Jan 312008

Usually I don’t like the consolidation of industries, techie or otherwise. But in Audible.com’s case, I’m glad to see them getting bought out by Amazon.

I’ve been on Audible’s mailing list for a long time, looking forward to the day when I could sign up. I need more books to listen to while riding my bike. But it just didn’t make any sense if Audible didn’t have any means of browsing and searching their collection. Yes, they had something called “Browse”, but it wasn’t anywhere near what is usually thought of as a browse function. Every once in a while I’d send them an e-mail telling them I’d like to sign up whenever they had a browse function working. But they never fixed it.

I’ll bet Amazon won’t let that state of affairs remain. Amazon knows how to do search and browse.

Jan 292008

Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama keep talking about bringing about change.

It so happens they’re not the only ones.   Microsoft wants to bring about change, too.  It wants to change all of our Windows XP machines to Windows Vista ones.

And just as Hillary and Barak have taught silly people to mouth the same words about change, so has Microsoft.  Here is how an Infoworld article summarized it:

Other readers suggested that those who wanted to stick with XP were doing so because they simply didn’t want to invest in new hardware. All OS conversions cost time and money and change is just part of the technology landscape.

So some obstructionists don’t want change because they don’t want to spend the money.  Yes, I’d say that’s true in politics as well as in computers.

And that 2nd sentence about the technology landscape is great.   Technology changes and change is expensive, therefore we should quit griping about the lack of a good reason to change and should pony up.

If Hillary and Barak don’t offer any specifics  about what change they want, is it because the change they want us to make is the political equivalent of Vista?

Jan 292008

I can understand why the old media types dislike the internet. It’s a threat to their quasi-monopoly on utterance of news and opinion. But I’m not sure that explains this one .  Whatever it is that motivates the writer’s grumpiness, I was amused by this quote:

Information” is not the same thing as “fact”. But eventually, we forget the distinction and uncritically accept all information as truth.

We do?    We know for a fact that we do that?

Jan 282008

Kalamazoo Gazette sports writer Scott DeCamp did a piece marked “opinion” in which he wrote about what the new high school basketball schedules are doing to attendance. Girls’ basketball used to be in the fall; now it has been mandated that it should be in the winter, same as the boys’. It’s for equity’s sake, I guess.

One downside has been that attendance is down, mostly for the girls’ games and somewhat for boys’ games, too. The problem for grandparents and others is that it’s just too much basketball all at the same time, so they have to pick and choose.

The coach he interviewed for the article says the old way was working fine, so why mess with it?

Then comes the sleazy part:

My opinon–one that Kevin Langs [the coach] agrees with, by the way — is that like it or not, the new seasons are here to stay. Michigan’s way of conducting high school sports in the past may have been better than other states, but that doesn’t matter now.

Well, if it doesn’t matter, why did the writer bring it up? And after the coach gave his opinion, why did he promise to give his own, and then weasel out of it by saying “it’s here to stay”. That’s not an opinion on whether or not it’s a good thing. And why is he progosticating about the future and pretending not to be a participant in determining what that future is going to be?

We used to have a congressman who pulled that stunt whenever he was asked, “do you favor a change in X.” His response: “It’s not going to happen in this Congress.” And the media would never challenge him by pointing out that that is hardly an answer to the question.

Now we have the media doing similar ploys.

Here’s the URL for the article.

Jan 262008

In the latest issue of The Weekly Standard, Jonathan V. Last told of an incident that almost made me want to vote for Barak Obama. It was an instance of a Liberal actually being liberal. When is the last time that happened?

The Clintons would have snarled about right-wingers as a justification for refusing to answer their questions. But Obama tried to engage anti-abortion protestors in a dialog. And he reprimanded his supporters who tried to shout them down: “Let me say just this, though. Those people got organized to do that.   And that is part of the American tradition we are proud of. And that’s hard, too–standing in the midst of people who don’t agree with you and letting your voice be heard.”

Jonathan Last in his blog at First Things later expressed disappointment that Obama hasn’t modified his position on abortion. His subsequent words show him to be just as doctrinaire on that topic as any other Democrat. But I still think Obama deserved his praise. He was willing to listen and was liberal on the topic of free speech, at least. These days when the First Amendment is under assault by the Democrats (campaign finance regulation, fairness doctrine) it’s a rarity for something like this to happen. I had almost forgotten what it’s like for a politician to say things like Obama did.

Jan 252008

The Wall Street Journal calls our attention to the fact that Florida is trying to get the rest of the country to pick up the tab for its socialized disaster insurance system. (The Panhandle Pander) That way the people who live there don’t have to take responsibility for choosing to live along disaster-prone coastlines.

And why should they? After all, a lot of these Floridians are retirees who fled the icy weather and inheritance taxes of other states. Why shouldn’t those left behind in other states pay higher taxes to support these peoples’ expensive homes along the coast?

And who could be so heartless as to turn down taxes needed to subsidize the properties on St. George Island like those that are pictured below. (Taken April 2006. Yes, I was on my bike, riding just enough miles up and down the island to make the mileage goal I had set for myself for the two-week vacation.)



Jan 242008

It makes one wonder if people are so used to saying “Double standard for women” that they’ve forgotten what it actually means.

It’s in a newspaper article (as opposed to a news article) in Wednesday’s Kalamazoo Gazette titled, “Big girls do cry.” A woman who is identified as “vice mayor of Kalamazoo and economics professor at Kalamazoo College” is quoted as saying:

I think there is a double standard for women. Women can’t be too emotional in public, and yet if they appear unemotional, then they are characterized in a very negative fashion.

Usually “double standard for women” means one standard gets applied to women and another to men. But in this particular case, how would it be any different for a man?

I suspect somebody’s brain was on autopilot.

Oh, well, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the Gazette found an excuse to spend almost a full page puffing Hillary Clinton for president, without her having to spend a dime of her campaign dollars on it.

And I look forward to seeing the same people who spend so much time writing about Hillary’s tears the next time there is a Clinton scandal. Then they can bemoan all those distractions from the real issues facing America.

Jan 232008

That’s the same title (exclamation mark included) that was on a mailing I received today from Noah T. Winer at moonbat.org.

It’s nice that they’re having fun.  I look forward to receiving similar missives with subject lines like

Toga party! or Food fight!

Jan 222008

I don’t want to admit to being a reader of Time magazine, but I saw this in the lunchroom at work, honest!

Cover story:  “What makes us Good/Evil.  Humans are the planet’s most noble creatures–and its most savage.  Science is discovering why.”    (Link to article here.)

My, oh my. Where to start?

How do they come by this idea that humans are the planet’s most noble creatures?    Sez who?   I’ll bet it’s not science that determines what is noble and what is not.  And why is noble contrasted with savage?  Why can’t someone be both?   And why is “evil” conflated with “savage”?

I think I’ll just shake my head and move on.

Jan 202008

The Wall Street Journal puts three reporters to work on a 1300-word lead article for its weekend edition titled, “Bush, Democrats Spar on Stimulus.” And in all that controversy, those three did not find a way to use the word “permanent” even once.

The article had this sentence, “Market observers suggested Mr. Bush’s comments disappointed investors who were expecting more.” But it couldn’t bring itself to say that the more that’s needed is permanence.