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Steven Hilton (mshiltonj)

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Just a reminder on the last middle eastern war we got involved in...

COST: The Bush administration initially estimated that the Iraq War would cost "only" $50 billion dollars. Latest calculations put the actual  total at over $2 trillion. 

DURATION: Defense Secretary Rumsfeld estimated the conflict would last ""Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that.' It ended up lasting 8 years, and some argue it's still on going.

RECEPTION: Vice President Dick Cheney told us we would be "greeted as liberators," where we in fact we faced a mulitple-year insurgency against Coalition forces.

JUSTIFICATION: We were given two main justifications for intiating war with Iraq. 1) They were developing weapons of mass destruction, and 2) They were harboring members of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Both of those justifications turned out to be false.

So pardon us if we have trouble believing you about our involvement in Syria.
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Got me right in the feels.

I think we underestimate the impact of technology.

We know that it will get us our email faster or help us navigate smarter with GPS/Maps or apply special filters to our photos and send them and the world instantly. 

This video, in a very amazing way, made me appreciate how much we still underestimate the impact of technology.  Seeing how something as simple as a hangout via a mobile phone could bring the entire world to someone who was bed-ridden from multiple sclerosis was inspiring.

Technology has an incredible power to make all of our lives better.

#inspiration   #life  
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Let's try G+ again, shall we? 
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Sure is a hot one today, which is a bit surprising for this early in the morning. And the wind just won't let up, it's like a hurricane. Trees are are being uprooted all up and down the street. I've seen a few tornadoes off in the distance. The rain is really coming down and it's starting to flood the street. The earthquake this morning was pretty bad, I think we had some structural damage to the house, lots of shattered windows. Did anyone see meteor shoot across the sky just as the sun was coming up? That was some explosion! It made the sky glow orange and it's been orange the whole time since. Weird. It's a good thing Rex was in the back yard last night, because he's barking and growling like he has rabies and his eyes are all red. I couldn't even feed him this morning. And with all this weird stuff going on, there's still a lot people in the street running and fighting and even biting each other.

Hope this all clears up by tomorrow.
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Let's not dismiss the idea of #secession out of hand.

I can laugh at the jokes about sore-losers wanting to take their ball and go home. I am amused by the analysis showing that many would-be secessionist states would lose out financially because they are net recipients of federal government dollars. But there are now nuggets of secessionist support in all fifty states, red and blue alike. It's not a one-sided idea.

It's hard to discuss secession impartially due to all the baggage the idea carries in U.S. culture. Any mention of secession immediately brings racism and The Civil War into the discussion. It's unavoidable, given our history, but it's also possible to get past that and have a more modern perspective.

Blind nationalists and knee-jerk reactionaries talk about treason and sedition and stripping of citizenship. Good luck with that. If this is you, just stop reading now.

I don't like the idea of secession, but I'm also not particularly opposed to it as a concept. In fact, a successful secession movement would probably affect me negatively. North Carolina is largely a red state, although most of the media called it "swing" state in the last election cycle. Maybe, but if you saw the results of the "Amendment One" vote here last May, you'll know that the red runs deep around these parts. If NC seceded, me and my family would probably have to pull up roots.

But whatever one's opinion or circumstance, discussing it openly may reveal other options to help us deal with political gridlock in America.

And there is gridlock. Judging by the post-election coverage of the impending "fiscal cliff," both incumbent parties are digging in their heels deeper than ever. It's not just gridlock, its antagonism. The rhetoric in the capital and on the airwaves is less constructive as time passes, not more. If we manage to avoid the fiscal cliff this year, will it be a sign of a new era of cooperation, or the two sides kicking the can down the road a couple more years?

Sometimes, some days, people need to agree to disagree. They shake hands and just go their separate ways.

America is like an old couple that's been married for 30 years. The kids have moved out. They have grown far part over the years. One day, they wake up and realize they really don't like their each other anymore. They don't hate each other. There's no malice. They just get divorced and separate their lives. They still get together for the holidays to spend time with the grandkids. But they both have a fresh start. Even though their future may be a little less certain that before, they can begin charting a new path toward happiness on their own terms.

Red states and blue states can do the same thing: Agree to disagree and part ways.

In practice, this probably means the effective dissolution of The United States Of America, although one of the resulting states may retain the name. They can flip for it.

The 2012 electoral map suggests simple divisions of three to eight separate nations: The four west coast states is one blue nation.

The Midwest and New England, from Minnesota the Maine is another blue nation. Indiana may need to split into a north and south state so Illinois and Ohio would be connected around the Great Lakes for territorial integrity.

The remaining states -- the red states from Idaho to Arizona to Georgia to North Carolina, would be a third independent nation.

Colorado and New Mexico could be a fourth nation, which would be land locked between Mexico and the red state nation.

Florida could be an independent nation, or join with the red states.

Hawaii and Alaska could be independent nations or ally themselves with one of these new nations.

Perhaps the Lone Star State, Texas, will truly want to be a lone star again and be fully independent from all other nations.

A more granular dissolution may be warranted. Individual counties could be ceded to or from neighboring nations around the new borders.

The Florida panhandle could be ceded to Alabama. Virginia as a state could be part of the red state nation, but the northern counties would ceded to the northern blue state nation. Parts of Utah or Arizona could be ceded to the western blue nation, so Colorado and New Mexico could be a part of the western blue nation with full territorial integrity. Maybe Nevada could be part of the red state nation except for the Reno and Las Vegas areas.

There's any number of way to make it happen.

But how to get from here to there? Once interested parties decide on pursuing secession, then the devil is in the details, and it will take a lot of discussion and planning. If the various nations of Europe can have a multi-year plan to create the European Union and the common currency of the Euro, the U.S. can successfully to the same in reverse. The scale of the project would be huge, but we've got smart people here, too.

Divorce is never easy. Nobody likes it, and there's lots of lawyers and paperwork, but sometimes people are happier after the process is over and done.

Secession can't be done wily-nilly. There are many basic question that need to be answered and agreed upon:

* What currency will the new nations use?
* Where will the capital of the new nations be?
* How will the U.S. national debt liability be split?
* Will individuals have multiple citizenship with all new nations?
* Will there be a grace period of some number of years for current Americans to relocate to their new nation of choice without penalty?
* How does the military (people, bases, resources) get split up?
* How does the nuke arsenal get redistributed?
* Will all new nations adhere, more or less, to the existing Constitution and government structure, or will they write their own new founding documents?
* How will national corporations be handled?
* How can the transition be made with the least disruption in the financial markets?
* Will all the new nations be part of a mutual defense treaty?
* What happens to all the foreign military bases?
* Will China be the only international super power left?

There will be hundreds, thousands, of other questions. It will take years. We can look at recent historical precedents for guidance: The break up of the U.S.S.R and the breakup of Yugoslavia.

If something like this is to happen peacefully, it will take agreement from all sides. I'd rather go down this road than wait for the current situation to get progressively worse and see violence break out.

I'm not advocating for this as a solution. I'm advocating for the discussion. As with old married couples, the prospect of divorce can make people realize they love each other after all, work out their differences and live happily ever after, together.

But we have to talk about it.

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Today's the day! STELLARNET PRINCE is out on Amazon, B&N, and wherever ebooks are sold. I haven't seen it on Audible, yet, and I have no idea when it will show up. All I know is that it should show up, eventually. If you're going to read or listen to it, I hope you enjoy it. And if you enjoy it, I hope you will leave a rating or review on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and tell your friends!
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Well, I had just recently switched to primarily using Chrome as my main Web Browser and using Firebug Lite with it instead of Firefox and the full Firebug (mainly because of the serious amounts of RAM that Firefox was taking up). But, reading the following article and watching the video on the new Developer Tools built into Firefox 10, I may be switching back!!
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Why was MegaUpload really shut down?

In December of 2011, just weeks before the takedown, Digital Music News reported on something new that the creators of #Megaupload were about to unroll. Something that would rock the music industry to its core. (

I present to you... MegaBox. MegaBox was going to be an alternative music store that was entirely cloud-based and offered artists a better money-making opportunity than they would get with any record label.

"UMG knows that we are going to compete with them via our own music venture called, a site that will soon allow artists to sell their creations directly to consumers while allowing artists to keep 90 percent of earnings," MegaUpload founder Kim 'Dotcom' Schmitz told Torrentfreak

Not only did they plan on allowing artists to keep 90% of their earnings on songs that they sold, they wanted to pay them for songs they let users download for free.

"We have a solution called the Megakey that will allow artists to earn income from users who download music for free," Dotcom outlined. "Yes that's right, we will pay artists even for free downloads. The Megakey business model has been tested with over a million users and it works."
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