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Month: September 2007 (Page 1 of 4)

Absurd Immigration Policies

Helena, Montana is growing like crazy with new businesses opening up right and left. In the window of every store and business are “Help Wanted” signs. Some businesses are having to close or curtail business hours and are losing money because they cannot find workers. Some businesses in Helena are now importing workers from Eastern Europe to fill positions.


Does this square at all with the Bush / Republican anti-immigration policies? Bush has gotten behind yet another ill-conceived xenophobic right-wing cause and is hurting the country again? Do the right-wingers study demographics and learn a little bit before acting or are they just following the loudest voice they hear yelling in the mob?

How Many of you Hate Daylight “Saving” Time?

Raise your hands. Better yet, vote in my poll on this topic. (You may want to read this before you vote)

I don’t mind the act of changing the clocks to Daylight “Saving” Time. I don’t even mind the sleep upsets in order to readjust. But what I do mind, a LOT, is the outcome and effect of Daylight Time. I like darkness and nighttime. I like seeing the fireflies and the stars. It should be dark at 6 PM or so, not 9:30 PM. I would much prefer for it to cool off an hour “earlier” in the evening during summer. Kids should not have to go to school and adults should not have to drive to work in total darkness in the morning. It’s bizarre.

Equally annoying is that this is mandated by Congress for make-believe reasons that contradict reality. The main argument used by lawmakers is “energy savings”. But no study has shown that any energy is saved. The major consumers of electricity: refrigeration and air-conditioning run 24/7, as does most industrial and office lighting. Any lighting savings at 5 PM are offset by increased light usage in the mornings. Cooking and showering habits will not change because of a time change. The energy saving argument is pure hokum.

Numerous studies have been done since 1974 on this subject and the results show that Daylight Time actually INCREASES overall energy usage because people drive and shop more when Daylight Time kicks in. Shopping and gasoline sales spike up when Daylight “Saving” Time kicks in. Wal-Mart and other consumer businesses benefit from increased sales and the energy companies sell more gasoline.

Now, what do you think would motivate politicians to put Daylight Saving time in place? And what would motivate them to increase it to a present level that nearly erases Standard Time from the calendar entirely? I think you can figure it out for yourself. (Hint: Concern for the environment is not the answer.)

IBM Joins Open Office Org

This is good news. Open Office, the main challenger to Microsoft Office, has now passed the 100 million user mark. Corporations and governments right and left, mainly in Europe, are adopting OO and the ODF document format, and booting Microsoft out of the game. And the latest bit of news is that IBM has decided to join the Open Office Organization, contribute code it has written, improve interoperability with Lotus Notes, and to push Open Office as a product.

As you probably know, IBM adopted Linux as the standard OS throughout the company some time ago, so this is a logical next step.


Why the Iraqi Government Can’t “Get it Together”

Why? The simple answer is that the Sunni and Shia factions can’t get along, right? Well, that’s true, but it’s not the whole story There’s another issue that’s been making a mess of the process of putting a government together in Iraq–an issue that is rarely mentioned in the press. From the start, the U.S. has insisted on certain provisions in the structure of the Iraqi government with respect to Iraq’s oil reserves. Namely, the U.S. insists that the new government of Iraq must agree to allow two-thirds of the Iraqi oil reserves to be controlled by a consortium consisting of the usual suspects (Exxon, BP, Shell, etc.) This consortium would have seats on Iraq’s governing bodies and have veto power over legislation. Furthermore, the agreement states that if there is civil war or unrest in Iraq, making it too dangerous for Exxon, BP, etc. to operate in Iraq, that they can wait until the problems are solved and then they can jump in, plant their flags, and take over the oil fields. Adding to the complexity, the Kurds very much want to keep 100 percent of the oil reserves they feel are theirs.

No wonder the Iraqi government is a mess. No wonder government officials hardly show up for sessions. No wonder the reception of American soldiers has changed from enthusiasm to where 70 percent of Iraqis feel it’s okay to kill American soldiers. They do not want to give away the sovereignty of their country and its resources. I can understand that. It’s always good to remember that the U.S. does not have a monopoly on patriotism. Iraqis feel just as patriotic about their country as United Statesians feel about the United States. I have found this to be true in every country I’ve ever visited, regardless of whether the government was oppressive or not. It must be a human trait.

Below is an article in the New York Times discussing the latest breakdown in passing the “law governing Iraq’s rich oil fields”, but they don’t touch on the details of this law. What’s the problem with the law? Now you know what the problem is.


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