Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Time spent in store full of junk finds one piece of treasure worth keeping

     Jinny bought me a Valentine's present from a country Alabama junk store and I couldn't be happier with it.
    As she related to me, she had a couple of hours to kill while on a business trip needed to stretch her legs for a few minutes while on a car trip and decided to check out an antique mall. It wasn't a very nice antique mall. In one of the stalls she noticed a photo of Margaret Thatcher in a beat-up wooden frame. She didn't think anything about it and walked on by, but then returned to take another look.
    The photograph was autographed. She removed the photo from the frame to see if it was a printed photo and it wasn't. It was on photo stock, and the autograph was in blue grease pencil. Neither of us is a handwriting expert, but after looking at various samples of Thatcher's signature on the Internet, we both concluded that the signature was indeed that of the British Iron Lady. Jinny reframed the photo and I found a very nice spot for it.
    It certainly not that hard to buy autographed photos of Baroness Thatcher, but I doubt very seriously that I'll ever come across one for $10, which is what Jinny paid for mine. As the old saying goes, "One man's junk is another man's treasure," and my Margaret Thatcher photo is a treasure indeed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

My 15- to 20-year-old computer programs run just fine on Windows 10, but a 2010 program? Nah

    We all know that software compatibility is a big problem for those upgrading to a new operating system; programs that worked on Windows XP might not work on Windows 7 or Windows 10. The only solution is software upgrades costing anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand dollars per program, or application as they are called these days.
    Does anybody besides me find it a bit odd that these programs just simply quit working every time Microsoft has a major upgrade of Windows? Either Microsoft is designing their operating systems so that they won't run old software, or more likely, software manufacturers are designing their software so that minor changes in operating systems will render the software completely non-functional.
    I'm sure I speak for a lot of people when I say that I don't need "new and improved." Windows XP set the standard for operating systems; I do understand it had some security flaws and perhaps it had to go, but we, the computer-using public, did not need any non-security-related changes or improvements to Windows XP; once the apex is reached, the apex is reached.
    But we've had change whether we wanted it or not, first with the incredibly dreadful Windows Vista system, then with the XP-like Windows 7, and then the laughably disastrous Windows 8, which was so bad Microsoft skipped all the way to Windows 10 in an effort to distance itself from the tubercular  dog (what kind of stupid fool doesn't include a "start" button?). With each of these upgrades, fairly new software releases simply quit working, and the only way to make them work again was to pay a few hundred dollars per program for an upgrade.
    As evidence of my assertion that modern programs are designed to fail when software is upgraded, I would point to the fact that I have several very old programs that I have continued to use since Windows 98 was the new thing. These programs run just fine on Windows 10 because, unlike newer programs, they were not designed to fail.
    I quit using Corel Draw years ago, but it has a few features that I like to use, and I decided today  to see if I could install my old Corel Draw 7 onto my Windows 10 platform. It installed without a hitch and runs just fine. Corel Draw 7 was released Oct. 8, 1996, but based on my search of the Internet, versions of Corel Draw from 2010 and perhaps even 2012 will not work on Windows 10.
    A few years ago I was upgrading computers and tried to load my tried-and-true Photoshop 6, issued in September 2000, with no luck; my computer said Photoshop 6 was not compatible with Windows 7. In a Hail-Mary effort I finally just copied the Windows 6 folder from the old computer and plopped it down in the new one and then put a shortcut on my start menu. It worked like a charm. I'm sure Adobe has made improvements in their program since 2000, but I would rather have a program that I paid for once that was a little out of date than one with a few extra bells and whistles that had to be upgraded every three years. Many newer versions of Photoshop -- save for the very newest -- simply will not work on Windows 10.
    Few companies have been more draconian in their copy protection schemes than QuarkXPress, but as luck would have it they released one edition of their software that didn't require jumping through a million hoops to use -- QuarkXPress V -- which just happens to be the version I have (I actually bought a newer version, but didn't like it as much as Quark V). Various Internet message boards are wet with the tears of people unable to get their Quark versions to install and run on Windows 10, but when I upgraded my computer Quark V loaded just fine. QuarkXPress V was released in 2002.
    As a practical matter, we don't need any more improvements in operating systems; we don't need "better" software. What we need is for software makers to stop intentionally writing their programs so that they won't be able to run should there be future operating system changes.
    If my 20-year-old computer programs will run just fine on Windows 10, then versions of the same software released five or six years ago ought to be able to run as well. If not, the failure is intentional and somebody ought to go to jail.

University of Kansas showcases black Mississippi writers, including Holly Springs' Ida Wells

    The Project on the History of Black Writing at the University of Kansas is  sponsoring a series of events, Black History Suite 2017, celebrating works of black Mississippi or Mississippi-related writers during what it calls the Mississippi Renaissance, a period from World War I to the Great Depression and World War II era. Events will include panel discussions, a digital exposition, and a showing of "Yazoo Revisited" by David Morris.
    Among the writers featured are Richard Wright, Margaret Walker, and Ida B. Wells. Wright is best known for his novels "Black Boy" and "Native Son," but a panel discussion will focus on his "Blueprint for Negro Writing."

    Ida Wells, who was born and reared in Holly Springs, was born into slavery in 1862. Her father was owned by Spires Bolling, an architect whose homes were known for featuring octagonal columns. He also built the Walter Place, with its unusual octagonal wings on each end. The Wells family lived at the Bolling Place, which was later the Gatewood home, and is now the site of the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Museum.
    Wells, who lost both parents to the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878, struggled to support and keep her younger siblings together by working as a schoolteacher. Her frustration over receiving $30 per month while white teachers were paid $80 per month led her to become active in a movement to seek equal pay for black teachers, which led to her firing, after which she moved to Memphis.
    In May 1884, Wells refused to give up her seat on a Tennessee train and move to another rail car; when the conductor tried to forcibly move her she bit his hand. She was thrown off the train and successfully sued the train company, obtaining a $500 judgment in circuit court. The Tennessee Supreme Court overturned this judgment in 1887 and assessed Wells $200 in costs. This case was later cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), which found that segregation laws were not unconstitutional under the "separate but equal" doctrine which remained controlling law until Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
    (An interesting note is that Plessy v. Ferguson was a "friendly" lawsuit carefully coordinated between Plessy and the railroad company, both of whom believed that the Supreme Court would find segregation laws unconstitutional. The railroad company wanted Plessy to prevail, as it did not want the expense of having to maintain two sets of passenger cars).
    In 1889, Wells, who was working in Memphis as a schoolteacher, became owner of the Free Speech and Headlight, a newspaper published out of the Beale Street Baptist Church. Her opposition to segregation and articles decrying the poor condition of black schools led to her firing in 1891.
    Also in 1889, three of Wells' friends were lynched, which led her to become active in the national anti-lynching movement, in which she often collaborated with W.E.B. Du Bois and Frederick Douglas. In 1992, she published a famous anti-lynching pamphlet, "Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases."
    On May 27, 1892, a white mob destroyed the offices of Wells' newspaper. Because of threats on her life she soon moved to Chicago, where she wrote articles for the New York Observer and began to work for the Chicago Conservator, that city's oldest black newspaper.
    During the 1890s Wells traveled extensively to promote civil rights, including trips to Europe. In 1909 Wells was one of seven black and 53 white founders of the NAACP. In later life she retreated from the national spotlight somewhat as she devoted herself to family life, although she remained active in support of civil rights throughout her life until her death in 1931.

    The Black History Suite will also feature a showing of David Rae Morris' "Yazoo Revisited," which looks at what eventually because an unsuccessful attempt to integrate the Yazoo City schools. Morris's father, Willie Morris, who I was proud to call a friend, first wrote about the effort  in his book, Yazoo: Integration in a Deep-Southern Town." Willie Morris' book ends with him firmly convinced that Yazoo City's school had successfully integrated, maintaining a 40 percent white student enrollment. By 2000 the school system was 99 percent non-white.
    I viewed and reviewed a very early cut of this documentary in 2013, and while I enjoyed it, I was disappointed that no effort had been made to interview white families who originally stayed with and strongly supported the public system but then later drifted away. These were people of good will and not hard-core segregationists, and their viewpoints might enlighten future school choices. These are difficult issues, and ones many people might be loathe to talk about on camera, but if the question is never asked then there will never be a solution. Hopefully Morris has added some of this material to his documentary.


    The Black Literary Suite will use the hashtags #HBW and #BlackLitSuite for Twitter conversations; the Twitter address is @ProjectHBW. Information is also available at projecthbw.blogspot.com.
    The Project on the History of Black Writing was founded by Kansas professor Maryemma Graham in 1983 while she was a professor at Ole Miss. It maintains a small library at the University of Kansas and is currently completing a digital archive of African-American novels, the first in the United States.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Drink Yuengling, wear L.L. Bean; do not buy burnt-bean Starbucks swill as it is crap

Edit: Since I wrote this Nordstrom has pulled Ivanka Trump's products from its stores, supposedly because of poor sales. I wish there were Nordstrom stores in the southeast so I could refuse to shop with them, but I will refuse to shop with them.

    Starbucks recently made a big production of opposing President Trump’s immigration policies by declaring that they would hire 10,000 economic migrants, in the process denying jobs to 10,000 Americans. Obviously they don’t need my money.
    Macy’s denounced President Trump and removed his clothing line from its stores. Shoes.com quit selling Ivanka Trump’s products as well. Budweiser has a new ad clearly designed to promote an open borders policy that will destroy our nation. Target allows grown men to go in the girl’s bathroom to spy on little girls; they say it is their right. Bellacor, Wayfair, Zulily, RueLaLa, and Stein Mart have apparently removed Trump merchandise from their stores for political reasons. Again, they don’t need my money.
    Meanwhile, the Yuengling brewery has been facing boycotts from Trotskyites upset that Trump visited the brewery during the campaign. They are also urging boycotts of L.L. Bean because one Bean family member supported Donald Trump.
    For those of you who are Trump supporters, or just decent people in general, this is where we stand:
    1. We all need to drink Yuengling beer, which comes from the oldest brewery in America.
    2. We all need to buy products from L.L. Bean;
    3. Everyone needs to boycott Starbucks bigly, which should be extremely easy since their coffee is made with burnt beans and tastes like crap;
    4. Do not shop at  Bellacor, Wayfair, Zulily, RueLaLa, and Stein Mart. Just say no. Do not shop at Target. Above all, do not shop at Macy’s;
    5. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Until repealed by Congress, Trump's duty is to enforce Obamacare's individual mandate

Note that there is no right to refuse to enforce laws one doesn't like in the enumerated powers of the executive branch.

       President Trump has announced that he may not enforce the individual mandate required under Obamacare. If he goes through with this it will effectively kill the program, which was already dying a not-so-slow death.
    I hate Obamacare and look forward to its demise, but Trump is wrong to simply stop enforcing the individual mandate for one reason: it’s the law. It’s the sworn duty of the president under Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” It’s really that simple. There is no provision allowing a president to refuse to enforce laws because Congress refused to "cooperate" with him in changing them.
    Of course, that view changed under the Obama presidency. When Congress refused to pass laws he wanted, he simply ruled by edict and his disciples were fine with it. Thus when Congress refused to grant amnesty or citizenship to millions of criminals in this country illegally, Obama simply quit enforcing our immigration laws. When Obamacare didn’t work exactly as he wanted, he unilaterally transferred money outside of the authority of law. Facing election pressures, Obama delayed various unpopular aspects of the law purely for electoral advantage. For the past eight years Obama has essentially operated as a dictator, and he got away with it because too many people were afraid to challenge our first black president for fear of being called “racist.”
    Now Trump is in office; the Obamaites who were so willing to go along with this massive usurpation of power into the executive branch are now going to discover that sauce for Obama’s goose is sauce for Trump’s gander. He can and will rescind most of Obama’s executive orders; in addition, Trump seems ready to follow Obama’s example of refusing to enforce those laws with which he disagrees. I expect to hear a lot of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth by idiots wearing hats made to look like vaginas.
    I suppose Trump is entitled to demand the same rights as those exercised by Obama, but at some point Congress and the states need to use the courts to rein in our out-of-control executive branch. In the meantime Trump will use all of the tools of executive power that Obama created for him. Most of what he may do I will probably approve of, but there is value in obedience to the law and the Constitution.
    In our military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, George W. Bush (and H.W. Bush as well) sought authorization from Congress before committing U.S. troops to action. Obama chose to ignore the War Powers Act in his unjustified attack on our enemy-turned-ally, Libya, committing numerous war crimes in the process. The results have been disastrous (as I said they would be back in 2011), including the rise of ISIS and the Syrian civil war. Congress should have impeached him over this, but they lacked the will. It’s time to give the War Powers Act additional teeth by imposing criminal penalties on soldiers who knowingly violate it by participating in an offensive military action for more than 60 days without Congressional approval. Soldiers are expected to disobey orders given by commanders that violate the Geneva Convention or that are illegal, and they should be expected to disobey orders given in violation of the War Powers Act. Any soldier who can’t count to 60 has no business of being in the military.
    In 1974, in Train v. City of New York, the Supreme Court ruled that President Nixon could not “impound” funds appropriated by Congress; in other words, if the law said spend the money he had to spend the money. There can be no tolerance for the executive branch to simply refuse to enforce laws that the current president doesn’t like. I’m not prepared to advocate for the impeachment of Trump for engaging in behavior that is identical to that of Obama, but at some point Congress is going to have to involve the courts in restraining our nation’s out-of-control executive branch.
    I support Donald Trump and almost everything he says he wants to do as president, but as a matter of long-term policy Congress and the states must claw back their powers from the executive. The president’s job is to direct foreign policy, command the military, commission officers and judges subject to Senate approval, propose laws to Congress, and faithfully enforce those laws enacted by Congress. That’s it. The right to make laws and appropriate funds rests solely with the Congress, subject to a presidential right to make proposals and attempt to veto. The president is not supposed to  rule by edict or unilaterally refuse to enforce laws he doesn’t like. The fact that I may like the current president doesn’t make the executive’s usurpation of power any more acceptable from a constitutional standpoint.
    To get back to where I started, we can and should repeal Obamacare, but until it is properly repealed those provisions which are enacted into law should be enforced. It’s just the law, and it’s the job of the president to enforce our laws whether he likes them or not. Obama acted as a dictator; Trump should act like a president.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Based on the word's definition, it is Obama, Clinton and their supporters who are the fascists

    I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard Donald Trump being called a “fascist,” or even compared to Adolph Hitler over the past 12 months. Butthurt Democrats have gone into high gear since they learned voters don’t want the crap they’re peddling.
    The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Rockettes are scheduled to perform for Trump’s inauguration, but many of the Rockettes are being allowed to opt out (can you imagine if they refused to perform for Obama?). And Mormon choir members are free not to attend, but for one member, Jan Chamberlin, that wasn’t enough; she posted a long Facebook post explaining that she was resigning from the choir on the grounds that Trump was a “fascist.”
    In a now-private post (a copy of which can be accessed here), Chamberlin said, “I also know, looking from the outside in, it will appear that Choir is endorsing tyranny and fascism by singing for this man.” She also wrote: “I only know I could never ‘throw roses to Hitler.’ And I certainly could never sing for him.” Of course, she wasn't being asked to sing for Trump; she was welcome not to attend, but she wanted to make a big splash.
    Chamberlin is just one of thousands of people who are spouting off daily, calling Trump and his supporters “fascists.” The term is a bit nebulous, but let’s see if we can try to define it.
    I think we can all agree that a fascist is one who wants to rule dictatorially or autocratically. A fascist is prone to seize control of the military, or use it for his own ends. A fascist is one who threatens other countries without justification. Is that a reasonable definition?
    Now let’s look at the views of Donald Trump and compare them to our current president, Barack Obama, and his would-be successor, Hillary Clinton. In this way we can determine whether or not Trump is or is not a fascist.
    Donald Trump seeks to enforce our nation’s immigration laws and obey his oath of office. Barack Obama violated his oath of office by refusing to enforce our immigration laws, an autocratic, totalitarian, and fascist action. Hillary Clinton said she would do the same.
   The street thuggery we have seen this year has been organized by Clinton supporters. Violence at Trump campaigns was carefully orchestrated by volunteers and paid homeless and mentally ill people who were instructed to start fights where they would be sure to get press coverage. Trump supporters have been violently beaten throughout the nation. All of this is identical to the tactics used by Adolph Hitler’s Brown Shirts in the 1930s to intimidate political opponents. Once again, it is Hillary Clinton and her supporters who are the fascists, not Trump.
    Whatever one’s opinion on both Gulf Wars, both George Bushes only did what Congress told them to do, and acted pursuant to authorization of the U.S. Congress. In Libya, Obama sought and gained permission from the United Nations – but not the U.S. Congress – to establish a no-fly zone over eastern Libya in order to aid Al Qaeda terrorists seeking to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi (Nobody has adequately explained why our nation chose to aid Al Qaeda terrorists in a fight against a man who had become a stalwart ally in the war against terror). Obama chose, without authorization, to simply bomb all of Libya and murder Gaddafi, killing many of his children and grandchildren in the process; Libya thus became an absolutely ungovernable hellhole. Not only were his actions a violation of international law and war crimes, but Obama intentionally violated the U.S. War Powers Act by failing to get Congressional approval of his military adventure within 30 days of the commitment of American troops. Hillary Clinton supported this. This type of military adventurism, in contravention of both international and American law, is the very core of what fascism is. Trump opposes this type of military adventurism. Thus it is Obama and Clinton who are fascists, not Trump.
    I wrote more than five years ago, when I was vociferously opposing Obama’s insane Libyan massacre, that Obama was intentionally creating a regional war throughout the Mid-East that would have terrible consequences. You can read my entire blog post by clicking here, but it’s important to note that I wrote this FIVE LONG YEARS AGO, when “violence” in Syria was simply a few street protests:
There have been numerous reports that the violence in Syria has been fomented by American agents. It's also been encouraged by the NATO bombing of Libyan loyalists. Perhaps with good cause, as the Syrians have been a puppet of Iran and an enemy of the U.S., but the unrest in the Arab world has been carefully planned and calculated. Of course, when America murders Arab children – and make no mistake NATO targeted children – it's just war. When Arabs murder American children it's terrorism. I confess I don't understand the difference. Why does America want turmoil in the Mid-East?
    By supporting terrorists and intentionally causing the Syrian civil war Obama and Clinton are responsible for more than 300,000 deaths and the displacement of more than 10 million people. There is not one whit of difference in killing these people by supporting terrorists and in killing them by loading them on a train and sending them to a concentration camp. Obama and Clinton are fascists in the mold of Adolph Hitler; they are truly evil.
    All Donald Trump wants to do is to enforce our laws, bring the global corporations to heel, and seek world peace. Those who would call him a “fascist” do so only in an attempt to distract people from the thuggishness and fascism of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The behavior and belief system of Obama and Clinton is pure, crystalline fascism in its most evil form, and it is the duty of all real Americans to oppose it.
    We can start by calling these fascists and their supporters “fascists.”

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Under Obama America has been a force for evil, while Putin's Russia has been force for good

    Despondent, deranged Democrats angry over the rejection of Hillary Clinton by America’s proletariat are blaming Russia for their party’s defeat at the polls. Without a shred of evidence they claim that Russia hacked various campaign servers and released truthful but damaging information about Clinton and her campaign.
    We repeatedly are reminded that Russia is our enemy. Clinton promised to start a war with Russia if elected and most Democrats, along with kooky John McCain, found that idea just peachy.
    We’re told that we should simply believe our government if it says Russia hacked Hillary Clinton’s illegal email server. This is the same government that was convinced our ambassador to Libya was murdered by a spontaneous uprising of citizens upset over a Youtube video; these people are clueless at best. As long as Clinton and Obama are anywhere near the levers of power, nothing coming out of Washington is to be believed.
    All of this Russian bear-baiting is dangerous; enough sabre-rattling can cause a war. Those who are living in the past believe Russia is our enemy. It isn’t. Russia and the United States have common interests and no reason for conflict.
    Those who think Russia our enemy should ask themselves exactly “why” Russia is our enemy. For roughly 60 years Russia was our enemy because it wasn’t so much a country as it was an ideological movement, with the mission of spreading Communism to every corner of the globe. It was the fight against Communism, and the fight against Communism alone, which made Russia our enemy.
    America won the Cold War; Russia and Communism lost. Today Russia is a nationalistic country, and that’s a good thing. Nationalistic countries act in a logical, predictable, and usually reasonable manner. Russia today seeks to advance its interests, not to export its vision.
    Over the past eight years Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have exported revolution and terror to the Middle East. They attacked our ally in the war on terror, Libya, and left that country a hornet’s nest of terrorists. They supported the overthrow of our ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, who was replaced by the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood. Obama howled with rage when the Egyptian military threw the  terrorists out and held a new election in which the people chose secular leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as president; thank goodness the terrorists were thwarted.
    And then there is Syria, which is under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad, a modern, secular leader. Five years ago the CIA and Saudi Arabia funded violent street protests by Islamic Extremists against Assad that Obama and various neocon warmongers carefully fanned into a civil war, which they continued to fund. The result has been hundreds of thousands dead and an immigration crisis that is tearing Europe apart.
    My gut feeling is that Russia was not responsible for providing the accurate material that Wikileaks released which showed the Hillary Clinton and her supporters were liars and crooks. But if they did, they deserve our thanks.
    It’s time for a scorecard: Obama and the Democrats interfered with the Israeli elections. Obama traveled to Great Britain to campaign against Brexit, and threatened to treat Britain like dirt if they voted to "leave." Obama orchestrated the coup in the Ukraine which led to that country’s civil war. Obama supported terrorists throughout the Middle East, including al Qaeda, with disastrous results. If it is wrong to interfere in the affairs of other countries, why did Obama do it so much?
    In 1983 Ronald Reagan famously called the Soviet Union an Evil Empire; it was at the time. Yet today it is the United States, under the leadership of Barack Obama and various neocon warmongers, which has become the Evil Empire.
    The Democrats seem puzzled why they are unable to whip Americans into a frenzy of Russia-hatred. The reason is simple: Under Obama the United States has become a force for evil in the world, while under Vladamir Putin Russia has become a force for good. Russia is not our enemy; Obama and the Democrats are.