Profit, Baby, Profit!!

HOUSTON — ExxonMobil (XOM), the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, reported income Thursday that shattered its own record for the biggest profit by a U.S. corporation, earning $14.83 billion in the third quarter.

Bolstered by summer’s record crude prices, the company said net income jumped nearly 58% to $2.86 a share in the July-September period. That compares with $9.41 billion, or $1.70 a share, a year ago.

The previous record for U.S. corporate profit was set in the last quarter, when ExxonMobil earned $11.68 billion.

Revenue rose 35% to $137.7 billion.

via ExxonMobil posts biggest quarterly profit ever, $14.8B – USATODAY.com

A couple things to point out here real quick, first up is the fact that net income (profit) rose 58% while revenue (total income) only went up 35%.  That means that Exxon, already setting records for profits, has been increasing their profit margin over the last year.

When you take a closer look at another article, you can see exactly how that was done.

Despite the surge in profit, Exxon said oil production was down 8% in the third quarter, compared to the same period last year.

So just to set this straight, Exxon made record profits, in the billions, by producing less oil than they did last year.

You know what’s better than working less and making more?  Having an entire political party trying to help you make even more money with less work, and cut your taxes, while you sit on an ever growing pile of cash.

Let’s see what the business response would be to “Drill, Baby, Drill.”…

Big Oil: Sure, we’ll drill, baby.  When we’re good and ready and the price of oil is both high enough and stable enough to ensure a healthy return.  What?  You think you can order us to drill?  HAHAHA!!!  This isn’t socialism, you can’t control industry through democracy.

Now give us those leases, stat!

I keep hearing that the secret to success and energy independence is drilling, working hard, and tax cuts.  Yet I what I see here is something working less, producing less oil, getting tax cuts, and RAKING IN BILLIONS OF DOLLARS of profits.

And speaking of McCain’s tax cuts, meant to reward hard working small businesses, doan’cha know.  Here’s who gets most of ’em.

Straight to the fact check.

Fact check: McCain tax cuts give $200 billion to corporations, $4 billion to oil companies?

The Verdict: True. Obama’s statement accurately reflects two studies of McCain’s tax proposals.

So the idea here is to give Exxon a tax break in order to “motivate” them to work harder…after they’ve already realized, much like OPEC, that they can make more money by producing less.  Nice.  Not bad work if you can find it.

Heck, you even get to party with and bang government officials in order to help keep “taxes” lower.

Guess who else gets to enjoy McCain’s tax cut reward for their hard work?

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) — Five straight quarters of losses and a 70 percent slide in its stock this year haven’t stopped Merrill Lynch & Co. from allocating about $6.7 billion to pay bonuses.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, both still on track for profitable years, have set aside about $13 billion for bonuses after three quarters, down 28 percent from a year ago. Even some employees at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which declared the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history last month, will get the same bonus they received a year ago.

The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, a $700 billion taxpayer bailout, public outcry over excessive pay and the demise of three of the biggest securities firms won’t deter Wall Street from offering year-end rewards to employees on top of their salaries, compensation experts say.

[full story]

These are the kind of people that *really* benefit from McCain’s tax cuts, and have enjoyed *tremendous* benefits from Bush’s tax cuts…but I repeat myself.

The City of Dallas recently laid off over 400 teachers because of a $65 million shortfall for the year.  Over the last 90 days Exxon made of profit of about $1,900 a second.   That’s over $150 million a day.  In profit.

Exxon is based in Dallas County.

Doesn’t it seem like, oh, I don’t know…rational public policy…to actually bring in enough money in taxes to pay for public services?

Some might say the market should solve the problem, but I would rather tax Exxon and have Dallas county schools, than cut taxes on Exxon and get Exxon-branded Education Centers.   And DISD isn’t even that good a school district.    It did, however, get shafted like the rest of the country by No Child Left Behind, which was underfunded….BECAUSE OF TAX CUTS.

Giving even more tax cuts to Exxon and Goldman Sachs and their respective execs is not doing to do a damn thing to motivate them to work harder.

Making sure your kids, and your neighbor’s kids, have FREAKING TEACHERS in school trumps “executive compensation” in my humble opinion.

Giving massive tax cuts to folks who squeeze the commodity market and sell bullshit securities, while our schools and fire departments lay off people, doesn’t seem like sound public policy to me.

Maybe my priorities are wrong. Maybe if I believed that the highest ideal a human could strive for was “Profit, baby, profit” I could go along with McCain’s tax policy.

But I don’t, and I can’t.

So I won’t.

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I [heart] CNN’s Search Algorithm (More on Campbell Brown and Dan Senor)

Just looking through the logs and I found a link that led me to this search result on CNN.com.

Campbell Brown's Bullshit Program

Campbell Brown

This is as a result of doing some fact checking on Campbell Brown’s hit piece on Obama’s fundraising (or as she’d say it, how Obama lied to rake in millions)

The funny part is, after reading more about the story, I realized that CNN had done their own fact-checking…

The Verdict: Mostly true. Obama did indicate he would accept public financing if his opponent did the same. But he did not sign anything, as McCain states. Obama did not sit down with McCain before Obama’s decision on public financing, but members of both campaigns met with each other on the issue.

You would think it would take a bit more than a quibble to call someone a liar and thief, but not for Campbell Brown.
I wonder, now, if this has anything to do with the father of her children, and salesman for the War in Iraq (2003 and 2004 version), Dan Senor.  Dan is a budding young neocon, with a resume that already includes working for the Carlyle Group, the Council of Foreign Relations, and fucking up at least one Middle Eastern country.  He hopes to fuck up another one (Iran) and is currently writng a history of Israel.  Who would have thunk it?

Mr. Senor, a regular commentator on Fox News who is married to CNN anchor Campbell Brown, recently served as a campaign adviser to Mitt Romney. Before that, he worked for the Bush administration as an adviser to Paul Bremer, who was at one point charged with overseeing the reconstruction of post-invasion Iraq. Mr. Senor’s sister (his co-writer’s wife) heads the Jerusalem office of the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC.

The book by Mr. Senor and Mr. Singer, titled Start Up Nation, will “explore Israel’s success in the global economy,” according to a description provided by Twelve’s publicity director Cary Goldstein. Twelve acquired the book in a preempt from U.K.-based literary agent Ed Victor.

BTW folks, if you really want to know why the Iraq War was such an expensive debacle, why why got lied into the war, why some journalists didn’t ask too many hard questions while working at or for the White House, and why someone with a complete and utter disdain for a culture was sent to rebuilt it, you can ask Dan Senor and Campbell Brown.  They have personal experience in the matter.

And it’s a funny cliche that Jon Stewart makes fun of all the time.

On April 2, 2006, Brown married her second husband Daniel Samuel Senor (born 1971), a Republican consultant who regularly appears on Fox News.[3][4] Brown converted to Judaism, her husband’s faith;[5] the two were married in an Orthodox Jewish ceremony.[6]

Look, I got nothing against jewish people, particularly the older ones, (and most “real” jews wouldn’t consider Campbell one now anyway) so please don’t think that’s why I’m taking it so hard to Dan and Campbell.   I do think it is a bit revealing about why Dan Senor fucked up Iraq so badly, and why he showed complete and utter ignorance, bordering on contempt, for Muslim history and culture.

When you have enough personal knowledge of the history of Israel to write a book about a small part of that history, you probably spent more time studying that than Arabic, eh?  When your sister works for AIPAC, what do you think the tone around the dinner table is?

Don’t you think it would be a good idea to have a guy who speaks Arabic, or would even want to, with you as a “spokesman” when you invade an Arab country?  Naah, not for neocons.  For neocons, studying Israel’s economic history is perfect experience for your next job of rebuilding a Muslim country.  Kinda like how the North ran Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War here in the U.S.  Works great.  Just look at how efficiently Atlanta was rebuilt.

I’m taking it so hard to Dan because I watched his smarmy face spout lies and bullshit and idiocy about the Iraq war for a number of years.    I’m taking it so hard to Campbell because during one of the great failures of the media during our time, the one that should keep us out of stupid wars by calling bullshit on smarmy PR assholes, she was instead making doughy eyes and babies with the very person she was supposed to be calling bullshit on.

Good to see how professionalism is rewarded in “punditry” (if she ever was, Campbell Brown is no longer a “journalist”).

Fallout 3 Character Generation (Review)

Originally uploaded by el_wah

 

 

 

 

 

A part of the character generation process in Fallout 3.

This is after the part where you are born (and the scene shows the hospital) and you pick your gender and name.

Previous to this, you are crawling around the bedroom and find a children’s book on the floor, which you pick up and set your starting stats.

Short, pre-review review…this game is amazing. Best three-word description, “Steam Punk Oblivion.”

More on this one late…this thing is pretty sweet.  Should have some video of me whacking some super mutants.

UPDATE: As promised…

NOTE: As should be guessed from the title of this post, Fallout 3 is an RPG.  As you can see from the video, it does have some FPS elements, but trust me, if you try and play this game like it’s Halo or Half-Life, you will die, a lot, and it will not be fun.

As you can see in the video above, the game utilizes a type of targeting computer and “Action Points” to make specially targeted attacks.  When you aren’t using this tech-helper, you have to aim and shoot manually, and in real time.  From my experience so far, it feels like the AI opponents have access to computer help in aiming all the time.  Which is to say, for them it’s like slow motion all the time.  You can’t run around in circles for 5 minutes and not get hit (like in Halo).  You will get mowed down.  Quickly.

That makes the game a bit more challenging, and for me, more fun.

You play it like a combination of Oblivion, Splinter Cell, Bioshock, and a bit of post-apocalyptic GTA (although more in mission style and world-size than action).  With brief moments of solid action, the meat of the game is expoloration and simple interaction.

At heart it plays true to its roots as a role-playing game, and it gives you lots and lots of roles to play.  This is true both in the storyline and the game mechanics.  There are many ways to enhance your character as you level up in old-school, RPG style of get-experience, level up, distribute skill points.   Skill points control stuff like real-world accuracy and effectiveness with weapons, so you can’t make up for having a 20 (out of 100) Heavy Weapons skill with world class Quake rocket-launcher dancing.  Again, RPG != FPS.

I’m stilling getting into the game, but if you ever wanted to be like that character that crazy guy plays in the Mad Max movies, now is your chance.  And it *really* does play like that.  It can get verrrry creepy when you are crawling around in some burned out, underground subway station and the lights go out and you start to hear creepy, crawly noises. 

Suddenly, your world erupts into hellish fire and you have to figure out which way to shoot to make it stop.

Good stuff.  Stuff that didn’t make it into the movies, sadly.  The movies were more about the social stuff, of which there is plenty in the game, but the fun is going off alone, at least for me.  That’s the Mad Max world I wanted to see, and here you get to do so.  Up close and freakishly personal.

Also, and more important to games reviewed on this site, there are “perks” that allow you to become a “cyborg” and “ninja”, so it looks like I have to make it at least level 20.  And so I’m off to the wastelands.

Peace (or world war ends badly….)

Campbell Brown’s Bullshit on Obama Fundraising (and Palin Wardrobe)

I saw the baby-bumping Campbell Brown on the Daily Show the other day.  I thought she did a decent job in the interview, although I’ve been noticing curious levels of b.s. emanating from the brunette for a bit now.

In the interview, she talks about the “false-equivalency” that the news media often tries to use to portray an air of impartiality.  She does a good job of both giving a good example of the practice in the intervew (re: Candidate A and Candidate B).

Sadly, however, she then goes on to forget that when you are going to call bullshit on what Candidate A says over what Candidate B says, you kinda have to first lay out which one is saying what. 

Her point was that she was going to do the layout and then call the bullshit.

Sadly, it looks like she is more focused on calling the bullshit.

Her first episode of this tendency was demonstrated when she called out “the media” for focusing on Sarah Palin’s $172,000 wardrobe/hairstyling/make-ups fees.  Forget the idiocy of Palin saying the clothes are “borrowed” or the hypocrisy of railing on Hollywood and then hiring their most expensive make-up artist.  No, that’s completely unfair.  You can’t focus on a woman being a woman.  It’s fine for her to charge the State of Alaska $21,000 grand for airfare and $17,000 for staying at home because, you know, she’s a working mom.

I’m sorry, but if any person, man or woman, that I have every worked with tried to pass travel or “amenities” expenses of that magnitude, they would be fired.  Flat out.  A couple of questions would be asked, and a couple have been, but given the answers (“I’m borrowing the clothes” and “My girls had to fly there and stay in a hotel to pick raffle tickets.“) they would be fired immediately.

John Edwards got raked over the coals for a $400 haircut, and got called a sissy for it.  Palin spent 100 TIMES THAT MUCH, and it’s a pass. 

But it’s o.k., because she’s a woman.  And a working mom.

Sorry, but that’s crap.  And it’s biased crap.   As a working mom herself, Brown is biased as hell about this.  As a working mom who’s income and success is largely dependent on looking fabulous in front of a camera, this is ludicrously biased crap.   I’m not saying this is Campbell’s fault, I’m just saying it’s a blind spot, and everyone has one.

They usually become revealed when someone becomes more agressive, as Campbell Brown has become recently.  It’s part of the game, welcome to it.

Which brings us to campaign fundraising questions, and the actual point of this article.

Campbell started out with some basics.

CNN) — You may have heard that Wednesday night Barack Obama will be on five different TV networks speaking directly to the American people.

He bought 30 minutes of airtime from the different networks, a very expensive purchase. But hey, he can afford it. Barack Obama is loaded, way more loaded than John McCain, way more loaded than any presidential candidate has ever been at this stage of the campaign.

Actually, it’s not his money we are talking about here.  I know this is a nitpick, but I think it’s a rather important one.  It’s his campaign’s money.   End of story.  He doesn’t get to keep it.

This is why John Edward’s $400 haircut became a story, it was bought with his campaign’s money.  This is why Palin’s wardrobe was a story, it was campaign money.  This is why it isn’t Obama’s or McCain’s money, it is campaign money.

And you are wrong about something else, Mrs. Brown, according to tax records (and cars and houses) McCain is the one who is loaded.  Obama is the one running the campaign that is inspiring people in record numbers to give “it” (the Campaign) money.   More on that later, when you insult us all.

Campbell continues…

Without question, Obama has set the bar at new height with a truly staggering sum of cash. And that is why as we approach this November, it is worth reminding ourselves what Barack Obama said last November.

One year ago, he made a promise. He pledged to accept public financing and to work with the Republican nominee to ensure that they both operated within those limits.

Then it became clear to Sen. Obama and his campaign that he was going to be able to raise on his own far more cash than he would get with public financing. So Obama went back on his word.

Now this is interesting, as one would assume to have a direct quote here.  When one is accused to going back on one’s word, it is usually considered polite to point out what the word was.

Campbell, like the hack she is becoming, doesn’t worry about stuff like that.  It’s a good thing too, because if she had spent a couple minutes, she would have seen words like this and her whole rant would have fallen apart.

Asked last September on a questionnaire from the Midwest Democracy Network whether he would “participate in the presidential public financing system” if his “major opponents agree to forgo private funding in the general election campaign,” Obama checked the box marked “yes,” then outlined his vision for the 2008 contest.

“In February 2007, I proposed a novel way to preserve the strength of the public financing system in the 2008 election,” he wrote. “My plan requires both major party candidates to agree on a fundraising truce, return excess money from donors, and stay within the public financing system for the general election... If I am the Democratic nominee, I will aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”

So you have a check box “word” and a bunch “words” that clarify a check-box.   I’m not going to split hairs here, but it seems pretty evident that accepting public financing came with some strings.

During the summer we got to see those strings.

At a meeting in Indianapolis on May 2,  “top [Obama] fundraisers… asked his campaign donors to refrain from contributing to liberal independent political organizations in hopes of controlling the tone and message of the general-election campaign.”

Meanwhile, McCain has adopted a hands-off stance, telling the Boston Herald earlier this month that he “can’t be a referee of every spot run on television.” The truth is, neither candidate can control what 527s do on their behalf; the groups simply don’t have to answer to federal or state political finance committees.

[source, from a longer article that covers the same question, which Campbell ignored]

What this comes down to is that Obama has asked people to give to his campaign, and not give money to people like MoveOn.org and other groups that can run whatever nasty crap they want.   McCain made it clear that he wasn’t going to even make the effort to influence these groups, and by accepting public financing (that $3 checkbox on your tax return) it frees up his regular donors to shower these groups with money.

That was the sticking point.  This is illustrated in the press leaks (the, “She said, “He said”” part of the program).

Trevor and I met at my office on June 6, and we discussed the June 18 panel and then, for 45 minutes, the public funding issue.

I asked him to address a serious of issues of concern to the Obama campaign — such as the McCain campaign’s active raising and spending of private money since February for a general election campaign, including for media, while we were still in the middle of a primary contest. He gave me his perspectives — the best arguments he could offer for an agreement on both sides to accept public financing — and it was clear to me that these offered no basis for any further exchange.

Not too long thereafter, John McCain announced he could not and would not “referee” 527 activity.

[source]

—-vs—-

Potter says this account is not factual “This is not true!” Potter says in an email. “I met with Bob Bauer on a different subject (a joint panel we had yesterday in Rhode Island sponsored by the National Assoc. of Attys General) about 10 days ago. During that meeting, he asked what Sen. McCain’s position was on public general election funding, and I said we were for it, and hoped Sen. Obama would participate as well. There was absolutely NO discussion of ‘negotiations’ about participating—the word was never mentioned. 

[source]

This all cuminated, BTW, in Obama releasing this video.

Campbell dismisses this video by ignoring CNN’s very own ads (I’m looking for the one that I keep seeing on CNN about how Obama will destroy small businesses…with his lazer eyes, I would assume…can’t find it).

[Obama] broke his promise and he explained it by arguing that the system is broken and that Republicans know how to work the system to their advantage. He argued he would need all that cash to fight the ruthless attacks of 527s, those independent groups like the Swift Boat Veterans. It’s funny though, those attacks never really materialized.

Really?!  Nobody has been using crazy attacks to go after Obama?  No attacks at all?

Strange….other people in swing states seem to be seeing them a lot.

John McCain would be wise not to condemn the National Republican Trust PAC’s latest ad regarding Jeremiah Wright. Running in key states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, the ad points to Obama’s association with the anti-American pastor. Perhaps more importantly, it points out that Obama had no problem sitting in Wright’s church until doing so became a political liability.

When it became clear that McCain would be following this nutjob blogger’s advice (like he followed that other nutjob blogger’s [Adam Brickley] advice and picked Palin) and not stopping the kinds of attack he himself is too honorable to make, it really became silly for Obama to hamstring his own’s campaign’s ability to respond to the bullshit.

Especially since he had already inspired so many to give.

Campbell then insults a few million people by mischaracterizing “pointing out the obvious” as “courage”.

The courageous among Obama’s own supporters concede this decision was really made for one reason, simply because it was to Obama’s financial advantage.

Well, that’s true, except for the lie that it is Obama’s money.   We want Obama to win.  That’s why we’ve given him so much money.  We want him and Joe Biden to take the White House.  BADLY.

That’s why we’re giving so much money.  To fight the bullshit you are saying doesn’t even exist (hmm, kinda “HYPOCRITICAL” isn’t it Campbell?).

What, exactly, are you insinutating, BTW, by your constant assertion that it is Obama, personally, that is raking in the dough.

I mean, you even use that word…

For this last week, Sen. Obama will be rolling in dough. His commercials, his get-out-the-vote effort will, as the pundits have said, dwarf the McCain campaign’s final push. But in fairness, you have to admit, he is getting there in part on a broken promise.

That’s not fairness, Mrs. Brown, that’s bullshit.

Much like this one-sided hit piece.

Death and Taxes 2009: Where Your Federal Tax Dollars Go (Million, Billion, Trilllion, Basketballs)

via Death and Taxes 2009: A Visual Guide to Where Your Federal Tax Dollars Go – WallStats

Nice rundown here of the federal budge and how your tax dollars are spent.   I liked how they were able to embed the videos into the document as well.  It looks like Silverlight is making some application-level progress.

UPDATE: I was thinking more about why I like this chart so much and I realized it’s because of the way that it compares information in proportional circles.  I think this is probably one of the best ways to graphically convey scale and easily allow comparisons. 

Sometimes it is difficult to know, instinctively for most people, the difference between a million and a billion, but seeing the difference between a circle the size of a basketball (9.39 in.) one big enough to fill the gap in the Lackawanna Valley Bridge (800 ft.) and it quickly become apparent to everyone what 1000X actually means.

Now if you take that basketball up to a trillion times (in American english, 1000 billion, in English english a “billion” or a million million) and you have to draw a circle around most of the cool parts of Southern California (18,000 sq. mi.).

So if you think of that basketball as a dollar, think of having to set up enough basketballs to fille up a circle 18,000 sq. ki. across to think of a trillion dollars.

That’s about how much we spend.  You can see that in the chart above (which needs a handy real world comparison as well).

Oh, and can someone check my math.

Ted Stevens to be put in Series of Cubes

Looks like ole Mr. Dump-Truck is headed to the slammer.

A federal grand jury indicted Stevens, 84, in July on seven counts of making false statements, for allegedly lying on U.S. Senate financial disclosure forms for the years 1999 to 2006.

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for five hours Monday before returning guilty verdicts on all seven counts.

[full story]

While it’s unlikely that Ted Stevens will end up in prison, a felony conviction should make his upcoming election somewhat more difficult.

UPDATE: Here’s a couple of his greatest hits.

and of course…

Which means you knew this was coming…here’s Palin taking on the Old Boy’s Club President.

What the Presidential Campaign Looks Like Up Close

It occurred to me, as I sat there watching an interracial couple banging, that jacking off in a hotel room was not unlike the larger experience of campaign reporting. You watch two performers. You kind of like it when one of them gets humiliated. You know they’re professionals, so you don’t feel much sympathy for them. You wish you could participate, but instead you watch with a hidden envy and feel vaguely ashamed for watching. You think you could probably do as good a job or better. You sometimes get a glimpse, intentionally or not, of society’s hidden desires and fears. You watch the porn week after week, the scenes almost always the same, none of them too memorable. The best ones get sent around the Internet.

via HACK: CONFESSIONS OF A PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN REPORTER: GQ Features on men.style.com

So good reading here.

The Earth in a Phone

Amidst the launch of Google’s own Android mobile operating system, the company is bringing its Google Earth software to the iPhone App Store. As reported by our sister site News.com, the iPhone version replciates much of the desktop application’s core experience, downloading imagery from Google’s servers as the perspective shifts and dotting the map with landmarks, photos, and other information.

via Google Earth Comes to the iPhone – iPhone Atlas

Just saw this was out this morning. Should have a quick review up in a bit.

Umm….wow.  For a version 1.0.0 app, this is pretty solid.  It might be a bit sensitive to quick movements, but the potential for having a 3-d gps in your pocket ain’t too shabby.

And yes, it’s really pretty close to being a 3-d gps.  One that you can tilt and turn to change the angle on.

The speed over the EDGE network leaves a bit to be desired (I have a pre-3G version) but performance wasn’t too far off from the regular google maps apps, which I have found extremely useful while traveling.

How To Lock Up the Geeks

A Whole Lotta Nothing: How to get my nerd vote
How to get my nerd vote

I’ve been thinking lately about a dream candidate for my nerd habits, my nerdy business, and the way I live my nerdy life. Regardless of party affiliation, if you’re running for an office from as small as city council all the way up to president, if you hit on any/all of these things, you just might get my vote.

This was put together by mathaughey who runs Meta Filter and is a generally known geek dog (for the dyslexics).

It’s a simple and straightforward list, I’m all for it.  Particularly this one.

  1. Broadband Everywhere. I want crazy South Korea/Japan style broadband I’ve heard about for years: 100Mbps (upload and download) fiber connections for less than $50/month with unlimited bandwidth and the ability to run your own servers. I know the US is a big spread out country and it makes this stuff somewhat difficult/costly, but it’s an ambitious goal with a ton of payoff. We don’t have manufacturing jobs in the US anymore: we don’t make things, we don’t build things, we don’t sew things here, but we do have lots of ideas and inventions.The economy of the future in the US is going to be intertwined with the internet and if every man, woman, and child in America has all the internet access they could ever need and could quickly program, build, and deploy their own stuff on their own mega-fast lines, we’d have a million and one programmers and designers and crafters and more contributing to a new vibrant future economy. If fiber everywhere is too much, at least get 3G coverage in more places.
  2. Universal Healthcare. Everyone I know that freelances or works a day job and wishes they could quit and follow their dreams of launching a company complains about the lack of healthcare. Whenever I used to talk about freelancing at tech conferences, the first question was always about healthcare coverage. I’ve heard that in places like Berlin where you don’t have to worry about where your healthcare is coming from or how much it costs, up to 35% of working age adults are freelancers. It may sound crazy and anti-capitalist to consider healthcare for all, but if we flipped a switch tomorrow and everyone had health coverage I swear a million small businesses would launch overnight. I know lots of people that keep a job just to get healthcare that are wasting their creative talents because they had a cancer scare or were born with a defect or otherwise are deemed uninsurable on their own.
  3. No federal taxes on internet purchases. It’s worked out well for over a decade, let’s just stick with not charging tax on online shopping.
  4. Renew a commitment to Education. Yes, we already spend a lot on education, but it’s nothing compared to what we spend on defense. There are loads of possibilities to reform education at all levels with the goals being well-informed kids that love learning in a safe environment and can grow up to attend any college they want to (hopefully cheap or free of charge).
  5. Renew a commitment to Science. Bring back NASA and let’s really fly to The Moon and Mars again. Don’t let local school boards dictate that it’s ok to prevent teaching proper biology (yes, the scientific method and evolution) to students. The US spent the last hundred years being at the forefront of science only to begin abandoning it as we passed into the 21st century. Engineers and scientists will continue to lead innovation in America and it seems silly in this day and age that we even have to defend the basic tenets of science from constant attack.
  6. Real changes to transportation. Increase MPG requirements for all carmakers selling vehicles in the US. Engineers love a design challenge and making a Chevy Suburban get 25mpg may seem impossible today but I’m confident a design team could develop one quickly if given the proper resources. We flew to the freakin’ moon 40 years ago on the computing power of today’s $5 solar calculators — we can make cars burn fuel more efficiently.Regarding alternate fuels, stay away from net-zero energy fuels like Hydrogen and corn-based Ethanol (for now, keep researching them though) and instead focus on what works today using existing technology. Biodiesel could work in many cities and in many cars today given the proper tax incentives to car owners and fuel station owners. Keep researching other fuels (switchgrass ethanol sure would be nice) but it feels like we’re ignoring the low-hanging fruit that is biodiesel.

    Decrease foreign oil use by giving tax incentives to people that work at home, to people that ride a bicycle or walk to work, and to those using public transportation. Want to move to be closer to work? Get rid of capital gains taxes on homes sold less than two years after you take up residence if you can cut your commute in half or more.

  7. Allow early voting by mail. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love the way Oregon works with regards to voting in all elections. You get voter information packets about 4-6 weeks before an election, then your ballot arrives about 2-3 weeks before the deadline. You can vote at your leisure, using wikipedia, google, and anything else you need to research your vote as you cast your vote.
  8. Revamp Copyright/IP law. Using the internet means you are making a perfect digital copy of everything you ever read, see, and hear, and it doesn’t always jibe with existing copyright law. There is lots to say about this, but I wish we were a little more Lessig and a little less Disney when it comes to this realm.
  9. Fund the patent office so it can do a better job. Software patents almost universally suck and stifle innovation.
  10. Open government. Open source voting machines, xml data for every vote on every bill by every legislator. Public Domain dumps of every photograph, recording, film, and publication commissioned by the government in an easy to retrieve place.

And by “one”, I meant one “list.”

Pretty much nothing there at all I disagree with, and some of these I’m quite passionate about.

As a matter for fact, if there was going to be a geek political party, and I think there should be, this would serve as a good basic platform.

I hereby nominate Matt Haughey to draft a basic party platform.

Seconded.  Done.

Good work, Matt.

Are You A Better Journalist Than a Fifth Grader?

There has been a show on television recently that is called “Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?”

As someone who feels fairly confident in my own intellectual capacities when compared with a 10-year old, I haven’t felt the need to validate my own intellect by watching. From what I understand, it is a fairly popular program, although has recently fallen in the ratings with the rise of “Oh, My Balls!! : Weekend Edition.”

That being said, I have a new game you can play thanks to the new “Poll” button that WordPress so conveniently added to the interface.

This game, generally, is called “Are You A Better Journalist Than a Fifth Grader?”

Today’s edition, specifically, is called “Is Barbara West A Better Journalist Than Damon Weaver?”

We have decided to take both of their interviews with Joe “the Senator” Biden in as evidence for the contest.

——————–

Here’s Barbara West’s Reel.

Here’s Damon Weaver’s Reel..

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Why I Cain’t Vote for Black Hussein Obama

I put together this here video for yer enjoyment. May you enjoy it many times over.

I did this’un last night after a good day for football watchin’, which is to say, drinkin’.

Here’s the non-parody version of that video.

Gateway Pundit says he contacted the LA Times to ask about a video showing Barack Obama at a party for radical Islamist Rashid Khalidi, mentioned by the LA Times in this article: Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Barack Obama.

At Khalidi’s going-away party in 2003, the scholar lavished praise on Obama, telling the mostly Palestinian American crowd that the state senator deserved their help in winning a U.S. Senate seat. “You will not have a better senator under any circumstances,” Khalidi said.

The event was videotaped, and a copy of the tape was obtained by The Times.

LA Times writer Peter Wallsten said he won’t release the video or reveal his sources: Confirmed: MSM Holds Video Of Barack Obama Attending Jew-Bash & Toasting a Former PLO Operative… Refuse to Release the Video!

If true, this is media malfeasance of an almost astounding degree. They have a video that could change the stakes in this election and they’re hiding it. And they’ve been hiding it since last April.

UPDATE: The Glenn Beck Version.

Whether holding a career-launching state Senate campaign event at the home of an unrepentant terrorist should disqualify you from the presidency is up to the people to decide. I tend to see it as a rather low bar to clear if you’re going to run the world, but hey, that’s just me.

Remember, William Ayers is a pasty white guy like me. Shouldn’t the fact that Palin is criticizing a white terrorist show that it’s not his color — but his terrorism — that she’s not fond of? Instead, the AP tries to make the case that voters will think Obama is “not like us” since “terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims.” Right, because nothing dredges up visions of radical Muslims with box-cutters like a guy named Bill.

Just ridiculous.

That wasn’t enough to convince Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks, who said, “He’s ‘not one of us’? That’s racial. That’s fear. They know they can’t win on the issues, so the last resort they have is race and fear.” He also added, “They are trying to throw out these codes.”

More from that jackass here.