DisABELing California

In the wee hours of the morning, Republican state senator Abel Maldonado finally caved to pressure from Democrats and cast the deciding vote in favor of the pathetic budget deal hammered out by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democrat leaders. Maldonado traded his vote for one change to the budget and a pyrrhic dream of political reform. Maldonado swapped a twelve cents a gallon gasoline tax for an increase in personal income taxes and some hoped for federal money courtesy of the Obama bailout. He also got Democrats to reluctantly allow a ballot measure for open primaries to appear at a future election.

In reality, all Maldonado did was kick the budget can down the road a year or two. No structural reforms were implemented. All he did was allow taxes to be raised in the midst of a recession that is much deeper in California than in the rest of the country. This will make any hope of recovery in California much more difficult due to an even more hostile business climate than any of our neighboring states. The reality is that not one dime of taxes had to be raised to fix this budget. It is a spending problem. Period!

California is sitting on billions of dollars of oil and natural gas that the government won’t allow anyone to go after. We waste millions on firefighting every summer when proper timber management would prevent these fires from being severe and generate jobs and revenue to state coffers. Water is horribly mismanaged in this state and the list goes on. There is no need for any tax increases.

If we conformed to President Clinton’s welfare reform bill and quit treating illegals as citizens we could realize billions more in savings but as the Good Book says, “The compassion of the wicked is cruelty”. Education is a black hole of money that eats up over 75 percent of all its funding in top heavy bureaucracies that favor San Francisco and Los Angeles at the expense of the rest of the state. We are in the bottom of the nation in our quality of education but we have the strongest teacher’s union in the country.

There is one other factor which the media was too lazy to investigate as to why this deal had to be made this week and that is that we are one day away from the state convention of the California Republican Party. The main focus of many grassroots Republicans was a series of competing measures that would deny any funding from the State Party for any Republican that supported increasing taxes. Some ideas that went along with these resolutions included the State Party being required to fund primary challengers to any Republican politician that voted for tax increases and an automatic censure of any office holder supporting tax increases. Whether Maldonado and company will get this treatment remains to be seen.

I can assure you that rank and file Republicans are mad as hell and some heads in the Party are in serious danger of getting chopped. California is on the verge of becoming a one party state and gutless men like Schwarzenegger and Maldonado are to blame. If current trends hold, Decline to State—California’s version of “None of the Above”—will soon be the second largest political block in the State with Republicans a distant third.

Uninstall Windows Live Toolbar

In the course of reloading my Windows Vista drive, I needed to install some components of Windows Live programs. The Photo Gallery and the Toolbar for Internet Explorer are the main ones I was after. The Photo Gallery program is better than the one that came with Vista. The toolbar has been the keeper of all my passwords for many years. When I went to the website and hit Download I ended-up with the entire suite of Windows Live programs in one shot. The toolbar had been completely redone. Gone were all the icons that I was used to seeing. Most were now just large rectangles of text that I could click on. OK, different doesn’t necessarily mean good or bad.

I looked for my friend that kept all passwords and it was not there. After much searching I finally found the Form Fill Add-On button by our friends at Windows Live. I downloaded the button and it went through the installation process but was never added to the toolbar. After much searching I discovered that the Form Fill button does not work on the new toolbar! There is not one made. If I want it, I have to download something from some third party programmer with no affiliation with either Windows Live or Microsoft. Sorry, I will not trust all my passwords to some unknown programmer in Eastern Europe.

Disappointed, I decided to remove the toolbar and install the old one. However, using Add and Remove Programs in the Control Panel will not let you uninstall any Windows Live component. Not even if I booted into Safe Mode! Both Windows Live and Microsoft searches were no help. Finally, I turned to Google and found the answer.


Find Windows Live application on this page. Follow these instructions.
To uninstall Windows Live Toolbar, click Start, then type/paste the following in the Start Search box and press Enter:
msiexec /x

This will uninstall only the new version of Windows Live Toolbar so you can keep the other Windows Live applications. Then you can install the good ole Toolbar that supports saving passwords.

Old Windows Live Toolbar

Form Fill Tool Button


Windows 7

Being the first kid on my block to have new technology, I just had to download and install the beta of Windows 7. I chose to install the update instead of a clean install. My 64-bit Vista Home Premium was running just fine and was fully patched prior to running the upgrade. I wanted to keep all my installed programs and data. However, being an admirer of the boy scouts and their motto to be prepared, I did a backup of my data prior to this installation.

The upgrade did a scan of my computer and gave me a warning that my printer might be incompatible with Windows 7 but I chose to go ahead with the install. The upgrade took well over two hours but required no user intervention until it was almost done. Then I was prompted for the Product Key. It’s good that I printed the number before running the program.  My digital copy was saved to my desktop and therefore not accessible when I was finally prompted for it.

During the install, my primary monitor was on the right with my second monitor on the left. Partway through the install everything switched from the right monitor to the left. I’m running dual screens and the mouse seemed to be in the opposite monitor from the install screen. After Windows completed the initial startup, I found that my primary monitor was on the left and the extra was on the right. To get the mouse from the right monitor to the left, I had to move it completely right and then it would appear on the left monitor. I had to go in display settings to put everything back like I had it in the Vista installation.

At first glance, all my Microsoft programs functioned just fine. All the office programs still had recently used documents populated. Internet Explorer still had my saved passwords, probably via Windows Live toolbar. My computer seems to be running faster while running Windows 7. The XPS viewer is much faster than in Vista. So far I’m impressed with the potential of Windows 7.

Control Panel
The show Network Map option in the Control Panel renders an accurate representation of all hubs and computers on my home network. This function even displays my DirecTV DVR. The Devices and Printers show my all in one printer and can even scan via a right click on the printer icon. The Windows Mobile Device Center can’t recognize my HP 910 Pocket PC but I’m sure that a driver will be written for it sometime.

However…I’ve had some issues with the program.
• My first issue is with the desktop wallpaper. Many pictures that I tried resulted in a completely black screen being rendered instead of a full color photograph. When I would switch to another photo on the wallpaper, the old one would briefly flash on the screen correctly before switching to the new one. (I found that the show desktop button would show the correct desktop photo but when any program was running it would revert to black.)
• Another issue is that upon startup, the toolbar on the bottom loses it’s the icons. I could get the icons back if I stretch the toolbar upward until they reappeared and then put the toolbar back to its original position.
• Whenever the computer entered the dreaded sleep mode it failed to wake-up. I had to shut off this pesky setting. Occasionally I even got the BSOD (blue screen of death).
• As it turned out, Word 2007 would not work correctly when saving documents. The save animation would freeze the program at zero percent complete. In order to get back into Word it was necessary to reboot the computer. As someone trying to get my MBA, this was the deal breaker for me. I was forced to go back to Vista to get the Word issue fixed.

I think that Microsoft has gotten a bum rap with much of the Vista criticism. Apple has more security issues and problems than Vista during the same time period. Why Apple’s sh*t doesn’t stick is a mystery to me. Apple is overpriced and much more limited than Windows. I like Vista and Windows 7 looks to be even better.