Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Manchester this week was crawling with resourceful and aggressive political journalists who left no stone unturned to find some new casus belli with which to reignite the Blair-Brown war. So what did all these media bloodhounds bring home? An almost inaudible comment, supposedly muttered under her breath by the Prime MinisterÂs wife, who is not even a politician, and overheard not by some eminent BBC, Sun or Guardian pundit, but by a US wire-service reporter on her way to the loo. If this was the strongest ÂBlair-Brown feudÂ story that the best and brightest of British political journalism could come up with, then surely the Labourites have beaten their swords into ploughshares and the ultra-Brownites can now lie down with the Ã¼ber-Blairites.I was reading an Economist Article about a Brownite Britian and it mostly talked about some of the other people that would come after Brown. It seems they just want to get rid of Brown already and get some energetic and charismatic, younger guy in there like David Cameron.
British opposition leader David Cameron rides a bike to work, is building a windmill on his roof, wears sneakers and likes to be called "Dave" _ all of which endear him to urban yuppies but disturb many of his fellow conservatives.
Cameron's supporters say his brand of compassionate conservatism will make him Britain's next prime minister. Critics claim the Conservative Party _ once led by Winston Churchill and "Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher _ has gone soft.
Too bad he is not running for President in the US. A guy who rides a bike to work, and has a windmill on his roof is the kind of guy that I like.
I call this Democrat approach to geopolitics the "Fancy" strategy after a Reba McEntire hit. In the song a mortally ill and destitute mother delivers her teen aged daughter named Fancy into a life of prostitution with the advice
"just be nice to the gentlemen Fancy and they'll be nice to you."
This is pretty much what Democrats and their allies in the intelligence community are recommending to the rest of us. Of course, there is an important difference. Fancy's mother was articulating a strategy of desperation.
Democrats have inexplicably adopted a strategy of desperation as a strategy of choice, which creates a serious political problem for them. The nation's average intelligence is only average, but a clear majority is smart enough to understand that striving to be inoffensive is a losing strategy for a superpower.
Desperation is the typical appeasers cry. If we pull out of the Middle East and leave Israel in the lurch then maybe the terrorists will leave us alone. Maybe if we all convert to Islam and then pay the Jizya they will leave us alone. If we elect Mullah Omar as the next Ruler For Life of the US maybe they will leave us alone. This is why the Dems can't be trusted to fight the war on terror. They don't know what it takes to win.
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, known for challenging the management of various corporations, wants to acquire up to $500 million in additional shares of Federated Department Stores Inc., the operator of Macy's and Bloomingdale's said on Wednesday.I wonder what Icahn is planning to do to shake up this company? Could we see spinoffs or maybe more consolidation in the department store space? In any case I just like the idea of risking my money at the same time as a billionaire investor.
Documents have shown that investigators working for HP intruded into the personal lives of seven HP directors, two employees, nine reporters and family members of the targeted individuals. In addition to impersonating those targeted to procure phone records, they also spied on an HP director and his wife, sifted through their garbage, and concocted an e-mail sting to dupe reporter Dawn Kawamoto of CNet Networks Inc.'s technology news site.It kind of sounds like what paparazzi do to stars sometimes. That going through the garbage thing especially.
Monday, September 25, 2006
I wonder if he is going to be a thorn in Chinas side?
I think a Japan with a strong military will be China's worst nightmare. The US will be perfectly willing to hook up Japan with the latest military hardware in order to slow China's influence in the region.
He has also pledged to bring more patriotism to schools, and boost Japan's military alliance with the United States Â both sore points with the Chinese, who feel that Japanese textbooks gloss over Japan's wartime atrocities, and that the U.S.-Japan alliance is aimed at containing Beijing.
Those stands have raised concerns in the region.
"Abe's rhetoric is very dangerous, given China's growing clout in the region," said Hiro Katsumata, a research fellow at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore.
It would also give North Korea pause the next time they fire a rocket over Japan. Instead of stern words and China watering down a Security Council resolution you might have 100s of Japanese F-22s ready and willing to take North Korea out. It will be interesting to see Japan's international stature after Abe comes into power.
Officials could not place a precise value on state investments in Sudan.
The University of California system doesn't hold any stock directly in companies doing business with Sudan, but it does have pooled investments in those companies. The amount of money involved, officials said, would be a small fraction of its $66 billion in pension and endowment funds.
The state pension system is trying to identify any Sudan investments.
It would be an interesting list to see about which US companies (if any) are directly investing in Sudan. This is a site that has a few companies doing business in Sudan to divest from. These are the companies that the site mentions:
Titles such as "Resistance: Fall of Man," "Genji: Days of the Blade" and "Ridge Racer 7" will be among the games available at the console's Japan launch on November 11 but there was also considerable interest in some of the software that is on show in an unfinished state. The show was also the first chance for most potential customers to get their hands on a console.Here is a list of the games. I'm looking forward to Metal Gear Solid 4 myself.
The list is formated with the PS3 game followed by the game's developer.
- 6Gun 2 - BattleBorne Entertainment
- Avalon - Climax Studios
- Dark Sector - Digital Extreme
- The Darkness - Starbreeze Studios
- Devil May Cry 4 - Capcom
- EA Sports Fight Night Round 3 - EA Chicago
- Eyedentify - TBA
- Fifth Phantom Saga - Sonic Team
- Final Fantasy PS3 - Square Enix
- Formula One PS3 - SCE Studios Liverpool
- The Getaway PS3 - SCE Studios Soho
- Heavenly Sword - Ninja Theory
- I-8 - Insomniac Games
- Infraworld - Quantic Dream
- Killing Day - TBA
- Killzone PS3 - Guerilla Games
- Metal Gear Solid 4 - Kojima Productions
- Mobile Suit Gundam - TBA
- MotorStorm - Evolution Studios
- Ni-Oh - KOEI
- Omikron 2 - Quantic Dream
- Possession - Blitz Games
- Project Delta - Playlogic International
- ShadowClan - Tiger Hill Entertainment
- Tekken PS3 - Namco
- Vision GT - Polyphony Digital
- Warhawk PS3 - Incognito Entertainment
Passengers will be able to carry lotions and gels onto airliners again after a six-week ban — but only in tiny containers of 3 ounces or less and only if they're in clear zip-top plastic bags.
Also we can buy a drink at the Airport shop and bring them on the plane. No more sucking down your soda before you have to board.
Starting Tuesday, air travelers also will be able to buy drinks or other liquids or gels at shops inside airport security checkpoints and carry them on board under partially relaxed anti-terror rules.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Determined to protect confidential board discussions, HP hired
investigators who impersonated board members, employees and journalists to
obtain their phone records. The detectives also surveilled an HP director and
concocted an e-mail sting to dupe a reporter an online technology
I think HP got a little too involved with playing James Bond and not consolidating their lead over Dell and other computer makers.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Sheehan Loves Chavez
Belafonte Loves Chavez
"I just want to make it abundantly clear to Hugo Chavez or any other
president - don't come to the United States and think because we have problems
with our president that any foreigner can come to our country and not think that
Americans do not feel offended when you offend our Chief of State," Rangel said.
"Any demeaning public attack against him is viewed by Republicans and
Democrats, and all Americans, as an attack on all of us," Rangel
Maybe the Dems and the Repubs can work together in a bipartisan manner after all.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
By applying a cream that causes darker pigmentation, scientists in the
United States successfully gave tans to mice that were genetically engineered to
The research could eventually lead to a cream that tans human skin
without the risks of skin cancer attached to sunbathing.
Former media colleagues expressed mixed feelings, from bemusement
to a sense of betrayal, after An revealed in the 1980s that he had been a
Mixed Feelings? I mean the guy was a spy for the people our nation was fighting against. There were actually people that were bemused at finding out that this guy was stealing secrets and getting Americans killed?
Outside critics vilified An for his role in espionage activities that may have led to the deaths of many Americans and South Vietnamese. But most of An's ex-colleagues refrained from criticizing his deception.
So did his colleagues gave him a free pass while "outside critics" were the only people that criticized what this guy really did? These reporters couldn't even denounce him for possibly getting our troops killed?
"If ever there was a man caught between two worlds, it was An. It is very
hard for anyone who did not serve in Vietnam in those years to understand the
complexity," said David Halberstam, who covered the early years of the war for
The New York Times.
What is so complex about posing as a journalist while giving secrets to the government of the nation we were locked in a mortal struggle with? I think that would be wrong no matter how you look at it. This is very telling on where the media's allegiances really lie. It certainly isn't with the troops of their native country. And these are the same people (or taught/inspired the current people) that are covering the Iraq war. The Jihaddis don't even need a 5th column when they have people like this working for our country.
Lets hope this little meeting leads to something bigger. Maybe a Rose Garden ceremony with Abbas and Olmert after signing a sweeping peace plan? It sure would be funny to see Bush was win the Nobel Peace Prize by bringing these two sides together. It would make Liberals crazy.
State Rep. Brian Schatz and state Rep. Gary Hooser both called for
withdrawal to begin immediately.
"The war hurts America and costs $250 million per day," Schatz
said, adding his argument that reducing the number of troops would help
stabilize the area.
In other words they don't care what the generals think are appropriate troop levels because we can't afford to lose more money! I'm sure Schatz knows much more then General John Abizaid about stabilizing the area so we should elect him then put him in charge of reducing US Troop strength.
In any case I would be willing to bet even money that we will see the Iraq equivalent of the Air America helicopter rising off the US embassy. The last one out of the Green Zone please turn out the lights.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
``We have seen a little bit of weakness in the last three or four
weeks'' from automakers and financial services providers, Chief Financial
Officer Susan Decker said today at a Goldman, Sachs & Co. conference in New
York. ``It is having an impact on our quarter.''
Decker's comments surprised investors and sent the shares, already
hurt by a 26 percent stock slide this year, down as much as 13 percent. Slowing
sales growth at Yahoo, the most-visited U.S. Web site, sparked concern of a
general reduction in demand for Internet advertising and shopping, prompting a
drop in shares of Google Inc., EBay Inc. and Amazon.com Inc
I noticed this trend about 2 months ago when I saw that the ads on Yahoo were almost all for Yahoo branded services. I can't tell you how many times I saw an ad for Cakemania, or for Yahoo Personals in a prime spot like the side banner of Yahoo mail.
Yahoo mail is something a person will look at almost every day so you would think it would bring a pretty nice fee. This is where you would see an ad for the new Yaris or something like that. I figured they were not able to sell that space so they were forced to put up their own banners or end up with a blank white space.
So it seems they were being forced to self promote in prime ad real estate. It is kind of like putting up a billboard advertising the billboard company right in Times Square. You just know that a company like that going to be hurting. Ms. Deckers comments just confirmed this. I should have went short YHOO when I first saw this trend emerge way back when.
I wonder if this ad downturn is only attributed to YHOO? Or will GOOG and to a lesser extent ValueClick VLCK (who makes software that helps advertisers create online ad campaigns) get smashed as well. I think we have to wait until Google puts out their numbers on October 19 to be 100% sure.
Give him a dose of good old fashioned Texas Charm. Show the world that Bush has no ill will toward the Iranian people or even Ahmadinejad and is not afraid to confront him on a personal level.
A photo op of him shaking Ahmadinejads hand with a big smile while the Iranian leader has a scowl or something would be very interesting. It would be one of those breathless moments that would have the eyes of the world on it. Maybe Bush could even get Ahmadinejad to take a swing at him or something. Now that would really be funny.
Instead it looks like Bush is purposely trying to avoid him.
After delivering his address at 11.30am local time, Mr Bush plans to
attend the traditional banquet for visiting presidents, princes and prime
ministers. A total of 144 world leaders and their foreign ministers will gather
for the feast, providing ample opportunity for unexpected diplomatic encounters.
But Mr Ahmadinejad, Iran's devout Islamist leader, has told the UN he will not
be attending the luncheon because alcohol is being served.
THAILAND fell to a bloodless coup under the cover of monsoon rains last
night as tanks and Humvees surrounded Government House and took control of radio and televisions in the capital Bangkok.
From New York Thaksin Shinawatra, the controversial Thai Prime
Minister, declared a “severe state of emergency” after calling the Channel 9
television station in the capital. But he was cut off mid-speech.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Christopher Tolkien has spent the past 30 years working on "The
Children of Hurin," an epic tale his father began in 1918 and later abandoned.
Excerpts of "The Children of Hurin," which includes the elves and dwarves of
Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" and other works, have been published
Friday, September 15, 2006
Wow more states are being affected by the wave of Deadly Spinach.
The FDA warned people nationwide not to eat the spinach. Washing won't get rid of the tenacious bug, though thorough cooking can kill it. Supermarkets across the country pulled spinach from shelves, and consumers tossed out the leafy green.
"We're waiting for the all-clear. In the meantime, Popeye the Sailor Man and this family will not be eating bagged spinach," said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University. The Tennessee university's medical center was treating a 17-year-old Kentucky girl for E. coli infection.
The Egyptian mummy in his museum is for real. A pair of Quinnipiac University imaging experts, who specialize in mummies, confirmed Thursday that the mummy - Pa-Ib - was a real person. Barnum's second wife had donated the mummy to the museum in 1892. The mummy is supposedly that of an Egyptian priest who lived more than 2,500 years ago.
Some worldwide economic softening was acknowledged on Friday by the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which said fourth-quarter demand for its oil would be 320,000 barrels a day lower than previously forecast, or 28.86 million barrels per day.
In 2007, OPEC expects demand for its crude to average 28.1 million
barrels per day, or 800,000 barrels per day less than the 2006 average, in part
because non-OPEC supplies are rising. As a result, some analysts believe the
Vienna-based cartel, which is pumping close to 30 million barrels a day, may end
up cutting its output by 1.5 million barrels a day or more.
The company announced it would cut 10,000 more white-collar positions
in addition to offering buyout and early retirement packages to all of its
75,000 hourly employees. It also suspended its dividend.
That last bit is what I would be wary of if I was an investor in F stock. It is always a bad sign when a company pulls its dividend. Even if they have to save money that is a bad sign IMO.
ICE will also acquire the New York Board of Trade's clearinghouse, the New York Clearing Corporation. Until now, ICE had relied on outsourcing services to LCH.Clearnet, a clearinghouse based in the U.K., which put it at a disadvantage to competitors like the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Whenever you can stop paying some other guy to outsource some of your core business and rely on your acquisition then you can easily reduce those costs. This deal also allows ICE to participate in selling commodities like coffee, sugar, cotton and orange juice. They specialized mostly in trading energy futures before so this diversifies them nicely. It should make for a nice move upward in ICEs earnings in the coming years.
"The emperor ... said, I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was
new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command
to spread by the sword the faith he preached,'" he quoted the emperor as
Then the Pakistanis condemned this quote and it shows something interesting:
"Anyone who describes Islam as a religion as intolerant encourages
violence," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said.
I wonder if Tasnim means that Popes words encourages violence toward Islam or from Muslims? Judging from the uproar over the Danish Cartoons he might meant from Muslims. In other words if you describe Muslims as intolerant then they will beat you up, threaten to kill you, or actually kill you in the case of Theo van Gogh.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
An outbreak of E. coli in eight states has left at least one person
dead and 50 others sick, federal health officials said Thursday in warning
consumers nationwide not to eat bagged fresh spinach.
FDA officials do not know the source of the outbreak other than it
appears to be linked to bagged fresh spinach. "We're advising people not to eat
it," said Dr. David Acheson of the
Food and Drug Administration Center
for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
In fact, I'm surprised that violence hasn't surrounded her shtick alreadyYeah Grace comes from the school of thought where you have to be an outrageous bulldog to get any ratings. It doesn't matter who you destroy or how you may harm the cases that you are publicizing.
and more often. The combination of rage, revenge, accusation and innuendo that
permeates her show and her television personality is precisely the sort of
roiling, viscous, corrosive potion that leads people to think they are heroes
when they are about to act as villains.
You have to grill those suspects until they die or they confess the crimes that you have already convinced they are guilty of. I mean Grace isn't a detective grilling a suspect at the jailhouse. She is supposed to be running a TV show. Whatever the case I kind of hope that this thing wakes up CNN and they fire Grace.
Horn, without getting specific, said there were "a handful of layoffs"
that followed a move of the network's New York outlet from WLIB-AM to
WWRL-AM, a station with a less powerful signal. The network launched in March
Also they seem to not be paying Al Franken and he complained about it on air.
Franken, in a recent interview, said the network was suffering from "a
cash flow problem."
"No cash has been flowing to me," Franken, who makes a reported $2 million a
year, told The New York Sun. "That's the first inkling I got of a cash flow
So they were forced to move to a weaker station and can't even get their payroll sorted out enough to pay their on-air talent. That does not bode well for liberal talk radio. Soon we are going to hear about how talk radio was not really the correct venue for "progressive ideas" or something like that.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Two weeks after telling police that her son had been snatched from his
crib, Melinda Duckett found herself reeling in an interview with TV's famously
prosecutorial Nancy Grace. Before it was over, Grace was pounding her desk and
loudly demanding to know: "Where were you? Why aren't you telling us where you were that day?"
A day after the taping, Duckett, 21, shot herself to death, deepening
the mystery of what happened to the boy.
So basically you could say that Nancy Grace's grilling pushed her to the breaking point and she offed herself. This woman's blood is on Grace's hands. If Duckett did kill her kid then we will never know since she has taken that knowledge to the grave. If she was innocent then the so called "scream-media" that goes after any suspect without sufficient proof or evidence and convicts them on national television has just claimed their first victim. In any case we will probably never learn the fate of Trenton Duckett. The kid will just be milk carton fodder while Grace and her other "scream-media" cohorts move on to their next victim.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Stingray bodies since have been discovered on two beaches in Queensland
state on Australia's eastern coast. Two were discovered Tuesday with their tails
lopped off, state fisheries department official Wayne Sumpton said.
I wonder if they are going to get a bad rap now that they killed off the beloved environmentalist. I noticed a few Stingrays with their tails cut off when I was in Vegas at the Ceasars Palace fishtank in front of Cheesecake Factory. It must have been payback time for Stingrays.
The BMW 7 Series Hydrogen 7 Saloon is powered by a 260 hp
twelve-cylinder engine and accelerates from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.5 seconds. Top speed is limited electronically to 230 km/h.
BMW has said it intends to build a few hundred such cars at first.
They will be able to switch between burning standard petrol and hydrogen so that drivers will not be left stranded while the infrastructure to deliver hydrogen
is built up.
I would hate to get into a wreck with a hydrogen powered car. Hopefully the gas tanks are well shielded because the explosion that it would create would be pretty nuts to see.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Tech sector analysts were left furious by the last-minute cancellation of Dell's financial presentations, due to be held tomorrow in New York. Many had already traveled to the city from the west coast. It is the second time that Dell has delayed the presentations, which were originally scheduled to be held in April.
If you have a strong stomach DELL might be a great contrarian play in the near term. I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole though because I'm seeing an era where the physical computer will become as ubiquitous as the the desk it sits on.
Companies like Dell will just have to exist on a paper thin margin and try to make money selling the PCs in bulk or to emerging markets or something. Dell's glory years of fast growth and heady profits are behind it unless they reinvent themselves by making some other thing. Selling tons of personal computers through the mail is not going to cut it no matter how efficient the process is.
I think companies like Lenovo (who can rely on cheap Chinese labor) and HP (which can sell their PCs without a shipping markup) will become the new leaders in this industry. I would put decent money on Dell starting to lose money every quarter in the next few years unless they do something drastic. Could this be what Dells are good for in a few years?
• Upgraded Shahab-3 missile, capable of reaching Israel and U.S. forces
in the region.
• The construction and set-up of sophisticated defenses around its
• Possible possession (from Ukraine) of a dozen Soviet-era Kh-55
cruise missiles—designed to carry a 200-kiloton nuclear warhead 1,860 miles,
virtually undetectable by radar; a recent satellite deal with the Russians would
supply digital maps for improved accuracy.
• Possible stockpile of sophisticated military equipment such as
armor-piercing sniper rifles and night-vision goggles.
• In addition, Iranian hardliners have assembled a list of 15,000
suicide bomber volunteers.
“It is code to America: ‘If you hit us, we will play dirty, using
Hizbullah and volunteers to hit the U.S. across the region,’” said a European
diplomat, echoing analysts who have warned that Iran could easily destabilize
Iraq and close the Strait of Hormuz to oil traffic. “There is an enormous danger
of miscalculation” (Ibid).
Iran has the largest army in the region, with 540,000 active-duty
troops and 350,000 in reserves, plus more than 1,600 battle tanks and 1,500
other armored vehicles. A veteran Mid-east military analyst at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies in Washington wrote last December, “There is
considerable evidence that [Iran] is developing both a long-range missile force
and a range of weapons of mass destruction” (Ibid).
More than 15 years in development, Metrics Element, a tool to
collect, analyze and distribute game data within a Web-based user interface,
will ship around the first of the year.
The software would provide answers to many questions, from what
players do in the game and how long it take to reach level 20, to where they spend their money and how many people saw the Pepsi product pitch in the game, for
I wonder is this program will record if you repeatedly shoot up a Pepsi product billboard that is distracting you during a game. Will it record it as a good interaction or a bad one. Some of the information will be very interesting to see though. I would really like to see the numbers for how many people farm gold or gear on MMORPGs.
Friday, September 08, 2006
A video gamer for three decades, the foul-mouthed granny who favors
role-playing games and admittedly stinks at sports titles, says she indulges her
habit for about 10 hours a day -- significantly more than her 23-year-old
She has an extensive collection of game consoles that would turn
many teenaged boys green with envy, and has just finished playing a pair of
zombie-slaying titles -- "Dead Rising" on Microsoft's Xbox 360 and "Resident
Evil" on Nintendo's GameCube.