Wednesday, January 28, 2009

World Medley

I thought the following was really cool and then it got even better as the song progressed. About halfway in, a group from Umlazi, South Africa joins it. I spent 6 months of my life in Umlazi when I was 20 - amazing place, amazing people and good memories.

Thanks to Ard Matthews for the find!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Just how bad the Democrats spend...

With work commitments, illness and other things, I've been slack of late, and I'm afraid this will just be a quick one.

You know what hacks me off?

First, Conservative Radio Commentators. For years we've been hearing about how the horrible partisan Democrats won't support the president, but yet since Obama took office they've become the very people they were complaining about. It's one thing to disagree with policies, but it's quite another to be a blatant hypocrite.

Second, I'm sick of hearing (from many of the same hypocrites) about how great Ronald Reagan was, how great his financial policies were, and then on how awful President Obama's policies are. It was only recently that I learned that the current federal policy of borrowing money to balance the budget is something for which Mr. Reagan appears to have been the trendsetter. After viewing the following site though, I'm even more testy. I need to verify the facts some more, but it looks like this guy knows what he's talking about - Check it out here.

Sure he's not perfect, but I'm still proud to call Mr. Obama my president.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On behalf of the Jackasses in Washington...

I would like to issue an apology to the rest of the world on behalf of the jackasses currently seated in positions of authority within the United States Government. You're not going to get an apology from them, but perhaps if I can share some information, maybe we can elect some people with even just the smallest measure of integrity next election.

First just a statement about my leanings... I used to lean very far right and support the Republican party. The problem is that the Republican party has it's own little agenda, and is filled with what I can only described as corrupt scumbags.

Since seeing the problems with the so-called conservatives, I've been leaning more left. I don't like socialism, but if it's a choice between socialized services and living under a fascist regime, I'll take the socialists everytime.

My opinion now is that both parties have some good principles and representatives who honestly want to do the right thing. They are the minority unfortunately.

I am currently registered Libertarian, but I'm still trying to figure out where the balance of power lies between a representative government and individual freedoms. So with that said. I'm not beholden to one party or the other, and based on the players in this story, I would suspect most people would agree.

First, the following video is an excerpt from 60 minutes last Sunday. It's an investigation into the reason why the oil prices went sky high last year. It's a little long, so perhaps below that, I will provide a summary from my personal understanding, and then I would like to address something called the Enron Loophole.

Watch CBS Videos Online

OK, so to summarize what I understood the problem to be... The commodities market was established to help regulate prices and assist farmers with determining the price of their crops. Later oil and other items were added to this. All worked as it should until some of the large investment banks got involved in this, and started trading oil futures. My initial reaction was that this would obviously increase the price, but it sounded reasonably fair. Just like stocks, people would trade the futures and as such they increased in value.

The problem is though... Many of the institutions which were trading these futures, were also dabbling in the energy market itself, and while they claim the business entities were separate, my response is a sarcastic, "SURE THEY WERE!!!"

It doesn't matter how you look at this, the whole thing really stinks. It would appear that many of the investment banks who were heavy into oil futures were also recipients of federal bail out money. Then when you look at those behind the Enron Loophole it stinks even more.

The Enron loophole is a piece of legislation which as far as I can tell was drafted by Enron Lobbyists working Senator Phil Gramm from Texas. My understanding is that it allowed Enron to engage in secret trading which was not subject to Federal Regulation.

A few things don't add up here... First, the Government loves to control stuff, so the question has to be asked, Why would the government willingly relinquish control on something like this?

Secondly, Senator Gramm's wife had previously held the position of Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair, and when she left that position in 1993, secured herself a seat on the board of Directors at Enron. A position which she held until Enron collapsed.

So I guess we can figure out a couple of reason why Senator Gramm was pushing for it, and I would suspect that much in the way of political contributions were made to other politicians to help sway their votes. Back in the old days, this kind of things used to be called bribery and corruption.

Now you would think that being from Texas and a Republican, all this would have happened on GW's watch, but I was surprised to learn that it was actually former President Clinton who signed the bill into law.

President Elect Obama spoke about repealing this law during his campaign, and in June of last year, Senator Carl Levin introduced legislation to repeal it. It passed and was then vetoed by President George W. Bush. Following that, the House and Senate both over-rode the veto, and I believe it was late September when the Enron Loophole was finally closed. Ironically, that was when prices of Gasoline started to drop like a rock.

Stephen Colbert has his tip of the hat / wag of the finger segment, and I would like to kind of emulate that here...

A tip of my hat to President Elect Obama and Senator Levin for getting this legislation removed.

And a kick to the groin and a flaming paper bag of poo on the doorsteps of:
Senator Phil Gramm
Former President Bill Clinton
President George W. Bush

To the rest of the world, I'm sorry these assholes were elected, and for the state of your economies. Hopefully we'll exercise better judgment in future elections.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

insertCell populates cells in reverse order with IE

WARNING: This is a departure from my usual content. I ran into a nasty little bug this afternoon while coding, and since it's not documented anywhere, I figured I would document it here.

SEVERE GEEK ALERT: Do not read unless you're a computer geek. You have been warned...

I have been using a javascript function to dynamically populate a row in an html table.

The basic formula was to create a new row to the table, and then to create 5 new cells, using:

row.insertCell(x) where x is the number of the cell.

So I had:

cell1 = row.insertCell(0);
cell2 = row.insertCell(1);
cell3 = row.insertCell(2);

And I would also assign contents to each cell.

Problem was in IE, the cells would be displayed in the order 0, 4, 3, 2, 1 but in Firefox it was 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 as expected.

What I ended up doing to resolve the problem was to create a set of cell elements like:

var cell0 = document.createElement('td');
var cell1 = document.createElement('td');
var cell2 = document.createElement('td');

adding all the contents to each cell, and then once the were all populated, appending them as childElements to the Row element.


Thursday, January 08, 2009


I realize that over the past year or so, I haven't perhaps been the biggest advocate of the LDS Church, and yesterday I was reminded of everything I have come to despise about this particular religion. The arrogance, the pride, the self-righteousness, the hypocrisy and the intolerance for ones fellow man.

But the thing is, that isn't what the religion is about, nor what it was ever intended to be about. If it was, I would have left a long time ago. Perhaps if I may share a few of the wonderful principles taught by the LDS Church.

The Church preaches the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel of Christ is about love, pure and simple. And not just any love, the pure love of Christ, an unconditional love for ones self and ones fellow men. The story of Christ is of a man who when confronted by a situation where a woman was caught in adultery, prevented her accusers from stoning her and encouraged her to continue on her way, leaving her mistakes behind her. It's about the love to allow people to make mistakes, but leave them behind them. It's that love that means even if we don't agree, it doesn't make a difference to how we feel about them. It is a love without condition. A perfect love.

My dear in-laws have such love. Their son-in-law (and that would be me), may not be the perfect Mormon boy that they may have wished to marry their daughter, but they recognize that I try really hard, and while they may not always agree, they still offer unconditional love for me.

The Church preaches the consideration of the poor and afflicted. The welfare services for the Church are often among the first to respond, and members of the Church are encouraged to help out in their communities. Some view this only as a step to convince other to join the Church, but I suspect they may be a rather small minority who have merely missed the point.

The Church teaches of the divine nature of the soul and the quest for truth. I can think of no greater knowledge than the fact that I have an eternal nature, that this earth is merely a step in my existence, and that I have the freedom and opportunity to seek for truth. I am eternally indebted to many who read this blog, and other who have questioned my reasoning and offered opposing view points. It is never an easy thing to accept that I may be wrong, but your non-judgmental spirits encourage me to explore places where I may be. Specifically D. Sirmize, Frank Stahelli and the very respectful Protestant Minister I met while a missionary. There are many others as well, some LDS, some not, but all good and respectful people.

The Church teaches that we are all brothers and sisters. A huge family with the responsibility to care for each other, regardless of race, creed, nationality or sex. I am privileged to be related to so many wonderful and incredible people.

I recognize too that these wonderful principles and ideals are not limited to the LDS Church, but they exist in many religions and in many who do not believe in a religion, but still recognize that there is good in mankind.

The LDS Church is a wonderful institution, its just a pity that some view that wonderfulness as an opportunity to manipulate and control others.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Today sucked. You don't need to know why, just know that you could take you most sucky day of all time, and I think mine could give it a good run for it's money.

I have a good friend who informed me one that the phrase "To Suck" actually came from the phrase, "To Suck Dick"

My friends... Today really, really, really SUCKED DICK!!

My apologies to all who may have found that offensive - but it really was that bad.

Baby Fighting Ring Tax Breaks...

There is something which fundamentally disturbs me, every time I hear about war breaking out. This past weekend Israel launched a full scale military offensive into Gaza. Before sharing my opinion on this, perhaps I should just make a few key points.

  • Rockets were being launched from Gaza into Israel, which needs to be stopped. Nobody, Jew, Muslim, Christian or whatever should have to live under that kind of fear.

  • I don't claim to understand even a part of the problems in the Middle East. My basic understanding is that the Jews claim God promised them the land and the Arabs claim the same thing. By applying simple logic, one of them has to be wrong. I would submit both are. Israel isn't exactly a beautiful tropical island paradise. If either side had any brains they'd give the area up and establish a 'Promised Land' in Hawaii or Tahiti or some place that a lot nicer.

  • The Jews have been through a lot. The Holocaust was a terrible thing. But at the same time, there comes a point, when you have to quit using past as an excuse for entitlements. Time to move on people!

Oops, that probably contained more opinion than it should have. But with that said, I learned something else interesting this week...

Did you know that Israel is one of the largest recipients of foreign aid from the US? Perhaps you did. Perhaps I've been naive. I've always been under the impression that Israel was a the only country in the Middle East with a solid economy. A nation which was truly making something out of themselves. It would appear that they are just another leech on the US economy, living the high life at the expense of the US Tax Payer.

While I don't condone the rocket attacks, I do feel very bad for the Palestinians. From what I understand they're kind of the red headed step child of the Arab Nations, and have been forced to live along side the spoiled rotten child of the US. It's gotta suck, and probably a huge motivating factor for those who pursue a career in terrorism. Not that I'm saying it's right, but it is understandable.

Amidst this sea of gloom and despair, The Daily Show returned on Monday, and added a little more to my view of things. Unfortunately the key quote I wanted to reference is in the last 15 seconds, but the rest of it is good as well. Among my favorite quotes from this video is "Do you know anything?" and the Baby Fighting Ring comments. The segment which follows on Baby New Year was excellent as well.

I think the comment about the mentally disturbed person is excellent. Although mentally disturbed is probably not how I would categorize the Palestinians - more just victims of unfortunate circumstance.

Just a bad situation for all involved.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Woman's Underwear?

One of my favorite quotes from Shrek 2 is:

"Are you wearing woman's underwear?"

"I most certainly am not"

"You most certainly am are!"

Anyway, my youngest son reminded me of this tonight. We had hamburgers for dinner, barbequed outside in sub-zero temperatures. The wife and I were eating at the table while the young monkey was sitting on a stool by the island. He had been trying, unsuccessfully I may add, to put more ketchup on his plate.

Minutes later, his usual mischevious grin had faded and he appeared to be crying.

"Are you trying to cut yourself more onion?", I enquired.

"No!" came the solid reply.

The crying appeared to get more intense.

"Are you playing with the onion?" - Sometimes they think they're smarter than you, if you don't nail down the specific activity involved.

"No!", came as solid a reply as the first time, but this time, with a little doubt slipping in.

At this point he raised his hands to wipe his eyes, still firmly grasping half a rather strong onion.

We laughed.

Hopefully the lesson has been learned.