Thursday, December 31, 2009

[The 86 Biggest Lies on Wall Street] - C-SPAN Video Library

Our 2009 Chickens and Their 2010 Roost by Victor Davis Hanson on National Review Online

In the coming year, plenty of chickens will be coming home to roost.

Take foreign relations. In 2009, the new administration assumed that George W. Bush was largely responsible for global tensions. As a remedy, we loudly reached out to our foes and those with whom we had uneasy relationships.

But so far these leaders — like Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, and Russia’s Vladimir Putin — have only interpreted Barack Obama’s serial goodwill gestures as weaknesses to be exploited. They play the part of the pushy class bully, we the whiny nerd.

Dave Barry's year in review: 2009 - Dave Barry -

It was a year of Hope -- at first in the sense of "I feel hopeful!" and later in the sense of "I hope this year ends soon!"

It was also a year of Change, especially in Washington, where the tired old hacks of yesteryear finally yielded the reins of power to a group of fresh, young, idealistic, new-idea outsiders such as Nancy Pelosi. As a result Washington, rejecting "business as usual," finally stopped trying to solve every problem by throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at it and instead started trying to solve every problem by throwing trillions of taxpayer dollars at it.

Obama's Security 'Breach' -

Their latest sanctuary lies in unruly Yemen, headquarters for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, which last year pulled off a series of local bombings, including at the U.S. embassy in the capital Sana, killing 13. The al Qaeda chapter in Yemen has re-emerged under the leadership of a former secretary to Osama bin Laden.

Along with a dozen other al Qaeda members, he was allowed to escape from a Yemeni jail in 2006. His deputy, Said Ali al-Shihri, was a Saudi inmate at Gitmo who after his release "graduated" from that country's terrorist "rehabilitation" program before moving to Yemen last year. About a fifth of the so-called graduates have ended back on the Saudi terror most-wanted list, according to a GAO study this year.

Spitzer's AIG Emails -

Sensitive information about surviving institutions might argue against release, so perhaps a better place to start would be at the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York. That's where the destruction of AIG began in 2005, when AG Eliot Spitzer forced the dismissal of the company's CEO, Hank Greenberg.

Ivana Trump Escorted Off Plane: Napolitano Declares 'The System Worked' - HUMAN EVENTS

The government is like the drunk looking for his keys under a lamppost. Someone stops to help, and asks, "Is this where you lost them?" No, the drunk answers, but the light's better here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dr. Helen: Is cable worth it?

Every six months I have to get into it with Comcast, my cable company who doubles or this month almost tripled my bill when a "promotion" ran out. I have been calling and getting the promotions for over 4 years now but this time pretty much ran into a brick wall when the customer service representative just kind of shrugged and gave me simply a ridiculous number instead of an over-the-top one.

In answer to the question: NO!

Nice to read that so many people have dumped cable in recognition of it's poor cost/benefit ratio. Hopefully a trend will get some people's attention.

I've been without cable for quite a few years now and can't imagine wanting it back... ever.

No More Visas for the State Department by Elliott Abrams on National Review Online

The mishandling of the would-be airplane bomber Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab’s visa is only the latest piece of evidence that the granting of visas should be taken away from the State Department. Doing so would improve our national security — and actually help the State Department itself.

Not an unexpected reaction.

Global Warming Science and Public Policy - Climate Change, William Happer testimony to Senate Energy Committee on February 25, 2009

I remember being forced to read Voltaire’s novel, Candide, when I was young. You recall that Dr. Pangloss repeatedly assured young Candide that he was living in “the best of all possible worlds,” presumably also with the best of all CO2 concentrations. That we are (or were) living at the best of all CO2 concentrations seems to be a tacit assumption of the IPCC executive summaries for policy makers. Enormous effort and imagination have gone into showing that increasing concentrations of CO2 will be catastrophic , cities will be flooded by sea-level rises that are ten or more times bigger than even IPCC predicts, there will be mass extinctions of species, billions of people will die, tipping points will render the planet a desert. A few months ago I read that global warming will soon bring on a devastating epidemic of kidney stones. If you write down all the ills attributed to global warming you fill up a very thick book.

Many of the frightening scenarios about global warming come from large computer calculations, “general circulation models,” that try to mimic the behavior of the earth’s climate as more CO2 is added to the atmosphere. It is true that climate models use increasingly capable and increasingly expensive computers. But their predictions have not been very good. For example, none of them predicted the lack of warming that we have experienced during the past ten years. All the models assume the water feedback is positive, while satellite observations suggest that the feedback is zero or negative.

Modelers have been wrong before. One of the most famous modeling disputes involved the physicist William Thompson, later Lord Kelvin, and the naturalist Charles Darwin. Lord Kelvin was a great believer in models and differential equations.

Charles Darwin was not particularly facile with mathematics, but he took observations very seriously. For evolution to produce the variety of living and fossil species that Darwin had observed, the earth needed to have spent hundreds of millions of years with conditions not very different from now. With his mathematical models, Kelvin rather pompously demonstrated that the earth must have been a hellish ball of molten rock only a few tens of millions of years ago, and that the sun could not have been shining for more than about 30 million years. Kelvin was actually modeling what he thought was global and solar cooling. I am sorry to say that a majority of his fellow physicists supported Kelvin. Poor Darwin removed any reference to the age of the earth in later editions of the “Origin of the Species.” But Darwin was right the first time, and Kelvin was wrong. Kelvin thought he knew everything but he did not know about the atomic nucleus, radioactivity and nuclear reactions, all of which invalidated his elegant modeling calculations.

This brings up the frequent assertion that there is a consensus behind the idea that there is an impending disaster from climate change, and that it may already be too late to avert this catastrophe, even if we stop burning fossil fuels now. We are told that only a few flat-earthers still have any doubt about the calamitous effects of continued CO2 emissions. There are a number of answers to this assertion.

First, what is correct in science is not determined by consensus but by experiment and observations. Historically, the consensus is often wrong, and I just mentioned the incorrect consensus of modelers about the age of the earth and the sun. During the yellow fever epidemic of 1793 in Philadelphia the medical consensus was that you could cure almost anything by bleeding the patient. Benjamin Rush, George Washington’s Surgeon General during the War of Independence, and a brave man, stayed in Philadelphia throughout the yellow fever epidemic. He worked tirelessly to save the stricken by bleeding them, the consensus treatment of the day. A few cautious observers noticed that you were more likely to survive the yellow fever without the services of the great man. But Dr. Rush had plenty of high level-friends and he was backed up by the self-evident consensus, so he went ahead with his ministrations. In summary, a consensus is often wrong.

Secondly, I do not think there is a consensus about an impending climate crisis. I personally certainly don’t believe we are facing a crisis unless we create one for ourselves, as Benjamin Rush did by bleeding his patients. Many others, wiser than I am, share my view. The number of those with the courage to speak out is growing. There may be an illusion of consensus. Like the temperance movement one hundred years ago the climate-catastrophe movement has enlisted the mass media, the leadership of scientific societies, the trustees of charitable foundations, and many other influential people to their cause. Just as editorials used to fulminate about the slippery path to hell behind the tavern door, hysterical op-ed’s lecture us today about the impending end of the planet and the need to stop climate change with bold political action. Many distinguished scientific journals now have editors who further the agenda of climate-change alarmism. Research papers with scientific findings contrary to the dogma of climate calamity are rejected by reviewers, many of whom fear that their research funding will be cut if any doubt is cast on the coming climate catastrophe.

Speaking of the Romans, then invading Scotland in the year 83, the great Scottish chieftain Calgacus is quoted as saying “They make a desert and call it peace.” If you have the power to stifle dissent, you can indeed create the illusion of peace or consensus. The Romans have made impressive inroads into climate science. Certainly, it is a bit unnerving to read statements of Dr. James Hansen in the Congressional Record that climate skeptics are guilty of “high crimes against humanity and nature.”

Even elementary school teachers and writers of children’s books are enlisted to terrify our children and to promote the idea of impending climate doom. Having observed the education of many children, including my own, I am not sure how effective the effort will be. Many children seem to do just the opposite of what they are taught. Nevertheless, children should not be force-fed propaganda, masquerading as science. Many of you may know that in 2007 a British Court ruled that if Al Gore’s book, “An Inconvenient Truth,” was used in public schools, the children had to be told of eleven particularly troubling inaccuracies. You can easily find a list of the inaccuracies on the internet, but I will mention one. The court ruled that it was not possible to attribute hurricane Katrina to CO2. Indeed, had we taken a few of the many billions of dollars we have been spending on climate change research and propaganda and fixed the dykes and pumps around the New Orleans, most of the damage from Hurricane Katrina could have been avoided.

The sea level is indeed rising, just as it has for the past 20,000 years since the end of the last ice age. Fairly accurate measurements of sea level have been available since about 1800. These measurements show no sign of any acceleration. The rising sea level can be a serious local problem for heavily-populated, low-lying areas like New Orleans, where land subsidence compounds the problem. But to think that limiting CO2 emissions will stop sea level rise is a dangerous illusion. It is also possible that the warming seas around Antarctica will cause more snowfall over the continent and will counteract the sea-level rise. In any case, the rising sea level is a problem that needs quick local action for locations like New Orleans rather than slow action globally.

In closing, let me say again that we should provide adequate support to the many brilliant scientists, some at my own institution of Princeton University, who are trying to better understand the earth’s climate, now, in the past, and what it may be in the future. I regret that the climate-change issue has become confused with serious problems like secure energy supplies , protecting our environment, and figuring out where future generations will get energy supplies after we have burned all the fossil fuel we can find. We should not confuse these laudable goals with hysterics about carbon footprints.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

0x1fff: 35 Google open-source projects that you probably don't know

Google is one of the biggest companies supporting OpenSource movement, they released more than 500 open source projects(most of them are samples showing how to use their API). In this article I will try to write about most interesting and free releases from Google, some of them might be abandoned.

Friday, December 25, 2009

National Snow Analyses - NOHRSC - The ultimate source for snow information

Automated Model Discussion:
December 25, 2009
Area Covered By Snow: 63.0%
Area Covered Last Month: 10.4%
Snow Depth
Average: 5.0 in
Minimum: 0.0 in
Maximum: 889.2 in
Std. Dev.: 7.0 in
Snow Water Equivalent
Average: 0.9 in
Minimum: 0.0 in
Maximum: 437.5 in
Std. Dev.: 1.5 in


*Exhaling as much CO2 as I can to remedy the situation.*

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

As attacks increase, U.S. struggles to recruit computer security experts -

The lack of trained defenders for these networks is leading to serious gaps in protection and significant losses of intelligence, national security experts said

Can intelligence be expressed as a negative number now?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wolverton: Google Phone rumors tap consumer longing - San Jose Mercury News

Regardless of whether the Nexus One is indeed the Google phone or just the latest model in an evolution of Android phones, I'm interested in why people are excited by a Google Phone. Many consumers seem to be using the idea to project their ideal of what a smart-phone should be or how the mobile phone industry should work.

The first comment on the Journal's article was from a reader declaring, "I want one," despite the article's sketchy details about it. Another reader expressed hope that the phone would be a "disruptive move in the rotten phone industry."

Tom Woods Website

Good stuff.

Polluting pets: the devastating impact of man's best friend - Yahoo! News

Sylvie Comont, proud owner of seven cats and two dogs -- the environmental equivalent of a small fleet of cars -- says defiantly, "Our animals give us so much that I don't feel like a polluter at all.

"I think the love we have for our animals and what they contribute to our lives outweighs the environmental considerations."

To the left, only they have feelings and needs. If you are not among them, you don't exist. Solipsism.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Climate Hypocrites by Mark Steyn on National Review Online

So just to recap: The Prince of Wales, a man who has never drawn his own curtains, ramps up a carbon footprint of 2,601 tons while telling us that Western capitalist excess is destroying the planet. Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the railroad engineer who heads the International Panel on Climate Change and has demanded that “hefty aviation taxes should be introduced to deter people from flying,” flew 443,226 miles on “IPCC business” in the year and a half before the Copenhagen summit. And Al Gore is a carbon billionaire: He makes more money buying offsets from himself than his dad did from investing in Occidental Petroleum.

There'll be nowhere to run from the new world government - Telegraph

The dangerous idea that the democratic accountability of national governments should simply be dispensed with in favour of "global agreements" reached after closed negotiations between world leaders never, so far as I recall, entered into the arena of public discussion. Except in the United States, where it became a very contentious talking point, the US still holding firmly to the 18th-century idea that power should lie with the will of the people.

The Anatomy Of A Bad Search Result

So who created this fake blog? It could have been Consumersearch, or a “black hat” SEO consultant, or someone in an affiliate program that Consumersearch doesn’t even know. I’m not trying to imply that Consumersearch did anything wrong. The problem is systematic. When you have a multibillion dollar economy built around keywords and links, the ultimate “products” optimize for just that: keywords and links. The incentive to create quality content diminishes.

The First Amendment & Net Neutrality: Be Careful What You Wish For — Technology Liberation Front

As I noted here a few days ago, the Federal Communications Commission held a workshop on Tuesday about “Speech, Democratic Engagement, and the Open Internet.” It was a shockingly one-sided affair with the deck being stacked almost entirely in favor of advocates of Net neutrality regulation. Worse yet, those advocates shamelessly made up spooky stories about a future of “private censorship” that could only be remedied by using the First Amendment as a club to beat private players into submission.

Why not? Apocryphal stories work to promote government run health care, government control of energy production and use, and many other things.

For some reason apocryphal stories of government screw-ups (in addition to real every-day fully-documented headlines of such) don't have the same impact, since a "quick-fix" to whatever the problem exemplified by the story is isn't easily summarized by a sound bite that a politician or activist can utter in order to stir up "grass roots" (maybe "weed roots" would be a better term) support.

When government first steps in to an area, the natural and wild flora and fauna of competition start to die off and what are left are a few mutant-strain species with natural resistance (or worse, resistance produced by favoritism) and you end up with the Intels, Microsofts, GMs and Goldman Sachs of the world, companies who's continued existence and success can't be questioned (even with the existence of limp wristed FTC probes from time to time).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I, Cringely - The Day AT&T Learned Moore’s Law (it’s not when you think it was)

Apple and Steve Jobs (they are one and the same) feel a tremendous need to control stories about them. No other computer company I know of has sued its own customers to silence them, yet Apple did just that a couple years ago. Steve Jobs now reportedly controls most of the copyrighted photos ever taken of him, which is why editors and TV producers keep using the same few shots over and over again. The company, too, imposes on its commercial partners a virtual gag order. That’s the case here with AT&T, which apparently isn’t allowed to refute Verizon’s network performance claims even if AT&T has contrary data.

Howard Bloom: Climate Change Is Nature's Way -

We've been deceived by a stroke of luck. In the two million years during which we climbed from stone-tool wielding Homo erectus with sloping brows to high-foreheaded Homo urbanis, man the inventor of the city, we underwent 60 glaciations, 60 ice ages. And in the 120,000 years since we emerged in our current physiological shape as Homo sapiens, we've lived through 20 sudden global warmings. In most of those, temperatures have shot up by as much as 18 degrees within a mere 20 years.

All this took place without smokestacks and tailpipes. All this took place without the desecration of nature by modern man.

Why radiocarbon measurements are not true calendar ages

Blizzard Dumps Snow on Copenhagen as Leaders Battle Warming -

Denmark has a maritime climate and milder winters than its Scandinavian neighbors. It hasn’t had a white Christmas for 14 years, under the DMI’s definition, and only had seven last century. Temperatures today fell as low as minus 4 Celsius (25 Fahrenheit).

U.S. Treasury Runs Into Theories on Irrational Investing - Real Time Economics - WSJ

Say you have two traders. One buys a stock when it’s at $90 per share and another buys it when it’s at $110. If today the stock is at $100 per share, the person who bought at $90 is much more willing to sell than the person who bought at $110.

Mr. Kahneman’s insight helped to make a broader point –- individuals often act in emotional or irrational ways, counter to the view that individuals act purely out of self-interest. He won a Nobel prize in economics for the insight.

I didn't know they had a Nobel prize for common sense. But that beats the ones they've been giving out lately for nonsense.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dan DiMicco: A Nation That 'Builds Things' -

Here are three steps we can take that will move the economy forward without increasing the federal budget deficit. These steps will also dramatically reduce our trade deficit, promote genuine rules-based free trade, and position us to remain the world's leader.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Planning the Next Bubble by Kling & Schulz on National Review Online

When the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, our government geniuses “solved” the problem of the resulting recession by creating a housing bubble. Now that this plan has exploded to disastrous effect, the planners have come up with their next great project — creating a “green” economy.

Socialism in Stages by Dan Oliver Jr. on National Review Online

If the hard socialism of Communism produces economic and societal collapse quickly, Mises theorized, the soft, incremental socialism of the West — popularized again recently as the “Third Way” by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton — would produce poverty in stages. Every bureaucratic intervention in the market reduces long-term wealth creation, even if it provides a temporary boost to the economy. In time, this reduction of wealth is blamed on the inefficiencies of the remaining “unfettered” market, which provokes calls for greater intervention, ad infinitum.

Daily Express | UK News :: Climate change is natural: 100 reasons why

Soros Wants IMF To Subsidize His Green Investments

George Soros, owner, Democratic Party

Deficits are Bad, but the Real Problem is Spending

Microsoft's Windows Mobile Operating System Falls Behind | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD

And now, with the official release of Windows Mobile 7 reportedly delayed until late 2010, you’ve got to wonder if the company hasn’t already blown its last chance at a comeback in the mobile space. As Strategic News Service analyst Mark Anderson recently told the New York Times, “It’s time to declare Microsoft a loser in phones. Just get out of Dodge.”

Red, White, & Sacrebleu: How American wines shocked the world

Monday, December 14, 2009

Inconvenient truth for Al Gore as his North Pole sums don't add up - Times Online

Science: D

Dear Mrs. Gore

Albert will have to start devoting more time to his studies and less time trying to bully the other children with how important his daddy is.

I hope you can get through to him, heaven knows we have tried.

D.C. hands out $15M in bonuses despite recession, budget gaps | Washington Examiner

"Fenty, Rhee and [police Chief Cathy] Lanier have tried to tell everybody in the city we don't have enough police officers, firefighters and teachers because they don't have any money. But at the same time they're lining the pockets of their favorites," police union Chairman Kris Baumann said. "If you put this in a movie, people wouldn't believe it. It would be too far-fetched."

Official Google Enterprise Blog: Why the City of Los Angeles chose Google

By ITA estimates, Google Apps will save the city of Los Angeles millions of dollars by allowing us to shift resources currently dedicated to email to other purposes. For example, moving to Google will free up nearly 100 servers that were used for our existing email system, which will lower our electricity bills by almost $750,000 over five years. In short, this decision helps us to get the most out of the city's IT budget.

The End Of Hand Crafted Content

The best end-to-end description of "the problem" that I've seen and by someone I'm not sure I particularly like.

And to make sure my two readers see the whole thing, not even my typical paragraph quote!

Microsoft Rips Off Twitter Ripoff (MSFT)

Vested MS employees, pretending to work, actually rip off someone else's design. In other news, world ends.

News at 11.

Apropos of Everything

Our modern sense of entitlement is devouring us. From the largest institution down to the most inconsequential individuals we dream of someone or something bigger than ourselves to swoop down and provide us with a comfortable rest from our toil. We've done all these great things, trust us, and let us be.

At the individual level a check from Uncle Sam replaces the kids who stayed on the farm and tended to grandpa when he was too sick to walk behind the plow.

At the institutional level we now have entities that are "too big to fail", even when we can't quite place our finger on what it is they are doing for the rest of us that is of such great value.

Big companies, big unions, big media, big government. I have a nagging sensation that they all have something in common that is inherently evil. I wonder what it is.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What Crisis? Asian Tech Companies Are Ready To Expand And Eat The Competition's Lunch

Consulting firm Deloitte just released this year's list of Asia's fastest growing 500 technology companies and it paints a picture of Asian tech leaders who actually view the global crisis as an opportunity -- because it weakened the competition.

Rob Pegoraro - A review of three disappointing netbook computers -

Why would manufacturers deprive their customers of something as cheap as memory?

Blame Microsoft and its passive-aggressive rules governing Win 7 Starter. The Redmond, Wash., company will license this edition for sale only on computers with 1 GB or less of memory and a screen no larger than 10.2 inches.

Microsoft won't explain those and other restrictions or even confirm outside reports of them, although computer vendors had no problem reciting the details.

It's Microsoft. No further explanation necessary.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

No Jobs, No Housing, No Bull

This White House event was a sham, a photo opp meant solely to influence public opinion without actually doing anything, according to attendees. This can be seen, for example, in the coverage by USA Today, which proudly quoted statements by the President about what had been accomplished in the sessions, yet USA Today said their interview took place two hours before the event even started.

UN Security Stops Journalist’s Questions About ClimateGate

A Stanford Professor has used United Nation security officers to silence a journalist asking him “inconvenient questions” during a press briefing at the climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Professor Stephen Schneider’s assistant requested armed UN security officers who held film maker Phelim McAleer, ordered him to stop filming and prevented further questioning after the press conference where the Stanford academic was launching a book.

Google to Start Selling Own Phone Next Year -

Google Inc. has designed a cellphone it plans to sell directly to consumers as soon as next year, according to people familiar with the matter.

The phone is called the Nexus One and is being manufactured for Google by HTC Corp., these people said. It runs Android, the operating system for mobile phones that Google developed, they added.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

George F. Will - The Fed's war of independence

Before the recent downward tick in unemployment from 10.2 percent to 10 percent, Democrats said: The absence of downward movement proves the urgent need for more stimulus spending. After the downward tick they said: The improvement proves the urgent need for more stimulus spending lest the momentum stall. For such people, "more spending" is a verbal tic. Let such people begin managing the Fed and they will mandate low interest rates, regardless of circumstances. The currency will fail as a store of value.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Nobel peace prize: Norwegians incensed over Barack Obama's snubs | World news |

Barack Obama's trip to Oslo to pick up his Nobel peace award is in danger of being overshadowed by a row over the cancellation of a series of events normally attended by the prizewinner.

Norwegians are incensed over what they view as his shabby response to the prize by cutting short his visit.

Even Obama has lost respect for the prize now that he's won it.

Al Gore thinks the Earth is actually hotter than the Sun

O'BRIEN: create energy, and it sounds to me like an evil plan by Lex Luthor to defeat Superman. Can you, can you tell me, is this a viable solution, geothermal energy?

GORE: It definitely is, and it's a relatively new one. People think about geothermal energy - when they think about it at all - in terms of the hot water bubbling up in some places, but two kilometers or so down in most places there are these incredibly hot rocks, 'cause the interior of the earth is extremely hot, several million degrees, and the crust of the earth is hot …”

The only thing this idiot has ever invented are his facts. Sometimes the grades you make in college do mean something.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I am actually beginning to feel sorry for them

And so what is CNN doing? They are now spending a gazillion of their shareholder money to run delusional ads that they are somehow number one and somehow do it better than everyone else - apparently convincing only themselves because they have fallen into last place - 4th? - with the viewers.

Copenhagen climate summit in disarray after 'Danish text' leak | Environment |

Hill continued: "It proposes a green fund to be run by a board but the big risk is that it will run by the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility [a partnership of 10 agencies including the World Bank and the UN Environment Programme] and not the UN. That would be a step backwards, and it tries to put constraints on developing countries when none were negotiated in earlier UN climate talks."

Q: Who can we get who is even less trustworthy than the UN?

A: HEY! How about the World Bank?! Yeah, that's the ticket.

Media Firms to Unveil Joint Venture for Digital Devices -

The aim is to create a common set of technology standards for how magazines and other publications look on e-readers and other digital devices, some of which haven't been invented yet. The participants also want to ensure they have a common standard for advertising and a digital "store" through which consumers can buy multiple publishers' titles, according to people familiar with the matter.


I hope it works.

American Thinker: Tiger, Barack, and the Law of Transitivity

We are staring because we've been had. Betrayed. We see now that the image was all a fraud. The talent was real. But the things that made the public like Tiger personally -- the low-key demeanor, manners, and sweet smile of countless sports-page photos, magazine covers, political analogies, and most important, product endorsements, was an act. That would be betrayal enough. But it wasn't just Woods' act. The larger lesson here is about how much artifice -- sustained, deliberate deception -- goes into the construction of a public persona when there is profit to be made or power to be had.


But enough about Tiger the man, who is, after all, only a golfer. Let's move on to Tiger the metaphor. Because anyone with four functioning brain cells gets that if this comprehensive a charade can be sustained for a decade as Woods and those around him amassed billions, it can happen elsewhere. It can happen right in front of our eyes.

If I were watching the public's disgust with the newly revealed Tiger Woods from an office in the West Wing, I'd be concerned. Because Barack Obama is about as completely manufactured a political character as this nation has seen. His meteoric rise, without the inconvenience of a public record or accomplishments, and the public's willing suspension of critical evaluation of his résumé allowed his handlers and the media to project whatever they wanted to on his unfurrowed brow.

Rupert Murdoch: Journalism and Freedom - companies need to give people the news they want. I can't tell you how many papers I have visited where they have a wall of journalism prizes—and a rapidly declining circulation. This tells me the editors are producing news for themselves—instead of news that is relevant to their customers. A news organization's most important asset is the trust it has with its readers, a bond that reflects the readers' confidence that editors are looking out for their needs and interests.

These developments mean increased competition, and that is good for consumers. But just as businesses are adapting to new realities, the government needs to adapt too. In this new and more globally competitive news world, restricting cross-ownership between television and newspapers makes as little sense as would banning newspapers from having Web sites.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Shocking!! Report Paid For By ACORN Exonerates Them

“At a joint Oversight-Judiciary Committee forum last week, we heard from state government officials and an ACORN whistleblower about the fraudulent and deceptive tactics ACORN uses to manipulate the same people it purports to serve. The more we have learned about the inner-working of ACORN and its affiliates, the more apparent it becomes that this organization is intentionally structured to deceive and mislead the American people.”

Max Baucus, Girlfriends and Double Standards -

As Senate Finance Chairman, Mr. Baucus is a crucial player in health-care reform, and our guess is that neither Democrats nor their media allies will want to explore this nepotistic near-miss lest it interfere with that greater political goal. But if they don't, we will learn a good deal about workplace ethics and political double standards.

I learned a new word: kakistocracy

Copenhagen climate summit: 1,200 limos, 140 private planes and caviar wedges - Telegraph

Sunday, December 06, 2009

PROMISES, PROMISES: A closed meeting on openness

People who routinely request government records said they don't see much progress on Obama's transparency pledge.

"It's either smoke and mirrors or it was done for the media," said Jeff Stachewicz, founder of Washington-based FOIA Group Inc., which files hundreds of requests every month across the government on behalf of companies, law firms and news organizations. "This administration, when it wants something done, there are no excuses. You just don't see a big movement toward transparency."

Friday, December 04, 2009

Obama’s Jobs Summit: The Invisible Hand of SEIU and ACORN

As President Obama concludes his first jobs summit, almost a year into his presidency, the nature of the guest list hints at a deliberate initiative that’s been underway for over 15 years – and it’s not one of the obvious presumptions that most would make. Notice that of the list of leaders invited, the majority are labor union leaders, leaders of businesses with government contracts, or leaders of businesses that operate on partial public funding. There is a common element across most of the businesses represented: in one capacity or another, even if they are private sector businesses, most on the list benefit from some form of public money.

The $50 Billion New Socialist Media

WILL Radio AM 580, affiliated with National Public Radio and sponsored by the University of Illinois, received $1.2 million from the University of Illinois and almost $1.6 million in federal grants, including from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), in 2008.

Under the law, 47 U.S. Code, Section 396(g)(1)(A), programs funded by the CPB are supposed to be objective and balanced. But McChesney openly flouts the law and does not even seem to be familiar with the legal obligations that are supposed to apply to his show and others.

McChesney told AIM that his program "is very popular in our community" and that "The free market has spoken." But his show is not dependent on the free market. Rather, it is supported by tax dollars and on-air fundraisers hosted by McChesney and guests such as Noam Chomsky of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, a Communist Party spin-off.

Obama's Exit Strategy - HUMAN EVENTS

Let us put that in perspective.

During the Korean War, we had a third of a million men fighting. In 1969, we had half a million troops in Vietnam. But in Afghanistan, where the security of the world is at stake, Obama is topping out at 100,000 troops and will start drawing them down in July 2011.

"Of course, this burden is not ours alone to bear. This is not just America's war," said Obama. But if the burden is not ours alone to bear, where is everybody else?

As usual, taking their 5-week a year vacations and harping to us about the advantages of European style socialism. By the time they react to what is happening to them they will be the western province of Iran, and it will be far too late for us to help them. Made their bed, etc. Backlash won't be pretty (again).

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Official Google Blog: Introducing Google Public DNS

Today, as part of our ongoing effort to make the web faster, we're launching our own public DNS resolver called Google Public DNS, and we invite you to try it out.

I wonder what took them so long.

The Washington Times is laying off 40 percent of its staff -

In what amounts to a bid for survival, the company said the print edition will focus on its core strengths: politics, national security, investigative reporting and "cultural coverage based on traditional values." That means the Times will end its run as a full-service newspaper, slashing its coverage of local news, sports and features.

Much of stimulus funding going to Washington area contractors -

Reports from stimulus recipients show that a sizable sum has gone to federal contractors in the Washington area who are helping implement the initiative -- in effect, they are being paid a hefty slice of the money to help spend the rest of it.

The contractors' work hardly differs from the basic operations of the federal departments hiring them. The Energy Department is paying Technology & Management Services, a Gaithersburg firm, $6.9 million to review applications for renewable energy loan guarantees. The Department of Homeland Security awarded Deloitte Consulting's Arlington branch $8.6 million to provide "program management and support" for the stimulus plan's $1 billion airport security initiative, and gave McKing Consulting, a Fairfax firm, a $1.5 million contract to review applications for fire department construction funding.

Our commander in chief's Christmas crisis

We should either unleash the full potential of the U.S. military on Afghanistan to complete the mission as quickly as we can or pull out completely and bring our service men and women home to U.S. soil and their families.

Most tragically, the real aftermath of the White House
delay has been a record number of U.S. casualties – the highest in the eight years of war: 44 in July, 51 in August, 37 in September, 59 in October and 17 more in November.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Opinion: Searching in Vain for the Obama Magic - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Just minutes before the president took the stage inside Eisenhower Hall, the gathered cadets were asked to respond "enthusiastically" to the speech. But it didn't help: The soldiers' reception was cool.

One didn't have to be a cadet on Tuesday to feel a bit of nausea upon hearing Obama's speech. It was the least truthful address that he has ever held. He spoke of responsibility, but almost every sentence smelled of party tactics. He demanded sacrifice, but he was unable to say what it was for exactly.

An additional 30,000 US soldiers are to march into Afghanistan -- and then they will march right back out again. America is going to war -- and from there it will continue ahead to peace. It was the speech of a Nobel War Prize laureate.

What are those mysterious bX-codes? - Blogger Help

Long ago, people who worked with the major computer operating system in the universe ("IBM" mainframe) would maintain a library of reference manuals (yes, paper - and a lot of paper). A significant quantity of these manuals would be incredibly large glossaries of system termination codes. Each code would have a special significance, such as attempting to enter a date containing an alphabetic character. Seeing a given code for a specific database entry, a database engineer would look up the code in the reference manual, then patch the record in error accordingly, and the problem would be solved.

The bX- codes have no similar significance. They are simply unique codes, which identify each individual point of abnormal termination. There's no secret glossary assigning the cause for any single code, just a pointer to the individual termination point in the Blogger codebase. When enough bloggers report a given code, a Blogger employee simply examines the termination point, and using the diagnostic information hopefully provided by the bloggers problem reports, makes a diagnosis of the problem cause. Rarely, the code will be added to a small database (which may or may not be active) which lists uniquely significant codes.

While checking to see why I was getting these "bx" codes myself, I found this wonderful tutorial on how things are done differently these days (and not necessarily for the better). I couldn't have said it better, so copied!

Climategate: it’s all unravelling now – Telegraph Blogs

Danes caught fiddling their carbon credits. (Hat tip: Philip Stott) Carbon trading is the Emperor’s New Clothes of international finance. It was invented by none other than Ken Lay, whose Enron would currently be one of the prime beneficiaries in the global alternative energy market, if it hadn’t been shown to be (nearly) as fraudulent as the current AGW scam. It is a licence to fleece, cheat and rob.

This and more at link.

Google: Zeitgeist 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The United States Of Wusses

The airwaves (and pipes) were clogged by a steady stream of pundits declaring that there was no way Abu Dhabi would let Dubai go bust.

Why not?

Because if Dubai went bust, then... well... then the stock market might go down for a while! Then the idiots who loaned Dubai World money to build huge islands and buildings in the desert would have to pay for their stupidity! Then the buildings' ownership would change in a debt restructuring--the kind that happens every day in a normally functioning capitalist economy!

INCONCEIVABLE!!! » Howard Dean Declares Debate Between Capitalism and Socialism to Be Over


'Overexposed' Obama begins to duck the WH press corps - Washington Times

The president, whose job-approval ratings have been on a steady slide, hasn't held a formal news conference in 19 weeks, since July 22. That one ended badly, when Mr. Obama waded into a racial controversy by saying a white police officer "acted stupidly" when he arrested a black Harvard professor.

"It can't be a total coincidence that the last time he faced the press corps, we ended with beers in the Rose Garden with Henry Louis Gates and James Crowley, when the focus was supposed to be health care," said Julie Mason, a White House reporter for the Washington Examiner who also covered the Bush administration for the Houston Chronicle.

A Bravo Contract Delivered White House Gatecrashers to the Today Show - Gatecrashersgate - Gawker

It's an open secret that morning news shows will pay money to land interviews — they are just very clever about it, never cutting a check directly for an interview. The spurned rival saluted former Today honcho and present NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker's creativity in securing the biggest get of, well, the month so far.

Still, Lauer insisted this morning that NBC News hadn't paid the Salahis

Matt Liar.

Monday, November 30, 2009

YouTube - Michael Crichton - Unpopular Truth

Bowing Crashing Retreating - What's News Tonight

The core of the POTUS support is the hard Democratic base plus the near unanimous African-American vote. That is why POTUS polls will unlikely go below 40% even in the worst of times. John Fund noted that there is a surprise in that the Latino vote has sagged to 60% for a Democratic president; and the white vote overall is at 39%. What causes all this disconfort? Politicio's Mike Allen argues effectively that is it issue based following the long Asia trip and right at the eve of the Afghanistan speech. Perhaps too it is based on a perception that the White House is overwhelmed and undermanned. Karen Hooper,, tells me that an explanation for the State Department's many mistakes on Honduras is that Latin America is a low priority for an overtasked Obama team. This is the same explanation I have heard when asking about the Korean peninsula and the Kim regime problem. The same explanation I have heard with regard the chilly treatment of India. And the same explanation I have heard about the unstable dollar. Excuses don't much work unless you are an infant or a puppy.

Welcome back John Batchelor to nightly programming.

9PM, WABC NY. (and others.)

Fouad Ajami: The Arabs Have Stopped Applauding Obama -

We had once taken to the foreign world that quintessential American difference—the belief in liberty, a needed innocence to play off against the settled and complacent ways of older nations. The Obama approach is different.

Steeped in an overarching idea of American guilt, Mr. Obama and his lieutenants offered nothing less than a doctrine, and a policy, of American penance. No one told Mr. Obama that the Islamic world, where American power is engaged and so dangerously exposed, it is considered bad form, nay a great moral lapse, to speak ill of one's own tribe when in the midst, and in the lands, of others.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Defending Obama…Again | Cato @ Liberty

Let’s use an analogy. Obama’s FY2009 performance is like a relief pitcher who enters a game in the fourth inning trailing 19-0 and allows another run to score. The extra run is nothing to cheer about, of course, but fans should be far more angry with the starting pitcher. That having been said, Obama since that point has been serving up meatballs to the special interests in Washington, so his earned run average may actually wind up being worse than his predecessor’s. He promised change, but it appears that Obama wants to be Bush on steroids.

Climate change data dumped - Times Online

SCIENTISTS at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have admitted throwing away much of the raw temperature data on which their predictions of global warming are based.

It means that other academics are not able to check basic calculations said to show a long-term rise in temperature over the past 150 years.

The UEA’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) was forced to reveal the loss following requests for the data under Freedom of Information legislation.

I think the term "sientists" would better be quoted in this article rather than all-caps.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New York Appellate Court Rules in Favor of Basketball Arena Developers -

"Instead, the majority argued that because the state had designated the area as blighted, the takings were therefore a 'public use,' and it was not the place of the court to interfere. Nevermind that the determination of blight was based largely on a study funded by . . . the aspiring developer."

Android News. The Googlephone: Google gears up for attack on mobile-phone market

Google sounded its intentions two weeks ago when it purchased a small company called Gizmo5, which had developed technology to connect Google Voice with voice-over-internet (Voip) networks such as Skype. Now Google has the means to offer a complete, end-to-end phone service, with which consumers can make and receive calls between the Googlephone and other phones or computers anywhere in the world, and often for nothing.

“We’ve never had this situation, where a single vendor controls the entire stack, from the operating system right up to Google’s cloud services,” says Kumar. “It changes the competitive and bargaining dynamics like never before.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Decade Later, FCC's E-Rate Program Still A Mess - Welcome to dysfunction junction... -

The FCC could take a new look at the program when new FCC Commissioner Julius Genachowski finally gets Congressional approval. But any serious telecom reform may not happen until August, and USF reform may again be buried under the clamor surrounding the creation of a new national broadband policy. Even then, should lobbyists get their way, most of the USF "reform" could focus on ensuring that Verizon and AT&T get a broader slice of the USF pie, not on holding carriers and E-Rate money recipients more accountable.

Emphasis added.

And the band plays on.

Monday, November 23, 2009 News

Peter Harvey, a partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, who attended a Nov. 18 lawyer fundraiser for Cuomo and has been a supporter since Cuomo ran for attorney general, said that a contribution means “you get a meeting.”

No Special Treatment

“You get an opportunity to communicate your thoughts but that doesn’t mean the person listening is going to agree with you,” he said. In fact, he said, “because you are a supporter they will be careful not to give you any special treatment” so they can’t be accused of anything.

Uh, yeah, sure.

The Dodd-Frank Bills Leave No Bondholder Behind -

While most scholarly investigations of the too-big-to-fail phenomenon start from the premise that it's a problem, Messrs. Dodd and Frank appear to view it as the cornerstone of our financial system. This may not be surprising given their history. Mr. Frank is famous for saying he wanted to "roll the dice" with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Less well known is how Mr. Dodd has labored to make Wall Street increasingly eligible for the taxpayer safety net. By raising expectations that bailouts will be available, he has, as much as anyone in Congress, encouraged the risk-taking that took the financial system to the brink of ruin.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Driving in the Wrong Direction: The Sordid Details and Lasting Consequences of the Bush/Obama Auto Industry Intervention | Cato Institute: Policy Foru

According to their own interpretation of events, the Bush and then Obama administrations rescued the entire U.S. auto industry from imminent disaster and total failure. But in fact, a potential collapse only threatened General Motors and Chrysler, whose years of bad decision-making had finally caught up with them. Pouring cash into these two corporate clunkers may have "saved" them, for now, but in the process other companies were penalized, laws were circumvented, property rights were trampled, and America's tradition of free enterprise was badly damaged.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

David S. Broder - David Broder: Fears of health-reform cost are justifiable

I have been writing for months that the acid test for this effort lies less in the publicized fight over the public option or the issue of abortion coverage than in the plausibility of its claim to be fiscally responsible.

This is obviously turning out to be the case. While the CBO said that both the House-passed bill and the one Reid has drafted meet Obama's test by being budget-neutral, every expert I have talked to says that the public has it right. These bills, as they stand, are budget-busters.

George F. Will: Fossil fuels belie environmentalism -

For many years, most oil was used for lighting and lubrication, and the amounts extracted were modest. Then in 1901, a new well named for an East Texas hillock, Spindletop, began gushing more per day than all other U.S. wells combined.

Since then, America has exhausted its hydrocarbon supplies. Repeatedly

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The $100 Million Health Care Vote? - The Note

I am told the section applies to exactly one state: Louisiana, the home of moderate Democrat Mary Landrieu, who has been playing hard to get on the health care bill.

In other words, the bill spends two pages describing would could be written with a single world: Louisiana. (This may also help explain why the bill is long.)

Senator Harry Reid, who drafted the bill, cannot pass it without the support of Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu.

How much does it cost? According to the Congressional Budget Office: $100 million.

Cloward–Piven strategy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Cloward–Piven strategy is a political strategy outlined by Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, then both sociologists and political activists at the Columbia University School of Social Work, in a 1966 article in The Nation. The two argued that many Americans who were eligible for welfare were not receiving benefits, and that a welfare enrollment drive would create a political crisis that would force U.S. politicians, particularly the Democratic Party, to enact legislation "establishing a guaranteed national income."


House Panel Approves Broad Auditing of Federal Reserve -

The approval came as the House Financial Services Committee concluded weeks of debate on a sweeping financial-overhaul bill to create a new council of regulators to wind down large institutions that pose a risk to the economy. A final committee vote on the bill will be postponed until after Thanksgiving.

Mr. Paul's amendment removes restrictions on the Government Accountability Office's auditing authority, giving auditors access to every item on the Fed's balance sheet. He for more than 20 years has championed significantly neutering the Fed.

Let's "hope", but somehow I think we'll be remembering sayings about snowballs and hell soon.

Obama Promotes Louis Butler Despite WI Voters Rejecting Him -

As consolation prizes go, Louis Butler can't complain. After being twice rejected by Wisconsin voters for a place on the state Supreme Court, the former judge has instead been nominated by President Obama to a lifetime seat on the federal district court. If he is confirmed, Wisconsin voters will have years to contend with the decisions of a judge they made clear they would rather live without.

Judge Butler served on the state Supreme Court for four years, enough time to have his judicial temperament grow in infamy. Having first run unsuccessfully in 2000, he was appointed by Democratic Governor Jim Doyle to the seat vacated by Justice Diane Sykes in 2004. But after serving four years, voters had seen enough of his brand of judicial philosophy, making him the first sitting justice on the Wisconsin Supreme Court in four decades to lose a retention election last year.

The Google Phone Is Very Real. And It’s Coming Soon

Way more interesting are the rumors we’ve been hearing for months about a pure Google-branded phone. Most of our sources have unconfirmed information, which we describe below. But there are a few things we have absolutely confirmed: Google is building their own branded phone that they’ll sell directly and through retailers. They were long planning to have the phone be available by the holidays, but it has now slipped to early 2010. The phone will be produced by a major phone manufacturer but will only have Google branding (Microsoft did the same thing with their first Zunes, which were built by Toshiba).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How Andy Stern Got Around Obama’s “No Lobbyist” Policy; He Just Didn’t Register

President Obama has always made a pretty big deal about not working with “lobbyists”. Registered lobbyists can’t get stimulus money, can’t be White House advisors and are not allowed access to meetings and summits. So how does one get around that? It’s simple; you just don’t register as a lobbyist. That’s what Andy Stern did and it may come back to bite him.

Al Gore and the Great Debate: Will He or Won’t He?

The notion of remaining silent is not one readily associated with Al Gore. But, by his steadfast, years-long refusal to do anything other than pontificate about his views, such as defend them in an exchange with anyone who might know what they’re talking about, he does seem to be adopting some form of the adage “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”.

The Health Care Rationing Commission -

Like most of Europe, the various health bills stipulate that Congress will arbitrarily decide how much to spend on health care for seniors every year—and then invest an unelected board with extraordinary powers to dictate what is covered and how it will be paid for. White House budget director Peter Orszag calls this Medicare commission "critical to our fiscal future" and "one of the most potent reforms."

On that last score, he's right. Prominent health economist Alain Enthoven has likened a global budget to "bombing from 35,000 feet, where you don't see the faces of the people you kill."

When preschoolers ask questions, they want explanations

"Curiosity plays a big part in preschoolers' lives. A new study that explored why young children ask so many 'why' questions concludes that children are motivated by a desire for explanation."

Apparently nature is conditioning them for a career in seeking government grant money where endless studies must be conducted to confirm that which is already obvious to normal people.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Jobs Saved or Created in Congressional Districts That Don't Exist - ABC News

Here's a stimulus success story: In Arizona's 15th congressional district, 30 jobs have been saved or created with just $761,420 in federal stimulus spending. At least that's what the Web site set up by the Obama administration to track the $787 billion stimulus says.

There's one problem, though: There is no 15th congressional district in Arizona; the state has only eight districts.

Monday, November 16, 2009

David Brooks, Senior Editor The Weekly Standard

Mr. Brooks graduated from the University of Chicago in 1983, and worked as a police reporter for the City News Bureau, a wire service owned jointly by the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times.

David Brooks is a joke. A potential talk-show host.

Paterson Rips White House For NYC 9/11 Trial -

"This is not a decision that I would have made. I think terrorism isn't just attack, it's anxiety and I think you feel the anxiety and frustration of New Yorkers who took the bullet for the rest of the country,"

"Our country was attacked on its own soil on September 11, 2001 and New York was very much the epicenter of that attack. Over 2,700 lives were lost," he said. "It's very painful. We're still having trouble getting over it. We still have been unable to rebuild that site and having those terrorists so close to the attack is gonna be an encumbrance on all New Yorkers."

The Real Axis of Evil: Washington, the Fed, and Wall Street

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Carl Sagan - 'A Glorious Dawn' ft Stephen Hawking (Cosmos Remixed)

And... in case you are wondering as I was...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Kim Strassel: The EPA's Paranoid Style -

Meet the Obama EPA, and its new suppressing, paranoid style. It was the president who once ripped the Bush administration for silencing scientific critics, and it was EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson who began her tenure promising the agency would operate like a "fishbowl." But that was before EPA realized how vastly unpopular is its plan to usurp Congress and regulate the economy on its own, based on its bizarre finding that CO2 is a danger to health.

After spending binge, White House says it will focus on deficits - Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei -

"On the practical side, Obama has spent more money on new programs in nine months than Bill Clinton did in eight years, pushing the annual deficit to $1.4 trillion. This leaves little room for big spending initiatives."

Have we reached the DUH moment yet?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

ACORN Sues Over 'Unconstitutional' Funding Cuts By Congress -

Representatives for ACORN sued the federal government Thursday morning in an attempt to regain the millions of dollars in funding the community organizing group lost after filmmakers videotaped its workers offering advice on how to commit tax fraud and various other felonies.

The suit charges Congress with violating the Constitution when it passed legislation in September that specifically targeted ACORN to lose federal housing, education and transportation funds.


A group of imbeciles in a nation of imbeciles being run by imbeciles.

Nothing surprises me any more.

Video Interview: Ken Auletta, Author of "Googled: The End of the World as We Know It" | Kara Swisher | BoomTown | AllThingsD

Two things….

Rumors of Microsoft’s death are much exaggerated. If it were a small company, of the sort that the New York Times is getting to be, then yes, we could see the handwriting on the wall. But it’s a big company, with lots of money in the bank, and more importantly an installed base that can’t be easily dislodged.

Suppose Congress/Obama mandated that every vehicle purchased by the US government be from GM. Furthermore, everyone who wanted to visit DC to interact with government had to use a GM vehicle (hey this actually happened!), and everyone corresponding by other means must prove ownership of a GM vehicle. Another company comes along with personal airplanes that fly themselves and, theoretically, obsolete the car, and the government requires that they all be equipped with 4 heavy rubber tires and be shaped like a car. After trying to ignore complaints of unfair GM advantages, the government launches an investigation into companies still making horse drawn carriages (IBM in my little morality play).

That’s the situation that has been in place with Microsoft for years, and even with some Google fans in the White House, I don’t see it changing anytime soon. While our politicians may talk about change, the unelected people who are in Washington don’t care for it at all. The only reason the Feds stopped buying Wang mini computers was that the company stopped selling them. There was gnashing of teeth when bureaucrats had to actually think about what all those machines were doing so that functionality could be transferred to machines running Windows, Oracle, Powerbuilder. Most of those people plan to retire before they ever put themselves through such a thing again.

As to logic versus “emotional intelligence”… I’ve always thought such terms are really intended to describe things that are in fact logic, but which haven’t been described yet in terms of logic. “Intuition” for example. That is, if in fact the actions you take by such means ultimately work out for the good. But what if the results of this intuition can’t be measured, and what if those who propose it as unmeasurable do so intentionally?

Of course there is a lot of that going around these days, with changes being proposed the benefits of which cannot be measured, now or in the future. How convenient. Such thinking is the playground for corruption and snake oil salesmen, voodoo economics and ultimately Luddism. The extent to which Google partakes of this is proportional to the extent to which they cause their own downfall.

For how many years have we been asked to accept the notion that we are well served by a desktop operating system which is installed insecure by design, but for which you must pay extra to buy software to change all those settings to (hopefully) make it more secure? That there are “viruses” that the OS can’t detect, but which add-on software can? That sounds a lot like the sort of “emotional intelligence” we are being asked to consume these days in all aspects of our life.

I hope Google sticks to it’s engineering bias toward being able to predict and measure things. I just wish the country as a whole could reacquaint itself with that same concept and atttude.

Judy Shelton: The Fed's Woody Allen Policy -

In the Woody Allen film "Annie Hall," the main character tries to explain irrational relationships by recounting an old joke. "This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, 'My brother's crazy, he thinks he's a chicken.' The doctor says, 'Well, why don't you turn him in?' And the guy says, 'I would, but I need the eggs.'"

It takes similar reasoning to reconcile the elation felt across America every time the stock market rises—partially replenishing personal investment portfolios and 401(k) retirement plans—with the uneasy feeling that we are being set up for yet another big financial disappointment. We dare to hope that the economy is growing solidly once more, that the Federal Reserve has superior knowledge about providing liquidity, and that the U.S. Treasury knows what it's doing by guaranteeing money market-fund assets.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

FCC Falling Afoul of Key Senators

Setting aside tersely-worded warnings from Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. John (Jay) Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) regarding the prospect of the FCC submitting a broadband plan that is “complicated, esoteric, filled with grandiose ideas and dependent on protracted rulemaking to implement,” the Committee as a whole is reportedly concerned about the overly highbrow nature of discussions regarding the plan:

“There’s growing concern within the Senate Commerce Committee that the process has become too academic. Dozens of workshops designed to provide the public with an opportunity to learn about the plan and interact with the agency have featured Ph.D.-level policy discussions that even some telecom experts have difficultly understanding.”

Update: Lou Dobbs to Quit CNN - Media Decoder Blog -

Well known for his political positions, Mr. Dobbs is an outlier at CNN, which has sought to position itself as a middle ground of sorts in the fractious cable news arena. The CNN employees said Wednesday that they did not know if Mr. Dobbs was moving to another network.

Middle ground: HA!

Stimulus fund job benefits exaggerated, review finds - The Boston Globe

While Massachusetts recipients of federal stimulus money collectively report 12,374 jobs saved or created, a Globe review shows that number is wildly exaggerated. Organizations that received stimulus money miscounted jobs, filed erroneous figures, or claimed jobs for work that has not yet started.

The Globe’s finding is based on the federal government’s just-released accounts of stimulus spending at the end of October. It lists the nearly $4 billion in stimulus awards made to an array of Massachusetts government agencies, universities, hospitals, private businesses, and nonprofit organizations, and notes how many jobs each created or saved.

Jobs or no jobs, I'm sure those who knew the right people got paid off for their "support".

One of the largest reported jobs figures comes from Bridgewater State College, which is listed as using $77,181 in stimulus money for 160 full-time work-study jobs for students. But Bridgewater State spokesman Bryan Baldwin said the college made a mistake and the actual number of new jobs was “almost nothing.’’ Bridgewater has submitted a correction, but it is not yet reflected in the report.

A silly claim even if it were true. That's $482 in total for each "full time" job? That's starting to sound like the Chinese wages we keep hearing about. I had no idea they were paying that type of slave wages in upscale MA. This Obamanomics is something isn't it?

Groklaw - Microsoft Patents Sudo?!!

Lordy, lordy, lordy. They have no shame. It appears that Microsoft has just patented sudo, a personalized version of it.

Here it is, patent number7617530. Thanks, USPTO, for giving Microsoft, which is already a monopoly, a monopoly on something that's been in use since 1980 and wasn't invented by Microsoft. Here's Wikipedia's description of sudo, which you can meaningfully compare to Microsoft's description of its "invention".

This is why what the US Supreme Court does about software patents means so much. Hopefully they will address the topic in their decision on Bilski. Sudo is an integral part of the functioning of GNU/Linux systems, and you use it in Mac OSX also. Maybe the Supreme Court doesn't know that, and maybe the USPTO didn't realize it. But do you believe Microsoft knows it?

Über-Programmer Ditches Yahoo Over 'Lame' Microsoft Deal - Yahoo - Gawker

No one likes Yahoo's search deal with Microsoft. Wall Street wanted more up front money; tech elites called it an abdication, a "shame" and "seppuku." Now Yahoo is losing a programming icon over the embarrassing arrangement.

UPS vs. FEDEX: Ultimate Whiteboard Remix

Official Gmail Blog: More extra storage for less

While storage costs have been dropping naturally, we've also been working hard to improve our infrastructure to reduce costs even further. Today, we're dramatically lowering our prices to make extra storage more affordable. You can now buy 20 GB for only $5 a year, twice as much storage for a quarter of the old price, and enough space for more than 10,000 full resolution pictures taken with a five megapixel camera. And if you need more than 20 GB, you can purchase up to 16 terabytes!

Upgrading Storage : How it works - Picasa Help

I noticed today that suddenly I had a LOT more spare space on my Google account. Seems Google has gotten much more generous with paid storage:

20 GB - $5/yr
80 GB - $20/yr
200 GB - $50/yr
400 GB - $100/yr
1 TB - $256/yr
2 TB - $512/yr
4 TB - $1024/yr
8 TB - $2048/yr
16 TB - $4096/yr

Wisdom of Radio Callers...

"It's a badge of honor to be called a teabagger by a scumbag."

Holman Jenkins: The Economic Uses of Al Gore -

In retrospect, a significant moment was the falling apart or debunking of two key attempts seemingly well-suited to clinch matters for a scientifically literate public. One, the famous hockey stick graph, which suggested the temperature rise of the past 100 years was unprecedentedly steep, was convincingly challenged. The other, a mining of the geological record to show past episodes of warming were sharply coupled with rising CO2 levels, fell victim to a closer look that revealed that past warmings had preceded rather than followed higher CO2 levels.

These episodes from a decade ago testified to one important thing: Even climate activists recognized a need for evidence from the real world. The endless invocation of computer models wasn't cutting it. Yet today the same circles are more dependent than ever on predictions made by models, whose forecasts lie far enough in the future that those who rely on them to make policy prescriptions are in no danger of being held accountable for their reliability.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Catholic Bishops Help Pass Pelosicare

The AARP and American Medical Association supported H.R. 3692, the Affordable Health Care for America Act of 2009, but a careful analysis of the media coverage demonstrates that it was the U.S. Catholic Church that provided the winning margin. Yet, the liberal media are failing to raise the issue of the alleged separation of church and state.

Contrary to some media reports, the U.S. Catholics Bishops never opposed a national health care scheme. In fact, their main objection was to a provision for federal funding of abortion. Once that provision was eliminated, the Catholic Bishops embraced the bill.

Fouad Ajami: From Berlin to Baghdad -

It would stand to reason that 45 years of vigilance would spawn a desire for repose. The disputations of history had ended, we came to believe. Such was the zeitgeist of the '90s, the Nasdaq era, a decade of infatuation with globalization. The call of blood and soil had receded, we were certain then. Bill Clinton defined that era, in the way Ronald Reagan had defined his time. This wasn't quite a time of peace. Terrorists were targeting our military installations and housing compounds and embassies. A skiff in Aden rode against one of our battleships. But we would not give this struggle the label—and the attention—it deserved.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Why the Berlin Wall Fell -

Those contrasts were even more apparent to the Germans trapped on the wrong side of the Wall. Barbed wire, closed military zones and the machinery of communist propaganda could keep the prosperity of the West out of sight of most people living east of the Iron Curtain. But that wasn't true for the people of East Berlin, many of whom merely had to look out their windows to understand how empty and cynical were the promises of socialism compared to the reality of a free-market system.

Yet it bears recalling that even these obvious political facts were obscure to many people who lived in freedom and should have known better. "Despite what many Americans think, most Soviets do not yearn for capitalism or Western-style democracy," said CBS's Dan Rather just two years before the Wall fell. And when Reagan delivered his historic speech in Berlin calling on Mr. Gorbachev to "tear down this wall," he did so after being warned by some of his senior advisers that the language was "unpresidential," and after thousands of protesters had marched through West Berlin in opposition.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Report: 237 millionaires in Congress - Erika Lovley -

"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gained about $9.2 million. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) gained about $3 million, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) had an estimated $2.6 million gain, and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) gained about $2.8 million.

Some lawmakers have profited from investments in companies that have received federal bailouts; dozens of lawmakers are invested in Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America."

Ya don't say!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

George F. Will on the changing climate for a global warming treaty -

In their new book, "SuperFreakonomics," Steven D. Levitt, a University of Chicago economist, and Stephen J. Dubner, a journalist, worry about global warming but revive some inconvenient memories of 30 years ago. Then intelligent people agreed (see above) that global cooling threatened human survival. It had, Newsweek reported, "taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average." Some scientists proposed radical measures to cause global warming -- for example, covering the arctic ice cap with black soot that would absorb heat and cause melting.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

YouTube - Chris Matthews Guest: "You're Making My Leg Tingle"

Mathews shows again that he can dish it out but can't take it. What a pathetic performance.

Herbert Pardes: The Coming Shortage of Doctors -

In the debates about the current "hot topic" of political conversation there seems to be a steady confusion, or maybe obfuscation is a better word, between "health coverage" (that is, insurance) and "health care" (that is, doctors, hospitals, medicines and affiliated technologies). All of this conveniently glosses over the issue of supply (demand we seem to have a handle on)...

Even in the absence of health-care reform, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges, the U.S. will face a shortage of at least 125,000 physicians by 2025. We have about 700,000 active physicians today. One factor driving this shortage is that the baby-boomer generation is getting older and will require more care. By 2025 the number of people over 65 will have increased by about 75% of what it is today—to 64 million from 37 million today.

Doctors are also aging. By 2020, as many as one-third of the physicians currently practicing will likely retire. If health-care reform adds millions of people to the health-care market, the shortage of doctors will be even greater than it is projected to be now.

Dems Need to Start Over -

Mr. Obama campaigned on a pledge to spare 95% of Americans from tax increases, but the American middle class is slowly figuring out that it will eventually be asked—that's the polite way of putting it—to pay for all of this. These looming bills, and not only from the $787 billion stimulus, are clouding the investment outlook.

Nowhere is this more true than on health care. The House bill is the very definition of a job killer, funding another entitlement program with a payroll tax equal to 8% of wages on businesses that don't offer insurance even as it inflicts a huge 5.4-percentage-point marginal rate tax hike on those earning over $500,000. The Democrats' own Joint Tax Committee says that one-third of the $460.5 billion this is estimated to raise over 10 years will come from small businesses that create most new jobs.

Some TVs Go Directly Online for Streaming Movies -

The early answers didn’t inspire many couch potatoes to get off the sofa. You could either plug a laptop computer into your TV set (assuming the computer and the television had the right connections) or buy a box, called a media extender, for your home theater that received streaming files from your computer. Media extenders proved obstreperous and confusing: some files wouldn’t play on some extenders, the boxes were awkward to set up and movie downloads were painfully slow.

Paul Ingrassia: How Ford Made Its Comeback -

"It's interesting, then, that Consumer Reports rates the quality of the four-cylinder Ford Fusion higher than the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, and the Lincoln MKZ higher than its Acura and Lexus counterparts. The Fusion and MKZ are built in a factory without job classifications because it's in Hermosillo, Mexico, and isn't represented by the UAW. If Ford targets future expansion in Mexico, the recent contract vote will spell further decline for a union that, like Detroit's car companies, badly needs cultural change."

Obama administration missteps hamper Mideast efforts -

"President Obama came into office insisting that his administration would press hard and fast to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But after nine months, analysts and diplomats say, the administration's efforts have faltered in part because of its own missteps."

Daniel Levy, a veteran Israeli peace negotiator now at the Century Foundation in Washington, summed up the administration's efforts in recent days as "amateur night at the Apollo Theater." He said the administration did not game out the consequences of its demands on the parties -- and then flinched. "They just dug deeper and deeper their own grave," he said. "All of this talk of negotiations doesn't cut the mustard in the region."

Coincidental Obscenity Deemed Extremely Dubious -

In a looking back article on a recent California gubernatorial veto the mathematics are discussed and the comments contain some amateurish efforts to mimic the veto letter, but then there is one gem:

For a former actor and bodybuilder, this governor shows a remarkable
understatement in letting the legislature know what he really thinks, and in
communicating what those moonbats need to hear, even if it upsets their
karma or chakras or whatever.

Their problem is not illiteracy; they can read between the lines without any
help from the media. Their problem is innumeracy; they don't get basic
economic principles enough to see what everyone else can see, that
most of their state's economic problems are of their own doing.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Saying No To Big Software -

According to Sims, open-source software is not only as good as proprietary vendor software, but in many cases, he claims it's even better. In addition, he says he has saved his company over 50% in IT costs annually since he replaced proprietary software from Oracle, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard with open-source solutions.

Slashdot Your Rights Online Story | Secret Copyright Treaty Leaks. It's Bad. Very Bad.

How's that "change" working out for ya?

Cuomo Files Antitrust Suit Against Intel -

"The suit alleges that for several years, Intel sought to maintain its dominance of the computer-chip market by paying billions of dollars in kickbacks to computer makers under the guise of 'rebates.' The suit also alleges Intel threatened computer-makers—including Hewlett-Packard Co., International Business Machines Corp., and Dell Inc.–with retribution if they marketed products with chips made by competitors."

I'm glad I'm not the only one to spot this guy's obvious resume building activities. While in this case I agree that Intel probably has dirty hands, this would make more sense as a Justice Department action, who instead has been saber rattling at IBM while turning a blind eye to the activities of Intel and Microsoft.

We need someone to investigate the investigators.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

YouTube - Dont Copy Europes Mistakes: Less Government Is the Right Way to Fix Healthcare

Bye-bye Arne: Why we don't need an education secretary - Class Struggle - Jay Mathews on Education

"I think the No Child Left Behind law, supported by both parties, was an improvement over previous federal policies, but it was only copying what several states had already done to make schools accountable and identify schools that needed extra help.

Duncan will never admit this, but I am betting that soon he will realize, if he hasn't already, that he had the potential to do much more for students when he was running the Chicago schools. He was able to make vital decisions like appointing principals, rather than push papers and give speeches in his new Washington gig."

Also from Cato:

Too bad Mathews wasn’t willing to go all the way on this. But just for proposing that we put the position of U.S. Secretary of Education out to pasture, he deserves some hearty applause.

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: We are closing in on 5.3% market share -- watch out, Microsoft!

Surprise: ABC’s Sawyer Hits Gore on Profits From Global Warming, Plays Glenn Beck Attack |

Speaking of the upcoming global warming conference in Copenhagen and of China’s environmental record, Sawyer quizzed, "And everyone keeps saying, how can go and have the U.S. commit to controls when China is not doing the same thing? What's the point?" After Gore ducked the question and touted the country’s solar power facilities, the ABC host tried again: "But they're still the major polluter on CO2."

Finally, the anchor highlighted a front page story in the November 3 New York Times on how some critics accuse Gore of profiting from climate change: "But they [the New York Times] say you are about to become, perhaps, the world's first carbon billionaire because of the amounts of money that you've made from your investments, from your green investment."

Sawyer certainly should be commended for being far tougher than CBS Evening News host Katie Couric. As the MRC’s Brent Baker noted, she enthused on "I'm honored to be joined today by the Godfather of Green, the King of Conservation: Former Vice President Al Gore."

Gore’s Dual Role in Spotlight - Advocate and Investor -

Mr. Gore and his partners decided to back the company, and in gratitude Silver Spring retained him and John Doerr, another Kleiner Perkins partner, as unpaid corporate advisers.

The deal appeared to pay off in a big way last week, when the Energy Department announced $3.4 billion in smart grid grants. Of the total, more than $560 million went to utilities with which Silver Spring has contracts. Kleiner Perkins and its partners, including Mr. Gore, could recoup their investment many times over in coming years.

Monday, November 02, 2009

“Internet Freedom”: How Statists Corrupt Our Language — Technology Liberation Front

What makes Maddow’s comments so stunning is not her view that corporate America, rather than government, is the real enemy of freedom. That view is simply part of the long-regnant political orthodoxy. No, what’s stunning is that she actually thinks that her side is losing the “war of words” just because Sen. McCain had the gall to use the term “Internet Freedom” as a rallying-cry for the outdated, bourgeois notion that “freedom” means the absence of coercion by the one entity that can enforce its commands at the point of a gun and call it “justice”: that coldest of all cold monsters, the State. That’s precisely what “liberalism” used to be about until people like Rachel appropriated that word and words like “liberty” and “freedom” as slogans for control.

Technology News: Tech Buzz: How to Solve the Net Neutrality Issue

Regulation by the U.S. government is not the way to keep the Internet neutral. A better approach would be self-regulation. Now is the time for ISPs to support an independent, private body to monitor neutrality issues and forestall the possibility of the FCC "managing competition" on the Internet.

Anyone who has followed how well the FCC "managed competition" in telecommunications gasps with horror at the thought that a similar fate might await the Net. Indeed, even the left-leaning Electronic Frontier Foundation is worried about the FCC's move toward Net neutrality regulations since, as EFF staff attorney Corynne McSherry correctly argues, "experience shows that the FCC is particularly vulnerable to regulatory capture and has a history of ignoring grassroots public opinion."

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Pay-to-Play and the Tort Bar -

Mr. Cuomo's campaign happens to have received $200,000 from securities law firms. Perhaps it's merely a coincidence that the expected candidate for governor in 2010 doesn't want to investigate his funders. Mr. Cuomo recently proposed legislation that puts restrictions on campaign donations from investment firms seeking pension business. His proposal does not seek the same restrictions on securities law firms. Perhaps that's another coincidence.

If Mr. Cuomo won't investigate pay-to-play torts on his own, then someone else should investigate Mr. Cuomo's relationship with these pay-to-play law firms.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The John Batchelor Show :: Very Cool Climate Data - De-Brief

The UN climate pow-wow at Copenhagen approaches with the strangely irksome detail that there is no scientific, political, or philosophical agreement that mankind is the cause or even a factor in the recorded climate progression of the planet. The meaning of this confusion is that the behemoth Cap and Trade legislation in the Congress is suspect as junk science, hooey, a tricked up tax grab, and the parley at Copenhagen may have the credibility of the Red Queen's Justice Ministry.

Daily Times - Site Edition [Printer Friendly Version]

Al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan: Hillary Clinton

* US taxes everything, and ‘that’s not what we see in Pakistan’
* Pakistan must start planning for challenges posed by population growth
* US secretary of state meets COAS

LAHORE: The leadership of Al Qaeda is in Pakistan, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.

“I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to,” she added.

“Maybe that’s the case; maybe they’re not gettable. I don’t know... As far as we know, they are in Pakistan,” Clinton told senior Pakistani newspaper editors in Lahore, AFP reported. “The percentage of taxes on GDP (in Pakistan) is among the lowest in the world... We (the United States) tax everything that moves and doesn’t move, and that’s not what we see in Pakistan,” she said.

Hillary leaves State Department, Joins Pakistani Bureau of Immigration.

Democrats' climate bill failure -

"Supporters of the climate bill passed by the House and the similar bill under consideration in the Senate -- including President Obama and Democratic congressional leaders -- say that the cap-and-trade approach would guarantee greenhouse-gas reductions. But this claim ignores the flaws inherent in both bills that would undermine even their weak emissions-reduction targets and would lock in climate degradation."

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kristiansen: Boeing's pick of South Carolina for 787 line should be 'wake-up call' for Washington state

House Republican Caucus Chairman Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, issued the following statement after Boeing announced it would put its second line for building the 787 in South Carolina, not Snohomish County.

"It's extremely disappointing that Boeing has chosen South Carolina over Washington, but not surprising at all. Boeing has been very critical of our state's difficult regulatory atmosphere. At the end of the day, it has to be able to compete successfully on an international scale, especially against Airbus. Instead of providing a level playing field, Washington has consistently put up barriers that make it difficult not only for Boeing to compete, but also for other employers throughout our state.

"It's been no secret that other states have been courting Boeing for years. Boeing has tried to make it work here. However, it has gotten to a point with unemployment insurance issues, regulatory burdens, business and occupation taxes, and recently, the governor being willing to consider tax increases, that Washington is no longer a place where Boeing can be competitive.

Yossi Klein Halevi: The Return of Israel's Existential Dread -

"Few Israelis took seriously the recent call by former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski to shoot down Israeli planes if they take off for Iran. But American attempts to reassure the Israeli public of its commitment to Israel's security have largely backfired. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent threat to 'obliterate' Iran if it launched a nuclear attack against Israel only reinforced Israeli fears that the U.S. would prefer to contain a nuclear Iran rather than pre-empt it militarily."

Big Labor’s Selfish Healthcare Motivation

"Labor complains about paying taxes to the government while pocketing union dues, in essence, an employment tax that gives workers the right to keep their job. Taxing hard working Americans is unfair, which is why people should not be forced to join a union.

The marginalized worker is being exploited, by unions, to further labor’s political agenda. Although unions have it right, health care shouldn’t be taxed, it is hard to take them seriously, as they have little credibility in the realm of free choice."

Fannie and Freddie’s Starring Role in the Housing Debacle

"It was an evolution that took years in the making. As HUD secretary, Andrew Cuomo boasted in one report in the late 1990s that the new mandates he was imposing on Fannie and Freddie to ramp up subprime lending “could be of significant benefit to lower-income families, minorities, and families living in underserved areas.”"

Net Neutrality For Campaign Donors

USA Today goes on to report that one top-level fundraiser apparently awarded with a plum job is Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski.

The paper reports that Genachowski raised more than $500,000 for Obama—which critics charge may have helped him “buy” a position that now puts him at the center of one of Washington’s most heated policy debates, namely that regarding net neutrality.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

House health bill clocks in at 1,990 pages - Jonathan Allen -

And for those who cry “read the bill,” beware. There are plenty of paragraphs like this one:

“(a) Outpatient Hospitals – (1) In General – Section 1833(t)(3)(C)(iv) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395(t)(3)(C)(iv)) is amended – (A) in the first sentence – (i) by inserting “(which is subject to the productivity adjustment described in subclause (II) of such section)” after “1886(b)(3)(B)(iii); and (ii) by inserting “(but not below 0)” after “reduced”; and (B) in the second sentence, by inserting “and which is subject, beginning with 2010 to the productivity adjustment described in section 1886(b)(3)(B)(iii)(II)”.

orkut Blog: Introducing the new version of orkut: fun new features, faster browsing, the same great friends

Hell hath frozen over!

Caveat: I still don't see the new interface, and most people will not until they open it up. At least this time the claim isn't that it is only available in Brazil and India.

I suspect this is far too little and far too late to have any impact on Facebook.

Recommendation to Google: Buy what's left of Myspace and Ask and add to your existing international Orkut base and give Facebook a REAL run for their money. Otherwise, this is no more than a respectable holding action, but a holding action none the less.

Simon Thulbourn - I'm getting better!

"It turns out, it's remarkably easy to register people as dead with Facebook, you need very little information and the person who you're killing off doesn't need to confirm that they aren't dead, all you need is:

Networks (not even all of them)
Date of birth
Their email address
A URL of an obituary that no one will bother to read (we'll come back to this)"

If Facebook was a grade school student and you were his teacher, you would write a note home to his mother saying that "Face needs to pay more attention to the work that he turns in. I know he is capable of doing better."


MSN Direct Support

"3. I just bought an MSN Direct enabled navigation device, what do I do?
MSN Direct service will continue to be available until 01/01/2012. New 12 Month subscriptions will continue to be offered through December 2010. If service beyond 01/01/2012 is a concern, please see your retailer for information on device returns."

What better example of a company that views it's customer as chattel. How dare they complain about having paid extra for a product that uses a service that will expire in a couple of years (and don't count on it working too well in the mean time by the way).

Message to hardware makers: don't "partner" with Microsoft!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Google's Free GPS Service Crushes Garmin, TomTom Shares (GOOG, GRMN, NOK, AAPL)

"Investors fled GPS-makers' shares today after Google announced it would offer free turn-by-turn GPS directions in its Android phones and as a service for other mobile phones, like Apple's iPhone.

Garmin shares dropped 17% and TomTom shares dropped 21%."


Google Public Policy Blog: Our response to the FCC on Google Voice

"We went to work on this fix because earlier this year, we noticed an extremely high number of calls were being made to an extremely small number of destinations. In fact, the top 10 telephone prefixes -- the area code plus the first three digits of a seven digit number, e.g., 555-555-XXXX -- generated more than 160 times the expected traffic volumes, and accounted for a whopping 26 percent of our monthly connection costs."

Sounds like Google is about to be hoist by its own Network Neutrality petard.

That didn't take long.

Governator in acrostic 'f**k you' outrage • The Register

Democratic donors rewarded with W.H. perks - Washington Times

"High-dollar fundraisers have been promised access to senior White House officials in exchange for pledges to donate $30,400 personally or to bundle $300,000 in contributions ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to internal Democratic National Committee documents obtained by The Washington Times."

Middle Class New Yorkers Fleeing State -

"Between 2000 and 2008, the Empire State had a net domestic outflow of more than 1.5 million, the biggest exodus of any state, with most hailing from New York City. The departures also have perilous budget consequences, since they tend to include residents who are better off than those arriving. Statewide, departing families have income levels 13% higher than those moving in, while in New York County (home of Manhattan) the differential was even more severe. Those moving elsewhere had an average income of $93,264, some 28% higher than the $72,726 earned by those coming in."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TARP Should Not Be Extended -

"The Troubled Asset Relief Program will expire on December 31, unless Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner exercises his authority to extend it to next October. We hope he doesn't. Historians will debate TARP's role in ending the financial panic of 2008, but today there is little evidence that the government needs or can prudently manage what has evolved into a $700 billion all-purpose political bailout fund."

Slush fund would be more like it. Those who make a living sucking down taxpayer funds are going to have a sudden dry spell (like the Cash for Clunkers programs but magnitudes larger). The expiration of these funds may in fact trigger the second dip, which given those in charge is seeming almost inevitable.

Administration officials blame shortage of H1N1 vaccine on manufacturers, science -

"Administration officials sought Monday to explain why so much less H1N1 flu vaccine is available than had been promised, blaming the manufacturers and the vagaries of science for nationwide shortages."

Why don't they get HHS officials on the assembly lines pronto to clear this thing up?