Saturday, January 04, 2014

Stargate SG-1; Season 1; Episode 1 "Children of the Gods: Part 1"

Ok...just decided to watch these to kill some time since I get them free on Amazon Prime. I'm going to do a little write up on each episode as I watch them. I have seen the movie, (a while ago, and I wasn't paying particular attention) so I know the general plot. OK..episode 1.

First of all, this originally aired in July of 1997, and it shows. Much of the production values would be completely unacceptable today, and even the cuts are distracting. That said, the special effect for the gate is very effective. The wormhole effect is disturbing, and I predict that special effect will be lost very early in the series. (as does the "chill" effect apparently...I don't remember it in later episodes.) There are some glaring uniform problems in this episode, including uniforms with both officer and enlisted rank insignia on them. Hopefully this will get better quickly. Lots of explicit violence and blood....I don't remember any outcry at the time. The second wormhole effect was much shorter. This planet is apparently a Rome cognate.

OK...not bad. The major characters get introduced, broad plot line established.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

That Explains a Lot......

I am a public school teacher in California. Today as I was preparing a lesson plan, I noticed that the high school history textbook I am using mentions the Sixteenth Amendment exactly twice:

Once when they printed the text of the U.S. Constution, and a second time that I will share in its entirety.

"Federal Income Tax. With lower tariff rates, the federal government had to replace the revenue that tariffs had previously supplied. Ratified in 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment legalized a graduated income tax, which provided revenue by taxing individual earnings and corporate profits.

Under this graduated tax, larger incomes were taxed at higher rates than smaller incomes. The tax began with a modest tax on family incomes over $4,000 and ranged from 1 percent to a maximum of 6 percent on incomes over $500,000. Initially, few congressmen realized the potential of the income tax, but by 1917, the government was receiving more money on the income tax than it had ever gained from tariffs. today, income taxes on corporations and individuals represent the federal government's main source of revenue."

Monday, July 22, 2013

Who "Lost" the War on Poverty?

There are an increasing number of people discussing the failure of the War on Poverty to end poverty over the last 50 years. While it is true that poverty still exists, that is not due to the failure to improve the lives of the poor. Instead there are three reasons why there are just as many poor still among us, despite the trillions we have spent, and the millions who have improved their lives.

The first, most obvious, and mostly ignored reason is that we keep importing other countries' poor people, somewhere between 15 and 20 million of them in the last 25 years. That's between 5% and 10% of our population. These people are mostly uneducated peasants unprepared (and often unwilling because they are here illegally) to operate in a modern society. Instead, they bring their native countries' pathologies with them. To make things worse, usually any wealth they accumulate is sent back to their native country to either subsidize the lives of people there, or worse, pay for them to come here also.

The second reason is the breakdown of the family. The breakdown is due to both government policies and cultural shifts. The breakdown of the family over the last 50 years has produced generations of governmental dependence and a permanent culture of failure. In successful cultures, dependence on handouts is seen as disgraceful, or at least embarrassing. In failed cultures, the opposite is true. People who fail to take as many handouts as possible are seen as suckers. A significant number of the poor in the United States today have not only been poor for generations, but the same is true for everyone they know.

The third reason is that we keep changing the goal line. It is entirely possible for people to be considered poor by the government today, that have a standard of living that would have been considered wealthy by the standards when LBJ started his war on poverty. The biggest problem facing the poor in the United States today is obesity!

We need to come to the realization that despite our best efforts, there is always going to be an underclass (especially with open borders) that is ignorant, functionally illiterate, actually hostile to the culture of success, steeped in the culture of victimization, and loudly demanding the government provide them an increasingly higher standard of living. The question is, what do we do with them? I am stumped. While I abhor their solutions and ideology, you have to give the Progressives credit for thinking about this problem back in the 1920's. The modern Left has simply decided to abuse and manipulate this underclass for political power.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Things Taken For Granted

We take so much of our lives today for granted. Our daily lives are full of man made miracles that have become mundane. We expect the lights to come on, the water to run etc. But we also calmly accept and deal with terrors.

Everyday, millions of Americans, much of them either self medicating themselves with caffiene (or desperately needing to do so), a rather large percent of them distracted by activities such as texting, putting on their make up or badly playing the air guitar to their favorite song, successfully manage to operate several tons of machinery, at high speeds, with very little space between them with remarkably little loss of life or property damage.

Here's some bonus food for thought. The next time someone starts talking about flying cars.......imagine all of those idiots next to you on the freeway flying next to you instead.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Monday, October 08, 2012

Prediction Election 2012

I've already made this prediction in several other places, but here for the record is my prediction:

Romney will beat Obama at least as badly as Obama beat McCain

Republicans will keep the House, and take the Senate

Aiken will even win in Missouri.

Update 11/6/12:

Well I, and the American people, sure blew that one.

I guess we'll find out if the Chinese will really let us go $20 trillion in debt.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

The End of the Beginning?

I just watched the livestream of the launch of the SpaceX mission to the International Space Station (ISS). (As an aside, just how fantastic is that fact? I can stream live high definition video over the internet! I remember taking vacumn tubes out of the back of my TV set to take down to the drug store to replace!) This launch is being almost totally ignored by the MSM and popular culture. However I believe that one day, this will be seen as a turning point, a twenty-first century golden spike if you will. For the first time, a totally private company has launched a reusable spacecraft on a commercial mission. I frankly don't know whether the geek or the historian in me is more excited.