Good Morning Conflucians!!!
Hope you’ve recovered from your Yew Years celebrations. Or at least have an ice pack on your head and ear muffs to keep down the noise. I tend to watch the Rose Bowl Parade despite it being riddled with conservative leanings in numerous aspects of its organization and choices. This year there was a 100 year tribute to Ronald Reagan. Fine, but you won’t see one to a Democratic president. In fact among the 1/2 dozen or more presidents who have marshaled the parade, none have been Democrats. They have a bit of history of that. But I still watch it because I liked the floats, I like the bands, and well, I just like a parade. So sue me. I also like gay pride parades, saint patrick’s day parades, and most any other parade. Nothing like a street party, organized or not. Some of the football games were pretty good too. The Rose Bowl game was great. TCU beat Wisconsin in a game that got really exciting right at the end. On the other hand the Fiesta Bowl between UConn and Oklahoma (UConn got a shellacking) showed what a joke the whole BCS system is.
Other than those distractions, some news actually has been happening. Some new provisions from the health insurance bailout and kabuki bill go into effect. Changes include closing the “donut hole” and restricting insurance companies to spend 80% of the money they get in premiums to either be for insurance claims or, get this, any activities that may improve the customers health. Yea, a bit open ended. Let’s see, activities, well, there’s advertising. There’s “educating” doctors and their own staffs. And of course retreats to well, do more education. Oh, and studies, I’m sure there will be studies. And of course there is no budget to actually enforce any of that. You know, budget cuts.
It appears that Carol Moseley Braun has become the frontrunner among black candidates for the Chicago mayoral race. And apparently, when we say mayoral race, that’s the most important thing, your race:
But now that she is in the spotlight, Braun will have to answer questions about her qualifications, as well as problems that led voters to boot her from the Senate in 1998 after one term and why voters should hand City Hall’s keys to someone who hasn’t been elected to anything for years.
She trumpeted her own resume Saturday at a rally with U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, who announced on New Year’s Eve that he was withdrawing from the race, and state Sen. James Meeks, another African-American who gave up his own run for mayor days ago.
On Saturday, Braun did not mention Emanuel, or two other prominent candidates, former public schools president Gery Chico or City Clerk Miguel del Valle, by name. But in recent days she has signaled that she plans to portray Emanuel as an outsider and not a Chicagoan. Emanuel beat a challenge to his residency, with an elections board decision to place his name on the ballot — a decision that is now being challenged in court — but Braun is not about to let the issue go.
After Davis groused about former President Bill Clinton’s decision to campaign for Emanuel, Braun did the same — adding her own dig at Emanuel.
“What we have is an outsider running for mayor and bringing outsiders in to help him,” she told reporters a few days ago.
Somehow it’s really hard to get excited about that election. If it’s a battle between recent race card player vs. a new race card player, I really hope there’s an alternative to both.
Brazil elected their first woman president, Dilma Rousseff,, and she just got sworn in:
After signing the oath of office, Ms Rousseff began her 40-minute inaugural address by noting that this was the first time in Brazil that the role of president had been given to a woman.
“I know the historical significance of this decision,” she said to widespread applause. “Today, all Brazilian women should feel proud and happy.”
Nine of her 37 ministers will be women – a record for Brazil.
Ms Rousseff then said this was “just the beginning of a new era” for Brazil, and promised to protect the most vulnerable in society and “govern for all”.
Wonder what that’s like. Of course remember that she’s an evil former Marxist guerrilla:
The daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant father, Rousseff studied economics in college. She was tortured in the 1970s for her membership in a leftist guerrilla group opposed to the military dictatorship that then ruled the country. Before joining the Lula government, she held state posts focusing on energy.
The Workers’ Party candidate takes control of an economy that is expected to grow 7.5% this year and to lead the region out of the global recession. She also takes the helm of a nation that gained enormous visibility and prestige under Lula’s presidency.
Relations with the United States are in flux, with the Obama administration pleased with Lula’s regional leadership as a counterweight to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez but upset over his attempt last year to broker a deal ending Iran’s international isolation over its nuclear program. On Sunday, Chavez will be the first foreign leader with whom she meets.
That will be interesting to watch.
And speaking of things to watch, the pipeline between Russia and China is now operating. This is a big thing:
The first oil pipeline linking the world’s biggest oil producer, Russia, and the world’s biggest consumer of energy, China, has begun operating.
The pipeline, running between Siberia and the northeastern Chinese city of Daqing, will allow a rapid increase in oil exports between the two countries.
The project cost $25bn ($16bn) and was partly financed be Chinese loans.
Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer in 2009.
China surpassed the US as the world’s largest consumer of energy last year.
“The operation of the China-Russia crude oil pipeline is the start of a new phase in China-Russia energy co-operation,” said Yao Wei, general manager of Pipeline Branch of Petro China, as he pushed a button near the Russia-China border to start the flow of oil.
Feeling nervous yet? While they’re doing that, we’re suffering with heartbreaking unemployment with no end in site and now hearing the drumbeat of war with Iran helped along by Wikileaks. Why are the supposed progressive blogs that should be screaming about the banks (and why no secrets have leaked out about them) or about the escalation of violence throughout the middle east, or about the epic failure of Obama and a Democratic supermajority leading to a GOP landslide in the House, instead worshiping Assange or if not that, still swooning about the great feminist and brilliant leader in the WH. And have you noticed both of those efforts seem like the same sort of religious craziness and have the same effect of keeping people distracted and apart. Um, you people might want to wake up.
OK, for some humorous, ironic news, the North Korean leader sends a message of peace:
North Korea, in a New Year message, said tensions with South Korea should be defused while calling for “intense combat training” for the North Korean army.
“The danger of war should be removed and peace safeguarded in the Korean Peninsula,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported, citing a New Year editorial carried by newspapers including Rodong Sinmun and Joson Inmingun. “If a war breaks out on this land, it will bring nothing but a nuclear holocaust.”
The jokes write themselves.
Meanwhile, it’s Hasta la vista baby for Schwarzenegger:
When he leaves office, Mr Schwarzenegger has said he hopes to write books, specifically the autobiography that he says publishers have been urging him to write for two decades.
He has also pledged to continue his work on public policy, although he has not been specific about working with any organisation.
One theory is that he could try to become a global ambassador as an environmentalist.
The nightmare appears to be coming to a close. Well, it wold except the state is in deep shit that will take some time to recover from. Let’s see what gov. moonbeam can do. While we’re on the topic of deep shit, here’s a good slide show of Detroit in ruins as symbolism of the decline of America.
There have been a number of notable deaths this year. Here are a few I’ve noticed (in no particular order): J D Salinger, Tony Curtis, Lynne Redgrave, Dennis Hopper, Elizabeth Edwards, Leslie Nielsen, Gary Coleman, Tom Bosley, Barbara Billingsley, Dorothy Height, Rue McClanahan, Teddy Pendergrass, Jill Clayburgh, Don Meredith, Blake Edwards, Stephen J. Cannell, Eddie Fisher, Ted Stevens, Patricia Neal, Mitch Miller, George Steinbrenner, Robert C. Byrd, Jimmy Dean, Art Linkletter, Lena Horne, Dixie Carter, John Forsythe, Robert Culp, Fess Parker, Peter Graves, Alexander Haig, Charlie Wilson, John Murtha, Pernell Roberts, Robert Parker, Richard Holbrooke, Ted Sorensen, and of course Paul the Octopus. I’m sure there are a lot I missed, but that’s a heck of a lot. May they all RIP.
There are a lot of year in review pieces out there. What are the biggest stories of the year for you? Certainly the top few would have to include the BP oil spill, the only beginning Wikipedia stories, the Tea Party movement, and the GOP historic win in the midterm elections. In addition I’d add that a big story of the year has been the changes in social media, especially facebook, but also twitter and others. And another story has been the further domination of mobile computing and tablets in all their forms. It seems to be an app world and a social media world. One other area we’re just seeing the beginnings of now that I think will continue to move and dominate is all about streaming media. That includes video to mobile devices of course but also to new efforts to move into the TV space.
On those last couple of topics, here’s a good summary of changes in both mobile platforms and social media from WaPo:
The year 2010 began with a herd of manufacturers chasing Amazon’s Kindle. It ends with some of the same companies in pursuit of Apple’s iPad. In between those tablet-computing crazes, we’ve all been challenged to keep up with the expanding universes of social networking and smartphones.
Nothing illustrates what makes the tech business both fascinating and frustrating as well as the rise of Facebook.
The social-networking site crossed the 500 million-user mark and debuted numerous features, such as an upgraded e-mail service and options to share your location with friends and get discounts from nearby retailers.
On the topic of streaming, a good article on the topic can be found at TechCrunch:
You can extrapolate from this streaming culture in several directions. In the home, television and gaming are now virtualized. The content comes in via various services, is attached to the streaming network, and is consumed and metadata-tagged across devices before being pushed back out on the mobile network. As we vote for these services with our clicks and device shuttling, the amount of revenue will grow to a meaningful share of delivery models. That in turn will drive advertisers and companies seeking relationships with audiences toward an equitable business revenue stream on both sides.
As a result, Netflix will be able to produce useful metadata that can be mined to reduce the cost of customer acquisition, in their case Hollywood windowed content. This produces interesting economic effects, such as AT&T losing customers to a Verizon iPhone but saving even more overall by lowering the expensive acquisition costs of the iPhone subsidy. Similarly, if Apple TV/Netflix customers present a more influential cloud of metadata across the same recent/archive content base as Comcast provides, the media cartel may decide to lower the cost of their premium content to preserve a direct connection to the targeted audience.
Put in dollars, we spend $350 a month on Comcast (triple play including broadband and something called a land line I have no use for) and perhaps $30 or so on on demand movies. Let’s say $140 of that is for broadband (50 megabits downstream) and basic cable, so add $8 for Netflix and $50 for Apple TV recent movies and shows. There’s about a hundred bucks delta there, which will probably convince Comcast to unbundle some of their premium network shows to tap the new Airplay audience without losing a percentage of those customers. Seems counter intuitive but look what Google does with Maps, Google Voice, and Gmail. Trade lock in for a bigger slice of a broader targeted market.
The real competitor is Facebook, which faces the same calculation as Netflix in expanding revenue to keep the balance of value while growing the streaming audience. The DVD market is already dead, but BlueRay will not replace the revenue. Once we move to realtime acquisition and deployment of content, we’ll never go back. Simply put, the quality (or lack of it) of television and first run movies will encourage us to wait for the majority of it to hit the download or streaming venue and cherry pick the hits in the theaters. And those cable or satellite services that count on us not switching will find the rich metadata moving away from them even if we keep both services until the shakeout runs its course.
Worth reading the whole piece. Some things to ponder.
That’s a bit of what crossed my desk. Chime in with what you’re finding out there. Or just what’s on your mind. OMG, I didn’t even mention Sarah Palin. Oh dear, I just did.
Filed under: General, Health Care Reform, Midterm elections 2010, Morning News edition, Sarah Palin, Social Media, Tea Party Movement, technology, video | Tagged: General, Morning Edition, news, social networking, Technology Review | 54 Comments »