Sunday, March 26, 2017

Extraordinary rendition of Fethullan Gülen! Isn't that un-American as well as illegal?

Former CIA Director James Woolsey is claiming that Michael Flynn discussed the idea with Turkish officials of illegally kidnapping Fethullan Gülen and sending him to Turkey. Gülen holds a Green Card and the possibility of his extraordinary rendition to certain death in Turkey by our government appalls me.

A Flynn spokesperson said that Woolsey's claims were "false" and that "no such discussion occurred."

This was before Flynn was National Security Adviser and he was an undisclosed foreign agent of Turkey, who paid his company $530,000 in fees. Fortunately, Flynn no longer has a direct connection with the Trump Administration.

Are people legally in this country going to suddenly disappear with no trace? I certainly hope not!

Here are a three articles with more information.

● The Wall Street Journal (original article; subscription may be required): Ex-CIA Director: Mike Flynn and Turkish Officials Discussed Removal of Erdogan Foe From U.S.

● The Christian Science Monitor: Could the Trump administration send Fethullah Gülen back to Turkey?

● The Chicago Tribune: Ex-CIA Chief: Michael Flynn's firm discussed removing Turkish cleric from U.S.


Note: This post was also posted on my Facebook page.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Fathers can take care of kids, too

On Facebook, Sonya S. asks: "Wondering again this morning whose genius idea it was to make Mothers have to work full time while trying to manage children and all the issues, illnesses, and injuries that come with them."

There are dads at the playgrounds, too, these days. My wife and I discussed which one of us would stay home with the kid. In our case, my wife stayed home but it could have been the other way around. I determined to be fully involved with my son's upbringing and changed his first diaper. We took turns staying home with him when he was sick.

What I found, in running the numbers, is that, due to the marriage penalty, the second family income is taxed at a much higher rate. By the time you add up extra taxes, clothes, day care and transportation, it can actually reduce the family's income more when both parents work than it does for one to stay home. Although I understand that it has been reduced, the marriage penalty is worst if both parents earn above average salaries. In fact, we filed separately in some years to save tax (We paid less Federal tax but more Ohio tax. The net effect was in our favor by several hundred dollars.).

The comments above are based on two-parent families. I don't know if Sonya is married or not. Obviously, if there is just one parent, having one parent working and the other managing the kids isn't an option.

Edited March 26 to fix editing.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Why are so many celebrities dying?

Carrie Fisher died today. I thought she would recover from her medical problems and live many more years but, alas, she didn't. We still have four more days this year and I expect another celebrity will die before January 1, 2017.

Why are so many celebrities dying? Mathematically, it's simple: It's due to a reduction in life expectancy in the United States. Many people aren't making it to 60 years old any more, and celebrities are included in that. George Michael died recently at the age of 53 and Carrie had just turned 60 a couple of months ago. People are succumbing to cancer, heart disease, drugs (legal as well as illegal), suicide (some caused by repeated concussions) and gun violence.

I am especially appalled at the increase in drug overdoses. I feel that the pharmaceutical companies as well as the doctors are responsible for the increase in overdoses due to painkillers and are making big profits from this. The Charleston Gazette-Mail found that, over the last six years, pharmaceutical companies have shipped 433 pain pills for every man, woman and child in the state of West Virginia. That's a total of 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills.

Meanwhile, the people from an earlier era who are now in their 90s, such as Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99, are dying as well. Expect this combination of seemingly large numbers of young and old celebrities dying to continue until the average life expectancy in the United States begins to increase again.
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Note: I donated to Wikipedia for the third year in a row during their recent fundraising campaign. They said that if everyone who uses Wikipedia donated just $5 per year, they would reach their goal. I gave a bit more than the average because I'm an above average kind of person!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Milestone yesterday: 100,000 page views

Yesterday, I celebrated 100,000 page views for this blog (according to Google). It was launched a bit over four years ago, October 12, 2012. Google is supposed to be filtering bots and scrapers so these should be real people viewing my posts.

My goals for next year is to add appropriate advertising and to begin archiving posts that are no longer relevant. By appropriate advertising, I want to avoid ads that say, "New Rule In Cincinnati Leaves Residents Furious." There is no such new rule. Clicking on the ad produces this heading and subheading: "Why Did No One Tell Drivers with No Tickets in 3 Years About This?" and "Recent studies indicate that drivers are paying too much for car insurance." If you don't know already that you can shop around for car insurance, you must be living in a cave. Of course, the company running the ad does not actually sell car insurance. They refer people to real car insurance companies, collecting fees in the process. I would prefer not having ads like this on my blog. We shall see.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

He's not a hero to me


Pumping three bullets into a man armed with a knife, killing him, doesn't make Officer Horujko a hero to me. Getting him to surrender without causing further casualties and without shooting him would make Officer Horujko a hero. I hope there is a full investigation of this shooting.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Donald Trump won't deport anyone immediately

Donald Trump is not going to deport anyone "immediately." Before someone can be deported, they are entitled to a court hearing. However, there is currently a backlog of 500,000 cases. Maybe Trump should work on increasing the number of judges working on these cases.

He is also choosing to ignore that Barack Obama has deported more people than any other President, including many of the criminals that Donald thinks are still here.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Apple iPhone iOS 9 bugs, discrepancies and desired features

I switched to an Apple iPhone when the 4S was the first iPhone available from Verizon Wireless. I have now replaced the iPhone 4S with an iPhone 6. I have noted some bugs in the phone, some discrepancies in the user interface and I have some desired features.

The iPhone 4S came with iOS 5. My current iPhone 6 is running iOS 9.3.5. After I publish this post, I will upgrade to iOS 10 and retest all the bugs and discrepancies and look for the desired features and update this post if there are changes. Some of these may be fixed already as some of them are hard to test with iOS 9. Update: I have now installed iOS 10.1.1 and will be checking each bug, discrepancy and desired features for improvements.

Many of these bugs and discrepancies go back to iOS 5. I don't understand why they don't get fixed. I can't be the only one out of millions of users who has noticed these problems.

I'm only discussing applications and the keyboard provided by Apple as part of iOS.

Phone and Contacts (including Voice Mail)
When a contact is marked as "Blocked" and you add a phone number to that contact, the added phone number will not be blocked. You must unblock and block the contact again to begin blocking the added phone number. iOS 10: Still a bug.

The "1" digit on the phone keypad is tricky. I've had cases where I needed to dial the "1" but was unable to do so. Many times, the screen just flashes. When I have a conference call and the authorization code includes a "1", I set it up in Contacts so I can dial the number from Contacts and avoid having to try to dial the "1". This seems to have improved and it may be finally fixed. October 10: I just received a call supposedly from Google and needed to press "1" to confirm my listing. However, the phone would not let me press "1" until after the caller hung up. Each time I pressed the "1" key, the phone flashed a black screen for a second, implying that pressing the "1" key was not permitted. It's just the "1" key I have problems with; all the other keys work fine.

Update: The other day, I was unable to answer a call because the phone wouldn't allow me to swipe to answer. As there is no other means to answer a call, I had to let it go into voicemail.

If a call comes in as "No Caller ID," you can't set up a contact for it and mark it as blocked. Your phone will ring every time (unless you have turned the ringer off for all calls).

iOS 10 has added two bugs: When blocking or unblocking a contact, the Contacts app will either lock up or sometimes respond slowly (10 to 15 seconds). Since I have crash reporting turned on, I expect Apple will fix this with the next release.

The second bug: On the notification screen, it will show you missed calls. Then it will say, "Swipe for more information." Swiping does not give you more information, it calls the person back. That's not what I want to do.

If your voice mail is 100% full, the app won't show you this until you go into voice mail.

When playing a voice mail message, the pause does not work. The screen flashes black and the message continues playing. iOS 10.1.1: Fixed.

Desired feature: When a call comes in and on the list of recent calls, the name and type of call shows up. I would rather have the name and company name show up. Sometimes, I don't remember what company a person is associated with. iOS 10: No change.

Desired feature: If I'm in an app when the phone rings, I can accept or decline the call. I want to be able to do this when I'm on the home screen. I can mute the ringer, but I can't decline the call. If I put my phone back in my pants pocket, I run the risk of accidentally answering the call. iOS 10: No change.

Weather
The Weather app is atrocious and I'm surprised that The Weather Channel allows its logo to be included. It's especially interesting to watch the app update the forecast to the actual as you go through the day. For example, at 10 a.m., it might say the temperature is 60º at 10 a.m. but that it will be 75º at 11 a.m. No it won't. 

Most days, the high temperature for the day is higher than the highest hourly temperature. See picture to right; the high for the day is 88 degrees but that high is never reached during the day. You may argue that the high is still accurate, but just not at the top of the hour. I still consider it a bug. iOS 10: Not fixed.

The Weather app requires that you turn on location tracking even when the app isn't being used. Why are you spying on me and using up my battery?

Desired feature: Include the humidity with the temperature. Especially in the summer in Ohio, the humidity can have a major influence on the perceived temperature.

Keyboard
The prediction capability of the keyboard is helpful yet infuriating. I don't like it when it takes perfectly valid words and changes them into invalid words. I thought it learned my vocabulary but I seem to be mistaken as I have to correct it over and over again for some words, especially slang.

When I type "a.m." or "U.S.", the keyboard turns capitalization on after the period even though I the next letter is not capitalized 90% of the time.  Example: "I will leave at 4:45 p.m. and head home." The "a" on "and" should not be capitalized but it will try to capitalize it. It should monitor my typing and turn the capitalization on only when I'm at the end of a sentence.

Desired feature: If I type a number, then a space, the keyboard returns to showing letters instead of numbers. I want it to stay with numbers.

Messages
When I see a full message through the Notification Center or just from the list of messages, the unread message indicator is not cleared. I have to go into the actual message to clear the indicator even though I have already read it. This is especially annoying when the message is "K". iOS 10: Not fixed but worse now because I often am able to read the full message before I unlock the phone.

Sending a message with a picture is weird. If I click on the camera icon first, I can now add a message to the picture (this was added at some point in iOS 9). If I enter the message before clicking on the camera icon, the message will not be sent with the picture.

General User Interface
The icon used to add an item to a list of items is not consistent. The Stocks, ContactsWorld Clock and Calendar apps uses a + sign, which is what I would expect. However, Notes and Messages use a box with a pencil instead. The Weather app uses a + in a circle to add a location.

Notes
The search box is normally shown on apps that have a search capability, such as Safari. However, Notes hides the search box until you scroll. It doesn't take up much space, so it should always appear. iOS 10: It's still a bit hidden but easy to find. I consider this fixed.

Stocks
I was watching Apple stock one day when the price changed dramatically. I noticed that the dividend yield was not recalculated as the price changed.

App Store
Desired feature: There needs to be an API that an app can use to determine if I've written a review for the app. Some apps ask me to write a review when I have already done so. I find this annoying. iOS 10: No change.

Desired feature: When I look at purchased apps, they seem to be listed by the most recently installed to the earliest installed. I would also like a list in alphabetic order so that I can find a desired app quicker. iOS 10: No change.

Desired feature: When I open the App Store, it always opens to the Featured screen. I would prefer that it open to the last screen that I was on (almost always the Updates screen) or allow me to choose which screen it should open to. The Featured screen has heavy graphics and typically takes a bit to display. iOS 10: No change.

Safari
Desired feature: Unlike the Chrome browser for the iPhone, you can't search on a page for a word.

That sums it up. Feel free to use the comments for corrections or additions.

Updated October 3: Added screen shot of Weather app and iOS 10 comments.

Updated October 5: Added problems with Contacts and Voice Mail. Added a desired feature to the App Store about the screen the app opens to.

Updated October 10: Added to discussion about pressing "1".

Updated October 20: Added a second new bug to the Phone and Contacts (including Voice Mail) section for iOS 10.

Updated November 4: The voice mail pause has been fixed.

Updated December 6: Added note that I was not able to answer a call.