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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

FCC Chairman makes his wife happy

It finally happened! The FCC has come down hard on the boogey man that no one else was willing to stand up to. The dreaded loud TV commercial.

"This is an issue people care about. My wife has wondered for years when we were going to do something about this," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski during a meeting Tuesday. "Bottom line, the FCC is quieting a persistent problem of the TV age, or loud commercials."

Well if just one man gets a little more peace at home from this, I guess the additional government regulation was worth it.

During their mandated spot checks for compliance (there’s a new job created right there!), what is the criteria for the commercial being louder than the program? What if it’s a commercial for Independence Day comes on during after a hushed Tiger Woods putt?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Krugman uses the D word

If Paul “we just needed more stimulus” Krugman is finally using the word “depression” you know its bad.

It’s time to start calling the current situation what it is: a depression. True, it’s not a full replay of the Great Depression, but that’s cold comfort. Unemployment in both America and Europe remains disastrously high. Leaders and institutions are increasingly discredited. And democratic values are under siege.

Guns and gold, my friends.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Go McDonalds Go!

San Francisco decides happy meals are unhealthy and you should not entice children to eat them by including toys. Does McDonalds simply stop selling toys? Do they change their meals to have less fat or salt in order to keep the toy?

No, they just offer the toys for a $0.10 donation to charity if you buy a happy meal.

Sometimes you just plain can’t regulate peoples behavior. Don’t even try. Money, like life, finds a way. That is what capitalism is all about.

PS. Can I count that $0.10 as a carbohydrate-credit? How many toys do I need to buy to offset some happy fat slob who chows down on 3 Big Macs in a sitting? I smell a new therma-geddon type business opportunity!

Monday, November 14, 2011

No Credit? No Christmas.

That will be the phrase you hear if Chuck Schumer gets his way. It really frustrates me to see the guys who, in the name of poverty, keep impoverished people from getting things they want or need.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is pushing retailers to clearly show how layaway plans can actually cost a consumer more than using a credit card.

Schumer is asking major retail associations to advise their members to more clearly present their layaway fees to customers. The Democrat says the ultimate cost of a layaway with a $5 fee can equal 40 percent interest over two months.

Schumer says if retails don't comply, he will ask the Federal Trade Commission whether the practice is deceptive or misleading.

Which ultimately means trying to kill layaway. You know what happens if some of these people can’t get layaway (and they can’t get credit)? They can’t get their items. Period. End of Sentence.

Shut down these sneaky conniving retailers who just want to bilk their customers and instead let the customers deal with the banks instead! The banks won’t try to pull that kind of stuff.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Oh my! Mr Cain! That tickles!

I’m not necessarily a Herman Cain fan (see my comment here) but did anyone notice anything odd about the latest Cain accuser’s account of the incident?

She said

he suddenly reached over and he put his hand on my leg under my skirt and reached for my genitals. He also grabbed my head and brought it toward his crotch. I was very, very surprised and very shocked.

Now most news outlets left it at that which is quite a shocking statement.

But the way she described her own reaction perplexed me and was left out of many news wire accounts

I said: ‘What are you doing? You know I have a boyfriend. This isn't what I came here for

This is a little stunning. She described his actions as something that is not just harassment but sexual assault/rape and her reaction is not “Hey perv! Get the *#$@ off me!!!!” It’s a more subdued “Hey you know I’m not available. Besides that’s not why I’m here”

and then

I told my boyfriend Mr. Cain had been very sexually inappropriate with me

I’m sorry, randomly trying to grab someone’s lady bits is more than “inappropriate.” In fact it is well beyond “very inappropriate.” Its criminal.

Now I really have no idea what went on in that room 14 years ago, but when the alleged victim describes her own reaction as so disproportionate to the description of the crime something is amiss. Either the instigating event or the response is off. The question is which one?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Libya! Duh!

To everyone who assumed that the enemy of Gaddafi was automatically the group we should support. Read on

Libya's liberation: interim ruler unveils more radical than expected plans for Islamic law

Mr Abdul-Jalil went further, specifically lifting immediately, by decree, one law from Col. Gaddafi's era that he said was in conflict with Sharia - that banning polygamy.

My stars! The muslim nation who ousted their dictator is going to reform into an even more muslim nation? Whodathinkit!?

Plus no alcohol or loan interest. Stick that in your “enlightened” world view and smoke it.

At best we are looking at an emerging longer term struggle between the younger more western leaning populace vs the traditional Islamists. I’ve said it before - You cannot give people democracy who do not understand it. It has to be a revelation from within. Just because there is revolution, doesn’t mean there is revelation.

Friday, October 14, 2011

When does Hendrix go on?

Seeing the unbelievable mess that is now the Occupy Wall Street movement, I am reminded of Woodstock.

At least with Woodstock there was good music. Plus, the music also provided something else of practical value – when the music stopped, you knew it was time to go home.

Pigeon-Guided Rocket

Human ingenuity never fails to astound me. During World War II, the US needed to figure out how to guide a missile effectively but the available machinery wasn’t small enough to do the job. The solution? According to B.F. Skinner it was to place 3 pigeons in the nose cone to guide the missile in flight and they gave him $25k to try it out.

He built a nose cone for a missile fitted with three small electronic screens and three tiny pigeon cockpits. Onto the screens was projected an image of the ground in front of the rocket.

“He would train street pigeons to recognize the pattern of the target, and to peck when they saw this target,” says Kidwell. “And then when all three of them pecked, it was thought you could actually aim the missile in that direction.” As the pigeons pecked, cables harnessed to each one’s head would mechanically steer the missile until it finally reached its mark.

The most astounding thing about the project is that it actually worked! But even after a successful demonstration, officials declines to go Skinner’s way.

(for more avian carrier fun check out RFC 1149 – “Standard for the Transmission of IP datagrams on Avian Carriers” or “How to run the internet on carrier pigeons”)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Citizen 1, police state 0

The mere fact that a SWAT team makes a forced entry creates the dangerous situation the SWAT team exists to deal with. So what happens when the SWAT team executes a no knock warrant and busts into your home in the middle of the night? What happens if they don’t identify themselves? What happens if you shoot two of them and put them in the hospital? What if this happens in one of the most notorious anti-gun regions in the country, Chicago? This happened to Kenny.

[Kenny] was found not guilty on Friday August 26, 2011 by a jury here in Chicago. He was charged with two counts of attempt first degree murder with a firearm, two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm to a police officer, and four counts of Armed Violence.

The whole “castle doctrine vs no-knock-SWAT team-entrance-on-the-wrong-house” problem really worries me at times, but Kenny’s defense attorney lays out all the reasons in his closing statement. The jury agreed.

There is hope after all.

Friday, September 2, 2011

College Schmollege

We have moved from thinking “I want to do job X, so I need degree Y” to “I want degree Z, what kind of job can I do now?”

You don’t need a college degree. You need a plan which might include a college degree.

Pushing more and more people into college purely for the sake of getting that sheepskin does not solve a problem. It actually creates them.

  • More applicants drives up the cost of tuition (supply and demand)
  • More financial aid drives up the cost of tuition (setting an artificial price floor)
  • More financial aid causes a shortage (because it causes more demand)
  • More graduates drives down their eventual salaries (supply and demand)
  • More graduates drives up the unemployment rate (excess supply)
  • Going to college but not graduating makes it more expensive and difficult to get in for everyone else who could have had your spot. (scarce resource misallocated to you)

Most Americans don’t need a liberal arts degree where they float around for four years and are exposed to the philosophical intellectual vagaries of the world. They need practical skills. What we need is more focused degrees that don’t include unnecessary culture I can get on the Food Network or The Learning Channel.

If you want a broader education, you can pay for it yourself and don’t complain to me when you can’t get a job.

If you want a job. Get an education (college, internship, apprenticeship, etc) that directly supports it. Learn Swahili once you can support yourself.

PS: I’m not saying TV is the answer for getting cultured. Just that in today’s information soaked daily experience, there are additional places to learn that stuff from than the University of My Tax Dollars.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Its new law day!

Seeing as Texas only allows our legislature to get together every 2 years (it keeps them from doing too much damage at once), we usually have a lot of local press when the new batch of laws go into effect. Some of the new ones happening this week

  • Texas landowners may now shoot feral hogs and coyotes on their land from helicopters. Anyone have a chopper I can borrow?
  • You can now legally leave your weapon in your car at your place of business.
  • Increased speed limits, its only gonna be +5 MPH but hey that’s another 5! (and lifting the night time restrictions)
  • Easier access to testing of DNA for people convicted already of a crime and new requirements around preserving bio evidence long term. This will help out anyone that the Dallas DAs office hasn’t gotten to yet
  • Outlawing caltrops, really? Do I need to turn in my spindle of barbed wire too?
  • New sexting laws – haven't read this one thoroughly but at least it has provisions for near-age or spousal partners.
  • Newly illegal designer drugs

Thursday, August 25, 2011

If you see it, film it!

The freedom you save may be your own.

Don’t forget the fine print Smile


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Free speech (within certain guidelines)

Gotta love local government’s support of civil rights. Linton Johnson, a spokesman for the BART police department had this to say

“We are allowed to designate the time, place and manner of free speech.”

Just like the prisoners in Alcatraz were free to assemble in the time, place and manner designated by the warden.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Oh the video? Oops, Sorry.

Anytime the dashboard camera on a police car shows evidence of a crime – its made available. Anytime it shows nothing (or potentially incriminating evidence against the officer) it can just disappear with no recourse.

“I lost it” is officially a legal excuse to destroy evidence unless you catch them in the act. The camera turns on automatically, the officer should have noted it wasn’t working at shift change and department policy requires all footage to be preserved for at least 30 days and no one noticed it didn’t exist?

“We agree with the state that the record supports a finding by the district court that the police did not act in bad faith,” Justice Bob Pemberton wrote. “The United States Supreme Court has held that ‘unless a criminal defendant can show bad faith on the part of the police, failure to preserve potentially useful evidence does not constitute a denial of due process of law.’”

Unbelievable. Well, If You Haven’t Been Paying Attention. — Trey Garrison

Friday, August 5, 2011

First cel phones, now homes

Cuba is preparing to legalize private property. This is a fundamental underpinning of free market economies. Here’s to hoping it sticks – but it will be a while before anyone fully reacts to it because of the uncertainty that it could be taken away at any time.

You can’t just tell people they are free. You have to continually successfully publicly thwart challenges to their freedom before they will believe it. Only after they believe it will they act on it. Only after they act on it will they actually be free.

Futuristic (sounding) cars

Responding to the Pedestrian Safety Act of 2010 Ford has provided some potential sounds they might use for their Focus Electric car because they are “too quiet”

I can appreciate the futuristic George Jetson quality these cars make but it seems absurd to artificially make cars sound like they do in Minority Report just because we’ve been trained by the movies that that is what cars will sound like someday.

Lets get creative instead. Instead of Close Encounters I want mine to sound like

  • a pouncing tiger
  • a ray gun
  • a Sherman tank
  • hell, just let me pipe my radio to the outside and they’ll hear me coming a block away.

PS – I don’t want my car to sound like it can fly. I want my car to fly.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Debt defaulting to yourself?

Ron Paul has some good ideas, some crazy ideas, and some that just make you tilt your head and go “Uh… yeah!… wait, uh… no! … huhwhat?”

He recently introduced HR 2768 which is intended to immediately eliminate $1.6 trillion from the federal debt.

The text of the bill isn't available just yet but here is the gist of the idea

  • The Treasury owes the Federal Reserve about $1.6 trillion
  • The Fed essentially makes the investment money out of thin air
  • The Treasury then has the right to make the interest payment money out of thin air and cancel it all out.

Its an interesting idea. It essentially would be a bold statement that the Fed is a fake customer to the Treasury and so we don’t accept any deals with them as real. They sort of are a made up customer since they can make up money to buy things.

Does the treasury bond interest rate crash if we default on bonds, but only on those which were never actually issued to anyone in the real market? Can the Fed continue to use its purchasing power to artificially inflate interest rates?

The big question which relates more to his candidacy – Is that kind of uncertainty better or worse than the kind we have now?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Have a balanced budget amendment? Just ignore it.

The proposed Balanced Budget Amendment (HJR 1) which is referenced in the Cut Cap n Spend has interesting clause to provide for debt driven war spending

The provisions of this article may be waived for any fiscal year in which the United States is engaged in military conflict which causes an imminent and serious military threat to national security

So when was the last time you remember that we weren’t “engaged in military conflict” because of the imminent threat to national security that drives The War on Terror? At no time in the last 10 years would this amendment have prevented deficit spending.

Notice also this out gives them the authority to ignore balancing the entire budget, not just giving allowances for going over the budget for military needs.

Need to bail out banks and car companies? Just declare a military threat, drop in a SEAL team, and pass any massive new government program you want in the meantime.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Federal “investment” in Chrysler comes to an end

Announced from the Treasury today

"the U.S. government has exited its investment in Chrysler at least six years earlier than expected," said Tim Massad, assistant secretary for financial stability


Treasury provided a total of $12.5 billion to Chrysler and its financing arm after the recession hampered auto sales and sent Chrysler and General Motors to the brink of collapse.

Right, I remember that (*cough* bailout *cough*). Did we make a profit or at least get our money back with this “investment”?

Since then, $11.2 billion of the assistance has been repaid, Treasury said. Chrysler repaid $5.1 billion in loans from the government in May. But the $1.3 billion remaining is unlikely to be recovered, Treasury said.

Oh. Well at least that foreign company that is taking it off our hands got a good deal…

Federal Government Investment Group, providing -10.4% return since 2009.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Balanced budget amendment will help? Nope.

I’m not sure why the balanced budget amendment is even in discussion right now. Congress has already proven to us that it won’t make a difference.

If you don’t pass a budget, you don’t have to balance one.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Custom license plates

Since they starting outsourcing custom plates in TX to a private contractor there are more and more options available. You can go on their site and mix and match to see what your plate might look like.

Unfortunately this one is already taken by someone.

as was this one

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

That was fast…

Someone wants another unneeded feel good law named for a cute little victim

Criminal Justice Petition: Create Caylee's Law

Bonus laziness points for being an online petition

Friday, June 3, 2011

Don’t tase me, bro! Let me calm down first!

The National Institute of Justice Finds Tasers Safe 

"There is no conclusive medical evidence in the current body of research literature that indicates a high risk of serious injury or death to humans from the direct or indirect cardiovascular or metabolic effects of short-term CED exposure in healthy, normal, nonstressed, nonintoxicated persons," the report concludes. "Field experience with CED use indicates that short-term exposure is safe in the vast majority of cases
[my emphasis]

Of course when was the last time you heard of the police using a taser on someone standing around calmly minding their own business?

By the time the encounter has escalated to tasing, the tasee is likely to already be stressed by the encounter and the argument that led to the tasing.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spare some change, sir?

I switched to another cel phone carrier about 6 months ago. Apparently, my previous carrier’s final bill wasn’t correct because they intermittently send me a new bill with the following information:


So the question is “How hard do I have to work to get my $1.98?”

I wonder what they would say if I just walked into the local retail store (corporate owned, mind you) and just asked for it.

CDC Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse

How did I miss this entry on the official CDC Public Health Matters Blog!?

Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse

Oh yeah, the Center For Disease Control is on the case!

If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation.

What they fail to recognize is that in all zombie literature to date, the CDC performs its useless analysis task in vein until the military finally shoves them aside and implements some form of cataclysmic “quarantine” while the humble hero stumbles into his role as the Great Zombie Killer and saves the day.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Libertarians and Compassion

This discussion nails the reason libertarian concepts have a hard time getting mainstream appeal. Those holding the ideas are assumed to be cold uncaring individualists who worship Ayn Rand.

Short-ish version: Compassion does not equal Government handouts. Who says the only way to be compassionate is via the government? I’d argue that government forced distribution is explicitly not compassionate. It also takes away the responsibility to help your fellow man in need that we naturally share. “Oh, I don’t need to help my neighbor. FEMA will take care of him.”

Long version: Click through to read the comments and become enlightened

Libertarians and Compassion | The Agitator

Texting while walking

Seriously Hawaii, is this really a pressing need? For such a laid back culture, the local government seems pretty uptight.

A bill introduced at the city council on Wednesday would make it illegal to hold a cell phone or other mobile electronic device when crossing a street or highway.

If I’m walking in a school zone is the fine doubled?  Smile with tongue out

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Government keepers, finders weepers

A teenager found $2000 in an envelope at a shopping center. To her credit, she contacted the bank and the police who attempted to find the owner. After three months they failed to locate anyone so the city told her

"We appreciate your honesty," said Dallas police spokesman Senior Cpl. Kevin Janse. "We're going to put the money to good use. It's not going to be wasted, but put to good use for the City of Dallas."

or as they described someone else in the same situation

I hope she takes some solace in the fact that the money will be put to use in Dallas in the most efficient way we know how

Translation: Thanks little girl, that will pay for a few nice coffee makers for our offices.

Apparently the city changed their policy two years ago to assume that anything left lying around the city was their property by default. Most other cities in the area follow the common practice that if you can’t find the owner, the finder gets to keep it. This actually encourages people to turn in found property.

Lesson learned: When in Dallas, please do report that you found lost property, but don’t actually hand it over to anyone except the actual owner.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

LEGOLAND and Murder

This weekend we took the boys to the local LEGOLAND Discover Center. They enjoyed it but I found the most interesting bit the mini model of Dallas/Ft Worth all made out of Legos. Very cool!

While I know it’s a big part of Dallas history and mythology, I was still surprised to see a Lego replica of the infamous former Texas School Book Depository and Dealey Plaza. But they left out one of the more important details – the white “X marks the spot” on the street. Without that spot, its just an average building and a street.

Did I say inches? I meant centimeters!!

That would be the new cry of fishermen caught exaggerating their claims in Texas fishing tournaments if the governor signs HB 1806. This bill, passed by both houses already, makes it a potential felony if someone

alters the length or weight of a fish for the purpose of representing that the fish as entered in the tournament was that length or weight when caught

And from my reading of the definition of “fishing tournament”, that crime also applies to just me and my buddy who agree that whoever hooks the smaller fish buys the beer.

Instead of yelling “You cheated! I’m calling the cops!” you should just disqualify the cheater and publicly shame him (or if its your buddy, punch him and knock him out of the boat).

As much as Mr .Borepatch likes to visit us down here and admires our freedoms, apparently we may not have the freedom to do what all good fishermen do so well - lie about their catches.

Please Mr. Perry, veto this one as “too silly to consider.”

<HT: Grits for Breakfast>

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Keynes vs Hayek: Round 2

Love it love it love it!

and in case you missed it the first time around, here is the first one.

Monday, April 18, 2011

“Organizing” the mailbag

A while back I subscribed to the email list just to see what would happen – and mildly curious how much organizing would actually go on in the great state in which I reside. To their credit I haven’t received any spam of the sort I shouldn’t expect from signing up. I do though receive the info I expect which is always interesting to peruse.

“The view from outside Washington” from Jim Messina 

This is an email following Obama’s speech intended to begin a

new conversation in Washington about how to reduce the deficit while protecting crucial investments in our country's future

The only new conversation in town is the one started by his opponents who actually have political office holders (not just fringe candidates) discussing entitlement reform.

[Obama] spoke about things you don't generally hear in Washington conversations too often dominated by special interests: He'll cut waste and excess at the Pentagon -- particularly spending that is requested not by our military, but by politicians and corporate interests.

Anyone who has never heard a politician talk about the evil special interests that oppose the politician’s righteous agenda raise your hand. … How about cutting waste and excess? … Anyone? I thought not.

He'll eliminate tax cuts for Americans in the highest tax brackets who don't need them, including himself

You absolutely do not need to justify tax cuts. You have to justify taxes and spending. Its not about need. Its about deciding what does the government actually require to function. There are millions of things that none of us need, but which we will fight tooth and nail should a third party attempt to confiscate. How about we have the government round up all iPhones and ship them to poor children in Mali?

Discussing need in the face of unequal confiscation is a race to the bottom of the living standard.

he will reform the individual tax code so that it's fair and simple and so that the amount of taxes you pay isn't determined by what kind of accountant you can afford

This I agree with but believe neither he nor his opponents will ever take seriously. Put all the tax accountants and the IRS out of a job. Fine by me.

President Obama's plan would protect the middle class, invest in our kids' education, and make sure we don't protect the wealthiest Americans from the costs of reform at the expense of the most vulnerable.

Please define MIDDLE CLASS for me.

Oh the children!!!! We all know its just a matter of spending enough money on them. Otherwise we would have to take a serious and deep look at the institutions that provide the learning and make tough decisions about whether they were actually effective and why.

Don’t forget that Mr. Monopoly’s best friend is Snidely Whiplash and they both are just out to pick your pockets before they tie you to the railroad tracks while they twirl each other’s mustaches in an oddly-unsettling-to-watch manner. This is not a zero sum game in which Washington and Jefferson issued one lump sum of cash over 200 years ago to the whole country that we are still just shuffling around amongst our selves. Wealth is created and destroyed every day, often in both non-obvious and non-intuitive fashions.

The other side has presented a very clear alternative: End Medicare as we know it, privatizing the program that millions of seniors rely on for health care. Make deep cuts to education. Slash investments in clean energy and infrastructure. All to pay for tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year, and all while actually raising our national debt.

You know its just quite obvious that the best way to keep health care spending down is to require people to pay the bill directly themselves. Having Daddy President and Mother Congress write the check for me makes me never care how expensive it is… until they decide to stop writing that check because my brothers and sisters need something more important.

Deep cuts to education need to be made because there is no evidence that more money = smarter students. The only proven correlation is more money = more expensive students. You know what expensive students get you? Student with debt.

I’ll take all the clean energy investment cuts you want if it makes my milk and steak prices go down. Alternative energy technologies will become reality when they become financially feasible to main street USA. Oil is cheap, dirt cheap. Until that changes (read – we really start to see the end of the flow), stop driving up the prices of all my other consumables.

Here's the first step. Join our fight for a deficit reduction plan that will actually reduce the deficit -- with a goal of shared prosperity through shared responsibility. Add your name to support President Obama's plan -- and then help bring more people into the conversation:

Hmm, it might be tempting if there actually was a plan and not just some lofty rhetorical goals that I’ve heard before again and again.

Going to that site, here is the plan.

    • Rein in the deficit while protecting seniors and the middle class, and making the investments we need to win the future;
    • Ensure that the most vulnerable Americans are not the only ones sharing the burden of fiscal responsibility;
    • Keep spending low while strengthening Medicare and Medicaid, and end trillions in tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires who don't need them; and
    • Set aside partisanship in favor of a renewed sense of shared responsibility and shared sacrifice

Well, gee. Why didn’t I think of that.

SIDENOTE: You have to love that the recent White House Deputy Chief of Staff writes an email entitled “The view from outside Washington”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

People want the Command Line?

Seriously are we still talking about this?

In the world of computer interfaces

  • command line = tell it in broken English what I want
  • GUI = tell it in pictures/metaphors what I want

I don’t want either!

We don’t need to tell it what we want. We need it to give us what we need naturally. We shouldn’t have to interpret our intentions for it. It should interpret our intentions for itself.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

They think we are intolerant?

I was a bit surprised to see the characterization of the reason for the Middle East rioting in response to the burning of the Koran in Florida. I heard this on TV and then found the reference on the web (my emphasis)

The small fire from the small Florida church has now spread all the way to Afghanistan where Muslims are outraged at what they believe is religious intolerance by Americans

Do the people writing this really believe that they think we are intolerant? Um, no. That is just projecting our world view onto their situation and misreading it poorly. They believe we are blasphemers and heretics which sort of explains their behavior. If you look at it as “you’re intolerant, I’m gonna riot!” then it makes no sense. If you look at it as “Burn the BLASHPHEMERS!” then it makes sense.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Barbie and … uh … Barbie?

Someone please tell me why the new 50th anniversary Ken doll has to look like a cross dressing Julie Andrews!

clip_image002 clip_image002[4]

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Please please kill this product

Oh new Monopoly Live, what is wrong with thee? Let me count the ways.

  1. Does everything need to be battery operated? - really.
  2. Eliminates counting of money – the one positive thing I can say about Monopoly is that it teaches money counting & management skills. Gone. (At least learning to enjoy the thrill of financially crushing your siblings under big red hotels is still there.)
  3. Eliminates haggling? – not shown in the video but I’m curious how they manage trading properties with each other. Another essential economic skill learned the old fashioned way. “I cant make my rent. Will you take Reading Railroad instead?”
  4. Adds complexity to a simple concept – The best games are the simple concepts with underlying complex strategies. (i.e. Easy to learn, tough to master) I know they are trying to simplify this by automating it, but that is outweighed by these other concepts added to the board. Creating new complicated things (check out the inner ring of the board) and automating the rules via computer does not balance to zero.
  5. Provides a weapon for the loser – every game of Monopoly I ever played was only over when someone threw the board across the room in a fit of bankruptcy. Now they have a tower/club too. (Maybe they should provide little tiny men who can throw themselves off the tower in despondency when they lose their life’s fortunes)
  6. No dice! – come on. it’s a freakin’ board game for crying out loud! Making a dice rolling sound is not gonna do it and is in fact extraneous. Why make a dice sound at all? Just make a computery “blip” and tell me the number already.
  7. Its not “Live”. It’s a computer! - when was the last time you played Monopoly remotely or recorded? Its always been live as far as I remember.

The new American dream

Apparently same as the old dream. The problem is it used to mean “I hope I can grow up and find a steady job in a factory so I can take care of my family”

CBS is airing a “Made in America” series this week on their news around the fact that

Economists say that if every one of us spent an extra $3.33 on U.S.-made goods every year, it would create nearly 10,000 new jobs in this country.

Yeah look at that - 10,000 new jobs making drapes and couch covers. Can’t we do better than basic manufacturing? Other countries have plenty of cheap labor to make things. Lets do something better and more challenging than that.

Don’t be the guy that makes it. Be the guy that make it better and less expensive! [cue the 3M commercial]

If my sons end up working on a factory line for 50 years making pillow shams I’m going to be sorely disappointed.

Friday, February 25, 2011

That’s a lot of rehabilitation!

Yeah, there is nothing wrong with the state of today’s drug laws.

Because of $31 in marijuana sales, Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow is now serving 10 years in prison, has been taken away from her four young children and husband, and has ended her work in nursing homes.

the judge mentioned

When I look at someone in front of me, I'm thinking, ‘What is it going to take to rehabilitate this person?'

And I have to wonder if she thought 10 years was really the minimum amount needed to rehabilitate Patricia. It was her first offence so she was expecting probation.I think any amount of jail time at that point would have been a wake up call to this lady.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

But they were here to help!

Google is learning a hard lesson best described by The Agitator as todays natural business cycle:

1. Turn plucky startup into huge success without ever opening an office in Washington.

2. Develop a libertarian streak as competitors use government to cut you down.

3. Give in, open an office in Washington, and realize that to survive, you too will need to learn to manipulate government to harm your competitors.

Politico reports

a Google spokesman argued that a cabal of antitrust lawyers, lobbyists and public relations firms is conspiring against the Internet search giant. The mastermind? Google says it’s Microsoft.

Really? And you didn’t see this coming?

The chance that the government is going to interfere with your business is directly proportional to the amount of time you invest lobbying for the government to interfere in your business.

Just don’t have the temerity to act surprised when that big government regulation flashlight hears your cry and swings over into your previously dark corner of the market.

Friday, January 7, 2011

What’s for lunch? I don’t know…yet

Problem: Today’s Dilbert strip hit pretty close to home. He has a conversation in which he is invited to lunch. He then learns that the inviters have yet to decide where to eat,so he bails in order to avoid the 15-30 minute hallway meeting on whether Panda Express is preferred to Jason’s Deli.

This used to be a regular occurrence around our water cooler.

Solution: I HATE that “I dunno where do you want to go” conversation that inevitably delays the mid day outing. We have a unique solution that you are free to institute in your own daily lunch routine.

Rule: We do not discuss where we are headed until we are in the car and out of the parking lot. This provides two things. First it gets us out the door and we can have that conversation in the car on the way to wherever the driver heads – which is usually in the direction of the largest group of options or known favorites. We already know we are leaving, why postpone that when we can use the time in the car to decide the destination. Second, it creates a forcing function on the getting the decision made in a timely fashion. This requires a sub-rule, the driver is generally free to force a destination if the group is not converging on an answer or is just not paying attention and discussing other topics. If you care, speak up or eat wherever you end up. If you don’t really care, shut up and enjoy not having to listen to everyone haggle in the hallway while they eat into your lunch hour.

This causes confusion of Dilbert’s kind if someone new gets invited because we don’t know where we are going by definition. But I can say one thing, its been years since I was rushed to eat my sandwich because of hallway haggling.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

But he said it too!

White man is fired using a word that his black colleagues have used without repercussion. Trial is set to determine

whether a double standard, if true in this case, would violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which deals with equal opportunity in employment.

When he puts it that way its hard to believe that he wouldn’t win. But I’m not so sure. The political correctness pressure is heavy in this area. Regardless of intent or correctness of grammar, using a certain word if you are not certain color is among the highest social crimes nowadays. Although I’m not sure how they could write the ruling if they were to find against the guy without creating a separate-but-equal situation.

Witness these two phrases which don’t even come close to the above but were still defended by the offended as extra offensive.

  1. I was kind of surprised at the number of hits for “niggardly” which is a word that when used properly seems to reduce one’s employment opportunity quite quickly.
  2. My all time favorite though is still the baffling demand for an apology for using the phrase “black hole” in the Dallas County budget discussion.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How’s your bank doing?

Isn’t this still a problem? You don’t here much about it in the press but its still going on.


No matter how you slice it, we still had more bank failures in 2010 than in 2009.

Even if we look at it month to month it doesn’t necessarily show any significant trend of driving to zero.


March of 2009 was the last time fewer than 7 banks went under in a single month.

As much as the talking heads like to put a rosy “we’re climbing out of it!” face on, I‘m not convinced. We still haven’t seen a full reckoning on the value of all the properties the banks are holding onto in the vain hope of not being stuck standing when the music stops.

[source: FDIC failed bank list]