Saturday, July 3, 2010

Animated Reenactment of the Al Gore Massage Story

I don't feel right embedding this because it's a little on the blue side, but it is soooooo funny. So I'll merely link to it with that warning. The hat tip goes to San Francisco Citizen. That link explains what you are watching, i.e. the work of a Taiwanese animation comany, "NMA, the people who make animated videos to explain the news to people in Taiwan". Algore wishes he looked like the cartoon dude.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Did anything change with "phone spammers"?

Several years ago, between 2006 and 2008, I was constantly getting unsolicited calls on my cell phone. I would estimate that I got an average of one a day, but sometimes I'd get several in one day. They were primarily either robocalls from shady refinance companies, vehicle warranty scamsters or there was simply dead air when I picked up the phone, so I don't know what they were. I assumed that I was on a list since I owned my own business. It became enough of a time waster that I purchased a piece of software for my phone that sent everything to voice mail unless it was in my address book. This was when I was still using a Treo 680 which now looks like a TRS-80 next to my iPhone, and the software was developed by a dude who pretty much disappeared. So updates and support were out of the question. I wondered what was going to happen when I had to switch phones.

Now I get unwanted phone calls about twice a month, and sometimes I'll go several months without any. I doubt anything happened with laws because these people don't obey them anyway. Maybe it's just the business downturn and credit crunch that has dried up the activity of these folks, but I have a hard time believing that this could account for such a drastic decline. Maybe my carrier has cracked down on these people? There are good sites where you can log annoying calls:,,,, etc. Having these sites on the 'net has allowed people to basically search for numbers and have information concerning the nature of the calls. I don't know how much this helps the shutting down of "phone spammers", but I don't suppose they like it much.

Obama's Epic Fail On Transparency

Michelle Malkin exposes the Obama Administration's failure to fulfill the big guy's campaign promise of increased transparency. Instead we get secret meetings via what she terms the "coffee house loophole". Excerpt:

"Lobbyists say some White House officials will agree to an initial meeting with a lobbyist and his client at the White House," the Times' once-zealous champions of Obama reported, "but then plan follow-up sessions at a site not subject to the visitors' log." Said one financial lobbyist who has met more than a half-dozen times off-campus with White House officials: "I'll call and say, 'I want to talk to you about X,' and they'll say, 'Sure, let's talk at Starbucks.'"

You see: When Obama promised to "change the way Washington works," what he really meant was changing where the usual Beltway backroom wheelers and dealers do their business. And when he talked about changing the "culture" in the nation's capitol, what he really meant was just changing titles.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

York on the alleged Al Gore incident

I'm not going to excerpt any of Byron York's article, but I agree with him that there doesn't appear to be anything about the sexual assault allegation against Al Gore which undermines it's credibility. Al Gore's increasing nuttiness and egotism over the years makes it all too believable. I do think it's a little sad that the woman making the accusation seems to have a deep-rooted prejudice against poodles. But other than that, her story seems to confirm that Gore was extremely well suited to take over all of Clinton's more interesting job functions had he become incapacitated.

Domain name idea

Artificial Ignorance

Here's a good example of ignorance paving the way to greater knowledge. Only this time it's not human ignorance, but the artificial ignorance of a computer program designed to demonstrate artificial intelligence. I am, of course, referring to the spellchecker embedded in Microsoft's Word and Outlook editors. It turns out that Word doesn't know the word charism, so it suggested several words which I knew: chrism, charisma and charismas. It also suggested a word which I had not heard: czarism. Obviously anyone would immediately and naturally discern the meaning of that word if they knew what a czar is. This immediately made me think of Obama's many czars, and so I mused wittily unto myself that the President's charism is czarism.

Jeremy Lott on Biden's Summer Propaganda Tour

Jeremy Lott provides us with a good comparitive analysis between the current economic hard times and the situation in another mid-term election year, 1982. Here's a teaser:

What they are hoping for is something like a replay of the 1982 elections. Going into those midterms, Republicans controlled the White House and held a majority of seats in the Senate. They also enjoyed considerable sway in the House of Representatives, thanks to a bloc of conservative Southern Democrats. John Samples, political scientist at the Cato Institute, wrote in his new book The Struggle to Limit Government that the midterms "should have been an unmitigated disaster for the GOP." Consider: "It was held during a severe recession. Unemployment was over 10 percent of the workforce. The election of 1982 focused on the economic policies of the president." (Full disclosure: I used to work for Cato in the media department.)

But the Reagan administration "urged voters to stay the course" and, to a certain extent, Samples argues, it worked. Republicans lost 26 seats in the House and zero in the Senate. It wasn't a walk off grand slam but several economic models had predicted they would lose 50 to 58 seats in the House alone. For the Republicans it was a setback but a minor one. Reagan followed it two years later with a 49-state victory over former Vice President Walter Mondale.

At this point in 2010, things are looking so bad for President Obama's party that a loss of only 26 House seats would be seen as a resounding victory and a slap in the face to obstructionist Republicans and tempestuous tea partiers. If Obama can escape blame for the abysmal state of the economy, the current thinking goes, then his party might escape with only minimal losses.

Then he goes on to illustrate the differences between Reagan's and Obama's situations. In his first two years as President, Reagan's approval had not slipped into negative territory like Obama's has. Current polling demonstrates that most people think the administrations efforts to stimulate the ecomony has failed. And, of course, Reagan did not have to suffer the crippling effect of having Joe Biden as a spokesperson for his policies.

Biden last week acknowledged that, though he thought the administration's efforts would do some good, an awful lot of damage has been done. "There's no possibility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession," he told an audience of Wisconsin Democrats. (On the same visit to Milwaukee, he called a custard shop manager a "smartass" for suggesting the administration lower taxes.)