Archive for September, 2008

 

The Ones I Like To Wear When I Rock the Mic

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Black on White, White with Black stripes…

 
 

McCain’s Gambit

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

It really does seem as if the McCain campaign is nothing but a string of stupid stunts strung together one right after another. Some of the stunts have worked out well, like his VP selection. Others have not.

This latest one to ditch the debates seems to me to be a case in point. The Wall Street Journal spells out the silliness pretty well, so I’ll just quote from them:

Mr. Obama was right on the merits, and politically shrewd, to respond to Mr. McCain’s suggestion to postpone Friday’s debate by saying that “Presidents are going to have to deal with more than one thing at a time. It’s not necessary for us to think that we can only do one thing and suspend everything else.” He added that he planned to be at the debate.

So where does this leave McCain? Is he going to go or not? I can’t imagine that he’ll go, otherwise he’ll look like a giant pussy. And if Obama says he’ll join McCain in Washington to do some sort of legislating, he’ll look like a giant pussy. McCain has created for himself a giant Mexican Standoff here, and it’s not good. It really reflects poorly on his sense of judgment, and his ability to negotiate publicly. This is poor diplomacy defined.

As it turns out, as I write this, it appears that congress may have approved the $700 billion bailout in tranches, so McCain may be able to save face and take his campaign off hold again. But seriously, how is this crap supposed to give me confidence in the guy?

Also, no surprise as to who thinks it’s a brilliant move

UPDATE: So it turns out McCain is a pussy after all

 
 

Saying It Makes It So

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

There are instances where positing a theory directly interferes with your ability to measure it’s usefulness (or truthiness if you’re some kind of asshole). It’s like how in physics, quantum theory states that the act of measuring the smallest particles in the universe directly effects those particles’ behavior. Much the same can be true with people. The most basic example is how people try to psyche each other out by telling each other not to choke, or how in baseball people chant “Sawwwwing, batter batter batter batter…”

The same thing happens in politics. Dan Quayle was a perfect example of it. They kept saying he was stupid. And so when he, like every human, makes the occasional dumb utterance, it got magnified, reinforcing the belief that he was stupid, which in turn made him nervous around the cameras, thus increasing the likelihood that he would say something else stupid. And so a self fulfilling prophecy is born.

Much the same thing is happening with Gov. Palin right now. The press grossly mistreats her, by among other things calling her inexperienced and a fool. This, in turn, leads her to not want to conduct press interviews with people who she (rightly) views as inherently hostile towards her. And when she does conduct the occasional interview, she gets nervous and seems to lack confidence, which causes the press to exclaim, “Ah Ha!!! We told you she was out of her depth…”

That’s how saying something can often make it so.

 
 

Video On The iPhone

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

So I ordered some DVDs. I wanted to watch these videos on the train by ripping them from my Mac to my iTunes, and then placing them on my iPhone. So I proceed to rip them using HandBrake, and I successfully place the videos into iTunes, as I’d done with other DVDs I own many times before. Then, I proceed to copy these videos onto my iPhone, except that they won’t copy over. Any idea what’s wrong?

It could be that iTunes won’t move any video other than DRMed video purchased from the iTunes store. But that doesn’t seem like it would be right. Otherwise, how would anybody be able to carry home movies with them on their iPhone? The other possibility is that I sipped the files at too high a bitrate, and thus the videos wouldn’t fir on the phone. I admit that I did use the AppleTV bitrate settings, and not the iPod settings, but again, can iTunes not scale back the bitrate for varying devices? This would mean that I would have to rip everything twice, once to be able to watch it on my AppleTV and again to watch it on my iPhone. Same for home movies.

So what gives?

Any help would be appreciated.

 
 

Paulson Plan

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

I’d been wondering who it is that the Treasury/Fed had the authority to unilaterally go ahead with this bailout plan as proposed by Hank Paulson. Well, constitutionally, they don’t, because it’s congress who spends money. So I guess congress is going to give the Treasury a $700 billion blank check to “resolve” this matter. Great. I remember 4 years ago there being a huge uproar over an $80 billion supplemental for the Iraq war. That was the bill Kerry voted before before he voted against it. But nobody seems to be asking the right questions about this bill.

Except for Newt Gingrich. I would highly encourage you to read the whole thing, but I’m just going to quote you the part that got to me, where he identifies the real financial crises facing our economy right now:

Question One: Is the current financial crisis the only crisis affecting the economy?

Answer: There are actually multiple crises hurting the economy.

There is an immediate crisis of liquidity on Wall Street.

There is a longer time crisis of a bad energy policy transferring $700 billion a year to foreign countries (so foreign sovereign capital funds are now using our energy payments to buy our companies).

There is a longer term crisis of Sarbanes-Oxley (the last “crisis”-inspired congressional disaster) crippling entrepreneurial start ups, driving public companies private, driving smart business people off public boards, and driving offerings from New York to London.

There is a long term crisis of a high corporate tax rate driving business out of the United States.

He’s absolutely right. He goes on to advocate eliminating the capital gains tax, while I would eliminate the corporate income tax and tax capital gains as personal income. Regardless, there is zero evidence that anyone is serious about real solutions to any of the various issues that vex our current economy.

Read Newt Gingrich.

(via instapundit)

 
 

Understanding Employee Discounts

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

So it’s time to correct George Will again. In an otherwise decent piece about why we shouldn’t bail out Detroit, Will writes:

General Motors’ full-page newspaper ads brag that it (with the coerced cooperation of taxpayers) is “completely reinventing the automobile.” This is no more convincing than GM’s broadcast ads that say it is offering customers its employee discount “in celebration of our 100th anniversary.” Celebration? Of what? The fact that a company hemorrhaging money must discount its products?

Now Will must have horrendous business sense. Why would you offer discounts if you’re already hemorrhaging cash? That’s like expecting to make a profit through volume when you’re taking a loss on every unit sold. Madness. Unless, of course, that’s not what’s going on at all.

What’s happening, of course, is that General Motors is revoking the employee discount for employees. Here’s how it works: GM realizes they can no longer afford to give employees discounts when purchasing their cars, mostly because of that cash hemorrhaging problem they have. However, they are likely contractually obligated to offer such a discount to their employees, union negotiations and whatnot. So how do you eliminate a discount that you are required to give to your employees? You raise prices by the amount of the discount, and then offer the discount to everyone. Your employees are still receiving the discount, it’s just nominal instead of actual now. Ingenious, huh?

I’m just surprised that a guy with George Will’s intelligence couldn’t see that’s what was going on.

 
 

Spray Peanut Butter

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

They make spray cheese, right? And cheese is normally a solid, not a paste. Why don’t they make spray peanut butter? That would seem to make more sense, no? And I bet kids would love it…

 
 

Confusion

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

I often have so many different things to say that I don’t know what to say at any given moment. And as a result, I wind up saying nothing.

So sad…

 
 

YEEAAARRRGGGHHH!!!

Friday, September 19th, 2008

It’s talk like a pirate day. Enjoy the antics.

UPDATE: Check out Google in Pirate. and a John Cox cartoon.

Previously:

2007
2006
2006 again
2005
2004
My initial thoughts on the Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

 
 

And So It Begins…

Friday, September 19th, 2008

The McCain has released a new ad entitled “Advice.” It says:

Obama has no background in economics.

Who advises him?

The Post says it’s Franklin Raines, for "advice on mortgage and housing policy."

Shocking.

Under Raines, Fannie Mae committed “extensive financial fraud.”

Raines made millions.

Fannie Mae collapsed.

Taxpayers? Stuck with the bill.

Barack Obama.

Bad advice. Bad instincts. Not ready to lead.

Mark my words: Obama’s ties with Fannie Mae cronies will be his undoing. That, and the fact that a Democrat controlled congress can’t seem to get its head out of its ass.

Read more here.

(Both links via Instapundit)