Dude clearly needs to get his priorities straight

Uni Watch » White Glove Treatment

Uni Watch is a weirdly fascinating daily blog that obsesses over quirks in professional and college sports uniforms.  I don’t know why, but after Mo pointed it out to me, I read it almost every day.  Today’s was particularly funny.

I know, as an announcer, it must be hard to come up with interesting banter when nothing interesting is happening on the field.  But I think they can try harder than this.

Democrats are incompetent

Whatever: On Moral Cowardice

I simply cannot understand the sort of rank and pervasive incompetence Democrats have to have in order to allow themselves to be politically flummoxed time and again by the least popular and least competent president in modern political history.

Great rant against our current government from John Scalzi.  What I find truly amazing is that, out of two dozen or so comments so far, not a single person has disagreed with him.  I imagine the trolls will come out soon, and I’m sure many of his commenters are regulars who like him in part because of his mostly liberal outlook, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a political statement online written with such anger that didn’t have a bunch of equally angry comments in opposition.

I love RSS

I’m curious, and I don’t have enough readers to do a poll, but I’d really like to know how many people don’t return to a website that doesn’t have an RSS feed.  Sometimes I’ll come across something interesting at a site and think, “Hey, I’d like to read this site regularly.”  But then I look in the address bar, and there’s no little Firefox Live Bookmark icon.  And that’s usually the last time I visit that site.  It’s just too much trouble to actually have to bookmark the site, then remember to check back and see if anything’s new.

With my RSS reader, Firefox plugin Sage, I don’t have to remember.  When I have a free moment, or need a quick break from work, I just click the Sage button on my toolbar, hit refresh, and suddenly I have new things to read from websites I like.

I don’t really read a newspaper (Too hard to recycle).  But I have RSS feeds for the Washington Post, CNN, the BBC . . . Certainly I don’t get every bit of news that happens, but I get the highlights.

Don’t really know where I was going with all this.  But I don’t know what I would do without RSS.  I look forward to the day when my little PDA/cellphone/camera/etc uses the ubiquitous free WiFi to keep my RSS feed updated wherever I am.

Lets regulate all the competition away

Verizon, Montgomery Reach Tentative Deal – washingtonpost.com

Jane Lawton, the county’s cable administrator, said the county’s goal was to get a deal that was equitable to the agreements with Comcast and RCN Corp., the two other cable operators in the county.”We didn’t want to disrupt a level playing field and be open to challenges by competitors,” she said.

Let’s see . . . cable companies nationwide have local monopolies almost everywhere. I don’t know of anyone who can choose cable provider A instead of cable provider B. So now Verizon is introducing real competition, something that should raise the quality of service and lower prices for consumers, and the Montgomery County cable administrator (Whatever the heck that is) is complaining about an unlevel playing field? That’s ridiculous. If the playing field is not level, it’s because YOU, Jane Lawton, and your predecessors have imposed stupid regulations on the existing cable companies. So now you have to make sure you impose them on Verizon, too.

As part of the 15-year agreement, Verizon will pay a franchise fee of 5 percent of television revenue. Another 3 percent of TV revenue will go toward public access programming and other cable television needs. Verizon must also pay $1 million over five years for cable-related investments and provide cable TV for schools, libraries and fire stations.

I don’t know what “cable television needs” and “cable-related investments” are, but this sounds like extortion. I don’t mean to get too Techdirt here, but any time someone says, “We have to protect the consumer by regulating a level playing field”, I hear “The companies that give large donations to my re-election campaign are NOT going to like this new competition.”

Special guest blogger

Meow. Hello! I’m Biscuit, the official Complaint Hub cat. I have a little story to tell you. Last Thursday, I was wandering around the house, hungry. I thought I’d make some noise so someone would feed me, but that didn’t work. Those two people who live in my house were nowhere to be found. People are always disappearing like that. Never around when your food dish needs refilling.

So I decided to go look for them, to make sure they weren’t hiding somewhere. I jumped up on the table, and . . . Oh! Something shiny! And string! I played with the shiny thing and the string for a little while. I love playing with string. It just never gets old.

Well, eventually it gets old. And I was still hungry. So I thought, why not eat the shiny thing? That seems reasonable. I mean, if I wasn’t supposed to play with it and then eat it, why would it be on the table?

It didn’t really agree with me, though. And it wasn’t satisfying at all. In fact, it was kind of pointy. I couldn’t really swallow it all the way.

I spent the next day whining about it so those dumb people would fix it, but they just ignored me. And then they disappeared for two days! No one was there to sit with me on the couch. And my neck hurt. If I’d had anything to eat in the last few days since that shiny thing, I would have left them a little surprise, let me tell you.

Finally they got back! But still, they ignored me. “Poor Bis,” they said. “What’s wrong, Biscuit?” They said. My dang neck hurts, that’s what’s wrong! Can’t you see that? But they couldn’t.  The next day, I was still hungry.  The people came home, and I could smell something delicious!  My stomach was growling.  They were cooking shrimp!  I rushed to the kitchen, meowing as best I could to let them know that I, too, would like some shrimp.  They didn’t give me any, though.  But they did give me some other food from a can, so I ate that.  The shiny thing kind of got in the way, but not too much.

Then, the people thought I was getting better.  I tried to tell them I wasn’t, but you know how people are.

Finally, the next day I’d had enough.  My neck really hurt, and I was really hungry.  That’s when they grabbed me and put me in that little box.  I hate that box.  Whenever I get in that box, I’m always somewhere I don’t want to be when I get out.  Sure enough, they opened the box, and I was at the vet!  I hate the vet.  You wouldn’t believe where she sticks a really cold thermometer.  And she put me in this strange, noisy machine, but I guess it wasn’t too bad.  It didn’t hurt.  But then, I had to go to a new place.  It seemed a lot like the vet, so I hid under a desk until they made me come out.

After that, they took me into another room, and they shaved my ankle!  The nerve!  I don’t remember too much after that.  I’m home now, though.  I think I’m going to stay under the couch this week, though.  That seems safest.

Can I forgive Sony in order to buy this?

Sony Reader: Gizmodo’s Hands All Over, $350 in October (Really!) – Gizmodo

So, Sony sucks.  After their insistence on their stupid proprietary flash memory, their rootkit fiasco and subsequent refusal to take responsibility, and a general “Our customers are criminals who must be stopped” mentality, I wrote off the company.  But, damn, this is a sexy gadget.  Have you ever wished you could take your whole book collection with you?  Tired of paper cuts?  Want a real step forward in the whole book-reading experience?  This thing is it.  I really want one, and I don’t know if I can buy one.  I’m really, really hoping that someone, soon, puts out a similar device that runs on Linux or something.  I don’t think it will happen, though.  Book publishers will almost certainly reject anything that doesn’t help implement their DRM, and a Linux device isn’t likely to satisfy them.

What should happen, at the very least, is the electronic ink technology their using should become more common.  The cool thing about electronic ink is that it only uses power when the screen changes.  Excellent applications include the preview on the outside of your cell phone, or advertising billboards.

So, we’ll see if the cool factor outweighs the Sony sucks factor.  And if it does, the next hurdle is wife-approval.  But I think I can handle that.

Time magazine is on notice

TIME.com: Do Newspapers Have a Future? — Oct. 2, 2006 — Page 2

But there is room between the New York Times and myleftarmpit.com for new forms that liberate journalism from its encrusted conceits while preserving its standards, like accuracy.

I was just about ready to remove Time magazine from my Google homepage because they were disappointing me with thin articles, but this one is a little better. It whines a little about the blogosphere and how the bad bloggers are getting treated like journalists without having to pay their dues as whatever journalists are before they get a job with a big paper. But then it goes on to talk about the need for old school media to find the spot between bloggers and where they are now where people want to read them, and they still make money.

I do have to take issue with this quote:

The Brits have never bought into the American separation of reporting and opinion. They assume that an intelligent person, paid to learn about some subject, will naturally develop views about it. And they consider it more truthful to express those views than to suppress them in the name of objectivity.

American papers objective? I don’t know what American paper he’s reading, but if it’s really objective, I’d love a subscription. I have yet to find a news source in between “OMG Bush is a jerk” and “Fight terrorism at all costs!”.

I’d like to see old media compete. I think that established newspapers have a place alongside blogs, and it’s an important place. They just need to figure out what that place is, and how to monetize it.

Pope a liar

CNN.com – Pope: ‘Total and profound respect for Muslims’ – Sep 25, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI expressed “total and profound respect for all Muslims” at a meeting Monday with ambassadors from Muslim nations and other Islamic leaders.

Really?  Is that why you said something insulting and inflammatory, then apologized for the reaction of the Muslim community?  If I punch you in the face, then say, “I’m sorry you were hurt”, that’s not a sincere apology for my actions.  That is saying, “I didn’t do anything wrong.  It’s unfortunate that you had a negative reaction to what I did.”  It places the blame on the injured or offended party, and it does not show respect for anyone.

Oh, thats encouraging

TIME.com: Why The Democratic Wave Could Be A Washout — Oct. 2, 2006 — Page 1

Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, says the opposition hasn’t sold a vision for handling terrorism, Iraq or jobs. He also cites a drop-off in turnout for most Democratic primaries this year as one sign that the Dems aren’t strong enough to mount a takeover of power on Capitol Hill.

This article is a little short on content, but it speaks to what I can’t figure out about the Democratic party. People are abolutely livid about the way things are going with our Republican-led government. All the Democrats have to do is say, “Hi, we’re not Republicans, and we have a plan.” And then demonstrate with a few talking points that they might, in fact, actually have a plan. That’s all they have to do to win just about every contested election in the country.

But they can’t seem to do that. I haven’t seen a poll anywhere that suggests the Democrats are going to win any big battles. It’s disgraceful. Democrats, this is why Republicans make fun of you. You’ve been handed half the elections in the country on a silver platter, and you’ve done nothing at all.

I’ve said it before – if the Democrats don’t take the Presidency and a strong majority in Congress, the party should be disbanded for absolute and utter incompetence.