Archive for August 2011

No Credit For the Surge

I have been going through my stockpile of old episodes “Countdown With Keith Olbermann”. On September 1, 2010 he had an episode in which he talked about a speech President Obama gave on Iraq.

And a lot of Republicans were upset about it. They felt that Obama did not give GWB enough credit for the “surge”.

I think they are all full of dog poop. If GWB had sent more troops in 2003, maybe the insurgency would not have happened and the surge would not have been necessary. Then-Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki pointed out in 2002 that it would take a lot more troops to stabilize Iraq than the GWB administration was sending.

If you pointed out during the insurgency (say, from late 2003 to mid-late 2006) that Shinseki recommended more troops and that maybe that would have prevented problems, conservatives would get very upset. They were for the war, yet against more troops. I think GWB deserves nothing but scorn for the surge. The surge was nothing more but compensating for a mistake made four years earlier. From a guy who never second-guesses himself, no less.

Addition, 2013-09-02_15.47.54: I would also like to point out that many of the same people who got upset in 2003-2005 at the idea that more troops would have solved a lot of problems just looooooooooved to crow from 2008 on that “the surge worked.” How people who claim to have universal, unchanging values can engage in hipocrisy and revisionist history is beyond me.

Image from Wikipedia

 

Delayed Reaction

I have a backlog of podcasts and mp4 files that I am slowly going through. I will occasionally make comments on some of the content. So I may write about something that happened a year ago or more.

Reason 297 To Leave Chicago

On my way home from work I got stuck at an intersection for about 10 minutes because there was some sort of “bike parade”. There were hundreds of people on bikes going down the street. They passed by the Belmont el station right when I got off. They turned left onto Clark, so I was kind of stuck. For about 10 minutes. As were the cars. As were all the other pedestrians.

I am really getting tired of this sort of thing. When I got back from Texas a couple of weeks ago, the traffic in my neighborhood was even worse because there was some neighborhood street fair. I do not think that I should have to change my routine for any fest or parade or art fair or any of that junk.

All people did during this fest was get drunk and make a lot of noise. Which is usually what they do in that part of the neighborhood when there is no fest.

If our new mayor wants to make Chicago a better city and if he wants to make it more business-friendly, here is my suggestion: end all of these fairs, fests, parades, etc. I want to live someplace where I can just go from Point A to Point B without anything unexpected getting in my way. I leave. Then I arrive. That is it. I honestly would not recommend that anyone move to Chicago. I really do not care about taxes. I just want to go about my business.

Going back to the bike parade: I am pretty sure that it had some sort of city sanction or permit. There were quite a few police officers in the parade. I am not sure what the point of it was. Was it to encourage people giving up their cars and bike more? If so, I guarantee it was a failure. It made bad traffic even worse. If you are the reason someone is spending even more time in traffic, they will not listen to what you have to say on transportation.

Image from Wikipedia

 

 

Back From Texas, But Going Back Soon

I was in Texas a couple of weeks ago. I have migrated all my posts from other blogs onto this one. I have still not looked at my brokerage account since I have been back. I have to enter any dividends I have received into my dividend spreadsheet and GnuCash.

Now I will be going back to Texas. My company will be part of a technology incubator on Dallas for three months. I leave in a couple of weeks. So I will see more of Texas. I am not sure how much of it I will see. The CEO is looking forward to working 10-14 hour days. I would like to get to some technology user groups during the week. We shall see.

I am Planning On Visiting Texas In a Few Weeks

Originally posted on 2011-07-26 21:56:05

As I said in my intro post, I am a software developer. There is a programming language called Ruby that has gained popularity in the past few years. I am learning it in case I need a Plan B for my life.

There is a Ruby conference happening in Austin from August 11 to 13: The Lone Star Ruby Conf. As soon as I am done crying over the cost, I will sign up. I will also visit Dallas. Perhaps I will see my cousin. Perhaps I will have more tres leches cake at the Guatemalan place my roommate from college showed me.

So in addition to pictures of Texas from my trip last year, I will have even more pictures.

I will also write a post before I go about the job markets in Chicago and Texas. There was an article on Yahoo Finance today that echoed some thoughts I have had on the subject. Also yesterday Governor Quinn signed a law that may help technology start-ups here in Illinois. I was there when he signed it. Perhaps I will post a picture.

Image from Wikipedia

I Will Not Be Going To Seattle

Originally posted on 2011-07-10 17:26:17

I found out this week that I will not be going to Seattle. It would have been nice to see another city on someone else’s dime. But, alas, not to be.

I plan on going to Texas in late August.

Image from Wikipedia

Texas Drought Worst In Decades

Originally posted 2011-06-30 23:25:54

Things are not looking good with regards to climate in Texas. I saw a headline today on Business Insider saying that practically all of Texas is designated as a drought disaster area. Texas is darker on the US Drought Monitor. According to the Texas Forest Service, 97 of the state is under drought, with 75% under severe drought.

The Texas Tribune has a map with all the fires reported to the Texas Forest Service.

I have asked a friend in Austin if the drought is affecting them. She said that a few people are threatened by wildfires, but most of Austin is fine. Still, the idea of moving to a state without water does not appeal to me. I went without a job for about a year, but I cannot go long without water. This issue is starting to make Texas look less appealing. I am not too thrilled with really cold winters, but I hate extreme heat as well.

I went on Twitter and I found an account called @TexasDrought. It links to a website that seems to be run by Texas A & M University. You know a drought is bad when someone decides to make a Twitter account for it.

We had some heavy rain here in Chicago tonight, but no floods.

Image of Lake Ray Hubbard from Flickr – I drove near this lake when I went to Texas last year

Seattle

Originally posted on 2011-06-25 15:46:59

I may change the name of this blog in the future, since I am thinking about moving to other states besides Texas.

I may spend three months in Seattle, Washington for work. I will know in about two weeks if I will be going. If I go, I will not be able to visit Texas until winter. But I should be open to the possibility of moving to Seattle instead of either going to Texas or staying in Chicago.

I read an article on the New York Times website about Seattle by Edward Glaeser. It had a lot of interesting points. He said that Seattle is growing because “Dense, smart cities like Seattle succeed by attracting smart people who educate and employ one another.”

The comments were pretty interesting. Several said that Seattle is kind of isolated; except for Portland, every other big city in the USA is pretty far away. A few pointed out that mass transit is not very good there. Another comment pointed out that while there are a lot of educated people in Seattle, the intelligensia is heavily skewed towards engineering and technology. You don’t get a lot of doctors, lawyers, social scientists to balance things out. There is also isolation within Seattle: People who work at the larger companies (Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft) tend to cluster together, and due to the lack of mass transit and the geography it can be difficult to get around within Seattle.

A few seemed to like the fact that Seattle is isolated and different. Some came there from more socially/intellectually/religiously conservative parts of the country and much prefer Seattle. (Granted, most of the country is more socially and religiously conservative than Seattle.)

Two friends of mine from college live in Seattle. When I was unemployed I looked at moving to another city. Seattle was one that I looked at. Not needing a car is part of Chicago’s appeal for me. One of my friends said that he gets by without a car. The other said that the first had injured himself mountain climbing and was unemployed for a year, so he did not really need a car. He said that Seattle is not quite as green as everybody thinks.

Who knows what will happen. I might go to Seattle and decide not to come back. I might hate it. If I go, I will drive instead of fly.

But if I can go a day without hearing any sirens, I think I might like Seattle.

Image from Wikipedia

Run Rick. Run away

Originally posted 2011-06-19 22:22:21

There is a lot of buzz about whether or not Rick Perry (aka Governor Goodhair) will run for the Republican nomination for president. He sounds like a reason NOT to move to Texas. Granted, there are nutcases everywhere, but this guy is doubling down on the stupid.

There have been a few posts about him on The Immoral Minority, Dispatches From the Culture Wars and the Texas Freedom Network. I have also read articles elsewhere in which he goes on and on and on about how Texas is “open for business”. (A note to Governor Goodhair: I notice the “Wide Open For Business” website does not mention religion; so why are you pushing religion so much?)

Rick Perry thinks that Texas is doing well because it is good for business. (Why is it that things that are good for business are usually bad for people and bad for the environment?) He thinks that Texas is proof that conservatism works. I think that Governor Goodhair might want to stop and think about that. I think that Texas is partially getting by on its size. I also think that climate has something to do with it. If conservative policies alone are the answer to the world’s problems, then why aren’t people moving to Mississippi or South Carolina? Why do those two states have higher unemployment rates than Illinois?

When I went down to Texas last year, I saw my roommate from University of Illinois in Dallas. I also saw another friend from UIUC in Austin. She said there are a lot of UIUC people in Austin. Instead of bad-mouthing other states, perhaps Governor Goodhair should thank other states for providing Texas with healthy, well-educated workers. It’s not like Texas will be producing a well-educated workforce.

A commenter on The Immoral Minority in Texas said that a lot of the economic growth in Texas is largely due to construction on military bases and along the border with Mexico. I would love to move all the military bases in red states into blue states. Then let’s see all these conservatives grow their economies without all those pesky federal dollars.

Would this guy make a good president? I think not. He cannot grasp the concept that Christians do not have rights in this country that everybody else does not. This is a guy who talked openly about seceding from the USA. As Bill Maher said, can someone be president of the United States if he does not support the concept of the United States? He bad-mouths the federal government, yet used the stimulus to balance his budget. I noticed that articles talking about Texas having a huge deficit only started showing up after the 2010 election. What a coincidence. Plus, as I said, the workers are coming to Texas from other states. If he is president, where will the new workers come from?

Image from Wikimedia

This post got one of the few comments that I got on the “Going To Texas” blog:

Jen Peeples says:

I saw your comment at tfninsider and followed your link. Your previous post about Texas Freedom Network is closed to comments, so I hope it’s okay that I’m posting this here. There are lots of sane Texans in the Austin area, so if you’re thinking of relocating here, you’ll be in good company.

Jen Peeples

Comment at 2011-06-20 20:20:57

Car Update From June

Originally posted 2011-06-18 08:11:43

First off, it looks like my car is okay. The dealer said that there was a broken bracket in the exhaust shaft. I am not clear what that means, but it only cost me the original estimate. If you have a Nissan and you need someone to look at it, take it to Mid City Nissan on Irving Park.

I will be going to meet up with some friends in Oak Park in a while. Hopefully things will work out with regards to my car. We shall see. It felt okay driving back from the dealer. Hopefully I can take it all the way to Texas later this year.

Also, there has been some more “buzz” about Governor Goodhair (aka Rick Perry) running for president. He is also having a prayer rally on August 6 in Houston. The Texas Freedom Network has a few posts about it. So does Dispatches From The Culture Wars.

I will post more about Governor Goodhair later this weekend.

BTW: I don’t own a Prius. I just think it looks better than my car.

Image from Wikimedia