Friday, December 14, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Janzer added that the site was working to make it clearer which retailers were participating in the program through "visual cues," as well as providing more information in help pages. The post makes no mention of discontinuing the program or bowing to MoveOn's demands for an "opt-in" system, where users specifically approve their participation before their purchases are broadcast to friends' pages.
In fact, the 46,000 users in MoveOn's protest group make up less than 0.1% of the site's user base, points out Jeremiah Owyang, an analyst with Forrest Research. That's far fewer than the hundreds of thousands of users who convinced Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to apologize and disassemble a more public version of the site's News Feed application in September of last year.
It's also less than the 436,000 users who have joined "Apple Students" fan group--a sign, according to Owyang, that Facebook's advertising tactic of associating users with brands will win out despite privacy protests. "When you look at how users actually care about personal information, the majority may be concerned, but are they going to do anything about it? Not likely. Typically Web users tend to be like sheep."
Found at Forbes
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
The recent hand-off from Alan Greenspan, the maestro of the Global Economy, to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke may turn out to have been a lateral far behind the line of scrimmage, leaving Bernanke holding the bag for a recession for which he is no more responsible than was the hapless Hoover.
But the Fed is responsible not only for the national economy. It is responsible for defending the dollar, which represents the real savings and wealth of the nation. And that dollar has lost more value in seven years than in any similar period in modern history. A euro, worth 83 cents the year Bush was elected, has risen in value to $1.47.
Late Saturday night, I was walking up to the ATM on Church Street and South University Avenue, when a SUV full of drunk men yelled at me, "Fuck you, Afghanistan bitch!" I kept walking, ignoring this eloquent comment. They targeted me because I was wearing my keffiyeh, a checkered Palestine solidarity scarf, which is not in any way related to Afghanistan. I'm white and Jewish, yet I still experienced anti-Muslim racism.
Beyond changes on campus, we must establish truth and reconciliation commissions, modeled after South Africa's post-apartheid resolution process - a process that is now being applied across America in communities that are no longer willing to sweep ongoing injustices under the carpet. Without addressing past wrongs, power dynamics will continue to be asymmetric, and the racial hierarchy will remain unchanged.
[The author] is an Ann Arbor-raised, Detroit-based emcee and activist.
By wearing a keffiyeh, it makes a statement that you sympathize with Palestinian terrorism. The keffiyeh serves no religious function and is ONLY used to make a political statement.
So let me see, you're a white, Jewish, hip-hop "artist" who sympathizes with Palestinian terrorism. Question 1: Where can I get your CD? That should be, um, interesting.
OK, you certainly don't deserve to be shouted at or have stuff thrown at you. I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume your values are confused due to your age and lack of knowledge. But your ignorance makes me sick and your "Jewishness" is clearly out of birth and not based on your values. So don't go holding that out as a shield.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
"I think it's a ridiculous law because people are going to drink whether there are games involved or not. They're at a bar."
Friday, June 29, 2007
Regardless of whether a merger actually takes place, the two cities are pressing ahead with plans for regionally combined services, including a consolidated 911 emergency dispatch system, a regional communications center that would handle such things as televising public meetings, and a fire station that would be staffed by firefighters from both cities.
Merging these two cities would be a great start, but my dream politician for Michigan would do something about the townships (like get rid of them!). Charter townships are a developer's dream, and a breeding ground for suburban sprawl, and rural areas no longer need such a small unit of government.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Last week, Vice President Dick Cheney justified ignoring an executive order on the grounds that he is not part of the executive branch. This week, he argues that he is exempt on the basis of executive privilege.
Just one more instance of the Bush/Cheney administration acting as though they are above the law.
- Chief Justice John Roberts, in the 5-4 majority decision that race cannot be a used as a factor in determining what school students attend.
Friday, June 22, 2007
His admission that he made a mistake in voting to authorize the invasion of Iraq is well-known; less well known is his 2001 vote in favor of a change in bankruptcy law that consumer advocates say made it harder for families to get out of debt, about which he wrote in 2005, "I can't say it more simply than this: I was wrong."
So what are we to make of a presidential contender who is repeatedly -- by his own admission -- wrong. It would be one thing if these were relatively inconsequential or obscure votes, but these were not. The bankruptcy bill was controversial at the time, and was extensively debated, and though not as heavily debated, no one disputes the significance of the Iraq war vote.
I still like John Edwards, but if he was wrong on these important issues, what else will he get wrong?
Thursday, June 14, 2007
First, his good idea: requiring health insurance companies to justify their rates by forcing them to spend at least 85% of premiums collected on health care. A handful of states, including New York and Florida, already have such laws, and this idea is ready for nation-wide implementation.
But Edwards' idea for controlling the cost of drugs would be a disaster. Edwards' plan would remove long-term patents from breakthrough drugs, allowing generic drugs to be produced much sooner. Unfortunately for Edwards (and for all of us, if this piece of his plan is implemented), removing long-term patent protection removes most of the incentive for pharmaceutical firms to conduct expensive research and development. Not only would patent removal lead to a decline in R&D (and hence in new drugs brought to market), but since branding would be the only difference among firms' products, we would probably see an increase in drug advertising -- exactly the opposite of what we should be working toward.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
My (unrealistic) proposal is to split the top tier of NCAA basketball (division 1-A) into a semiprofessional or professional minor league and a league of true student-athletes. Teams opting into the professional league might maintain some relationship to their schools, but would drop any pretense of academics; they would essentially be "basketball schools." They might implement some rules regarding player age or experience, but players would be paid like the professional athletes they are. Teams opting to remain amateur would operate more like the "lower" NCAA divisions, limiting or even eliminating athletic scholarships (and certainly banning athletic recruiting); players would be students who happen to enjoy the sport but are not on an athletic career path. With such a division, basketball players seeking a professional career would no longer be forced into pretending they want a college degree, the NBA could have a real "developmental league," and university administrators could spend more time and energy on improving the academic quality of their school.
The biggest problem I see with implementing such a system is that the schools that must be convinced are the schools with the most to lose, schools such as my alma maters of the University of Kentucky and Michigan State University, schools like North Carolina, Duke, Florida, UCLA, and Louisville. To ensure a smoother transition, and to make this proposal more palatable to these schools, they should be permitted to keep a substantial stake in their teams. For example, the "University of Kentucky Wildcats" might become the "Kentucky Wildcats," a minor league professional team owned and managed by the University of Kentucky. Or they might create the "University of Kentucky College of Basketball" (OK, School of Basketball in the College of Athletics).
First, after announcing his departure and signing a contract with the NBA's Orlando Magic, Billy Donovan asked to be released from that contract to return to Florida. The Gators welcomed him back with open arms, and for most practical purposes it is as though he never left.
In returning to Gainesville, Donovan accepted a six-year contract worth $3,500,000. At the same time, Florida football coach Urban Meyer received a six-year contract for $3,250,000.
Compare this treatment of college coaches with the treatment their players receive; if a player even retains an agent, it is unlikely he will ever be allowed to play college basketball again. At best he might be allowed to return after sitting out half of a season. And don't even think about paying your players; the "student-athletes" are supposed to be grateful for their college scholarships -- scholarships they only need so they can play basketball for a few years before entering the NBA.
Coming soon: How to fix basketball.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The Democratic nomination is a different story. It seems to be a relatively even four-way race among Steve Beshear, Steve Henry, Bruce Lunsford, and Jody Richards. In the most recent polls, Beshear has held a modest lead, followed by Lunsford, Henry, and then Richards; however, the four have traded the lead throughout the campaign, and none have even come close to achieving majority support. If no candidate reaches 40% of the vote, a runoff will occur, forcing the candidates to spend money that could otherwise be banked for the general election.
This creates a peculiar dynamic, in which front-runners try to steal votes, not from each other, but from the other candidates. Imagine Bush and Gore attacking Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader, respectively, rather than debating each other. (OK, so Gore did attack Nader, that's exactly the point!)
The problem is that, too often, political candidates argue that we should vote for them because they are likely to win, rather than because they are the best candidate.
The much bigger problem is that, all too often, this tactic succeeds.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
From long lines to check in, to delays and cancellations, to lost luggage, flying has never struck me as an attractive way to travel. If it didn't have the virtue of being far faster than any alternative, would anyone ever fly?
Things have apparently gotten much worse. Not only are flights being delayed, seemingly in record numbers, but there is apparently a new trend of people being forced to wait on the plane for hours. Consider this story of 180 people trapped on a 757 for 10 hours.
Passengers on the flight say they will always remember the pizza. After about five hours, a flight attendant announced that “an American executive” had ordered pizzas to be delivered from the airport. Five boxes arrived.
Flight attendants, who, according to one passenger, had been “missing in action most of the time,” cut the slices into tiny pieces — 70 in all. Flight attendants said that only those who “really needed it” should take one, a passenger said.
Via This Is Broken
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
This is an image of Google Finance before US markets open in the morning.
Here's a close up.
By showing marks descending only to -0.25% but rising to +0.5%, it is implied that market declines will be less (and less likely) than increases. While this is true on a long term (multi-year) basis, for a single day it is false.
If even such a basic (and presumably objective) tool as a chart is so badly biased, what does this say about the state of financial reporting?