Archive for June, 2010

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Atomic Chalupa

June 12, 2010

I captured/rendered another video for my buddy. Afterwards, we gamed for about 2 hours on the MLG servers. Good times.

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Gears of War 3

June 10, 2010

I loved the first and 2nd version.  Can’t wait to see what Gears of War 3 has to offer.

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California Primary – Voter’s Guide

June 8, 2010

Today is election day. It’s time to go hit the ballot box. It’s your responsibility as a citizen to cast your vote and let your opinion be known.

The following is a voter’s guide for California Propositions.  This primary features 5 of them.  Read up below to find out what it’s all about.  Some background: I am a fiscal conservative, social libertarian and a political independent.  Some of my good friends refer to me as an evil right-wing propagandist. Regardless of my background, I try my best to offer an unbiased summary of each proposition. 

When you are done reading my post, please comment.  I would appreciate opposing points of view.  What’s important is that you are informed before you vote.  Democracy works best that way.

Proposition 13 – LIMITS ON PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT. SEISMIC RETROFITTING OF EXISTING BUILDINGS. LEGISLATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
If you own a building and you spend money to seismically retrofit, you will no longer have to worry about your property taxes going up. Obviously, a seismically retrofitted building is safer for you and the public. This will cause the property value to go up. This law will prevent property taxes from being reassessed until you sell the building. Everyone is for this and no one is against it (No argument against was submitted on the California Voter’s Guide). The State Senate and Assembly both passed this proposition by a unanimous vote. Vote Yes.

Proposition 14 – ELECTIONS. INCREASES RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS.
Our current election systems features a Primary Election in June and a General Election in November. The Primary Election is segregated between the political parties. For example, if you are a registered Democrat, you would vote for the Democrat candidate you want to run in the General Election.

This proposition would amend the Constitution to allow all California voters, regardless of party affiliation, to vote for any candidate running in the Primary Election. Democrats can vote for a Republican, Republicans can vote for a Green party candidate, and Independents can vote for Democrats. The top two candidates from the Primary Election results would then face off in the General Election in November. Candidates running in either election will no longer have to claim a political party.

This is known as an Open Primary. The theory is that it will result in more Moderate candidates facing off in the General Election. A Moderate politician is more likely to work with other politicians once they gain office. This is supposed to get rid of the gridlock in the California Senate and Assembly. The final result is more things will get done and more problems will be solved.

In my opinion, the theory will prove true if this proposition passes. I believe more Moderates will be elected and the gridlock will go away. I think the California State Government will become much more efficient when it comes to getting things done. If this is something you want, vote Yes on Proposition 14.

I will be voting No.

I do not want a super efficient California State Government. I think a state government that gets along will pass more bills that lead to more programs and higher taxes. Gridlock in Sacramento may not a good thing during the current economic crisis – but – an out of control State Government during boom times will only lead to more spending and fiscal irresponsibility. This is what got us into the mess we’re in now. Thinking long-term, this bill is a bad idea.

Proposition 15 – CALIFORNIA FAIR ELECTIONS ACT.
Candidates running for Secretary of State will now run using public funding. The funding initially will come from a Lobbyist fee and not tax dollars (except voluntarily by individual tax payers per Section 18798.1) . This is a pilot program to see if publicly funded elections is a viable solution to special interest dollars affecting elections.

On the surface, I think this is a great idea. When someone comes up with a new idea, it’s always a good idea to try it out on a small-scale. If it works out, you can think about expanding it to a larger spectrum. If it fails, you can ditch the idea and move on to something else. Of course, the trick is to make sure a true account of the pilot program is presented to the public before deciding whether or not to implement the program on a larger scale.

The problem with this 9 page proposition is the details. For starters, this bill will repeal section 85300 of the Government Code.

“No public officer shall expend and no candidate shall accept any public moneys for the purpose of seeking elective office.”

There is no amendment to the Government Code to prevent other offices from using public money to pad private election funds. This loophole is too big for my taste.
Another loophole of concern is the funding sources. The proposition sets up a Fair Elections Fund that receives the majority of funding from Lobbyist fees. However, there is a provision that allows the Legislature to appropriate additional revenue from the general fund (section 91135 e and g). That means tax dollars.

I am in favor of publicly funded elections. I hate the fact that a CEO of some huge corporation thinks she he or she can buy her his or her way into the Governor’s office. Even if I agree with him or her. These days, it seems like you need to be loaded with $71 million of your own money to get anywhere in politics. Publically funded elections would be a great way to level the playing field.

With that in mind, I think this law has a few holes that need to be fixed. For one thing, I think there should be an expiration date to this “experiment”. I will be voting No this time around. Hopefully they fix the law to be a bit more palatable for next time.

Proposition 16 – IMPOSES NEW TWO-THIRDS VOTER APPROVAL REQUIREMENT FOR LOCAL PUBLIC ELECTRICITY PROVIDERS. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
Proposition 16 was written by PG&E. PG&E has spent more than $30 Million to support Prop 16. What is it? It’s exactly what it says. The new law requires a 2/3 vote from citizens if a city or county wants to invest in a public utilities. The law is very short and to the point.

I am usually for giving voters more control over how their money is spent. If this proposition was on the ballot in my county or city, I would be voting yes. However, since this is a State Constitutional Amendment enforcing rule of law on local governments, I will be voting No. Regardless of PG&E’s corporate interests, I don’t like big government taking away the rights of local government. If you want a 2/3 law for your city or county, petition your local government/city council for a local ballot initiative.

Proposition 17 – ALLOWS AUTO INSURANCE COMPANIES TO BASE THEIR PRICES IN PART ON A DRIVER’S HISTORY OF INSURANCE COVERAGE. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

This is an even argument.  This laws will allow Auto Insurance companies more freedom to vary their rates based on driver variables.  Those against this law say Insurance companies will unfairly target drivers who have a legitimate lapse in coverage.  

In my opinion, the auto insurance market is saturated.  If you are a safe driver, you can get a great rate.  If you have speeding tickets or other issues, it’s not fair to depend on the State Insurance Commissioner to keep your rates down.

Then again, there is a problem with lapse in coverage.  If you are in the military and you leave for a 12 month deployment, that is considered a lapse in coverage and you could pay penalties.  Other examples exist where a legitimate lapse in coverage could cost safe drivers.

I will be voting Yes on this proposition.  I think the market will work out the kinks.  If enough drivers think they’re getting screwed by a company, they can look to other companies to get better rates.

If you think the lapse in coverage issue is too big of a hurdle, you should vote No.

There you go…

There is a basic voter’s guide to the California Propositions.  I hope this helps you to understand what they’re all about.  For the full text pdf of each proposition, go here.  Do your duty and go vote.  If you are reading this sentence, you can consider yourself part of the informed electorate.

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Thank you, Sammy

June 3, 2010
cabo wabo rock n rita
Cabo Wabo Rock ‘n Rita

Sundays at Chevy’s Fresh Mex.  Margaritas are 1/2 off.  w00t!!!  I usually drink two margaritas with my Mesquite Grilled Steak Tacos.  This one is my first.

It’s called the Cabo Wabo Rock n’ Rita and they make it table side.

They start off with a healthy portion of Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Tequila.  Sammy’s tequila is one of the most easy going tequila out there.  Very smooth.  Great flavor.

From there, they add the citrus juices; Fresh Orange, fresh Lime, fresh Lemon.

It is then shaken and poured into your choice of sugar rimmed glass: Watermelon sugar… Lime sugar… or my favorite, Pineapple sugar.

This is a very sweet tequila but not too sweet.  Most of the flavor is from the fresh fruit.  However… and this is very important to me… Sammy’s Cabo Wabo is still a dominating presence.

I have never been disappointed with this drink.  Chevy’s is very consistent with the mix.  It will always taste the same.  Overall, I would give this a 9 out of 10.  It is not my all time favorite Margarita but it is definitely great.
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Rebirth App

June 2, 2010

The very first synth emulator I ever “bought” was Propellerhead’s ReBirth. It was recently decomissioned. Now it has been released as an iPhone app for $6.99.

If you’ve never used ReBirth or any type of syth emulator, don’t get this app. You’ll just be wasting your time. If you have experience with emulators… don’t get this app.

I like it because I’m a geek. To be honest, this app needs a ton of work. ReBirth would be great on the iPad. The iPhone is way too small and makes writing a song very clumsy.

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Halo: Reach – Team SWAT

June 1, 2010

Commentary from a Team SWAT game on Swordbase. I had a great team.