Tuesday, April 12, 2011

He Got Her Done

A funny thing happened on the way to passing H.R.1: Speaker of the House John Boehner proved to anyone with a functioning brain that he can handle whatever is thrown him. The man with the orange tan and teary eyes finally got something that Rodney Dangerfield would have coveted: respect.

If you read my blog, you know that I was betting on Mr. Boehner. Underneath the cheesiness, the almost-embarrassing urge to outfit him in a white knit liesure suit, lies a genuine article. That's what I saw...a small-town Catholic boy who was taught right from wrong, humility from hubris, and spine from spin.

Most of all (and great for us), I think he was taught to see the forest above the trees, find your real versus imagined adversaries, keep your eyes on realistic versus ideologic, figure out the best thing to fight for and then give it all you got.  And, think outside the box if you have to, but get her done.

And git her done was what Boehner did. We just saw a President who began the year hawking a spending freeze in his state of the union address, and ended last week trying to take credit for the historic spending cuts that Boehner negotiated. As Michelle Obama liked to say during the campaign, the playing field kept moving on Barack. Well, Boehner moved that playing field on him again and pretty much made him cry uncle.

How? Why, just a week ago the talking heads were aching for Boehner to fall apart under the weight of his challenges. It seemed impossible for him to handle the different factions of the House GOP membership, as well as the Dem opposition. Add to that: Obama's silence. It was as if the president was literally standing on the sidelines waiting to see who to support, who to oppose. Or perhaps he too was waiting for Boehner to fail.

In the end, Boehner ended up brilliantly playing those supposed challenges into IOU markers against the Dems. He took partisan GOP threats and offered to stifle them for Dem concessions in spending cuts, and the Dems had no chance but to agree. NO ONE saw that coming until it had come and gone. NO ONE, and I read the opinions every day.

Now, this week, I've read several Dems asking what are Boehner's weaknesses, what can Obama use in the next standoff to best Boehner. And my first response to this is to remind those Dems that Obama is in re-election mode now and not even caring about acting as if he gave a wit what you want. His only Master right now is the independent voter because he needs them to be re-elected. He already has you, Dem. I mean, where ya gonna go? And independents like and support Boehner, so the best Obama can do in that relationship is to negotiate, and negotiate from a standpoint of weakness, and that means concessions. After all, spending cuts are no longer optional, they are reality and neccesity.

The next fight, for trillions of cuts instead of billions, should be fun to watch. Of course, Boehner's only human, and the stakes are higher than ever, so the possibility for blow-up is still there. Yesterday on his show, John Stewart admiringly described Boehner's success as "mundane, pragmatic compromise", something we need more of. So, I'm betting on Mr. Mundane...or as Dennis Miller teases, Tammy Faye Boehner...or as MSNBC talking head Ed Shultz calls him, "The Tan Man".

A rose by any other name still smells as sweet. :-)))

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Back-Up Plan

This is one time when saying I'm backed up and loving it doesn't mean I'm addicted to Imodium! {winkwink}

As I may have mentioned previously, my trusty OLD (circa 2007) Windows XT desktop died last fall when the motherboard decided to fry itself. Although I had recently done a data backup to my portable hard drive, I opted to buy another portable hd and have the local computer shop back up my hard drive again, thinking at the time it was just the graphics card that had fried since it had done it once already. My pan was to just transfer the data to my Gateway laptop and move on with life.

Luckily, the shop guy was able to do a backup, but I was panicked when I couldn't read my Outlook Express and Address Book data. Turns out that when you migrate from XT to Windows Vista or 7, you cannot import that data. I would have had to have upgraded to Vista or 7 on the old desktop, which I would have been more than willing to do, except that my motherboard had other plans and I wasn't willing to fork out $400 for a refurbished (and hard to find) replacement. So, I had to accept the sad fact that my contacts and emails were gone forever. I transferred what I could to my Gateway and made plans to check out online backup.

Actually, my files really weren't gone. They are still sitting in my backups, merely waiting for the right program to come and wake them from slumber. I do have a 2000 model Gateway laptop that I think still may work and is probably running Windows 98, but I have temporarily misplaced it...it's in a box somewhere waiting for me to find it. And when I do, look out.)

Since that very traumatic month in my life, I've discovered that life did go on, much easier than I'd feared. I really didn't miss much of anything aside from the addresses of a handful of online friends. So, I became less enthusiastic about checking out Carbonite, the online backup service that I'd researched and decided to go with. Finally, after a meltdown with The Hubster over our photos and my nonexistent scrapbooks he never could look at, a plan was developed jointly, and #1 on the list of to-dos was "Back up to Carbonite".

So, for the last week I have been doing that. The first 4-5 days I was doubting the exercise. 50 gigs takes forever to back up even with high speed cable internet. But then I got a wild hair and decided to pay for a year subscription (I began the backup on their 30-day trial.).

Well, guess what? The backup *suddenly* began to go much faster and I finished Monday. And that's the hard part, because the program works in the background and immediately backs up anything new or changed. So, I guess I have 2 bits of advice for anyone considering Carbonite: pay before starting your backup, and don't freak out about it taking a while the first time you do it, because unless or until you have to restore all of your files (if you get a new computer or hard drive), you won't have to endure that again.

Anyway, I really underestimated how plain old good it feels to have this done. I feel safer, lighter (even more so, I've already lost 3 of the 5 pounds I'd gained leading up to that gastric attack I had recently).  I feel like I don't have to worry one wit about losing any more data. That is such an awesome feeling! And for $55 a year, it's an awesomely inexpensive feeling, too, for what I get. Most anywhere, paying to feel this good would surely cost several hundred to a thousand bucks, no?

One nagging thought remained, though: exactly how would the restore work? Well, today, as if to read my mind, Carbonite sent me an email, with this in it:

Congratulations! Your initial backup is complete. Now, you can rest easy knowing your irreplaceable files are backed up safely offsite. From now on anytime you add or change a file, it will be backed up automatically in the background – you won’t even notice it happening.

Want to see how easy it is to get your files back when you need them? Try restoring a file from your backup by following these easy steps:
1.Create a new document that you will use to test a restore. Save and close the document.
2.Let Carbonite back up the file. You’ll know it’s backed up when there’s a green dot next to the file. If you want to back it up right away, right click the file and select “Back up this file as soon as possible” from the Carbonite menu.
3.Delete the file from your computer.
4.Double-click on the lock icon in your system tray to open the Carbonite InfoCenter.
5.In the restore tab, click on "Search for files to restore."
6.Type in the name (or part of the name) of the file you deleted. Locate it and select "Restore."
7.Check to make sure the file has been restored.

Now, I feel even better! Obviously, I highly recommend Carbonite. So far, so very good. The removal of worry is in my opine worth every penny and then some.