Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bomb Threat

Good God, how is it that San Francisco is the site of yet another bomb threat? Seriously, this is getting old fast. Luckily, this time it turned out to be nothing, as the suspicious package apparently was harmless. Still one can never know when some far-right or far-left extremist could plant a device that will cause massive distruction and casualities. I just pray that does not happen given what happened near the Powell Station. The 45-minute delay for both Muni and BART would have been the least of everyone's problems, just trying to get to work or appointments, or to go shopping. Had that been a real bomb, I just don't want to think of how many lives could have been taken.

I credit SFPD and BART PD's quick response in securing the area and determining the nature of the package. Additionally, I credit SFPD's decision to have a bomb squad robot look at the package as well.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Toshiba

I have to say, this is the third laptop I've gone through that's from Toshiba. I'm not saying their products are bad-looking, they're not, but they're very fragile and really leave a lot to be desired in terms of operational longevity. I had a Satellite L300, which lasted for 3 years, but the current one, which is a Satellite L855-S5372, well this is the second in 3 months. Now explain to me how a product is supposed to be top notch if the motherboard keeps short-circutting. It's an issue that seems to happen too often.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

North Korea

Well this is certainly not a surprising development. Apparently North Korea has decided, once again, to start threatening America and South Korea with nuclear anihilation. One can rest assured, this is a fairly routine threat coming from the Kim regime, as they always make statements with this type of violent rhetoric. However, there's a massive and much more frightening difference in this series than in the past: there's enough credible intelligence to suggest that they may actually take their extremely violent rhetoric and turn it into real violence.

Why the Kim regime insists on picking a fight with the Obama administration goes beyond any logical sense. True, America does have soldiers (28,000 to be exact) stationed in South Korea, which the North views as a major threat to its sovereignty. It's also true that China does not look favorably on this situation as well, but does not go out of its way to make the situation worse by consistently threatening invasion or other military action. What's missing here is that America does not wish to keep those soldiers in that area of the world, but feels it has few options due to the continual violent threats that come from the North.

Well because of the Kim regime's threats of a preemptive nuclear strike on America, the Obama administration has taken the precaution of placing 14 more anti-ballistic missiles in both California and Alaska. In fact, the American Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the announcement that the administration took this action as a deterrent to any North Korean missile launches. One of the ways the Obama administration pulled this off was by all-together scrapping the planned project of placing a missile shield in both Poland and Romania (the cancellation has brought a more cooperative attitude from Russia), which freed up funds to put the additional missiles on the West Coast and possibly to construct one on the East Coast as well.

As for Russia, I think that Pres. Obama and Secs. Kerry and Hagel made the point clear to Pres. Putin and company that America needs its help in dealing with this and the Iranian nuclear issue, as well as to maintain the continuing progress on disarming both the American and Russian nuclear arsenals. However, there's also a message going out to China at the same time.

For China, the message is very simple. America, while not seeking to contain it, wants to get the concept across that China needs to be more proactive about reigning in its small, yet provocative ally, North Korea, if it does not wish to see a larger American military presence in the area. Knowing Chinese aversion to any massive American military build-up in its neighborhood, it's easy to see why China will cooperate with America.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

New Vote Suppression

I'm amazed that in the 2010s, we're still living in an America whose social policymakers on the right are still living in the 1950s. When will they realize that era already passed? Seriously, I can't understand why the Supreme Court seems to think it appropriate to rule the Voting Rights Act of 1965 unconstitutional, and why Just. Scalia had to make the remark that voting for minorities is an, "[E]ntitlement". That kind of statement is exactly the reason I'm glad Barack Obama is my President. If anything, it just proves why his tenure iis so critical to our nation's history.

As for vote suppression, it's nothing new or entirely unique, given many states' histories. However, what is new is the recent attempts to circumvent established federal law to make one party's chances of capturing the White House better than the others.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Shooting in Connecticut

Upon hearing about the terrible tragedy which took place in Newtown, CT, my heart just gave out to the families of the victims in the massacre. Who of all people takes their rage or their violent fantasies out on innocent children? While I cannot say that I will ever approve of mass shootings and dead victims of any group, my heart especially gives out for those who are just small kids trying to be safe in school, and their deaths are something that is unforgiveable. What have those kids ever done to the shooter? Was it because they were a part of his mother's life, and a big joy for her to be around? It's never something I will understand.

As President Obama said on Friday and just yesterday, these were kids with their whole lives ahead of them, but were completely robbed of any opportunity to fulfill their dreams. My one hope is that the law enforcement officials manage to piece together the whole story as they can in the earliest possible opportunity. However, my biggest wish of all, beyond anything, is to finally shut up the NRA about the need for everyone to be armed to the teeth. We don't need a society where anybody could be carrying a concealed AR-15 or AK-47, or any other automatic or semi-automatic pistol and/or rifle on their person. It's the main reason why we've had about 5-6 mass shootings in the past 3 years, with each being bloodier than the previous. Obama has it right, we need to put politics aside to work towards the goal of keeping our kids safe and that enough is enough with the saying that any attempts to keep ourselves safe means that we will give up our right to own a gun (right to bear arms - the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution). Translation: we need to take up gun control in order to keep our kids as safe as possible and re-instate the Assault Weapons Ban that passed back in 1994. It worked back then, and can do so in the present. Seriously, let's just do it for the sake of the kids. How many more young children deserve to die just to fit the ideal society depicted by the NRA?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Post-election analysis of Republicans & New low in Mideast

Following the end of the most recent election, I've been hearing a lot from Mitt Romney, and a lot of it is not pretty. While I find it quite gratifying that many Republicans are starting to distance themselves from Romney's recent race-bating commentary, I know off-hand they have more work to do in attempting to get their party back into the mainstream. If there's 1 thing that Barack Obama proved, it's that you need to build a coalition of varying interests and backgrounds in order to effectively win elections. Obama did this by gathering up support from the Hispanic and African American communities, as well as from the American youth. How? By looking into their various concerns on issues, and looking to help them in their various struggles and to give them new opportunities. Romney only called this welfare, as well as handouts to these constituent groups. These are not handouts, these are tools to build a better life. Romney only solidified a confirmation in people's minds that he was too out of touch with their concerns and with their struggles. While Obama has not been a perfect president, he was the one who actually understood the complexities of how badly people were struggling. The fact is that, he's been in their position and largely had to struggle to get to the presidency or the Senate for that matter. Until the Republican party gets its head out of the sand, or out of the Fixed Noise (i.e., Fox News) bubble, it won't win elections in the future. This is nothing more than a guaranteed fact.

As for the Mideast, Israel's going off to Gaza (again) for the 2nd time in 4 years. I know why, it's the fact that there's been a lot of rockets fired from Gaza as of late. However, there's also a massive realization, within the Jewish community here, that Israel and Hamas had been trading a war of words as of recently. The reason for the recent Israeli attack, however, goes beyond the simple reason of trying to force an end to the rocket fire. One of the main goals is to force Palestine's president, Mahmoud Abbas, to forefeit any more attempts to get the international community into the dispute and to only deal with Israel directly, in the form of letting Israel make all final decisions. This has been the goal of both Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigaddor Lieberman. Lieberman, in particular, is bad news to begin with, as he has no shame calling for the destruction of the Palestinian people and having all Arab citizens of Israel either sign an oath declaring their loyalty or depart from Israel to the other Arab nations immediately. If this is not racism, I don't know what is.

Moreover, the Israeli attempts to force Gaza to submit, is a means of showing their strength. It's a play to a far-right-wing domestic support base (mainly consisting of Ultra-Orthodox Jews and hard-line Zionists, as well as others). They look at Gaza as a territory invaded by Arabs who must be forced out. In other words, that is prime real estate for settlements that the Palestinians in the area happen to occupy. Force out the population of Palestinians and there's enough room to expand Jewish homes and get rockets out of the area. Additionally, it would help disprove the Palestinian story that they have the right to return to their homeland (which by the way, I don't buy this explanation). This is the Israeli position, which is implied, not said explicitly to the world at large.

However, I also know off-hand that Hamas get new weaponry from Iran. I know the Iranians' reason for doing so, it's part of their scheme to draw Israel into another Mideast conflict. When the trick through Syria didn't gain much steam, the only thing Israel did was fire a few warning shots and lodge a complaint to the UN Monitors in the area. For the most part, Israel has little to no interest for getting involved in Syria's Civil War. Sure, they'd be relieved if Assad simply stepped down, but are wary of the fact either Al-Qaeda or some other extremist group could take charge in Syria (i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood). However, I'm pretty sure the Muslim Brotherhood would rather assert a more peaceful stance to Israel than become embroiled in a war. Anyhow, back to the situation with Iran, the fact is that it has few options for how to get rid of Israel other than to arm Hamas and direct it to take on Israel through rocket-fire. I know that it is an attempt for Iran to distract the international community's attention away from its nuclear program (big surprise). However, I know off-hand that in the end the international community will see the Iranian plot for what it is, and will simply not turn their attention away from the ongoing discussions over Iran's lack of transparency. Like I've said before, the program lacks transparency, which is a major issue for determining Iran's true intentions. Even US President Barack Obama has said this, "There's no question as to Iran's right to maintain a nuclear program, but with that right comes responsibilities." In other words, all parties to the NPT have the right to maintain a nuclear program to generate electrical power and to develop medical isotopes, but they have the responsibility to make disclosures of such activities and forgo any intentions of building a nuclear weapons arsenal.

If I can express gratitude to Pres. Obama for one thing in this sense, it's the fact that he brought forth a new START Treaty with Russia back in 2009-10. Both the USA and Russia needed a treaty of that magnitude, as it would continue to show that both parties are serious about world nuclear disarmament. Other things that I can also express thankfulness for are some of his gutsy calls, such as Healthcare Reform, while I know there need to be some tweaks, he and Congressional Democrats got it 90% right.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Election and World Series

Well folks, 2 pieces of interesting news. Last night, the San Francisco Giants made it to the World Series (2nd time in 3 years, not bad), and are about to face the Detroit Tigers (who hopefully will be more of a challenge than against the Texas Rangers in 2010 - who choked badly, for the record). Now I'm not going to tell you that the Giants are a bad team, because well, they're not! They have the best pitching rotation in the entirety of Major League Baseball. Try having 5 of the league's best starting pitchers, and since I think he's returned, the league's best closer. If I remmber correctly, good pitching always generally outperforms great hitting. So we'll see what happens tomorrow night.

As for the other piece of news, Pres. Obama and Gov. Romney just concluded the last of the general election debates, and we'll see what kind of impact they had. I seriously think that Obama just seriously knocked Romney's scarns back to kingdom come, as there's little to no chance that he'll be able come back and pull some other Houdini to grab the presidency (unless of course there's by some odd reason that the Barack Obama/Joe Biden ticket gets racked by a serious scandal, or the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan ticket and their Republican hacks find some interesting means of stealing the election | i.e., tampering with the voting machines, etc.) I just know that the Republicans will do anything to win, even to the extent of committing massive voter fraud. Still I give them credit in one sense, they have identified a problem in our electoral system, just only it's them and their corporate cronies who are the involved parties.

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