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Archive for December, 2010

Dumbing Them Down

This is a sort of continuation of my post about stupid Americans. It’s political in nature, but only loosely so, really – I’m not going to attack Republicans or Democrats or Independents. This post is about what has come to be called the “dumbing down” of American children, and how our education system is deliberately (if you listen to some people), setting about turning people into mindless automatons. As an example of what I want to look at, I’m going to tell you a very short anecdote.

The other day, in anticipation of an impending snowstorm, I was watching CNN. The weather person came on the screen, with her map behind her. On the map were descriptions of expected snow accumulation in various regions of the northeast United States. For example, the wording should have read something like, “6”-12″,” “4”-8″,” etc. In one location, I saw this phrase on the map: “Less then 12″.” The people who work for these broadcasters supposedly are college educated, and should have a basic grasp of the english language. “Then?” “Less THEN?” Than! It’s “THAN,” not “THEN.” Jesus fucking jumped up Christ on a stick, what the hell is going on here?

Now, I understand that taken by itself, this is just an amusing little faux pas in broadcasting. The problem is, I see it as a reflection of a widespread problem. I see this particular thing happen constantly now – someone arbitrarily switches up and uses the word “then” in place of the word “than.” Poke around on the World Wide Web, and you’ll see it all over the place. I find it to be one tiny indication of a much wider phenomenon that’s taking place: We’re being turned into a nation – no, a world – of mindless idiots.

Language is the essence of communication. It is the means by which we communicate our thoughts and ideas to others. The mastery of language is slipping to a lower and lower level, along with just about every other field of study that our children are force fed on a daily basis. I say “force fed” because what we teach our kids, and the way that we teach them, are not in any way, shape or form educational. These things are making us, as a society, more and more stupid. But let’s stay with language for a moment. Then we’ll look at the so-called conspiracy that’s taking place. I’m just here to pass on some information that I’ve found. I’ll leave any important decisions to you.

What follows is a graphic that I found some time back in my travels around the web. We use language to communicate, and in order for our communication to be understandable, there has to be consistency in the language that we use. If there is no consistency, then less and less can be communicated in an understandable way. I apologize in advance for the rather ridiculous over-use of profanity, although, I also symnpathize with the reason it was being used:

Okay, so the person who put this together made a few mistakes of their own, but the point is still more than valid. As comedy, it went a bit over the top – to me, less is more, but hey, I didn’t write it, and it seems to be seeing a lot more exposure than I’m used to. At any rate, I’m not going to delve into other fields of academic endeavor here. I think that we can all agree on the fact that American standards of education are being lowered more and more, almost year by year.

What I’d really like to look at is why this is happening. There must be some reason for it, don’t you think? I mean, it really does not make sense that we as a society are in the midst of an intellectual devolution. Human beings, and in fact, most forms of life, are supposed to be in a constant state of evolution – that is, a state where improvements are constantly coming into play. So, why is it that our level of overall intelligence seems to be slowly coming undone?

I’m not a conspiracy nut. Well, not a full-blown, tin foil hat wearing conspiracy nut, anyway. I do believe that there is far more kept from us than most people are aware of. More frightening, I think that the majority of people do not even want to know how much is kept from us. No, I don’t think that Area 51 holds the bodies of alien visitors and the wreckage of their space craft. When it comes to our educational system, I have not yet formed my own, complete opinion of what is happening. But I’ve been reading and listening to enough material that I have to wonder: Is the dumbing down of our society a deliberate act?

There is an accepted tenet of sociology which states that it is in the best interests of those who are in the highest social strata to always have a large pool of under-educated, lower class people at their disposal. What better way to assure that this pool exists? Keep them dumbed down, and they will always be there for you.

Schools seem, to me at least, to have become centers not of learning, but of socialization. While I won’t try to downplay the importance of social skills, it’s my belief that they have become the overall goal of our public schools. Education has taken a back seat to learning how to be a social creature. Yes, social skills are important if one is to function successfully in a society. But those skills should not come at the expense of useful and important knowledge.

At the risk of sounding like my parents, when I was a kid…

When I was a kid in school, if a student didn’t measure up in the acquisition of certain key elements of knowledge, that student was held back and forced to repeat the grade level that he or she had failed. Some kids were held back for two or more years. That no longer happens, because (and I’m quoting a school official here), “it would be socially detrimental to the child to hold him back and put him in a group of younger students.” Translation: It doesn’t matter if he has the intelligence of an ant, as long as he is socially comfortable.

When I was a kid in school, I was encouraged to investigate. Yes, I had to learn my multiplication tables, and learn a lot of things by rote. But I was also encouraged to look into things, rather than simply taking as fact the word of one teacher. I remember being in the fourth or fifth grade, and asking about the gravity on the moon. When told that gravity on the moon is about one-sixth that of earth, I wanted to know just how we knew that. My teacher, who probably didn’t know herself, encouraged me to look into it. I wrote to a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica, asking him that very question. He responded immediately, explaining the (to me, at least), complex mathematical formulas that are used to calculate such things. Not only did I learn the answer to my question, I also learned something about the importance of mathematics.

My point is that it seems to me that this spirit of investigation, of discovering the pleasure to be found in the acquiring of knowledge, is being discouraged, if not almost completely forbidden in our schools now. When we brought about the government mandated, results-oriented education system known as “No Child Left Behind,” the schools responded promptly by lowering standards, which assured them high test results. Thank you, Dubyah…

If you believe some of the more radical conspiracy theories out there, this dumbing down of America is part of a global conspiracy, being used to bring about a new world order and a global economy. I don’t know if this is in fact true, and frankly, I don’t believe that it is – at least, no one has yet offered up a reasonable explanation as to why this might be the case. However, the methods being used to dumb down our children are, from what I can see, quite real.

If one wishes to take a look at this process, there are several good books on the subject. Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt has written a fascinating look at the topic called, the deliberate dumbing down of america. From her web site:

Charlotte Iserbyt is the consummate whistleblower! Iserbyt served as Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department of Education, during the first Reagan Administration, where she first blew the whistle on a major technology initiative which would control curriculum in America’s classrooms. Iserbyt is a former school board director in Camden, Maine and was co-founder and research analyst of Guardians of Education for Maine (GEM) from 1978 to 2000. She has also served in the American Red Cross on Guam and Japan during the Korean War, and in the United States Foreign Service in Belgium and in the Republic of South Africa. Iserbyt is a speaker and writer, best known for her 1985 booklet Back to Basics Reform or OBE: Skinnerian International Curriculum and her 1989 pamphlet Soviets in the Classroom: America’s Latest Education Fad which covered the details of the U.S.-Soviet and Carnegie-Soviet Education Agreements which remain in effect to this day. She is a freelance writer and has had articles published in Human Events, The Washington Times, The Bangor Daily News, and included in the record of Congressional hearings.

A well-known educator, John Taylor Gatto has also exposed what he calls a conspiracy to dumb down American children. There’s a great deal of information at his web site. From Gatto’s site:

No one in America today is better qualified to report on the true condition of our government education system than John Taylor Gatto, the now-famous educator who spent 26 years teaching in six different schools in New York City and quit because he could no longer take part in a system that destroys lives by destroying minds.

In 1990 the New York “Senate named Mr. Gatto New York City Teacher of the Year. The speech he gave at that occasion, “The Psychopathic School,” amounted to a devastating indictment of public education (reprinted in BEL, May 1991, under the title “Why Schools Don’t Educate”). In 1991 Mr. Gatto was named New York State Teacher of the Year, at which occasion he gave a speech, “The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher,” so insightful of the wrong-headedness of public education that it will probably become a classic in educational literature.

These two remarkable speeches, plus several others, including one entitled “We Need Less School, Not More,” were published in book form last year. And what a powerful book it is, only 104 pages long, readable in one or two sittings. With Outcome-Based Education being imposed on schools across America, we will get much more school, not less, and the content of that schooling will produce far more confusion than we already have.

And finally, there is a lot of useful – and not so useful – information to be had on this web site, called The Dumbing Down of Society: It Is An Agenda.”

There was a time when American students grew up to be some of the most talented and competitive adults in the industrialized world, bringing about innovations and advances that were the envy of the rest of the world. Now, the United States can no longer compete. Why? Because, in my opinion, we are “educating” that competitive drive right out of our children. It starts young, this “education.” In sports leagues, to be precise. There are no longer winning teams or losing teams in children’s athletics, at least, not early on. Everyone gets a reward for participating, regardless of the outcome of the game. And you know, that almost makes sense. Except, what happened to the act of participation being a reward in and of itself? I didn’t need to bring home a tiny trophy that told everyone I played in the game. I knew, my parents knew, etc. If my team lost, that was an incentive to work harder and prepare more thoroughly for the next game. Now though, why should a kid work harder? He or she is going to get a trophy regardless of who wins and who loses.

We are educating our children right out of the competition. Perhaps one day, your child can grow up to be that college educated person who doesn’t know the difference between “then” and “than.”

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Ascentive, do you think I’m completely stupid? Comments to this blog must be approved by me before they’re posted. Did you honestly think I’d approve that little piece of irrelevant drivel?

Again, since I’ve not posted my full name to this blog, and since the folks at Ascentive have managed to track me down, the so-called comment that was submitted most likely came from someone there. If you think that trying to “expose” me to the world will intimidate me, you are very, very mistaken. Your comment wound up in the spam trap here, so, nice try, but it won’t work.

The things you tried to post are irrelevant to this topic. Your attempt to “expose” me is simply an indication of the kind of tactics that your company employs. For the rest of the readers of this blog, I’d like to post some links – just a few – to other sites that have discussed Ascentive, FinallyFast.com, and the products they sell:

The Blade
Workbench
Tech Support Guy
Whirlpool Forums
Web Of Trust

* I apologize to the sites above – I fear that Ascentive may come after them now.

I have many, many more, but you get the point.

So, Ascentive, do you see? No one has to take my word for it – I did my homework before posting my horrible comments about your bogus product. I even tested your product, as did several other sites that I visited.

If you think that threatening to “expose” me will scare me into backing off, you are quite mistaken. I was quite content when I made my first post about you to simply leave it at that, and move on. Now, though, I will make it my mission to post as much negative information about your company as I can, in every venue that I have occasion to visit on the web. Negative, factual information. You see, it is factual that your product is useless, that it infects customers machines with viruses, spyware, malware and adware, and that the things that it does do to improve performance are easily done by any user with even a minimum level of technical skills. Those are facts that you cannot escape, because they have been documented by many other sources, not just by me.

We can continue is this little game that you seem intent on playing with me, or you can just drop it, and move on. It really makes no difference to me.

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A small update to my last post:

I believe that I may have upset someone. I received a phone call a little while ago, which I was not here to take. The caller placed three calls, one without leaving a message, a second call in which the caller did leave a message, and a third which again had no message. Apparently, someone has read this post, and they’re upset with me. The message that was left says:

Hello, Stephen, my name is Elizabeth, and I was just on your web site, and was calling for more information. So if you could give me a call back, my number is ###-###-####. Thanks.

The number given in the message is not the number that appeared on my caller ID screen; however, the number on the screen is listed as belonging to Ascentive Software, 201 Spring Garden St., Philadelphia, PA. The number left in the message is someone’s cell phone number – I’m assuming that it belongs to Elizabeth.

That was very fast work. I’ve never posted my home phone number in this blog. Nor, to the best of my recollection, have I ever posted my full name – although, I may have. I’m not going to go combing through my blog to find out. If I am correct about that, then the only name connected with me is my mother’s name. Someone did some quick work in finding out how to contact me at home.

Now, I’m not an egotist. I know that this blog doesn’t see an enormous amount of traffic. Actually, I know exactly how much traffic this blog sees, and I can assure you, it’s not that much. This leads me to believe that either a very unlikely coincidence occurred – someone from Ascentive just happened to stumble across my blog here – or (and far more likely to me), Ascentive has their eyes and ears open so they can step in and do some damage control when things like my last post appear on the net. They must be very busy tracking this stuff, because there are countless web pages on the internet talking trash about FinallyFast.com. If they find my obscure little corner of the internet to be threatening, then they’re really in trouble.

So, for you folks at Ascentive, pay attention. I will not communicate with you verbally. If you wish to communicate with me, you can respond to my post about FinallyFast here on the blog, or you can send any correspondence to me at my home address. Since you tracked down my phone number so quickly, I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding my snail mail address. Be sure that you send any correspondence by certified mail, please, and I’ll do the same when I respond. I’m not going to put myself in the position of engaging in any communication with you that is not of a written nature. That way, there can be no “he said, she said” inconsistencies cropping up.

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Okay, probably not news to some, possibly news to others. My entry today concerns an issue that mystifies me, really. This is 2010. I would have thought that most people are by now at least somewhat familiar with things having to do with computers – particularly you twenty-somethings who spent your entire school careers with computers in your classrooms. At any rate, I want to take a look at something that’s been bothering me for a while. I did some research, asked some questions, and even made a phone call to a company just to check things out.

We’ve all seen them. Late at night, after a day filled with way too much caffeine, we sit there channel surfing through three-hundred-plus channels of garbage on the television, when up pops a cheerful commercial from the folks at FinallyFast.com. Normally, I don’t even bother to look into things like this. I have a reasonable level of skill with a computer, and all of the things that this company claims to do, I can do myself – at least, the things that are actually possible to do. Some of what they claim simply cannot be done. We’ll look at that in a few moments. Anyway, it was the middle of the night, I was punchy from a lack of sleep, aching bones, and the residual effects of too much caffeine. I decided to look into this oh-so-nifty product.

The commercial opens with a talentless actor saying, “My computer used to be fast. Really fast. Now, it’s only kind of fast.” Where do they find these people? I mean, if you want to break into acting, take some lessons first, would you? Then we watch as the screen flashes through images of people sitting at their computers frustrated with error messages, slow loading pages, even the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death (Hereafter referred to as the BSOD – that’s a Windows technical term, FYI.) All of these things appear to be happening on Apple computers. The implication from the voice-over announcer is that FinallyFast.com can fix all of these issues for you, at no cost! They even claim to be able to increase the speed of your internet connection by up to an amazing 375% – hell, I’d pay for that!

Now, I want to stop for a moment here. As noted, all of the computers in this commercial appear to be Apple machines – the one keyboard shot is absolutely an Apple keyboard tray. Yet, there’s a small disclaimer (The fine print part), that says this software can only be used on a PC. Wait, what? Then, why are all of the actors using Apple computers? Better yet, where did that BSOD come from in the commercial? The BSOD is a uniquely Windows phenomenon. By now, I was taking notes – I intended to ask some questions later on.

Let’s look at FinallyFast – the company, not the software. I’m going to get to that part in a few moments. FinallyFast is part of a company called Ascentive. The television commercial states that Ascentive has been featured in some prominent magazines, and while this is true, the articles were not about their optimizing software. Nope – the articles mentioned had nothing to do at all with Ascentive’s software. They simply contain quotes about business security issues from one of Ascentive’s corporate officers. And one of Ascentive’s claims turns out to be an outright falsehood. This quote is from Ascentive’s web site:

Spyware Striker Pro now includes the Award-Winning CounterSpy scan engine and definition database. CounterSpy has been awarded the CNET Editor’s Choice Award as “the only antispyware product that correctly identified every piece
of spyware… It did very well in active scanning, on-demand detection, and complete spyware removal.”

Okay, that looks good on the surface, right? So, I clicked on the link that says, “Read the review,” and was taken to CNET – a very highly regarded tech reporting presence on the web. Counterspy – not Spyware Stryker Pro, but Counterspy – did receive a very glowing review from CNET. The problem is, Counterspy is not, as far as I can tell, a product that was developed by Ascentive. It was developed and marketed by Sunbelt Software, now known as GFI Software. Spyware Stryker Pro is a component – a single component – of Counterspy that is bundled with that application. What does this mean? At best, it may mean that Ascentive is misleading consumers.

I want to go back for a moment, with another quote, just to drive home a point. Here’s another quote from Ascentive’s web site:

Ascentive is the maker of easy-to-use PC software products which have been used by thousands of home and business customers in 55 countries.

A Market leader in corporate and consumer software, Ascentive is a rising star in the industry and has received accolades from media organizations like The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Forbes, Tech TV and NBC. Here’s the proof.

Well, not quite. As I mentioned, none of these articles actually gives “accolades” to Ascentive’s products. They all simply contain quotes from one of the Ascentive corporate officers regarding security issues and the monitoring of employees while they’re using company computers – in other words, the advantage of using spyware to keep an eye on the workers. In fact, one of Ascentive’s products is called “BeAware,” which is marketed to businesses for the purposes of monitoring employee computer usage. Does anyone else see the irony here? This is a company that markets monitoring software – aka, spyware – while also marketing a product to consumers that purports to remove spyware from personal computers.

Okay, so let’s go back now to FinallyFast, and take a look at what it says it will do, and what it actually does. Because, Dear Reader, those two things are very different.

First, FinallyFast offers a free scan of your computer. There’s nothing misleading about that at all. The scan really is free – as in, free, no charge, it won’t cost you a penny! Now, that’s a bargain these days, right? Maybe…

You see, the free scan at FinallyFast will always find something wrong with your computer. Always. As in, every computer it scans is going to have problems. No, really – I know this to be a fact. How do I know this? Well, I’m going to tell you how I know this. I have a good friend who recently bought a brand new computer. When he got it, he had specifically ordered that the computer have nothing installed on it other than Microsoft Windows 7. No added software, nothing but the operating system. When I found out he had ordered this new machine, I was still in the middle of doing some research for this post. So, I asked if he could help me out.

We fired up his brand new machine – right out of the box, never been connected to the internet, never had one thing other than Windows 7 installed on it. We went to FinallyFast.com, downloaded and ran the free scan. Can you believe it? Those bastards at Dell had installed all kinds of spyware, malware, and several viruses on his brand new computer before it had ever even left the factory! There were over four hundred registry errors that had been caused by “programs that were either out of date or no longer installed” on the computer. Some jerk at the factory had been playing around with this computer, I’ll bet – installing and uninstalling old, outdated software. Because, there’s just no way that FinallyFast could possibly be mistaken about these errors, is there? I mean, I just know that they would never engage in false or misleading business practices.

Now it was time to fix all of these “problems.” Uh-oh… Turns out it’s not so free anymore. It seems that now, you have to purchase the software to get rid of these issues. To be fair, the scans are listed on the site as “Free Trials.” The fix costs money. And this is where it gets really interesting. Not only do you have to pay to fix the bogus problems that FinallyFast found on your machine, but in order to keep your machine in good shape, you have to sign up for a subscription service that keeps your new software up to date. When you buy the initial package, you are automatically enrolled in this subscription program. There have been reports of unauthorized charges to customer credit and debit cards, and some people have reported that it’s damned near impossible to unsubscribe.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that FinallyFast doesn’t actually work. I’m not prepared to find myself in a lawsuit. Frankly, the software does work. But the problem is that it works by doing things that everyone – from novice to guru – can do themselves, at no cost whatsoever, outside of the time it takes to run legitimate free applications. FinallyFast does things like removing temporary internet and other temporary files, clearing the cache, and removing spyware and adware. There are free programs available that will do this for you – no cost, regularly updated programs that are very effective.

One of the most interesting claims that FinallyFast makes is the promise to increase your internet speed by up to 375% – and that’s a pretty amazing claim. You see, again, this is misleading, because it is literally impossible to increase the speed of your connection beyond the speed that your internet connection – your ISP – has provided. The only way to actually increase the speed of your internet connection is to purchase a faster connection from your ISP.

So, let me not even worry about lawsuits at this point. The claims that FinallyFast can increase your internet connection speed are completely, utterly false. Fraudulent. Lies. The same holds true for the claim that they will increase your download speed. Again, this is dependent on your ISP and the connection speed that you purchased from them. I repeat: This isn’t just misleading consumers, these claims are completely false. While the things that FinallyFast does may increase the speed of things like Microsoft Office or other applications loading on your machine, they cannot and will not increase your internet connection speed.

So, how can FinallyFast make the claim that they can increase your connection speed and get away with it? Well, it’s possible to make it appear that your connection speed has increased, while not actually increasing that speed. This is done by sort of “tricking” your computer into making it load web pages faster. Okay, so what’s the problem with that? If web pages load faster in your browser, isn’t that the same thing?

No.

If you’ve ever had a dial-up ISP, then you’ve probably seen something called a “speed-booster,” or “accelerator.” The way that this works is, the quality of the images you see in your browser is reduced – sometimes dramatically so. And remember, a web page is made up of a collection of nothing but images. While pages load faster, they also lose much of their color, sharpness, brightness, and often, the “fine print” on a web page is nearly impossible to make out. (I should note that it is possible to optimize what is called the “Receive Window” in order to take full advantage of the connection speed that your provider is giving you. However, you still cannot go any faster than the connection speed from your ISP)

While some would call this a fine line, I call it blatantly misleading advertising. In my humble opinion, it’s nothing but a fraud.

FinallyFast does nothing – nothing – for your computer that you can’t do on your own, at absolutely no cost. In fact, it does things to your compter that you do not want it to do. Remember that brand new computer that we tested the scan on? Well, after we ran the scan, we installed AVG free antivirus software on that computer, and AVG found something that it called TrojanHorse5.htp. Since the only place this computer had visited on the web was the FinallyFast site, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about that.

The final piece of my research was a phone call to FinallyFast – the toll-free number that’s given in the television commercial. I didn’t tell them that I was researching them for a blog post, just that I wanted information about the product. They pushed me – hard – to purchase the product. The interesting thing was, no one there could explain to me just how this product works. I made three calls to them, speaking to a different representative each time.

One guy told me initially that the software won’t work on a Mac. When I told him that all of the computers I’d seen in the commercial were Macs, he said, and I quote, “Oh. Well, then I guess it must work on Macs, too.” (Remember, the fine print says that this product is only for PCs, and not for Macs) When I asked how the product increases my connection speed, one rep told me that by getting rid of junk files, my connection speed would be increased. Another told me that the product changes my internet options to increase the connection speed.

When I asked how this product compares to some of the freeware that’s available to do what this product is supposed to do, I was strongly warned to never, ever use free programs, because they’re all riddled with viruses, adware, and malware. When I told him about the experiment (thus blowing my cover), and finding a trojan on the computer after scanning at FinallyFast, he hung up on me.

The conclusion? This is crap. It’s a crap product, it will dump a trojan onto your machine, it does not do what it says it will do, it gives false reports about what’s wrong with your computer. There have been reports about unauthorized charges to costomers credit and debit cards. If you’re thinking of buying this product, don’t. It will potentially cause more problems than were already present on your machine. If you’ve already purchased this service, I recommend that you call your bank and block any further payments to the company, and remove the software from the computer yourself, if you’re confident that you can remove it completely. If you’re not, then take it to a professional and have it cleaned up.

I don’t do a lot of “product endorsements” concerning software, because no software is ever “one size fits all.” What’s convenient and effective for me may not meet the needs of others. In this case, though, I’m going to suggest some alternatives that will be much safer than using FinallyFast.com.

Fixing Registry Problems: I’m generally hesitant to recommend any registry cleaner, mostly because they can occasionally cause problems if someone is not familiar with working in the registry. However, I’ve been using one registry cleaner for several years now, and I’ve never had an issue that I had to fix. Also, this application sets a restore point, so that if something goes wrong, you can restore the registry to it’s pre-repair state, and then seek further help. The program is called Eusing Free Registry Cleaner, and you can get it HERE.

Clean Up Junk Files: Well, you’ve already started that process with the registry cleaner. Also, Windows has this neat feature called “Disk Cleanup.” Just run that, and you’ll get rid of all those little junk files laying around on your computer.

Remove Temporary Files: The term “Temporary files” can be misleading, because many of these files stay on your computer, hanging around, eating up space and slowing your machine down, until you actually remove them. That can be time consuming to do manually, but, there’s a nice little program called TFC (Temp File Cleaner), that will do it for you. You can get it HERE.

Remove Spyware: Spyware can be a pain in the ass. One of the best tools for spyware removal is available free. It’s called Spybot Search & Destroy, and you can get it HERE.

Remove Malware: Malware, or Malicious Software, can be a major problem. Malwarebytes offers both a free version and a paid version of their very effective malware tool. The free version is more than sufficient for most users. You can get it HERE.

And finally, to generally help with speeding up your computer, run the Windows Disk Defragmentation feature. This will put your files back into order, letting your machine find things faster, improving performance.

Oh, and a final note: If you want to “increase your internet connection speed,” make a call to your ISP, and upgrade your connection. That’s the only way you’re going to do it.

NOTE:

In light of events that took place a bit earlier this evening, not too many hours after I posted the original version of this blog entry, I’m going to play a little CMA here – Cover My Ass:

The opinions stated in this blog are just that: My opinions. The last time I checked, I still have the right to state my opinion in this country.

See the next post, which will be up momentarily, to see why I’ve added this.

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The Stupidity Of America

First, I watched the 2008 presidential election campaigns, and saw John McCain choose Sarah Palin as his running mate. Okay, so I can accept that one person had a moment of weakness, lost his ability to process thoughts rationally for a short while, and chose a fairly attractive woman to run with him. I can accept that. Maybe he was thinking with his little head.

Then, Palin began to gather a base for herself. I mean, a pretty good base, too – lots of people, for some unfathomable reason, had no problem imagining Palin sitting in the oval office should the unthinkable happen and McCain died. Like I said, she’s a fairly attractive woman – until she opens her mouth and the inane, stupid, utter idiocy starts to spew forth. But we’ll come back to Sarah in a few moments.

During his first two years as president, Obama has tried to implement some much needed changes in this country. The things that he wants should be no-brainers for anyone with even an average level of intelligence. So, along came the Tea Party. While not specifically endorsed by many Republicans, let’s face it – the Tea Party is mostly made up of the idiots on the far right who cannot think for themselves. Those in the higher levels of the Tea Party know that these people are suckers, that they will buy into anything that makes them feel afraid. “Keep your government hands off my Medicare?” What the hell? Do these idiots not realize that Medicare is a government run program already?

With a classic snowball effect, this trend has continued to grow. During the mid-term elections, the voters in this country placed the GOP firmly in place in both the House and the Senate. This has guaranteed that this president will now accomplish absolutely zero. Republicans have vowed from the first day of Obama’s presidency that they will block anything that he tries to do. So much for being servants of the people. The people of this country voted Obama in, and from the first day, the GOP vowed to crush him by any means necessary.

My single complaint about Barrack Obama is that he is not enough like Dick Cheney. I use Cheney’s name, because unless you’re a completely blind idiot, you know that during the Bush presidencies, Cheney was the real power. When the Bush administration, i.e., Cheney, wanted something done, they simply crammed it down the throats of the congress, and to hell with anyone who didn’t like it. “You don’t like what we’re doing with this government? Too fucking bad. We’ll decide how this country runs, not you. You’re just the voters.”

Obama needs to adopt some of that attitude. He needs to stop trying to compromise with Republicans for whom compromise really means, “My way or the highway.” He needs to shake some sense into the Democratic members of Congress, and force them to back him. Actually, I should say that he needed to do that two years ago. I fear that it’s now far too late.

Now, indications are that Sarah Palin may well be the best hope of the Republican Party for the next presidential election. Are they fucking serious? Sarah Palin? The woman has a hard time getting two brain cells to fire up at the same time. The idea of President Sarah Palin is one of the most frightening concepts I can imagine.

Bill Maher constantly bemoans the fact that the American people, in his words, “are just stupid.” In looking at the results of the mid-term elections, I have to finally admit that he’s right. America is made up of voters who can best be described as “sheeple,” who are incapable of forming any kind of critical, independent thinking of their own.

And if by some really weird twist of fate Sarah Palin becomes our next president, I will immediately renounce my American citizenship and move to Australia. Or Switzerland. Or even Moscow, for God’s sake. Anywhere but in a country run by that bimbo…

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