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Monday, September 28, 2009

WARNING: Breasts in ads may be smaller than they appear

OK first the French and now the Brits are looking at the need to put warning labels on photos used for advertising or even editorial purposes.

The most useful piece of information from this NY Times article doesn’t pop up until the very end

With deception lurking in so many places, Mr. Hudson, the photographer, said he did not think curbs on alterations would have the desired effect.

“Unfortunately, we are living in a retouched world,” he said.

Think about this for a second. Is it even possible to define what “alterations” means? In the age of digital photography every single photograph is modified on its way from the lens to the paper.

Most camera’s do some sort of processing on the images before you even get them to a computer. What exactly is the wrong kind of processing? Can I adjust the overall color balance of a photo? Is it ok for me to us softer lights and a lens that hides blemishes or is it just bad to do it with Photoshop? All photography is an art and a process of producing an image and everything from the initial staging/lighting of the set to the digital processing to the printing “alters” the image in some form.

Also, find me one person on the planet who believes that pictures in magazines are representative of real life. If you find them, I guess you better just lock them up for their own good. Or better yet don’t, I could use the sales!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Judge Rules Against Gmail User After Bank Screws Up

In an extremely disturbing ruling in California, a bank accidentally sent confidential customer information to the wrong Gmail account, then after Google properly refused to violate the confidentiality of their customer (as laid out in their privacy policy) the bank petitioned for and received a court order to shut down the user’s email account.

So this poor guy has the unfortunate position of being on the receiving end of a bank screw up and they shut down his service.

A couple of things wrong with this

  1. obviously this is the bank’s screw up and should not involve Google or the recipient in a court
  2. Why in the world is the court allowing effective punishment of an innocent party?
  3. What in the hell is the bank doing sending this information via email? ANYONE in between the bank and Google on the internet can read that data, Its not just in the email account. Email is not encrypted or secure.
  4. What is the bank doing sending email to Gmail accounts anyway? I would hope my bank doesn’t allow employees to use personal, uncontrolled email accounts for business purposes. Its possible this was a business account with a custom domain but since it was accidentally sent to someone else I’m pretty sure this was an address. If it had been to then whoever worked at could have been reached and tracked down the other account owner.

Given this gross privacy violation I’d be hard pressed to keep my money in a bank with apparently sloppy tech security policies.

(HT: The Agitator)

“Capitalism is not about need... it's about opportunity”

I don’t listen to Limbaugh but when I heard he was on Leno this week I had to find it and see how that whole interview went down. I’m glad I did. He sat down and respectfully picked apart a number of straw men and assumptions that were put forth by Leno.

The title of this post is my favorite bit from that. Leno asks if how you make your money is important. Rush responds

If you believe in the capitalist system, then you have to erase from your whole worldview what does somebody need.  It's not about need.  Capitalism is not about need.  It's about providing; it's about growing; it's about opportunity; it is about doing whatever you want to do.

And in the guilty pleasure category: watching Rush take the electric car test drive challenge and deliberately forego a decent lap time in order to back up and run over a cardboard cutout of Al Gore twice was laugh out loud hilarious!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Until his new show starts

I knew that John Stossel was moving from ABC to Fox but I didn’t realize he also is now a weekly columnist for WND.

His first column syndicated there “A libertarian at Fox” is a transitional piece but at least we now know where to find his writings since his blog at ABC has pretty much dried up. And it looks like his stuff is also carried over at

Looking forward to it!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hey, wait! The story is not over there!

Wait a minute you can’t have it both ways. The Center for American Progress says that the ACORN story isn’t newsworthy but his reasoning is contradictory

To be fair, outside of nakedly ideological outfits, most of the reporters in the mainstream media behaved responsibly when the tapes emerged on right-wing radio shows and blogs. The tapes didn’t become legitimately newsworthy until the Census Bureau dropped ACORN from its efforts to collect 2010 census data. Initial reports even left out mention of the videotapes. But the videos are what attract media, particularly television, to this story, not government action against ACORN. Census and congressional moves to dissociate government from ACORN have become excuses to show these tapes again and again. News outlets have used these tapes even though they meet no reasonable journalistic standards.

So the fact that “the Census Bureau dropped ACORN from its efforts” is newsworthy but the reason for dropping ACORN is not?

Its not an excuse to show the tapes. Its the reason the government agencies took action. If its a reasonable story that the government dropped ACORN, then you have to report why they were dropped.

How far will the continue to have this mixed spin on the story. “Its not important.” “We’ve fired them.” “We are suing the videographers.” “It’s all a right wing hit job.” Apparently EVERYONE here is at fault except ACORN.

(HT: Big

Judge, I need a search warrant for an unspecified crime.

The Huffington Post noted that in the recent report on Sneak & Peek warrants aka Delayed-Notice Search Warrants authorized by the Patriot Act, for Fiscal Year 2008 only 3 of 763 the warrants granted were for terrorism. The majority (474) were for drugs. Now this does call into question the legitimate use of an anti-terrorist statue to enforce domestic drug laws (not to mention the others listed above the 3 for terrorism – fraud, tax, theft, murder, food and drug).

What really concerned me was these two categories – Other (8) and Unspecified (23). So we handed out 31 warrants for “something” and 23 of those had the crime investigated listed as “unspecified”?

Save the dolphins! (but not the sharks)

I have always heard of “dolphin safe tuna” but always assumed that meant they all switched from nets to hooks or something and so avoided picking up the dolphins. An article over at Southern Fried Science lays out the details in order to set up an ethical debate.

Apparently, the primary problem was the method of finding the tuna. They used to just follow dolphins which led them to a big fat pile-o-tuna with some dolphins mixed in and scooped them all up. Now they don’t follow dolphins and sometimes  instead put a big float out which attracts everything including the dolphins and then scoop them all up.

So the transfer of one method to the other in order to save one species has created another problem in accidentally grabbing up a bunch of other species. In fact 

If you work out the math on this (and you don’t have to, because the environmental justice foundation did) , you find that 1 dolphin saved costs 382 mahi-mahi, 188 wahoo, 82 yellowtail and other large fish, 27 sharks, and almost 1,200 small fish.

Ethical dilemma of the day: which way is better, saving the 4k dolphins or the 140k sharks, 120k wahoo, 30k rainbow runners; 12k other small fish, 6k billfish, 3k yellowtail, 1k sea turtles and a handful of triggerfish? (not to mention 130 million small tuna that aren’t big enough yet)

This is also complicated by the fact that we don’t really know the numbers and population replenishment for some of these other species.

No one knows for sure which method is better ecologically but I know one thing - Sharks aren’t as cute but they are way cooler! Besides, I don’t eat tuna so I’m already saving the dolphins.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Compromise is easy, just agree with me.

As Biden describes how his party needs to hang on to the seats in the House next year he reveals the same twisted view of “bipartisanship” that his boss has – just shut up and vote with them.

Biden said these House seats are Republicans “one shot” at breaking the Obama administration’s agenda. But if Democrats can hold on to those seats, “the dam is going to break,” he said, and a new era of bipartisanship will begin.

“All the hidden Republicans that don’t have the courage to vote the way they want to vote because of pressure from the party … it will break the dam and you will see bipartisanship,” Biden said.

Extending a hand across the aisle involves conversing across that aisle, not yanking the other person into your pew.

(thanks to the Czar for pointing out the article. I was beginning to think Biden was out of the picture for good)

Then they came for the Fresca

Slate has an article on the growing ambitions of the food police wherein they realize that anybody in power begins to overreach. On how the left is now intruding in our lives:

We're what we were five or 10 years ago: skeptics and fact-mongers with a bias for personal freedom. It's the left that's turning conservative. Well, not conservative, but pushy. Weisberg put his finger on the underlying trend: "Because Democrats hold power at the moment, they face the greater peril of paternalistic overreaching." Today's morality cops are less interested in your bedroom than your refrigerator. They're more likely to berate you for outdoor smoking than for outdoor necking.

Welcome to the conversation guys!

He goes on to discuss the current topic of soda taxation. Aside from being the best example of why you don’t want a government run health option (that being he who pays for your body makes the rules for your body) and highlights a very scary slippery slope comment in a New England Journal of Medicine paper

No adverse health effects of noncaloric sweeteners have been consistently demonstrated, but there are concerns that diet beverages may increase calorie consumption by justifying consumption of other caloric foods or by promoting a preference for sweet tastes. At present, we do not propose taxing beverages with noncaloric sweeteners, but we recommend close tracking of studies to determine whether taxing might be justified in the future.

Excuse me? “Promoting a preference for sweet tastes”? This argument is basically that diet Coke is a gateway sweet which will lead to the hard stuff – caramels.

Normally I’d mock this and chalk it up to some wacky writer, but this was published in a well respected medical journal. That makes it evidence for the eventual hearing in front of the House UnFitness Committee.

(HT: The Agitator)

Step away from the TARP!

I’ve often said during the politics-over-lunch conversations with my friends that I would love to see Congress just roll back the TARP program. Well it looks like there is some momentum to end the TARP funding.


In a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the [40] senators said the program's unobligated funds should be used to reduce the national debt. The bailout initiative, called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, is scheduled to end Dec. 31, but Geithner could extend it to Oct. 3, 2010.

"While we understand that our economy is still recovering, we believe it can function without added TARP funding," the senators wrote.

So will Geithner give up his recently granted power? Does anyone ever without a fight? or will he extend it and continue to attempt to prop up an overinflated housing market?

Friday, September 18, 2009

There is a reason he is a criminal

As a father I love stupid criminal stories. According to The Journal

The popular online social networking site Facebook helped lead to an alleged burglar's arrest after he stopped check his account on the victim's computer, but forgot to log out before leaving the home with two diamond rings.

Stuff like this (a) gives me a giggle and (b) provides real examples of the mantra my kids have had imprinted on their brains “… because criminals are stupid.”

(HT: The Gormogons)

I’ll see your DVD and raise you a box of Wheaties

Can you image 231,000,000% inflation?  I had heard it was bad in Zimbabwe but hadn’t read any of the details. Holy #@$!!

Here’s to hoping they stay stable and we avoid the same problem. I don’t know how well the contents of my house will hold up in the barter system.

(hope! hope! hope!)

p.s. That means you Mr. Bernake!

A Tackle Box Full of Race Bait

(With plagiaristic apologies to Jonah Goldberg, but hey, with a title like that, how can I not steal it?) Anyway, while his column does intelligently decipher the current calls of racism as just confused liberal tantrums, I think he zeroes in on the real problem with Maureen Dowd’s column that I haven’t seen called out in many places. She said

Fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!”

to which Goldberg replies

It’s the “fair or not” that gives Dowd away. She admits to hearing racism whether or not it’s warranted. That’s called prejudice. And unlike Wilson’s foolish outburst, Dowd’s was carefully considered. Dowd, Carter and Sharpton can’t grasp that conservatives are less hung up on race than they are and that we can get past Obama’s skin color. “Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it,” writes Dowd. She’s right. She’s one of them.

But it’s not that she can’t accept it, it’s that she can’t accept that a black man became president without the liberal machine pulling a fast one over on the country. If she really thinks they can’t accept it then how does she think he got there in the first place? Does she think ACORN subjugated the masses into blindly voting against their wishes?

It’s the same old leftist ideology that they know what’s good for us and if they weren’t there to tell us what to do we would dissolve into anarchy. She doesn’t believe that America could actually vote in a black man (evidence to the contrary) so she can still fall back on that to show her superiority in both helping to get him there and in championing whatever ill conceived policies he puts forth. “You racists didn’t even want him here so you’re opinion still isn’t valid.”

I believe in the paycheck

I was recently sitting in a massive rented room with a large contingent of my fellow employees when fearless leader of the week walked up on stage. We had all been taken out of our daily grind to meet, mix, learn and prepare for the year ahead. As way of energizing us for the upcoming week he talks about the aspirations of the company both for ourselves as well as our contribution to mankind as a whole and then asks the question “What do you believe in?” He means it and wants us to email him our responses. I know mine but I don’t email it to him. I’m pretty sure it’s not what he wants.

I believe in the paycheck.

I believe in my ability to leave my house in the morning and provide my skills in trade for compensation with which I care for my family.

While the people up the corporate food chain may not like to hear it, while the company may actually do good things, while I may enjoy my work with them, my goal while working there is to feed my family. I am not there for them. I am not there for you. I am there for me. If they didn't pay me I would simply find someone who would. And I know that if they can replace me with truly equivalent someone who is cheaper, they will. It’s the reason the whole system works.

I have no illusions about the arrangement. I also have no qualms with it. It seems perfectly fair to me. The problem comes along when someone else decides to take my money by force and give it to someone else without my consent or input. I will and do help out my fellow man, but I do it at my discretion – not according to some nameless bureaucrat whose salary I also have to pay.

Let me earn my money, then let me spend it as I see fit.

Later, when sitting in the same massive room, the same fearless leader steps up on stage (its still the same week) he displays the responses on a screen for all to see. Mine isn’t among them – nor is any of them even close.

NOTE: in all fairness the question posed was not just self aggrandizing as my employer has and does make substantial impacts on the daily life of our fellow man. We do what we do. We make stuff that people buy. It makes their life easier and our pockets heavier. Capitalism works!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Said California is the place you oughta be…

So the hits keep on coming in the ACORN scandal. Baltimore, DC, New York cover the east coast. Now in ironic Alinksy fashion they “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” by taking the same bit to San Bernardino, CA. This time instead of just getting regular folks to help them, they get a woman who admits to being a murderer and a Madame to help them.

And to prove how clueless or purposefully ignorant the mainstream media is on this growing evidence regarding sex, money and politics (normally right up their alley) Charlie Gibson was interviewed this morning and had absolutely no idea about this story.

So much for the “anchor of ABC's flagship broadcast "ABC's World News," as well as the network's principal anchor for breaking news

Oh, and my favorite bit of the new video? Where she talks about the

right wing bleeding heart liberals out there … I mean, bleeding hearts, not necessarily liberal.

Bleeding heart right wingers? Really? I thought they were all heartless racists.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Once, twice, three times an ACORN

Big Government keep on turning. So first Baltimore and DC, but that's it right? Not quite, apparently the NYC office of ACORN is also in the “teach you how to scam the government and run an illegal business” business too. As Big Government put it

Does ACORN train its people on how to screw the American people on income taxes while getting federal funds, or just look to hire the most heartless people in the world to help pimps hide child prostitution rings?

And in related news, as the NY Times writes of the US Census officially dropping ACORN from its helper list, there is absolutely no mention of these videos. Surprising? A little, but I still naively give them the benefit of the doubt.

Friday, September 11, 2009

But some other offices were fine!

Even if other offices in ACORN did the right thing, the fact that 2 offices (in only a handful attempted) in different cities had identical responses to the customers indicates that some serious investigation needs to be done.

A bigger question is how many bogus loans and illegal activity have just these two offices helped along the way over the years!

I’m just glad these people have finally been booted out of the US Census process.


ŒV,you've got to get someone interested in investigating before it becomes RICO. Waddya say Eric, wanna step in here? (might want to go ask the boss first)

A letter from the Prez

To my email I registered at his grass roots site. It’s a quick Rah!Rah! note asking for help lobbying Congress to follow his plan, but one thing stuck out to me

I just finished laying out my plan for health reform at a joint session of Congress. Now, I'm writing directly to you because what happens next is critical -- and I need your help.

Change this big will not happen because I ask for it. It can only come when the nation demands it. Congress knows where I stand. Now they need to hear from you.

The heart of my plan is simple: bring stability and security to Americans who already have health insurance, guarantee affordable coverage for those who don't, and rein in the cost of health care.
Tonight, I offered a specific plan for how to make it happen. I incorporated the best ideas from Democrats and Republicans to create a plan that's bold, practical, and represents the broad consensus of the American people.

I’m very curious to see what specific Republican ideas he incorporated into his plan. I have yet to hear him talk at all about

  1. reducing interstate barriers to purchasing health care
  2. offering tax breaks to individuals that businesses get to make health care portable
  3. tort reform

This just seems more of the same old “Can’t we all stop bickering and agree that I’m right?” that he seems so fond of.

Update: Oops, I missed the lip service to tort reform.

Stossel's move to Fox

I’ve long been a fan of John Stossel over at ABC. He announced yesterday that he is leaving ABC and will be moving to Fox where he will have his own show on FBN and will be a Fox contributor.

I have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand “Good for you John!” He’ll be in a more friendly environment to do his type of reporting and will have great exposure. On the other hand, we are losing a great voice on one of the broadcast network news shows which will just increase the homogeneous nature of the news programming there. I also predict the standard “Well that opinion came from Fox News” dismissal by the left of all his future stories which wasn’t quite as easily done when he was doing them on ABC in primetime.

It is sad to see that various right or libertarian voices continue to migrate to Fox which just reinforces the political polarization of the news networks. Or maybe it just makes starkly obvious that which has always been there.

Oh well, time to go update the DVR – goodbye 20/20, hello <whatever-the-new-show-will-be-called>

Thursday, September 10, 2009

“Don’t call it prostitution, call it performance art.”

So you want to bring in a dozen underage prostitutes to the US but the banks and the cops are getting in the way of your brothel’s home loan? No problem, just go to ACORN and they will help you finagle the paperwork to look legit.

Oh wait sorry, apparently the employees who actually did give someone tax and business advice on this while helping them figure out how to buy a house in which to run the brothel.

"did not meet ACORN's standards of professionalism."

according to ACORN after they fired these two after the video surfaced. Really? Thats the best statement you can provide here? OK, I guess you can keep taking federal money to help people out getting home loans then.

This reminds me of the guy who (prank) called Planned Parenthood asking if his donation could go to killing black babies because, he said, there were too many of them anyway – and they said “no problem.”

UPDATE: I found out why it reminded me of the guy who duped Planned Parenthood. Same guy.

In the category of “Uh, yeah it does”

Yesterday my son (in 7th grade) asked whether we are in a depression. The conversation evolved into a high level discussion of mortgage failure and reserve banking requirements. As soon as I said

so the federal reserve printed a bunch of new money to give to the banks to help them out

he immediately commented

But doesn't that make the money worth less?

God love the boy! That pretty much ended the explanation.

Of course my favorite quote of his so far has to do with unintended consequences of stupid laws which is

Why doesn’t anybody ever think things through?

Sorry Charlie

According to Charlie Sheen wants to meet with Obama to discuss the “truth” about 9/11. Seriously Charlie? Ummm, how ‘bout no.

But if you really believe it was an inside job then maybe we can set up a meeting with former “president” Martin Sheen and he can call a special pretend session of Congress and you can get this off your chest.

Thanks to the Mandarin. I needed a good laugh today.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

We need to be more like China!

Wow. I guess they really are like the 20th century progressives. Thomas Friedman writes in the Times today

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.

I can’t believe he actually published that. I know some of them think this way but to say it out loud and admit it means that they don’t think its all that extreme a point of view.

Mmmmm… pickled Democratic brains!

Can you imagine what would happen if we sat down and all had a serious discussion about liberty with real logical analysis of argument that did not devolve into rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms?

As noted by Vox and the Œcumenical Volgi maybe those on the left are starting to see the ridiculousness of their arguments (or lack thereof)

How has "liberty" become the inspirational code word of conservatives rather than liberals? … I always thought that the Democratic Party is the freedom party -- but I must be living in the nostalgic past.

But affluent middle-class Democrats now seem to be complacently servile toward authority and automatically believe everything party leaders tell them. Why? Is it because the new professional class is a glossy product of generically institutionalized learning? Independent thought and logical analysis of argument are no longer taught. 

The top schools, from the Ivy League on down, promote "critical thinking," which sounds good but is in fact just a style of rote regurgitation of hackneyed approved terms ("racism, sexism, homophobia") when confronted with any social issue. The Democratic brain has been marinating so long in those clichés that it's positively pickled.

Read the whole thing at Too late for Obama to turn it around? | Salon

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

On the need for zombification insurance

In the spirit of what really happens when the zombie infestation starts breaking out Dr Anarchy discusses the moral implications of decision making regarding zombies’ personal and property rights.

a small tidbit :)

The answer depends on the type of zombies we’re talking about. If the zombification is reversible, then we may have to consider them as moral actors under temporary undue influence. This would not mean you can’t chop their heads off if they’re threatening to eat you, in full consistency with any rational concept of self-defense, but it does introduce a dimension of complexity to the moral calculus

In lieu of “defenestration”

filed away for future use – The official symbol for “Thrown under the bus”

Friday, September 4, 2009

Just about speechless… (but not quite)

Unless there is something more to this story, a woman is having her child forcibly enrolled into public school. The reason? not because she was inadequately homeschooling the child. The judge said the home schooling was

more than kept up with the academic requirements of the [local] school system,

It was her mothers strong belief in her own religion that was the problem. And surprise of all surprises, she teaches that belief to her kid. Instead, the ruling said, the child would

be best served by exposure to different points of view at a time in her life when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief and behavior

I don’t see how this won’t be overturned if appealed. This is essentially the government saying “Yeah you’re religion isn't quite up to snuff to prepare your kid for the ‘real world’ so you need to insert some doubt that you don’t have yourself because we said so.”

This reminds me also of the case where the woman’s baby was taken away from her because she couldn’t speak english. Its because “they” know best even when they don’t.

Once they decide what’s good for you it never stops. I like the freedom to make mistakes. Its a fair trade off for having freedom to make my own choices.

(HT: Gormogons)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I photo’ed the law and the law won

There is an ongoing “misunderstanding” between photographers and security of federal buildings. In general it *IS NOT* illegal to photograph any building including federal ones but photographers continue to get harassed for doing so. Carlos Miller has the US Department of Transportation’s official response which to the ACLU which makes this clear.

The bulletin makes it clear that there are no restrictions of taking pictures of federal buildings from the outside, especially if you are not standing on federal property.

I found this statement interesting though

The bulletin also states that it is permissible to photograph “building entrances, lobbies, foyers, corridors or auditoriums for news purposes.”

Apparently, if they have a problem with you, you get an extra out – news worthy-ness. Of course, as soon as they start to hassle you I think it becomes news worthy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Candyman, er.. the Government can

I think I may have to rip this for my kids to listen to on their mp3 players :)

(HT: Classically Liberal: The Government Can)