Friday, September 7, 2007

Women, Politics, Real Issues

"Thinking is the desire to gain reality by means of ideas."

José Ortega y Gasset

A sentiment I can champion...besides it's a pleasant way to spend the weekend.

In S.F. visit, Obama takes aim at Clinton's strength: women's votes

Sen. Barack Obama's appearance in San Francisco today is designed to attack a key strength of his prime rival for the Democratic presidential nomination: former first lady and current New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's support from women of all backgrounds.

Hundreds of women are expected to pay anywhere from $250 to $2,300 to meet Obama at a lunch at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, and he'll speak at a $25-a-head event after the lunch.

On Saturday night, the Illinois senator's outreach to female voters gets another boost: Talk show host Oprah Winfrey, America's most successful female entrepreneur and opinion-maker, is the host for an A-list fundraiser for the senator at her estate in Montecito (Santa Barbara County).

We all have a sense of pride in the fact that a woman is being taken seriously," Harris said. "Hillary is obviously appealing to anybody who cares about having have equal opportunity for women, and all of us applaud her candidacy."

But, she said, "support for Barack isn't denying that or exclusive of that fact."

Harris said Obama has shown "a proven commitment to women and women's issues. ... He's pro-choice, pro-public education and pro-immigrant." (Oh Really-? ed.)

Mack now heads Obama's grassroots Sacramento effort - spending her weekends canvassing, calling voters and raising money for her candidate.

"As much as I would like to have a woman president, I want to have the right woman," she said.

Stephanie Chan, 20, a junior at UC Berkeley, was spurred by Obama's candidacy to become involved for the first time in a presidential campaign.

"I've heard things like, 'Hillary is a woman, you should be in her camp,' " Chan said. "She's an amazing woman and a great candidate, but for me, Obama is the candidate who brings it all together." (oh-oh... Scroll down to follow -ed.)

Chick, the Los Angeles controller, said many women are "tired of hearing about women's issues - because I believe our issues are human issues, universal issues."

"Half of the kids we bear are boys," she said. "Women's issues are everybody's issues - and I believe that Barack, as a candidate, speaks to all of these issues equally as well as Hillary."

Read the whole thing: Follow the links and read the story, then the comments. The SF Chronicle blog 2Cents has some more SF Bay Area views. There is something happening here. It looks like a ground swell or earthquake that may break apart the Hillary Foundations and assumptions of her slow walk to a coronation. If this most Liberal Bastion can look around and if Oprah can shift some of the quieter Hollywood types into action... We may have a horse race. That means we'll see more of Hubba-Hubba-Bubba. We'll get to watch her flail about as he makes her look small and very un-Presidential. Presidential-level experience means running your own campaign

Kimberly Strassel has some answers from the other side of the aisle
What Women Want
How the GOP can woo the ladies.
(I liked Republicans better in blue. But since some TV twit declared red states Republican... I'll post some extensive points from this editorial. It's good. It's smart. It resonates with the women in my household. -ed.)

Expect to hear a lot about lady voters over the next few months, though most of it from Democrats. Women make up 60% of the left's primary electorate, and the front-runners are already going to the mat for their vote. It's why Ms. Clinton has six full-time staffers for women's outreach; why Mr. Obama sports a women's "policy committee"; and why Bill Richardson recently told a cheering mob that "women are better workers than men" (you go, Bill!).

The Democrats' own views of what counts for "women's issues" are stuck back in the disco days, about the time Ms. Clinton came of political age. Under the title "A Champion for Women," the New York senator's Web site promises the usual tired litany of "equal pay" and a "woman's right to choose." Mr. Richardson pitches a new government handout for women on "family leave" and waxes nostalgic for the Equal Rights Amendment. Give these Boomers some bell bottoms and "The Female Eunuch," and they'd feel right at home. Polls show Ms. Clinton today gets her best female support from women her age and up.

The rest of the female population has migrated into 2007. Undoubtedly quite a few do care about abortion rights and the Violence Against Women Act. But for the 60% of women who today both scramble after a child and hold a job, these culture-war touchpoints aren't their top voting priority. Their biggest concerns, not surprisingly, hew closely to those of their male counterparts: the war in Iraq, health care, the economy. But following close behind are issues that are more unique to working women and mothers. Therein rests the GOP opportunity.

Ms. Clinton likes to bang on about "inequality" in pay. The smart conservative would explain to a female audience that there indeed is inequality, and that the situation is grave. Only the bad guy isn't the male boss; it's the progressive tax code.

  • Most married women are second-earners. That means their income is added to that of their husband's, and thus taxed at his highest marginal rate. So the married woman working as a secretary keeps less of her paycheck than the single woman who does the exact same job. This is the ultimate in "inequality," yet Democrats constantly promote the very tax code that punishes married working women. In some cases, the tax burdens and child-care expenses for second-earners are so burdensome they can't afford a career. But when was the last time a Republican pointed out that Ms. Clinton was helping to keep ladies in the kitchen?
  • Should President Bush's tax cuts expire, tens of thousands of middle-class women will see more of their paychecks disappear into the maw of their husband's higher bracket. A really brave candidate would go so far as to promise eliminating this tax bias altogether. Under a flat tax, second-earner women would pay the same rate as unmarried women and the guy down the hall.
  • Ask almost any working woman what the toughest part of her life is, and she'll say the complications of scheduling both work and family life. What makes that task so tough is a dusty piece of legislation called the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires that hourly workers who put in more than 40 hours a week get overtime. Some women like overtime. But in a 1995 poll, an extraordinary 81% said they'd prefer compensatory time off. Put another way, many women would like to pack 45 hours into the first four days of work, then knock off early on Friday
  • The mod term for this is "flex time" and Democrats pay it lip service. But what the left won't mention--and Republicans have failed to mention--is that Democrats are the obstacle to changing the overtime law. Organized labor likes the 40-hour-week law, and union leaders prefer to be the ones to arrange any flex-time agreements on behalf of their members. So in 1997, when Republican Sen. John Ashcroft put forward legislation to allow flexible scheduling in the private workforce, it was Democrats, at the beck of unions, who killed it
  • The majority of health-care decisions are made by women, yet neither Rudy Giuliani nor Mitt Romney has explained how their innovative proposals to put individuals back in charge of care would help women in particular. No candidate has explained that only through private Social Security accounts will women ever see the full fruits of their payroll taxes.

Read the whole editorial. I like smart well written articles. This one is very good-! It's also free.

Have a good weekend-! Take the family somewhere fun.

iSteve Legacy Issues

"To make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe."

Carl Sagan Not iSteve Jobs, but I couldn't resist.
I'm sure from where he sits it looks like he did

When you're small and nobody cares, you don't have an installed base. You don't have a large group of competitors and customers who watch your every move. You don't have to pay attention to the past because everyone in the cult is focusd on the future. The "Next Great Thing" is coming around the corner and altho it will wipe out all the investment in the old now not-so Great Things Eeveryone will be greatful because its all "so cool"... At least that's the way it used to work. But back then, you weren't jerking your market of early adopters and newly loyal fans with 20% price reductions within 90 days of introduction. One sure way to slow the cult movement towards their wallets for the "Next Great Thing" is to make a substantial portion feel like fools for being an early adopter. The market quickly learns that when discounts are coming, wait for them. (GM-FORD-CHRYSLER can teach some lessons on inventory and discount management. if they every learned em.)

Life in the big leagues was never easy. Guerrillas are always the small, quick and sexy guys who have to stay one-step ahead otherwise they get crushed. Leaning how to be a major brand with a large legacy and install base is gonna be akward... Luckily, the folks at One Infinite Loop are so much smarter than anybody. except possibly those at the "Do No Evil Empire"...

Apple CEO Jobs offers early iPhone buyers a $100 credit

September 6, 2007 (09-06) 04:00 PDT (09-06) CUPERTINO -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs, flooded with e-mails from angry customers after the company lopped $200 off the price of the iPhone just two months after its premiere, on Thursday apologized to early buyers and offered them a $100 credit.

In an open letter on Apple's Web site, Jobs said that even though price drops are a reality in the personal technology world, the company is going to make sure it takes care of existing customers, even as it pursues new users with the aggressive price reduction. "We want to do the right thing for our valued iPhone customers," Jobs wrote. "We apologize for disappointing some of you, and we are doing our best to live up to your high expectations of Apple."

IPhone buyers will be eligible for a $100 credit good toward the purchase of any product at any Apple store or at Apple's online store. Jobs said more details will be released next week. Apple's surprise decision to lower the price of the iPhone was a move to "go for it" for the holidays, said Jobs, in an attempt to attract customers.

The price cut came during a press event Wednesday in which Jobs introduced a touch-screen iPod similar to the iPhone along with a revamped iPod Nano. Jobs also said Apple is discontinuing its 4-GB iPhone.
But why can't iSteve seem share any of the charisma-? Valley fever, jealousy or is the slightly dangerous Guerrilla Markeeter really THAT much better than everyone else?

CIOs Uncensored: When It Comes To IT, Cool Is As Cool Does
Sure, Steve Jobs is the King of Cool--but cool is as cool does.Is IT cool?

After you've finished guffawing, consider this: Why is Apple's Steve Jobs the king of cool, but very little of that tech glitz and glamour seems to rub off on IT?

The "Transaction Apple" makes everyone pay for the small bites they take as it bobs in the ocean of data. 20 years ago, I was engaged in a deep discussion on the future of business economics and business cycles. His argument that the world was moving to rental fees and transaction costs seemed absurd, to me at the time.

How could we move from equity and ownership to share croppers and tenant farmers in the IT and service industry fields-? How would we surrender the hard earned freedoms and liberties that came from property ownership to the movable masses that can be casually disregarded by the rulers of the realm... He was right... I'm not yet entirely wrong. But it may be coming soon.

New devices should help Apple continue its dominance

You gotta love the people at Apple. They get the country all hopped up on iPhone madness and then just when you think they can't keep it going, they do just that.

IPhone: The $200 price cut on the iPhone was bigger and came sooner than I imagined. It sort of makes sense, though. If you're going to put out a 16-GB iPod Touch for $399, you don't want it cutting into potential iPhone sales. Here, they make the iPhone attractive at $399 for people who want a cell phone/iPod and are prepared to make the jump to AT&T. And for those who don't, you get an iPod that gives you a lot of the same pizzazz and more capacity but doesn't force you to leave your carrier.

IPod Nano: I got a chance to take home one of the thin iPod Nanos. It's the same size overall as the old Nano, but the front edges are tapered all the way around, giving the whole thing a softer look.

And the video playback is quite nice. I'm not sure I'd want to watch a movie on it, but it's pretty good. Not ideal because of the size, but very bright and serviceable. And the new interface is a nice touch. The pane on the right side allows you to peek at the cover art as it sort of floats by.

IPod Touch: The Touch is about 3 millimeters thinner than the iPhone and it really does feel svelte. The construction is a little different from the iPhone, with the familiar shiny stainless steel of the old iPod on the back. The bezel on the front is more pronounced and looks more like a dark gray carbon rather than the stainless steel halo that surrounds the iPhone.

ITunes Wi-Fi Music Store: The iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store is one of those nice things we hoped for but weren't exactly sure we'd see. But it's cool that you can now download music when you're out and about.

You still have to find a Wi-Fi hotspot, but now with the partnership with Starbucks, that shouldn't be too hard. You can't download videos, but you do get access to iTunes' 6 million songs.

Apple people have been touting the PC download model as the only thing going, so it's nice to see them embrace Wi-Fi downloads.

HD Radio

Apple is working with iPod dock makers JBL and Polk on a system that allows anything heard on an HD Radio/iPod dock system to be tagged and sent to an iPod, which will later be transferred to iTunes. Once on iTunes, a playlist is presented where users can purchase any tracks they heard while listening to HD Radio. iBiquity will be working with HD Radio stations to make this iTunes Tagging an industry-wide standard.

Polk will release the i-Sonic ES2 iPod dock first which will feature the Tag button, followed by the JBl iHD this holiday season. There are plans for Tag buttons to be placed in cars and more iPod docks in 2008.

Here's how it works: iTunes Tagging enables consumers using HD Radio receivers that have been equipped with a special 'Tag' button, to tag songs that they hear on the FM dial. Information about these tagged songs is then stored by the receiver and transferred to the individual's iPod. When the iPod is connected to a computer, the new iTunes software automatically presents the songs in a Tagged playlist so that the consumer can preview, buy and download them

"iTunes tagging takes music discovery on the radio to the next level," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPod Product Marketing. "When a song plays on your HD Radio that you like, a simple push of a button will tag it and later give you the chance to preview, purchase, and enjoy it with iTunes and your iPod."

Rob Struble, CEO of iBiquity Digital, the developer of HD Radio technology, said, "Research consistently shows that radio is the predominant source of music discovery. Now, with iTunes Tagging, HD Radio technology provides a cool new way to capture the songs listeners discover, buy them on iTunes and then enjoy them. We are especially pleased that so many broadcasters came together so quickly for the initial launch." Several major broadcasters will implement iTunes Tagging, initially across hundreds of stations. Additional stations and broadcast groups are expected to join soon, with a formal announcement of participating groups planned for later this year at the NAB Radio convention, September 26 - 28.

Thanks to the DMCA and the RCAA... Apple Profits will remain high... Of course, should you lose your machine or upgrade or even choose to deal with another equipment maker or artists outside the RCAA Plantation...well, live will be a bit more difficult. Just a little bit.

A reasonable debate about royalties and fees in a competitive world would be much better than the high-priced lobbyist shackles that were given to the high-priced help on Capital Hill. A rigged game is better than an open market anytime... Especially when you're the one doing the rigging.

The "Do-No-Evil Empire" says "all your data is ours"... iSteve says "all your entertainment is ours" both want only a small transaction fee for their trouble... Their property rights and equity ownership will make them rich. You-? You get to keep working.... tug the forelock when they doesn't bother them but it will remind you who is the master and who pays the rents and who collects them.

Will we surrender our other property rights as easily?

Your list of lost liberties and rights might be interesting....

Wednesday, September 5, 2007



What news awaits the Apple faithful?
Speculation centers on redesigned iPods, expanded content offerings on iTunes

Just two months after the release of the iPhone, which Steve Jobs proclaimed was the best iPod ever, Apple is expected to reveal Wednesday how it plans to move the iPod line forward. The company has summoned reporters and analysts to San Francisco's Moscone Center for an event, the invitations for which feature an image from Apple's iPod advertising. The event has generated a great deal of interest among Apple devotees, especially after the successful introduction of the iPhone. The timing is also good for Apple, which hasn't overhauled the standard iPod or the iPod Nano in almost two years.


Apple to upgrade iPod line, nano gets video
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc Chief Executive Steve Jobs unveiled new iPod models on Wednesday including an iPod nano, which stores songs and photos on flash memory chips instead of a hard drive, that now will play video and games.

Apple unveils new iPods, ringtones, Wi-Fi iTunes store

(09-05) 12:21 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs delivered a bounty of music news Wednesday, introducing a new multi-touch iPod similar to the iPhone, slashing the price of the iPhone by $200 and announcing a new Wi-Fi iTunes music store that allows users to download music at various locations, including Starbucks stores.

The iPod Nano also got a major face lift, with a 2-inch screen for the first time on a wider body. The Nano will now be able to play video on a super bright screen with 320 x 240 resolution. The Nano features a new user interface that includes a pane on the right that shows cover art and preview pictures that slowly float around. A 4GB Nano will sell for $149, while an 8GB version will sell for $199.

New Apple iPod Nano Has 2.5-Inch Screen

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs unveiled new versions of the company's market-leading iPod media player Wednesday, including an iPod Nano with a 2.5-inch screen for watching movies and playing games.

"It's incredibly tiny. It's incredibly thin," Jobs said of the new Nano, which features a 320-by-240-pixel screen.

The new Nano, which will be in stores starting this weekend, will come in two models: a 4-gigabyte version for $149, and an 8-gigabyte version for $199.

Apple also announced it will be selling ring tones for its iPhone for 99 cents, plus the 99-cent cost of the song. Ring tones from more than 500,000 songs available on iTunes will go on sale next week.


Apple Cancels NBC Fall TV Lineup On iTunes
The rift was based on a doubling of the wholesale price Apple pays for each NBC TV episode.

The rift, which encompasses all NBCU news, sports and entertainment

programming, means Apple may no longer offer the network's videos on the online store after the current contract expires in December. Apple said it decided not to offer the network's new shows in September, in order to avoid disappointing iTunes customers by having to pull the shows mid-season.

"We are disappointed to see NBC leave iTunes because we would not agree to their dramatic price increase," Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes, said in a statement. "We hope they will change their minds and offer their TV shows to the tens of millions of iTunes customers."

The dramatic increase was a doubling of the wholesale price Apple pays for each NBC TV episode. That would have resulted in iTunes customers paying $4.99 per episode instead of the current $1.99. Agreeing to such an increase would have placed Apple in an awkward position with ABC, CBS, Fox, The CW, and more than 50 cable networks that have agreed to sell their TV shows from the upcoming season at the lower price.

Apple is sure to feel the loss of NBC Universal, which provided three of iTunes' 10 best selling TV shows last season, according to Apple. Those shows accounted for 30% of iTunes' TV show sales. The New York Times, which was the first to report the NBCU-Apple troubles, said NBC Universal, which is part of General Electric, accounts for 40% of digital video downloads on the Apple online store. Among NBCU's popular shows on iTunes is "Battlestar Galactica," "Heroes," and "The Office."

NBC is not the first major iTunes supplier to bang heads with Apple over pricing. Universal Music Group, owned by Vivendi, refused to renew its contract with Apple in July, saying it would sell music on iTunes at will. This gives Universal the option of removing songs from the store on short notice.

Eric Zeeman Reports: iPhone Impresses Europeans. Almost.

Not all of them, obviously, but during my tip to London this week anyone within sight of my iPhone sidled up next to me quickly for a demonstration of how it worked. There were lots of oohs and aahs, quickly followed by bahs.

Quite honestly, I was trying to be as secretive with it as possible. I didn't want to create a mob scene or anything. But people are eagle-eyed, and anytime I retrieved it from my pocket, someone was quick to notice and ask what it was. Many thought it was the LG Prada at first. When I told them it was an iPhone, they nearly all asked to take a look. I obliged.

me. The E61i has a 2100 MHz WCDMA radio in it, and I was able to browse at blazing fast 3G speeds over the Vodafone network. The difference was striking.

So to return to a point I brought up several months ago, will Apple really sell that many iPhones in Europe when there are so many faster handsets available?

I guess we'll find out soon enough, as it appears Apple and several European carriers are set to announce its availability.

Mitch Wagner Reports: Letting Crazy People Set Intellectual-Property Policy

  • The New York Times reported that NBC will not renew its distribution agreement with iTunes when it comes due in December. Among the terms NBC wants: Tougher digital rights management -- this despite the fact that it's been demonstrated, over and over again, that DRM doesn't work, can't be made to work, and any beliefs to the contrary are simply delusional.

  • InformationWeek contributor Cory Doctorow describes how the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) sent a broad takedown notice to scribd, a text-filesharing site, demanding that scribd remove a huge number of files. The problem, says Cory, is that the takedown notice is simply wrong. It includes works that are in the public domain, works that are licensed under Creative Commons, recommended reading lists, the back issues of a magazine, Ray Gun Revival, posted to scribd by the magazine's publishers -- and Doctorow's own novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, which Doctorow released under Creative Commons. SFWA appears to be behaving like a vigilante who, in the name of stopping violent crime, shoots up a whole subway car. Doctorow notes that, by misrepresenting itself as an authorized agent of copyright holders, SFWA has exposed itself to enormous legal liability.

  • Viacom sent a takedown notice to North Carolina school board candidate Christopher Knight for posting a copy of a Viacom-owned VH1 clip to YouTube. The VH1 clip was a commentary on a TV commercial Knight created to support his political candidacy. Viacom is claiming that Knight pirated the VH1 clip -- when in fact, says Knight, Viacom are the pirates here; they used Knight's original political commercial without his permission.

When are we going to put greedy children like NBC, SFWA, and Viacom down for nap-time, and let grownups start writing intellectual property policy?

Unfortunately, Congress does not care about good legislation. They want nice sounding titles on the bills they pass. They want everyone to think them noble and responsible for the titles. They also want the money from donations that follow the legislation, that they didn't read, which screws the competition and rewards those who pay the lobbyists (yes, NGO's, Public Interest Groups, as well as the Evil Businessmen )

The reason so much money is in politics is because Congress rewards or punishes those who don't pay up. Corruption always raises prices...

Monday, September 3, 2007


Pat Dollard (Follow the link, read his stuff) reveals the man behind the most recent "sliming" of American troops in the new movie "Redacted".... The one that upset all the viewers in Venice, Italy at the recent film festival and made headlines around the world (Thank you AP and Reuters)....

The latest Bourne flick was a slightly subtle attack on the CIA and American intelligence agencies... The next few months will see a lot of anti-Bush/anti-war movies coming out... The goal is to hit the theaters now, before the January/February Primaries. Then to hit the award shows that occupy the TV during the Spring. Then to hit the DVD and rental release markets, with attendant publicity in the weeks leading up to the November, 2008 election. They want to bang the gong three times and make America afraid, ashamed, and weaker on the world stage... The problem is that, now, we face an enemy that seeks our destruction and enslavement. Its not just a bunch of noisy "useful idiots" that must be indulged by a wealthy nation that is busy earning money.

Before this report, I had considered Mark Cuban another of the Silicon Valley dilettantes who were smart enough to be in the right place and lucky enough to bail out early with a bag of cash, but who was now a lost child trying to show the world that it was his native genius and not plain-dumb-luck... Like a lottery winner saying "It was my brilliance that knew the right numbers"

Billionaire Mark Cuban has decided to put all of his weight behind a campaign to smear US troops in Iraq as “monsters’. Cuban has decided that De Palma’s film “Redacted” must be seen as the cornerstone of his and De Palma’s self-declared anti-victory campaign against America and her troops fighing in Iraq. Cuban’s company Magnolia Pictures will be bringing this propganda campaign to a theater near you this winter. According to a source close to Cuban, the decision for Magnolia to develop, finance and distribute the film was personally made by Çuban. Cuban has a full producer credit on the film, and DePalma shot it on HiDef video at Cuban’s request, in order for it to qualify as fodder for Cuban’s hi-def cable channel. So far neither he or DePalma have explained how they can be “bringing the truth of the Iraq war to the American people”, as Louie DePalma has said, when neither of them have ever been to Iraq, filmed any of “Redacted” in Iraq, or spent one minute with any soldier in Iraq. Clearly they are only bringing you their imagined propagandists’ reality of Iraq. Both had the opportunity to go, both declined. They have chosen the coward’s path in a quest for legitimacy as spokesmen for the Iraq war, and as such both have failed in that quest. Indeed, they are left standing as laughingstocks. Their reach has exceeded their grasp. Cuban is a jet-set, armchair “Iraq Truther” who made sure not to have his private jet stop anywhere near Iraq. But he and DePalma are more than anxious to bring you the “reality of the Iraq war”.

DePalma said that going in it was his intention to make a film that would nauseate the American people, and thereby lead to a US withdrawal from Iraq. Well the only way for him to pull that off is if his film makes the case that the anomolous rape it fictionalizes is not actually an anomoly, but a “typical” snapshot of the US military’s behavior. In short, he would have to make his “troops-as-monsters” conceit appear to be typical of the troops, not atypical. This reveals a desire to create something that is nothing short of a willful and intentional smear built upon a lie. It also means that he decided not to look at Iraq for what it was, but to find something - anything - in it that would allow him to advance his propaganda campaign. Well Louie DePalma gave the game away when he confessed his excitement at his initial discovery of the rape story: “I knew I had a story!”. Now if that doesn’t mean “A story to suit my propaganda interests!”, then what does it mean?

The best defense DePalma has been able to muster about the lack of direct military reality in his film is “I had plenty of real stuff to put in but I didn’t put it in, and can’t show it to you to prove it, because my lawyers won’t let me”. That kind of bullshit pr spin may fly in Hollywood, but it isn’t flying here on earth. If you’ve got the goods, Louie, show them. It would appear quite clear why you haven’t already.

Dollard is angry... So am I... Tell your friends.... Stay away from the movie, the San Antonio Mavericks (basketball team) and anything else associated with this slime ball... The only thing Hollywood responds to is money. Cuban will lose credibility very fast if this thing loses money and costs him money in his other sources of revenue. Even if his is the -ONLY- weenie on this table... Nobody will put theirs on the table next to him in the future... Even Hollywood/Corporate weenies have a limit to how far they will go to show who has the largest Kielbasa.... Everybody remembers when the Big Weenie was whacked...


Iraq war films among favourites at Venice festival

VENICE (Reuters) - Two very different movies about the Iraq war are among the favourites for awards at this year's Venice film festival as it passes the halfway stage, and an unusually high number of male leads have stood out.
For pure shock value, Brian De Palma's "Redacted" wins hands down, stunning audiences with an uncompromising reconstruction of the real-life rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the murder of her and her family by U.S. soldiers.For those looking for a more nuanced take on the conflict, a hot topic in Hollywood today, Paul Haggis's "In the Valley of Elah" stands out, as does the performance of Tommy Lee Jones.

De Palma: ‘When You Get a Banner Headline on the Drudge Report, You Know You Are in Trouble’

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"The right wing will come at this movie. I have done something that just cannot be done. You can never say anything critical of the troops."
To be REALLY-REALLY BRAVE he should do a movie about union thugs and Hollywood personal corruption. Being BRAVE insulting the Right wing is nowhere nearly as brave as attacking the left would be... An anti-war movement movie showing venial and corrupt schemers-? Never going to happen... That would really cut off the hands that feed.... Making a predictable movie with full funding from a dilettante isn't brave. Attacking those hated by Hollywood isn't brave. It's just what they do in Hollywood when they no longer get the calls from major studios...

Demographics, Politics, Destiny

The old saying "Demographics is destiny" is not used as much as it once was. Maybe we have gotten used to being the baby boomer "bulge in the snake" and haven't considered what happens when the snake slims down....

Maybe we have assumed that our parents will remain here forever to listen to our whining, to clean up behind us, to bail us out of our problems and to let us stay "forever youg"... Or maybe we just don't care. Thinking about the future is what we were supposed to be good at... Saving the planet (another topic, another time), being one with nature and living our lives so that all mankind was our brother...(
More than ONE internet wise person has noted that we are not building shields to protect the cities, underground chambers to protect the population, space weapons to destroy intergalactic meteors that have destroyed the Earth several times before. Yet, we are concerned about Global Warming to a level not seen in 300 million years, based upon computer projections that cannot give an accurate forecast for March 15, 2008)

The reality is that a shrinking population means a sudden diminishing in our standard of living and reduction in our expectations. Boomers have never been very good at diminished expectations. Many of the things we have worked hard to achieve and now enjoy will be denied us. i.e.A nice meal out, clean hotel rooms, inexpensive and safe food, caring and professional nurses and doctors who speak our language and understand our needs.... Look at Europe and Japan who have larger social safety nets and a more rapidly declining population. They lack the tax funds and entrepreneurial energy to refurbish and maintain their infrastructure. (30,000 died during an August heat wave recently) Their power, sewer, water, road systems are all creaking with age and they lack the manpower to rebuild. A 35 hour work week and gentrified union work force will not bring about much more than a slow decline. It will not bring about a new technologies, new methods, new investment.

Steven Camarota in Front Page Magazine has an interesting article about the affects of our present immigration policies... (WARNING: Discussions of methodology, statistics, charts, graphs and other details that are not for everyone, at the link)

This study uses Census Bureau data to project how different levels of immigration impact population size and the aging of American society. The findings show that the current level of net immigration (1.25 million a year) will add 105 million to the nation’s population by 2060. While immigration makes the population larger, it has a small effect on the aging of society.

Among the findings:

  • Currently, 1.6 million legal and illegal immigrants settle in the country each year; 350,000 immigrants leave each year, resulting in net immigration of 1.25 million.

  • If immigration continues at current levels, the nation’s population will increase from 301 million today to 468 million in 2060 — a 167 million (56 percent) increase. Immigrants plus their descendents will account for 105 million (63 percent) of the increase.
The nation’s ongoing debate over immigration generally has not focused on the effect it has on U.S. population size. Yet, increasing the nation’s total population is one of immigration’s clearest and most direct effects. Supporters of low immigration point to the congestion, sprawl, traffic, pollution, loss of open spaces, and greenhouse gas emissions that could be impacted by population growth. Supporters of high immigration argue that population growth may create more opportunities for businesses, workers, and consumers. Whatever one thinks of population growth, the projected 167 million growth in the nation’s population in the next 53 years is very large

Because of gains in life expectancy coupled with the decline in fertility, American, like all modern societies, is growing older. Many observers worry that there will not be enough workers to support the government and economy in the future. It is often suggested that immigration can offset the aging of America society by adding young workers.

Consistent with Census Bureau projections, we find that future immigration levels have a very large impact on population growth. Also consistent with Census projections, we find that immigration has only a small positive effect on the aging of American society. At present, 1.6 million immigrants settle in the United States annually, and 350,000 leave, for a net level of 1.25 million a year. If that level of net immigration continues, the nation’s total population will grow by 167 million, to 468 million, by 2060. Immigrants who have yet to arrive, but who do so by 2060, plus their descendents, will account for 105 million — or 63 percent — of this future increase. If the annual level of net immigration were 300,000 a year in the future, the population would be 80 million smaller in 2060 than if immigration continues at the current level.

While immigration has a large effect on population size, it has only a small effect on the aging of society. At the current level of net immigration, 61 percent of the nation’s population will be of working age (15-66) in 2060, compared to 60 percent if net immigration were 300,000 a year. If immigration was doubled to 3.2 million a year (2.5 million net), it would only raise the working-age share of the population one additional percentage point, to 62 percent of the population in 2060. However, at that level, the nation’s total population would be 572 million, 272 million larger than it is today. Immigrants do tend to arrive in America relatively young, but they grow older just like native-born Americans. Immigrants admitted today become tomorrow’s retirees. And although they tend to have somewhat larger families than natives, the differences are not large enough to significantly change the nation’s age structure. As a result, immigration makes for a much larger population and more densely settled country, but can have only a small effect on the aging of society.

The debate over immigration should not be whether it makes for a much larger population — without question it does. The debate over immigration should also not be whether it has a large impact on the aging of society — without question it does not. The central question this study raises and that Americans must answer is what costs and benefits come with having a much larger population and a more densely settled country. Some foresee a deteriorating quality of life with a larger population, including its impact on such things as pollution, congestion, loss of open spaces, and sprawl. Others may feel that a much larger population will create more opportunities for businesses, workers, and consumers. These projections do not resolve those questions. What the projections do tell us is where we are headed as a country. The question for the nation is: Do we wish to go there?

We cannot think beyond the next election cycle.we think only in a sports win-lose mentality. We cannot imagine a nation THAT large. We cannot imagine the systems and procedures that we must develop to ensure that our economy, democracy, values and strengths remain vibrant... We cannot think that far ahead, but somebody must... If not our "National Thought Leaders", then who?

Illegal Immigration

Some people have already considered the consequences of their economic situation and decided that they want their children to grow up in "the land of the free and the home of the brave"... They have voted with their feet. Small towns across the Midwest have welcomed the waves of immigrants, legal and illegal. The current political mess shows only that our "leaders" would rather hide than deal with the subject.

MARSHALLTOWN, IOWA — Everyone knew they were there, doing dirty and dangerous work in the massive meatpacking plant. They had come a long way — more than 1,000 miles, from impoverished rural Mexico to the lush corn country of the Midwest. Some folks looked the other way, others offered a helping hand.

This town in the heart of middle America that has been transformed — even rejuvenated — by immigration stands as a symbol of the agonizing predicaments and pressures faced by many communities today.

As the latest crop of presidential candidates crisscrosses Iowa, their speeches bristling with catch phrases about the border, Marshalltown is confronting the real-life consequences of a problem whose roots are far away.

And the town can't thrive without immigrants. The dramatic growth in the Hispanic population — from a few hundred in 1990 to perhaps as much as 20 percent of the 26,000 residents now — has pumped new blood into this aging rural community.

"The leaders know darn well this town would really be suffering if not for the influx of refugees," says Mark Grey, a University of Northern Iowa professor and immigration expert. "They can wax nostalgic for the good old days, but the good old days are gone."

After the December raid — one of six at Swift plants across the country — federal agents returned in July. They made five more arrests, including a union representative and a human resources manager who allegedly coached an illegal immigrant on how to apply for a job using a fake name and documents.

This is an issue that will not go away. What is the carrying capacity of the United States? How mny people can we support? What do we do about the millions of people whoa re here illegally? How do we support our aging population? How do we support the whiny boomer's in their dotage? what will happen to Social Security, Medicare, Medicade, prices, taxes, insurance rates etc. in a nation with an aging and declining population?

When will a leader emerge to confront these issues? We keep electing "leaders" who get to Washington and become "sheep"... Or maybe we should simply focus on keeping the entrepreneurial spirit alive and let American ingenuity combine with immigrant ingenuity to decide what the future will look like...


Democrat Congress persons were shocked-surprised-dismayed-annoyed-angry (?) to find that their audiences in Iraq had received information about their previous statements.

The sheets of paper seemed to be everywhere the lawmakers went in the Green Zone, distributed to Iraqi officials, U.S. officials and uniformed military of no particular rank. So when Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) asked a soldier last weekend just what he was holding, the congressman was taken aback to find out.

In the soldier's hand was a thumbnail biography, distributed before each of the congressmen's meetings in Baghdad, which let meeting participants such as that soldier know where each of the lawmakers stands on the war. "Moran on Iraq policy," read one section, going on to cite some the congressman's most incendiary statements, such as, "This has been the worst foreign policy fiasco in American history."

"This is beyond parsing. This is being slimed in the Green Zone," Tauscher said of her bio.

More than two dozen House members and senators have used the August recess to travel to Iraq in the hope of getting a firsthand view of the war ahead of commanding Gen. David H. Petraeus's progress report in two weeks on Capitol Hill. But it appears that the trips have been as much about Iraqi and U.S. officials sizing up Congress as the members of Congress sizing up the war.

Tauscher called it "the Green Zone fog."

"Spin City," Moran grumbled. "The Iraqis and the Americans were all singing from the same song sheet, and it was deliberately manipulated."

But even such tight control could not always filter out the bizarre world inside the barricades. At one point, the three were trying to discuss the state of Iraqi security forces with Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, but the large, flat-panel television set facing the official proved to be a distraction. Rubaie was watching children's cartoons.

When Moran asked him to turn it off, Rubaie protested with a laugh and said, "But this is my favorite television show," Moran recalled.

I don't disagree it was an odd moment, but I did take a deep breath and say, 'Wait a minute, at least they are using the latest technology, and they are monitoring the world,' " Porter said. "But, yes, it was pretty annoying." (Professional level "Spin" -Just that easy. Don't try it at home.)

It was the bio sheets that seemed to annoy the members of Congress the most. Just who assembled them is not clear. E-mails to U.S. Central Command's public affairs office in Baghdad this week went unanswered.

"I had never seen that in the past. That's new," said Porter, who was on his fourth trip to Iraq. "Now I want to see what they're saying about me," he added, when he learned of the contents of his travel companions' rap sheets.

Read the whole article. It's short... But almost incoherent. The PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS at the Washington Post spent more column inches trying to spin the story than in answering some of the Journalism 101 questions such as "Who, What, When, Where, Why, " and the story was definitely NOT encapsulated in the first paragraph.... I guess it's the professionals doing something us amateurs cannot possibly fathom...

Chris Muir who draws the "Day by Day" comic strip did a much better job in only three panels... You should read his stuff every day... It puts the NYTimes and WAPost daily headlines into brilliant perspective... Much, Much better than Gary Trudeau, even way back when he actually cared.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Coffeyville, KS

Coffeyville, Kansas

The waters arrived. The rain kept falling and rivers overflowed. The ground could not soak up all the water.

This spring 42,000 gallons of oil was spilled during the floods. The refinery has offered to purchase over 300 homes damaged by the flood. They are offering 110% of the pre-flood market value. They are also advising homeowners that their insurance obligation is limited to home clean-up and removal of the first 9 inches of topsoil. Not surprisingly, some owners are not selling.

The entire Kansas-Oklahoma area is now flooded with government agents, clean-up crews, testing crews, and inspection services to certify that the clean-up crews, testing crews and reclamation teams are doing their job. Crews from Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi that have had too much experience with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are filling the hotels, doing a great job and making a lot of money.

Some parts of fields and towns look as if nothing ever happened. The fields and hills are green and lush. If you look closely, you can see crops that were pushed over and left. The locals tell that the water has soaked down and baked hard the clay.. Any more rain will just flood off immediately. After taking care of the citizens, the refinery-insurance-clean-up crews are now headed towards taking off the topsoil and replacing it... The lawyers in Texas are still working on their downstream reclamation and recovery issues

Before the floods, the biggest event to hit the Coffeyville area was the Dalton Gang. Old Town Coffeyville doesn't seem to have changed much in the last 100 years. The sun is still too hot in August. There are still too few people in this part of the world. The streets are deserted after nine in the morning.


Founded in 1869 as an Indian trading post by Col. James A. Coffey, serving the population across the Oklahoma border in what was then the Indian Territory, the town was confirmed and expanded by the arrival of the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston railroad in 1871. With the arrival of the railroad, a young surveyor, Napoleon B. Blanton, was dispatched to lay out the town. The naming of the town was left to the toss of a coin between Col. Coffey and U.S. Army Captain Blanton. Blanton lost the toss and the town was officially named Coffeyville.

Incorporated in 1872, the charter was voided, and the city was re-incorporated in March of 1873.

Coffeyville's most famous moment may have been the end of the Dalton Gang: on October 5, 1892, four of the gang were killed while Emmett Dalton survived with 23 gunshot wounds and was imprisoned for 14 years before being pardoned. They had been attempting to rob two banks, First National Bank and Condon Bank, at once when the citizens recognized them under the fake beards they were wearing and fought them after coming out of one of the banks. Three citizens, including a U.S. marshal, Marshal Charles T. Connelly, died in defense of the town.

The Dalton Gang:


The Dalton family came from Jackson County, Missouri. Lewis Dalton was a saloon keeper in Kansas City, Kansas, when he married Adeline Younger, the aunt of Cole and Jim Younger. By 1882, the family lived in northeast Oklahoma, then known as the Indian Territory, and by 1886 they had moved to Coffeyville in southeast Kansas. When the Oklahoma Territory opened for settlement in 1889, the family claimed homestead land near Kingfisher. Thirteen of the couple's 15 children survived to maturity.


One son, Frank Dalton, was a deputy United States Marshal who was killed in the line of duty in 1887. Frank had been the most stable of the brothers, well grounded and mature. He had been tracking a horse thief in the Oklahoma Territory. When he located the suspect on November 27, 1887, he confronted him and a shootout erupted, resulting in Dalton being killed. One week later, on December 3, 1887, the suspect was tracked by other lawmen, and another shootout erupted. In that second shootout, Deputy U.S. Marshal Ed Stokley shot and wounded the suspect, who then shot and killed Stokley. Other deputy U.S. Marshals returned fire, killing the suspect.

Perhaps hoping to avenge their brother's death, the three younger Dalton boys—Gratton "Grat" Dalton (b. 1861), Bob Dalton (b. 1869), and Emmett Dalton (b. 1871)—became lawmen. But in 1890, the boys moved to the other side of the law. Bob was always the wildest one. He killed a man for the first time when he was just 19. He was a deputy U.S. Marshal at the time and claimed the killing was in the line of duty. Some suspected, however, that the victim had tried to take away Bob's girlfriend. In March 1890, Bob was charged with introducing liquor into the Indian Territory, but he jumped bail and did not appear for his trial. In September 1890, Grat was arrested for stealing horses— a capital offense—but either the charges were dropped or he was released. Discredited as lawmen, the Daltons soon formed their first gang.


Bob recruited George "Bitter Creek" Newcomb, Bill McElhanie, and Blackfaced Charley Bryant to ride with him and his brother Emmett. Bryant received his nickname because of a gunpowder burn on one cheek. Grat was visiting his brother Bill in California when the gang was formed, but joined it later, as did Bill Doolin, Dick Broadwell, and Bill Powers. Their first robbery target was a gambling house in Silver City, New Mexico.

On February 6, 1891, after Bob Dalton had joined his brothers in California, a Southern Pacific Railroad passenger train was held up. The Daltons were accused of the robbery, based on little evidence. Bob escaped and Bill was acquitted, but Grat was arrested, convicted, and given a 20-year prison sentence. According to one account, Grat was handcuffed to one deputy and accompanied by another while being transferred by train. After the train had gone some distance, one deputy fell asleep and the other busied himself talking to other passengers. It was a hot day, and all the windows were open. Suddenly, Grat jumped up and dived head first out of the train window. He landed in the San Joaquin River, disappeared under water, and was carried downstream by the current. The deputies were astounded. Grat must have taken the key to the handcuffs from the first deputy's pocket as he slept and then timed his escape to take place when he knew the train would be on a bridge. If he had landed on the ground, he would almost certainly have been killed. Grat found his brothers, and they made their way back to Oklahoma Territory.

Between May 1891 and July 1892, the Dalton brothers robbed four trains in the Indian Territory. On May 9, 1891, the men held up a Santa Fe train at Wharton (now Perry). They got away with several hundred dollars, only, but they had worked well as a team. As they passed Orlando, they stole eight or nine horses. A posse chased them, but the gang escaped.

Four months later the Dalton gang robbed a train of $10,000 at Lillietta, Indian Territory. In June 1892, they stopped another Santa Fe train, this time at Red Rock. Blackfaced Charley Bryant and Dick Broadwell held the engineer and fireman in the locomotive. Bob and Emmett Dalton and Bill Powers walked through the passenger cars, robbing the passengers as they went. Bill Doolin and Grat Dalton took on the express car. They threw the safe out of the train. They gained little for their efforts—a few hundred dollars and some watches and jewelry from the passengers. The gang scattered after the Red Rock robbery, but soon Blackfaced Charley was caught and killed in an escape attempt.

The gang struck again in July at Adair, Oklahoma, near the Arkansas border. They went directly to the train station and took what they could find in the express and baggage rooms. Then they sat down on a bench on the platform, talking and smoking, with their Winchester rifles across their knees. When the train came in at 9:45 p.m., they backed a wagon up to the express car and unloaded all the contents. There were several armed guards on the train, but for some reason all 11 men were at the back of the train. The guards fired at the bandits through the car windows and from behind the train. In the gun fight, 200 shots were fired. None of the Dalton gang was hit. Three guards were wounded, and a town doctor was killed by a stray bullet. The robbers dropped out of sight, probably hiding out in one of several caves near Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Failed bank robbery

The gang could have kept themselves busy with train robberies, but Bob Dalton wanted to make sure his name would long be remembered. He would, he claimed, "beat anything Jesse James ever did—rob two banks at once, in broad daylight." On October 5, 1892, the Dalton gang attempted this feat when they set out to rob the C.M. Condon & Company's Bank and the First National Bank in Coffeyville, Kansas. Since the locals were aware of what they looked like, they wore fake beards. But they were still identified by one of the townspeople.

While the gang was busy trying to hold up the banks, the people armed themselves and prepared for a gun battle. When the gang exited the banks, a shootout began. There were three townspeople shot, and town Marshal Charles Connelly was killed when he ran into the street after hearing gunfire. Grat Dalton, Bob Dalton, Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers were killed. Emmett Dalton received 23 gunshot wounds and survived. He was given a life sentence in the Kansas penitentiary in Lansing, Kansas, of which he served 14 years before being pardoned. He moved to California and became a real estate agent, author and actor, and died in 1937 at age 66. Bill Doolin, "Bitter Creek" Newcomb, and Charlie Pierce were the only members left of the Dalton Gang, although none was present at the Coffeyville shootout. Speculation later suggested that there had been a sixth man holding horses in an alleyway and that he had escaped, and that man was believed to have been Bill Doolin. However, that has never been confirmed.


Here should be some recent photos of the present day old parts of town. (Blogger-a wholly owned subsidiary of Google, refuses to put my photos where I want them) The old Condon Bank sits across the street from the new one. The town square has a memorial and some benches. But otherwise, it's easy to imagine the town with wagons, buggies and horseback riders 100 years ago. The past is very close here...

The Daltons are never portrayed as noble, heroic or even brave. They were thieves who planned to steal the money and kill whoever got in their way.
There was no Federal Deposit insurance, no Federal Reserve, not even much financial reserve. If the bank went broke, the town went broke. The cash the bank held was the citizens cash. It's loss meant nothing in the savings, no cash to lubricate the wheels of commerce, no money to even repay the bank loans. Buyers couldn't buy and sellers couldn't sell. That is why the citizens got involved. They were fighting for their economic life. The Museum refers to the "Defenders of Coffeyville" who died saving the town. In the real Old West outlaws were never romantic icons.

The prosperity that followed in the early part of the century has faded. There are empty old buildings everywhere... Rents are cheap. There just aren't that many people in small town America any more....

There is a lot of money in these small towns. Most have several competing banks, both local and branches of national franchises. There are depositors, lenders, and entrepreneurs. The bankers are more accessible, more friendly and know much more about their smaller depositors and creditors than in the big cities or with the national bank chains.

Most of the businesses are farms. It is rare to find a farmer that lives solely off the land. They drive trucks, drive heavy equipment moving dirt, clearing land, harvesting crops, repairing the equipment, selling used equipment, building fences, building barns, building the pens and out buildings as well as all the farm appliances, etc... Their wives most often work in town. They work at WalMart, the hospital, for the county or city, the cable company, the telephone company, the power company...all of whom pay modest wages but provide good health benefits. Everybody's kids go to the same schools. On Friday night, the entire community gathers to watch the football or basketball games. They may not all be in church on Sunday. However, there are several competing churches that are appear to be doing a fine retail business.

The ghosts of cowboys, outlaws, bankers, lawmen, townspeople, farmers and ranchers live on in America's small towns... If you haven't been, you should visit some of the small towns in the middle of the nation. There is much to recommend... Interesting history, interesting people, good food, reasonable prices, lots of blue sky and open country...

The past isn't always as it was written and taught. Getting out of the Disney-Hollywood myth and visiting the places where the events happened is good. Seeing America without the gloss, hype and spin is a wonderful way to find things about our present, as well as the past. With just a little imagination you may even see.a ghost or two out on the horizon just at sundown or sunrise, when light and day change positions...

As Roy Rogers sang so long ago.. "Happy Trails To You..... Until We Meet Again"