Saturday, March 24, 2007

No JFK - No More

There are no JFK Democrats in the US Congress. Are there any in the Senate?

On January 20, 1961 JFK's Inaugural Address had the following statement. Throughout the following decades several quotations from the Address were played many times on TV, usually to confront and halt Republican initiatives.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
He concluded with the following:
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you.
Yesterday's actions by the Pelosi Congress shows that America has traveled a long way from the ideals of our youth and the previous generation. Now, we do not care who we betray or what burden they will bear for our perfidious arrogance.

Obama and Hillary may make claim to the JFK mantle of greatness and idealism. But by comparison they fall short. The claims comparing their words and deeds to JFK's are cynical parodies. Our Establishment Media reporters don't know the difference. Their editors no longer care.

By yesterday's vote, JFK would be a Conservative Republican-! I wonder if even the Modern Republicans would nominate him. Could JFK be elected in today's political climate?

I'd like to think so.

More Military & Media In Iraq

From Danger Room comes the following chock-full-o-links paragraphs.

For years, the Pentagon has come under harsh criticism its brain-dead approach to handling the media, broadly defined. From clamping down on bloggers to chucking out embedded reporters to banning digital cameras to quaking in fear of web developments, the military's press operators seemed to miss no opportunity to shoot themselves in the collective foot, repeatedly. All this, while insurgents trained potential terrorists online, advertised their martial prowess on YouTube, even sold t-shirts over the 'net.

But recently, things have begun to change. The Defense Department's Pentagon Channel started posting YouTube-esque videos. Bloggers have been called into more and more conference calls with senior leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan. Multi-National Force-Iraq set up its own YouTube channel.

Now, the Army has set up shop on content-sharing sites like Flickr,, and YouTube. The material is pretty awful -- like the stilted, propaganda-like reports, straight from the Armed Forces Network. It's a start, though.

Voice your opinions, Voice your views, contact your politicians, contact your veterans organizations..... Read the blogs, link to the warriors and veterans. The media war is not yet lost. The shooting war is going well. Our troops have done a magnificent job against an innovative, flexible, creative and ruthless enemy. This enemy has used every American value against our troops. They have killed children, women, workers, and innocents to turn our stomach. They have shown that they have no remorse or conscience. They want us dead and they will do anything to succeed.

In the truest Star Wars sense: This is a fight between the Forces of Life and the Forces of Darkness. Death is easier to deliver. Life requires more effort.... "Dying's easy. Livings hard" but we all knew that going in.


Having a life long financial interest in the movement of freight, all kinds; I ran across this blog. I thought it might be interesting to share the perspective of a long haul truck driver... Yep, real people doing real work.... The work is not as hard as it once was, but you're away from home for extended periods. The pay is not as low as it once was, but nobody is getting rich quick. Everything comes by truck. The business is not going away. Nor is the work for everybody.

He started the blog when he was in CDL school with CR England. They are a big regional refrigerated carrier out of Salt Lake City..

The trucking industry is in desperate need of drivers. Many are recruiting from among the retired boomers. This has an appeal to those who have the fantasy of buying a motorhome and traveling the country... If you can drive a motorhome, you can drive a big rig. Companies are allowing the drivers to be flexible at the end of their runs and taking a day here and there to see the sights. Many of these guys travel with their wives and/or dogs. If the wife drives, they earn more money as team drivers, plus get more days off. Most of the freight is no-touch with little handling required. The regulated hours of service do not allow a truck to operate more than 10 hours a day or driver be on duty more than 14. That means the truck is parked for 10 hours every day and 34 continuous hours every 7 days... Good way to see the Cowboy Hall of fame in Oklahoma City, or Branson, or Yosemite, the Liberty Bell, Coral Gables or.....

I like blogs from real people who are doing things (as opposed to people who spend waytoo much time on the computer arguing about Dancing Angels and Picking Nits with one another). Sometimes it seems the Blog-O-Sphere is just the same few people repeating the same assumptions-charges-challenges to each other...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Clinton Cover-Up

OK... I couldn't resist the headline of this story.

I do find it funny that women are being asked to cover their bodies when in the presence of the former President...

Among the unusual details of this most unusual fund-raiser is that everyone was given a long-sleeved white cotton T-shirt to wear over workout clothes. Usually people wear as little as possible for spinning, which involves riding a bike in standing and seated positions, and at alternating levels of resistance, while music plays.

I'll have to find a better headline in the future.... But I'll keep asking "Why is he taking questions about her campaign?"

Which one is running? Which one will be the decision maker?
“There’s no question why he’s the most popular former president. But again, Hillary’s the front-runner. It’s now our time, women’s time, to have a vote.”
Oh Really?

Michael Yon in Iraq

If you're not familiar with this writer; You should be.

Read him and learn why we are losing the media war in Iraq.
We lost the victory in Vietnam. We are in danger of losing the victory in Iraq. We lost the victory in Somalia. Osama and Al Qaida have forecast that we have a history of running away from victory.

We need to know what is happening. The truth, not the spin. We need to see it from the views that our troops see it. This is a real war. The consequences of losing are great. The consequences of losing at the point of victory will cause problems for our grandchildren.

Drop a few coins in his tip jar on your way out.

Is It Just Me?

Am I the only one wondering what Bill Clinton is gonna do when his wife gets flak as President? If he can't shut up and stay out of the fray when she's running, what will he do later on? I'm afraid that -EVERYTIME- he shows up and starts talking he makes her look weak.

I thought she could stand on her own. I thought she was the one who was going to be President. I thought she didn't need him or any man to help her run, win and govern... Have we been misled?

That Ain't Working

That's the way you do it.......

The L.A. Times reports that News Corp. and NBC Universal are about to announce plans for an online video site stocked with TV shows and movies, plus clips that users can modify and share (but no mention of user-created content). The alliance reportedly has already cut distribution deals with Google rivals Yahoo, Microsoft, Time Warner Inc.'s AOL and News Corp.'s MySpace, deals that would allow programming to be packaged and shared with a far wider audience than the site itself would draw.

"It won’t challenge YouTube. YouTube is two parts social experience, one part video experience. That’s how it gets millions of viewers. But this site could draw traffic from or, as viewers learn to seek the show they like rather than the network that produces it. If other networks come on board it could become a significant online destination. ... This thing could take off like a rocket -- or it could expode on the launchpad, with too many partners trying to get their fingers in the design."

Who's Rich?

Who are the Rich in our society? How much of much do you have to have? Where is the cut-off between rich and middle class? See where you stack up in the Rich-O-Meter percentile.

the SEC has proposed a new definition for “accredited investor” — someone rich enough to invest in private investment pools without needing protection from government regulators. To invest in hedge funds today, investors need to have $1 million in net worth (including the value of their primary residence), or income of at least $200,000 for individuals or $300,000 for households. The SEC has proposed raising the bar, requiring investors to have $2.5 million in investible assets.

How do they get Rich? Is it all trust Funds and corruption? Surprisingly, most of America's Rich work very hard for their gains.

An interesting debate has erupted at Slate over the “leisure gap” that’s developed between the rich and poor. A recent article by University of Rochester economist Steven E. Landsburg points out that while the rich may be winning the race for income gains, they’re losing the race for leisure time. The best-educated and biggest-earning Americans stimply don’t have much time off these days.

Building wealth to them is a creative process, and the closest thing they have to fun. They’re uncomfortable hanging around the club or sitting on the beach (Several people I interviewed for my book said they’ve never sat through an entire movie, because they get bored.) Their version of “fun” or “leisure” revolves around making money and creating businesses, activities defined as “work” in most economic studies.

This is not to say that the wealthy should be pitied for their lack of leisure. On the contrary, they should be encouraged, since their work creates jobs and wealth for themselves and others. But this new generation of workaholic wealthy has dramatically changed the classic equation between money and leisure time. As my billionaire friend said after our dinner: “I’m the most relaxed when I’m working.”
This may be behind the $$$$$$$ barrier at WSJ Online. I subscribe to both the print and online versions. I enjoy the variety and challenges. I like reading stuff I didn't know, hadn't considered, wasn't curious about before it was presented... The internet for all it's wonders hasn't found a way to bring me news and information that expands my horizons -yet.

Will it do it ever? Probably not. For that we need our fellow humans to drag us reluctantly into new vistas, new ideas, new thoughts...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

President Mikey-?

Its no secret that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would like to be President. Unfortunately, he has a city to run and can't be gone for two years chasing the dream. The WSJ watching the Democrats set their calendars for primaries in 2008 has an interesting observation.

What if the 2008 process serves to favor someone else -- namely, a billionaire who wants to run as an independent? It's possible that both major party nominees could emerge from their accelerated primaries so bruised, and with such high negatives, that the voters will already be feeling buyer's remorse. Then someone like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg could decide to get into the race, spend $500 million of his own money, and truly remake the Presidential race.
It's a long, long time from February 5, 2008 until we get to the conventions in the Summer. It's even further from February to November. A man with a multi-billion dollar net worth could spend $500 million and run almost unopposed. Since we have turned politics into entertainment, the public will be bored with the candidates by February... The media will have said everything 15 times and we will be turned off... What else have we got to do? Watch and listen to Mayor Mikey tell us why he should be the one and the traveling circus tell us why he is the wrong one?

It'll be fun watching and handicapping the race... Best show in town-!

Bush Healthcare

I was surprised to hear the President's healthcare proposals during the State of the Union speech. I liked the ideas. I have paid for my own health insurance with after tax dollars for most of my life.

I have often felt frustrated at the inequity between what I pay and what a company pays and provides at no charge to their employees, This free insurance has generated a sense of entitlement among the recipients. They say "Yeah but, What have you done for me lately" Insurance costs have risen as there is no connection between what is received and the costs paid to the medical providers.

We all watch what is happening with our auto industry. we see that large companies and their suppliers may soon be forced out of business or into bankruptcy due to health and pension obligations. Bankruptcy will shred the safety net for millions of retired and soon-to-be retired workers. The anger and resentment will spill over into the political scene with shallow demagogue pols promising huge socialist entitlements...

Bush's proposal to level the playing field goes a long way to resolve many of the issues. The market works. In every product or service we buy we can see the effect of competition and innovation on prices that we consumers pay. The long term benefits would allow insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, technologies to innovate and find new ways to lower costs while improving efficiency and customer satisfaction. We consumers are not stupid. We just get treated that way by government monopolies and those who would be our caretakers.

Unfortunately, his ideas were declared Dead-On-Arrival by the incoming Democrat majority. Knowing their penchant for warehousing and restricting human ingenuity while rewarding a few and entrenching themselves, I was not surprised.

What was a surprise was the recent report by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. This group has used static scoring to make assumptions that Democrats have used to murder many innovative ideas and proposals on tax legislation. On Monday March 19, the WSJ ran an editorial explaining the change in assumptions.
President Bush proposed to restructure the $250 billion of annual federal tax subsidies for employer-sponsored health insurance by treating it as taxable income and then capping the tax deduction at $15,000 a year per family. The savings would be used to provide new tax incentives for uninsured low-income workers to purchase private insurance.

the JCT, which "scores" tax policy changes, has breathed new life into the Bush plan by estimating that it would actually save the federal government $333 billion over the next 10 years. (Its first estimate was $526 billion.) This means that the Bush proposal would not only reduce the inequitable tax treatment of health care and the number of uninsured, but it would do so while saving the government lots of money.

how could Joint Tax and the Bush Treasury, which had estimated that the Bush plan would be revenue neutral, come up with "cost" estimates a half-trillion dollars apart? The answer comes back to the age-old complaint with Joint Tax: Its bean counters fail to assume any change in behavior from tax changes. So Joint Tax believes that the Bush plan will have zero impact on the rate of health care inflation over time.

Mr. Bush has an attractive, workable, and now -- as certified, by the Democratic Joint Tax Committee -- affordable health care reform. If Democrats lack the courage to debate it, then the GOP Presidential candidates ought to pick it up and run with it in 2008.
This is too good an idea to succeed in Washington. It will need the support of all of us self employed, small business employed, and doing-without people. It will need the mass of employed workers to realize that this will eliminate the COBRA issues that come when they lose a job. The employed workers will need to see that it is in their own long term self interest to take control of their future.

We need to spread the word.... The WSJ has done a great job of discovering, expanding and expounding the news. It's up to us, average working folks to talk to each other. we need to get this before politicians who will act on -OUR BEHALF-

It's gonna be a long 19 months and change until we get to vote. Let's look early and spread the news about the politicians who will work for us.... No more bought-and-paid-for pols-!

Rich Get Richer

And it's a very good thing that they do. On Tuesday, March 20, the WSJ editorial explained how the democrats plan on foisting the largest tax incrase in history on the American people even as they continue their promise of "No tax increase" Under the title "Conrads Tax" the Journal explains :
"How does he pull that rabbit out of his hat? By positing what amounts to a giant asterisk where the tax increase is supposed to go and hoping no one will notice."
"Senate Democrats don't want anyone to know this, at least not before the 2008 election. So Mr. Conrad says his budget revenue estimates "assume that Congress will take steps to counter the effects of the expiration of tax cuts in 2010 in a manner that does not add to the nation's debt burden."

Go read the editorial for details on the Senate Smoke-and-Mirrors, Rope-a-Dope-Tax Miracle.

What struck me was the inclusion of a neat little graphic showing how much of our taxes are being paid by the rich ( in any other context -"Evil Rich")
"the latest IRS data also show that the wealthiest Americans continue to carry a record share of the income tax load. As the nearby chart shows, the richest 1% paid 35.6% of all income taxes in 2004, the most recent year in which data are available. The top 10% pay a remarkable two-thirds of all income taxes. The irony is that the Bush tax cuts have made the U.S. income tax code more progressive."
This is the equivalent of holding a party for 100 people. and asking everyone to chip in. One person will pay for 37 guests. Ten people will pay for 68 guests. Fifty people will pay for 97 guests. The remaining fifty people will pay for 3 guests. .... It's a good thing the rich have money enough to pay for our annual multi-trillion dollar party. (a trillion is $1,000,000,000,000.00 Yep, 1,000 thousand millions. That's a lot of money)

Your Money

Reading more Danger Room reports, I was struck by where $3 billion of our dollars are going.
Now, in the world of military and govt accounting...This money is GOING for the war... In the real world it's going to be spent HERE in the USA. Like most of the money spent on Iraq, the checks are cashed here. It should be obvious to the most casual observer, but after reading so many news reports and commentaries over the years about military waste, expenses, etc... I thought I should point out the obvious.

Iraq Buys $3B of U.S. Arms

It wasn't that long ago that American troops were scooping up Iraqi guns, like the AK-47. Now, the Iraqi government is spending three billion dollars -- presumably, three billion dollars of American money -- to buy U.S.-made weapons, like M-16 rifles and M-4 carbine.

Training Iraqis in American M-16 rifles, M-4 carbines and other weapons makes more sense if the U.S. wants to cement a long-lasting security cooperation."This is the first time they have actually started to buy our equipment in a big way," said retired Army Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, a military analyst...

Four years after the invasion, Iraq finally has established procedures for the government to spend its oil proceeds in an orderly way, making the... sale possible.

Up until now, the Iraqis have relied mostly on arms like the AK-47, the world's most popular military weapon. "Many western military experts consider it a piece of junk... And indeed, it is a piece of junk compared to the M-16," explained Larry Kahaner, author of AK-47: The Weapon That Changed the Face of War. But, with the ability to fire up to 700 rounds per minute, "it's perfect for poorly-trained soldiers because they can 'spray and pray.'" It almost never jams. And "you can drag it through mud, leave it buried in the sand and take it out a year later, kick it with your boot, and it will fire like it was cleaned that morning."

Besides small arms, [Iraqis] will buy armored Humvee multipurpose vehicles, 5-ton trucks, ammunition, air surveillance radars and radios, [Pentagon] documents show...

Missing are any of the U.S's most sophisticated weapon systems, such as the 60-ton M1 Abrams tank or Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Iraq's defense ministry lacks the money and expertise to maintain high-tech components, so for now soldiers will rely on old Soviet-era tanks.

"The Iraqis are very good at keeping that junk going," Maginnis said.

Which makes you wonder why they need to switch to our gear, instead.

Nope. Makes me wonder where the weapons will go next. They will not get stuck buying our parts and ammo into the future. They'll dump the wweapons for the next load of Russian hardware and ammo. They want to be able to use their enemy's weapons, ammo, and parts to support their own army. Our finely crafted weapons won't do them much good when we leave. Unless we're planning on making Iraq a member of NATO? Well, they would get the mutual defense assistance and training and weapons.... The US weapons we gave the South Vietnamese have never turned up on the used market... Where did they go?

PCs Bend to Your Brains

Danger Room offers the following report
Pushing through extremes of heat and cold, surviving massive blood loss, and supercharging the body's metabolism -- that was just the start. The military isn't only looking to radically boost the physical performance of American troops. Its trying to improve mental abilities, as well. The first step: computers than can scan your mind and adapt to what you're thinking.

Since 2000, Darpa, the Pentagon's blue-sky research arm, has spearheaded a far-flung, nearly $70 million effort to build prototype cockpits, missile control stations and infantry trainers that can sense what's occupying their operators' attention, and adjust how they present information, accordingly. Similar technologies are being employed to help intelligence analysts find targets easier by tapping their unconscious reactions.

"Computers today, you have to learn how they work," says Navy Commander Dylan Schmorrow, who served as Darpa's first program manager for this Augmented Cognition project. He now works for the Office of Naval Research. "We want the computer to learn you, adapt to you."

Previous stories, please read... You'll be amazed

Squirrel = Super Soldier?
* Stronger, Tougher, Faster: Building Next-Gen G.I.s
* Supercharging Soldiers' Cells
* Pig Manure Key to Soldier Chow?
* No "Go Pills"
* Darpa Chief Speaks

Noah Shachtman
has a longer article here on Aug Cog and Darpa's Neural Net Technology

Iraq & The Future

It seems that everyone has an opinion about our involvement in Iraq. The news is sketchy and hard to understand. The famous "fog of war" makes it hard for our troops to know what is happening. We face an enemy who is very skilled at manipulating the news. They have given terrorist shot videos to the global news outlets who have fed them as actual news reports. They are very good at using the Internet and producing video feeds and DVDs for distribution beyond the Internet. They are very very good.

We have and unsteady and underfunded DoD who present their side of the story. This is woefully weak as it is approved by committee of career military politicians. Whatever good news our military has is further filtered by the Establishment Media who are living in the Vietnam era bias of "not trusting authority"... They little recognize that they have become The Establishment and are perceived as untrustworthy (Except when they look at declining viewer and subscription numbers)...

It has fallen to the Internet community to pick-up the slack, to examine our leaders, examine reports and spot BULL GARBAGE when it's being peddled as truth, to examine our leaders and those who would lead us astray. The nice thing about this tool is that it works so very very well. Experts can coalesce around a topic. Mistakes are corrected quickly.

Yesterday I was reading Danger Room Blog from Wired magazine. Being an SF publication, I wasn't shocked to see them questioning the polls showing that 30% of Americans believe the war is going well. They threw the question out as to who were these Martians and why did we think this way? The first few were from the Usual Useful Idiots. Then the adults arrived. It's turned into a pretty good debate. (I like reasoned arguments succinctly stated. I dislike name calling and summary statements without supporting syllogism...from anybody) The following is my response... (I know it's tacky to quote owns own self)

This is the first war we have ever fought against this type of enemy. What other enemy attacked the civilians and forced the invader to defend the civilians?

We have learned much and we have learned fast. The enemy adapts and so have we. we began fighting Saddam's army, then his militia and then the thugs he released from jail. We have had al Quaida sending killers and Iran sending killers. We have fought them all to either a stand still or victory.

We have changed Iraq. We have shown what a well paid-trained-led-equipped army can do. we have taken the old Soviet-Arab style military with low training, few non-coms and officers doing what our non-coms do and built it from the ground up. There is no history of a non-com core. This backbone did not exist and we have had to grow it. It is still in short supply. We have had to train officers to lead and not be parasites sucking the pay, food, supplies from their troops.

Things have gone well. We have learned and the lessons of Iraq will be very valuable in Europe, Asia or the US wherever the terrorists attack next. Things could be better, but they could have been very very much worse.

This is no short term war. This is a long term, low intensity, war of attrition. YOU Cut-&-Runners need to examine your own assumptions. What did you think would happen? Why did you think that way?

We were told going in what was going to happen. It has unfolded much as forecast. What is MOST AMAZING is the flexibility and adaptability of the American military. These guys are magnificent-! They are smarter, better trained, better led, better equipped than the Vietnam era. They are light years from the WWII battlefield... Pull you head out and look around?

We ran away from victory in Vietnam. If we run away from victory in Iraq, WHO will join us on the next battlefield? Who will stand with those who are afraid of victory? Who will sacrifice national treasure to support someone who is afraid of tough going?

What happened to "Go anywhere, bear any burden, in the cause of peace"?

Are we really a nation of bored comfort seekers?

Today, The Age, an Australian newspaper posted a speech by Prime Minister John Howard. Howard has long been one of the clearest voices articulating the reasons why Islamist Extremism must be fought with force.

The long war against violent Islamic extremism goes on. It is a very different kind of war – a war without borders and with no clear front lines; a war fought as much by our ideas and values as by our armies.

Terrorist cells are active today in between 30 and 40 countries plotting action based on a warped interpretation of Islam. Attacks have been planned in Australia.

Nor should we forget the essential lessons of 11 September 2001 – that failed states can quickly become havens and projecting grounds for global terror; and that terrorists can turn our openness and technological achievements against us to devastating strategic effect.

Globalisation is far from a universal solvent for ideologies of hate or old wounds – real and perceived

It is a long speech. I urge you to read it. If not online, then print it out for the nightstand. I am not alone nor for the first time do I wish we had an American politician who could speak as directly, clearly and forthrightly... Maybe in 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020?

Will we finally see clearly in 2020? We will be beyond the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton-Bush axis of rotating American royalty with concomitant political hatreds and vendettas...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Music Sales Down

The WSJ will report on today's front page that music sales are down 20% for first 3 months of this year compared to 2006. They blame downloads. I blame bad music, expensiveCD's, lack of competition and airplay for new artists, too many consultants, robot-radio, sound-alike hip-hop, and a changing dynamic of listeners.

IOW, the time is ripe for new artists, new methods of distribution and discovery. This is a market opportunity for someone(s) to come along and use the new technology to reach frustrated listeners. The old model of regional radio gave way to blender-consultant-robot-radio and the artists were forced to sign with indifferent agents-publishers-record companies. The Internet is a way to free it up. Now that the record companies are demanding high-huge royalties from Internet radio, some small stations will be forced off the air. Can a playlist be found that will appeal to the Internet radio stations? Will artists agree reasonable royalties that will get them started?

Could it happen? This is the Internet-ANYTHING is possible-!!! There is an audience that is being turned off. There are stations dying without music. There are artists without an audience and no way to find one..... This is an opportunity waiting.

Culture of Corruption

Since the democrats took control of the House promising to cure the culture of corruption they have been on a tear. Passing legislation to correct none of the Republican abuses the Democrats moved on to attack the War in Iraq.

Now it seems that Speaker Pelosi is having a hard time buying enough votes to pass her pork laden-bloated-give-away Emergency Funding to Support the troops.

How ya gonna keep on down on the farm when you can't bribe em, threaten em or twist their arms? Being the Opposition Party is easier. All ya gotta do is be "agin-it". Doesn't matter what "it" is. Just making snarky remarks and catty phrases knowing the boys can't respond to the Pasmina Princess was enough. Having to DELIVER the goodies takes a different skills ets.

Will Pelosi finish her term as Speaker?

Special Rules for Special People

It's not enough to be Rich, a Celebrity, Leader of a new religion; some have to make the public kowtow to their majesty.

Al Gore, He's Special
Gore first demanded to be granted an unprecedented 30 minute opening statement to the Senate EPW Committee for Wednesday’s (March 21) global warming hearing scheduled for 2:30 pm ET.

But then Gore demanded a waiver of the EPW committee’s 48 hour rule that requires all witnesses before EPW to submit their testimony in advance. The GOP minority on the EPW committee then agreed to waive the 48 hour rule in favor of allowing Gore to submit his testimony 24 hours before the hearing.

But in a breaking news development on Capitol Hill -- the former Vice President has violated the new 24 hour deadline extension by failing to submit his testimony – even with the new time extension granted to Gore.
Congress (both Houses) requires the testimony to be submitted in adavnce so that the Sanators and Congress men can research and ask informed questions. Those giving testimony can submit suggested questions. Sandbagging the Committee is a sign of arrogance.

This will be interesting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Say It Ain't So

The SF Chronicle offers this review:

Clapton seems at crossroads, and he wants others to do the driving
Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic

Monday, March 19, 2007

(03-19) 15:22 PDT SAN JOSE -- Eric Clapton may have been the first superstar rock guitarist, but he let two young guitar slingers do all the heavy lifting Sunday at the HP Pavilion.

With 27-year-old bottleneck expert Derek Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band and Texas dynamo Doyle Bramhall II, 38, on guitar, Clapton, 61, consistently took the backseat in the two-hour concert.

After the young Turks had their way with a song, he might step up to offer a final, laconic solo, matching neither the intensity of his bandmates or his own past glories.

It's been a long road from the Yardbirds, Creem, Derek and the Dominos, etc.... I guess we all get tired and want to phone it in eventually.. Luckily, I still have the vinyl and the memories... Thanks for the ride. It was definately worth the price of admission.

Attack Ad-?

The SF Chronicle continues to see an attack where none exists... This is becoming a -BIG- deal......

Who is person behind Clinton attack ad?
Just who is "ParkRidge47" – the mystery figure who introduced an Internet political attack ad that has stirred the press and political junkies tuned into the early presidential campaign – and what does the videomaker have against Democratic front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton?

First it was talk radio, and then it was cable news – and now it's the blogs that are setting the agenda for the mainstream media," he says. "You can take something that you could never break into the news cycle with, and all of a sudden it's kaboom."

Yep, anyone can play.... The boredom of the next 20 months of being spun-massaged-messaged-manipulated-avoided-couched-coached-stage crafted will wear off when the kiddies get their tools to work and make their own ads... Low cost, desk top tech... Even the Free Speech Stifling McCain-Feingold won't be able to stop this.

I love this country. Everyone is free to make his own job, his own fun, his own humor, his own parody... If this was an "attack".... Well, some folks must be extremely sensitive. This was well done humor... An attack is something very different and much uglier. I have no doubt we'll see some of them in the next 20 months (+ 2-3-4-5 more for legal wrangling).

Yep, This is turning into a -very-big-deal- for someone. I don't see it as an attack. It was great parody. It was satire. An attack is something much uglier, something much more viscious and nasty with the intent to destroy.

Only a Clinton-ista would call it an attack. The spin-spun-manipulation of the public will shift the political landscape very much faster over this protracted campaign season. The kiddies with their desktop technology and low cost access to the internet will create new ads. There will be things that will be ugly, brilliant, nasty, and wonderful that will enter the body public. We will get perspectives, attitudes, investigations, facts and lies at a level we haven't seen in over 100 years. Why?

The Gate Keepers have been by-passed. Mainstream-Establishment-Media has lost its ability to reach an audience. Their shield wall defense of Clinton and Pack Attack mentality against Bush have shown them unworthy. Newspapers are losing circulation. TV is losing viewers. Movies make more money but are seen by fewer people. Where did every one go?

We found other outlets, other more trustworthy and entertaining sources of news, other opinions, and the ability to respond to the crapola we get sent-shown-fed.

Shyness Gene

FuturePundit offers the following:

A professor at the University of Maryland Child Development Laboratory claims the short version of a gene involved in metabolism of neurotransmitter serotonin combined with stress creates a shy kid.

In a study published in the February issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, Nathan Fox, professor and director of the Child Development Laboratory, and his team found that kids who are consistently shy while growing up are particularly likely to be raised by stressed-out parents, and to possess a genetic variant associated with stress sensitivity.


He concludes with the view that:
"Suppose this gene's short version works as advertised. When offspring genetic engineering becomes possible will prospective parents choose to make shyness a thing of the past? Will some future generation be anywhere between extroverted and extremely extroverted? If so, what will we lose? My guess is that governments will become more corrupt as people with genetically engineered lack of shyness feel less fear of getting held up to public condemnation."
We are just as the beginning of learning about ourselves. We have only a glimmer of what our findings will mean. Our history shows we have not handled this topic well.

If Only

What other "If Only..." moments have we seen?

"In 1997 we were working with IBM on electronic music distribution and could have put this out five years earlier [than iPod]. But we couldn't get our people to understand software. And we are a music company. They saw digital media, panicked and didn't like it."

-- Sir Howard Stringer, chairman and CEO of Sony, ponders what might have been (Hat Tip to GMSV)

There are the personal ones. The ones we examine in moments of quiet repose. The ones where we say "If Only....." Then say "Yeah But...." Hopefully we follow it with a "Next Time...." and learn from our experiences.

In business, we do this all the time. We make plans, examine the future, the possibilities, the competition and see opportunity. We next build the Business Case. We have to clarify and quantify why this opportunity represents a realistic chance of reward worthy of the risks. This must be sold to the organization, management, the Board of Directors, the engineers, marketing, sales, etc.. Wading through the morass of negativity is hard. Fighting the entrenched who are set in their ways and looking towards retirement is hard. 10,000 cuts, suggestions, alterations, amendments and delays will doom the project. Opportunity exists only for a brief time. Situations evolve and competition moves faster so that the Business Case may be invalid by the time the funding is approved... It's the rare manager who will finally win the funding but then turn back because events are no longer right and success for the opportunity has diminished.

We spend much of our life planning for failure. We are ready for catastrophe at any moment. We do not plan for success in the same degree. Success is a bet on the Roulette Table. Failure is a mangy dog that roams the neighborhood looking for someone to bite...

On the whole, things go better than they fail. We are successful in more of our activities than times when we fail. Yet, we ignore the good and anticipate the bad... Hard wired? Do optimists die younger?

It is hard for people to look past the -Worst Case- and see the -Most Likely-.

Car Porn

From Galley Slaves comes this video of a Bugatti Veyron reaching its top speed--253 mph.

I couldn't think of a better headline either.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Nothing to Add

The LATimes offers the following:

Obama the 'Magic Negro'

The Illinois senator lends himself to white America's idealized, less-than-real black man.
By David Ehrenstein, L.A.-based DAVID EHRENSTEIN writes about Hollywood and politics.
March 19, 2007

"The Magic Negro is a figure of postmodern folk culture, coined by snarky 20th century sociologists, to explain a cultural figure who emerged in the wake of Brown vs. Board of Education. "He has no past, he simply appears one day to help the white protagonist," reads the description on Wikipedia .

Like a comic-book superhero, Obama is there to help, out of the sheer goodness of a heart we need not know or understand. For as with all Magic Negroes, the less real he seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn't project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him."

Polls, UK-Style

It makes you wonder just what is really going on in Iraq?

Or rather.... What is Really going on in the UK?

Who really answers polls anyhow? Who are these people?

McCain -Straight Talking-?

Is it just me or does McCain seem dispirited? The fire in the belly seems to be missing. Does he really care?

The Old Straight-Talking-John seems to be missing. He is hiding from the Republicans and playing cozy with the middle ground. Has he been annointed? Is he truly the heir apparent, slow walking towards a coronation? He has been given that position for the entire Bush Presidency. No challengers have arisen and he has collected a big war chest.

This is 2007. we are a long way from 2000 when he had nothing to lose by running his mouth to his friends in the back of the bus. His "straight talk" was never that straight. He was just saying things for headlines. It worked. He was behind and had everything to gain. His announcement that he would make an announcement on Letterman was sad. He looked tired.

The Republicans ran Dole in the traditional Next-in-Seniority position. He lost for many many reasons, some of which had to do with his opponent. The world has changed and is picking up speed. McCain is "Yesterday's Man" as they would say in the UK.

Snow Storms

Oh Poor Baby-.... "God made it snow for everybody"... Ticket agent to passenger who complained that the other airlines were flying.

"NEW YORK (AP) - Hundreds of passengers were stranded for hours overnight on airliners that couldn't take off from John F. Kennedy International Airport because of the ice and snow storm that pummeled the Northeast.

The exact number of planes stuck on the tarmac was unclear, but irate passengers reported that the problems affected several airlines. Pilots and officials blamed some of the problems on a shortage of deicing fluid and a new federal regulation giving pilots a narrow window to get their planes in the air once the chemicals are applied. The change has meant some jets need to get doused repeatedly if their takeoffs are delayed."

Having spent WAYTOO many years of my life aboard airplanes, I have no sympathy for passengers who don't appreciate the miracle of aviation. I have seen people become irate because their morning flight from JFK to SFO was delayed by an hour or two due to head winds. The poor dears had luncheon meetings within 30 min.s of arrival downtown or down the Peninsula.

I have stood in line and listened to people tell tired and frazzled ticket agents why -THEY- must get out because THEY are important, have important things to do, have important people to meet. They do not realize that in the best of times taking several thousand tons of metal, fuel and human bodies from a standing start to over 300 mph is a miracle. That it is done safely, routinely and boringly is a credit to the professionals who run the airlines.
Some think that it only snows on their airline, that the rules and regulations that make it safe were created simply to frustrate.

The practical, everyday reality that we can cross thousands of miles in comfort and on schedule is always amazing... to me. I find that being patient and polite and working with the airlines makes an unpleasant situation much more bearable. Stuff happens. Yes, God did make it snow for everyone. Isn't it great!