... is never done. Even for a semi-retired blogger like me. Tightened up the blogroll, deleted or changed a few dead links, and fixed an annoying Flickr account problem. I should really offload those older files onto a new platform. Does anyone know a reliable, free/low-cost image hosting service? My bandwidth usage is VERY small.
... but the comments section of the Kadnine blog will remain closed for the foreseeable future. I simply cannot figure a way to halt the relentless spamming, and I won't have ads for porn on my blog. EVER.
If you have a comment or suggestion, please email me. The address is to your left.
Those who can draw and paint, draw and paint. Those who can't, hire those who can, but preferably at market rates, please:
"The Obama campaign’s request for submissions says that it “is seeking poster submissions from artists across the country illustrating why we support President Obama’s plan to create jobs now, and why we’ll re-elect him to continue fighting for jobs for the next four years.”
According to the [Graphic Artists Guild,] the award for the selected artists has no actual value, unless the recipient sells it. The campaign estimates the signed artwork’s value would be approximately $195. The guild’s pricing guidelines suggest that the proper compensation for such artwork is approximately $4,000."
But I fully expect that some true believer will still unicorn his way into top consideration for no pay at all.
I've been saying for 20 years that we're ten years away from decriminalization. Perhaps now I finally get to be right? AllahPundit's theory:
"It may be that as people warm up to the glorious libertarian principle of “I don’t like it, but if it doesn’t affect me, whatever” vis-a-vis gay marriage, it’s informing their thinking on unrelated issues like marijuana too. But I don’t know; my own views might be coloring that. What am I missing here?"
I think a resurgence of libertarianism is indeed responsible for this Gallup poll result. For the record, I personally don't use marijuana, it's just that I don't have a problem with those who do. So, like AllahPundit, my own views might be skewing my judgment here. My major vices are TV, movies, and the Olympic Summer Games.
UPDATE: Ilya Somin wrote about the poll yesterday saying:
"If we get to the point where 60 or 70% of the public supports legalization, I predict that the status quo is likely to become politically untenable even in spite of interest group lobbying. And, if present trends continue, we might well reach 60% support within the next 10–12 years."
So I'm not the only one throwing around ten year predictions, I just don't know if we're right on the math.
Online giants like Google, Facebook and NetFlix are actively feeding you content you already agree with. Watch.
To be clear, I don't necessarily have a problem with this practice. Successful companies are, by definition, in the business of making their customers feel happy with their content. But, like the news (as those of us who speak a coupla languages and occasionally check out foreign language news-feeds know) the info out there isn't always homogeneously synchronized.
It's incumbent upon the information consumer to seek out multiple information sources. Google, Facebook, and NetFlix (while all excellent services) ain't gonna do the hard work for you, folks.
For those readers who frequent Amazon, note how easy it is to give a donation to the American Red Cross, right on their homepage. Seriously, yer card is already on file and yer donation is literally "one-click away."
Plenty of good charitable organizations out there to give to, of course, so pick your choice. But I have been consistently impressed with Amazon's brand of easy karma banking.
"Once there was a reporter doing 'on the street' interviews with random persons in New Orleans. He went up to this grizzled old construction worker and asked, 'Sir! I'm from the local news station, and we're asking people what their favorite modern day invention is. Would you care to answer?'
The old man scratched his beard and cast his thoughts about. Finally, he answered, 'Well... I'd have to say it's this Thermos bottle right here.'
'And why is that?' asked the reporter.
'Well in the hot summers it keeps my iced tea cold, cold, cold. And in the winter it keeps my soup hot, hot, hot,' the worker replied.
Said the reporter, 'Yes, that's what it does. But why do you say that's your favorite invention?'
The old man looked around conspiratorially and whispered in a hoarse rasp, 'How do it know!?'"
When I posted this video this morning to youTube, it automatically offered up the song I used for sale at Amazon.
HOW DO IT KNOW!?
Apparently my vid is blocked in all but the following countries:
Afghanistan, Aland Islands, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Congo - Democratic Republic of, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guernsey, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Holy See (Vatican City State), Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jersey, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia - Federated States of, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, North Korea, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, United States Virgin Islands, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, West Bank, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
And, frankly, I'm cool with that. Way to go Goo-Tube. Go on with your outside-the-box licensing policies!
Commenting at the Kadnine Blog has not been disappeared, just temporarily shelved 'till I figure out this code-thing they call HTML. I've messed around with it for a more than a decade. Maybe soon I'll get the hang of it.
... says this WSJ editorial. Because in practice even the most hard-core atheists will often act as believers when it comes to family. And I say, Thank God:
"Remember Peter Singer? Mr. Singer is the Princeton utilitarian who accepts scientism's view that human beings are not fundamentally different from animals, just more complex. In his thinking, those who cannot reason for themselves or have lost their self-awareness have no real claim to life. Yet when Alzheimer's struck his mother, he paid for care to prolong and sustain her life. The irony is that an act that does him credit as a son must discredit him among those whose principles about life he claims to share.
"To put it another way, while we talk about the clash between God and science, in practice it often comes down to disagreements about man and morals. The boundaries are not always neat. Many Americans who are indifferent to faith will confess they find themselves challenged as they try to raise good and decent children without the religious confidence their parents had. The result may not be a return to religion but a healthy agnosticism about agnosticism itself."
"A healthy agnosticism about agnosticism itself." I've never heard it put that way. But I like it.
"This is the second notice that the factory warranty on your vehicle is about to expire," says the recorded voice at the other end of the line. Most people hang up. The machine calls again later.
Michael Silveira decided to strike back. The 22-year-old laboratory technician, who doesn't own a car, says he was getting unsolicited sales pitches as often as twice a day on his cellphone
Millions of Americans receive calls with pitches for extended auto warranties. Lawsuits are pending but one Internet community already took matters into their own hands, Geoffrey Fowler reports.
So last week, Mr. Silveira began calling back an auto-warranty company that has become the focus of an Internet crusade. He left it voice-mail messages that contained nothing but a recording of Rick Astley's 1987 hit song "Never Gonna Give You Up."
Using phone numbers for Auto One Warranty Specialists Inc. that users posted to a Web site called Reddit.com, Mr. Silveira joined dozens of activists who have peppered the warranty company with messages including elevator music, threats and offers of rude services.
"I thought, if you get a bunch of people together, you could blow up their voice-mail boxes," says Mr. Silveira.
The recipient of their efforts is David Tabb, the 42-year-old president of Auto One, an Irvine, Calif., warranty company with 60 employees. He says Reddit users overloaded his phone lines with computerized calls, changed voice-mail greetings on his company's system, and even threatened arson. People have been conspicuously honking outside his home, he says. To cope, he redirected some of the numbers that activists had been calling.
All of this happened, he says, with no evidence that his company had done anything wrong. "Ninety percent of the people complaining about my company have never been contacted by my company," he says. He hires third-party marketing firms to call consumers -- but says he pays a premium to ensure they call only people who have opted in to receiving solicitations. Many warranty calls come from so-called "ghost" phone numbers that make it nearly impossible to determine their origin. Mr. Silveira can't be certain Auto One is behind the calls he got, but he says he came to believe it was responsible for some of them after reading the Reddit postings.
Like most vigilantes, consumers who decide to take matters into their own hands with auto-warranty touts are in legally murky waters. Leaving harassing messages could be considered a threat, and might be prosecuted by authorities in some states.
All of this happened, [David Tabb] says, with no evidence that his company had done anything wrong. "Ninety percent of the people complaining about my company have never been contacted by my company," he says. He hires third-party marketing firms to call consumers -- but says he pays a premium to ensure they call only people who have opted in to receiving solicitations.
I'm calling shenanigans on Davie here. I didn't "opt in" for anything you have to sell. What I got was unwanted calls.
I was there when it was still called Saddam City. It's great to see such progress.
“I can take you to a hookah bar and chai shop,” he continued, “where we've given them a grant and they made drastic improvements to the outside. That had a great impact because it showed what U.S. forces are willing to do for Iraqis. It's a cultural and social hub of this neighborhood. Many people see what we've done for them. We didn't just make an investment with one person, the business owner. There may be hundreds of local men in the area who go to this hookah shop every week, and we made an impact with all of them.”
Built to hold a million unwanted Iraqis, Sadr City is now the most modern neighborhood of Baghdad.
We were without power for 48 hours, and were lucky/well prepared so that it was a relatively minor inconvenience. My heart goes out to those who are still without power, and even more sorrow goes out to the families who lost loved one in the storm.
I've read on several blogs this week wondering why Kentucky hasn't been thrown in President Obama's face as his Katrina, or why his weak response hasn't been demonized in the press the way Bush's response to New Orleans was. And while I can understand the frustration over the all too obvious double standards of the MSM, these bloggers seem misguided to me. Jeff Taylor at Reason, however, hits all the right notes:
The reality is that even after the emergency management reforms allegedly implemented after Hurricane Katrina, help from far-off Washington still does little in times of fast-moving crisis. This view may be heresy in the age of federal bailouts, but it is still true.
To put the ice storm response in perspective, remember that it was not until the Clinton administration that the federal government was even expected to deal with winter storms. It took Clinton's shrewd Arkansas crowd to identify the political potential of turning states and localities into federal dependents via the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and related federal disaster assets. Soon enough state and local officials were petitioning Washington for any and all weather-related expenses. The result has been millions of dollars flowing out of Washington.
Natural disasters arbitrarily bring death and destruction. They act beyond the control of mortal man and his institutions, no matter how grand and well-intentioned those institutions may be. Furthermore, the iron law of all disasters is that it is nearly impossible to get aid quickly to people in need. Two corollaries flow from this reality. One, that it is always better to evacuate potential victims than to attempt to rescue certain victims. This, of course, is precisely what did not happen in New Orleans or in the path of the ice storm. Two, given that outside help will be unreliable at best, local ad hoc relief efforts are almost always more effective.
Enter David Strange, the enterprising figure the Associated Press calls the "generator man." Strange drove the hills and hollows of backwoods Kentucky delivering and setting up generators to those without power—at a $50 to $100 mark-up over retail. Willing customers included a dialysis patient and a powerless 80-year-old woman dependent on an oxygen system. They called him a "godsend," although Strange prefers "jack of all trades" or even "hustler." To Adam Smith, he would be recognizable as an agent of the invisible hand.
FEMA is by it's own nature slow and cumbersome, local response is always faster and more effective, and private citizens can be the best help of all. Read the whole thing.
Also, it helps immensely to plan ahead for these emergencies at the individual level. Not enough Americans think about these matters in the age of flatscreens and Bu-Ray and Wii consoles and Iphones. The prepared family incurs the least hardship, and the best comprehensive disaster planning guide I've found is this five part diary at Daily Kos. It's carefully organized according to the logic that only comes after years of serious thought. I highly recommend it. (And yes, I'm linking Kos. It's that important.)
President Bush set a number of records in deficit spending over the last eight years: No Child Left Behind; 15 billion for AIDS relief in Africa; the first President in history to federally fund embryonic stem cell research; and the single biggest entitlement program in American history, the Medicare Prescription Bill.
"But come on, we're not — we are not going to get relief by turning back to the very same policies that for the last eight years doubled the national debt and threw our economy into a tailspin.
We can't embrace the losing formula that says only tax cuts will work for every problem we face [Damn that parsimonious Bush and his stingy Republican ways!- ed]; that ignores critical challenges like our addiction to foreign oil [Historical note: Obama is the second president to publicly call our dependence on cheap oil energy an "addiction",] or the soaring cost of health care, or falling schools and crumbling bridges and roads and levees."
What's Glenn's running joke? They told me that if I voted for McCain I'd get a third Bush term. And they were right!