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Monthly Archives: March 2012

OK, Be a Little Evil

March 22nd, 2012 - 3:15 pm

Or at least be a little creepy:

The patent discusses the technology to analyze the background noise during your phone call and serve up ads for you based on the environmental conditions Google picks up on. Yeah, that’s creepy.

While Google isn’t technically “listening” to your calls, meaning there isn’t someone on the other line listening to your conversation, the fact that the company could unleash technology that monitors our calls in real-time is weird.

Weird? Yeah — but mostly creepy.

In its heyday, Microsoft was huge and always trying to wring a buck out of you. And it was famous (infamous?) for using its brutish strength to have it way with new markets. But Google is going far, far beyond that.

Sadly Breathtaking

March 22nd, 2012 - 2:08 pm

State-of-the-art images of the Titanic. Just click.

I Refuse to Work Under These Conditions!

March 22nd, 2012 - 12:39 pm

Now there’s a first: My internet-based employer has no internets.

I turned in my script and clips and links for today’s Week in Blogs shoot on time, despite being behind all morning. Put my earpiece in, threw on a sports coat, clipped on my mic, turned on the lights, and sat down in front of the camera. Dialed the Ipela into work and… they didn’t pick up. So I tried the second channel, and then the third. The PJTV computer (an Amiga 500 with the upgraded memory and Kickstart 2.0) refused to take my calls.

Turns out, about 20 minutes ago their internets all shriveled up and blew away. Not sure what happened, but Producer-in-Training Sammie tells me they’re working on it.

I wonder if they tried rebooting the Amiga?

UPDATE: Yeah, we’re out of business of making TV for today. What’s amazing to me is, how little trouble we have. I have heard (and seen) some real horror stories of TV production, and I’m pretty sure that organized chaos is the norm. But day in, day out, we hit our deadlines — even though we’re spread all over the country and have just a few magic wand wavers back in LA.

Honestly, I don’t know how they do it.

The Welfare Line Forms to the Left

March 22nd, 2012 - 8:49 am

Trifecta: Fair and balanced reporting from a Pelosi?

HINT: It ain’t Nancy.

You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet

March 21st, 2012 - 4:04 pm

Tax collectors with their own special forces are a clear indicator that Big Government is suffering the first of its death spasms.

From here, things will get truly ugly.

Review: The New iPad

March 21st, 2012 - 12:50 pm

Not an Actual iPad It took me a few days of heavy use before I finally “got” the new iPad. I was an early adopter of the original model, so much so that my laptop hasn’t once in two years left the studio desk where it runs my teleprompter. When the iPad 2 came out last year, I never even considered upgrading. Sure, it was faster and thinner and weighed less and had better graphics and it could take pictures and make video calls — but it still didn’t really do much of anything my old one didn’t do.

So here’s the new iPad. It’s a little thicker and a littler heavier than the 2, although still thinner and lighter than the 1. It sports even faster graphics, albeit wedded to the same-speed CPU. And both the front- and rear-facing cameras, which I will almost never use, are much nicer.

So why am I so completely jazzed about the new iPad?

It comes down to just one thing: That screen. That gorgeous, lickable, touchable, incomprehensible screen. Every time I see it, I feel like David Bowman in his own personal orbit around Jupiter: “My God, it’s full of stars!”

Apple took the acceptable 1,024 x 768 screen of the previous iPads, and doubled the linear resolution to 2,048 x 1,536. That’s four times as many pixels. It’s 50% more pixels than your 50- or 60-inch HDTV musters. At that density, it’s simply impossible to distinguish individual pixels at a typical reading distance. Perhaps just as important, color saturation is increased almost 50%.

That sounds nice on paper, but does it really mean anything?

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What the Elle is She Thinking?

March 21st, 2012 - 11:17 am

Trifecta: Elle MacPherson, self-described socialist and super geeeeeeeeenius, loves her some President Obama.

Why the love between the superrich and super-statists? Trifecta explains.

We’re Saved!

March 21st, 2012 - 9:49 am

Good news, folks — that Buffett Plan you’ve heard so much about? The one that would tax the bejeebus out of rich people? Well, get this: The Buffett plan would raise nearly $3 billion in additional revenue the very first year. That’s nearly one-third of one percent of this year’s deficit!

Time to party like it’s 1999.

Yesterday, I warned you that “we’re doomed” because the latest Ryan plan to balance the budget is too timid. And longtime reader Neil added a thoughtful response in the comments:

I suspect that a target of zero deficit in 2040 will work. Here’s why: The problem we’re running into right now is that the deficit is projected to increase faster than economic growth, forever. Obviously, that can’t work and the currency markets will punish us for that if current policy becomes set in stone.

The dirty little secret here is that it is arithmetically possible to run a deficit forever, as long as the percent deficit is on average less than GDP growth on average. What Ryan’s plan does is to get the deficit down below GDP growth quick enough to satisfy the bond markets that our debt will be paid.

And, strictly speaking, that’s all that is necessary.

In normal times, this is absolutely true. Problem is, we’re not in normal times. In fact, the federal government of the United States of America is sitting on top of the world’s biggest adjustable rate mortgage — and the payments are set to radically increase.

Let me explain.

Historically, Washington financed most of its debt by selling 30-year Treasuries. But then a couple things happened during the Naughts:

• The Fed dropped interest rates to record lows, to keep the economy juiced in the aftermath of 9/11.

• The Bush administration began financing the debt with two-year and three-year Treasuries, to take advantage of those low interest rates. And, not coincidentally, to mask the true size of its spending problem.

As a result, we ran up the total debt to $10,000,000,000,000. But our interest payments — the mortgage payments, if you will — didn’t bust the budget, thanks to low rates on short terms.

Then the financial crisis of 2008 hit, caused in no small part by all that cheap debt made available by the Fed. Unemployment payouts skyrocketed. Tax revenues plummeted. The Obama/Reid/Pelosi “stimulus” added another near-trillion in debt, in one fell swoop.

Our “unsustainable” and “unpatriotic” borrowing soared from a measly couple hundred billion (“Hey, no problem, man — I can cover that in my sleep!”) to almost two trillion dollars in 2009 alone. That’s a two followed by twelve zeroes, like this: $2,000,000,000,000. And the next two years weren’t much better.

As an aside, the spending problem in 2009-2010 was even worse than it appears at first glance. Democrats love to remind you that Bush’s last deficit was $1.4 trillion — not much less than President Obama’s record $1.8 trillion the next year. However, Bush’s number includes $700 billion (half the total) in emergency TARP funds — most of which were paid back over the next two years. In other words, TARP shows up as an expense in Bush’s final budget, but the paybacks show up as income in Obama’s first two budgets. TARP made Bush’s spending problem look worse than it actually was, and it masked just how awful Obama’s spending problem was and is.

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This Is a Test

March 20th, 2012 - 4:44 pm

It is only a test. Had this been an actual blog, it would feature fascinating and witty content — or at least something better than this.

Actually, just testing the WordPress app on the new iPad. Always had trouble with it on the old one, so I have my fingers crossed.

Trifecta: Ahhhh — the Golden Age of liberal misogyny and the real war against women.

By His Own Petard

March 20th, 2012 - 2:25 pm

It only took three years, but President Obama has wracked up more debt than President Bush did in eight, despite the war ending in Iraq and the surge coming to an end in Afghanistan. Here’s the chart, courtesy of CBS.

But whatever you do, don’t call the President unpatriotic. We’ll let him do that for us.

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Hey, GOP — run this one non-stop, why don’t you?

Denver is Doomed

March 20th, 2012 - 1:48 pm

It’s unofficially official:

The big deal is done. Peyton Manning is a Denver Bronco. A person familiar with negotiations says that Manning and the Broncos completed his five-year contract worth about $96 million on Tuesday morning. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Manning is to be introduced at a news conference…

We’re getting rid of a young and exciting QB for an old guy with a neck problem.

Sigh.

We’re Doomed

March 20th, 2012 - 12:55 pm

Paul Ryan is probably the best thing in Washington these days — but that’s not saying much. Here’s his “bold” plan for deficit reduction:

The proposal, authored by Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), calls for spending cuts and tax changes that would put the nation on course to wipe out deficits and balance the budget by 2040. The national debt would continue to rise but would shrink to the historic norm as a percentage of an expanding economy. [Emphasis added.]

Balance the budget no sooner than 2040, with no way to promise that future congresses will actually abide by the Ryan Plan?

That’s just not good enough.

Hyperinflation and economic collapse to follow — and long before 2040.

Of course, the Washington Post doesn’t notice (or care?) about that. Read down a little further, but first get your hanky ready:

All told, Ryan proposes to slash federal spending by $5.3 trillion over the next decade compared with President Obama’s latest budget blueprint, with the biggest savings taken from health programs — including the repeal of Obama’s initiative to expand health coverage to the uninsured — and entitlements for the poor.

Mean old Republicans are trying to postpone the fiscal Day of Reckoning by a few months or years, because they hate poor people and ObamaCare. But wait — there’s more! Read on:

Ryan says he will stage a vote on the plan in the House Budget Committee on Wednesday, and that he has the necessary support to move it to the House floor. Even if it were to win approval, the blueprint would be rejected by the Democratic-controlled Senate. But Ryan said it would provide a foundation for the GOP’s election-year push for a radically smaller federal government.

Balancing the budget, maybe, perhaps, in 28 years would make Washington “radically smaller.” Cutting $5,000,000,000,000 out of a projected $50,000,000,000,000 is “radically smaller.”

If this is the best we’ve got — on Capitol Hill or in the DC press corps — then it’s not too soon to say we’re doomed.

Whoever Makes V8 — Yeah, Buy That Stock

March 19th, 2012 - 4:44 pm

I watch the Sunday shows with a pitcher of Bloody Marys and a foam brick I can throw at the television. Then I report the results back to you, as a little Hair of the Dog.

This week, we’ve got Bob Schieffer donning his cape to play Captain Obvious, David Axelrod obviously sweating over gas prices, and George Stephanopoulos taking an obviously-needed vacation.

BONUS: The secret arrest video George Clooney doesn’t want you to see.

Rick Santorum: American Pie

March 19th, 2012 - 11:31 am

The headline to the link reads, “Why the Republican ‘Establishment’ Can’t Stomach Rick Santorum.” Let me add a subhead that says, “And why I can’t, either.” So forgive the lengthy excerpt, but this Mark Davis column is important.

I couldn’t define it until I recently read Mark Twain’s account of his return to Hannibal, Missouri, in Life on the Mississippi.

Twain wrote:

The Model Boy of my time — we never had but the one — was perfect: perfect in manners, perfect in dress, perfect in conduct, perfect in filial piety, perfect in exterior godliness; but at bottom he was a prig; and as for the contents of his skull, they could have changed place with the contents of a pie, and nobody would have been the worse off for it but the pie.

As for the contents of Santorum’s skull, I see not pie-filling but a zest for culture war. Launching a culture war now would fracture the Republican Party, while striking independent voters as massively beside-the-point with near 9 percent unemployment and an international situation pregnant with danger.

In the face of such a simple political target as President Obama, Santorum simply cannot stay on message. He and his people feel compelled to go beyond the issue of religious liberty to let us know that he believes contraception is morally wrong. I respect his right to that belief—and I join him in passionately upholding the right of the Catholic Church not to be coerced into acting against its doctrine on contraception. But that doesn’t mean I embrace that belief itself. I don’t. And I sure don’t want to hear about contraception from the bully pulpit of the White House—neither do tens of millions of other Republicans, many of them Catholics.

Or take Santorum’s strange denouncement of President Obama as a “snob” for wanting people to go to college. Or his odd diatribe against John F. Kennedy over his classic speech on separation of church and state. Both statements may contain many yeasty issues and fine distinctions—all of them are irrelevant to beating Obama.

And really, how tone-deaf do you have to be to launch an out-of-the-blue attack on JFK?

Or as I put it a couple weeks ago, “Santorum is the “See ‘n’ Say candidate.” As if to add just one more bullet point to an already-long list of missteps, this weekend Santorum launched a war on porn. You can imagine the hay they’re making on the left, but even at Forbes they think Rick has stuck his foot in yet another pile of his own doo-doo:

Ultimately, we have bigger problems than restricting what adults can do with other adults. If Santorum really wants to fight obscenity he should focus on limiting the crazy things senators and congressmen do with unconsenting taxpayer dollars.

Indeed. And what’s next — a crusade to strike the word “bitchin’” from the patois of America’s youth? With Santorum, you just never know what triviality is going to earn his ire or where his campaign will veer. If he’s the nominee, each week a gleeful press will set him up and knock him down — all the while enabling Team Obama to avoid talking about jobs or ObamaCare. It’s like the GOP now has a special Kamikaze Wing.

And the worst part? I’ll never be able to look at pie the same way again.

What’s Wrong with American Health Care

March 19th, 2012 - 10:48 am

From Jim Pethokoukis:

Please note that ObamaCare exacerbates each problem along each step of the way.

Outrage of the Week

March 19th, 2012 - 10:07 am

Trifecta: How one black middle school student found herself on the vindictive end of the public school system by quoting… Frederick Douglass?

Yes, Frederick Douglass.

Caption Contest: De Nada Edition

March 18th, 2012 - 8:15 am

Drudge captioned this recent beach shot of Santorum with “Rick Rico.” But I prefer “Rick Rolled.”

What’ve you got?

Friday Night Videos

March 17th, 2012 - 9:41 pm
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Since this one is a day late and a dollar short…

Subsidize THIS!

March 17th, 2012 - 11:05 am

Getting razzed by Toyota is like getting the finger from a nun — it just doesn’t happen. And yet:

Toyota is getting frisky. Per a press release, Toyota U.S.A. reports brisk sales of the game-changing Prius c compact hybrid. Then, TMS goes on to say that “In its first three days on the market, it sold 1,201 units, making it one Toyota’s fastest-selling vehicles and eclipsing Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf sales for the entire month of February.”

And from the comments:

I’m confused… If you produce a product that people want and you sell it at a price that people can afford, it sells?

Fancy that. And Toyota did it without any DOE “loans.”

Chris Rock throws a tantrum (and a camcorder), Randi Rhodes wants your ovaries, and a shot of Wild Turkey just ain’t what it used to be — all on another exciting episode of…

The Week in Blogs!

BONUS: Some weeks, just one Scary Ass Chart won’t do.

Program Note

March 16th, 2012 - 4:12 pm

I’ll be on the Tony Katz Show at 6:15PM Eastern. That’s just a couple minutes from right now.

A New World Record!

March 16th, 2012 - 10:05 am

Wow. Krugman is on a tear:

To be a modern Republican in good standing, you have to believe — or pretend to believe — in two miracle cures for whatever ails the economy: more tax cuts for the rich and more drilling for oil. And with prices at the pump on the rise, so is the chant of “Drill, baby, drill.” More and more, Republicans are telling us that gasoline would be cheap and jobs plentiful if only we would stop protecting the environment and let energy companies do whatever they want.

How many lies? Let’s count:

1. Keeping existing tax rates is not a “cut.”

2. $2.50 is not “cheap.”

3. Who’s promising “plentiful jobs” based on non-cuts and drilling? Some jobs are promised.

4. Who’s threatening to gut the EPA? No one.

5. Who’s promising to let energy companies “do whatever they want?” No one.

I’ve got five lies in three sentences. What’s your count?

And that’s just the lede, by the way — I refuse to read the whole thing.

– in pirated content, or so claims the RIAA.

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I’d take these guys more seriously if they weren’t such idiot bumbling lying thieves.

Prepare to be Frisked

March 15th, 2012 - 9:58 am

Trifecta: Welcome to post-Constitutional America.

Fill it to the RIM — With Fail

March 14th, 2012 - 11:04 am

If you’re still not sure what to do with that overpriced and underpowered PlayBook, why not spend another $120 to turn it into a faux netbook?

It’s geeeeeeeeenius!

Crush Rush Sucks Much

March 14th, 2012 - 9:13 am

Trifecta: Will the FCC be the next ones to try and silence Rush?

You’re Doing it Wrong

March 14th, 2012 - 7:39 am

This just got forwarded to me this morning. Just a job opening, which is nice. But one of the requirements stands out like a sore thumb, and not just because of the all-caps:

National Outdoor Company looking for DYNAMIC FRONT OFFICE PERSON !!
Must be a team player !
We are looking for that Hard to find person that can do it all. AND SHOW UP FOR WORK !!

Show up for work? That needs saying? What’s wrong with us?

Click on the Fish?

March 13th, 2012 - 4:40 pm
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Clearly, Microsoft has some work to do before they release Windows 8.