When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do? -- John Maynard Keynes

Monday, December 31, 2012

Howard Dean may be right: Let’s Go Over the Fiscal Cliff--Whee!

I was hoping for comprehensive tax reform and entitlement reform to "fix" the USA but it's not going to happen in dysfunctional Washington. But instead of some kind of bastardized last-minute deal, the best thing may be to do what Howard Dean suggested weeks ago--Let's Go Over the Fiscal Cliff!

Howard Dean: Let’s Go Over the Fiscal Cliff: "“We will get a lot more deficit reduction if we do the fiscal cliff,” the former Vermont governor said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “I actually think the markets will reward the fiscal cliff over a period. “There will be some panic and some moaning and groaning, but the fiscal cliff is not a real cliff, it’s a slope, and you are going to get the biggest bang for the buck in terms of deficit reduction.” Dean (Democrat), who ran for the White House in 2004, said the economy will be able to withstand the effects of the cliff. “Yes we will go into two quarters of recession,” he said. “But we are in deep trouble here, somebody’s going to have to pay the bill and it is going to have to be all of us and you get a much better tax bang if you go back to Bill Clinton’s tax rates.”"

Sounds like Howard may be right--more deficit reduction and more revenues--isn't that what Republicans and Democrats wanted all along?


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Windows 8 fails on desktop

Sorry, I couldn't pass this up--one more time--

10 MORE technologies that are just plain broken | TechRepublic: "9: Windows 8 Modern UI - This interface is lame on the Windows phone and it’s even worse on the desktop. Not only does the Windows 8 UI (formerly Metro) look like a child’s toy, it’s hardly an efficient use of space and movement. It’s clear that Microsoft is shooting for the multi-touch moon, but on a standard desktop, Windows 8 fails. This version will go down as the new Windows Me. Back to the drawing board with you Microsoft!"


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Quote of the Year

Couldn't leave 2012 without kudos to Vint Cerf for his classic statement (in reaction to the UN's ITU and WCIT 2012)--

Bitter struggle over Internet regulation to dominate global summit | Reuters: "Google's Vint Cerf, the ordinarily diplomatic co-author of the basic protocol for Internet data, denounced the proposed new rules as hopeless efforts by some governments and state-controlled telecom authorities to assert their power.
"These persistent attempts are just evidence that this breed of dinosaurs, with their pea-sized brains, hasn't figured out that they are dead yet, because the signal hasn't traveled up their long necks," Cerf told Reuters.""
Well said Vint. Well said.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Government, Antitrust, and Cartels

I remember when old "Ma Bell" was broken up--now we are just about back to where we began--

Break Up the Telecom Cartels - NYTimes.com: "SINCE 1974, when the Justice Department sued to break up the Ma Bell phone monopoly, Americans have been told that competition in telecommunications would produce innovation, better service and lower prices. What we’ve witnessed instead is low-quality service and prices that are higher than a truly competitive market would bring. After a brief fling with competition, ownership has reconcentrated into a stodgy duopoly of Bell Twins — AT&T and Verizon. Now, thanks to new government rules, each in effect has become the leader of its own cartel. The AT&T-DirectTV and Verizon-Bright House-Cox-Comcast-TimeWarner behemoths market what are known as “quad plays”: the phone companies sell mobile services jointly with the “triple play” of Internet, telephone and television connections, which are often provided by supposedly competing cable and satellite companies. And because AT&T’s and Verizon’s own land-based services operate mostly in discrete geographic markets, each cartel rules its domain as a near monopoly. . . . "

When I hear that the FTC is enforcing antitrust, I want to puke. Comcast should be the first required to divest of its internet services--and there are many other monopolies now in telecommunications.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

New FCC rules will let a single company own a town's ISP, newspapers, 2 TV stations and 8 radio stations

I thought the FTC was trying to enforce antitrust--guess they've been too obsessed pursuing meritless cases against Google--well they ought to look at what another federal agency is doing:

New FCC rules will let a single company own a town's ISP, newspapers, 2 TV stations and 8 radio stations - Boing Boing: " FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski wants to gut existing rules that limit media consolidation. This is bad news for people who care about the effects of too much media in too few hands. Genachowski's proposed plan would make our media less diverse, create local media monopolies and ultimately mean less news. This rule would allow ONE company to own a daily newspaper, two TV stations and up to eight radio stations in your town. And that one company could be your Internet provider, too. Scary.""

This doesn't pass the "smell" test by a mile!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Think the U.S. doesn't have debtor prisons?

Think the U.S. Constitution outlawed debtor prisons? Think again--

Man sits in jail while unable to pay alimony that exceeds his income | NJ.com: "For nearly seven weeks, John Waldorf has been in the county jail on a “non-support” charge for allegedly failing to pay alimony. He claims he is a victim of New Jersey’s "antiquated" alimony system and many people agree with him. In late October a small protest was held outside the courthouse. Bruce Eden, Civil Rights Director, of DADS (Dads Against Discrimination) is hoping to garner support for Waldorf on Friday, Dec. 7 when a judge will again hold a hearing to determine how much Waldorf must pay to be released. Waldorf, who divorced his wife of 11 years in 2011, was ordered to pay $2,000 a week in alimony to his ex. That amounts to $104,000 a year. In addition he was ordered to pay $3,300 in child support. The problem is that Waldorf has only been taking home about $90,000 a year on average, according to Eden. Eden said he has Waldorf’s tax returns dating back to 2000. The highest income reported by Waldorf during the marriage was $147,000 before taxes according to Eden. In most years Waldorf made $90,000 to $120,000 before taxes. His average take home pay has been about $90,000 a year."


Monday, December 24, 2012

Windows XP Tablet -- think what might have been

Windows XP Tablet PC Edition: A Look Back | Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: "Windows XP Tablet PC Edition was one of two major additions to the XP lineup that came in the years after the main product line debuted in 2001. . . .  There were two versions of XP for tablets, Tablet PC Edition (which appeared in 2002) and Tablet PC Edition 2005. After that, Tablet PC functionality was simply added directly into more mainstream Windows versions in Windows Vista and 7. The early Tablet PC days were a heady time. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was an early adopter and proponent of this system and proudly declared that it would be a primary computing device for hundreds of millions of people within years. That never happened, but some of the technological advances Microsoft made in these products have stood the test of time, even in these days where more and more consumers are gravitating to simpler (and more simple-minded) devices like the iPad. . . ."

Despite what Steve Jobs (RIP) or others say--the iPad was not an original idea, but built upon work done before--like Microsoft's Windows Tablet.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gas tax hike could be part of fiscal cliff solution

Wonder why no one has brought this up in the Washington fiscal cliff talks?

Gas tax hike could be part of fiscal cliff talks: "Currently at 18.4 cents a gallon, the federal gas tax is used primarily to build and repair roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. The tax raises about $32 billion a year. But that's not enough. The government hands out about $50 billion a year to states and towns to help with road costs. The difference comes out of general funds or has to be borrowed. Meanwhile, the gas tax hasn't been raised since 1993. "Establishing a sustainable resource base for transportation needs to be part of any grand bargain," said Emil Frankel, a former transportation expert in the George W. Bush administration and now director of transportation policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. "In the short run, raising the gas tax is the best way to do that." Raising the gas tax was one of the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles debt reduction plan in 2010. The plan called for a 15 cent-a-gallon hike to the gas tax, a level that would basically cover the current shortfall in the transportation budget. Others went further. In a 2010 letter to the commission Delaware's Democrat Senator Tom Carper and former Ohio Republican George Voinovich proposed a 25 cent-a-gallon hike in the gas tax, with the additional 10 cents a gallon going toward debt reduction. The pair estimated it would generate $83 billion over five years to chip away at the debt, and an additional $117 billion for road repairs. . . ."

25 cents sounds about right considering inflation since 1993.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Google Revenues Sheltered in No-Tax Bermuda

Google is just doing what every large multi-national does--no more, no less--and it is governments that have made this possible. Google is not the problem, tax laws set up by governments are the problem!

Google Revenues Sheltered in No-Tax Bermuda Soar to $10 Billion - Bloomberg: " . . . Google Inc. (GOOG) avoided about $2 billion in worldwide income taxes in 2011 by shifting $9.8 billion in revenues into a Bermuda shell company, almost double the total from three years before, filings show. By legally funneling profits from overseas subsidiaries into Bermuda, which doesn’t have a corporate income tax, Google cut its overall tax rate almost in half. The amount moved to Bermuda is equivalent to about 80 percent of Google’s total pretax profit in 2011. The increase in Google’s revenues routed to Bermuda, disclosed in a Nov. 21 filing by a subsidiary in the Netherlands, could fuel the outrage spreading across Europe and in the U.S. over corporate tax dodging. Governments in France, the U.K., Italy and Australia are probing Google’s tax avoidance as they seek to boost revenue during economic doldrums. . . .“The tax strategy of Google and other multinationals is a deep embarrassment to governments around Europe,” said Richard Murphy, an accountant and director of Tax Research LLP in Norfolk, England. “The political awareness now being created in the U.K., and to a lesser degree elsewhere in Europe, is: It’s us or them. People understand that if Google doesn’t pay, somebody else has to pay or services get cut.” Google said it complies with all tax rules, and its investment in various European countries helps their economies. In the U.K., “we also employ over 2,000 people, help hundreds of thousands of businesses to grow online, and invest millions supporting new tech businesses in East London,” the Mountain View, California-based company said in a statement.
The Internet search giant has avoided billions of dollars in income taxes around the world using a pair of tax shelter strategies known as the Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich, Bloomberg News reported in 2010. The tactics, permitted under tax law in the U.S. and elsewhere, move royalty payments from subsidiaries in Ireland and the Netherlands to a Bermuda unit headquartered in a local law firm. . . .Google’s overall effective tax rate dropped to 21 percent last year from about 28 percent in 2008. That compares with the average combined U.S. and state statutory rate of about 39 percent. . . "

So when will governments "fix" the problem with comprehensive tax reform?


Friday, December 21, 2012

Pronouncements, Predictions, and Projections

From Krugman comes this bite-size insight into what the future holds (as far as jobs) and it's not very positive--
"Along with its new policy pronouncement, the Fed released its economic projections (pdf). What struck me is that the Fed expects the unemployment rate to be well above its long-run level even in the fourth quarter of 2015, which is as far as its projections go.This means that the Fed is projecting elevated unemployment nine full years after the Great Recession started. And, of course, the Fed has been consistently over-optimistic."
Welcome to the New Normal!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

State Department Blamed for Benghazi Disaster not YouTube video

Contrary to the story concocted earlier by Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the reason the US ambassador to Libya and 3 other Americans were killed at Benghazi on September 11, 2012, was the failure of Clinton's State Department to provide proper "security"--and it had nothing to do with an obscure YouTube video (which obviously was a narrative developed by the Obama administration to provide a "smoke screen" and deflect attention from their own incompetence and ineptness)--

State Department Blamed for Libya Security Falling Short - Bloomberg: "The State Department had “grossly inadequate” security at a U.S. mission in Libya before a deadly attack by militants and must overhaul procedures to correct “systemic failures,” an independent review panel said. . . . The findings in the report released yesterday raise questions about the State Department’s leadership under Clinton, who is preparing to depart the post as one of the most popular figures in President Barack Obama’s administration. The report criticized the performance of “senior levels within two bureaus” under Clinton without faulting her by name. . . . The report repeatedly faults the State Department for producing a “security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” according to an unclassified version of the report by the five-member review panel."


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New home sales stagnant, cast shadow on housing

Housing--you think everything is coming up roses? Think again--

New home sales stagnant, cast shadow on housing | Reuters:" Wednesday's data did not change the view that housing is still in recovery mode, although the pace of new home sales in October was below the level of May, suggesting little upward momentum. "It's just that progress will be slow," said Yelena Shulyatyeva, an economist at BNP Paribas in New York. U.S. homebuilder stocks fell, even as broad market indexes rose slightly. . . Wednesday's report showed the median sales price for a new home in October was 5.7 percent higher than a year earlier, but the pace of year-over-year price gains slowed for a second straight month. . . . "Some of this could potentially be Hurricane Sandy," said Megan McGrath, an analyst at MKM Partners in Stamford, Connecticut. However, the Commerce Department said the storm did not affect data collection at all and its impact on the pace of sales was likely "minimal." Economists polled by Reuters had forecast sales rising to a 390,000-unit rate last month from September's previously reported 389,000-unit rate. To provide support for the housing market, the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates at rock-bottom levels since 2008. In September, it launched an open-ended program to buy mortgage-backed securities, driving mortgage rates to record lows."

In other words, the Fed is out of bullets--housing is going to be long, slow recovery.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Susan Rice and her political ambitions

I meant to post this last week--Susan Rice is quite a politico ("live by the sword, die by the sword")--

Stephens: Failing Up With Susan Rice - WSJ.com: ""At an interagency teleconference in late April [1994]," writes Samantha Power in her book "A Problem From Hell," Ms. Rice "stunned a few officials present when she asked, 'If we use the word "genocide" (in reference to Rwanda) and are seen as doing nothing, what will the effect be on the November [congressional] election?' Lieutenant Colonel [Tony] Marley remembers the incredulity of his colleagues at the State Department. 'We could believe that people would wonder that,' he says, 'but not that they would actually voice it.' . . . ""

So when Susan Rice complains of "politicization"--remember she is probably one of the most "politicized" operators in the U.S. government. Shed no tears for her self-inflicted falling with her "trumped-up story" about Benghazi--in fact, Obama has now dodged the disaster of having her as Secretary of State. John Kerry will be a much better Secretary of State than Susan Rice could ever have been.


Monday, December 17, 2012

FTC nominee Joshua Wright to skip Google cases

FTC nominee Joshua Wright to skip Google cases - Tony Romm and Elizabeth Wasserman - POLITICO.com: "The Obama administration nominated Wright at the suggestion of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Republicans support Wright because of his long-standing, free-market, light-touch views on antitrust enforcement. But the nominee quickly faced criticism because his prior research cautioned against any antitrust probe of Google, a case the FTC is currently pursuing — albeit one that could be finished before the end of the year. On one hand, recusal could help Wright win the support of lawmakers who may have been on the fence about his nomination. The panel’s chairman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), did not comment Friday on whether he would press Wright on the matter at the hearing. However, if confirmed, Wright may also sit out other enforcements related to Google — cases involving privacy, for example, an area in which the company and regulators have tangled. . . . "

Wright sounds like a good nominee, but I'm sorry he is going to recuse himself on Google cases. We desperately need his point of view on the FTC which has been seriously off-track in pursuing weak and meritless cases against Google.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

WCIT2012 -- the Debacle in Dubai

With the "debacle in Dubai" now over, we can all sigh in collective relief that the ITU and WCIT were blocked by the free world--

European Parliament: Stop the ITU taking over the Internet | PCWorld: "The World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) will attempt to revise international telecommunication regulations, which have not been updated since 1988. A resolution approved by an overwhelming majority of Members of the European Parliament on Thursday warned that some of the proposals presented ahead of WCIT could result in the ITU itself becoming “the ruling power of the Internet,” something the parliament is determined to prevent.

“The ITU, or any other single international institution, is not the appropriate body to assert regulatory authority over the Internet,” said the resolution, drawn up by Dutch parliamentarian Marietje Schaake."

Here's the scorecard of nations that supported (in "green") and did not support the WCIT "treaty"--I truly feel sorry for the people who live in the "green" nations--(source: the ITU website):
signatories WCIT 2012 - source: ITU
Click to Enlarge


McAfee settling into Miami - 'will not go back to Belize'

LA Times report (excerpt below):

McAfee settling into Miami, 'will not go back to Belize' - latimes.com: " . . . Since landing in Miami on Wednesday, McAfee has held impromptu press conferences on the steps of his hotel despite a request on his blog that still urges press to “please respect John’s privacy.” After dropping contact with two Vice journalists since Guatemala (he accused the magazine of purposefully revealing his location in a cellphone photo’s metadata), he’s since had two other Miami reporters in tow, who report that he spent Thursday dining on hundreds of dollars worth of sushi and browsed phones and sunglasses in a posh shopping district. “I have no future, and if I have no future, that means I have no fear,” McAfee said to the reporters. Meanwhile, the family of Gregory Faull, who was found faceup in a pool of his own blood in Belize, said McAfee should be questioned in Miami. “I’m shocked by this,” Faull’s stepfather, William Keeney, told Reuters on Thursday. “He’s running around footloose and fancy-free in Miami. How in the world can that be?” Belize police spokesman Raphael Martinez has said officials there have no plans to travel to the United States to question the tech giant. But Martinez also left open the possibility that McAfee could go from "person of interest" to a named suspect, a situation in which he said Belize could explore additional options under extradition treaties with the United States."


Saturday, December 15, 2012

More video from McAfee

Source: http://nbcbayarea.com.

John McAfee, the anti-virus software founder who has been evading Belizean authorities in a homicide inquiry abroad, on Thursday walked outside a South Beach hotel and said, "It's good to be back in America."


John McAfee - the CNBC interview (video)

John McAfee- the saga continues - CNBC interviewed John in Miami (where he arrived from Guatemala) - "I stopped being on the run once I arrived in Miami" . . . watch the video for the rest.


Friday, December 14, 2012

"Do you not know with how little wisdom the world is governed?"

Watching Washington grapple with the fiscal cliff, I am reminded of the famous quote by Oxenstierna--

Axel Oxenstierna - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: ""Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?" (in a letter to his son Johan written in 1648, in the original Latin An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur?).[16] Although attributed to Cardinal Richelieu as well, this is probably the most famous Swedish quotation in the English-speaking world. The words were intended to encourage his son, a delegate to the negotiations that would lead to the Peace of Westphalia, who worried about his ability to hold his own amidst experienced and eminent statesmen and diplomats."


Thursday, December 13, 2012

The 90s Economic Boom Is Not Coming Back

The "good old days" aren't coming back--

Why Obama Can’t Bring Back the 90s Economic Boom: "Analysis by Ethan Pollack at the liberal Economic Policy Institute forecasts that public investment will decline over the next four years. These investments initially surged under Obama because of the 2009 stimulus and currently represent 2.3 percent of GDP, but discretionary spending was trimmed last year in the Budget Control Act to reduce the deficit. According to the Obama budget proposal—which is more generous than the GOP alternative—they’ll slide beneath the Clinton-era average of 1.7 percent around 2016. And because the stimulus supported the fragile economy for the past three years, Pollack expects that “the wind-down in investment as a share of GDP will drag at growth rates.” Given the historically low interest rates on U.S. Treasurys and the relatively high 7.9 percent unemployment rate, it makes sense to many economists to continue deficit expenditures to help the economy—an option that’s no longer prominent in policy discussions between the White House and congressional leaders. Interest rates were not only higher in 1993, but unemployment was slightly lower when the deficit trimming began under Clinton. Read more at http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/12/06/Why-Obama-Cant-Bring-Back-the-90s-Economic-Boom.aspx#QUMAjbr4SesQvEbu.99


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Declining Jobless rate due to shrinking labor force not good news

The spinners in the media have been rejoicing over a declining unemployment rate (even the small decline reported over the last few months). Unfortunately, a decreasing unemployment rate is not necessarily good news. After all, if everyone dropped out of the work force, the unemployment rate would be zero (-0-)! A decreasing unemployment rate is not good news when it reflects a shrinking labor force--

Jobless rate 7.7%; 146,000 new jobs: "The government revised down job gains for September and October by a total 49,000. September's additions were revised from 148,000 to 132,000 and October's, from 171,000 to 138,000. . . . Meanwhile, the continuing sharp drop in the unemployment rate -- from 8.3% to 7.7% since July -- is surprising and at least partly reflects retiring Baby Boomers, says Chief U.S. Economist Jim O'Sullivan of High Frequency Economics. "What's happening here is the demographics have changed," he says. He says monthly job gains of about 75,000 are likely enough to keep the jobless rate from rising, down from 100,000 to 150,000. A shrinking labor force, however, does not bode well for economic growth because retirees have less spending power."


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

UN's ITU Should Be Dismantled says Former White House Official Says

UN's ITU Should Be Dismantled, Former White House Official Says CIO.com: "The U.S. government should push for the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union to be dismantled in addition to playing defense against proposals for restrictive Internet regulations at an upcoming telecom conference, a former White House official said. The ITU has outlived its purpose of coordinating international telecom regulations as the world's communications networks move to Internet Protocol, said Andrew McLaughlin, an entrepreneur-in-residence at startup funding firm Betaworks and former deputy CTO in U.S. President Barack Obama's administration. The ITU is set up to advocate for government intervention into communications networks, at the expense of users, and the organization lacks transparency, McLaughlin said Thursday at a Future Tense discussion of Internet governance. . . . "

Sounds good--no more ITU!


Monday, December 10, 2012

ITU Proves It Is Unfit To Regulate the Internet

Proof is "in the pudding"--

ITU Approves Deep Packet Inspection Standard Behind Closed Doors, Ignores Huge Privacy Implications | Techdirt: "One of the big issues surrounding WCIT and the ITU has been the lack of transparency -- or even understanding what real transparency might be. So it will comes as no surprise that the new DPI standard was negotiated behind closed doors, with no drafts being made available.But probably most worrying is the following aspect:
Several global standards bodies, including the IETF and W3C, have launched initiatives to incorporate privacy considerations into their work. In fact, the IETF has long had a policy of not considering technical requirements for wiretapping in its work, taking the seemingly opposite approach to the ITU-T DPI document, as Germany pointed out [doc] in voicing its opposition to the ITU-T standard earlier this year. The ITU-T standard barely acknowledges that DPI has privacy implications, let alone does it provide a thorough analysis of how the potential privacy threats associated with the technology might be mitigated.
This apparent indifference to the wider implications of its work is yet another reason why the ITU is unfit to determine any aspect of something with as much power to affect people's lives as the Internet."


Sunday, December 9, 2012

John McAfee: "I wish I could just pack my bags and go to Miami"

I've been following the sad, bizarre saga of John McAfee--you can't make this stuff up:

Software guru John McAfee wants to return to US - Tech - IBNLive: "US software guru John McAfee, fighting deportation from Guatemala to Belize to face questions about the slaying of a neighbor, said on Saturday he wants to return to the United States. "My goal is to get back to America as soon as possible," McAfee, 67, said in a phone call to Reuters from the immigration facility where he is being held for illegally crossing the border to Guatemala with his 20-year-old girlfriend. "I wish I could just pack my bags and go to Miami," McAfee said."

John, I can well imagine you do wish you could just pack your bags "and go to Miami"--but you're going to have to deal with Belize.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sticking With Windows 7

Good news for PC users like me who are sticking with Windows 7:

Sticking With Windows 7 - NYTimes.com: "Microsoft’s latest edition of the Windows operating system has just landed, but Windows 7 is not going anywhere soon. As explained on Microsoft’s site, copies of Windows 7 will be available for retail purchase for another year, and PC manufacturers then have an additional year to keep selling Windows 7 installed on new computers. The company has long-term technical support plans for Windows 7 too. According to the Microsoft Support Lifecycle page for Windows 7, mainstream support lasts through Jan. 13, 2015, and provides paid and free support, warranty claims, security patches and feature updates. Extended support, which includes feature updates and warranty claims, continues through Jan. 14, 2020. Microsoft does allow plenty of transition time to new systems. Extended support for Windows XP, which arrived in 2001, is scheduled to finally end in April 2014."


Friday, December 7, 2012

The Payroll Tax - the problem and part of the solution

Our Enemy, the Payroll Tax - NYTimes.com: "Payroll taxes are a relic of New Deal Machiavellianism: by taking a bite of every worker’s paycheck and promising postretirement returns, Franklin Roosevelt effectively disguised Social Security as a pay-as-you-go system, even though the program actually redistributes from rich to poor and young to old. That disguise has helped keep Social Security sacrosanct — hailed by Democrats because it protects the poor and backed by Republicans as a reward for steady work. But the costs of this disguise have grown too great to bear. Whatever its past political advantages, the payroll tax now imposes an unnecessary burden on a stagnating economy. In an era of mass unemployment, mediocre wage growth and weak mobility from the bottom of the income ladder, it makes no sense to finance our retirement system with a tax that falls directly on wages and hiring and imposes particular burdens on small business and the working class."

As usual, the New York Times only gets it half-right. Yes the payroll tax is a problem (for those employed), it is extremely regressive, but it also provides a remedy (if changed along the lines I suggest below) to find a way out of the morass we are in. Employers are increasingly limiting or deleting benefits for employees--pensions, health insurance, etc. What's the answer? Level the playing field, make ALL employers contribute to the social cost of retirement and health care based on the gross compensation (including payroll) of every employer--

1. Delete entirely all payroll tax paid by employees.
2. Increase the payroll tax paid by employers to 10%  of gross employee compensation with no income limit and "compensation" to include not only payroll but the value of ALL compensation paid to an employee such as the value of stock options, etc. This would increase revenues dramatically by eliminating the $110,000 cap and including all compensation (stock options etc.). (The present employer payroll tax is 7.65%--6.2 Social Security + 1.45 Medicare.) We all know that executive pay is out of control--there is no reason any employer or employee should not have his "total package" subject to the payroll tax. In addition ALL employers should be subject to this federal payroll tax--no "opting out."

3.  Means testing of social security and medicare benefits and other cost controls to efficiently and fairly administer the system. No double dipping, etc., to insure fairness and solvency.

4. Phase out (over time) of all pensions and other non-social security retirement plans, replaced by employee self-funded retirement accounts -- funded by direct withholding from an employee's wages at the default rate of 5% of gross wages (employee option to increase this up to a maximum of 20%) and paid to a federally regulated financial institution (yes this could be an "institution" operated by a union) of the employee's choice (completely portable), guaranteed 100% by the US government.

5. Self-employed individuals would have to pay a 5% self-employment tax on their own income (in lieu of the  payroll tax rate of 10%) generated by "self-employment" (50% of said self-employed income being considered like "dividend income" paid by corporations to stockholders on which there is no "payroll tax" paid).

If you want to solve our "crisis," you also need to reform the income tax--

Eliminate all personal deductions, "favoritism" and special tax breaks--ALL income (capital gains, dividends, wages, etc.,) subject to a flat 20% income tax rate on all income over $20,000 per year (first $20,000 being exempt from all federal income tax). Income over $1,000,000 per year would be subject to an additional 5%, making a total effective tax rate of 25% on all income over $1,000,000 per year--individuals, corporations, etc.--no exceptions or special tax breaks!

If Congress would pass this, the "fiscal crisis" would be solved--and watch the economy boom! Oh I know there would be whining and complaining--but this is "doable" and it eliminates or lessens tax burdens on the poor and middle class.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cuba, free speech, and internet freedom

One thing the U.S. government is doing right--

Cuba denounces US diplomats - KansasCity.com: "U.S. officials have long maintained that they are doing nothing illegal in Cuba and that supporting free speech, cultural activities and Internet access is a common practice at missions around the world. "We are absolutely guilty of those charges. The U.S. Interests Section in Havana does regularly offer free courses in using the Internet to Cubans who want to sign up. We also have computers available for Cubans to use," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington. "Obviously this wouldn't be necessary if the Cuban government didn't restrict access to the Internet and prevent its own citizens from getting technology training.""

U.S. taxpayer money well spent!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The American brand and DHS

Good article below, which begs the question--what is the USA brand today?

Overview » FutureBrand: "A strong country brand is more than the sum of its attributes: in total, it must make people’s lives better. FutureBrand assesses the strength of a country brand in much the same way as any other brand, measuring awareness, familiarity, preference, consideration, advocacy and active decisions to visit or interact with a place. But the most important factors – the aspects that truly differentiate a country brand – are its associations and attributes across five key dimensions: Value System, Quality of Life, Good for Business, Heritage and Culture and Tourism."

For example, does the Department of Homeland Security add to, or diminish, the American brand? Does DHS represent the dark side of government--arbitrary, unaccountable, opaque, power seeking, intrusive, overbearing, threatening? Is DHS a prime example of the continuing governmental intrusions upon civil liberties? Does it incorporate what is best about America, or is it merely a Bush-era over-reaction to radical Islam terrorism? A bureaucratic nightmare to both liberty and the American brand?


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Final Caveat on Windows 8

Caveat Emptor--

Wolverton: Windows 8's awkward interface makes it one for PC users to avoid - SiliconValley.com: "As a PC user, I hate -- a word I use sparingly -- the new interface that is the centerpiece of Windows 8. With the new version of its flagship operating system, due out Friday, Microsoft has replaced its tried-and-true desktop interface with what it called until recently the Metro interface. Instead of a start button, taskbar and windows filled with applications and folders, Metro features a screen full of program "tiles" and applications that run full-screen. While I think this interface has a lot of promise for tablets, on a traditional desktop or laptop computer, or even on a newer notebook sporting a touch screen, it's clunky and unintuitive. Metro often feels like a work in progress, because seemingly obvious features are unavailable. And worst of all, Metro makes it much harder than before to do everyday tasks and real work on your computer. Take the idea of viewing multiple applications on your screen, a core feature of Windows since even before Windows 95. You can't do it in the Metro interface."


Monday, December 3, 2012

Take Action: Add Your Voice to Keep the Internet #freeandopen

Take Action: Add Your Voice to Keep the Internet #freeandopen

Starting today, the world’s governments meet behind closed doors on the future of the Internet. Some governments want to increase censorship and regulate the web.

Tell them to keep it #freeandopen by signing the petition: http://goo.gl/tU9uY


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Microsoft Windows 8: welcome to the worst in both worlds

When Is a Tablet Not a Tablet? When It's Microsoft's Surface | Tim Bajarin | PCMag.com: "This discrepancy in design reinforces the fact that the Surface is more like a small laptop that is not optimized to deliver a rich tablet experience. Because of that, I am skeptical whether the Surface will be a big hit. Landscape has its advantages in many scenarios, like when watching movies or playing some games, but in a broad set of tablet use cases, portrait is equally and sometimes more important. I believe that a true tablet provides an excellent experience in both landscape and portrait modes."

It seems Microsoft has given the worst in Windows 8 -- by trying to be a one-all, fits-all operating system, it has made compromises that severely impact functionality, both for tablets (as the above review attests) as well as regular PCs (as many reviews have stated).


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cat Signal Issued by Internet Defense League

Via Velcro Feline: "A Cat Signal has been issued by the Internet Defense League:

"We're writing to tell you about a serious threat to Internet freedom, and invite you to take part in an action this Monday, December 3rd. In short, an obscure international meeting next week could give a top-down, non-transparent UN body (one with representation from many dictatorships) the power to regulate the Internet. It's called the ITU. The ITU would literally give dictators like Syria’s Assad (who was trending yesterday for--it seems--cutting Syria off from the Internet) a role in crucial decisions about the Internet’s future. You can learn more here: http://internetcoup.org/ (scroll down for a video . . . ) . . . "


Early sales of Windows 8 are far below Microsoft’s expectations

Whispers are out that early sales of Windows 8 are far below Microsoft’s expectations - The Next Web: "The extent of the miss is the only remaining question. . . . Is there any need to fret, therefore, about Windows 8, given that it will sell truckloads of copies, simply due to the dynamics of the PC market? Yes, as consumers could reject the new Metro Start Screen, increasingly turn to Macs, or drop out of the PC market entirely if Windows 8 is found to be too unpalatable."

Personally, I was scheduled to update and buy a new PC at the end of this year. Due to the problems with Windows 8 on a non-touch screen PC (I need a keyboard and mouse to do my work, and Word is a critical "must-have" program)--I updated early to a Windows 7 HP Ultrabook prior to the launch of Windows 8.  I know of others who are migrating from Windows 7 (and XP) to a new Mac--Microsoft's loss, Apple's gain--and even some moving entirely to the Cloud via Chromebooks. How significant the overall loss and erosion from Microsoft to Apple and Google's Chrome will be, only time will tell.

I can foresee moving entirely to a Chromebook within 3 years. How about you?


Friday, November 30, 2012

Chicago Police Guilty of Covering Up Bartender Beating by Cop

From the Windy City--the "Chicago Way"--Chicago Police Found Guilty of Covering Up Bartender Beating - ABC News: "The Chicago Police Department has been found guilty of covering up the beating of a female bartender by a city police officer, and was criticized for honoring a "code of silence" in which officers cover up for one another's misdeeds. Bartender Karina Obrycka was awarded $850,000 by a federal jury on Tuesday. Obrycka sued the police department and former police officer Anthony Abbate for a 2007 incident in which Abbate jumped behind her bar at Jesse's Shortstop Inn and, when reprimanded by Obrycka, assaulted her. The altercation was caught on surveillance tape, but Chicago police officers ignored the tape's existence and failed to mention in their police report that the assailant was a city cop. Obrycka's attorney presented evidence, including hundreds of phone calls between Abbate and other cops in the hours after the incident, that convinced the jury there was a widespread effort to cover up the attack. . . . "


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Disruptive Innovations Could Cure Health Care

Our health care crisis--the anwer isn't Obamacare (it's just a band-aid, and an expensive one at that). But maybe there is a way out--

Will Disruptive Innovations Cure Health Care? - Harvard Business Review: "Our major health care institutions—medical schools, groups of specialist physicians, general hospitals, research organizations—have together overshot the level of care actually needed or used by the vast majority of patients. Indeed, most players in today’s health care system are in a lockstep march toward the most scientifically demanding challenges. Between 1960 and now, for example, our medical schools and residency programs have churned out specialists and subspecialists with extraordinary capabilities. But most of the things that afflict us are relatively straightforward disorders whose diagnoses and treatments tap but a small fraction of what our medical schools have prepared physicians to do. Similarly, the vast majority of research funding from the National Institutes of Health is aimed at learning to cure diseases that historically have been incurable. Much less is being spent on learning how to provide the health care that most of us need most of the time in a way that is simpler, more convenient, and less costly."

There is a better way--simpler, more convenient, less costly.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

From Windows 8 to Windows 7: why downgrade

From Windows 8 to Windows 7: why I downgraded | ZDNet: "So, what, specifically, was it that I disliked so much about Windows 8? Primarily, I can't stand the new UI (User Interface). I didn't like it from day 1, I don't like it now, and I don't have the interest or patience to force myself to like it (which, despite the number of optimistic ways I've seen other people spin it, is what you have to do if you hope to enjoy it -- especially with a mouse and keyboard)."

As I've said before--stay away from Windows 8 if you are a content creator and need to use a keyboard and mouse. Instead, go Windows 7 on your non-touchscreen Notebook or Desktop PC.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

FTC does not have a case against Google

Finally--it appears some sanity is prevailing in Washington--

Google may dodge FTC's antitrust bullet, report says | Internet & Media - CNET News: "Regulators aren't sure they have enough evidence for an antitrust lawsuit and are examining whether consumer benefits of Google's search approach outweigh harm to competitors, Bloomberg reported, citing three unnamed sources."

No kidding--this was obvious to most non-biased people a LONG time ago--in the meantime the FTC has wasted millions in taxpayer funds chasing a meritless case, hiring expensive outside counsel (I would love to know the particulars of that "sweetheart" personal services contract--"only inside the beltway"), just to harass one of the most respected companies in the world--and a large generator and platform of new businesses which use Google apps and other services at low, or no cost.

Microsoft and some other competitors of Google have been lobbying the FTC and other federal departments and agencies to "harass" Google--
"Those rallying opposition to Google include two industry groups, FairSearch.org and Icomp; Microsoft is a member of both groups, but other companies involved with the groups include comparison shopping sites Foundem and Nextag and travel sites Kayak, Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Hotwire."
And of course I am sure China and radical foreign Islamists (YouTube anyone?) who oppose Google's stance on free speech and a free internet would also want the FTC to do their dirty work.

As one commenter on the above cited article wrote--
"Why not investigate whether sufficient legal authority to hire outside council [sic] ever existed in this case. 'Microsoft told me to.' is not legal justification for wasting taxpayer money and trashing the Constitution."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Obama's speech on Election Night: One Sentence of Hope for Tech

A simple sentence--but perhaps provides hope for technology, innovation, and internet freedom unfettered by government instrusion, obstruction, and limitation--

Obama's speech on Election Night: The full text - San Jose Mercury News: "A country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow."


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fiscal Cliff: The Solution is Obvious

An open letter to Tim Geithner on how to dodge the next debt crisis - The Washington Post: "The solution is obvious, along the lines that my colleague Geoff Colvin and I proposed in September: broadening the tax base so that we can lower rates while increasing tax revenue; treating income from capital and work the same way; and trimming the growth of entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, especially for people like me who are well off. Much of this has become the conventional wisdom in Washington — and it’s actually wise."

So why is Washington having such a problem with the fiscal cliff?


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Autonomous Policing is the Future

Some civil libertarians seem to be upset by the following--I'm not. Webcams and digital storage are cheap and should be installed everywhere in public and other places where no Fourth Amendment protection applies. Autonomous policing is the future, and will reduce crime.

Police allowed to install cameras on private property without warrant | Ars Technica: "A federal judge has ruled that police officers in Wisconsin did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they secretly installed cameras on private property without judicial approval. The officers installed the cameras in an open field where they suspected the defendants, Manuel Mendoza and Marco Magana, were growing marijuana. The police eventually obtained a search warrant, but not until after some potentially incriminating images were captured by the cameras. The defendants have asked the judge to suppress all images collected prior to the issuance of the search warrant. But in a Monday decision first reported by CNET, Judge William Griesbach rejected the request. Instead, he approved the ruling of a magistrate judge that the Fourth Amendment only protected the home and land directly outside of it (known as "curtilage"), not open fields far from any residence. The Fourth Amendment protects "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." The court ruled that under applicable Supreme Court precedents, "open fields, as distinguished from curtilage, are not 'effects' within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment."

Sounds pretty straightforward to me.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Palestine: One state, two states or even three states?

Enlightening--and worth watching:

One state, two states or even three states? - The Cafe - Al Jazeera English - "Palestinians have lived under occupation for more than 60 years. Their homes and land have been stolen and their status reduced to that of refugees in their own country. But instead of uniting against a common enemy, Palestinians are divided, between the Islamists in Hamas who rule Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) that governs the West Bank. Many accuse the PA of being Israeli stooges and their mismanagement of everything from unemployment, sky-rocketing prices, water rights, taxation and border issues have made them deeply unpopular. Postponing elections simply prolongs the crisis. The paradox is that Ramallah, the unofficial capital of the occupied territories, is booming, with aid money pouring in to assuage the world's guilty consciences. Many worry that this is breeding an aid-dependent culture and further weakening Palestinian resistance. And what hope is there of any permanent solution? Will the Palestinians continue to live in limbo, in one state, two states, or even three states?"

About The Cafe - a truly democratic forum for ideas, hosted by Mehdi Hasan. The programme discusses global themes with people who are experiencing these events first-hand - from the global economic crisis to resource wars and ethnic cleansing.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Obama's hometown Chicago

One thing the Obama administration should do in the next four years--look at America's cities and do something!! Most U.S. cities are not in good shape and yet, they are the economic growth engines of the country. Here's a profile of the President's hometown in one recent article:

America's 50 Best Cities - The Best Places to Live - Businessweek: "Chicago--Rank: 28; Population: 2,679,998--The Windy City, America’s third-largest metropolis, would rank much higher if it were evaluated purely on its strong universities and thriving entertainment. Chicago is as hot as any city, thanks to its fine dining in such neighborhoods as Lincoln Park, nightlife in its more than 800 bars, and strong acting chops honed at such places as Second City and the Steppenwolf Theatre Co. To climb higher in the list, however, Chicago must address its increasing gang violence and high crime, as well as poor air quality and major economic issues. Bars: 807; Restaurants: 6,438; Museums: 76; Libraries: 99; Pro sports teams: 8; Park acres per 1,000 residents: 4; Colleges: 42; Percent with graduate degree: 9.3; Median household income: $56,121; Percent unemployed: 9.8"

I might add that any city where only about 50% of public school students graduate from high school (54% in 2004), is  a city destined not for greatness, but decline. If something isn't done, I'm afraid Chicago (and other U.S. cities) will succumb to the Detroit disease.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Dumbing Down" the "Intelligence"

What happened after the Benghazi attack, in which the US ambassador was killed, can only be described as an "inside the beltway" process of "dumbing down" the "intelligence"--

Sources: Office of the DNI cut "al Qaeda" reference from Benghazi talking points, and CIA, FBI signed off - CBS News: ""The intelligence community assessed from the very beginning that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack," DNI spokesman Shawn Turner tells CBS News. That information was shared at a classified level -- which Rice, as a member of President Obama's cabinet, would have been privy to. An intelligence source says the talking points were passed from the CIA to the DNI, where the substantive edits were made, and then to FBI, which made more edits as part of "standard procedure.""

In other words, Rice knew, Obama knew, in fact everyone "inside the intelligence apparatus" knew that it was a terrorist attack--nonetheless, Rice went on multiple national television shows 5 days after the attack and maintained the "intelligence" indicated it was a spontaneous "protest" over some obscure YouTube video. This would be hilarious but for the tragic consequences of the attack.

Spin it however you want--this is pathetic. There is nothing honorable in the performance of Rice, Obama's posturing, or the DNI--which should be abolished. Part of the obvious problem here is we have too many "intelligence" agencies, each of whom wants to have their own input on the "end product" resulting in a very poor quality product.  If Steve Jobs were running this show, DNI would have been abolished and the head of the CIA would report directly to the White House with the latest and best intelligence.  We don't need a dozen bureaucracies to do one job in Washington! But you think anyone in Washington is going to streamline an inefficient and bloated government? That would save taxpayer funds and lessen the deficit!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

All In: General Petraeus, Broadwell and the book

As I write this, I note that Broadwell has taken her website off-line.  She and her (almost silent) co-author Vernon Loeb's book "All In" about David Petraeus, received some endorsing comments prior to recent disclosures.  Wonder if Doris Kearns Goodwin or David Gergen would like to reconsider their published comments, which were used to sell the tome?

All In: Gen. Petraeus: (from cached copy of Broadwell's website)
"Doris Keans [sic] Goodwin, Pititzer [sic] Prize-Winning Author--"This majestic biography will set the standard for all future works about General Petraeus. With superb narrative skills, Broadwell simultaneously provides an intimate look at Petraeus the man, a fascinating account of modern warfare, and an elegant study of leadership."
"David Gergen, Director, Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership--"Teddy Roosevelt once said that it is not enough to be intelligent; a leader must also be honest and fearless. In General David Petraeus (himself a T.R. fan), America has been fortunate to have a soldier-scholar who is all three. Paula Broadwell, soldier-scholar in her own right, tells the Petraeus story masterfully, providing especially rich detail and insight into his Afghanistan mission. This book helps us understand how Petraeus has become the living legend he is.""
So much for Broadwell. Some soldier. Some scholar. She went "All In." Oh, I am sure she will survive--and I won''t be surprised to see her re-surface with her new tell-all book, exercise videos, a spread in Playboy or Hustler, and even her own reality show!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Why my iPad can't replace my laptop

Also why Microsoft is off-track with Windows 8--

Why my iPad can't replace my laptop: It's the trackpad | iPad Atlas - CNET Reviews: "Adding a keyboard to an iPad, like the Logitech/Zagg Keyboard Case for iPad 2, solves the problem of text entry. That's great for when you have to write a long essay, or are working on a chunk of your Great American Novel, or just want to jot down some notes. It's not so great when you have to edit a document, or create a blog post with embedded links, or do simultaneous Web research and writing. To do anything more than text entry and a few other commands, you'll have to reach up and touch the iPad's screen, which isn't exactly ergonomic or time-efficient when you have the iPad propped up and a keyboard attached. In fact, it's downright awkward. This is why touch-screen laptops haven't taken off. No one wants to touch a screen while typing on a keyboard. I want a trackpad when I work, or even a mouse. Touching the screen makes no sense in "laptop" mode. I'd rather use the iPad as a straight-up tablet, which brings me back full circle and defeats the purpose of the keyboard."

Now somebody is going to make an OS where you can disable "touch" and use a tablet with a keyboard and mouse--but we're not there yet.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Obama and Rice wrong about Benghazi -- it was a terrorist attack, not an obscure YouTube video protest

You can watch the CNN report above--bottom line: Barack Obama and Susan Rice were wrong and misinformed the American people about the attack in that resulted in the death of the U.S. ambassador and others--it was a terrorist attack by an Al Qaeda related group, and was not a spontaneous demonstration about an obscure YouTube video that Obama and others in his administration made such a big deal about. I previously posted about the gross incompetence and/or malfeasance of the Obama administration in this matter (see Just how inept is the Obama administration? and Attack in Libya - Obama and Hilary need to explain this). It is good that Petraeus is finally clearing the air from the confusion and misinformation planted by the Obama administration.

If Obama and Rice were unsure of the facts about Benghazi, they should not have jumped to conclusions, as Rice did on national television five days after the attack, when she blamed an obscure YouTube video instead of blaming the culprits--the terrorists!

Was it the Obama administration's intent to provide cover, aid and comfort to an enemy? Or was that just an "unintended consequence" of the Obama administration's campaign of misinformation about Benghazi?

Susan Rice on ABC's This Week, September 16, 2012--five days after Benghazi attack


Saturday, November 17, 2012

After Benghazi, Muslims attack free speech

If you haven't noticed, Muslims worldwide are now attacking free speech (you can read an example at the link below). And who began this war on free speech--who else but the Obama administration!!--

WEISS: After Benghazi, Muslims attack free speech - Washington Times: "It’s unclear if the Obama administration’s purpose in condemning the now-infamous “anti-Islam YouTube video” was to deflect from Obama’s failed Middle East policies, and those of Benghazi in particular, or if it was his intent to “protect Islam from negative stereotypes” as he promised to do in his Cairo speech. Either way, his constant denunciation of the 14-minute, amateurish, anti-Islam YouTube clip signals weakness to the Muslim world and may have given license to Muslims in the West to demand restrictions on freedom of speech."


Friday, November 16, 2012

Who in the Obama administration decided to edit the "truth"

Petraeus' testimony leads one to the conclusion that the Obama administration took the intel info from the CIA and decided to "edit out" that Benghazi was a "terrorist attack" not a "spontaneous" protest out of control.  Can Susan Rice tell us who gave her the talking points she used to state multiple times on national TV, that the ONLY intelligence she had was that Benghazi was a spontaneous protest over an obscure YouTube video? How about Obama? He appears to be clueless and left out of the loop-- Attorney General Holder doesn't tell Obama that his own CIA head is under investigation; Obama isn't getting the same intel Petraeus is sending to the White House. WTF! It appears Obama has told everyone in his administration to keep him in the dark so he can always use "denial" as a cover--"I wasn't told."  Real leadership? We may be in for 4 really bad years if this is the way the Obama administration is going to operate.

Intel officials unable to say who changed CIA talking points on Libya, lawmaker says | Fox News: "Petraeus' testimony both challenges the Obama administration's repeated claims that the attack was a "spontaneous" protest over an anti-Islam video, and according to King conflicts with his own briefing to lawmakers on Sept. 14. . . . "His testimony today was that from the start, he had told us that this was a terrorist attack," King said"

OK, so who in the Obama administration decided to edit the "truth"?


Belize: more on McAfee

3 detained in killing of Internet pioneer's neighbor in Belize - CNN.com: "Martinez said there had been "some sort of misunderstanding" before Saturday between McAfee and Faull about the dogs. McAfee, 67, told Davis on Tuesday that he did not kill his neighbor, the reporter said. "He says that he's had very little contact with Greg over the past three years," Davis said. "They've spoken maybe 50 words total. Nonetheless, there was antagonism there. McAfee admits that." McAfee told Davis that, when police visited his home on Sunday, he hid from them. "McAfee saw them coming and he dug a hole in the sand and buried himself in the sand, he says, and he put a cardboard box over his head so he could breathe," Davis said. "He said it was extremely uncomfortable, but he believes that the police will kill him if he turns himself in.". . . Faull, a construction contractor from central Florida, moved this year to Belize "to transition to more adventures based in Belize," his family said in a statement. Several years ago, he had bought a house on Ambergris Cay in Belize that had been damaged in a hurricane, the family said. "Greg worked part-time for the past three years to rebuild the home," it said. "He recently completed work and had the property ready to offer as a vacation rental when he was murdered.""


Murder in the Tropics

No other way to say this--bizarre! The founder of the anti-virus software firm McAfee is wanted for questioning by police in Belize over the murder of his neighbour. He is described as a 'person of interest' rather than an 'suspect'. However, journalist Joshua Davis said he had been receiving calls from John McAfee at 'all hours of the day and night' as he attempted to evade police over fears of 'not getting a fair trial'. Mr Davis said the multi-millionaire told him he had changed his appearance and hid in the sand with a cardboard box over his head when the police came to question him.--BBC
McAfee (source:BBC)

Tech multimillionaire - wanted for questioning in connection with a murder; earlier invaded by the gang-suppression unit of a small Central American country. Uh, I think we need an intervention here.  Click link below or thumbnail at left for the BBC story. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20326170


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Google and anti-trust: a debate over Internet search

Google continues to come under attack and meritless investigations by the FTC, European Union and others. Anybody who has knowledge of the technology behind search, and antitrust law, would not waste the taxpayers money. But of course bureaucrats and others have to justify their salaries etc.--

Google and anti-trust: The new debate over Internet search - Society and Culture - AEI: "Since publishing “The Anti-Trust Paradox: A Policy at War With Itself” in 1978, Judge Robert Bork has been among the most influential analysts and critics of U.S. anti-trust law. Judge Bork and other “Chicago School” thinkers have profoundly shaped constitutional jurisprudence with respect to anti-trust for more than three decades. In a new paper entitled “What Does the Chicago School Teach about Internet Search and the Anti-Trust Treatment of Google?,” Bork and Gregory Sidak analyze and weigh the merits of the anti-trust concerns that have been raised concerning Google and the market for Internet search. Join AEI for a luncheon in which experts in the fields of anti-trust, law and economics and technology policy will discuss the market for Internet search, the evolving competitive landscape and the proper role of government regulation in this sphere." (video above)

Excerpt from “What Does the Chicago School Teach about Internet Search and the Anti-Trust Treatment of Google?”--"None of the purported antitrust problems that Google’s critics have raised indicates that Google is behaving anticompetitively. Google’s ranking of specialized search results in general search pages is not an attempt to monopolize vertical search. Rather, it is a product improvement that enhances value for consumers. The characterization of top placement on a Google search page as an essential facility lacks any foundation in antitrust law. The claims that Google has hindered the ability of rivals search engines to compete for users, advertisers, and OEMs by reaching minimum efficient scale are false. Moreover, one cannot reasonably conclude that the necessary scale to compete in search approaches Google’s scale. Given the serious factual, logical, and economic flaws in the antitrust complaints about Google’s practices, one can reasonably conclude only that Google’s competitors are seeking to use antitrust law to protect their own market positions. However, punishing Google for being a successful competitor would stifle innovation and dynamic competition. . . Such use of antitrust law undermines its unequivocal purpose—to protect consumers."


The Big Picture

Financial Crisis - The Telegraph

JohnTheCrowd.com | The Sailing Website

Craig Newmark - craigconnects