Monday, March 14, 2011

9:30 AM PDT

I hate Daylight Savings Time. This study out of UCSB makes a good case against the most absurd DST myth: energy savings.

Decide for yourself.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Smoke & Mirrors only go So Far

TM notes: "Something isn't working".  No kidding.

We work with flowers and it's easy to see when the bloom is off the roses. Nobody wants the President to come and indoctrinate address their graduating youth:

The White House is ramping up an effort to promote a nationwide competition to decide which high school wins a commencement speech by President Obama.

An internal White House memo indicates that the White House is facing a shortage of applications less than a week before the deadline.

The competition was extended from the February 25 deadline until Friday, March 11 after few schools met the original application deadline. CBS News has learned a White House Communications Office internal memo dated February 22 noted "a major issue with the Commencement Challenge."

"As of yesterday we had received 14 applications and the deadline is Friday," the memo said. The memo also urged recipients to, "please keep the application number close hold."

A follow-up memo on February 28 reported receipt of 68 applications. Noting the competition among more than 1,000 schools last year, the memo said, "Something isn't working." It called on staffers to ask "friendly congressional, gubernatorial and mayoral offices" to encourage schools to apply.

The President became president by fooling people into believing charisma and grandiose rhetoric were an actual accomplishment. The bloom is off the rose and people are beginning to notice just how empty the suit really is.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Keep telling yourself that!

Pointing out the idiocy of Juan Williams used to be a hobby of mine. Then he went and started making sense; imagine how much of a monkey-wrench that threw into things!

Well, during yesterday's FNS panel discussion about Republican Presidential candidates, the idiot reappeared, if ever so briefly. It takes nearly all 9 minutes to get there, but the amazingly ridiculous statement in question comes at the 8:44 mark.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Making them Earn It

The NY Times is going for the dough with an online pay model, details to be coming soon according to this report:

During a New York Press Club Q&A session at CUNY's Graduate School of Journalism, a man who identified himself as a retired reporter named Ken wanted to know why he should keep paying to receive the Grey Lady in hard copy.

"I subscribe to home delivery, but I get the next day's paper around 11:30 p.m. on the Internet," explained Ken, an older gentleman with a deep drawl. "The depth of the online edition is so vast," he said--and "the thinness of the print edition is so noticeable" as to be useless.

Keller clearly hadn't anticipated the question. "Um," he paused at the outset of his reply. "I'm not gonna argue that you should pay for something that you don't find useful. . . . I still personally like the print edition of the paper." For instance, "I like that I can read it on the subway," Keller continued. "I like that I can share it around the breakfast table. I like lying back in bed reading the newspaper better than I like lying back in bed reading the website on my iPad. ... But look, if you don't find that it's worth the money, I'm not gonna argue that you should donate to the New York Times as an act of charity."

Ken will soon be getting more bang for his buck. As a print subscriber, he won't be impacted when the Times moves forward with its long-delayed plans for erecting a metered paywall around its online content. Habitual online readers who don't buy the paper in print, however, will have to start paying for monthly access to New York Times Co. chief executive Janet Robinson announced earlier this week that the set-up for the new online model is in its "final testing phase," and that "We expect it will launch shortly."

But "Will it be worth it?," is the bigger question. 

Friday, March 04, 2011

One Man's Flimflammery is another Man's Crime

Bill Gates on-stage in CA has this to say about Government accounting practices:

The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist said state budgets have received a puzzling lack of scrutiny and have been "riddled with gimmicks" aimed at deferring or disguising the true costs of public employees' health care and pension obligations, citing California's ongoing budget crisis as an example of creative deficit spending and the subsequent cuts to education spending as an unacceptable cost.

"[R]eally, when you get down to it, the guys at Enron never would have done this. This is so blatant, so extreme," Gates said of state governments' accounting practices generally. "Is anyone paying attention to some of the things these guys do? They borrow money -- they're not supposed to, but they figure out a way -- they make you pay more in withholding to help their cashflow out, they sell off the assets, they defer the payments, they sell off the revenues from tobacco."

Gates argued that government accounting practices should be more like private accounting.

The Enron line of course is splashy and makes the headline at the Huffington Post. I wonder though if that assessment is wholly accurate; they wouldn't because they were more upstanding guys who understood how wrong it was or they wouldn't because they knew it was a one-way ticket to pound-me-in-the...well, you know...prison.

Government accounting rules, by necessity, are different than what us little guys here in the real world have to live with. Acknowledging for a moment that this is 100% necessary and true, I'm still left to wonder how this is okay. What does it say of a government that allows itself the luxury of what it willingly imprisons it's citizens for?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

It's the Policies, Stupid (Or How I learned to stop worrying and love my Inner Racist)

According to a Quinnipiac poll released this morning, 52% of voters disapprove of the President's policies. From the Topline summary:

Three out of four American voters - 74 percent - like President Barack Obama, but a narrow majority disapproves of his policies, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. President Obama gets a split 46 - 46 percent job approval rating, little changed from his 48 - 44 percent score January 13, and voters split 45 - 47 percent on whether they think he deserves a second term in the Oval Office.

Broken down by category, it's easy to see that, much like President Bush, the public likes the man but isn't so appreciative of what he's doing:

Voters disapprove 58 - 36 percent of the way Obama is handling the federal budget deficit, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds. They say 51 - 10 percent that he will cut spending too little rather than too much, with 32 percent saying he'll cut the right amount, and 44 - 14 percent that he will raise taxes too much rather than too little, with 36 percent saying he'll get it right. By comparison, voters split 33 - 32 percent on whether congressional Republicans will cut spending too little or too much, with 29 percent saying they'll get it right, and by 33 - 25 percent they say GOP lawmakers will raise taxes too much rather than too little, as 36 percent say they'll get it right.

"President Barack Obama is a charmer. The American people like him a great deal, but they aren't nearly as sold on his policies. This combination of personal appeal and skepticism about his policies explains why his overall approval numbers seem to be stuck in the middle," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Having spent 3 1/2 years in market research certainly doesn't make me an expert but at the same time I look at this and it all makes reasonable sense unless there's something truly screwy in the sampling or a biased questionnaire. Seems pretty straight-forward, no?

Well, maybe not. Over at Pajamasmedia, Roger Simon notes that the President still seems hung-up on the issue of his black-ness:

In an an excerpt (linked in red on Drudge) from his new book, Family and Freedom: Presidents and African Americans in the White House, US News journalist Kenneth T. Walsh writes:

But Obama, in his most candid moments, acknowledged that race was still a problem. In May 2010, he told guests at a private White House dinner that race was probably a key component in the rising opposition to his presidency from conservatives, especially right-wing activists in the anti-incumbent “Tea Party” movement that was then surging across the country. Many middle-class and working-class whites felt aggrieved and resentful that the federal government was helping other groups, including bankers, automakers, irresponsible people who had defaulted on their mortgages, and the poor, but wasn’t helping them nearly enough, he said.

A guest suggested that when Tea Party activists said they wanted to “take back” their country, their real motivation was to stir up anger and anxiety at having a black president, and Obama didn’t dispute the idea. He agreed that there was a “subterranean agenda” in the anti-Obama movement—a racially biased one—that was unfortunate. But he sadly conceded that there was little he could do about it.

That was then and this is now and the assessment doesn't seem to have changed much. The left in general, including the President, still views things--far too many and far too much--through the prism of race.

Simon notes the seeming duality inherent in the President's thinking...he wants to be "post-racial" but is trapped, stuck in--or happy to stay in--his racial stereotypes and seemingly will remain there until he leaves the White House for the last time in early 2013 or '17. Sometimes there is no changing minds and people will believe what they believe.

Given a choice between the President's stereotypes and hard data showing a full 3 out of 4 like the man but hate the policies, it ought to be clear though.

It's the Policies, stupid!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Happy Anniversary

A marvelous gift from staff at the shop. The adventure started four years ago this month...

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

If Government were a Corporation...

I've been saying it for a while, and after seeing this today have decided I'd write it as well.

If the CA legislature and executives were a corporate board, I'd sue them for corporate malfeasance. The same can be said for the dummies in DC:

The unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid already exceed $106 trillion. That’s well over $300,000 for every man, woman and child in America (and exceeds the combined value of every U.S. bank account, stock certificate, building and piece of personal or public property).
Glenn Reynolds called it political malpractice. Well, to be clear, I haven't been saying that. Better A, better B...whatever you want to call it, it's criminal and far exceeds the excesses of Enron and those other greedy, nasty Evil Corporations.

You could tax 100% of earnings of 100% of the work-force for 100 years and not even begin to scratch the surface.

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