The One Reason There is no Playoff System for College Football

http://www.chiff.com/recreation/sports/bowl-games.htm

Who do you think would suffer with a smaller, more focused system?   Who do you think it is that is paying these colleges so much to show up?   Follow the money…which follows the eyeballs…and monthly subscription fees.

[spoiler: if my quick count is correct, 32 out of 36 games require paying for cable tv.  That’s 88.888888%….which is a lot of 8’s…hence…”the Ocho”.]

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Top Ten Myths about the Arab Spring of 2011

1. The upheavals of 2011 were provoked by the Bush administration’s overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq

2. President Obama was wrong to ask Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

3. Muslim radicalism benefited from the revolutions in the Arab world. 

4. Muslim religious groups spear-headed the revolutions.

5. The uprising in Bahrain was merely a manifestation of sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shiite

6. Iran was behind the uprising in Bahrain.

7. The Arab Spring is a Western plot.

8. The intervention of NATO in Libya was driven primarily by oil.

9. The Arab dictatorships now overthrown or tottering were better for women than their likely Islamist successors

10. The Arab upheavals are an unmitigated disaster for Israel.

Top Ten Myths about the Arab Spring of 2011 | Informed Comment.

Juan Cole, as per, offers sound reasoning for why each of these is considered a myth.   The Arab Spring has been an amazing thing to watch, and brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion for more than one reason.   Overall, we here at RPN consider it a *VERY GOOD* thing, and believe a (more) free and (more) open society is the best way to inoculate against violent radicals.

The more people feel a part of their country/community/culture the more likely they are to work to make it better.  Only those who feel apart from everything feel justified in destroying it.

 

IT’S WORKING INTERNET, RESISTANCE IS ESSENTIAL TO THE NETWORK!

Nintendo, Electronic Arts and Sony Electronics — some of the largest video game companies in the world — have all pulled their support for an online bill that could encourage censorship online, according to an updated list of supporters of the bill.

Those three companies all supported the Stop Online Piracy Act SOPA when it first entered Congress, according to a report from Joystiq in November.

SOPA, along with the PROTECT IP act in the Senate, give content-producing companies the right to order a take down for a website that they believe is infringing on a copyright. If you even host links to content that infringes on a copyright, you have to take it down

via Now The Largest Game Companies In The World Have Dropped Support For A Bill The Internet Hates.

This bill should die a bad death at this point.  Social media has been somewhat ascendent as of late, and as much as people like to bitch and moan about how shit doesn’t work and everythings broken, and blah, blah, blah…they fail to notice the little victories.

They fail to notice the beach as the tide rolls out.

Keep fighting internets.  You wins somes, you lose sums, but as long as you keep fighting for what you believe in, there is no way to truly lose the war (as far as one can know).

Let’s win this one…for the children *AND* the lulz.

Verizon backs down on FCC threat, customer outrage

Verizon backtracks on $2 fee after customer outrage

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE7BT13I20111230?irpc=932

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Verizon Wireless has reversed its decision to charge a $2 fee for one-time telephone and online bill payments bowing to a storm of criticism from consumers and the U.S. communications regulator.

The biggest U.S. wireless operator retracted its decision on Friday, just a day after it announced the fee, which was to have begun January 15.

The consumer victory comes after Bank of America recently decided against a new $5 monthly fee for debit card users after consumer and lawmaker uproar about the charge.

Verizon said it was making the decision based on customer input after many consumers spoke out about the fee on the company’s online forum, with some threatening to leave the service as a result.

The Verizon Wireless turn-around came after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said it was “concerned” about the fee and vowed to look into it.

“On behalf of American consumers, we’re concerned about Verizon’s actions and are looking into the matter,” an official for the FCC said earlier on Friday.

Good to hear.  This is the system ‘working’. 

Mitt Romney’s Son: Obama Should Release Birth Certificate, Grades, My Dad is a Hypocrite

There’s off message and then there’s Mitt Romney’s son, Matt Romney, who suggested on Thursday that President Obama should release his birth certificate and grades before his father releases his tax returns.

“He’s certainly not afraid of anything, he’s not hiding anything,” he said of his father in a video recorded by a Patch reporter in New Hampshire. “But I heard someone suggest the other day that as soon as President Obama releases his grades and birth certificate and sort of a long list of things, that maybe he’d do that.

After his brothers stepped in to distance the candidate from the remarks, Matt added that “that’s a suggestion from someone else.”

via Mitt Romney’s Son: Obama Should Release Birth Certificate, Grades | TPM2012.

Hey Mitt, pass this along to your son….

Pass this along to Matt, Mitt

And then release your tax returns. For those who haven’t been following, the reason Mitt Romney is not going to release his tax returns is that he pays a lower tax rate than you do. This is despite him continuing to make millions from his work as a corporate raider…err…capital investment guy.    The way he structured his golden parachute means that his income is “carried interest” and he pays a 15% top rate on it.

Once you factor in the tax exemptions you get from buying multi-million dollar homes.…you end up with a tax rate that is faaar lower than most Americans.

Matt, this is why your dad, Mitt (actually “Willard”) will not be releasing his tax returns.

And as noted….Obama has already released his “I’m actually an American you racist twats” long form birth-certificate.

Verizon to start charging people for paying their bills

Verizon Wireless’s $2 ‘Convenience Fee’ to Face FCC Scrutiny – Businessweek

http://mobile.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-30/verizon-defends-2-convenience-fee-as-customers-complain.html

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) — Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile carrier, will face a Federal Communications Commission probe into its $2 “convenience fee” for users who make single bill payments on a month-to-month basis online or by phone.

“On behalf of American consumers, we’re concerned about Verizon’s actions and are looking into the matter,” Neil Grace, an FCC spokesman, said in an e-mail. Grace didn’t give details on what steps the agency may take.

Customers began criticizing Verizon Wireless on Twitter and online-discussion forums yesterday after the Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based company disclosed the fee, with some setting up online petitions and calling for consumers to boycott the carrier. Verizon Wireless isn’t considering canceling the charge because it’s just one of many ways to pay your bill, including others that are month-to-month options, said Brenda Raney, a spokeswoman.

“Customers have a number of alternatives to pay their bill and not incur the convenience fee,” Raney said. “Paying the fee is an option, not an absolute.

This is exactly why we need an FCC, and why I’m dank glad they didn’t let continued consolidation make this crap industry standard. 

Postulating Perry and Racist Ron: Part 1: Republican Primary Update

Here is Part I of  a rundown on why the Republican field is considered so weak this election cycle (all of them have huge vulnerabilities….see title), and the evidence to back that up.

First Up: Postulating Perry.

Rick Perry is my governor.  This has been true since I moved back to Texas in 2004.  This is not something I’m terribly happy about.  However, it should be noted that the Governor in Texas doesn’t have a whole lot of power which has made it difficult for him to screw things up.

When it comes to having to talk to people and defend his rather absurd worldview, we see a very big weakness.  Recall, this is the guy who allegedly whipped out his sidearm to kill a coyote, while jogging…

It’s pretty much his approach to debate as well.

Decorah, Ia. – A Luther College student was cut off in mid question by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who told her that pollution from hydraulic fracturing does not exist and that it was made up as a fear tactic from liberals, a statement that received groans from some people in the audience.

“We can have this conversation but you cannot show me one place – not one —  where there is a proven pollution of groundwater by hydraulic fracking,” Perry told 22-year-old Carrie Kauffman.

[full story]

Rick’s problem, of course, is that the EPA just noted such events.

In a draft report (pdf) released today, the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed what many residents of Pavilion, Wyoming have been complaining about for some time now: Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is responsible for polluting the area’s drinking water.

Fracking is a controversial method used to make it easier to extract natural gas, petroleum and other substances. As the AP explains, this is the first time the EPA has linked the practice to the contamination of drinking water. The gas industry has denied any responsibility.

[full story]

Recall, this is a Governor that during the hottest month ever in Texas (this last summer),  denied the existence of global warming (“climate change in the hotter direction” for pedants) while literally praying for rain during the (oh, BTW) worst drought in recorded history.

And just to top if off, Perry is also coming to the defense of “Sheriff” Joe Arpaio (in quotes because he’s likely to soon become “inmate Joe”).

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Texas Gov. Rick Perry is defending one of his more controversial surrogates, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, against a report by the Justice Department issued on Thursday that accuses him of committing civil-rights violationsagainst Latinos in the Arizona county he oversees.

“I would suggest to you that these people are out after Sheriff Joe,” Perry said, though he acknowledged he didn’t know the details of the charges. “He is tough. And again, when I’m the president of the United States, you’re not going to see me going after states like Arizona or Alabama, suing sovereign states for making decisions.”

[full, horrid, story]

Alas, Perry has dropped so far in the polls this is unlikely to matter.   He’s a joke, and for stuff I haven’t even mentions.

Second Up : Racist Ron

A lot of folks really, really like Ron Paul.  So much so that I often type RON PAUL when referring to him and talking to them.  The reasons they like RON PAUL are often very similar, as are the people who like RON PAUL.  There is a 95% chance that the person you are talking to that REALLY REALLY likes RON PAUL is a white guy.  There is a 100% chance that, if it’s a younger white guy, they don’t know about RON PAUL’s social views, and if it’s an older white guy, they don’t care about those views if they do know of them.

All of these people call themselves “libertarians”.    A great many call themselves fans of “Austrian” economics.   Many love Ayn Rand.   Most dislike political parties (!).

There’s about 15% of these folks in the electorate.  While Paul looks like he may win Iowa at this point…he’ll join a long list of folks who won Iowa and that was it.   See exclamatory point above.

So why the racist label?   Notice how the demographics for RON PAUL supports are all the same?  That’s because all of those folks easily dismiss this kind of stuff.  Why?  Because they probably aren’t aware of this.

A blast from the past is blowing a big hole in Ron Paul‘s campaign.

A recently surfaced video from 1995 shows the GOP presidential hopeful discussing controversial newsletters that he claimed this week he didn’t even read until about 2001.

The Texas congressman has come under fire in recent days for the newsletters, called Ron Paul’s Political Report, Ron Paul’s Freedom Report and the Ron Paul Survival Report, which went out under his name in the late 1980s and early 1990s during his time in and out of office.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/video-surfaces-ron-paul-talking-racist-newsletters-1995-earlier-knew-article-1.995876#ixzz1hNnOsLn2

And now Paul is taking the Perry approach when the media starts to pay attention to him.

Or even this…which is the kind of stuff that happens in the areas of Texas that Ron Paul represent in Congress.

Note: He’s complained about not getting attention, and now doesn’t like this attention.

My issues with Paul is that so much of his complaints about what the government is doing are directly related to the changes we implemented to stop the absurdly institutionalized racist bullshit.    The young white men that support Paul don’t realize (for the most part) the world he wants to return to (seeing his stance on the War on Drugs as the only relevant bit of information), and the older ones that do will say so with a wink and a knowing smile.

They don’t want no federal gubmint telling them who they have to serve in their restaurant.  It a…uh…Constitutional thing…yea…that’s the ticket.

In Part II We’ll Look at  Millionaire Mitt and the Nefarious Newt

 

Bill Gates Mug Shot Silhouette in all Office Software

This one is pretty fun.  Ran into this blog post yesterday about the picture being in Sharepoint.

I said…hrrm…that looks familiar…just like that placeholder in Outlook…

And yep…it’s him…

Bill Gates Mug Shot in Outlook

Bill Gates Mug Shot in Outlook

For those that wonder how this whole thing started…

Bill Gates was arrested for speeding in Albuquerque. He frequently was caught speeding in his Porsche 911. That day he was driving along with Paul Allen. The bail was set at a thousand dollars. Bill Gates, although only 21, was very successful in his early years at Microsoft, and was immediately able to post bail from his wallet full of cash.

..hence the smile.

I’m sure we’ll find out if this got official approval at any point soon…but either way…I find it hilarious.   If anyone ever digs up a mugshot of RPN, you’ll find a nice big smile on that face as well.

Trading places | East and West

AN ENTERPRISING Englishman in the 1850s famously said that if he “could add an inch of material to every Chinaman’s shirt-tail, the mills of Lancashire could be kept busy for a generation.” Sadly, those mills have since turned to rust, but in the years to come selling to China and the world’s other emerging markets are expected to keep many Western firms busy for years to come. In 2012, an important new milestone will be reached when emerging-markets import more goods and services than the rich economies combined.

via World trade: Trading places | The Economist.

This has been a loooong time coming.  One of the network effect of the Information Age is that large groups of people can be educated and do certain types of work muuuch more efficiently than in previous Ages.   Also, as a remnant of the Industrial Age, raw supplies and *shipping* now often trump labor as a cost for most production cycles.   We’ve combined our factories and our machines and linked the whole thing together with trade.

This has the ultimate effect of quickly leveling the playing field economically, so one could expect the political situation to follow suit.  The manner in which it chooses to do so will be a big question for 2012 and beyond.  The Dollar is likely to be one of the first casualties, as the dust settles after the Great Recession and we find the economic tables have completely turned.

 

Boehner’s office cuts off C-SPAN cameras as GOP takes verbal beating

A strange thing happened Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill.

As Rep. Stenny Hoyer (D-MD) attempted to call for a vote to extend a payroll tax cut to middle class and working Americans, his Republican colleagues adjourned the House and walked out of the chamber. And if that weren’t odd enough, it got even stranger: As Hoyer railed against them for failing to help working Americans, footage from C-SPAN went silent, then cut away.

Moments later, C-SPAN took to the Internet to explain that it wasn’t their doing, but someone working for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

via Boehner’s office cuts off C-SPAN cameras as GOP takes verbal beating | The Raw Story.

You can see the video here before Boehner had it cut off.

The bill passed the Senate 89-10, after the partisan House version failed.  So now the House refused to vote on the Senate version (Republicans don’t want to be seen voting down a working class tax cut…but they want to vote against it), and instead tries to reconcile the two versions.

What the video shows is the Republicans cutting off debate and refusing to vote on the Senate version…they had to cut off the video or Cantor’s lies about what happened might seem plausible.

UPDATE:

“We regret, Mr. Speaker, that you have walked off the platform without addressing the issue of critical importance to this country, and that is the continuation of the middle class tax cut, the continuation of unemployment benefits for those at risk of losing them, and a continuation of the access to doctors for all those 48 million seniors who rely on them daily for help.”

And that’s when the audio cut out. Seconds later, footage faded to a shot of the capitol from outside.

Moments later, someone at C-SPAN took to Twitter and explained: “C-SPAN has no control over the U.S. House TV cameras – the Speaker of the House does.

House GOP Walks Out Rather Than Vote on Payroll Tax Cut

Take a look….make the pledge…then walk off…ignoring the people’s business.

The Republicans then turned around and immediately started lying about what they did.

All in a fight to give more breaks to Big Oil.

UPDATE: Even the WSJ is calling b.s. on this…even while doing so in a b.s. way.

GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell famously said a year ago that his main task in the 112th Congress was to make sure that President Obama would not be re-elected. Given how he and House Speaker John Boehner have handled the payroll tax debate, we wonder if they might end up re-electing the President before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest.

The GOP leaders have somehow managed the remarkable feat of being blamed for opposing a one-year extension of a tax holiday that they are surely going to pass. This is no easy double play.

Republicans have also achieved the small miracle of letting Mr. Obama position himself as an election-year tax cutter

Had to cut that off mid-derp, as the WSJ editorial board tends to include utter b.s. even when pointing out the obvious.   Obama is not really an “election-year tax cutter”, as this tax cut went into effect last year as part of the successful stimulus.  It is, in face, because of this success, Republicans are now working to undercut it.

It should also be noted that, unlike the original Bush Tax Cuts, Republican are now insisting this tax cut (which goes to workers) will reduce government revenue and therefore needs to be paid for.  This is a complete 180 from their stance about tax cuts for the wealthy (aka “job creators”), as Republicans claim those pay for themselves.   This is probably the most base and obvious lie in the Republican quiver, and they whip different versions of it out every time the subject comes up.

 

Progress….sexy…sexy…progress

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia (AP) — A Navy tradition caught up with the repeal of the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule on Wednesday when two women sailors became the first to share the coveted “first kiss” on the pier after one of them returned from 80 days at sea.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville, California, descended from the USS Oak Hill amphibious landing ship and shared a quick kiss in the rain with her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles.

Gaeta, 23, wore her Navy dress uniform while Snell, 22, wore a black leather jacket, scarf and blue jeans. The crowd screamed and waved flags around them.

“It’s something new, that’s for sure,” Gaeta told reporters after the kiss. “It’s nice to be able to be myself. It’s been a long time coming.”

via The Associated Press: 2 women share 1st kiss at US Navy ship’s return.

Note: This is an example of one of the freedom’s that will be lost if a Republican is elected in 2012, as all of the Republican candidates have promised to re-instate the policy (DADT) that made these veterans hide their true nature.