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    • Trump’s Policy on NAFTA is Mostly Correct
      Yeah, I know, Trump is wrong on everything. But I agree with Thomas Walkom on NAFTA. The bottom line is that what Trump wants is what the left should want, and if it doesn’t, it isn’t the economic left. And Trudeau’s pretty face and lovely abs don’t change that. Trump wants to: raise the minimum […]
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Blaming a Generation

civil war soldiers

One outrage after another. Obama’s recent defense of DOMA leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I won’t continue, I may start to blub again if I do, and I don’t feel like being smug anyway. Claiming that banning Gay Marriage is good for the federal budget, and then invoking incest and pedophilia does not warrant comments that aren’t X rated in nature, and this is a family blog.

But while I’m at it, I want to talk about something that I won’t be scoring any points for. In fact, I’m likely going to get Hell for this, but it needs to be said, and Little Isis can’t be polite and sweet all the the time when she has something to say.

It’s like this: since Bam’s victory in the General Election, there has been talk of “The Obama Generation.” Voters of my age group who tended to vote for him have been dubbed “Obama’s Youth Army.”

Well, for one thing, that sounds so militant. Who wants to be part of a “Youth Army?” Can you say cheesy? Besides, that is a loaded phrase with violent imagery, and I detest violence.

But I digress.

Thankfully, all this talk of “The Obama Generation” and “The Obama Era,” is dying down. Sadly, not because of the incredible corniness of those phrases, but because of what a disappointment my Generation’s alleged savior is turning out to be, only five or six months into his administration.

That’s the thing about Demi-Gods. They’re just human narcissists who are full of themselves, and the messianic imagery gets old after a while. My female friends who voted for the Chosen One will no doubt abandon their “Chocolate Fudge Sunday” in favor of the next big thing when it is no longer cool to like him. It’s like having a boyfriend who is great at first, because he’s, you know, so cocky and good looking. But then eventually you just cannot stand the sight of his smug mug anymore, because every time he opens his mouth to utter something stupid you must resist the urge to backhand him.

No see, there is a point. Since all this talk of “Youth Armies” and “Obama Generations” and “Obama Nightlights” and “Obama Thongs” and “Obama Midnight Movies,” there has been a trend among … people of a certain age group, I guess, to put the blame of Obama on us, that is to say, my generation.

Well, I take issue with that. (Note: I am not referring to most of the commenters here in this post. I have noted that you are all mature adults, and good parents to boot, and you seem to have a strong enough sense of history to realize it is a little more complicated than that.)

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Out of Africa: Financial Innovation

We’ve made the world a depressing place. Everywhere you look, all the good stuff is buried under a thick and powerful layer of crud. Sort of like an endless mall parking lot. Seedlings push through it every now and again. You can’t even see them from a distance and if you stepped on them, they’d be dead. But you know how it is with seedlings. In time they’re going to destroy the whole damn lot. What follows is one of those seedlings. Keep an eye on it.

Africa pioneers mobile bank push

Mobile financial services in the developing world could be worth $5bn by 2012, say analysts. . . . More than one billion people in the developing world have access to a mobile phone, but no bank account. . . . [CGAP] also expected more than one in five to use their mobile to access banking services, creating a market worth up to $5bn (£3.05bn). . . .

One of Africa’s first mobile banking system[s], M-Pesa, launched in Kenya in March 2007. A network of more than 7,000 agents – mostly shopkeepers – was set up to take deposits and issue cash, with users authorising payments on their mobile phone using a Pin code. That service has now expanded to include Tanzania and Afghanistan with plans to launch in India, Egypt and South Africa.

If we can keep this out of PayPal’s grubby monopolistic mitts, maybe some of this newfangled convenience could trickle all the way down to us. It should go without saying that we, and the rest of the world, will have to do some serious anti-spam and anti-fraud work as this gets more widespread. But you know what? That’s doable.

(Personal note: I’m back from vacation, hiatus, and general out-of-the-loopiness. Sort of. I may become loopy any time again so long as the weather is nice. And it’s always nice here in sunny Southern California.)

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New Media Covers Iranian Riots in Real Time; U.S. Cable Channels, Not So Much

No%20Twitter

For the past couple of days, The Confluence has been using Twitter to live-blog the riots in Iran following an election that was most likely rigged (see here, here and here). Several newspapers have taken note of the rise of new media real-time coverage of the Iranian situation and the criticism of cable news outlets by Americans seeking information about events on the ground in Iran.

From The New York Times:

Cable news normally serves as the front line for breaking news, but the channels largely took the weekend off as Tehran exploded in protests after Iran’s presidential election.

The performance of the American cable news, especially CNN, spawned an online protest by thousands on Saturday and Sunday, showing that viewers can try to pressure news organizations about their coverage in real time via the Internet. Fox News Channel and MSNBC also were said to have covered the protests in limited ways.

For the record, MSNBC ran their usual reruns of true crime programs on Saturday. Continue reading