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Monthly Archives: March 2012

And See Why Maryland Police Arrested Batman

March 31st, 2012 - 8:33 am

Rock the Vote demeans the Army, Joe Biden probably has brain damage, and OWS is down in the dumps — all on another exciting episode of…

The Week in Blogs!

BONUS: Check out the big brain on Marco Rubio.

Friday Night Videos

March 30th, 2012 - 10:03 pm
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For about two years there, nobody — and I mean nobody — rocked harder than Chrissie Hynde.

Don’t Be Evil Stupid

March 30th, 2012 - 9:15 am

I’m not sure shocking is the right word, but it sure is some kind of weird about Google:

Android generated less than $550m in revenues for Google between 2008 and the end of 2011, if figures provided by the search giant as part of a settlement offer with Oracle ahead of an expected patent and copyright infringement trial are an accurate guide.

Kinda makes that $12.5 billion acquisition of flailing handset maker Motorola harder to understand. And then there’s the next graf:

The figures also suggest that Apple devices such as the iPhone, which use products such as its Maps as well as Google Search in its Safari browser, generated more than four times as much revenue for Google as its own handsets in the same period.

Android has Apple so pissed off at Google, that Apple is moving away from Google Maps for iOS with its own product, and is moving away from Google Search with Siri. Whatever the result of Apple’s patent war, it’s clear that Google’s future with iOS devices is bleak — and it didn’t have to be that way.

It’s as if, a dozen years ago, Microsoft had gone head-to-head with Dell to sell beige box PCs.

Time to Refill the Kool-Aid

March 30th, 2012 - 7:58 am

Peggy Noonan, still slowly coming off her Obama bender, writes:

What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who’s not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it’s his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it’s a big fault.

I’m speechless that this is supposed to be news.

A Gentle Reminder

March 29th, 2012 - 11:38 am

Twitter these days has become a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Still, you should follow me.

“My state is red, your state is blue… “

March 29th, 2012 - 10:51 am

Over at the PJ Tatler, I’m trying my hand at poetry.

What? I can have levels.

Sign “O” the Times

March 29th, 2012 - 9:57 am

Trifecta: Are you a proud member of #Gen44? That’s right — President Obama has rebranded the Millennial generation with his own distinctive mark.

Let the Excuse-Mongering Begin!

March 29th, 2012 - 8:02 am

A few headlines for you from today and yesterday:

Why the health-care law might stand at the Supreme Court

Obamacare: Not Dead Yet

In Defense of Don Verrilli: Why the Solicitor General Actually Did a Great Job Defending Obamacare

Obamacare’s Supreme Court Disaster

Why the Obamacare Verdict Won’t Have Any Effect on the 2012 Election

Another Worrisome Morning at the Supreme Court

These headlines aren’t from PJ Media or Reason or the Washington Times. No, they come from the Washington Post, The Nation, The New Republic, Mother Jones, and then TNR two more times. I should mention that TNR has been in all-hands-on-deck crisis mode trying to prop up ObamaCare. But, really, it’s no more than a cold washcloth on the forehead of the victim of a very nasty fever.

Needless to say, this isn’t how presumptive winners talk.

UPDATE: I almost missed A.B. Stoddard, wearing Eu de Desperation, arguing that “Appeal Helps Obama.”

OH, FINE — ONE MORE: The Doyle McManus subhead claims, “The president chose a mandate to avoid a tax hike. Now that decision has put his healthcare law at risk.”

I usually just blame it on the Bossa Nova.

Santorum: Collapsing the Keystone

March 28th, 2012 - 1:35 pm

Rick Santorum is having trouble in… his home state of Pennsylvania? Looks that way:

With the state primary four weeks away, Santorum now finds himself nearly tied with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney among the state’s Republicans, and support is eroding rapidly, according to a Franklin & Marshall College poll out today.

“The real Rick Santorum has emerged,” said G. Terry Madonna, director of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll.

Santorum ran a disciplined campaign for eight months, but a month ago he began veering off message into all these cultural and social issues,” Madonna said, referring to flare-ups over women in combat and contraceptives. “That may help with his core voters, but they’re already with him. This is supposed to be about expanding your base.”

The poll of 505 registered Republican voters, conducted March 20-25 in conjunction with the Tribune-Review and other media outlets, shows Santorum clinging to a small lead over Romney, 30 percent to 28 percent, within the poll’s 4.2 percent margin of error. [Emphasis added]

I hate to say “I told you so,” but I did — at least three times.

I owe a tip of the hat to Santorum supporter Ed Morrissey, who adds:

On the surface, it makes it look as though voters won’t have much reason to choose between the two front-runners. Santorum still gets higher favorables (54/26) than Romney (46/25), but that may change when Romney starts focusing on Pennsylvania after next Tuesday. The other states holding primaries on the 24th are New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware — all states that Romney should win easily. Romney can afford to try a knockout blow in the Keystone State in the three weeks open to him.

If Santorum can’t carry Pennsylvania, the race will be over. Team Santorum had better hope this is an outlier.

One poll doesn’t make a trend. But PA comes at the end of a “tough month” for Santorum, which could make for a cascade effect of collapsing support.

Stand. Your. Ground.

March 28th, 2012 - 11:19 am

Trifecta: The mainstream media is determined to use the Trayvon Martin tragedy to push its agenda of racial division. Political insider Matthew Dowd even went so far as to implicate Christianity in the death of Trayvon. Some are even referring to the shooter George Zimmerman as a “white hispanic.” Is the left determined to pit the entire nation against itself?

Find out.

But “Open” is Better!

March 28th, 2012 - 9:15 am

PC Mag wanted to find out if iOS really has better tablet apps than Android. Well

So I assembled my own list of potential app providers. To create a list of top brands, I looked at Nielsen’s top 10 global Web companies, online video destinations, and U.S. TV networks; Alexa’s top 10 U.S. websites; the top 10 retail banks as measured by the Federal Reserve; 10 top online game publishing houses; Nielsen’s top 20 Android apps by usage; and Apple’s top 10 paid and top 10 free iPad apps by usage. I looked for official apps from each of these companies.

Finding tablet-oriented apps for Android is a hunt, a chore, and a grind. You can find some by looking in the very small Suggested for Tablets area on Google Play, using search terms like “Tablet” or “HD” in Google Play, or using the Tablified Market third-party directory ($1.49).

Things get even worse when you realize Google Play shows different apps on its website and on individual tablets; even though the Google Play website claims some apps run on an Asus Transformer Prime, the apps didn’t show up on Google Play on the Prime.

And just because an app claims to run on tablets doesn’t mean it was designed for tablets. Often, after you download an app you’ll discover that it’s ugly or nearly useless because it was designed for a 4-inch screen

How do Android tablet owners put up with this crap?

NOT RELATED: But very funny.

It’ll all be over when Moto boasts that its latest is “ribbed for her pleasure.”

Short story: Inventories up, orders down. Here’s the slightly longer version from Zero Hedge:

We have been keeping a close eye on economic reports in the month of March and as of this morning’s just reported Durable Goods number we are now officially at miss 15 of 17. The headline print was +2.2% to a total of $211.8 billion, on expectations of +3.0%, up from a revised -3.6% decline in January. Ex-transportation, the number was +1.6% on expectations of a 1.7% increase, while Non-defense ex aircraft was up 1.2% on Exp. of 1.5%. The primary driver in the core slump was electrical equipment which slide 2.5% in February from $10.5 billion to $10.25 billion – are Americans getting all “gizmoed out?” And finally, for those who are saying the inventory restocking is over, we have two words: Dead Wrong. “Inventories of manufactured durable goods in February, up twenty-six consecutive months, increased $1.6 billion or 0.4 percent to $373.7 billion. This was at the highest level since the series was first published on a NAICS basis in 1992 and followed a 0.6 percent January increase.

Look for lower profits as businesses cut prices to clear inventories. They’ll have to cut hiring, too, until the shelves are emptier.

Flexibility

March 27th, 2012 - 4:16 pm

Trifecta: Open mic night in Russia — diplomatic business-as-usual or portent of something sinister?

The New iPad: Second Look [UPDATED]

March 27th, 2012 - 2:19 pm

Just a few more observations after a few more days with my shiny new toy.

The heat issue is a non-issue. Not only have I not noticed it, but Wired conducted its own tests and concluded:

So that’s the new iPad — it spiked at a temperature that’s warm but not unseemly. And its heat generation isn’t even all that notable when compared against the pack. Now check out the heat generated by other tablets after 30 minutes of Dead Space action (degrees in Fahrenheit, from warmest to coolest):

Not only was the new iPad merely tepid in terms of heat generation, it was also one of the cooler-running tablets in our test. But let’s take Consumer Reports’ 116 degree reading at face value. It may cause sweaty hands, but is it any danger to consumers?

Consumer Reports abandoned its former mission in favor of sensationalism a while back. Keep that in mind whenever you read that they’ve found some horrible flaw in the hot product of the moment. I should add that those hotter tablets are all running slower graphics chips and much-lower density screens. What will happen to those Android tabs when they try adding Retina Displays?

The charging issue is another non-issue:

“That circuitry is designed so you can keep your device plugged in as long as you would like,” Tchao said. “It’s a great feature that’s always been in iOS.”

It appears to have gone largely unnoticed until this latest generation iPad, when DisplayMate analyst Ray Soneira noted that his testing showed the iPad not fully charged when it displayed 100 percent.

No matter where in that cycle a battery is, Tchao said, owners of the new iPad can expect the 10 hours of battery life that Apple has promised.

The decision not to keep changing the battery status was designed so as not to distract or confuse users.

Still, it’s best to unplug any device before it reaches 100% charge. Even a trickle charge, like the one just described, is probably harder on your battery than you want to be.

So now that we’ve dismissed Batterygate and Heatgate, how is the thing to use?

Very nice, and in a couple unexpected ways.

I never much used my Original iPad for reading books. The screen just wasn’t comfortable enough for long periods of focused attention. When I wanted to read books, I reached for my Kindle. But without making a conscious decision, sometime last week I made the new iPad into my primary e-reader. The screen renders text so comfortably, that the Kindle is what I use outdoors, where LCDs become impossible to see. Amazon’s WhisperSync still works just fine, no matter which device I have in my hand.

And I confess I’ve fallen in love with LTE. Here in southern Colorado, the speed on my Verizon unit is almost indistinguishable from a household WiFi network. It’s that fast. I’m paying $50 a month for the 5GB plan, and I’ll let you know how hard I push against that data limit. After nine days, I’m safely at 10MB sent and 111MB received — but I haven’t had to do any traveling. Hell, I’ve barely gone anywhere without WiFi. Come BlogCon next month, that could change and in a big way.

My only complaint so far is, the case I want isn’t available yet. So I’m stuck either carrying it around unprotected, or putting it into what looks and feels like an ill-fitting suit. And since that’s the worst thing I have to say about the new iPad, it’s a sure thing I’ll be getting two or three years of great use out of it.

ONE MORE THING: Forgot to mention this last detail before clicking the Publish button, but the nice thing about blogging is, you can always tack on updates.

Apparently, one of the ways Apple gets the iPad’s battery life up to ten hours, is with aggressive use of the Auto-Brightness feature. In bright light, the iPad kicks up the screen’s brightness to compensate. In dark rooms, it dials it down. Both directions use your personal brightness setting as a kind of center point.

For my tastes, however, Auto-Brightness dials it down too low for watching HD video. I curled up in bed last night with my earbuds and The Borgias, and wondered what in the hell had happened to all those glorious Vatican sets and fancy costumes. So I dialed the brightness up a tad and all was well again. When it was time to stop watching TV and go back to reading Atlas Shrugged for the nth time, I turned the brightness back down. Actually, I turned it way, way down — because that’s much easier on the eyes when reading in the dark.

You may turn Auto-Brightness off, if you choose. But I don’t recommend it. I tried that today just to see how much good it really does, and I can tell you: It does a lot of good. My battery is ticking down noticeably faster, and that’s under light processor and WiFi-only loads.

In any case, Apple has made the manual brightness control easy enough to reach. Double-tap your home button to get to the multi-tasking dock, then flick to the right. You’ll find right it alongside the music and screen lock controls.

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It’s still too early, but I like where this is going.

ALSO: “It was really the liberal Justices carrying the [pro-ObamaCare] argument, much more than the lawyer.”

Pathetic. Almost enough to make me think the White House wants the Supremes to strike it down.

End It Don’t Mend It

March 27th, 2012 - 8:30 am

FreedomWorks’ Tabitha Hale got the TSA’s special treatment in Houston:

I felt my stomach drop. I said “I’m not lifting my dress for you. No way.” She was obviously irritated with me now and said that she would take me to the private screening area if I would like.

I said “No, absolutely not. If you can’t do this in front of everyone, you should not be doing this to me.”

She then called a manager over. The manager approached me and explained what they were going to do and that if I failed to comply, they would escort me from the airport. I told her I saw no reason that they should have to lift my dress to clear me to get on a plane. I would have, however, allowed them to escort me out of the airport before they got me to lift my skirt and stick their hands down my tights. I was bracing myself to spend another night in Texas.

She sensed the rebellion in me, and it was almost like they were punishing me for not just lifting my dress and making their lives easier. She checked every inch of my neckline, sticking her fingers between my breasts because she needed to “clear” the (very slight) ruffle.

They cleared the waistband of my tights through my dress, then made me put one leg forward at a time so they could get better “definition of my thigh.” She then proceded to pat down every inch of me, all the way up to my crotch. And yes, she used that word. Twice.

The TSA hasn’t stopped one terrorist, but it sure has humiliated plenty of free people.

The Beginning of the Beginning

March 27th, 2012 - 5:26 am

Looks like bond markets might be starting to notice the “doom and gloom” I told you about last week:

But Wall Street traders were starting to disobey. The yield on the 10-year note 10_YEAR +0.67% has been heading the other way. UBS economists have declared the three-decade long bull rally in government bonds is set to end.

Bernanke is fearful that an increase in yields will kill off the recent gains seen in the U.S. economy. That’s why the Fed has started quarterly press conferences and revealing the interest rate forecasts of Federal Open Market Committee members — all to keep a better grip on interest rates.

But that grip is loosening, and probably not helped by the hawks on the Fed who have been on the warpath saying the central bank really isn’t committed to low rates, after all. Just an hour before Bernanke spoke, Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser was in Paris, warning an audience of a central bank without boundaries.

We’ll go bankrupt two ways: “Gradually, then suddenly.”

Night of the Living Left

March 26th, 2012 - 6:29 pm

I apologize in advance for this week’s Hair of the Dog, but watching the mainstream media feed on the corpse of Trayvon Martin put me in quite a mood.

You’ll love it or hate it.

Program Note

March 26th, 2012 - 6:04 pm

I’ll be on the Michael Brown Show on 850 KOA from 8PM-10PM tonight, with sister special guest Kelly Maher.

Kind of a slow news day — wonder what we’ll talk about?

The definition of insanity just got slightly more detailed:

House liberal Democrats on Monday unveiled a 2013 budget that increases taxes by $4.7 trillion more than President Obama proposed in his own budget last month.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus said the taxes are necessary to fund $2.9 trillion in new stimulus spending to “put Americans back to work” and “rebuild the middle classes” while reducing the deficit. This new spending includes canceling the cuts in last August’s debt ceiling deal between Congress and the White House.

The CPC budget will be offered as an amendment this week to the House GOP budget for 2013, which contains $2 trillion less in revenue than Obama has proposed over ten years.

Liberals get $897 billion in tax revenue from imposing an energy tax on carbon fuels, and $849 billion from taxing Wall Street trades. Another $319 comes from a millionaires surtax. The CPC budget also ends Bush era tax rates for the wealthy.

The taxes won’t collect the promised revenue. The stimulus spending won’t stimulate. And the deficit and debt will both grow, not shrink.

Other than that, though — great plan.

All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic…

March 26th, 2012 - 1:40 pm

What do you call asking a foreign leader to take it easy on you to help your reelection chances, in exchange for neutering a weapons system he doesn’t approve of?

Open mic night in Moscow!

Clear and Present Nothin’

March 26th, 2012 - 1:27 pm

Trifecta: Sit down and enjoy the show as airport security theater descends into airport security farce.

Behold: The TacoCopter

March 25th, 2012 - 12:23 pm

So this is a thing:

We guess a delivery car or bicyclist was too pedestrian for tech folks; over in San Francisco, something called TacoCopter has popped up, delivering online orders of tacos via helicopter — an unmaned, robotic one, to be exact.

According to the bare bones web site, all you have to do is place your order on your iPhone, tap away, and await the TacoCopter.

With just a few thousand of these, and enough tortillas, Hitler could have kept the Sixth Army supplied at Stalingrad.

Mark Steyn needs no introduction, so just dig right in:

But these comparisons tend to understate the insolvency of America, failing as they do to take into account state and municipal debts and public pension liabilities. When Morgan Stanley ran those numbers in 2009, the debt-to-revenue ratio in Greece was 312 percent; in the United States it was 358 percent. If Greece has been knocking back the ouzo, we’re facedown in the vat. Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute calculates that, if you take into account unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare versus their European equivalents, Greece owes 875 percent of GDP; the United States owes 911 percent – or getting on for twice as much as the second-most insolvent Continental: France at 549 percent.

And if you’re thinking, wow, all these percentages are making my head hurt, forget ‘em: When you’re spending on the scale Washington does, what matters is the hard dollar numbers. Greece’s total debt is a few rinky-dink billions, a rounding error in the average Obama budget. Only America is spending trillions. The 2011 budget deficit, for example, is about the size of the entire Russian economy. By 2010, the Obama administration was issuing about a hundred billion dollars of Treasury bonds every month – or, to put it another way, Washington is dependent on the bond markets being willing to absorb an increase of U.S. debt equivalent to the GDP of Canada or India – every year. And those numbers don’t take into account the huge levels of personal debt run up by Americans. College debt alone is over a trillion dollars, or the equivalent of the entire South Korean economy – tied up just in one small boutique niche market of debt which barely exists in most other developed nations.

Right now I absolutely dread being on the same page as Steyn, because that decreases the odds that I’m wrong.

Eyes Only

March 24th, 2012 - 9:55 am

Former Google employees want to stop their old boss from being quite so creepy:

In an effort to help users protect their privacy, two former Google employees have created a company with the aim of stopping Google and other sites from tracking users. Read on for more.

“Advertisers and other third parties track, clutter, and slow down your web browsing,” Disconnect.me explains on its website. “Disconnect makes the web your business not theirs.”

The company offers a simple plug-in for Google’s Chrome browser that allows users to stop sites like Google, Yahoo, Twitter and Facebook from tracking web browsing. According to TechCrunch, the Disconnect.me now attracts more than 400,000 weekly users. The company is just a few months old but it just raised $600,000 in funding from Highland Capital and other firms, and it aims to expand its service to block more websites from tracking users.

I’ve been using Do Not Track Plus for Safari and Chrome, and have been quite happy with it. Will give this new one a try, too.

Richard Branson plays the White House Edition of “Let’s Make a Dope Deal,” Jonah Goldberg scores the Understatement of the Week, and I’m absolutely drowning in scary-ass charts — all on another exciting episode of…

The Week in Blogs!

BONUS: Scientifical proof that eating red meat makes you happy.

Friday Night Videos

March 23rd, 2012 - 9:11 pm
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Lou Reed, live in Paris, 1974.

That’s the Fat Lady Clearing Her Throat

March 23rd, 2012 - 10:19 am

Here’s A.B. Stoddard on “Santorum’s lost message” and what went wrong:

Combined with his push for fewer business regulations and less taxation, Santorum’s message on ObamaCare was all he needed to win over enough Romney voters to close the gap and beat him. It was the key to his appeal to independent voters, and to those voters focused more on the economy than the social issues Santorum has built a reputation championing.

But he strayed, and lost Ohio by 1 percentage point. Then he strayed again, decrying the dangers of porn, claiming the Obama administration “seems to favor pornographers over children and families” because it has “refused to enforce obscenity laws.” So this week he lost Illinois by more than 11 points. He won’t recover.

I hate to say I told you so, but…

Do That Voodoo That You Do So Well

March 23rd, 2012 - 7:47 am

In 2006, 73% of Democrats thought President Bush could “do something” about high gas prices, but today only 33% say the same thing about President Obama.

They’re probably right.

Want

March 22nd, 2012 - 4:46 pm

I shouldn’t have joked earlier about the Commodore Amiga — because it’s back.

Big price, big specs. Not sure what I’d do with it, or even if Commodore’s “Vision” OS is any good. But it sure feels good just knowing Amiga is back out there again.