The Ronny Horror Show

Via Dennis Perrin, from the long-ago late-night comedy show “Fridays,” a bit of nostalgia from the bleak period between Ronald Reagan’s election and inauguration (surpassed only by the even bleaker period of his presidency).

Serial Numbers

I curse the day that I ever let Macromedia sucker me into signing up for DevNet.

I’m trying to install CS3 Studio on a new Mac laptop and I can’t find my printout of the DevNet serial numbers for the individual applications, and Adobe’s customer service is telling me that DevNet isn’t an acceptable upgrade path to CS3, even though the applications available through DevNet were all MX2004 apps, although I somehow managed to get them working on my desktop machine.

A combined 32 years of buying and upgrading Adobe and Macromedia products and it comes down to waiting on hold with some horrible pop tune repeating endlessly in my ear waiting for tech support to probably tell me they can’t help me. [I take that back. It took a while, but I finally managed to convince them that DevNet included access to MX2004 apps and got an unlock code. I’ll probably find that folder tomorrow.]

The Big One That Got Away

Everyone who’s claimed that the current economic crisis couldn’t have been predicted (e.g. most recently, Dick Cheney) should be sat down with a copy of Michael Moore’s The Big One.

Filmed during a Moore book tour that spanned the 1996 presidential general election (Bill Clinton v. Bob Dole) and released in 1998, The Big One follows Moore from city to city, where he meets with a variety of front-door security officers and PR flaks at large corporations, Garrison Keillor and Studs Terkel, and workers from plants that have announced closures.

It was a period when the economy was ramping up to the Internet boom, but it was also an era of massive nationwide layoffs for workers in trade and labor industries (something that Moore had documented a decade earlier, on a smaller scale, in Roger & Me). Despite the cheery numbers on job creation from the Clinton administration, we were already living in an America where many people worked more than a single job in order to get by, and as many studies have pointed out, a lot of the jobs that were created in Clinton’s second term paid a fraction of the salaries of the jobs that were lost. Then, of course, there were the Bush(2) years.

The seeds of the current economic collapse do indeed go back that far (and farther). Maybe it was just easier to see the squeeze taking place from the bottom than it was from the top.

Chasing the smart

I’ve been meaning to post this (video at link) for days. Guess I’m not as speedy as a smart car:

Smart Car Leads Police, CHP On Fast Freeway Chase

LOS ANGELES  With speeds often reaching 90 mph, police chased a suspect Monday evening in a Smart car through the San Fernando Valley towards Pasadena.

CHP officers, about half hour into the chase, decided to pull back in an effort to get the driver to slow down, according to authorities.

They abandoned the chase altogether when they determined who the driver was and where he lived, said officials.

At that point, the chase was well onto the eastbound Foothill (210) Freeway approaching Sylmar.

The super-small and very fast (who knew?) Smart car was pursued initially on the northbound Hollywood (170) Freeway.

According to comments on the Smart Cars of America forums, the chopper pilot himself was surprised:

I was the pilot-reporter over the pursuit, and I will never forget it ’till the day I die.

We took off to go on an unrelated story and just as we lifted, my photographer, who was monitoring the scanner, notified me that we had “our favorite story going on.”

When he told me that it was I-5 north passing Osborne, I couldn’t believe it: we were only 1 1/2 miles away at lift-off. It took me three minutes to catch him ’cause he was really hauling butt. (First reason I didn’t think it was a smart.)

When we got overhead and went live I noted that it was a “subcompact” because of the darkness, crappy monitor that I have upfront, our altitude (I heard “CHP 51” on our common frequency calling inbound), and that my head is always on a swivel and looking outside.

As we climbed into the Crescenta Valley (east 210), the CHP called off the pursuit, CHP 51 aborted, and we cleared Burbank’s class Charlie so I got rid of Burbank tower. It was just me and the car. I dropped down to about 500 AGL and sure as shootin’, it was a blue passion with a silver tridion.

I went on the air to say that I, Larry Welk and Gary Lineberry (three of KCAL/KCBS’s pilot-reporters) are all smart car owners.

About this time the dude has slowed to the normal flow of traffic because no one’s chasing him anymore.

We continued to track him out to Rancho Cucamonga where we saw him pick up the I-15 south towards San Diego. (Apparently the registered owner lives in La Mesa.)

I often wondered if I would ever see a smart car pursuit. Now I have. It happened January 12th, five days before the first anniversary of the delivery of my first smart car.

Hope those of you who saw it live last night enjoyed it as much as I did.

Time Out

Please, Democrats, for a real change, just listen to George McGovern on foreign policy for once:

As you settle into the Oval Office, Mr. President, may I offer a suggestion? Please do not try to put Afghanistan aright with the U.S. military. To send our troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan would be a near-perfect example of going from the frying pan into the fire. There is reason to believe some of our top military commanders privately share this view. And so does a broad and growing swath of your party and your supporters.

True, the United States is the world’s greatest power — but so was the British Empire a century ago when it tried to pacify the warlords and tribes of Afghanistan, only to be forced out after excruciating losses. For that matter, the Soviet Union was also a superpower when it poured some 100,000 troops into Afghanistan in 1979. They limped home, broken and defeated, a decade later, having helped pave the way for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Too Funny

Portland Mayor Sam Adams was set to give a speech on ethics at PSU on Friday, but the mentor-sex kerfuffle led him to cancel. The quote from PSU according to Willamette Week:

“He just pulled out,” PSU spokesman Scott Gallagher says.

Ouch. My sides hurt.

Seriously, though, one of the commenters had an exceptionally good point, which, of course, Adams doesn’t appear to have through of on his own:

caveman writes on Jan 21st, 2009 5:24pm

you know, if the guy had integrity and really was sorry he would re-write his ethics speech to cover the current situation and give it anyway. He missed a real opportunity to cover “ethics and social responsibility” in a more meaningful way.

Pressing the Secretary

Portland City Councilman Randy Leonard plays Scott McClellan to Mayor Sam Adams’s “Dick” Cheney in the new mayor’s sex/cover-up scandalé:

Leonard also feels that Adams used him to strengthen Adams’ lie.

“I feel disturbed that Sam allowed me to say the things I did as part of his campaign to deceive people,” Leonard says. “I’m not understanding how he took advantage of my friendship and my loyalty.”

“I stood at the White House briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby,” McClellan wrote.

“There was one problem. It was not true.

“I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president’s chief of staff and the president himself.”

Just a matter of time until The Daily Show gets hold of this one….

Maybe We Need a Poll

From a New Yorker article last week (the full text of which is not online unless you’re registered) by Samantha Power, about Christian lawer Gary Haugen who runs the somewhat-controversial International Justice Mission, providing legal services to clients in Third World countries.

According to a report published by Afrobarometer, a public-opinion research group, only fifty-three per cent of people surveyed in sub-Sarahan Africa expressed confidence that senior government officials would be brought to justice if they committed a serious crime.

Considering the current attitude of “don’t look back” being expressed by the soon-to-be-POTUS and his aides — and a rather shocking lack of accountability for crimes executed under previous administrations in the US — would the American public even break into the forties?

Friday’s Fortune

Finally, something from the Hunan (Man I love that place!):

You will bring sunshine into someone’s life.

Well, I’m going to be doing a little less of that until my smart car with the convertible top gets out of the shop. A bozo rear-ended me at a light on Wednesday afternoon and then took off for parts unknown. Plastic body damage and a big dent in the muffler is what I saw before they took off the panels.