• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    William on Last GoT post, I promise
    HerstoryRepeating on Last GoT post, I promise
    Kathleen A Wynne on Last GoT post, I promise
    William on Last GoT post, I promise
    William on Last GoT post, I promise
    Kathleen A Wynne on Last GoT post, I promise
    bellecat on Last GoT post, I promise
    William on Last GoT post, I promise
    William on Last GoT post, I promise
    William on Last GoT post, I promise
    Propertius on GoT finale: Art imitates …
    Catscatscats on Last GoT post, I promise
    Catscatscats on Last GoT post, I promise
    bellecat on That damn crossbow
    HerStoryRepeating on That damn crossbow
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    February 2010
    S M T W T F S
    « Jan   Mar »
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Everyone’s Noticed The Oncoming US/China Cold War
        Horowitz calls it a tech cold war, but it is unlikely to stay that way. Cutting Huawei off from all non-open source Google services, including the play store, and not allowing it to buy US components is a huge blow to Huawei. Huawei is ahead in 5G, and American allies have been reluctant to […]
  • Top Posts

  • Advertisements

Hate NBC Olympics coverage? Blame merger mania.

Watch the snow and imagine Vonn skiing through it

Violet Socks is not the only person PO’d with NBC’s coverage of the Olympics. (There are plenty of complaints here and here.) Violet can’t see coverage in real time and she apparently works from home.  I can’t see it at all at work, not even with my dual recording DVR because there’s nothing to record in real time that I want to see.  NBC is even time delaying their broadcasts to the west coast.  That’s right, if you live in Seattle, you can’t see what’s going on in Vancouver, just up the road a spell, until 8PM when NBC, who has exclusive broadcasting rights in the USA, will turn to its marketing department to determine what you want.  If you are an American, NBC will presume that you don’t give a rat’s ass about the rest of the world’s athletes.  You will get highlights of events where Americans are expected to medal (or is that podium? ).  Interspersed with your carefully selected and edited sports niblets will be a ^&*(load of commercials and some nauseating human interest stories of determination and perserverence triumphing over heartbreaking personal loss and devastating injury.  (yeah, right, Lindsey Vonn’s shin injury was catastrophic.  Tell it to the podium)

It’s like getting dial-up Olympics coverage from AOL in a gigabit ether world that exists but that your municipality has forbidden you to get.  (No, I’m no bitter at all that I’m stuck on sucky DSL because my only other option is Comcast).

Why should you care?  Oh, I dunno.  I guess it’s because showing the games in real time should be a no brainer.  It’s not 1972 anymore and this is not the Wide World of Sports where, by the way, I think they showed every skiier from every country in their coverage of skiing.  This is 2010 where we *should* have instant access to everything.  If NBC is giving us sh^&&ty coverage, we should be able to turn to online sources for events in real time, that is, if they weren’t blocked by American IP address.  We should be able to go to a Canadian or European broadcaster for our downhill fix.

So, what’s going on here?  Ok, as  professional merger survivors, let me and my friends hazard a guess as to why NBC is failing to live up to our expectations.  Right now, Comcast and NBC are trying to merge.  Here’s how that goes: the first day that a merger is announced, all work comes to a screeching halt.  Formerly productive people spend their time speculating on the political chess game that is going on in their departments.  Who’s in, who’s out.  Projects are put on hold pending further review.  Projects that are going gangbusters prior to a merger announcement slow down to a trot.  People twiddle their thumbs while their overlords stab each other in the back, swing their dicks around and use their prodigious MBA’s to implement the idiotic plans of the consulting group they just hired to “transform” the place.  Then, because “we are too menny“, there must be layoffs.  The formerly productive workers cancel their living room furniture purchases and concentrate on getting their houses ready for a quick sale.  They spend hours grooming their resumes and making calculations of their gross yearly income based on the severance package that the company beancounters have sent out.  They sweat and worry and make appointments with their doctors to get the old bods in good working order while they still have health insurance.

Und zen zey vait.

How long will it take before all of the alpha males (and they are ALWAYS male) decide that they have strutted and preened enough to satisfy the shareholders, taken their cut and skeedaddled before everyone can get back to work?  Eventually, it happens.  Everyone is now one big happy company with values like “innovation!” and “Creativity!”.  But by that time, creativity has taken a backseat to survival.  When the Olympics roll around, the creative, innovative departments look around at their reduced headcount and their devastated budget and the even more manipulative and controlling overlords and they punt.  Just do it the way you did it last time.  Forget that there is new technology.  You don’t have the time, manpower or money to do it better.  Yeah, the shareholders (and you are probably one of them, which gives “conflict of interest”a new meaning) won’t get their bang for their buck but they won’t notice for at least another quarter.  And by then, your management will be looking for new “opportunities”.

Creativity?  Innovation?  Pleasing your customer base?  Who the f&*( has time for that when you’ve just kept your job by the skin of your teeth and the Idiots in Charge are too impressed with their business school credentials to listen to you anyway?

So, Comcast/NBC, when they finally merge, will push out content in time delay, like they do now, like it is 1972.  Only a few voices will stand up and call them on their borg like “You will be assimilated.  Resistence is useless” attitude.  We will fall farther and farther behind our Canadian, Asian and European counterparts.  We will have a free market, laissez faire, anything goes market place in the US where no one benefits but the consultants and the people who jettison at the last minute with golden parachutes, leaving everyone else with the bag and the blame.

So, what to do?  Well, we can’t prevent every merger but Al Franken is working on preventing Comcast/NBC.  Imagine if every innovation was given the same short shrift if the Comcast/NBC merger goes through.  Your cable company will control the horizontal and the vertical and you’ll NEVER see Lindsey Vonn ski in prime time- ever.

Ain’t America great?

To contribute to the only loud mouth in the Senate willing to stand up for us against the borgs, click here.

Now’s your chance to put your foot down and say “NO!” to more mergers, less freedom of speech, less control over content, less innovation.

Advertisements

Banquo’s Ghosts


I’ve always been a loner.  Growing up I was not one of the kewl kidz but it never bothered me because I never felt the need to be part of any group.  I prefer jobs that let me work independently without co-workers getting in my way or bosses looking over my shoulder.  I live alone, but I’m not lonely.

Maybe that’s why peer pressure has never had much effect on me.  I’m always behind on fashions and the latest pop trends.  I usually discover the fashion changes when I go to buy something and the clerk informs me that “they don’t make those anymore.”

It’s not that I’m afraid to try new things.  But if I try it and I don’t like it then I don’t keep doing/wearing/eating whatever it is, even if everyone else believes (or claims to believe) that it’s the greatest/coolest/most wonderful thing ever.  I make up my own mind and I trust my own judgment.

But even though I’m a loner and don’t need anyone’s approval to validate my existence I was never treated like an outcast before (or if I was I didn’t notice.)

Ironically, I now find myself art of a group – of pariahs.  If you’re reading this there’s a pretty good chance you’re in that group with me. If you’re not in our group then you’re probably a deranged blogstalker who needs to get a life.

You can divide lefty bloggers into three main groups – the ones who supported Obama enthusiastically and uncritically, the ones who would have preferred someone else but went ahead and voted for him anyway and those of us that saw through him and refused to support him just because he had a “D” after his name.

Among the many weird phenomena that swept Left Blogistan beginning in 2007 was the Obama supporters’ rabid intolerance for differing/dissenting views.  Not that long ago nonconformity was considered a highly-prized virtue by liberals and progressives and freedom of speech was a holy principle that the Flying Spaghetti Monster gave to Founding Fathers.

Suddenly everyone on the left side of the blogosphere was expected to conform and stop exercising independent thought – as if we were right-wing authoritarian followers.

To question the One-derfulness of Obama was heresy, and supporting Hillary Clinton was blasphemy.  The cult-like behavior of the Obots was never more evident than in the way they persecuted anyone who dared to disagree with them. At many blogs moderation was non-existent or one-sided.  Anyone who refused to support Teh Precious had two choices: STFU or GTFO.  So we left, and they tried to follow us so they could keep harassing us.

We had committed a mortal sin – we rejected the divinity and most awesome gloriousity of Barack Obama, made worse by the fact that we were very vocal about it.  But the worst part is that we were liberal Democrats, which made us apostates to the true believers.

They told us we weren’t wanted in “their” party.  They said we were old, ugly and stupid and no one wanted us.  Then after all that they went ballistic when we announced after the RBC meeting that we didn’t give a fuck about party unity and we were not going to vote for Obama no matter how many of Hillary’s delegates they gave him.  For that we got called traitors.

Continue reading

Thursday Morning Newsfest

Reading the Morning New

Toyota woes continue — They don’t use a remote controlled steering device, do they?

Toyota faces new US investigation

Toyota said on Wednesday that it was looking into complaints of power steering problems with the Corolla.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says it has received more than 150 complaints about possible steering problems in the 2009-2010 Corolla.


I keep meaning to block that Buzz-thing (I wonder how many other people say that) . . .

Google Buzz ‘breaks privacy laws’ says watchdog

The feature that attracted the biggest outcry was one which automatically gave users a ready-made circle of friends to follow based on the people they emailed the most.

Privacy advocates said that meant the list of contacts was open for all to see and could have had serious implications for journalists, businesses or even those conducting illicit affairs.

Engineers have now replaced the auto-follow feature with one that suggests who to follow but EPIC said that still leaves the “user with the burden to block those unwanted followers”.

The organisation also wants the company barred from using Gmail address book contacts to make up social networking lists.

Google has apologised and said it acted quickly to address concerns including introducing a new option to disable the service.


And (slowly) CCSVI makes it’s way into the mainstream press

Brain blood vessels clue to MS

More than 55% of multiple sclerosis patients have been found to have blockages of the blood vessels that drain the brain, a US study says.

The preliminary results are from the first 500 patients enrolled in a trial at the University of Buffalo.

The abnormality was found in 56.4% of MS patients and also in 22.4% of healthy controls.

The MS Society said it was intriguing but not proof that this caused MS – as one leading expert claims.


I don’t want to make excuses but, isn’t there a logical fallacy here? Or are they just leaving something out of the report (like the corresponding toddler-weights for the non-obese):

Obesity ‘often set before age of two’

A study of more than 100 obese children and teenagers found more than half were overweight by 24 months and 90% were overweight by the age of five.

A quarter were overweight before they were five months old, the researchers reported in Clinical Pediatrics.

In the UK, around 27% of children are now overweight.

The children in the study – who had an average age of 12 – were all overweight or obese by the age of 10.


I don’t know about you but, I hardly ever know in advance that I’m going to be losing sleep for a week. . .

Bank sleep to fight tiredness, research says

As anyone who has unwittingly drifted off at their desk will know – tiredness can really creep up on you when you least need it.

But a new study is offering some good news: it claims to prove that we can bank sleep – and store it up in advance of a tiring event.


This stuff has been in the news everyday around here but, I didn’t know it was made in China.:

Cops: Imitation pot as bad as the real thing

There may be nothing like the real thing, but some industrious marijuana users have seized on an obscure but easily accessible substance that mimics the drug’s effects on the brain — creating a popular trade in legal dope that has stymied law enforcement authorities.

The users are buying a product known as K2 — or “Spice,” Genie” and “Zohai” — that is commonly sold in head shops as incense. Produced in China and Korea, the mixture of herbs and spices is sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Users roll it up in joints or inhale it from pipes, just like the real thing.

Though banned in most of Europe, K2’s key ingredients are not regulated in the United States — a gap that has prompted lawmakers in Missouri and Kansas to consider new legislation.

(snip)

Authorities in Johnson County, Kan., discovered ex-convicts on probation smoking K2, and said it is spreading to high school students.


Virus has breached 75,000 computers: study

A new type of computer virus is known to have breached almost 75,000 computers in 2,500 organizations around the world, including user accounts of popular social network websites, according Internet security firm NetWitness.

The latest virus — known as “Kneber botnet” — gathers login credentials to online financial systems, social networking sites and email systems from infested computers and reports the information back to hackers, NetWitness said in a statement.


As a member of a state retirement plan, this story was particularly interesting to me. Here are the links to the status of your state retirement plan.

The Trillion Dollar Gap: Underfunded State Retirement Systems and the Road to Reform

$1 trillion. That’s the gap at the end of fiscal year 2008 between the $2.35 trillion states had set aside to pay for employees’ retirement benefits and the $3.35 trillion price tag of those promises.

Why does it matter? Because every dollar spent to reduce the unfunded retirement liability cannot be used for education, public safety and other needs. Ultimately, taxpayers could face higher taxes or cuts in essential public services.


I don’t get why it’s so hard to get tests like this run. It seems like they should test the water every year:

Report on Marines’ water omitted cancer chemical

The Marine Corps had been warned nearly a decade earlier about the dangerously high levels of benzene, which was traced to massive leaks from fuel tanks at the base on the North Carolina coast, according to recently disclosed studies.

For years, Marines who served at Camp Lejeune have blamed their families’ cancers and other ailments on tap water tainted by dry cleaning solvents, and many accuse the military of covering it up. The benzene was discovered as part of a broader, ongoing probe into that contamination.

When water was sampled in July 1984, scientists found benzene in a well near the base’s Hadnot Point Fuel Farm at levels of 380 parts per billion, according to a water tests done by a contractor. A year later, in a report summarizing the 1984 sampling, the same contractor pointed out the benzene concentration “far exceeds” the safety limit set by federal regulators at 5 parts per billion.


Crap! I don’t want to have to worry about the Redwoods ::

Fog decline threatens US redwoods

Scientists in California say a drop in coastal fog could threaten the state’s famed giant redwood trees.

(snip)

“Fog prevents water loss from redwoods in summer and is really important for the tree and the forest,” said research co-author Professor Todd Dawson.

The team at the University of California, Berkeley was interested in how fog was involved in climate changes on the coast and noticed a drop that they believe could have an effect on the trees.


Well, I’m off to get new tires for my car. Then this afternoon I get to play with Joaniebone!!