Wednesday, November 30, 2005

More on the Negroponte $100 Fiasco

David Henderson makes some great points about the miguided $100 computer project, but I think he gives Negroponte far too much credit:

"Few people admire Mr. Negroponte more than I do, but his plan for how to distribute the computers is a tragedy in the making."

The results that Mr. Henderson points out were completely avoidable from the start, and they are inexcusable for someone with Mr' Negroponte's stated intentions.

For one, the entire project was inspired by the use of donated laptops by some Cambodian families. But when you read the story, you realize the laptops were being used as light bulbs. The target audience is far, far away from needing a laptop to put them over the top into the information age.

Further, the results of a public project like this are already being felt in places like Thailand, where schools that can barely stay open are being tasked with creating a network infrastructure to support these computers. Taking the decisions out of locals, the higher-ups in the government get to sign on to a sexy project like this one, and everyone crows about the vision, and avoids thinking about the results.

Last, November's over. The prototype didn't even get made. Trevor Bayliss came away less than impressed, saying the prototype "could have been made with Lego". This is the man tasked with creating the crank charging system.

Bottom line, read the David Henderson piece, it's more important to understand the economic mechanisms at work than to even worry if the product will ever exist.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Loser of the Day

$2.4 million accepted in bribes, by California Republican Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham, to steer defense contracts. There is not much lower you can go.

This is one reason that I don't really care about immoral CEOs. They don't actually have the power to steal your money directly, without some kind of government help.

It's also why lawmakers need less power and less money, not more. Of course bribes are going to be offered, when they have the power to spend so many billions, through contracts, subsidies, and anything else they please.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thank You Ms. Goldberg

From the comic genius who brought us this material (from 1993):

Comes a warning on racial insensitivity in this (from the 1940s):

About Looney Toons, Whoopi says, "These jokes were wrong then and they're wrong today." So they were wrong in 1993 as well, but it didn't stop her writing Danson's schtick.

Thanks, Whoopi, glad you're on the case.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Tough Luck Johnny

It seems Johnny Depp just can't find a home he likes these days, and I for one couldn't feel less sorry for him.

I don't really like his acting to begin with, but I like him even less for badmouthing America from his adopted home of France. "I was very lucky that something steered me to France back in '98... Thank God we escaped." You know, from the greed, wars for oil, etc. "What's it really all about? It's about dough; it's about money. That's ugly." And France's involvement in Oil for Food, selling arms to Saddam, and opposing our intervention? No, that's pure principle, that's beautiful.

But apparently the honeymoon is over, as even his deep myopia was shattered with the recent riots. "It's insane, that setting cars on fire is the new strike. I went there (to France) to live because it seemed so simple. Now it's anything but. I don't know how they'll recover from this."

I don't wish him ill, but it is entertaining. He sat back in France and laughed at America, as though ignoring the problems in the world, and those in France, was all it takes to live a peaceful life. That confronting a problem was somehow the same as causing the problem in the first place.

I doubt he'll learn, though. Most likely he blames us for Paris, as well.

Monday, November 14, 2005

My New Favorite Organization - World Can't Wait

This one's a new one to me, "The World Can't Wait." I thought about posting the list of members at the bottom but it's so long and unremarkable it'd be a waste. You should take a second and look at it just for fun.

It was slightly surprising to see Casey Kasem in the list, but other than that, it's the same tired retreads on every other Anti-Bush campaign out there.

And here are the reasons, all classic:

Your government, on the basis of outrageous lies, is waging a murderous and utterly illegitimate war in Iraq, with other countries in their sights.

One sentence, so many wrong answers. Read Bush's UN speech to hear the reasons. Then remember Clinton never even approached the UN before Bosnia, but who cared? There has never been a less murderous war, with more care taken for civilians.

Your government is openly torturing people, and justifying it.

Our government openly tries torturers, and convicts them.

Your government puts people in jail on the merest suspicion, refusing them lawyers, and either holding them indefinitely or deporting them in the dead of night.

Yes, please mirandize on the battlefield, and please don't deport overstaying terrorist suspects. And oh yeah, all this started with Bush.

Your government is moving each day closer to a theocracy, where a narrow and hateful brand of Christian fundamentalism will rule.

No examples necessary from these folks, they put the key phrases in, it's self-evident.

Your government suppresses the science that doesn't fit its religious, political and economic agenda, forcing present and future generations to pay a terrible price.

Failure to fund with confiscated taxes is not suppression, sorry. And exactly how much funding was there for stem cells, of any kind, before Bush? Yeah, suppression.

Your government is moving to deny women here, and all over the world, the right to birth control and abortion.

Again, the fact that you can't force us all to pay for others' abortions is not a denial of any right.

Your government enforces a culture of greed, bigotry, intolerance and ignorance.

Bigotry and intolerance, yes, through affirmative action, racial classifications, multi-language education, and other programs that produce resentment and separation of cultures. Ignorance, yes, through a public school system that values job protection and choice restriction over parental rights and quality education. Greed, I wish. You sorry socialists could use a little yourself instead of trying yoke those that actually produce anything into towing you around. Again, what does this all have to do with Bush?

People look at all this and think of Hitler — and they are right to do so. The Bush regime is setting out to radically remake society very quickly, in a fascist way, and for generations to come. We must act now; the future is in the balance.

It didn't take long to bring Hitler in, I expect to see a lot more genius from these folks in the future. Good luck, freakazoids.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

How You Know a Diet is Overdue

When, as you walk to the counter to pick up your pizza to-go, before you can say, "Pizza for Morgan," from behind the counter you hear, "Do I even have to ask?"

Support the Minutemen-- in Paris

The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush?

I wait expectantly for Mr. Moore to lend his support the French Freedom Fighters, but as of yet I've seen nothing on his site. I haven't seen the groundswell of support for these heroes from DailyKos, DemocraticUnderground either, but I'm sure they'll be there soon.

As for me, I still don't say French (in protest) so I can only say I fully support the Freedom Freedom Fighters.

This Isn't News?

From the Washington Post:

"In August, new business startups in Iraq exceeded 30,000. Individual Iraqis are better off financially than they have been for 20 years. According to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, per capita income has doubled since the United States toppled the Saddam regime. There are more than 3.5 million cellular phone subscribers in Iraq, up from zero when Saddam ruled. Internet cafes are thriving in even small towns."

Let's see that again, and please, let me know if you've already seen this on the nightly news or PBS and it's old news:
  1. In August, new business startups in Iraq exceeded 30,000.
  2. Individual Iraqis are better off financially than they have been for 20 years.
  3. Per capita income has doubled since the United States toppled the Saddam regime.
  4. There are more than 3.5 million cellular phone subscribers in Iraq.
  5. Internet cafes are thriving in even small towns.
No? Well, neither was I, actually. Because it's not being reported on. It's in the Washington Post blog section, and that's it.

By the way, for those that claim to support the troops, it might be a day to say "nice job, keep up the good work."

Friday, November 04, 2005

Ding Dong HR1606 is Dead

I couldn't be happier that HR1606 was defeated.

McCain-Feingold, a ridiculously bad law, will not last long, in my opinion. People will not shut up about the elections 60 days before the next one, and the FEC will have to enforce it, and it will be challenged, and I don't see how it can stand up in court.

Had H1606 (Hensarling-Reid) passed, it would have smoothed over the results of McCain-Feingold and made it more difficult to get rid of.

The defeat, largely on party lines, can also be used as a club against Democrats next election season. Although people don't seem to care much, and it would be a dishonest attack in a lot of ways.

UPDATE: For a much more insightful explanation, John Stossel to the rescue.