Monday, March 23, 2009


Verizon Wireless Sucks

Confession: I left AT&T Mobility in a fit of pique. I'd been a customer for many years and clashed with them over having to lock into a new contract when I wanted to open a new line in my family plan, even though I owned several compatible phones outright. I figured if I was going to have to have a new contract anyway, I'd just go to Verizon and get new phones also. I am sorry I did. I'm now in my third month of service with Verizon Wireless and I can say without a doubt that I am dissatisfied, to say the least.

My biggest source of dissatisfaction comes from the phone itself, a Motorola V750 Adventure. Transferring music files involves interfacing with Rhapsody, rather than using the elegant and useful Motorola Phone Tools software that I used happily with my old V365. Transferring MP3 files is an excercise in patience. I do not care for Rhapsody's interface anyway, which is why I use ITunes. I finally figured out how to get the files out of my music folders onto the phone after loading Verizon's version of Rhapsody. Sometime during the course of trying to get the damned phone to work, I inadvertantly activated V-Cast. Getting that credited off my bill was difficult, but finally accomplished, although I still got stuck with a portion of the billing for a service I didin't want and never used.

I've tried to come up with a way to use normal headphones with this unit; not happening. The 2.5mm headphone jack will only work with a two way headset. Attempting to plug a good set of phones into the jack results in nothing, so I seem to be stuck with a MP3 capable cell phone - the reason I chose this phone to begin with - that is a crappy MP3 player. I now also have a pile of adaptors that don't work.

Why Verizon chose Rhapsody over Motorola's own file transfer program is a mystery to me, as I would think the ability to handle all your digital files with one easy-to-use program would make for a happier end user, which as I am beginning to discover isn't too high on Verizon's priority list. This concludes the music portion of my criticism of the V750's shortcomings.

Now for pictures. The Motorola V750 includes a 2 megapixel camera. Apparently, the only way to move photos off my phone and onto something I can use as a photo editor involves sending the photo via text to an online album. Here's a clue: texting photos without a plan costs $.25 per photo, or you can opt for a plan at I forget what ridiculous cost. The Motorola V365 I had while I was with AT&T Mobility allowed me to transfer into my editing software using - you guessed it - Motorola Phone Tools software at no additional cost. So I now have a camera phone - the 2 mega-pixel camera being another reason I chose the V750 - that is a lousy camera.

I've been told that data on an optional memory card can be transferred directly using an USB adaptor - yet another unnecessary expense.

The main purpose of a cell phone is to make and receive phone calls, and at this the V750 is adequate, although, again, it's not as good as the less sophisticated V365. Whether this is due to Verizon's network not being as good as AT&T's or the phone itself, I can't be sure. I'd like to blame all of the V750's problems on Verizon, but Motorola desrves at least some of the blame for allowing Verizon to talk them into making this piece of crap. If all I wanted was an adequate cell phone, I'd have opted for the freebie that comes with the damnable contract and to hell with it.

In effect, I'm paying for something I can't use properly.

I have better things to do with my life than worry about a cell phone, so as I had time, I made several trips to the Verizon store trying to come up with the right combination of software and adaptors to make this phone work, to no avail. By the time I figured out once and for all that this phone was a lemon, or more precisely, a POS, it was too late to trade it in for something else. Apparently, the only way to get a usable phone in the Verizon sytem is to go with a smartphone. How AT&T managed to get it done with a lowly V365 is beyond me. Maybe they're just smarter than Verizon.

Now for the network. Slightly more dropped calls and more dead spots. I generally travel the same beaten path, so comparisons are easy. AT&T's network is simply better in my area. Customer service is much better; Verizon's reps adopt a hard line from the get-go. My experience with AT&T was much better. I can be belligerant, no doubt. I work in customer service myself and appreciate that the rep on the other end of the line doesn't make the rules or design the phones. I do have to say that the two reps I spoke with were professional, if ultimately unhelpful.

I'd be happy to drop my contract, but I'm not about to give Verizon the privilege of $350.00 unearned. If they'd waive the fees, I'd drop them in a heartbeat. Instead, I'll content myself with costing them a customer or two, beginning with my extended family. When I went with AT&T, I brought my family (3 adult children, my parents and their families) into the network. I've already counselled my kids to wait on joining Verizon, and now I'll warn them off completely.

If for some reason you still want to go with Verizon, stay away from the Motorola Adventure V750 and more power to you. There may be a better cellular company out there than AT&T, but it ain't Verizon.

Don't say I didn't warn you.


Sunday, March 22, 2009


Waiting for Spring


This good lookin' lady is R.J. Keller. She is a friend of mine and has given birth to the novel she is holding in her hand, "Waiting for Spring." The book has received good reviews, and I can personally recommend the author.

Check it out!


Thursday, March 19, 2009


Myths are powerful things.

Is America a Christian Nation? Johnathon Rowe at Positive Liberty:
The problem is the Christian Nation idea is a myth. It was debunked by modern scholars and, since the 1970s, figures like Peter Marshall and David Barton are trying to “reconstruct” what has been “deconstructed.” But ultimately the “imagined community” of “Christian America” has very old roots. What might make for an interesting BOOK (certainly too much for a paper) is to trace the origins of the Christian America idea, show when and how it was deconstructed, examine the attempt to “reconstruct” the myth and compare the difference between what was “deconstructed” and what (David) Barton, et al are trying to “reconstruct.”

At various times in the nation's past, the people have re-imagined what the constitution of the founders meant, until, finally, "we the people" are no longer Virginians or Hoosiers, but Americans. The same document - with relatively few changes - came to mean different things at different times. The founders would think we are all nuts.

There is enough truth in the Christian nation construct to make it plausible. I, for one, believe it to be true, if not quite in the way that one might imagine. I am a cynic, OTOH; truth is irrelevant in politics. Deconstruction works just as well on "truth" as it does on "myth." Given a compliant media and control of the public schools, I could construct, or deconstruct, any "truth" I want, for a while anyway.

America is a Christian nation if its citizens are mostly Christian. If not, then not. The entire debate is more or less meaningless. The Kingdom of God is not of this world.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Homosexual Marriage

The Mormons seem to be a target for homosexual marriage proponents of late. Support for Prop 8 in Californication led to vitriolic attacks from opponents. Now the Saints in Illinois are in the crosshairs. From Meridian Magazine:
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest homosexual activist group in the nation, is targeting Mormons in Illinois who support traditional marriage.

Illinois is considering homosexual "marriage" and civil unions, so HRC is now challenging Mormons in that state after one ward sent an email to its members to oppose the legislation. Accusing the Church of Latter-day Saints of "fighting an anti-gay crusade" across America , the pro-homosexual group has called to action its Illinois-based supporters and asked them to confront the church for its "deceitful, fear-mongering tactics."

No law in any state in the Union that I know of has ever forbidden homosexuals to marry; the law has never asked that a man prove his heterosexuality in order to marry a woman, or a woman hers in order to marry a man. Any homosexual who can persuade a woman or man to take him/her as spouse can avail himself of all the rights of any hetero under the law. Many have, and with no legal prejudice. Homosexuals, then, are not deprived of any civil right. In order to claim that they are deprived, one must change the meaning of “marriage” to include a relationship that it has never included, before recently, anywhere on earth.

Because a frog wishes to be called a prince does not make it so; that homosexual partners wish to be called “married” does not mean that they are. Declaring them to be so flies in the face of the common language and the facts of life. However bonded a homosexual couple may feel themselves to be, what they are not and can not be is “married.” And society benefits not a whit by treating them as if they were.

Originally posted as part of a comment at Positive Liberty.

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Catholic Liberty

If you have been confused by the apparent oxymoron "Catholic libertarian," you shouldn't be.

The principle of subsidiarity is one of the key components of Catholic social teaching. Simply, the principle of subsidiarity states that nothing that can be done as well, or better, by a smaller and simpler organization should be done by a larger, more complex organization. As should be obvious, subsidiarity is a cornerstone of limited government and personal freedom and is diametrically opposed to the modern Welfare State.

Pope John Paul II criticized the modern welfare state in his encyclical Centesimus Annus, writing that the welfare state was contradicting the principle of subsidiarity by intervening directly into and depriving society of its responsibility, leading "to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.”

The U.S. Constitution was designed to leave most issues of importance in the hands of the citizens, and to the states. Under the Constitution, the federal government's role is (was?) to do only those things which the individual or states could not effectively do for themselves. The subsidiarity principle, insofar as it is firmly rooted in natural law, was at work in the foundation of our nation.

Subsidiarity applies to all human institutions, including the State itself. An example of a flagrant violation of the principle of subsidiarity is seen where the federal government usurps the rights and responsibilities of state and local governments, perhaps most famously in the form of unfunded mandates, leading to serious disruptions in the ability of the state to fulfill its obligations. Certainly confiscatory taxes and intrusive government programs interfere with the responsibilities of the individual and such institutions as basic to society as the family. No government has repealed the law of unintended consequences, as the state of the family at the beginning of the 21st century in America should make obvious.

Alexis de Tocqueville presciently predicted that democratic government would devolve into a huge, if possibly benign, nanny state "which would guide the individual in all of his affairs and insure that all of his needs were met:"
“For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances; what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?”
The principle of subsidiarity is thoroughly Catholic and thoroughly compatible with America's founding principles. Just so, it also applicable in economics. When government, as it did in the Great Depression and - God help us! - is doing today, skews the economy, producers and consumers are not allowed to bargain freely, prices no longer reflect meaningful information and become instead arbitrary dictates of a clueless, distant bureaucracy. Central planning, or the placing price controls on everything from farm products to health care "limits the freedom of individuals by distorting the free market and takes away the power of decision from producers and consumers, entrusting it instead to government bureaucrats."

Interestingly, the 10 Commandments are not communitarian; they are directed to the individual. The first four deal with the individual's relationship to God. The precepts of the last six of the Commandments are meant to protect him in his natural rights against the injustice of his fellows - from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
  • His life is the object of the Fifth;
  • the honour of his body as well as the source of life, of the Sixth;
  • his lawful possessions, of the Seventh;
  • his good name, of the Eighth;
  • And in order to make him still more secure in the enjoyment of his rights, it is declared an offense against God to desire to wrong him, in his family rights by the Ninth;
  • and in his property rights by the Tenth.
Life, liberty, property. Libertarian and Catholic to the core.

None of this is original to me of course. For more, visit the Acton Institute. I borrowed heavily from Fr. Bosnich's article The Principle of Subsidiarity in Religion and Liberty

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Go Tell It On The Mountain!

If we weren't both already married, I'd propose to this woman, sight unseen, based solely on the contents of this beautiful rant!
Save me the arguments that my (tax) money funds the betterment of society. It obviously doesn’t when 1 in 30 of our citizens are in the criminal justice system, as much as forty percent of our high schoolers drop out before graduation, a scandalous number of non-performing public schools, warehousing ignorant children, are still in existence and we have up to 70% out of wedlock birth rates standing alongside the total disintegration of normal family units in significant segments of society. My money hasn’t done diddley shit for the generations of shiftless idiots unable to carry their own water, except exacerbate the growth of disgustingly useless government programs that induced these ills to epidemic heights. - Daphne at Jaded Haven

Ahhh! Read the whole rant, and then hang around to sample Daphne's site. Some good stuff there.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Lincoln the Abolitionist



AT this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, urgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

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