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

Friday, August 31, 2012

Contextual software or clueless software

The problems with "contextual software" are immense--

Robert Scoble on Google+: "So, now that I've had the Saga app running for a few days. Some feedback on why it sucks:  1. Keeps suggesting things to me that I don't care about (brings more noise into my life). 2. Doesn't let me tell it that those things suck (. . . Just because I live on a golf course doesn't mean I care AT ALL about Golf). 3. Has lots of false detection on where I am and doesn't let me correct it. The other day I was in an Indian restaurant, but it thought I was at work. Sigh. No way to tell it what I was actually doing and where I actually was (the restaurant is in the same building as work). This leads to incomplete and inaccurate information." (Robert Scoble)

Kind of like the people who always "know" what you "need" when in reality they don't have a "clue." Maybe we should call "contextual software" "clueless software."


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blue States and Red States

"Rhode Island and Hawaii are the most Democratic states in the U.S., along with Washington, D.C. Utah is the most Republican. In 2012 to date, 17 states are generally Democratic, down from 36 in 2008; 18 are Republican, up from five." Read more at GALLUP.com.

In truth, the election will be "lost" or "won" depending on the outcomes in less than a dozen states since  the vast majority of states are either "blue" or "red" before the first votes are cast.

Fmr. Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice Speaks at RNC (video)

Fmr. Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice Speaks at the Republican National Convention--worth watching even if you are a Democrat!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Goldman Sachs and the Sale Gone Horribly Awry

One for the "books"--

Goldman Sachs and a Sale Gone Horribly Awry - NYTimes.com:  "The deal closed on June 7. By Aug. 8, the merged companies were in crisis amid reports that L.& H. had cooked its books. Reporters for The Wall Street Journal did something the Goldman Four did not: they picked up the phone and called L.& H.’s supposed customers in Asia. They found that companies in South Korea and elsewhere that L.& H. had claimed were its customers weren’t doing any business with it at all. L.& H. had pulled sales figures out of thin air."

So much for "due diligence."


Apple v Samsung - Who Really Won?

The paradoxes of "litigation" are becoming clear in the infamous Apple v. Samsung case--the winners? Lawyers ($$$) and Android:

Check, Please: Experts Say Apple, Samsung Face Sky-High Legal Fees - Law Blog - WSJ: "One group was always going to make out well in the titanic legal battle between Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.: the lawyers. . . ."

Why Apple Actually Lost to Samsung | John C. Dvorak | PCMag.com: "Several times throughout the case, the same point was driven home: the Android phone is identical to, and perhaps better than, the iPhone. This "revelation," which Android users have always known, will easily cost Apple more than a billion dollars in sales."

Where this leaves Apple long-term becomes troubling. Over time, android and its various manufacturers will continue to iterate and out-innovate Apple. Apple concedes it cannot compete on "price." Apple's market share will diminish and it will at some point be spending more in legal fees than it will be able to recoup in damages or by restraint of trade and competition through legal processes. Steve Jobs was a guy I admire--but he had character defects as we all do. One of those was an imagined sense of being a "victim" of "rip-off" of designs, etc. A classic example of this was the accusation he hurled at Bill Gates and Microsoft:

Microsoft News » Bill Gates Response To Steve Jobs On Windows Rip-Off Claim: "Their meeting was in Jobs’s conference room, where Gates found himself surrounded by ten Apple employees who were eager to watch their boss assail him. Jobs didn’t disappoint his troops. “You’re ripping us off!” he shouted. “I trusted you, and now you’re stealing from us!” Gates just sat there coolly, looking Steve in the eye, before hurling back, in his squeaky voice, what became a classic zinger. “Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”"

Tim Cook is a competent manager but he's not a "product guy" nor does he strike me as being "litigation saavy." I wonder if he understands that lawyers will gladly ride Apple's decline all the way to bankruptcy and liquidation?


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Multimillionaire Obama

Don't forget that both presidential candidates are "multimillionaires"--

Millionaire Obama Self-Funds Campaign | Washington Free Beacon: "Obama’s net worth is estimated between $2.8 million and $11.83 million, according to a database maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics."

Which multimillionaire are you for?


Monday, August 27, 2012

EA v Zynga - is this the end for Zynga?

EA Files A Lawsuit Against Zynga - Business Insider: "Electronics Arts has hit Zynga with a lawsuit accusing it of copying the design and game mechanics of "The Sims Social." The lawsuit is filled with side-by-side comparisons of Zynga's "The Ville" and EA's "The Sims Social." After looking at EA's evidence, we must say it appears as though Zynga did copy certain elements from "Sims Social." However, cloning games — called "fast-follows" in the industry — are expected. And while the games may look alike, it's unclear if Zynga has committed copyright infringement, as EA accuses. Still, this is the first time Zynga could end up in court against a large company of over a similar issue."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Presidential TV ad spending focused on 9 states

Presidential TV ad spending focused on 9 states - Businessweek: "If television ad spending is any guide, the White House race will come down to nine states that have absorbed an eye-popping $350 million in commercials so far. Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida, the largest and most diverse of these highly contested states, are where the ad dollars have been concentrated, and that's been consistent this election season. They account for 120 of the 270 electoral votes a presidential candidate needs to win. Barack Obama carried all nine states in 2008 when he beat Republican John McCain, but polling and the ad crush indicate all are highly competitive this time."

Actually, with Paul Ryan as VP nominee, the Romney folks have made it clear that Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa are "in play."


Apple v Samsung - a broken legal system - a defective jury verdict

Almost everyone knows the American patent system (and legal system) is broken, but what a mess in San Francisco--

Groklaw - Jury in Apple v. Samsung Goofed, Damages Reduced -- Uh Oh. What's Wrong With this Picture?: "In two instances, results were crazily contradictory, and the judge had to have the jury go back and fix the goofs. As a result the damages award was reduced to $1,049,343,540, 1 down from $1,051,855,000. For just one example, the jury had said one device didn't infringe, but then they awarded Apple $2 million for inducement. In another they awarded a couple of hundred thousand for a device they'd ruled didn't infringe at all. "

How to fix this? The immediate fix: throw out the verdict, grant new trial. Long term fix: comprehensive reform of the U.S. patent and legal system.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

The "New" Montauk

Some people just don't like "change"--

Readers Share Their Thoughts On The "New" Montauk - Open Threads - Curbed Hamptons: "Few people smile and say hello anymore. Crossing the street is dangerous and not everyone slows or stops. Trash is everywhere. For God's sake people, . . . toss your butts and trash into a proper receptacle. Like maybe your silly hats (sorry, could not pass on that one). There is more litter on the beach, left by disrespectful visitors (OK, and MAYBE locals but I have NEVER seen that happen.)" "This new breed of city dwellers that are coming out here are rude, self important, and disrespectful to the people who live in Montauk as well as to our beautiful natural surroundings. I have never in my entire life (which has been spent on the east end) seen this many people in Montauk, been scared to walk my dogs on the street because of cars traveling 60 on my little 25mph street, or seen so much litter on the ground everywhere I go. Obviously there is nothing to do to stop these people from coming here but I wish there were some mandatory manners classes offered to them before they were turned loose on our streets."


Friday, August 24, 2012

White House Press Corps Goes Seven Weeks Without a Question -- You explain it

This says it all about what passes as an independent "fourth estate" in the United States:

WH Press Corps Goes Seven Weeks Without a Question | The Blog on Obama: White House Dossier: "President Obama has not taken a serious question from the White House press corps in nearly seven weeks, a remarkable string that points to a campaign-style White House operation that is seeking to insulate the candidate from tough cross examination. The last substantive question Obama took from a White House reporter was during a June 20 press conference following the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico. Obama allowed only six questions during the event, which was nearly guaranteed to keep him out of political hot water as the focus was on foreign policy. Since then, Obama has held no press conferences, given no interviews to White House reporters, and taken no questions at the White House events he has held where reporters have been present. After a July 26 Cabinet meeting, Obama actually laughed off the prospect of taking a serious question about gun laws. From the White House transcript: Q Mr. President, can you tell us, if what the Colorado shooter did was entirely legal, how do you do more on this subject without any new laws? THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. I’m sure we’ll have more opportunity to talk about this. Q This afternoon is fine. I’m available. THE PRESIDENT: Thanks. I’ll ask Jay for your number. (Laughter.) During his recent trip to Europe and Israel, Mitt Romney’s failure to take many questions from the frustrated reporters traveling with him sparked an uproar in Washington, even though Romney did in fact hold a press availability during the trip. Obama’s silencing of the White House press corps has drawn no similar protest."

Gawker looking stupid with its worthless 'Bain files'

Started getting some "noise" last night about Gawker's "Bain files"--it took less than 5 minutes to find out the truth--Fortune nails it--

Gawker's worthless 'Bain files' - The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blog Term Sheet: " . . . I totally understand why a stack of papers marked "confidential" seems exciting, particularly for those without a deep understanding of private equity . . . "--in other words, if you're dumb and ignorant like Gawker is--read the rest of the Fortune smackdown of Gawker here.

Memo to Gawker: "Confidential" doesn't equal "important," and next time,  "do your homework," unless of course, you like looking "stupid."


Thursday, August 23, 2012

"quote approval" - How Washington Controls the Media

Ever wonder what happened to real journalism?

How Washington officials bested the media - CNN.com: ". . . quote approval for almost everyone, even when the story isn't nuanced or complicated, and that's where the problem begins. Reporters are easily acquiescing today to midlevel aides who seek quote approval. These aides aren't talking to make certain a story is more nuanced or better informed. They're doing it because they want more control of the story or to clean up a sloppy quote -- and because reporters let them. Baker called it an "effort to get more transparency but it's backfired. The town has found a convenient way to control the press," he said, referring to people throughout Washington and on the campaign trail."

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Who is Mitt Romney? (video)

Local man bought house from Romney: "Who is Mitt Romney? Some pundits and political opponents have called him aloof, out-of-touch, elite. Back in 2009, Mitt Romney sold his house in Park City, Utah to a retiree from Florida. "We went to the house. There was no brokers or anyone involved, just Mitt," said Hal Prewitt, who maintains an office in Boca Raton and lives in Miami Beach. Last week, Prewitt put his one-on-one experience with "Mitt" on paper, and started circulating the three-page piece on the Internet. He says it has already been downloaded nearly 100-thousand times. He was motivated by what he calls an unfair, media-generated caricature of Mitt Romney as a "country club Republican." "Instead of hiring a moving company to move, and have a bunch of workers, he went to the local home depot, and bought wood and built containers to move his contents," said Prewitt. Prewitt acknowledges that Romney, who some estimate is worth nearly $250 million, has often struggled to show the side of his personality that rents his own U-Haul. "He got in the truck and drove it to California, completely outside the perspective of most Americans," said Prewitt. . . . "

Prewitt's paper here (pdf): http://www.prewitt.net/MittRomneyInsite2012-08-16.pdf


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Digital Media--old media just doesn't get it

From Comcast/NBC's horrific missteps of Olympic coverage to the certainty of continuing declines in mainstream media (paywalls will lead to certain death)--it's clear that old media (at least in the U.S.) just doesn't "get it," so it's no surprise the American public is going elsewhere--like British media--

British invasion hits US online media | News.com.au: "BRITISH media have been making inroads in the US market by invading online space, seizing readers who might otherwise visit websites of American outlets such as Fox News or The New York Times. And, even though US news organisations are widely respected around the world, the Brits are peeling away American readers. According to data from research firm comScore, the tabloid Daily Mail's Mail Online overtook The New York Times last year as the world's biggest newspaper website and held the top spot in June with 44.7 million visitors. Separate data from web analytics site Alexa.com showed The Guardian and BBC websites were among the top 15 news sites, holding their own among CNN, Yahoo! News and others. "In the English-speaking world, the divider of the Atlantic Ocean is ebbing away because of the internet," said Ken Doctor, a media analyst with the research firm Outsell. . . ."If you talk to the major British quality publishers, about a third of their traffic has been over the years in the US, which is a surprise," Doctor said. . . . One factor is how internet news searches work."Google has democratised the sourcing of news, so you are as likely to find a story from the BBC as from Chicago Tribune," Doctor said. "There is an audience of people who want another point of view, there is an expat audience, and you put all those together and it's significant." Rebecca Lieb, analyst with the Altimeter Group, said paywalls on some US sites such as the New York Times have driven readers elsewhere, and social media also can help drive momentum for sites from the British."Tweets and social mentions are becoming a significant driver of traffic to news sites," Lieb said. . . ."

For the best quality journalism in the English-speaking world, I personally recommend The Telegraph.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Is this the way Obama really talks?

I've written about the vulgar and inappropriate language used by Obama's campaign staff et al before, but this points to the top:

POLITICO e-book: Obama campaign roiled by conflict - Glenn Thrush - POLITICO.com: "Obama’s trash-talking . . . was on display one night last February, when the president spotted a woman he knew was close to Sen. Marco Rubio in a Florida hotel lobby. “Is your boy going to go for [vice president]?” the president asked her. Maybe, she replied. “Well,” he said, chuckling, according to a person who witnessed the encounter. “Tell your boy to watch it. He might get his ass kicked.”"

Wonder how Obama would like being referred to as "boy"? As far as getting one's "ass kicked" (politically speaking), if I were Obama, I'd be watching "my behind."


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Passenger trains from Miami to Orlando - without Obama's "help"

Note to Obama: the government didn't build this--

Passenger trains to run from Miami to Orlando - Miami-Dade - MiamiHerald.com: "The trains, which will be equipped with WiFi and provide a “quality’’ meal service, will cover the 230 miles from Miami to Orlando in three hours and three minutes, significantly faster than it takes to drive. Though fares haven’t been set, prices will be comparable both to the cost of flying and operating a car to get there, Cumber said. Though not considered high-speed rail, the All Aboard Florida service would fill the breach left when Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected federal funding last year for high-speed rail service linking Miami, Orlando and Tampa. Scott said the state could not afford to run the service. After months of study, FECI concluded the new passenger service — to be built and operated without public money — would be not just technically feasible but also profitable, given that some 50 million people travel between Miami and Orlando every year, virtually all of them by car. The studies found substantial “pent-up’’ demand for train service connecting the two, Cumber said. The service would be pitched primarily to business travelers and tourists. “We’ve completed due diligence and everything has confirmed our excitement,’’ Cumber said in an interview. “This project is financially viable, and so we’re moving forward with it.’’ Eventually, FECI said, the service could be extended west to Tampa and north to Jacksonville. Cumber said the project would generate 6,000 temporary jobs and 1,000 permanent positions. . . ."


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Zuckerberg always said Facebook wasn't about making $$

chart of facebook stock price
Facebook stock price chart - "it ain't pretty" - source: Google Finance

Is Mark Zuckerberg in over his hoodie as Facebook CEO? - latimes.com: "The deepening slide in  Facebook Inc.'s stock is fueling talk once considered implausible on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley."

Nobody should be surprised by the fall in price of Facebook stock--

The Problem With Mark Zuckerberg - Business Insider: "There is a nagging concern for potential Facebook shareholders: the guy running the company doesn't care that much about making money."

Zuckerberg always said Facebook wasn't about making money--

Mark Zuckerberg - PandaWhaleOn 2/1/12, Facebook filed its S-1 so it sell shares to public. Facebook’s S-1 Letter From Zuckerberg - "Simply put: we don’t build services to make money . . . "--Mark Zuckerberg

The question is: "Why did anyone ever buy this stock expecting to make money?"

Furthermore, why would anyone go to work for this company expecting to make money on its stock price?


Friday, August 17, 2012

Law and Order Mississippi-style

Feds: Mississippi county runs 'school-to-prison pipeline' - CNN.com:"The systematic disregard for children's basic constitutional rights by agencies with a duty to protect and serve these children betrays the public trust," Thomas E. Perez, assistant U.S. attorney general, said in a statement. "We hope to resolve the concerns outlined in our findings in a collaborative fashion, but we will not hesitate to take appropriate legal action if necessary." In 2009, the Lauderdale County Juvenile Detention Facility in Meridian was the target of a federal class-action lawsuit by the Southern Poverty Law Center that alleged children and teens were subjected to "shockingly inhumane" treatment, the center said. The alleged mistreatment included youngsters being "crammed into small, filthy cells and tormented with the arbitrary use of Mace as a punishment for even the most minor infractions -- such as 'talking too much' or failing to sit in the 'back of their cells,'" the center said in a statement. In 2010, Lauderdale County officials and the center reached an agreement to reform the jail system and consider alternatives to sending youths to the detention center, said the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights group. "I think this is evidence of a broken system where the most vulnerable population of kids are not receiving their constitutionally guaranteed rights," Jody Owens II, managing attorney for the center's Mississippi office, told CNN."

"On Friday, the U.S. Justice Department accused Meridian police of automatically arresting all students referred by the city's public schools and then sending them to the county juvenile justice system, "where existing due process protections are illusory and inadequate," the federal letter says."

Kudos to the U.S. Department of Justice--although slow to act--where were they in 2009?


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lost Respect for Obama yet?

Obama cannot separate himself from his campaign--as much as he may want to pretend otherwise--

Noonan: A Nation That Believes Nothing - WSJ.com: "The pro-Obama Super PAC ad that essentially blames Mitt Romney for a woman's death from cancer is over the line, and if it's allowed to stand the personal attacks that have marked the presidential campaign will probably get worse. If the president rebukes the PAC and renounces the ad—and he should, and he'd look better doing it than not doing it—then we'll all know there's an ethical floor below which things can't sink. The ad was a mistake for a number of reasons, one being that it makes the president look perfidious and weak: "Mudslinging is all we've got." It also may finally injure his much vaunted likability ratings."

Obama camp denies knowledge of cancer tale it told in May | The Ticket - Yahoo! News: "Oops? President Barack Obama's re-election campaign washed its hands Wednesday of an independent group's vicious (and misleading) ad effectively blaming Mitt Romney for the death of a laid-off steelworker's wife from cancer. Campaign officials flatly denied any knowledge of the facts in the case—but it turns out the widower told the same story on an Obama campaign conference call in mid-May. . . . The ad features Joe Soptic, . . .   Soptic later told CNN that his wife had health insurance through her own employer from that point to 2002 or 2003, when she left that job because of an injury—a detail that undermines the ad's heartbreaking narrative. . . . "


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

London 2012 Olympics: NBC Clueless to the End

NBC blew it--their Olympic coverage "stunk"--and apparently their "on-air" talent aren't the "sharpest knives in the drawer"--

NBC Confuses Jesse Eisenberg For The Guy He Played In A Movie: "Actor Jesse Eisenberg played Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in a movie. He must have done a really good job, because it seems lots of people think he really is Mark Zuckerberg. Eisenberg's in London today checking out the U.S.A.-Spain gold medal basketball game, and when the cameras found him, NBC's broadcast team immediately remarked about "putting pictures on Facebook" and how all the big-name corporate leaders were in attendance". . . 


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Porn copyright trolls, pirates, AT&T and Comcast

Generally speaking, I don't think of Comcast and AT&T as being opponents of "copyright abuse" nor "defenders" of internet freedom and yet, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"--

Porn copyright troll sues AT&T and Comcast, says they side with pirates | Ars Technica: " . . . Even assuming that the underlying charges against the subscribers have merit, ISPs are generally neutral intermediaries who are not responsible for policing their users' online activities. And it's absurd to suggest that raising legal objections to Lightspeed's tactics—objections that were ultimately upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court—could constitute "interference" with court orders, or any other kind of misconduct. Naming Comcast and AT&T as defendants in the case also seems like a strategic blunder. The ISPs were sufficiently irritated by Lightspeed's subpoenas to object to them, but the ISPs ultimately did not have a dog in the fight. They wouldn't have suffered any great harm if ultimately ordered to hand over their subscribers' information—indeed, they hand over such information to lawyers and police all the time. But now, with the ISPs as named defendants, they will be strongly motivated to win the case and ensure that no one tries this tactic again. Lightspeed and Prenda will likely face the full force of Comcast and AT&T's vast legal resources, and irritated AT&T and Comcast executives will now be even less inclined to give an inch when Prenda sends them subpoenas on behalf of future clients. "We believe the lawsuit is without merit," an AT&T spokesman told us by e-mail. "An appellate court has already ruled in AT&T's favor in this matter." He noted that, at AT&T's request, the case has been moved to federal court, taking it away from the plaintiff-friendly judge in downstate Illinois who has handled it so far."


Monday, August 13, 2012

Back to School advice re: Tablets, PCs, iPads, Notebooks, Computers, etc.

Need a new "device" (that's what they now call anything and everything from smartphones to tablets to computers)? If the device will be used for doing schoolwork, I'll give you a brief tip.  While iPads and Android tablets are great devices for consuming media and checking email, they are not ready for "prime time" when it comes to preparing documents, research, etc., --for that you need something like a "notebook computer." I am not paid to recommend any product, but from personal experience I can recommend the ultrabooks (HP+Intel) as the way to go. For $700 or so, one can buy a light, fast, ultrabook made by HP with  full keyboard, solid state drive AND 500 GB hard drive, Windows 7 64-bit, and Office starter (Word, Excel)-- (check out sales specials at BestBuy and elsewhere including on the HP website).


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Silicon Valley and Obama's Solyndra

From Obama to "greenies" to VCs, John Dvorak speaks "truth" even when it hurts--

H-P’s malaise signals a wrong turn in the Valley - John Dvorak's Second Opinion - MarketWatch: " . . . Once HP goes, if it goes, the entire Silicon Valley is at risk. Tech investors take note. It began a few years back when the Valley began to lose its mojo. . . Silicon Valley. . . a construct invented by creative writers. . . It essentially consists of a large geographical area beginning south of Redwood City and scattering about various industrial parks on both sides of the San Francisco Bay all the way down to Scotts Valley. Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Palo Alto, San Jose, Milpitas, Fremont, Santa Clara are all cities that are more or less in Silicon Valley. The area feeds off itself. It is also financed by the local banks and the slew of venture capital companies that back technology firms. I was struck on a recent drive past Fremont and into Milpitas by the abandoned and “For Lease” mega building that looms on the left side of southbound Highway 880. Solyndra was still emblazoned on the side of the structure. Yes, like a monument to abject failure, Solyndra stands out on the road. All part of a dead love affair with all things green. "This is what happened to suck the energy out of Silicon Valley. Elsewhere most of the world’s lesser venture capitalists were throwing their funds into MEMs (micro-electrical-mechanical systems). The Silicon Valley boys were going after trendy “green” inventions. . . . The green thing began with Obama and the emergence of numerous green funds, many looking for government handouts. The ludicrous appearance of Al Gore as a venture capitalist working with Kleiner, Perkins highlights the errors. And while there is nothing wrong with going green for some conscientious reason, it’s a distraction insofar as modern tech is concerned. The single concept that a semiconductor material can convert light into energy is a great concept that needs research, yes. But a wholesale creation of green funds and green initiatives was lunacy. This to me was pretty much like watching all-time great basketballer Michael Jordan decide he was going to play baseball. “How hard can it be?” At this point the Valley is teetering on the brink of destruction and its symbol, Hewlett-Packard, will mark the beginning of the end or a new beginning. . . " 

Only one thing, Dvorak didn't quite get to the real problem with Obama's Solyndra--

Barack Obama's Solyndra scandal smells like it came from Chicago's City Hall -September 18, 2011|John Kass- Chicago Tribune: "Those of us from Chicago know exactly what the Solyndra scandal smells like. And It doesn't smell fresh and green. The Solyndra scandal cost at least a half-billion public dollars. . . . But back in Obama's political hometown, those of us familiar with the Chicago Way can see something else in Solyndra — something that the Washington crowd calls "optics." In fact, it's not just a Washington saga — it has all the elements of a Chicago City Hall story, except with more zeros. The FBI is investigating what happened with Solyndra, a solar panel company that got a $535 million government-backed loan with the help of the Obama White House over the objections of federal budget analysts.  Obama and Vice President Joe Biden got a nice photo op. They got to make speeches about being "green.". . . Washington bureaucrats warned the deal was lousy. And White House spokesmen flail desperately, like weakened victims in a cheesy vampire movie. So forget optics. What about smell? It smells bad, and it's going to smell worse. Or, did you really believe it when the White House mouthpieces — who are also Chicago City Hall mouthpieces — promised they were bringing a new kind of politics to Washington? This is not a new kind of politics. It's the old kind. The Chicago kind. And now the Tribune Washington Bureau has reported that the U.S. Department of Energy employee who helped monitor the Solyndra loan guarantee was one of Obama's top fundraisers. . . . It's the Chicago Way, but instead of a paving or trucking contract, it's a "green" solar panel contract. . . . "


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Why are Obama Google+ posts appearing as news stories in Google News?

Memo to Google: I do not want Google+ posts from Obama or anyone else appearing in Google News as "news stories."

I do not "follow" Obama on Google+.

I was not "searching" for Obama or anything else within Google News.

I  went to Google News page (http://news.google.com - U.S. edition) for a quick news update today.

For the first time I've ever noticed, I have an Obama campaign Google+ post "masquerading" as a "news story" in Google News --

I went to Google+ and "blocked" Obama (I never had "followed" him)--went back to Google News--same result.  Either this is an "ad" (but no indication it is) OR Google has decided to take a political stand, endorse Obama for President, and run Obama Google+ posts as news stories. Anybody else have a better explanation?


Ryan v. Obama (video)

It is being reported that Romney will announce his Vice-President nominee Saturday morning at 9 a.m. EDT at the Nauticus Museum in Newport, Virginia. Berthed at the museum is the USS Wisconsin. Reportedly the VP nominee will be Paul Ryan, seven-term congressman from Wisconsin.

Ryan v. Obama: watch the video--Obama-Biden now have a problem--Ryan has done his homework (and neither Obama nor Biden have). Obama's campaign better "re-think" otherwise Ryan will steamroller them.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Deficit Spending - Bush v Obama

When the Democrats took over Congress in Jan 2007, after 12 years of prosperity, unemployment was at 4%, the DJIA was at a record high, we had had 54 straight months of economic growth and a boom housing market.

The recession and mortgage meltdown started in late 2007, almost a year after the Democrat Congress took power. Their predecessor Republican Congress had 4 budget surplus years, and left in 2006, with the DJIA at a record high, unemployment under 4%, moderate deficits, and 52 straight months of economic growth.

Bush -- 2001 $127.3 Billion Surplus
Bush -- 2002 $157.8 Billion Deficit
Bush -- 2003 $374 Billion Deficit
Bush -- 2004 $413 Billion Deficit
Bush -- 2005 $319 Billion Deficit
Bush -- 2006 $248 Billion Deficit
Bush -- 2007 $162 Billion Deficit
Bush -- 2008 $455 Billion Deficit
Obama - 2009 $1.416 Trillion Deficit
Obama - 2010 $1.294 Trillion Deficit
Obama - 2011 $1.299 Trillion Deficit
Obama - 2012 $1.330 Trillion Deficit

8 years of Bush: total net deficit--$2 trillion dollars
4 years of Obama: total net deficit--$5.3 trillion dollars

At this rate, Obama (if re-elected) will accumulate a total deficit in excess of $10 trillion dollars in 8 years!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Facebook users beware: Facial Recognition Tech

Facebook users beware--

Facial recognition tech is rocketing ahead of laws that can control it | Ars Technica"Many Americans don't realize they're already in a facial recognition database," Jennifer Lynch, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said Wednesday in a hearing on the technology. Addressing Senator Al Franken and the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, Lynch pointed out that there is a painful disconnect between how little personal action is required to capture a face and how much personal information can be associated with it. All that, thanks to the Internet. As it is, Lynch said, "Americans can't take precautions to prevent the collection of their image." Senator Franken called the hearing out of concern for the speed at which facial recognition technology is progressing as its use remains unregulated. Dr. Alessandro Acquisti, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said facial recognition could soon become a casual pursuit as computers get smaller, more powerful, and cloud computing costs come down. "Within a few years, real-time, automated, mass-scale facial recognition will be technologically feasible and economically efficient," Acquisti wrote in a statement; for companies, for friends, and for law enforcement. Facial recognition has two characteristics that alarmed most members of the panel. First, faces (unlike other common information gatekeepers like passwords or PIN numbers) can't be changed for protection. Second, neither permission nor interaction is required for one person to capture the face of another. If they're in public, their visage is fair game. Facial recognition "creates acute privacy concerns that fingerprints do not" because of the ease of collection, Franken said. . . . "


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Obama Press Secretary Marries ABC Campaign Reporter

Interesting note below--although it only confirms what we've known for years--Democrats and Mainstream Media have been sleeping "in the same bed" for years--so much for objective, professional journalism! (LOL)

Obama Press Secretary Marries ABC Reporter | The Weekly Standard: "A deputy press secretary for Barack Obama's reelection campaign married an ABC reporter over the weekend. The ABC reporter, Matthew Jaffe, "covering the 2012 presidential campaign," according to his biography on the website of ABC News. "For the past year he traveled around the country covering the Republican primary, from the Iowa Straw Poll to the various debates to this year's primaries and caucuses.""


Is there something wrong with Romney's advisors?

Answer: Yes


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Freedom of Speech and "Chicago Values"

We already know, thanks to Obama's buddy (and current mayor of Chicago), Rahm Emanuel, that "Chicago values" do NOT include values embedded in the U.S. Constitution, particularly the first amendment--FREEDOM OF SPEECH. The last time I checked--yesterday--"Chicago Values" are murder, gangs and thugs--100,000 gang members run the streets of the "Windy City," fiscally unsustainable public spending, high rates of dropouts from public schools, and I could go on but trust me, the LAST thing YOU want for YOUR CITY is "Chicago Values." Now it will be interesting to see if Obama's Chicago crowd will trample another constitutional value--the Right of Privacy--in their desperate effort to create the illusion of scandal about Romney--

Ann Coulter - August 1, 2012 - OBAMA'S SIGNATURE MOVE: UNSEALING PRIVATE RECORDS: " . . . And that's how Obama became a U.S. senator. He destroyed both his Democratic primary opponent and his Republican general election opponent with salacious allegations about their personal lives taken from "sealed" court records. Obama's team delved into Sarah Palin's marriage and spread rumors of John McCain's alleged affair in 2008 and they smeared Herman Cain in 2011 with hazy sexual harassment allegations all emanating from David Axelrod's pals in Chicago. It's almost like a serial killer's signature. Unsealed personal records have been released to the press. Obama must be running for office! So you can see what a pickle the Obama campaign is in having to run against a Dudley Do-Right, non-drinking, non-smoking, God-fearing, happily married Mormon. They've got to get their hands on thousands of pages of Romney's tax filings so that the media can -- as Romney says -- lie about them. It will be interesting to see if Obama can pick the lock of the famously guarded IRS."


Monday, August 6, 2012

The True Jobs Report (not so good)

You want a true picture of the job situation in the U.S.? At the rate of job growth for the past 18 months of the Obama administration, the U.S. economy will not get back to full employment until 2025!

Kudos to Ezra Klein of the Washington Post for "shining light" on the "jobs report" issued by Washington:

Wait, the U.S. economy actually lost 1.2 million jobs in July?: "The U.S. economy lost 1.2 million jobs between June and July. But that’s not how it got reported. When the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its jobs figures for July, it said the economy gained 163,000 jobs. So what gives? BLS isn’t hiding anything. The discrepancy just has to do with what’s known as “seasonal adjustments.” The U.S. economy follows certain predictable patterns in hiring and layoffs every year. School districts always let workers go for the summer and hire in the fall. Retailers always staff up for the Christmas holidays and lay people off afterwards. Students always flood the labor market in June. So if we want to know how well the economy is doing, we want to know how many jobs were added after taking these predictable fluctuations into account. This is exactly what BLS does in its monthly jobs reports. As Jacob Goldstein of Planet Money points out, the U.S. economy had 1.2 million fewer jobs (pdf) in July than it did in June. But, according to the bureau, the economy still had 163,000 more jobs than one would’ve expected, given seasonal trends. That’s a sign of a steadily recovering labor market. So BLS reported it as a 163,000 gain in jobs. In theory, that makes sense. But some economists and analysts now wonder if the BLS seasonal adjustments are somehow off a bit. If the financial crisis and recession mucked with the seasonal ebb and flow of the economy, then the adjustments that BLS makes for its monthly reports might be a bit skewed. Some jobs reports might look much better than they actually are. And others might look worse. There’s some reason to suspect this is happening. . . . So look at the long-term trends. For the past one-and-a-half years, the U.S. economy has added about 152,000 jobs per month on average. It’s a decent, but certainly not terrific jobs recovery: According to the Hamilton Project’s jobs calculator, the U.S. economy won’t get back to full employment until 2025 at this pace. . . it’s probably more accurate to watch that long-run average than to fixate on any one monthly jobs report."


Curiosity lands on Mars--Success!!

photos from curiosity rover on mars
First Pictures from Curiosity Rover on Mars

BBC News - Nasa's Curiosity rover successfully lands on Mars: "The US space agency has just landed a huge new robot rover on Mars.The one-tonne vehicle, known as Curiosity, touched down at 0614 BST (0514 GMT) in a deep crater near the planet's equator after a plunging through the atmosphere. It is going to look for evidence that Mars could once have supported life. A signal confirming the rover was on the ground safely was relayed to Earth via Nasa's Odyssey satellite, which is in orbit around the Red Planet.The success was greeted with a roar of approval here at mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The first pictures from the surface began to be fed back immediately. The mission has even already sent its first low-resolution images - showing the rover's wheel and its shadow, through a dust-covered lens cap that has yet to be removed. A first colour image of Curiosity's surroundings should be returned in the next couple of days.Engineers and scientists who have worked on this project for the best part of 10 years punched the air and hugged each other. The descent through the atmosphere after a 570-million-km journey from Earth had been billed as the "seven minutes of terror" - the time it would take to complete a series of high-risk manoeuvres that would slow the rover from an entry speed of 20,000km/h to allow its wheels to set down softly. After the landing, the flight director reported that Curiosity had set down at a gentle 0.6 metres per second. "We're on Mars again, and it's absolutely incredible," said Nasa director Charles Bolden. "It doesn't get any better than this.". . . "


Sunday, August 5, 2012

"We're Not Stupid" - words that may haunt Mitt Romney

I've already written about how both Obama and Romney are doing the most damage to themselves, not each other, so I won't repeat it again.  However it is becoming increasingly clear that Romney is failing--not because of anything Obama or his ineffective campaign is doing, but because Romney is NOT getting "real"--

Romney tax plan on table. Debt collapses table-Ezra Klein: "I can describe Mitt Romney’s tax policy promises in two words: mathematically impossible. Those aren’t my words. They’re the words of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, which has conducted the most comprehensive analysis to date of Romney’s tax plan and which bent over backward to make his promises add up. They’re perhaps the two most important words that have been written during this U.S. presidential election. If you were to distill the presumptive Republican nominee’s campaign to a few sentences, you could hardly do better than this statement of purpose from the speech Romney delivered in Detroit, outlining his plan for the economy: “I believe the American people are ready for real leadership. I believe they deserve a bold, conservative plan for reform and economic growth. Unlike President Obama, I actually have one — and I’m not afraid to put it on the table.” The truth is that Romney is afraid to put his plan on the table. . . . "

Theses On Taxes - Krugman - NYTimes.com: "Neither candidate is offering a realistic tax plan, because the fact is that the federal government is going to need more revenue than either is currently proposing. But the two men are not equivalent in their unrealism: Obama is proposing to raise revenue by around $80 billion a year compared with current policy, while Romney is proposing to cut revenue by around $450 billion a year compared with current policy. Obama is inadequate; Romney is intensely, screamingly irresponsible."

Dooh Nibor -Krugman - NYTimes.com: "even on the most favorable assumption, the Romney plan would give the rich big tax cuts on net – which means that to be revenue-neutral, it must raise taxes on Americans making less than $200,000 a year. So they’re actually giving Romney every possible benefit of the doubt – and still his plan is a redistribution from the middle class to the rich. "

One is left to ask: "Does Romney think we're stupid?" OR "Is Romney stupid?"

Remember what Romney said about Obama?--

Romney: 'It's still about the economy, and we're not stupid' - Los Angeles Times: "“Four years ago, Barack Obama dazzled us in front of Greek columns with sweeping promises of hope and change,” Romney said. “But after we came down to earth, after all the celebration and the parades, what do we have to show for three and a half years of President Obama? It’s still about the economy, and we’re not stupid. . . ”"

Okay, it is all about the economy--and what we need is comprehensive tax and entitlement reforms--and we need a transformational leader. Obama claimed to be a transformational leader 4 years ago and has been a big disappointment. Romney? He better stop "dissing" us and get real honest, real fast--otherwise the electorate will figure out the best approach is to re-elect Obama and keep at least one house of Congress in Republican hands.

It seems Romney is afraid to exercise leadership. He needs Condi Rice as his VP--she's better qualified to be President than either Obama or Romney (and if Romney picks either Portman or Pawlenty I think I'll puke)--and he needs to start listening to people who know what they are talking about. I have NO confidence in Romney's campaign staff--they appear to be clueless losers (of course I have NO confidence in Obama or his campaign staff either). The difference between Romney and Obama is that Romney is the challenger. Unless he demonstrates he's a better alternative, people will go with the guy they know. 


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Knight Shows How to Lose $440 Million in 30 Minutes

The Perils of High-frequency Trading--or easy come, easy go--

Knight Shows How to Lose $440 Million in 30 Minutes - Businessweek: "Knight’s glitch happened at the exact moment that the NYSE Euronext (NYX) was rolling out its new Retail Liquidity Program, which the Securities and Exchange Commission approved last month. NYSE’s RLP is designed to attract the exact type of retail stock trading that market-making firms such as Knight have grabbed away from exchanges in the past few years. Hunsader doesn’t consider the timing a coincidence: “It looks like they were testing some new software to make sure they could compete with the NYSE’s RLP.” NYSE spokesman Richard Adamonis had no comment on Thursday. Big picture, the incident is the latest black eye for the convoluted U.S. market structure that’s dominated by computers and fragmented across a number of exchanges. Although not as damaging as the May 2010 flash crash, the Knight glitch highlights structural problems that have contributed to the botched Facebook (FB) initial public offering and sapped investor confidence."

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Cult of Equity is Dying--Bill Gross of Pimco (video)

Pimco's Gross: Death of Equities Is Imminent
Bill Gross, Pimco co-founder and bond king, says stocks are dead. Steven Russolillo discusses reader reaction to Mr. Gross's statements.

The Cult of Equity is Dying--Bill Gross of Pimco

Report on Pimco website

pdf here

podcast here


Thursday, August 2, 2012

London--the City within a City

With the Olympics being in London--I came across this video which explains exactly what "the City" of London is:


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

McCain "bitchslaps" Cheney for saying picking Palin for VP was a ‘mistake’

Urban Dictionary: bitchslap: "Bitchslap" -- "The literal and/or metaphoric slapping or whacking someone in order to knock some sense into them."

This is funny--and of course both Cheney (about Palin) and McCain (about torture) are right (and stating the obvious)--

McCain slaps back at Cheney for saying picking Palin for vice president was a ‘mistake’ - NY Daily News: "Sen. John McCain slapped back at Dick Cheney for criticizing his pick of Sarah Palin as his 2008 running mate by making a barbed remark about the former vice president's torture policies. Cheney told ABC News in an interview that aired Sunday that Palin's nomination was "a mistake" and wasn't "well handled" by the McCain campaign. While saying Palin was an "attractive candidate," Cheney argued that she didn't have enough experience to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. When played those remarks during an interview on "Fox & Friends," Monday morning, McCain chuckled before shooting back with a caustic quip. "I'm always glad to get comments four years later," the Arizona Republican said. "Look, I respect the vice president. He and I had strong disagreements as to whether we should torture people or not. I don't think we should have.""

You know the GOP is in trouble when all we have is old geezers arguing over history!


The Big Picture

Financial Crisis - The Telegraph

JohnTheCrowd.com | The Sailing Website

Craig Newmark - craigconnects