Thursday, November 1, 2012

Good day, again, to you all.  Had a very quiet Halloween.  Not many kids came by.  We found out that the front porch light had burned out so that probably discouraged some.  Even so far fewer kids came by and about half of those were much older than I would have expected.  Here, because this is a rental neighborhood, Halloween is variable because the population is always changing.  Oh, well, this year we have a good bit of left over candy for us.  That is why we always buy the kinds we like.  Anyway, welcome to November.

This is an aspect of the news coverage of Superstorm Sandy I would never have thought of.  I wasn't at all surprised at the wall-to-wall coverage of the storm in our news media.  Because the stock exchanges were closed for two days even CNBC covered the storm focusing on both what was happening and the potential economic impact.  BBC also provided extensive coverage.  But they did intersperse other news in their broadcasts.  I thought the suggestion that the Chinese state TV media provided such extensive coverage to provide information to top members of the Communist party who have children and assets on our east coast.

Our top officials in Defense and Homeland Security are beating the drums hard on the threat of a cyberattack.  I don't necessarily doubt the risks but I don't think much will be done without a sea change in our private sector's mind set.  Some weeks ago I saw a story detailing how the banking industry was pushing against regulations which would require them to upgrade their security.  They didn't want to foot the bill and were demanding big subsidies from the Federal government for the upgrade.  I am sure the utilities across the country will do the same.  The attitude reminds me much of the debate we had both in Indiana and Illinois a couple of years ago when rate increase proposals came up for our utilities.  The companies wanted a much larger increase than the one eventually allowed.  They justified their demands on the grounds of the cost of needed infrastructure improvements that would eventually lead to a 'smart' grid and they wanted state subsidies as well.  At the time they had nice fat profits but they wanted the states to soak the customers and taxpayers at the time they were paying out nice dividends to stockholders.  Although these industries are regulated they are 'for-profit' companies and, theoretically at least, they should be paying for upgrades that benefit their businesses from their profits and paying their stockholders after.  Another example of 'capitalism for thee, but not for me' mindset so prevalent now-a-days.  Unfortunately, it isn't just short sighted businesses that are dragging their heels on cybersecurity.  South Carolina recently announced a breach of their computer systems that has dumped almost 4 million taxpayers' personal information into criminal hands.  The mainstream media had a very terse snippet on the story I have seen on line for the last couple of days.

This story sets my skepticism antennae quivering at a much faster rate than they have already been.  This smells so much like the putrid stories from the Bush II administration about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq which were never found.  We know where that went.  Now a similar drum beat is building in an arena in which it is even more difficult to unearth real, unequivocal evidence.

There is an old saying that there are no atheists in foxholes.  Feminists quipped that all it would take to change a conservative woman into a supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment was a bad divorce.  Well, all it has taken for Mitt to suddenly become a supporter of FEMA and Federal disaster relief has been a little thing called Sandy.  But I so totally suspect his new-found piety.
Something else I am totally suspicious of is the supposed 'glitch' that suddenly reduced the early vote tally in a largely black precinct in Florida by better than 30%.  One thousand votes suddenly disappeared.  To say my trust in officials is at a low ebb is a vast understatement.

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