hold of most people pretty much anytime, that it wouldn’t take 24 hours to accomplish this task. But that is what you get when you have a federal government that is to big.

On to story 2, brought to you by an Ecuadorian television station, NTN 24, our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and picked up by The Right Scoop blog.

Allow me to digress. Two weeks ago we all watched as Arizona Governor Jan Brewer met with President Barack Obama, to discuss the border and SB170. It was two weeks ago that the President told Gov. Brewer that he would tell her what he planned to do with the 1200 national guard troops that are to be deployed and more money for the border within the next couple of weeks. Per Gov. Brewer “I’ve heard absolutely nothing.”

Now back to the story. Here is the video from the Ecuadorian television show.

Capitol Media Services:

Gov. Jan Brewer lashed out at the president and his administration Thursday, saying they announced – in Ecuador – that the federal government will sue Arizona over the state’s new immigration law.

“That is just totally outrageous,” the governor said after being told of a televised interview Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did while traveling. She said there is no reason Arizonans should have to learn through a blog post of an interview she did with NTN-24.

Clinton, being interviewed, said Obama has spoken out against the law because he believes immigration policy should be determined by the federal government. That mirrors statements the president himself has made since Arizona adopted the law requiring police to check the immigration status of those they have stopped if there is “reasonable suspicion” they are not in this country legally.

It was what followed that was new.

“And the Justice Department, under his direction, will be bringing a lawsuit against the act,” Clinton said in the interview.

While Obama did direct the Justice Department to review the law, the president previously said any decision whether to sue would be made by Attorney General Eric Holder.

The White House declined comment, referring calls to the Justice Department. Calls to that agency were not immediately returned.

The preceding stories were just two examples of how bad things are right now. There is a large communication breakdown between the states and the bloated federal government.