Monday, December 31, 2007

An Inconvenient Year by Dave Barry

What better way to end the year than with a full-blown synopsis of this past year by Dave Barry. There's a monthly recap of all the goings-on during the year. Here's some:
The slump in home sales continues into the new year, with a nationwide total of one home sold in January. In many cities, gangs of real estate agents sometimes wearing "colors" in the form of canary-yellow jackets roam the streets, surrounding their victims and extracting money from them in forcible "closings."

In politics, the burgeoning Alberto Gonzales scandal -- rapidly becoming the most riveting scandal to rivet Washington since the "Scooter" Libby scandal -- burgeons still further when congressional Democrats charge that Gonzales's name can also be rearranged to spell "A Stern Legal Bozo" and "Snot Blaze Galore."

As the month draws to a close, Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday much as the early Pilgrims did, lining up outside Best Buy at 3 a.m. to buy steeply discounted appliances.
Just a few gems from one of my favorite columnists (he's retired now, supposedly). Read it all here -- An Inconvenient Year

Mortgage meltdown same as losing cash?

Here's an interesting perspective for those of us watching a significant portion of their net worths evaporating into thin air ($720 billion in total, so far):
If you are a homeowner, how bad do you feel about this? You should feel pretty bad, but I’m guessing you would feel a lot worse in the following scenario: home prices did not fall at all last year, but one day you took $18,000 out of the bank to pay cash for a new car, and someone then stole your wallet with the $18,000 in it. At the end of the day, your wealth would be the same (down $18,000, either from depreciation of the value of your home or because the money was stolen), but one loss is psychologically far worse than the other.
This is so true.

Lost: Billion. If Found, Please Return to Owner, Preferably in Cash - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog:

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Military Depleted? F-15s grounded

This could possibly be one of the dozens of unintended consequences of choosing to fight two wars overseas: When structural problems were found in F-15 fighter planes, the most prolific of NORAD's inventory of planes that protect and patrol North America, the strain is being felt throughout. IF we could only find a few billion dollars to upgrade...hmm, wonder where we could find some money?

With F-15s grounded, U.S. seeks cover - Military-

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Clinton urges voters to caucus on wrong day

Even the stalwart political war machine of Hillary Clinton is prone to mistakes, this one asking for pledges of support from Iowans for the caucus, only 11 days too late...

Clinton urges voters to caucus on wrong day - Hillary Clinton News-

100 Minds That Made the Market

I'm going to buy this book for a friend and I might borrow it from him later :)

When I do read it, I'll post a review here. For now, let's just use some of Amazon's own words:
From the Back Cover

100 Minds That Made The Market

Introducing the new Fisher Investment Series Comprised of engaging and informative titles written by renowned money manager and bestselling author Ken Fisher, this series offers essential insights into the worlds of investing and finance.

Over the course of nearly two centuries, the innovations, mistakes, and scandals of many different market participants have all played an important role in shaping today's financial markets.

Now, in 100 Minds That Made the Market, Ken Fisher delivers cameo biographies of these pioneers of American financial history. From Joe Kennedy's "sexcapades" to Jesse Livermore's suicide, this book details the drama, the dirt, and the financial principles of an amazingly inventive group of financial minds. Fisher digs deep to uncover the careers, personal lives, and contributions of these individuals, and leads you through the lessons that can be learned from each one. Here you have 100 of the best teachers—some you already know, some you will feel you know, and some you have not yet come upon—whose experiences will undoubtedly enhance your understanding of the markets.

With only a few pages dedicated to each person, 100 Minds That Made the Market quickly captures the essence of the people—and ideas—that have influenced the evolution of the financial industry.
Like I said, when I read the book, I'll post a review of it here.

Pakistan's Bhutto killed in attack

Former Pakistan prime minister Bhutto has died in an apparent suicide bombing. I bet Pakistan's President Musharraf was behind it. He's been wanting to turn the country into a totalitarian state for some time now and it seems like this is a prime opportunity in which to do it, "for the good of the country."

Kind of like here.
Musharraf condemned the attack and urged calm, according to the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan. He also convened an emergency meeting with his senior staff, where they were expected to discuss whether to postpone the elections, an official at the Interior Ministry said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
The conspiracy theorist in me is telling me that the US knew about it, too. I'll have to kill that little bastard on my shoulder.

Top 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, Revisited and Revised

Though the list is 3 years old, I don't think there have been any songs of significance that might break the top 25. However, the curious thing is the #1 song: Is it a little self-serving -- Like a Rolling Stone is Rolling Stone magazine's top song of all time? And the #2 song is by The Rolling Stones?

I think Rolling Stone has a lot of 'splainin' to do.

What, no Welcome to the Jungle? Elvis Presley doesn't even make it into the list until #19? The Beatles, however, all over the place. I hate The Beatles. They are the most overrated band in history. In history! I mean, Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown), WTF?

Goddamned list would be better upside-down!

1. Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan

2. Satisfaction, The Rolling Stones

3. Imagine, John Lennon

4. What's Going On, Marvin Gaye

5. Respect, Aretha Franklin

6. Good Vibrations, The Beach Boys

7. Johnny B. Goode, Chuck Berry

8. Hey Jude, The Beatles

9. Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana

10. What'd I Say, Ray Charles

The Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time : Rolling Stone

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How to Quit the Caffeine Habit

Many of us like our Starbucks. Or Peet's. Or the corner drive thru coffee shop. Heck, even Dunkin' Donuts. It really doesn't matter; many of us are addicted to caffeine. I'll tell you how I kicked the habit.

It's really like anything else. You have to decide to do it, then just do it. It's difficult. The headaches are brutal. The lethargy is dreadful. The disconnection from our "drinking buddies" is hard to take.

There are at least two dependencies going on, one physical and one mental. The physical and mental reinforce one another.

"My head hurts. Get a coffee."
"I miss my friends. Get a latte."
"I need my energy boost. Get a crappachino."

My kicking the habit boiled down to 3 basic things: One, I wanted to have children and my wife convinced me that we'd have better swimmers if I quit the caffeine. I didn't dispute her on this one :)

Two, I didn't really feel very good. Sure, I'd get a minimal energy boost, but overall I felt really cruddy.

Three, I was spending money I didn't want to spend.

For me, there was never a personal connection to caffeine. I don't drink coffee. I drank Dew. Loved the stuff. To some, it's anti-freeze. To me, it was sugary crack. Nobody on this planet drinks Mountain Dew for social reasons. People don't meet over a Dew, they don't have "Dew parties," and nobody stands in a long-ass line waiting for the stuff.

So, I sought to kick the habit. It only took a few days to render the remnants of the green stuff out of my body. But it sucked. The headaches were horrible, I felt like I wanted to vomit, I got a fever. It really sucked. I wasn't sick, but I sure felt like it.

Here's what I did.

I quit. Cold turkey.

I persevered through the headaches. I took Aleve. Lots of it. For a few days. After 4 days without caffeine, I didn't even want any. Furthermore, I didn't want to go through the discomfort again when I decided to quit again.

My Steps for Quitting the Caffeine Habit are as follows:
  1. Decide what's important to you
  2. Take mitigating steps to curtail any discomfort you're undoubtedly going to suffer when you decide to take the next step
  3. Do it
  4. Don't look back. Failure is not an option.
Now, I'm never going to suggest that you can stop smoking or snorting cocaine by following my path. Those are addictions that I cannot speak to with any experience whatsoever. They're no doubt much stronger chemicals.

However, the 4 basic steps can be followed. The key step, in my opinion, is Step #2: Take mitigating steps to curtail any discomfort you're going to feel when you quit.

Also key is realizing that it's just a damned chemical. It doesn't have your willpower, your determination, or your fortitude. You cannot let it beat you.

Man spends Christmas Eve in septic tank - Weird news-

Not the nicest way to spend Christmas Eve -- upside-down, head-first in a septic tank.

Man spends Christmas Eve in septic tank - Weird news-

Top Ten Mitt Romney Lies

Repugnican 2008 presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is turning out to be a perpetual liar. His latest fib, about "seeing" his father march with Dr Martin Luther King, is receiving a lot of attention in the blogosphere, but this is just one of many lies Romney has fabricated.

In that light, here are the Top Ten Lies told by Mitt Romney:

10. I am a Mormon
9. I am conservative
8. I am a hunter
7. I am the 2nd coming of Ronald Reagan
6. I cried when my church announced it would recognize blacks
5. I don't get $400 hair cuts
4. I got tough on meth
3. I am tough on illegal immigration
2. My boys have served this country
1. I watched my father march with Martin Luther King
Bonus: #1: I am pro-life

10. Okay, Mitt Romney is a Mormon. Who cares? Obviously, every other religion in the world and many atheists care. They believe Mormonism is at best a disease, and at worst the Devil reincarnate. But I don't give a damn. There are good Mormons and bad Mormons, just like everything else.

I hate it, though, when anybody stands up and tells me what their faith is. Don't tell it -- do it, be it, act it, live it. If you believe that Charlie Sheen is god, then, dammit, act like it. But don't tell me, I'll just think you're freakin' crazy.

9. Romney is not a Conservative. None of the self-described Republican candidates have any resemblance to a Conservative, in a fiscal sense or any other sense, except for maybe Fred "Flintstone" Thompson.

8. Brother, P-L-E-A-S-E! First, you were a hunter, without a license, then a varmint hunter. Come on, you hunt for campaign contributions, Elmer.

7. I knew Ronald Reagan, and you're no Ronald Reagan! (Okay, I "knew" Ronald Reagan like Mitt "saw" his dad march with MLK -- see #1 below.)

6. I bet he did, but not for the reason he implied. They weren't tears of joy he shed, but rather tears of fears. White men are afraid of blacks, especially when it comes to sharing their faith. And aren't blacks Islamic fundamentalists? That's what our government and media want us to believe.

5. Right, you get $500 haircuts. You rich bastard.

4. Tough on meth, just like he got tough on all crime. Read more here about his lies on crime fighting.

3. Tough on illegal immigration? Sure.

2. Romney's sons are serving his campaign, and by ridiculous extension, since he's running for president, this country. What a crock of bullshit.

1. Romney suffers from dictionary dyslexia. Like Bill Clinton and his "depends on the definition of is...", Romney is now backpedaling on his physically seeing his father march with MLK to his daddy told him so, to the not-so-literal march in terms of "I had his back." Such a complete liar.

Bonus #1. As I said before, don't say it, do it. Romney, by his very actions, was effectively pro-choice. Now he says he's pro-life. But there is not a shred of evidence to support his lie. Maybe that's the way he feels, but his actions while an elected official seem to indicate otherwise.

This concludes my Rant against Romney. Surely more lies will surface once Romney realizes he's losing to a girl. Or a black man.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Google's new election coverage

It's pretty good. Actually, it just looks like a filtered version of Google News, but nevertheless, it's all right there on one easy-to-get-to page.

Google News - Elections

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays courtesy Whole Foods

A computer glitch shut down the Hartford Whole Foods register system, so instead of making their customers wait until the computers came back online, Whole Foods simply bagged their customers' groceries and wished them happy holidays, without charging them anything for their groceries.

Now, that's a nice little gift.

Too often, when a company screws something up, they make YOU pay for it, usually in terms of time, time you'll never get back. Well done, Whole Foods.

Whole Foods Shows You Can Get Something For Nothing --

GOP's Tancredo quits ’08 race...Who?

Talk about a loser right out of the gate. Tancredo seemed like a whack from the get-go. Now, sadly, he's gone. But he's endorsed another whack-o, Mitt Romney! I say that not because he's Mormon, but because he's just weird. He scares me. He's like Formica. It's a clean, smooth material that looks good from afar, even good close up. But it tarnishes the value of your house. Cheapens it, you know?

When are the Republicans going to offer up a polished, smart, and good candidate? Hell, when are the Democrats? Why so many crappy candidates with lots of money? Is there anybody out there with any brains, common sense, level-headedness?

Yes, but they're all too smart to run. Somebody would go digging deep in the basement of their childhood home and find a skeleton. Like, "He liked to play with himself while reading Spiderman." Or some crap like that.

GOP's Tancredo quits ’08 race - Tom Tancredo News-

FREE online classes from top-name universities

Free online courses from top-name universities, available here. I've never tried any of them, though I've known about them for some time (especially the MIT and UC Berkeley). Has anybody out there tried one or more of them?

They sound like great ways to learn some pretty cool stuff. After all, life is all about learning. If you're not learning, you're probably on the verge of death.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Credit crunch: A great synopsis of the problem

Here's a great summary of the mess we're now in with a nice comparison to the S&L crisis of the '80s.
...This has led to rational fears of credit risk among banks when dealing in the interbank lending market, severely exacerbated by the fact that the instruments in which the mortgages have become intertwined cannot be reasonably valued once they stop trading. This interbank credit crunch filters through the wider economy because companies, in particular, directly suffer the collateral damage of illiquidity at the heart of the financial system. It furthermore reinfects the housing sector, threatening a vicious cycle of house price decline and crunching credit.
Economics Blog : A Proposal for Reviving the Credit Markets

Here's the proposal from the writers of the above piece:
We believe that what is needed is a new Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC), based on the 1989 model that cleaned up the S&L mess. Obviously a different scheme is needed today, based on the new reality of mortgage holdings being dispersed throughout the financial sector. Congress would establish this new RTC to buy up subprime mortgages at deep discounts.
Here's what may happen if no action is taken:
But failure to enact an RTC to fish out the bad debt that is rotting our credit markets only makes it more likely that Congress and the Administration will instead adopt an election-year gimmick agenda with Sarbox-type haste and results.
More on the mess
Some more on the mess

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Credit crunch: About to get a whole LOT crunchier

Alan Greenspan weighs in on the credit crunch.

So does Herb Greenberg.

Want to buy a house? Good luck. Try foreclosures!

Yes, kids, it's getting ugly out there. And it's bound to get a LOT uglier. There could be a tidal wave coming, tsunami-style.

Google Talk scares me

There are some things that just aren't natural, like man on dog sex, people with boundless enthusiasm, and this: Google Talk.

It now can translate, on the fly, from one language to another and back again. Totally unnatural. And an economic bugaboo to the 3 existing translators in the world.

Google Talk Gets One Step Closer To The Ultimate Babel Fish

Monday, December 17, 2007

CEO of Universal Music Is Clueless

Universal Music's CEO is an idiot, plain and simple. The guy must have gotten his job through nepotism or the lottery...he knows nothing about music, business, or common sense.

From Techdirt
There's no one in the record company that's a technologist," Morris explains. "That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?"

Personally, I would hire a vet. But to Morris, even that wasn't an option. "We didn't know who to hire," he says, becoming more agitated. "I wouldn't be able to recognize a good technology person -- anyone with a good bullshit story would have gotten past me." Morris' almost willful cluelessness is telling. "He wasn't prepared for a business that was going to be so totally disrupted by technology," says a longtime industry insider who has worked with Morris. "He just doesn't have that kind of mind."
Universal Music's CEO Gleefully Explains How Clueless He Is

Climbing the corporate ladder

Some funny pictures of dumb people climbing ladders. We all have had bosses like this.

Where’s OSHA When You Need ‘em? -- One Mans Blog

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New board game: Where the hell is Mark McGwire?

There are some big names in the so-called Mitchell report on baseball and steroids: Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Jason Giambi, current players and retired players.

But where is Mark McGwire's name? I admit I haven't read the report, just a story on it from Yahoo (see link below), but his name hasn't been mentioned as having been fingered as a steroid or banned substances user.

Sure, his name is all over the report, in at least the first 100 or so pages. McGwire, and his success, might have been the spark plug, the smoking gun, the leading indicator of a cheating problem in baseball. But he didn't use any banned substances. In fact, he admitted to using two supplements, both over the counter at the time, but neither was illegal or banned from baseball.

Not that I'd care even if he did. He hit a lot of home runs. He and Sosa revived baseball from a near-death experience. Owners turned their heads, the players' union went on defense, and the fans said "Gimmer more of those HRs!!! I like 14-13 games. How thrilling."

Nobody gave a shit. Now they do?

Give me a break. Cheating has been a part of every sport since day one.

By the way, Roger Clemens, almost inarguably the best pitcher of his era, is hit hard in this report. It's funny how the cheating has focused on the rise in home runs and talks about the ball being juiced, but it seems like more pitchers have been implicated in the use of banned substances than hitters. Strange to me. How crappy would pitching stats be if pitchers didn't use 'roids?

Instead of the steroid era, it might be called the era of junkie pitchers.

Clemens, Bonds named in MLB drug report - Yahoo! News

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Water conservation ideas

I know some of my "there is no such thing as global warming" friends might call this stuff hogwash, but I take a different tack -- why not conserve precious resources because, well, they're precious? It's the economist in me: How to ration scarce resources?

So here are a few tips from Utility Services of Alaska. Plus, besides saving scarce resources, it saves you MONEY. Who doesn't like having more money to spend on discretionary things?

  • Check your toilet tank at least twice a year.
  • Turn the water off. Don't let it run when you wash, brush your teeth, or shave.
  • Take shorter showers or a bath.
  • Run full loads of dishes and clothes.
  • While waiting for water to turn hot or cold, catch the lukewarm water in a container to water plants.
  • Be smart, fix leaks.
Just a few tips, more here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Libby drops appeal in CIA leak case

Libby drops appeal in CIA leak case
President Bush commuted Libby's 30-month jail sentence in July. Libby paid a $250,000 fine and must serve two years' probation. Libby remains a convicted felon, but Bush could issue a full pardon as his administration winds down. Wells said he has not discussed a possible pardon with the president and does not know what Bush will do.
Of course, Libby will be pardoned. He and his lawyers have already worked out the details. Bush has signed on. This is the only reason they'd drop the appeal. A pardon will serve as a full exoneration, as if the crimes he committed never happened.

I wish we could do the same with the entire tenure of Bush and his goons. Make like the last 8 years never happened, including the worst attack on American soil.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

White House threatens budget veto

(Cross posted at Independent Bloggers' Alliance)

White House threatens budget veto
"The White House on Saturday threatened to veto a massive spending bill being assembled by congressional Democrats, saying it's unacceptable to add billions of dollars to domestic programs."
But it's okay to add trillions (yes, trillions) of dollars to foreign programs. For a guy not into nation building, I guess one could say he's into nation destruction: Our own as well as Iraq's.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 07, 2007

The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time : Rolling Stone

UPDATE: My Favorite Musicians Who Happen To Play Guitar

What? How did I miss this and why is Clapton #4 and SRV #7? Are Rolling Stones fans high? Wait, don't answer. Of course they are!

But they should be smarter than this list indicates.

1Jimi Hendrix
2 Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band
3 B.B. King
4 Eric Clapton
5 Robert Johnson
6 Chuck Berry
7 Stevie Ray Vaughan
8 Ry Cooder
9 Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin
10 Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones
11Kirk Hammett of Metallica
12 Kurt Cobain of Nirvana
13 Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead
14 Jeff Beck
15 Carlos Santana
16 Johnny Ramone of the Ramones
17 Jack White of the White Stripes
18 John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers
19 Richard Thompson
20 James Burton
21 George Harrison
22 Mike Bloomfield
23 Warren Haynes
24 The Edge of U2
25 Freddy King
26 Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave
27 Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits
28 Stephen Stills
29 Ron Asheton of the Stooges
30 Buddy Guy

Eddie Van Halen is #70. Shameful.

The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time : Rolling Stone
My Favorite Musicians Who Happen To Play Guitar

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Why digg don't digg libertarian lesbian in short shorts

The following is a post from a blogger that I read almost everyday and whose work I really dig. In her post, she's given a summary of how has banned her from getting dugg because her site has been banned for adult content. Whatever that means.

In fact, when I tried to digg Becky's post about "Why Digg Don't Digg Me" I received the following message:
This URL has been reported by users to host adult-only content and cannot be submitted at this time.

Here's Becky's post in its entirety:


Why Digg Don't Digg Me


a2 Geeky guys drive me crazy. And Kevin Rose is no exception. Good Geeks actually believe it is possible to build and tweak algorithms so that the Electronic Frontier is a pure democracy. They admit there are Evil Geeky guys out trying to undermine that democracy, for their own nefarious purposes, but in their vanity the Good Geeks are convinced they can keep one step ahead.

Last March, I and a number of other people noticed, that it appeared there were Bury Brigades at Digg.

Everyone knows the easiest way to get rid of a story submitted to Digg, is to bury it when it first appears, and then there is no chance of it ever making what Digg reverently calls “The Front Page.”

I came to the conclusion this was happening to me when I was tipped off by my favorite Geek.

I went to high school with my Geek, and he is eternally indebted to me, because I asked him to the Sadie Hawkins(in return for a promise of lifetime homework and techie assistance). He is now one of those guys that retired from Microsoft a multimillionaire before his thirtieth birthday.

Anyway, my Geek friend turned me on to Digg Spy. In there you can view users digging and burying stories in real time. I watched, and my stories were being massively buried as soon as they hit Digg.

Other people noticed this was widespread. So Kevin Rose spoke up.

In the classic way of Geeks, Kevin carefully explained how they don't show us everything in Digg Spy and assured everyone the algorithms and systems were constantly changed and tweaked “to ensure a diverse group of users promote or bury stories .”

I don't think we need to dwell on a contention that is so arrogantly full of shit.

digg I can not prove it, but from the comments and messages I have received from Diggers I believe there are a couple of reasons I am buried. First, Geeks are generally progressives and I am a conservative, albeit of a libertarian mindset—but they don't understand that. Second, like many Geeks, their sexual development is rather stunted—and are quite misogynistic and homophobic in an adolescent sort of way. So they do not like their progressive viewpoints ridiculed by an intelligent conservative lesbian.

Last week this blog was banned from Digg because of “adult content.” I am not whining about this, I honestly don't care, and because my stories were being buried anyway, it was not a source of much traffic.

I drone on monotonously only because some readers have asked for more explanation and so people will understand how all this web 2.0 stuff really works. It is really much more like Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution than a New England townhall meeting. In fact, Jan Lanier has called it Digital Maoism.

Digg, and all the similar social networking sites, run on a mob mentality. Boys and girls sit in their lonely cubicles, or their Mom's basement, and band together into brigades who either push or destroy various people or writers. e.g. Digg each other and bury others. Sometimes they even get scary.

The Web 2.0 proponents believe this will supplant the old capitalist system of Big Media choosing our news and entertainment for us. But whether digital mobs are a qualitatively superior way of promoting cultural and political developments is the real question.

Mobs are by their nature anti-democratic. And they often don't want democratic processes to work. The online presidential straw polls are a good example. If these polls are to be believed it is not even necessary to hold a General Election, Ron Paul will be elected by acclamation. But, as far as I can tell the Netkooks are not fooling anyone, except themselves, all the while irritating many.

They will also use dirty tricks. Their favorite, which is not surprising given their dweebie backgrounds, is to be tattletales. They report stuff as being pornography or mature content. These guys are not actually offended by anything they see, it is just a means to an end. After the report is received by some corporate coward at the Internet Corporation, he takes a look, sees a topless woman—and sends the whole domain to the round file.

This has happened to me before. And it was even recognized by one of Google's staffers.

The recent ban by Digg happened when I posted Uber-Boob Fascination. Although it featured two images of topless women , that was not really the reason the Diggers were offended. They did not like the discussion of the uber-attention testosterone drenched uber-jerks have for uber-boobs, and how women do not always appreciate it all that much.

I have sent this e-mail to Digg a couple of times:

“I have inquired before why Ron Paul and Goldwater Conservatives nor Clinton, Huckabee and Mr. Jefferson nor Happy Repeal Day cannot be submitted because of "adult content" but The Poop Tube is perfectly ok.

I realize you are quite refined, but are you not going a bit far?

Although the blog may at times be "naughty" in a Wonkette or Playboy way, it is quite tame by Internet standards. The real problem is that many of the diggers do not dig the blog, because of the opinions expressed therein, not because they are deeply offended by any language or images. This is just a method to augment their organized burying efforts which have been going on for months.

Please let me know.


They are just going to ignore me, and I am not not going to pursue it further. But I welcome anyone who might like to repost this (and submit it to Digg, etc.). It would be a step toward educating people on how all this stuff really works.

As Kevin Rose always gags out:

Digg On.

a1Becky's Stuff

Mortgage crisis market meddling: Will it work?

Here's a summary of the 'plan' the Bush Administration has put together to stave off a blood bath in the housing markets, courtesy of
What would the plan accompliPublishsh? The plan is limited and tries to help homeowners, not speculators. It specifically targets borrowers who have teaser rates that eventually reset to much higher rates. Typically the rates are low for the first two or three years and are known as 2-28s or 3-27s.

For these borrowers, a rate freeze would only prevent foreclosure in the short term. The freeze is voluntary for mortgage lenders, who have no real incentive to participate. Furthermore, the government has no plan to use federal funds to help homeowners make payments -- this doesn't look much like a bailout. Regulations on states would be loosened so that people who are struggling could receive additional aid. The Paulson plan would encourage states to increase aid to homeowners through the issuance of tax-free bonds.
With all due respect, this is both too much and too little. In other words, this is a complete waste. Read my past post, Mortgage mess: US Treasury to freeze ARMs?

It's too much because the market doesn't need manipulation. It needs a regulatory body that will somehow remove fraud and greed from the equation but let the fundamentals of supply and demand do its Adam Smith magic. Further, it will put a stop to any activities in the housing market. How is that? Well, if the current prevailing rate is 8% and I can freeze my 4% for 5 or 7 more years, why would I ever move? So, folks who might move into a bigger or more expensive house have a disincentive to do so. The only incentive is to move into a much cheaper house, such that the payment stays flat. The only way to do that is to finance a smaller mortgage. This will drive house prices down, if anything, worsening the problem.

It's too little because just a small percentage of borrowers used 2-28s or, who's it going to "help?"

I say, let the market decide. Put a regulatory body in place that not only has teeth but also the incentive to act.

More mortgage mess news:
WaMu leadership staying as investors wonder why

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My first PayPerPost post

This is my first payperpost. At first, my web site was rejected and I'm not sure why. The email I received said that my site had not been indexed by google, but it had.

I've been so busy that I just disregarded the email, decided to fight the fight later, and moved on.

Today, I got an email saying that my site had been accepted. Cool. Apparently, payperpost rechecks sites they've rejected, which is convenient. No fights, no arguments.

I like them already.

So this post is about my first experience with payperpost. So far, so good. On to bigger and better things!

UPDATE: I posted the above and got another rejection notice, this time because this topic required at least two hundred words and I had only used 103. So here's my attempt to resolve that.

Here are the things I like about payperpost:

  1. Potential to supplement income my site receives by simply posting about topics that interest me.
  2. Nice graphics.
  3. Did I mention the money?

Things I don’t like:

  1. I feel cheap.
  2. I feel like I need to take a shower.
  3. It seems unseemly to get paid to post, like I’m biased.
But you know what? Bloggers ARE biased. That’s why they do what they do (most of them). We have specific opinions and perspectives. Hopefully, most of us have open minds so that we can discuss things rationally.

But we’re all putting google Adsense ads on our sites and other paid content, why not in the posts? If we’re upfront about it (notice I put a big red button on this post), our readers can factor that in their assessments of the validity of our posts. Right?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Back when we used to starve

Great post. Hilarious picture. Thanks, hell's handmaiden.

Back when we used to starve | hell's handmaiden

Charges filed after Santa pied in the face

The War on Christmas continues! Santa is creamed with a pumpkin pie and files charges against the 'assailant.' There was a time when Santa would have enjoyed a big pie in his face. Not anymore.
MISSOULA, Mont. - A college student accused of shoving a pumpkin pie into the face of a shopping-mall Santa Claus has been charged with misdemeanor assault.
Charges filed after Santa pied in the face - Criminal weirdness-

One Laptop Per Child Doesn't Change the World -- one man's opinion

PC Mag's John C. Dvorak, ever the cynic, has -- ahem -- a negative opinion of the OLPC project. He has good points. Just not sure they're well-founded.

His story does put a damper on my one laptop per child piece, though. Not to mention that the statistics he calls out will make you cry:
Every year, 15 million children die of hunger. For the price of one missile, a school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for five years. Throughout the decade, more than 100 million children will die from illness and starvation. The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well fed, one-third is underfed, and one-third is starving. Since you've entered this site, at least 200 people have died of starvation. One in 12 people worldwide is malnourished, including 160 million children under the age of 5. Nearly one in four people, or 1.3 billion—a majority of humanity—live on less than $1 per day, while the world's 358 billionaires have assets exceeding the combined annual incomes of countries with 45 percent of the world's people.
Thanks, John. Way to rain on the parade. Jerk. :)

One Laptop Per Child Doesn't Change the World - Columns by PC Magazine

Is Hillary Clinton digging her own grave or somebody else's?

Hillary Clinton has taken off the gloves, calling Barack Obama naive, inexperienced, and striving for the Presidency since birth (her campaign sleuths have dug up a paper from Obama's long-ago past: An essay little Barack wrote in kindergarten entitled "I Want to Be President").

Silly former First Lady.

The question I have is how does Hillary say with a straight face that she's experienced? Number one, how is she materially more experienced than John Edwards or Barack Obama? She's been a Senator, what, 7 years? Obama 4? Big difference. Woopty-doo.

Name an accomplishment she's made while Senator from New York...any of her bills signed into law, any leadership positions of committees where something -- hell, anything -- substantial has arisen?

And what did she do in the White House? Stand by her man? Try to socialize health care and failing miserably so?

Let's get one thing straight: Intellectually, I am sure she's smarter than the average bear, even smarter than really smart bears. She can probably go toe-to-toe with her genius husband, Bill. I'd love to sit in on some of their conversations. I'd probably have to just sit there and act like I got it when I clearly didn't get it.

Her new strategy of attacking her opponents, coupled with her old strategy of fabricating her credentials, is going to backfire on her.

When is somebody going to ask her the simple question: What makes you more qualified than anybody else?

Additionally, she's going to have to choose -- most likely -- one of her opponents that she's beat up as her running mate if she wins the Dem's nomination.

Are we then to forget how stupid and inexperienced they are?

Will Clinton's Obama Attacks Backfire? - TIME
Hillary Attacks

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mortgage mess: US Treasury to freeze ARMs?

Looks like the Bush administration, under the purview of the US Treasury Department, is considering freezing adjustable mortgage rates for up to 5 years.


Sure, my budget will like it. I'll get 5 more years of a 4.75% rate. Wonderful.

But won't such an action completely dampen the real estate market? It seems like it should...what am I missing?

Surely, the industry players who helped to fan the market flames, like WaMu, CountryWide, and BofA, will suffer some consequences, but they most likely will come out of this like they always do: Better off, with more money, more capital, more customers, and more audacity than before.

I think the market needs to be enabled to work. Sure, some regulations have to be out there, but this drastic attempt just feels wrong.

Thoughts? A free book to the commenter I deem to have the best answer. Make sure you leave me an email after you comment with your email address. If you win, I'll contact you for your mailing address.

Besides, this can't be a good idea if Hillary likes it. That makes it all the more yucky.

What's Wrong With a Teaser Freezer?
Housing Mess Forces Bush Admin Change: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rants - December 1, 2007

Welcome to the December 1, 2007 edition of Rants. Here is a synopsis of the excellent articles we received.

presents A Dog's Life posted at, saying, "Philosophy and Boxing"

blue skelton presents Blue Skelton Endorses Ron Paul for President posted at Blue Skelton Publications, saying, "Blue Skelton, infamous blogger, has endorsed Ron Paul for president of the United States. Blue Skelton is an affluent political writer and this coveted endorsement of Ron Paul should carry a lot of weight amidst the ranks of the political bloggers. Blue Skelton’s Endorsement should not be taken lightly."

Michael Johns
presents One Iraq Option Only: Victory posted at Michael Johns, saying, "Michael Johns, a former White House speechwriter, Heritage Foundation foreign policy analyst, and award-winning conservative author and writer, argues that the war in Iraq and the war against terror have become one and the same, and retreat is not an option."

presents Today's RANT: SMOKERS posted at Rants 'n Reviews, saying, "What is it with smokers who think existing laws and corporate rules do not apply to them?"

Madeleine Begun Kane
presents My Family Needs Me (Limerick and Video) posted at Mad Kane's Political Madness.

Jon Swift
presents Journalism 101 posted at Jon Swift, saying, "I think it would be helpful if bloggers knew the 20 basic "Rules of Journalism" so that they won't pester Joe Klein and other professional journalists too much about journalistic ethics in the future."

Shaun Connell presents Huckabee a Conservative? posted at Reason and Capitalism.

Lucynda Riley presents Think before you shout something out a window!!! posted at Witch on White Mountain.

Shaun Connell
presents The Definition of Militia posted at The Rebirth of Freedom Foundation, saying, "The Rebirth of Freedom Foundation explains what "militia" means. And it doesn't mean the national guard -- it means the people."

Freeborn Wasnot
presents The Pilgrim's Success, or The Thanksgiving Story Part 2 posted at Liberty's Law, The U.S. Constitution.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Rants using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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