Saturday, December 18, 2010

Government Paralysis?

Well here is an interesting development. Apparently the Senate is so polarized that it is increasingly difficult for it to take action on certain legislation. Consider this story from the Washington Post:
"Senate having trouble 'doing business in the modern era'" by Philip Rucker and David A. Fahrenthold

This may strike some people as bad new but I'm all for it. The less government does, the better.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Google Zeitgeist 2010: Year in Review

Okay, here's a great video produced by Google. It recaps the top stories of 2010. (Top searches? Is there a difference?) Along the way it highlights many of Google's products and services.
"Zeitgeist 2010: Year in Review"

The video is a lot of fun to watch. Really nice summary of the year, the highs and the lows, set to great music. I particularly like how they work in different Google products. Two of my favorites were: 1) Showing the integrated calling in Gmail by calling South Africa and hearing ... vuvuzelas! 2) Saying "and just like that 2010 flew by in an instant" and then showing off Google Instant (an amazing feature, when you think about it) by searching on, among other things, that Icelandic volcano whose name no one could spell--but it didn't matter because you only had to type the first few letters and you had your result. Perfect!

My girls, by the way, loved the fact that one of the instant searches near the end featured "Angry Birds." They love that game!

What an awesome video.

Don't forget, too, that you can see the most popular Google searches from 2010 here:
"Zeitgeist 2010: How the world searched"

Play with this site a little, it's a lot of fun.

Search on.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In defense of Wikileaks

This Wikileaks story is a good one. It illustrates several key points, and it separates the men from the boys, so to speak. That is, do you really believe in free speech or do you not? I posted about Wikileaks before, about a week ago (Thoughts on WikiLeaks and Amazon, and Censorship and Walls, December 9, 2010) but this is such an important topic I want to revisit it.

First up, and deservedly so, is Ron Paul. From FromTheOld:
"Ron Paul defends Wikileaks on House Floor"

Watch the video and consider these questions from Paul.  I find questions #6 and #9 to be particularly powerful.
  • Number 1: Do the America People deserve know the truth regarding the ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen?
  • Number 2: Could a larger question be how can an army private access so much secret information?
  • Number 3: Why is the hostility directed at Assange, the publisher, and not at our governments failure to protect classified information?
  • Number 4: Are we getting our moneys worth of the 80 Billion dollars per year spent on intelligence gathering?
  • Number 5: Which has resulted in the greatest number of deaths: lying us into war or Wikileaks revelations or the release of the Pentagon Papers?
  • Number 6: If Assange can be convicted of a crime for publishing information that he did not steal, what does this say about the future of the first amendment and the independence of the internet?
  • Number 7: Could it be that the real reason for the near universal attacks on Wikileaks is more about secretly maintaining a seriously flawed foreign policy of empire than it is about national security?
  • Number 8: Is there not a huge difference between releasing secret information to help the enemy in a time of declared war, which is treason, and the releasing of information to expose our government lies that promote secret wars, death and corruption?
  • Number 9: Was it not once considered patriotic to stand up to our government when it is wrong?
  • Thomas Jefferson had it right when he advised 'Let the eyes of vigilance never be closed'

Next up is a quote from Glenn Greenwald, as posted by Andrew Sullivan:

"Whatever you think of WikiLeaks, they have not been charged with a crime, let alone indicted or convicted. Yet look what has happened to them. They have been removed from Internet … their funds have been frozen … media figures and politicians have called for their assassination and to be labeled a terrorist organization. What is really going on here is a war over control of the Internet, and whether or not the Internet can actually serve its ultimate purpose—which is to allow citizens to band together and democratize the checks on the world’s most powerful factions," – Glenn Greenwald.

Scary stuff.

This last link is scary. Do I agree with Putin? Okay, maybe I do on this one, but in my defense there is no way that Putin is doing this out of principle. He is merely doing this out of political expediency. Can you imagine he would feel the same way if someone shared Russian secrets? Of course not. From ABC News:
"Putin Blasts West Over Wikileaks Arrest" by Alexander Marquardt

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The "Google Lifestyle"?

Is there such a thing as a "Google lifestyle"? What does that mean, exactly? I don't know the answer, but Mark Cuban has an interesting blog post on this subject on "blog maverick":
"Am I Living the Google Lifestyle ?"

"As I installed my Logitech Google TV box I checked my email, I mean GMail, on my G2 Slide. Someone needed some info, so I pulled up the information from a file stored on Google Docs using my browser of choice, Chrome. Then it occurred to me. I’m surrounded by Google and for the most part, I like it."

Cuban notes one of the best reasons to use GMail. I have also used GMail this way:

"Finally, the best part of GMail is because I basically have my professional history (I haven’t kept all emails for the past couple years for various reasons, but I probably am north of 500k emails in GMail) and can easily search GMail from any device I can get access to information in seconds that I could never get to before.

"True story. I was walking to a business dinner in NYC. Someone told me they were going to start working with a new manager and asked me if I knew him. The name sounded familiar and I thought I had done something with him during the days. A quick GMail search from my phone and I found 2 emails we had exchanged when he was trying to sell a company he was involved with back in 1996. That’s why I use GMail."

He is also smart enough to use Google Voice. I'm amazed more people don't use it.

"I also LOVE google voice. Love it. I have my mobile phone number forwarded to it. I LOVE the transcription and the ability to listen via email . I LOVE the extra phone numbers to give to people I don’t want to give my phone number to. I love that I can save messages easily without filling up my phone. I love that i can respond to texts via email. It is just a stellar product that will only get better."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Waivers needed, despite what they told us

So, how's that health care thing working out? Well, it's just fine as long as you realize that it doesn't do what they said it would do. And if YOU don't realize it, that's okay. Because the government sure as hell does.

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (
"Jamie Dupree Washington Insider - More Health Waivers"

"The Obama Administration has quietly granted even more waivers to one provision of the new federal health reform law, doubling the number in just the last three weeks to a new total of 222."

"The feds though have granted waivers from that law, amid concern that certain groups would drop their health insurance programs entirely. Those waivers are good for one year, and can be considered for renewal."

Wait a minute? I thought that Obama said we would all be able to keep our existing plans after the socialist health care bill was passed. Why have so many waivers been requested and granted?

"As for Universal Orlando, a spokesman defended the waiver in an email on Monday evening. 'The new legislation would have left our part-time workers without their medical coverage,' said Tom Schroder of Universal Orlando Public Relations. 'We sought the waiver so that we could continue to provide them with the coverage they need and deserve,' Schroder added."

The list of companies receiving waivers is worth a look.

The final paragraph of the article sums things up pretty well. What good is this legislation if so many waivers are needed???

"The waivers seem likely to draw hearings in the House next year for a different reason, as Republicans demand to know why Democrats would push so hard for health reform legislation, only to see the feds issue several hundred waivers from some of the details."

The Metrodome is a Dump

The Metrodome is a dump. There's really not much more to say. I had the displeasure of seeing a game there back when I lived in the Twin Cities. It might be the worst stadium I've ever been in. There's nothing good about it. The whole experience is stale and artificial. The noise is fake and amplified. So I can't say I had much sympathy when I read that the big, puffy dome had collapsed under the weight of heavy snow a few days ago. The fewer games there the better, I say.

From the NY Times:
"Metrodome Roof Deflates From Snow"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Government Trains

Why does the left keep pushing trains down our throats? I have no idea. But before they do, maybe they should figure out how to run the trains they have now.

With that in mind, check out this story, from a former Amtrak conductor. There is one part in particular that will make you sick.

"Former Amtrak Milwaukee Conductor Says Train Is A Mismanaged Mess"

Do you still think we should have government-run trains?