Friday, January 27, 2006

Tell us, HOW MANY of US were spied on?

It is unbelievable that Bush still does not get it.

He is NOT above the law. This is AMERICA, not Russia, not Iraq. And now he has these tyranny seeking people like Gonzales as Attorney General (if anyone could be as bad as Ashcroft, it's him) and now Judges Robber(t)s and Alito {aLieTo(ld)} coming in to destroy the constitution.

I cannot stand George W. Bush, cannot wait for him to be out of office (and praying for minimum damage to be done to us, the US and the Constitution) but, I COULD cut him some slack on this issue of spying within the country on Americans.

I can be more understanding (though not very supportive) IF we can get an answer to a VERY simple question.


30? No problem. OK, it's still not legal, it's not the right way, but acceptable/tolerable to do something "in an emergency" to find 30 bad guys in 300 million.

300? OK, that's a little more worrisome, but still within tolerable limits. One person per million is sure to be found to harbor ill intent towards the USA - especially if we consider and include searching for gun runners, drug smugglers and those smuggling illegal criminals from the Cuba and Mexico endanger America almost as much as AlQaeda.

3000? 30,000? Is that the number? Is that why they won't tell us? That is not the number of people sympathetic to AlQaeda. It is more likely the numbers of people that oppose the tyrannical Presidency Bush wants and they are looking to shut up dissent.

What, are we living in the USSA? As I said, the numbers will tell a story.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

General Hospital(ity) Can Be Murder

I just read the news story of how yet another "high ranking" military man has basically gotten away with murder. Do you know what rank he had? Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer is literally the hightest level officer so far held accountable even to this pathetic non-standard of military injustice. (Anyone want to bet me, he will not spend even the 3 years in jail that is possible for that crime?)

Anyway, he has been found guilty of "negligent homicide" but NOT even guilty of manslaughter, much less murder, even though he personally murdered an Iraqi prisoner of war.

Let's think about this for a second. This murderer is a "high ranking" officer. (Though we never hear of Generals and high ups, who give the orders to torture and kill prisoners, being prosecuted).

But the story says, this officer was confused about the rules. Hmmm... he was confused? He stuffed something in a prisoner's mouth to choke him, shoved him into a tight bag to sufocate him and then SAT on the victim's chest.

How could he POSSIBLY have known the prisoner could die? I mean, he's a military officer, not a Doctor. He was just trying to make the prisoner feel warm and secure. He was just being kind, in general, hospitality is what he was showing.

Phew. Thank God he is just another man in our uniform, defending us against people choking to death in a sleeping bag. He commands our troops and weapons but at least he is not our President.... yet. So, notch one for winning hearts and minds, one dead prisoner at a time.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Mr. Reagan, Tear Down This Wall (Of Economic Blackmail)

One month to the day I originally posted this article, the MTA workers rejected the very generous contract they were offered by the MTA. I had even been pretty annoyed to hear how there were hidden refunds that the union workers were being given. But, apparently, in an economy where people are doing more for less pay, the MTA, like other union shops, wants to do less, earn more and have somene else foot the bill --- even if their employer is unprofitable. Now they are back, basically begging to be given that same offer again!

This is what I wrote on 12/20/2005.

As you are probably aware, the workers of New York City's transit system started a strike. This is something they regularly threaten to do, especially at this time of year, when a huge number of people is relying on the subways, trains and buses for holiday shopping and visiting.

If you heard what "unfair" and "harsh" conditions they are fighting, you'd start laughing. They do not want to pay 1% towards the cost of their medical care. They do NOT want to pay towards their retirement funds. They do not want to work past 55 years of age. All this while they have jobs that do not really require rocket science degrees.

In the meantime, the United States is full of people who have lost jobs, are barely hanging on to jobs or are desperately seeking jobs. People who have to have far greater skills, for much loner work hours in the private sector, pay much more to have health benefits, without an entitlement to cushy retirements at age 55.

So, I think the time has come not to exploit the working class, but to save the economy and the hardworking consumer from the unions that build a wall of blackmail around the economy.

Now, President Reagan, he was the man for this occassion.

What we need is for National Guards and other such service people trained to take over such essential services when these kinds of union thugs hold up the nation, and the economy. From the numbers I have seen NYC will lose hundreds of millions of Dollars in revenue because of the strike.

If I recall correctly, part of Bin Laden's mission was to cripple us economically.... these guys are mini-economic-terrorists in the impact they knowingly want to have on the city.

Here's a thought.... teach illegal immigrants to operate trains (not that difficult and fairly automated) and buses (not much harder to learn than operating a tractor on a farm in Texas)....

Then we will see how quickly these blackmailing Unions will show up for work. AND will be happy to pay 1% for healthcare. AND will be more than willing to work until the age of 70. Then watch the transit fares remain steady, service improve and never hear of a strike again.

Long Live Reagan's union-busting legacy, and may we have such leadership that breaks this vice of vice, incompetence and corruption from the neck of consumers and the American economy.

President Bush, pull out some troops from Iraq, and send them into the tunnels of NYC! That's where the latest economic terrorists are operating. Now, that's a war on (economic) terror that I would support.


PS: See what that means for "State Of The Unions" today and tomorrow.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Unbelievable: Smokers Sue For CAT Scans

Crain's excellent reporter Catherine Tymkiw reported a story that had me groan and mutter "Unbelievable" under my breath. No, there was nothing wrong in her reporting, but the content of the story. "New York state Marlboro smokers want Philip Morris to pay for a new CT scan that can detect early-stage lung cancer. "

While I have no sympathy or affection for tobacco companies, big or small, I have even less sympathy for these smokers. They CHOSE to smoke. The KNEW the risks. They STILL smoked. They want someone ELSE to pay for THEIR choices. Many of these people are long term smokers, which shows that they did not "do something stupid once" but are "long term stupid idiots".

I do not want anyone to suffer cancer, or any other disease - BUT, if these guys (and gals) are so worried about getting cancer, they should have thought about it when they started and chose to continue to smoke. I hope not only does Phillip Morris refuse these idiots' claims, but that the courts throw out any such stupid lawsuits.

Smokers who can afford to spend $1200 annually on smoking ought to be able to pay $500 to get their own CAT scans.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Numbers (Will) Tell The Story

As a Muslim, Pakistan-born, outspoken critic of the Bush administration, who also happens to fly planes, I would not have been surprised to discover that I was spied on by the US government.

As a matter of fact, especially with a court order behind it, especially as an American, I would have welcomed their checking me up as well as others. I would feel the government was doing the right thing to find out if there were more 9/11 type terrorists here.

However, as an American, I am now more scared of what George W. Bush is doing to us, our country, our rights, and our Constitution, than I ever worried about Bin Laden.

It is amazing that Bush and his administration CHOSE to break the law, when there are even special judges tasked with issuing orders approving spying on people. What that says about Bush and his Henchmen and Benchwomen's desire and hunger for power is a separate discussion for some other day.

What I am more concerned about is, how MANY people were spied on?

THAT is the question to ask. THAT will tell us what the Bush administration was looking for.

If the number of people is "a few" then we can and must ask, why not use a judge?

So, I say to Bush and Bushies, why not tell us what the NUMBER of people spied on is?

For example, spying on 300 people would at least be understandable (even though the spying was still illegal). In a country of 300 million one could assume there are 300 people who ought to be kept an eye on.

However, if the number of us that Bush and his CIA/FBI/NSA spooks were spying on is 10,000 or 100,000 or any number like that, then:

A- we are pretty much screwed if that is the number of AlQaeda supporters here in USA, or
B- we have become a fascist state where the dictator and his party can spy on anyone to curb dissent and curtail freedom.

In either case, we are screwed. Bin Laden must be smiling as much as his family friend George Bush is grinning. That's just, in my humble opinion. What do you think?

Monday, January 16, 2006

IMRAN's "Gotta Love It", You Gotta See It

As many of my web site's regular visitors know, I used to have a very popular section where I posted only the best of jokes, etc. that I used to get in my InBox. Over time, I did not keep that current but finally have restarted it with a whole fresh set in a blog. Check it out. I will add to it regularly, and you will enjoy it --- but of course not as much as MY writing and comments here. :-)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

It's Just(Ice) Cold In The United States of Amnesia

I cannot believe that this is happening. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Or, is it a sense of deja vu all over again? Or, whatever appropriate cliche should go here.

Just about 80 days ago (October 20, 2005) I wrote about Judge Roberts (now Chief Justice) happening to forget various things he was asked about during his nomination process. Now we had Judge Samuel Alito, the latest Supreme Court nominee from the administration of George W. Bush, who can remember every dissent he has written but just cannot happen to remember that he PROUDLY belonged to a bigot organization at Princeton University. How convenient. This is a man who feels the Preisdent should have powers of an emperor. He feels blacks, minorities and women are not deserving of the jobs they get. He does not believe in one person one vote. He did not recuse himself from dealing with cases of a company he had invested money in. In other words, he is a perfectly good candidate to be on our Supreme Court! NOT!

He did save me some time.... I do not have to write a new article... just please read this one and assume I would have done a search/replace of Judge Samuel Alito for Roberts... the facts remain the same.

Extreme conservatives are being put on the Supreme Court, yet they are liars and bigots or unethical. In the 3-way system of balances in our government, we have reached the lowest point. An absolute idiot is President. The scummiest crooks comprise Congress. And, now, liars and unethical, extremist, bigots are on or on their way to the Supreme Court.

Long live the memory of the United States of America that the founders had envisaged.

So, here we go, on the supreme tragedy as we court disaster in our future as a nation free of tyranny.....

I was going to write a truly great article. But, as I've started typing these lines, I just cannot recall what it was going to be about! It's just not fair. Maybe, it's getting Just so cold, I cannot think or remember what it was.

Normally, I would worry, thinking my forgetting something interesting (even if not that important) was going to be a problem. I mean, how can I try to be a guest on a talk show or even run my own small company if I can forget things so easily? But, then, I realized, I am now living in the United States of Amnesia.

If I recall correctly (what with memory being such a fickle thing these days) I had just written a small piece about Bull In A China Shop John Bolton, President Bush' ideal candidate to represent us at the United Nations. The guy who conveniently forgot important facts when he "truthfully" filled out the forms for his nomination. The guy who is our Ambassador to the UN, an organization he hates.

A guy who cannot remember if he was ever questioned in a serious government inquiry is now going to deal with representatives from 200 countries. How will he remember WHO they are, much less WHAT country they came from, or even WHY they love or hate us?

But, then, I smiled and relaxed.

I think the world is MUCH safer if a forgetful, rude, obnoxious, power-hungry, vindictive, laughably stereotypical bureaucrat like John Bolton is an Ambassador at the lame duck United Nations, instead of being at his last job responsible for controlling nuclear proliferation.

I mean, I can imagine this President Bush going to war.... I am sorry, did I say GOING to war?... sorry, we know he and his type do not GO to war, they START wars. Anyway, I can imagine our Draft Dodger Commander In Chief starting a couple more wars, simply if Bolton forget which country is developing nuclear weapons and gives the wrong country name to Bush. Like Bush needs any help starting more wars that have nothing to do with nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction.

So, I really should not have made fun of Bolton. I cannot even make fun of George W. Bush either. I mean, he too is middle-aged and that must explain his forgetting Bin Laden - the man who attacked the USA on 9/11, and who had nothing to do with Saddam or Iraq.

But, there is a more sinister explanation. Some super secret enemy is attacking us, turning us into the United States of Amnesia.

Why do I say that? Well, quite honestly, I forgot why I say that. But, I can make up something that people will believe. OK, yes, yes, this is it. I am hearing from spy agencies, scientists and even my two cockatiels, that global cooling must have something to do with it. We are apparently not burning enough oil and the cleaner, cooler air is making us forgetful.

That, or the "liberal media" must be broadcasting some dangerous waves into the Washington DC area, which cause selective amnesia among the President and his team. It all started since Al Franken went on air, so he must be behind it. But, don't worry about the Democrats. They are actually not impacted. They already forgot that they were a strong political party so long ago, that there is nothing more for them left to forget.

Whatever this weapon is, Bolton was probably hit by a bolt of it. Bush probably got zapped with such weed, I mean, bicycling by weeds and bushes. Who knows who else is a target or, more likely in the current state of our society, a "victim" of this syndrome.

I have two proofs for this theory of mine.

One is that now Judge Roberts, President Bush’ rather mysterious appointee to the SUPREME Court of this great nation, was also hit by this Dreddful, (sorry, Sylvester Stallone), I mean dreadful, virus or secret weapon. These are Just(Ice) Cold Facts that we have to learn to deal with, and make up the new Roberts' Rules of Order(ly) Forgetfulness.

Justice Roberts did not remember if he was actually a member of certain conservative organizations, which the media had no problem in digging up information and proving that he belonged to. But, even more beautifully, he completely forgot, honestly, he really just forgot, that he actually was a hired LOBBYIST for the cosmetic industry.

And, he did not realize what he was doing was LOBBYING, and not “legal services.”

OK, at least, the guy is a creative enough liar to be a make-up artist. If it was funny, instead of slapstick, it could be called "lipstick comedy." But, it's not funny. Is this the man we want to be interpreting the most intricate laws and complex issues of the Constitution if he cannot tell apart lobbying and legal services? But, now, we have no choice. Justice has been served... dead, frozen, on ice, for decades to come.

Anyway, The second proof I have is……. Hmmm, what was it, let me think, errrr..... honestly, I forgot.

But, now I don't worry that I am getting more forgetful by the minute. I just try to remember that my forgetfulness should now make me a perfect candidate to be part of George W. Bush’s inner circle. Or is that square?

You tell me. You be the Judge....

But, I forget, what were we discussing?


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Did You Give GOOGLE (or Microsoft) The Right To Sell You Out To China?

I had posted this on 12/23/05 but several people said I was assuming the worst and companies like Google (e.g. Microsoft) would not do what I said you and I are giving them the right to do, often without reading the agreements we click ACCEPT on.

I even gave the specific example of how Google could edit or modify someone's postings or video or message to please the Chinese government. How ironic to see that Microsoft did exactly that... in shutting up a critic of the Chinese regime. Sorry, I told you so.....and it will only get worse.

My comment is NOT an attack on Google, which actually is a company I like, respect, admire and consider a great leveler of the technology world. In some cases they have been much better in at least trying to protect us from a snooping, prying, invasive government than all the others, from ISPs to Yahoo and Microsoft, from telephone companies to some librarians, who are all protating themselves in front of illegal government demands for private information on users. So, the comment below is about almost any company that has overly aggressive user agreements people sign/click without reading.

Here is what you should think about. This was titled: GOOGLE Grabs Oodles Of Rights To Your Content!

Did you just give Google the right to MODIFY the video movie or documentary you made as they like? No? Are you sure?

I have not seen anything about this on other forums, but I just got an email from Google's video hosting service. They have made some changes to their terms of service.

Most of the time I sign up for services (like everyone else) and just click Accept. That is much like most of us throw out the modified (meaning more fees and money extorting) credit card agreements we are sent every few months from the behemoth banks merging to take over our financial lives.

Anyway, I got the Google TOS email at about 0415AM and went on and actually read it. Now, this is the part that really got me thinking, and wondering.

3. Use of Content. By entering into this Agreement and
uploading, sending or otherwise making available Your Authorized
Content to Google, you are directing and authorizing Google to,
and granting Google a royalty-free, non-exclusive right and
license to, host, cache, route, transmit, store, copy, modify,
distribute, perform, display, reformat, excerpt, facilitate the
sale or rental of copies of, analyze, and create algorithms
based on the Authorized Content in order to...........

Generally, I have watched with mild amusement as people using free services (like 2GB email) from Google have complained about their privacy, that Google's system will scan their emails (supposedly only for the email owner's use) to come up with relevant ads to display next to the free email so Google can make money and offer the service to us for free. This is supposedly a pretty well known fact so if anyone does not like it, they can choose to buy their email service elsewhere.

However, it seems that the kind of imperial hubris that at one time only was seen in Washington, DC or Redmond, WA has now taken quite a hold of Google's "Do No Evil" leaders.

I see this turning even more insidious. First they started scanning our emails (sure, with our knowledge), then they started scanning our books (if we are authors, without waiting to ask us) and now, they have given themselves the right to actually MODIFY something YOU or I create.

Here's what I mean.

You create a video or movie. You take up Google on its offer to HOST your video for free.

Sure, maybe they will transcribe it also so the content becomes searchable in text browsers. But, does that mean it is OK for GOOGLE to take YOUR video and, hence, your content and your message, MODIFY it's message?

Well, in some cases it would not be a problem. e.g. if the video I uploaded is 320x240 in size and it is sent by GOOGLE to a cell phone screen one can understand it being MODIFIED to a smaller SIZE. But YOU still control the content. It is still YOUR message.

But, what if it was NOT specified WHAT kind of modification a host can do to your content? Then what?

I ask that because the quote from their new TOS actually use the word REFORMAT to basically cover the kind of changes needed to display the video but the word MODIFY is in addition to the word REFORMAT. That should worry us all.

What if your video in support of DEMOCRACY is "modified" and shown to Chinese users making it sound like supporting COMMUNISM, so that Google can keep China's government happy?

Am I reading too much into it, or is this an obvious and dangerous attempt by Google to also control our content and one day change it anyway it likes? What do you think?


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Conservatives - "Swinging" In(to) Action?

I was born in Pakistan, a conservative country if ever there was one. But, I am always amazed at how in the USA, our great land of the free, land of freedom of speech and expression, that prudishness reigns supreme.

I had a chuckle when I read the news story about some people getting all bent out of shape because they were at a hotel that also had a "swingers ball" type party going on. Darn, I should make a mental note of the location of the hotel. OK, seriously, I am not in that "lifestyle" but this hotel needs all the support they can get. :-)

Apparently, there were some people dancing (legal), showing some skin (legal), wearing sexy outfits (legal) and changing couples as they danced (legal). It would be obvious that there was no public sex and swinging (changing sexual partners) going on (or they would all be arrested).

So, a group of conservative parents complained that it had put him in a tough spot, and one said he had to have a talk with his kids and had to explain to them about what "swingers" do.

But, my question is, WHY did the issue of SWINGING have to come up with the parent's talk with his kid? Did they see swingers actually SWINGING (i.e. people have sex, moving on to change partners and then having some more sex)? Probably not. (If they did, I would be curious as to how long these people actually stood there, watching WHILE being offended!).

So, the question is, why did the parent have to go into discussing swinging? If they only saw somewhat sexily dressed people dancing, then, guess what, swinging is not the issue, nudity or the human body is. If that is a problem, then these people should avoid trips to Europe at all costs. They should also consider moving to Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia.

The complainants also expressed shock that the hotel had conservative guests AND guests of the swinging kind.

As far as this STUPID complaint that two kinds of people are being hosted in the same hotel... I do not drink or smoke or do drugs or use prostitutes. But, when I check into a hotel room, I have no way of knowing, controlling or complaining if the person in the next room is getting drunk, having sex or watching a porno movie (as long as he is not banging the walls and noisy enough to keep me awake. :-) ).

A good point was also made by a person on a Yahoo discussion board about how, in the same hotel, and with these same type of parents, it would be OK for kids to play violent video games, showing ripping heads off human bodies, but heaven forbid if a breast is seen in a see-through dress..... Where's Janet Jackson's wardrobe when you need it?

Is that the sound of all hell breaking loose? Nope, just the thunder of running feet as oglers line up to see the swingers in action. :-)

Your comments are welcome.


PS One of my regular readers Imran Farooq made some good observations below, which I am addressing in this note added on January 10, 2006:

Yes. I can understand a parent's concern if someone actually does expose their child to blatant or criminal sexual behaviour.

The problem is that these people are asking for a level of political correctness and pandering to different groups' whims. So what if they saw a thong. It is LEGAL to wear a thong WITHOUT pants on in Florida so why did this thong bother these parents? Do they refuse to go to the beach because people wear thong bikinis there? Now, if any of these swingers exposed kids to specifically sexual situations, that is a different story.

But, what do we want, every time we call a hotel to make a booking we have to be read a list of all the types of guests who have booked there? So if a group does not like Blacks or Muslims or gays or big busted women, can they require a hotel to have to provide details of every "type" of guest? How would we like to be typecast in a "group" so that others can decide if they want to be in the hotel when we are there or not? Do guests have to declare on a form if they are going to have sex, wear a thong bikini, watch a porno movie, get drunk in their room, or whatever LEGAL thing they want to do, just to placate some groups? That big picture is what I am speaking for. Thanks.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Mining The Mine Tragedy: Turning Grief Into Greed

It is very sad news about how the hardworking miners, trapped in a coal mine, died. I am sure the first (false) news of everyone surviving, and then finding that almost every single one of them died, must be very devastating to the families. I have heard some news items of some people wanting to sue someone or the other for the initial incorrect news of the miners' survival. This is just incredible and in poor taste.

These were people trapped inside a mine. It's a dangerous profession, and, sad, but true, death is a constant risk.

If the people want to sue because the mining company did something deliberately negligent in safety, fine, they SHOULD do that. But, suing people for not knowing what the facts were deep inside a mine? I don't know. That is, like turning coal into energy, plain, simple, turning of grief into greed.

I hope the families of the lost souls find closure. If there was gross negligence on the part of the mine owners, I hope they are made to pay a high price for it. But, one hopes we do not turn our already litigious society into a place where people are even afraid to share any information, any news (good or bad), because they could be sued for it.

On the topic of dumb and scummy lawsuits, I will post a comment later on another recent story. Until then, stay safe... don't get sued!


Thursday, January 05, 2006

'Sharon A Man Of Peace' - Bush... Huh?

Arial Sharon, the man even Israelis accused of being a war criminal, for the massacre of Palestinians, is a man of courage and peace, according to President Bush in his latest statement after news of Sharon's stroke.

George W. Bush then went on to say David Duke is a great champion of equality and that Stalin was a friend of freedom. He declared that Hosni Mobarak in Egypt and Musharaff in Pakistan are excellent democratically elected leaders (because Bush cannot spell 'dictator').

President Bush then commended the Saudi Royal Family for its support of women's rights and freedoms of choice, speech and driving.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Dictionary Defined Dominoes, Free Falling Fraudsters

Jack Abramoff, the Washington lobbyist crook, who had friends in high places, and who donated money, among others, to George W. Bush' re-election has pleaded guilty to fraud charges.

Bush's people have offered to return (or give to charity) $6000 that Abramoff gave them, but I did not see anything about the at least $100,000 Abramoff raised for Bush's reelection. Even if the tainted money is returned or given to charity, the fact remains that the corruption of the election process is so ingrained that there is no way to undo the actual long term damage it does.

If the same thing happened and such a crook had raised $10 MILLION for Bush, or a future dumb idiot or known crook, would the election be null and void? No. So, in my humble opinion, the laws need to be stronger in dealing with lobbyists, crooks, special interests, all buying the politicians and political parties - BEFORE something like that happens.

In the meantime, I am hoping that with the guilty plea of Abramoff, he will be providing prosecutors plenty of ammunition against other crooks, like Tom DeLay. Hopefully, as they line up to sell out each other out, we will have the dominoes falling effect. I did a quick lookup on the word domino/dominoes in the dictionary and this is what I found.

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Domino \Dom"i*no\, n.; pl. Dominos or (esp. the pieces for a
game) Dominoes. [F. domino, or It. domin[`o], or Sp.
domin['o], fr. L. dominus master. The domino was orig. a hood
worn by the canons of a cathedral. See Don, Dame.]
1. A kind of hood worn by the canons of a cathedral church; a
sort of amice. --Kersey.
[1913 Webster]

How appropriate... a hood, as could be worn by some religious right wing fanatics, which we see gaining plenty of power in this administration. Additionally, Hood could also be used for hoodlum, or crook, which we too are seeing plenty of.

2. A mourning veil formerly worn by women.
[1913 Webster]

That would probably be the mourning veil we all should wear for the slow but steady murder of our Constitutional rights taking place under Bush and his fascist henchmen. Pretty soon you will not be able to tell the difference between living in the USA or the USSR. That happens with the government listening to all your calls WITHOUT court authority, checking what you read in the library, and putting you on a no-fly list because of what you read or say, regardless of whether you are a terrorist or just a free thinking American exercising your right to criticize the government.

3. A kind of mask; particularly, a half mask worn at
masquerades, to conceal the upper part of the face.
Dominos were formerly worn by ladies in traveling.
[1913 Webster]

What we have in Washington right now is really Haliburton's 8-year masquerade ball, where they are having a ball and we the people are having our balls busted at the gas station, with lives being lost in Iraq for Cheney and friends to get rich.

4. A costume worn as a disguise at masquerades, consisting of
a robe with a hood adjustable at pleasure.
[1913 Webster]

and then it goes on to say:

fall like dominoes. To fall sequentially, as when one
object in a line, by falling against the next object,
causes it in turn to fall, and that second object causes a
third to fall, etc.; the process can be repeated an
indefinite number of times.

This is the most appropriate description of all... The process has started. Abramoff. DeLay. Now let's see who's the next one to fall. What's your guess?


Monday, January 02, 2006

To Buy Or Not To Buy: QuickBooks Pro {Mac 2006}

This is a review/comment I provided on Amazon's comments page for Mac QuickBooks Pro 2006. Since one never knows if they will find something to complain about and not publish a comment, it is provided here to help potential buyers.

A Company Merely Coasting On It's Laurels,
January 1, 2006
Reviewer: Imran Anwar (Heron Pointe, NY United States) - See all my reviews

Some background will help you understand my rating and comment.

As a MacUser I have been a Quicken user since version 1 or so. Every upgrade has been money I spent hoping for better software, removal of older bugs, but that has never been the case. At the most basic level, what I have in my Quicken 2006 for Mac is the same use as I had in several years older versions --- while most of the bugs remain.

I purchased PeachTree Accounting 2006 from Office Max for $199 with a rebate of the same value, so basically Free. But, instead of just using that on a PC I figured I would still give Quicken/Intuit/Quickbooks another look before I open and install that PC software.

It was all very heartwarming to read some top guy's letter at their web site about how committed they are to the Mac, how his family of 5 have 5 Macs (Big deal. My family of one {happily single :-) } has 12 Macs, as older Macs tend to get assigned menial tasks (like fax, voicemail, Chess, kitchen internet access, etc.).

Yet, the features of the Mac version are clearly less than the PC versions. The company does not even have a proper navigable page for the product on their own web site. Several LEARN MORE links lead to non-existent / Not Found pages.

I still went ahead to the Pruchase area to see what Upgrade pricing may exist either as a competitive upgrade or version upgrade. A link on the Purchase page asks something like "What if I am upgrading?" . Click on that, a fancy little window pops up on your screen, and then nothing.

Viewing the source of that window page shows no text, and no visible links to even try to indirectly get the info. I tried 2 other browsers, just in case the problem was with Safari. No such luck. So I decided to waste my time and inform their webmaster but their Contact Us page is a jumble of links to everything but what I was seeking.

Based on how shoddy a job they do of presenting their own product for sale to potential buyers, I shudder to think what quality to expect from the product. I think I will just go ahead and install that free Peachtree 2006 product, which seems more feature rich than Quickbooks anyway.

I have used their 2005 version and it was OK, nothing to get excited about. So, the 3 star rating is given for at least having a product available on the Mac platform. Hope this helps you in buying (or not buying) Intuit products. Thanks.