Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2006 > End of the Year 2006 Edition

End of the Year 2006 Edition


XMas has come and gone. I got a Norelco razor, an iPod Shuffle, a new bathrobe, some sweaters and some shirts. I got some do-it-yourself books for Vickie; a lovely poster of the periodical table of the elements for Tina; one of those birdfeeders which let small birds feed while keeping the starlings and squirrels out, for Madre; books for Erin; and the animé Vision of Escaflowne for Megan.

Indeed, I got so many sweaters that I decided this past Saturday to cull the sweaters and other old clothes that I do not wear anymore. The culling produced eight grocery sacks full; and that is not counting the old bathrobe. All these I took at first to Fairmount's Helping Hands, but they were closed for the holidays; so I drove to Marion and gave them to the Salvation Army.


It is inter-semester break at Ball State. The campus eateries are closed, so I have to walk to the Village or bring my own lunch. They still haven't opened that café in the old first-floor break room yet, and its pipes are now leaking into the staff lounge. The weather has been lovely this month, though.

The big project for the library, the Web Repository, is finished. It has worked well enough to present to the Dean and the his boss, the IT vice president. But it needs more work.

Inter-semester break is when I do reimaging of the iMacs and iBooks. The images are done except for the newest MacBooks, which I will work on this week. Also, I gave a class on the Mac two Wednesdays ago, and will give one this coming Wednesday.


The small black computer, which I have named Madoka, was meant to be a Linux box. But it worked so well (apart from the on-board video, which I fixed with an nVIDIA graphics card), that I decided to transfer my main Windows box from the old Gateway to Madoka. That transfer is now almost complete.

I used Windows XP SP2 for Madoka's operating system. Vista is about to be available this coming month; but I have tested Vista on Madoka as part of a University Computing Service testing program; and it acts like Mac OS X in black leather and chains. I have jump hoops every time I wanted to copy/move a file or install a program. That was just too much. I wiped it from Madoka when I installed WinXP.

the year in review


I have held my current office at the Bracken Library: So far, so good.



This town council started off so well when they took office in 2004. It is an amazement to me that they would try to both it up on purpose.

The town council wants to milk some 9/11 money from the Federal government, and is threatening the existence of the local ambulance service in the process. Never mind that if the ambulance service should fold, the next closest ambulance is a minimum of fifteen minutes away.

Also, Freemasons are very influential business folk in small towns like this, and the ones in Fairmount rented a room in their temple to the ambulance service: At least, until the town council kicked the service out by claiming that the temple was an unsafe dump. That was an insult to the Freemasons: The town council will regret this.

The town council also wants to build a new water department office complete with drive-up window. There is no reason for a drive-up window: An old person who is too infirm to visit the current water department office inside the town hall would be too infirm to drive. I don't mind if the town wants to expand the town hall (which needs renovation, anyway), but this is too much.

These nonsenses have already cost one councilor his job this past November; and may well get the others voted out of office in next year's elections.

museum days

I did not see much of Museum Days this year (I was mostly under the tent staffing the Library Friends book sale), but at least I got my elephant ear. I am told that, despite the rain that was not as bad as last year, it did very well.


Also on the positive side, the Friends of the Library are doing very well, having survived long enough to get new officers for the coming year. The library board, of which I am now a trustee, is also doing well, and is well on its way in a process which, when completed, will get this town a public library with more room for books, children's activities and meeting space — something the current library has extremely little of.


As heavy industry dies in Grant County, low-paying light-industrial and service jobs by the truckload replace them. While an ethanol refinery comes to Marion, most of the jobs come to Gas City, which does not have the smell of decay that Marion has. These jobs help offset the closing of the Amcast plant due to the same poor fortunes of GM and Ford that are tormenting Dana Corporation.

The county Republicans managed to survive the local elections by saying, We have nothing to do with what's going down in Washington. And that fool of an assessor who mangled the property tax reassessment is no longer in office: We learn from our mistakes.

One of the things they learned to do is retire one of their biggest toffs. He was mayor of Marion during the Ampad strike, and sat on his hands as Ampad abandoned Marion and its workers. His arrogance ensured lingering mistrust between a dying Marion and the surrounding county. Now, as coroner, he botched the identification of one of those unfortunate Taylor University students who died last April. At least there is one incompetent official we don't have to worry about anymore.



It was bad enough that our governor (a former lackey of El Dubya) rammed daylight saving time and the leasing of the Indiana Toll Road down the throats of an unwilling state citizenry. Incompetence in the higher levels of state government, especially at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (whose arrogant head resigned just before the elections), made things worse for him. Then comes the big beyond-Indy toll bypass: The citizens of Indianapolis are taking it as further proof of his hatred towards the Democratic city (where he does not live in the Governor's Mansion but in Carmel-By-The-Road), while the chosen rural victims of the ensuing sprawl and expropriation are preparing to defend themselves in court.

Then he went on to sing the Hank Williams song Major Moves (whose title he used for his highway program) on National Public Radio. That is the one symbolic line he should never have crossed.


The Democrats — led by some good-old-boy from the South Bend area, which is directly affected by the Toll Road leasing — now control the House chamber of the state's General Assembly just as it is time to form a new biennial budget. This means paralysis for the next two years: The governor's toll bypass around Indianapolis is as unlikely to happen as the new speaker's vowed attempt to rescind daylight saving time. This is good for the rest of us, though, for as long as two parties are applying their whips and chains on each other, they will not be using them on us.


Is it me, or does everyone in metro Indy find it ridiculous to keep paying for years for a sports stadium (with the name of a company that may as well not exist) that will be a hugh vacant lot by the end of next year? What is it with Indianapolis that it has to tear down perfectly good sports stadiums (first Market Square Arena, then the Hoosier Dome — no, I will not call it by that other name!) before they are finished paying for them?


Ah, El Dubya was as happy as he can be in his personal fairy land, isolated from the troubles that plague the rest of us: more expensive health care, more expensive gasoline, stagnant incomes and outsourcing of many kinds of middle-class jobs, and growing deficits to support his failed oil-security program in Iraq. Those make up the bread of our troubles, on which Republicans smeared the jelly of the scandals of DeLay (bad pull in Texas), Abramoff (bad pull in Congress), Foley (boy sex) and Rove (Plame spy outing, contempt for evangelicals, and weird math).

These, added to the mounting deficits and arrogant incompetencies of the neo-conservative Cheney gang, were too much for the social conservatives to swallow, especially as it is now obvious to them that the faith-based initiatives are a neo-con scam. The social conservatives and evangelicals ended up voting for local candidates only or else staying home. The anti-1994 had come.

Looking back, it is evident that the Republicans had become as fat and happy as the Democrats were before the 1994 elections. The citizenry had simply had enough. Not even the machinations of Rove the Republican puppet-master could save the party from losing Congress. This will insure a happy age for America, as the division of the General Assembly insures a happy Indiana. Why? In the next two years we will see almost total inaction, apart from a cosmetic increase in the minimum wage, as the two parties will gear up for the 2008 presidential elections, after which we can dispense with El Dubya and the Cheney gang once and for all.


latin america

South America will still be largely dominated by leftist jackasses, who can get away with what they are doing because El Dubya, the Big Boogey-Oilman, is all the excuse they will ever need. Chavez himself (if not the added evil of the Middle East) ought to be enough to drive home the need for more fuel-efficient cars, homes and power plants; for other sources of plastic; and for the boycotting of Citgo.

So what if Castro dies? His brother takes over, and life goes on, and so will the boycott.

It is going to be weird down in Mexico with two guys claiming to be presidente trying to run the country. The next wave of migrants won't be running just to get away from the poverty.


China has plenty of company in wanting to balkanize the Internet in the name of security and the magic phrase think of the children. Canada, Thailand and Australia (next to China the most authoritarian Internet regime) are erecting their own firewalls. And France does the same thing, albeit for reasons of culture.

ICANN is pleading for patience while it sets up non-Latin domain names this coming year. If that does not placate the nations of the world, we can see further Internet balkanization. This, in time, will make most parts of the Internet inaccessible to one another, and the original reason for the public popularity of the Internet will disappear.


Russia — home of the greatest spammer gang on the Internet so far — has come full circle and is now a confirmed autocracy, complete with assassinations of dissidents overseas and aggressive posturing against border states (Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova). It is just as its leader has always wanted; surely we must be happy for him.

It has been stupid for Westerners to hope for democracy in a country that never had it, whether the country be Russia or any Muslim state. Now those hopes are exploding in the face of the USA and Europe; let's us hope they can live with the mud in their face.

At least the autocracy is not Soviet-style: Putin is too soft: A Stalin or a Khrushchev would not have allowed a rebellious Chechnya for even a moment.


France got what it deserves by backing the wrong side in Rwanda ten years ago for the most asinine of reasons, which were pretty much the same reasons the USA used for its invasion of Iraq. Now the Rwandans have kicked out the French. Hail Rwanda! The French are still unwelcome in the Ivory Coast, once prosperous but now derelict and split in two along an internal border that French soldiers patrol. And then there's that French toxic waste! Yes, those Google-hating French folk are really screwing things up for themselves in Africa.


Next year could well be the year that Mugabe dies … either him or his country. It does not matter any more, though: Zimbabwe will never recover from what has happened to it. No white farmer will ever farm there again, which I suppose makes Mugabe very happy. Regrettably the, um, other folks are not up to the job of replacing them, so the country's economy is permanently shot as overreliance on its magic printing press makes the nation's money little better than bathroom tissue. Zimbabwe's infrastructure is ruined, and its youth (those who can't afford to leave) are doomed to a lingering death from AIDS. And Mugabe's cronies will be too busy fighting each other for control to care.

South Africa has so far survived having let us see how much worse than El Dubya we can be, 'cause we just love to be stupid like him leaders in power. What looks like it is not surviving is the deterrence of foreign capital and the exodus of skilled (mostly white) workers to other countries in the face of a massive crime wave that the South African state is evidently powerless to stop. When it looks north to Zimbabwe, it may well be looking at its future.

far east

And there is of course the perennial inability of Japan, South Korea and China to get along with each other; and North Korea's rattling of its atomic baby-raddle in its infantile bid for attention.

The Chinese State continues to throw a fit because its wireless standards are not accepted by the rest of the world. The rest of the world continues to be annoyed that the Chinese State thinks it can hide all sorts of closed stuff in its standards and expects the world to accept them.

When I look at the animé that is coming out of Japan nowadays, I can understand why Miyazaki Hayao and Anno Hideaki sigh in despair. It is said that ninety percent of any one thing is crap (Sturgeon's Law), but it seems that for animé the percentage is more 95-98. While animé nowadays is more polished than the older stuff, the older stuff is more interesting and less pap-like. The only series I was willing to stay up for is Full Metal Alchemist. Ghost in the Shell is good to watch, too; but I would worry when the animé starts to rehash old manga.

middle east

All of these pale in comparison to the Middle East, whose countries just seem to say to the rest of the world, I have all the best oil and the best religious real estate, so the rest of you can kiss our collective ass or we will make you suffer.

I am sure that, one day, the rest of the world will make the Middle East suffer in horror for what it put the world through all these years.

Iran, for its part, tells a different tale: You've pulled out and trampled the thorns in two of my sides, and now the days ahead are sunny. Thanks, America. Don't mind the Jew-hating punk who looks like Ringo Starr, now. Oh, and just to show our ingratitude, look at the shiny new nuke we just made.

And it is going to get a whole lot worse in the Middle East:

Oh, and I should mention that the Arab-Israeli conflict will never stop. Never. At least El Dubya is practically keeping his hands off of it now. He should have done so from the start. Roadmap to peace, my ass!

Copyright © 2006 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Written on 31 December 2006.