Saturday, February 14, 2009

The most adorable Windows Commercial

Microsoft Windows continues with their $300 Million ad campaign "I'm a PC". Essentially these commercials are designed to break the "stereotype" that Windows PC user are boring and boxed characters.

This new ad is interesting in that it also tries to convey the message that Windows can be easy to use, that even little kids can use Windows.

However you feel about Microsoft Windows or the reality of the little girl being able to be work in a Windows Operating System, no one can deny how totally cute this little girl is!!

Sphere: Related Content

The Biggest Loser

If I had to vote for the biggest loser of the week, it would be a really difficult choice for whether my vote would go to Senator Judd Gregg or the Republican Party.

I mean we already know that the Republican Party is a bunch of "do nothing" obstructionists, who are supposed to be representing the American People in their States, but instead they are filled with nothing but quest for power (re-taking in 2010) and grand-standing. The peer pressure in their own party is worse than High School. They are crowing about the fact that Not a SINGLE REPUBLICAN in the House voted for the Stimulus Bill. In the Senate, there were only 3 who broke to vote in favor of the Stimulus.

But don’t try telling Republicans that. They’re downright giddy with their obstructionist tactics. “Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban,” bragged Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes."
Seriously?? This Republican Congressman is giddy with the idea that they are applying something that they learned from the Taliban. If I were a member of the Republican Party, I'd tell this guy to "STFU - because you're embarassing us".

This makes it clear to the American people, that it wasn't about country or the well-being of the American People, it was all about toeing the party line. Statistically it doesn't add up, if every one was voting their conscious, you would expect some sampling of members on either side voting against their party - we see this with 7 Democrats who voted agains the Stimulus. But the fact that you have NO Republicans voting for the Stimulus in the House, indicates a systematic behavior - completely manufactured.

Watch this exchange between Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fl), who totally owns Congressman Brian Bilbray (R-CA). She basically makes him look like a sputtering idiot, which I guess was not too difficult, as that's what he is.

So since this is a constant display of sophmoric behavior by the Republican Party, I'm going to have to go with Senator Judd Gregg - who I didn't have a great deal of knowledge about in the past - but what a spineless speciman of a human being. The fact is, he could have done something great, he could have put country before politics, and put his so called "business acumen" to good use in the Commerce Department, as Secretary of Commerce.

But then he goes and does two things:

  1. First he says that he will abstain on the stimulus vote as he is Secretary Designate for the Commerce Department, and sites conflict of interest
  2. Then he withdraws his nominee as Secretary of Commerce, because he "couldn't be Judd Gregg".
Excuse my French, but "WTF????" It sounds like something some middle-aged guy or alternately some lame thing a girl might say when he/she wants out of a relationship. The feeble "it's not you, it's me - and I need to find myself" crap that men or women with no integrity or courage say to get out of a relationship.

So either he is STUPID or he has NO COJONES - so which is it?

Of course he is trying to back pedal and save face, saying that he didn't lobby for the position. But let's face it, he wouldn't have reached the notice of the President without Senator Harry Reid to recommend him, and why would Senator Reid do anything on his behalf, unless he was requested to by Senator Gregg?

So anyone applying for a job, should know what they are getting into, and he more or less accepted the position. To accept, and then turn around and say that it would not be a good fit, is an act of a total moron.

If I were President Obama, I wouldn't give this guy the time of day ever again. This happened to me once. I was extremely supportive towards a colleague who reached out to me, and expressed strong interest in a position. We spoke for months, keeping in contact about possible openings, then when an opportunity did come up, I lobbyied on his behalf, and when I extended the position to this candidate, he expressed doubt. After several days of thinking things through, he declined the position, even though we had talked for months about the possibility of him joining the organization. Then not 24 hours later after he declines the position, he calles me back and tell me that he changed his mind. Automatically, I told him, that the position was being offered to someone else, and that it was too late - because it was. Just because he was being "wishy-washy", didn't mean that I was going to be dragged along as well.

So how is it that he couldn't align or agree to what the position would be about in his talks with President Obama in the beginning??? If he didn't agree to certain key deal breakers, he could have walked away, and just said that it was an honor to be considered, but that the fit wasn't right for either party. So what didn't he understand about the job, before accepting it??

If he was ok with the conditions on taking the job, what changed since his acceptance?? I mean let's face it, it's not a secret that President Obama is a Democrat with progressive philosophy. How does he not understand that the President will set the agenda and the vision, that he serves in the CABINET of the President, working on the President's behalf. So if it came down to it being a surprise that he wouldn't get to implement policy to his liking, then all I can say is that he was STUPID for accepting a job he didn't totally understand.

If he understood the conditions and the expectations of the President, the only other thing that makes sense is the dynamics and the peer pressure from his Republican Party. Essentially he caved in to whatever they were saying to him, and he decided he didn't want to be alienated from his little Republican Clique.

Republicans celebrated Gregg’s decision to stay in the Senate — and gloated over the embarrassment the Obama team was facing. “Sen. Gregg made a principled decision to return, and we’re glad to have him,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “He is among the smartest, most effective legislators to serve in the Senate — Democrat or Republican — and a key adviser to me and to the Republican Conference. It’s great to have him back.”

McConnell discouraged Gregg from accepting the commerce nomination before he took it, and he talked with him about withdrawing before he made his announcement. While McConnell wouldn’t discuss the specifics of his conversations with Gregg, he said: “It’s totally safe to say I was not happy to have a member of my team leave the Senate and go to the administration.”

There was even this garbage that was being circulated that it made the Republicans "emboldened" because Senator Gregg rejected President Obama.

What's silly is that the Republicans think it's a good thing to reflect on their party, when in actuality, it made Senator Gregg look like a weak, indecisive loser, and their party a bunch of petty vindictive men - worse than the shenanigans on "Mean Girls". So this indicates he has no mojo to be his own man.

The fact that the Republican Party are coralling their members and telling them to vote NO despite the benefits, and the fact that some Republican members like the stimulus, but they just don't want to be linked to voting for such a high spending bill, confirms what I have always known about the Republican Party. A bunch of hypocritical losers who care more about how they look, than what they actually do to benefit the country and the American People.

Let's just stop with the lies and the theatrical display, when they moan and don on clothes of sack ashes in decrying the debt we are burdening our children with - where were their fiscal conservative grumblings when we spent billions on contractors and on the Iraq War? Literally they lost $12 Billion dollars, they couldn't find out any accounting for this in the War spending. Did they forget that they and their President took a SURPLUS and turned it into a trillion dollar deficit? Finally, let's not forget that it was the aptly named, DICK Cheney who said "Deficits don't matter".

So at a meeting with the vice president after the mid-term elections in 2002, Suskind writes that O'Neill argued against a second round of tax cuts. “Cheney, at this moment, shows his hand,” says Suskind. “He says, ‘You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. We won the mid-term elections, this is our due.’ … O'Neill is speechless.” ”It was not just about not wanting the tax cut. It was about how to use the nation's resources to improve the condition of our society,” says O’Neill. “And I thought the weight of working on Social Security and fundamental tax reform was a lot more important than a tax reduction.” Did he think it was irresponsible? “Well, it's for sure not what I would have done,” says O’Neill.

By the way, Senator Judd Gregg, voted "NO" on the Stimulus Bill - AFTER withdrawing his nomination as Secretary of Commerce. Gee - what a shocker!

Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, February 12, 2009

China still likes US Debt

I wrote back in January "Who will buy US Debt?", well it turns out the Chinese haven't really washed their hands of us yet...

According to FT:

China will continue to buy US Treasury bonds even though it knows the dollar will depreciate because such investments remain its “only option” in a perilous world, a senior Chinese banking regulator said on Wednesday.

China has used the dollars it accumulates selling manufactured goods to US consumers to accumulate the world’s largest holding of Treasuries. However, the increasing US budget deficit and its potential impact on the dollar have raised questions about the future Chinese appetite for US debt.

“Except for US Treasuries, what can you hold?” he asked. “Gold? You don’t hold Japanese government bonds or UK bonds. US Treasuries are the safe haven. For everyone, including China, it is the only option.”

With the $790 Billion Stimulus package, it's becoming clear this strange symbiotic relationship will continue. China and the rest of the World's Economy would crumble if the US Economy were to implode, so in a way they need us, as much as we need them.
Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Does technology make us stupid?

I recently bought a car with a GPS Navigation system. I got it, because my siblings insisted it was something I should get. I was at first reluctant to get it, because I always prided myself on being able to be intelligent enough to figure out where I am going, and relying on my sense of direction.

While I know it's totally optional for me to use it, I am finding it pretty useful, as I get to know the Los Angeles area. But it did make me wonder, while it's a useful technology, does it make people less able to cultivate mental capabilities to figure out directions. In other words, does it make us stupid?

I think about spell check and grammar check, both are great features, but I wonder if it's making us lazy about knowing how to spell words or write grammatically correct sentences.

It also makes me wonder how the Internet and applications like Twitter affects the way we read and communicate. Andrew Sullivan notes how many are noticing the lack of patience they have for reading long paragraphs. Yves Smith writes:
I notice how the Internet has affected how I read. I have become impatient with longer stories (unless I am on an airplane). I spend most of my time on the Internet, and the vast majority of what I read fits within the browser window. I find that has conditioned my expectations. When confronted with a longer piece (say Sunday New York Times magazine feature or New Yorker length) I find after the first page wondering if it really had to be this long, and often not finishing the piece. Five years ago, I never would have responded this way.
This reminded me of an article in the NY Times, that debated how the internet has changed the way we read. There are many different viewpoints, as can be expected, ranging from those who feel the internet hinders reading skills, to those who point to other benefits that internet brings to those able to take in many different sources of information.

As teenagers’ scores on standardized reading tests have declined or stagnated, some argue that the hours spent prowling the Internet are the enemy of reading — diminishing literacy, wrecking attention spans and destroying a precious common culture that exists only through the reading of books.

Neurological studies show that learning to read changes the brain’s circuitry. Scientists speculate that reading on the Internet may also affect the brain’s hard wiring in a way that is different from book reading.

The United States is diverging from the policies of some other countries. Next year, for the first time, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which administers reading, math and science tests to a sample of 15-year-old students in more than 50 countries, will add an electronic reading component. The United States, among other countries, will not participate. A spokeswoman for the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the Department of Education, said an additional test would overburden schools.
I would tend to agree that the Internet does teach us other skills, with so many websites, individuals have to be able to filter through and organize the concepts and information flowing through the screen. So I don't think the Internet as a bad thing, just different. But I can't help noticing that I, myself, tend to scan through to just get the key words or points. That I don't exactly read as thoroughly as I used to.

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Economic Armageddon

I just came across a video clip, of what happened that fateful day in September, 2008 when Hank Paulson literally came begging on his knees to Nancy Pelosi to gain support and action from Congress with regards to the first TARP Financial Bailout.

According to TMFSinchurina on his MotleyFool blog:
Now, we have another video (actually available since late January), and one which I encourage every Fool not only to watch but to circulate as they see fit, in which Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski of Pennsylvania reveals some shocking information regarding a bank run which occured right here and indeed brought this country and the entire world economy to within three hours of complete and systemic financial collapse. In this video, Congressman Kanjorski reveals (at about the 2:15 mark) that the move to raise the move to guarantee money market funds up to $250,000 was an emergency measure to stave off a massive run on the banks that removed $550 billion from the system in a matter of just a couple of hours. Treasury then injected $105 billion to no avail, and shut the system down to prevent a panic continuation of this electronic bank run. By "their" [read Treasury's] estimation, had they not shut it down and issued the guarantee, money market withdrawls would have reached $5.5 trillion by two 'o'clock that afternoon!! He then indicates Treasury's assessment that the run not only would have destroyed the U.S. economy immediately, but would have collapsed the world economy within 24 hours.
According to Bloomberg back in Sept. 17, 2008:

Assets in money market funds, considered the safest investments after cash and bank deposits, rose to a record $3.59 trillion this month as stock and commodity markets fell. Investor confidence has been shaken by the subprime-mortgage collapse, the demise of Lehman and Bear Stearns Cos., and the failure of 11 U.S. commercial banks.

Widespread withdrawals from money-market funds would aggravate the global credit crunch because they are major buyers of short-term debt issued by corporations and financial companies. Today, the cost of borrowing in dollars for three months jumped the most since September 1999 as banks hoarded cash. The London interbank offered rate, or Libor, rose 19 basis points to 3.06 percent, the British Bankers' Association said. A basis point is one-hundredth of 1 percent.

Sphere: Related Content

Monday, February 9, 2009

President Obama's First Press Conference

I am stunned, absolutely stunned, after 8 years of complete nonsense, President Obama's first press conference to the American Public is a refreshing change in both tone and content.

"I took a trip to Elkhart, Indiana today. Elkhart is a place that has lost jobs faster than anywhere else in America. In one year, the unemployment rate went from 4.7% to 15.3%. Companies that have sustained this community for years are shedding jobs at an alarming speed, and the people who've lost them have no idea what to do or who to turn to. They can't pay their bills and they've stopped spending money. And because they've stopped spending money, more businesses have been forced to lay off more workers. Local TV stations have started running public service announcements that tell people where to find food banks, even as the food banks don't have enough to meet the demand.

As we speak, similar scenes are playing out in cities and towns across the country. Last Monday, more than 1,000 men and women stood in line for 35 firefighter jobs in Miami. Last month, our economy lost 598,000 jobs, which is nearly the equivalent of losing every single job in the state of Maine. And if there's anyone out there who still doesn't believe this constitutes a full-blown crisis, I suggest speaking to one of the millions of Americans whose lives have been turned upside down because they don't know where their next paycheck is coming from."

"The plan is not perfect," the president said, addressing the nation from the East Room of the White House. "No plan is. I can't tell you for sure that everything in this plan will work exactly as we hope, but I can tell you with complete confidence that a failure to act will only deepen this crisis as well as the pain felt by millions of Americans."
I think political analyst, Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show", made a very interesting observation, when she indicated that President Obama was presenting the issue and the situation of what's happening to everyday Americans to Washington, this is different than President Obama trying to explain Washington to the American Public - which is what former President Bush often did.

If anyone doubts the serious and real crisis we are looking at with regards to the economy, this chart says it all:

The Green Line represents 2008/2009 Job Losses, these are ACTUAL job losses. The shocking pace of unemployment rates compared to the unemployment rates in the past should wake up any left in denial.

The only question is HOW long will this recession last if we don't act soon. The longer we wait, the longer and more painful this recession will be.
The Republican GOP Party is demonstrating how pathetically inadequate they are to the whole crisis resolution. They have become a party of whiners ("Nancy Pelosi is being mean to us") and obstructionists. I have no idea what these guys are smoking, how stupid are they, that they don't see that the American Public gets the fact that the GOP are the problem. Yet they are high-fiving each other that none of the House Republicans voted for the Stimulus Bill.

It's absolutely stunning, how the Republican Party honestly does not know how to govern, all they know how to do is complain. They certainly have the ability to feign hurt and outrage down pat. They remind me of soccer players who fall down and look agonized to get a flag or penalty on the other team. The GOP just loves "working the refs". I am completely offended that my tax payers are going toward the salary of these useless morons. Personally I am a fairly generous and forgiving person, but nothing tests my patience than pure stupidity and incompetence.

Have a look at these poll numbers by Gallup:

President Barack Obama continues to have high approval ratings, compared to Congress. But what's interesting is that the Republicans in Congress has the biggest disapproval rate, even greater than the Democrats.

There is a great quote from Thomas Pain, that Lee Iaoccoca repeated in a long ago commercial:

"Lead, Follow, or Get out of the way"

The Republican Party should really consider that advice...

Sphere: Related Content

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My Favorite Things

I think in this economic environment, you have to take pleasure in some of the simple things.

Here are a few of my favorite things:
  1. Being able to sleep in on a Sunday morning
  2. That first cup of coffee in the morning
  3. Getting compliments from men in random places
  4. Dancing to a Britney Spears song (in private)
  5. The Whole Foods Salad Bar
  6. Buying that fabulous black dress on impulse, and finding that it's on sale!
  7. Watching "Weekend at Bernies" on TBS
  8. Reading the Best Of Rants and Raves on Craigslist (it definitely helps to put your life in perspective and realize that you have a great life compared to others)
  9. Going to Costco's and trying their dessert samples!
  10. Going for a walk in the sun/on the beach/in the mountains etc.
Sphere: Related Content

The Republican Party - Party of the Stupids

On This Week with George Stephanopoulos, we got a preview of the future leadership of the Republican Party, and it provided a great little gem of an interview with Michael Steele, which showcased just how much the Republican Party is becoming the party of the Stupid People.

Trying to sound outraged and morally superior, the hypocritcal Republican "suddenly we have become the party of fiscal responsibility" Michael Steele has this to say about Pell Grants:
STEELE: How does -- how does -- I mean, I'm all for Pell Grants, but how does a Pell Grant, increasing funding for Pell Grant get me a job when I just lost mine?

Yes Mr. Steele, please go on and tell us why you think having stupid and uneducated people in America is good for our economy. And while we are at it, explain to me why having a proper and real solution to address Health Care and Health issues is such a bad thing? Why is it that they can't get it throught their tiny little skulls, that having a healthy and educated workforce is GOOD for the economy.

Then Steele goes on to argue that jobs created by the Government aren't really jobs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So a job doesn't count if it's a government job?


STEELE: Hold on. No, let me -- let me -- let me finish. That is a contract. It ends at a certain point, George. You know that. These road projects that we're talking about have an end point.

As a small-business owner, I'm looking to grow my business, expand my business. I want to reach further. I want to be international. I want to be national. It's a whole different perspective on how you create a job versus how you create work. And I'm -- either way, the bottom line is...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I guess I don't really understand that distinction.

STEELE: Well, the difference -- the distinction is this. If a government -- if you've got a government contract that is a fixed period of time, it goes away. The work may go away. That's -- there's no guarantee that that -- that there's going to be more work when you're done in that job.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, but we've seen millions and millions of jobs going away in the private sector just in the last year.

STEELE: But they come -- yes, they -- and they come back, though, George. That's the point. When they go -- they've gone away before, and they come back.
I love how Steele doesn't get how dumb he sounds saying that. Exactly how are these jobs going to come back or get created when there is no demand? Exactly how do they not get that something needs to get the economy re-started. The only way to compensate in place of private spending, is for Government to step up - UNTIL the economy can get back on its feet.

But then again, these are the morons who still think that having emission standards is a terrible thing, and who fought against efficiency standards since the last Oil crisis, which meant that the US was NOT prepared this past summer to handle the high oil prices.

As I watch the Stimulus debate and posturing by the Republican party, I honestly don't know why I continue to be astounded by their stupidity and their idiotic talking points. Really, can't they ever come up with intelligent and productive ideas? Why are they always such a bunch of small minded hypocrites?

I can't put it any better than Jon Stewart, on just how ridiculous the Republican Party is and will be for foreseeable future!

Sphere: Related Content