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Friday, December 31, 2010

111th Congress Review

This last election a large number of Democrats were voted out of office by the tea-baggers, conservatives, and ignorant of this country, blaming them for the unemployment and general dissatisfaction in America right now.

But as many in the conservative-media have started reporting with the end of the year review news, this years government has actually done quite a bit. One article on MSNBC even states, "This Congress, ... accomplished more, legislatively, than any other Congress since the 1960s (the Great Society) or the 1930s (the New Deal)."

What will this mean for the next congress coming into office? Probably not as much action and a slower pace of recovery. Why am I predicting that? Because when the "party of no" spends more time blocking legislation than passing it, not much happens.

Some highlights of the 111th congress:

Health Care Reform - love it or hate it, at least they did it. It's unfortunate it didn't include the public option that would have made it worthwhile, and forcing people to get healthcare isn't all that nice. But it will supposedly reduce cost. It does prevent insurance providers from disqualifying people for pre-existing conditions. And make sure that children are covered.

Financial Reform - with the economic collapse we needed to see some reform to the financial sector. Once again a weakened down bill, but something is better than nothing.

Credit Card Reform - preventing many credit card companies from raising fees and other penalties just because they could.

The bailout and TARP - love them or hate them, the government stepping in and saving multiple large companies like GM and the banking industry saved millions of tax paying jobs, and saved the country from a complete economic collapse. Not to mention most of the money has already been paid back with interest, The end cost will be negligible when compared to the trillions spent invading Iraq and Afghanistan.

Extended Bush Tax Cuts - The unfunded tax cuts stay in place. The rich get to keep there money, and so do the poor.

Repealed Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) - another one the old white guys in the Republican Party didn't want to pass. But, the Pentagon is okay with it, the soldiers are okay with it, and if a person wants to serve this country we shouldn't be stopping them just because of sexual preference.

They did of course fail to pass a clean energy - cap and trade bill to improve the environment. And they also failed any significant immigration reform. We can be sure that environment and energy policy won't be on the Republicans to do list. But who knows, maybe there will be immigration reform. We will have to wait and see how the year goes in the bickering playground that is the U.S. Congress.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2nd Page of Bing Search Results

This is why more people use Google search over Bing search, and apparently why Google is better. Yesterday I posted about how this blog is 4th when searching for it in Google search, getting beat out by a bike race. Well, on Bing search it is even worse. This blog doesn't even make the first page of the search results. In fact, if you notice the 9th result on the list is a blog, also hosted on blogspot, called crank-monkey. So the crank-monkey is higher rated than mine, yet the one and only post on that blog is from March of 2009. The Cranky Monkey has been around since 2005, I have 702 posts on the site, and according to Google Analytics this blog has had 1,686 visitors over the last 30 days.

Yet the Bing search algorithm feels that I should be on the second page of results. Hey Microsoft, ever wonder why people are using Google instead of Bing, maybe relevancy of search results has something to do with it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Cranky Monkey Not Even in the Race

Every once in a while I do a Google search for The Cranky Monkey, just to see how this blog stacks up, and every time I'm on the first page but not at the top. Yep, I get beat by some Cranky Monkey Mountain Bike race ending up in 3rd or 4th place…

Come on! They don't even have the cool http://www.thecrankymonkey.com/ URL, it's just some people in tight shorts and mini-helmets riding mountain bikes on the dirt.

This blog has national politics. We trash talking the Democrats and Republicans, religious-right, and even the right-wing propagandist media machine . We have anti-children commentary, and pictures of hot chicks. We make fun of the police, and large corporations. And most importantly we provide history lessons and inform the slowing dumbing down U.S. population.

So come on Google searchers, get off the bikes and get on the real cranky monkey. Then, get offended and leave a comment about it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Natalie Portman Married with Baby on the Way

natalie portmanIt's a sad day in celebrity news. Not only is Natalie Portman engaged to be married, she's also pregnant with the fools baby. Now what celebrity am I supposed to lust over?

Read more here...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fox News Hates on the Nissan Leaf

Who would have thought that a Fox (the right-wing-media) news reporter would talk shit about a Nissan Leaf. After all, we'd hate to have a car that will eventually be manufactured in America, providing job to American citizens succeed. Especially if that car is going to do something as horrible as help the environment and reduce Americas dependency on foreign oil.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Low Taxes, Increased Deficit, and Everyone Wins and Looses

The big news from D.C. this week is that the Republicans actually voted yes on something. And why wouldn't they - the tax packaged that passed this week leaves in place the tax cuts for the rich. So, Republicans and there rich cat friends won't see there checks go down at all. Plus they were able to include a more generous estate tax, that would allow the rich to not get taxed as much when inheriting a 10 million dollar estate.

The funny thing about the estate tax, is that it's not like the richie-riches haven't already rolled there estates into some type of corporation, so they wouldn't get taxed anyway, but whatever.

And big deal, the un-funded Bush era, deficit increasing, tax cuts get to stay in place which helps me out personally. And should I ever achieve the American dream and become on of the 2% of Americans making over $200 thousand a year, I won't get taxed higher for my hard earned money.

I would like to note something about this new tax bill for the deficit reduction tea-baggers who voted many of these Republicans in office this year. The tax package that passed, isn't funded, which means it will increase the national deficit. And it's actually the Democrats who are arguing to reduce the cost of the bill and cut about $23 billion dollars out, not Republicans.

So good job tea-baggers, you voted the people into office who are actually doing the opposite of what you want them to do. Who would have thought that would have happened? Oh wait, any halfway intelligent voter who didn't vote for those candidates, that's who.

Monday, December 13, 2010

iTunes Most Played – Not By Me

I’ve used Windows Media Player, Zune, and of course iTunes to listen to my music, plus a few others. Unfortunately, I use iTunes the most, because I have an iPod that just won’t die. The reason why I say unfortunately is, iTunes has to have the worst random algorithm out of any music player I have found.

I have over 20 gigs of music and when sitting at my computer I let it play on random most of the time. Yet, out of all that, there are about 300 songs that show zero in the number of times played. And the number one song on my most played list is Time Machine by Black Sabbath. A song I only have because I picked up the Wayne's World CD at some time back when I actually bought CD’s. If I remember correctly it was a few bucks at a used CD store.

Now, I have nothing against Black Sabbath, it’s just not my style of music. And since I don’t really like this song, I’ve personally never selected it to play for any reason. So, out of the music I’ve selected to play, and the music that iTunes randomly selects- Black Sabbath ends up number one on my list.

One of these days my iPod will crap out, and when it does I will finally receive the motivation to get an MP3 player made by a different company, or just use the one on my phone. Either way, I can guarantee this will be my last iPod and iTunes will no longer be needed as well. Until that day happens, I guess all I can do is delete Time Machine from my music library.

Sorry Black Sabbath, I’m sure the metal heads will lament your loss from my music library, but I won’t.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dash Trash Tales vol. 4

I’ve done a few posts recently trash talking Microsoft with my Dash Trash Tales. So I think it is only fair that I trash talk a few of the contractors and venders I might have been portraying better than they deserve. Sure, they get treated like second class citizens in Microsoft City, but to Microsoft’s defense a few deserve that treatment. So here are a few deserving stories- all names changes for privacy purposes.

“Aaron” – Aaron was a vender hired on for some reason that those of us who worked with him could never quite figure out. We were working on a internal software project and somehow he was hired as a project manager with no real defined goals. His role as far as I could tell was attend meetings all day, offering his advice and talk a good game while actually not doing anything. Throughout the time we worked with him, he didn’t actually complete any task that was ever assigned to him – that I know of. Maybe he did and I was just not made aware of it.

Aaron, somehow managed to stay employed for a year, if I remember correctly, and I think this was partially due to the fact that they kept changing who he was reporting to. Since he never reported to the same manager for more than a couple months, no one actually dealt with him long enough to realize that he never actually did anything. That was until his last manager who was on the ball well enough to figure it out and quickly ended his contract.

“Gina” – Venders at Microsoft are usually not provided with an office. As I’ve previously mentioned. For Gina that was a great thing, because she took full advantage of being provided with the option of working from home. For example; one day I needed some information from her. So, I did what most people normally do who work remotely, I instant messaged her through office communicator. A few hours later she responded. The reason it took her so long to respond was that she was busy playing Guitar Hero. It must have been a tough contract for her.

“Katrina” – I was actually involved with the interview for this person. Three of us interviewed her for her role on the team I worked with. After the interviews were done, we got together and discussed the candidates. There was one I felt would be the better candidate, but the other two liked Katrina. I admit her resume looked good, but in the interview I didn’t feel she explained things well and wasn’t clear in her answers. The response I got for the other two was, “that’s because of her accent.” Implying that I didn’t think she was qualified because I couldn’t understand her. So I gave in and we hired her.

It didn’t take long to realize that the woman was incompetent. She was so disorganized that I am amazed she could find her way to the womans bathroom. Most people found her so frustrating to deal with that I ended up having to cover for her, as they would come to me with what the needed instead of her. After many complaints to our manager, and nearly a year later, he finally cut her contract and replaced her.

Here is the thing; I actually got along pretty well with all these people, and a few of them I even like. But, it is a business and requires a pretty intelligent person to do the job - sometimes. And, even if the job doesn’t require a certain level of intelligence, at least attempt to come across as an intelligent person, or when sitting at home playing video games, don’t tell people that is what you are doing. Or if you do tell people, make sure it is friends who are at home doing the same thing, not someone who is in the office trying to get work done because you didn't do yours.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Watch Chuck!

Chuck TV Show Why are you people not watching Chuck!?!!? I know it's not a reality show. I know it doesn't have a bunch of dumb people doing dumb things, people who can't sing trying to sing, or D-list celebrities attempting to dance. But it is possible to broaden your horizons and occasional watch a scripted show with paid actors, that is not Law and Order or CSI.

Chuck has a hot blond chick kicking ass and a bunch of cheesy spy styled comedy, yet it's ratings are going down, not up. So all you Nielsen families need to reach your fat lazy arms over to the remote control and turn the television to NBC and watch some Chuck before the show gets canceled.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

WikiHackers Attack MasterCard

The latest news in the battle of the world governments against WikiLeaks- hackers have come to the defense of WikiLeaks.

Today hackers bombarded the MasterCard website with a denial-of-service attack crashing the site. If you go to the site, right now, it will spin and possibly error out because so many people are going to the MasterCard website site, right now, and mucking up the servers. The "hacktivists" under "Operation Payback" have been hitting the companies who have been cutting ties with WikiLeaks due to pressure by the U.S. government, such as Amazon.com and PayPal Inc.

The U.S. government hasn't actually charged Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, with any crimes but are considering charging him with espionage. Not because he has actually committed espionage, but because he set up wiki site that allows people to share information over the internet.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Dash Trash Tales vol. 3

The Connector is a really great service that Microsoft offers to its employees. For those who don’t know, the traffic in the Seattle metro area sucks. We’ve got Bellevue, Seattle, Redmond, and other cities all surrounded by lakes. And the original planners didn’t account for the massive amount of people who now live in the area. We have bridges over the lakes, two north-south interstates, and most of the side roads don’t go anywhere. So, what might be a short distance takes forever due to all the traffic. Depending on the study, Seattle usually ends up in the top 10 for worst traffic in the U.S.

Microsoft, for some also not well thought out reason, decided to build its small city/corporate campus in Redmond, a city east of everything with no good roads to get to it. And, since they now employee about 40,000 employees and almost as many contractors and venders, traffic to and from the offices gets backed up.

A few years ago Microsoft started offering the Connector- its own bus service. The King county and other regional bus services usually involve transfers, waits, and people who have body odor. The Microsoft Bus stops as far north as Snohomish, multiple locations throughout Seattle, east to Issaquah, and down south. The buses usually only stop once or twice, they have deals with local businesses (usually churches) to provide parking for employees, the buses are nice quality, have wi-fi, and get people to work quicker as the buses can use the carpool lanes.

As previously mentioned the Connector is a great benefit of working for Microsoft. And that alone is almost worth taking a full time job. The reason a person would need a full time job is it’s a service is only offered to employees. Employees must reserve a seat on the bus, and swipe there badge to get on the bus. Contractors and venders are not allowed. Contractors and venders get to sit in traffic and watch the bus cruise on past them as they sit stuck in traffic. Or, of course, take the city/county bus services.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

PayPal Drops WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks the website dedicated to exposing governments for the misleading, lying, cover-up loving, and incompetent bunch of douche-bags that they are, took another hit today. PayPal cut off WikiLeaks account that is used to collect donations.

WikiLeaks has been under attack lately. They have governments and hackers attacking the site forcing them to move their domain to Switzerland. The founder of the site receives death threats on a regular bases, and sexual assault charges. And now the government has motivated another big business besides Amazon to go after this organization, with PayPal no longer allowing supporters of the site to make donations.

If you have never been to the site, check out the about section and read with they do what they do, and why the government is against WikiLeaks goal of government openness and accountability for embarrassing, “Washington and foreign leaders by releasing a trove of brutally frank U.S. diplomatic cables” proving everything people think about the government but are too complacent to do anything about.

According to the story on Yahoo News, WikiLeaks is now limited to accepting donations, “through mail to an Australian post office box, through bank transfers to accounts in Switzerland, Germany or Iceland, as well as through one "credit card processing partner" in Switzerland.”

Friday, December 03, 2010

WikiLeaks Moves to Switzerland

Further proving that you can’t actually say anything you want in America. WikiLeaks.org the whistle blowing freedom of speech website has been forced to move to Switzerland.

WikiLeaks domain name has had to move to Switzerland after its U.S. service was withdrawn. Users can no longer visit WikiLeaks.org to find out news the governments of the world don’t want you to know about, instead having to visit WikiLeaks.ch going forward. According to the story, “EveryDNS.net, a U.S. service that translates online addresses to Internet Protocol numbers to provide access, ended WikiLeaks’s service.”