Obama dictated a first draft to his young speechwriter Jon Favreau on Saturday, then reworked the speech until 3 a.m. Monday. He went at it anew on Tuesday, tweaking away until 2 a.m. Did Obama’s political aides try to warn him off the idea? “It wasn’t even a discussion,” says Axelrod. “He was going to do it. I know this sounds perhaps corny, but he actually believes in the fairness and good sense of the American people, and the importance of this issue. His candidacy is predicated on the fact that we can talk to each other in an honest and forthright way on this and other issues.”
Imagine that – a candidate who actually doesn’t assume his audience is a bunch of utter morons.
An excellent speech!
(click through for the video version)
For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina – or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.
We can do that.
But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.
That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.
You ever get the feeling that Microsoft is holding you down, has you by the wrists, and is flailing your own hands against your forehead and saying “stop hitting yourself; stop hitting yourself; why are you hitting yourself; stop hitting yourself;…” Yea, me too.
Speaking of Bear Stearns, here’s some Wall Street nostalgia from 2006, as BS handed out $2.6 billion in bonuses. That’s more than 10 times yesterday’s price for the whole company.
The year is 1943.
On the Kentish coast of England is a soldier — let’s call him Hilton, Private Clint Hilton — manning an anti-aircraft gun. One day, Pvt. Hilton starts firing his AA gun at Allied bombers as they pass overhead on their way to Occupied Europe. Being a fairly proficient chap, he manages to score a couple of hits.
Needless to say, it isn’t long before Bomber Command gets wind of Pvt. Hilton’s activities, and they send a very angry Group Captain round to have a talk with him.
“Hilton, you blasted idiot! What the bloody hell are you doing firing at our aircraft!” the Group Captain demands.
“Well, sir,” Hilton replies earnestly, “what I reckoned was, this is just the sort of thing our lads are going to be facing from Jerry once they cross the Channel. And if they can’t take it from me, they certainly won’t be able to stand up to Jerry. So, better we find out now while the lads are still on our side of the Channel.”
The Group Captain thought this over, then finally said, “I suppose you’ve got a point, at that. Right then, Private. Carry on!”
“Yes, sir!” Hilton said with a salute, then went back to manning his gun.
The Japanese are hyping Vista SP1′s impending release, but a roll of toilet paper printed with highlighted features is kind of uncalled for. You kind of have to feel a little bad for Vista — it just keeps getting crapped on these days.
Google executives say they are confident the company’s forthcoming phones armed with the Android operating system will overtake the U.S. market from the iPhone.
Rich Miner, manager of Google’s mobile platforms group, says the new Android-based mobile phones are more flexible than the proprietary Apple phones since the so-called open system allows applications from other software makers, The Times of London reported Saturday.
The iPhone is lacking a lot of things, like MMS, blue-tooth file sharing, solid third party softwre development, and yet, despite all this “lack” of flexibility, it is selling like crazy. Methinks Google doesn’t understand the market. Neither do I, but at least I’m aware of it.
Oh, and there’s currently one feature that the iPhone has that the Android still doesn’t: I can hold it in my hand. I can make calls with it.
Boston Dynamics keeps working on their BigDog quadruped robot, which will probably grow to be the future AT-AT of the Pentagon. Its evolution since the last time we saw it is nothing sort of mindblowing, and a bit spooky.
It looks like an actual biological quadruped. Seeing it climb through rubble, snow, jumping over obstacles like a wild goat, and saving a near-fall on iced ground at the last second (fast forward to the middle of the video) defies belief. It feels so “animal” that I almost feel bad when they hit it to demonstrate how it regains balance on its own.
A sleeping Ronald Reagan was alerted early in the morning to what turned out to be the accidental shoot-down of an Iranian passenger plane. George H.W. Bush was informed after he went to bed of an apparent coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Bill Clinton received word in the middle of the night that negotiations had broken down in the case of Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy whose relatives were battling the federal government to prevent him from returning home.
But in none of these cases were presidents asked to make major decisions. Instead, former White House advisers say, these calls — and countless others like them — were largely aimed at keeping the president informed of critical developments, particularly ones that might cause embarrassment if the public learned that a commander in chief had slept through the episode undisturbed.
New government statistics prove that allowing advocacy groups and private individuals to challenge existing patents is a remarkably effective means of weeding out the worst of them and pruning back the overly broad.
So, naturally enough, there are corporate and political interests at work in Washington trying to muzzle patent watchdogs before they can do even more good in the public’s behalf.
How’s that for your tax dollars at work?
Jim Cramer last Tuesday: “Bear Stearns is not in trouble. If anything, they’re more likely to be taken over. Don’t move your money from Bear.”
Look at incomes for the top 1% of earners — the solid black triangles. You’ll see that in 2006, their share of the nation’s income (22.9%) reached its modern peak. The only year higher? 1928.
Another table shows that the top 10% in 2006 took a bigger share (49.7%) than at any point since 1917. The year 1928 was the runner-up.
What would you call these colors?
We showed thousands of random colors like this to people on Mechanical Turk and asked what they would call them. Here’s what they said:
Today I am going to teach some UI lessons based on signs and pictures of the real world.
And ten more here
“Karma’s a b**ch, ain’t it?”
A bombing on Monday evening killed 43 people near the Imam Hussein shrine in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, penetrating one of the most secure perimeters in Iraq. Iraqi police officers at the scene and several witnesses said it had been carried out by a female suicide bomber, but the police chief later said the bomb had been hidden.
The explosion, the deadliest attack in Karbala in nearly a year, overshadowed a Baghdad visit by Vice President Dick Cheney, who met with Iraqi and American leaders and extolled what he described as “phenomenal” security improvements in the country.
If it wasn’t so sad, this would be more funny:
After weeks of negotiations, the Florida Democratic Party said Monday it will not hold a second primary in the state.
“No person has ever won the White House without winning the Ohio primary in either party, so I think Ohio is pretty important,” Clinton said in an interview with the NBC affiliate in Columbus.
Except for people like FDR, JFK, Wilson and Eisenhower…
The news that J.P. Morgan bought investment house giant Bear Stearns for just $236 million, or $2 a share, sent tremors through financial markets around the world today. This is company whose stock was worth almost one hundred times as much a year ago. Its building alone is valued at close to $1 billion, which suggests that all the other assets of this 85 year-old investment bank had a negative value – Bear Stearns liabilities exceed its assets.
Further confirming this view is the fact that the Fed apparently had to make guarantees to J.P. Morgan of $30 billion in order to get the bank to take Bear Stearns even at this price. That suggests the bank had a lot of real garbage on its books. The markets are right to be worried. Of course with the $8 trillion housing bubble in full meltdown, there will undoubtedly be much more bad news for the banks in the months ahead.
One person who does not have to worry is James Cayne, the recently departed chief executive of Bear Stearns. According to the New York Times, he walked with $232 million in compensation over the period from 1993 to 2006. This is just another example of how the global economy rewards extraordinary talent.
Emphasis mine. Do you know what he did the week before the buy-out? Playing in a card tournament.
Fucking robber barons.
And for your reassurance:
President Bush gave assurances this morning that financial markets are continuing to function, adding that the U.S. is “on top of the situation.”
What he isn’t telling you: it’s the missionary position.
Let us not forget that your CEO-President has a history of bankrupting companies that he has run…only to be rescued by friends of Daddy. The only “friend of Daddy” big enough to step in is the IMF/World Bank. When the dollar tanks and there is runaway inflation, they will step in. Take a look at Jamaica for the effects.
You’re about to see the mother of all flamewars on internet groups where web developers hang out. It’ll make the Battle of Stalingrad look like that time your sister-in-law stormed out of afternoon tea at your grandmother’s and wrapped the Mustang around a tree.
This upcoming battle will be presided over by Dean Hachamovitch, the Microsoft veteran currently running the team that’s going to bring you the next version of Internet Explorer, 8.0. The IE 8 team is in the process of making a decision that lies perfectly, exactly, precisely on the fault line smack in the middle of two different ways of looking at the world. It’s the difference between conservatives and liberals, it’s the difference between “idealists” and “realists,” it’s a huge global jihad dividing members of the same family, engineers against computer scientists, and Lexuses vs. olive trees.
And there’s no solution. But it will be really, really entertaining to watch, because 99% of the participants in the flame wars are not going to understand what they’re talking about. It’s not just entertainment: it’s required reading for every developer who needs to design interoperable systems.
The flame war will revolve around the issue of something called “web standards.”
Excellent reading, even for non-developers. For developers, it’s required reading.
The U.S. dollar’s value is dropping so fast against the euro that small currency outlets in Amsterdam are turning away tourists seeking to sell their dollars for local money while on vacation in the Netherlands.
“Our dollar is worth maybe zero over here,” said Mary Kelly, an American tourist from Indianapolis, Indiana, in front of the Anne Frank house. “It’s hard to find a place to exchange. We have to go downtown, to the central station or post office.”
A confidential memo obtained by Wikileaks shows that not only has the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission created an insider trading loophole big enough to drive a truck through, but that Wall Street is taking full advantage of it, establishing ‘how-to’ programs and even client service divisions to help well-heeled clients circumvent insider trading regulations.
Most of us think of insider trading as illegal. It allows those with inside knowledge to tilt the playing field, with the small investors invariably losing to the privileged few. Unfortunately for the small investor, the big boys get to play by different rules, and it has all been made legal, thanks to the SEC.
The creator of the web has said consumers need to be protected against systems which can track their activity on the internet.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee told BBC News he would change his internet provider if it introduced such a system.
Kent Ertugrul, chief executive, of Phorm, told BBC News: “We have not had the chance to describe to Tim Berners-Lee how the system works and we look forward to doing that. ”
Holy fuck, talk about arrogance! This idiot really believes that if he could just sit down with the guy who just about invented the bloody web (and in the process got himself a knight-hood out of his work) and talk with him during a cup of tea, everything will be just fine!
Sheesh, with a guy that blind to reality as CEO, I expcet Phorm will take a while to die, and we’ll have plenty of ‘look at these morons!’ articles before the inevitable happens…
Perhaps we need more Firefox plugins like this one:
We’ve been doing some tracking recently, but aimed at the advertiser side. We have a plug-in for Firefox which rates ads. A little icon is displayed next to each ad, showing what our system knows about the advertiser. As we tell users of the plug in, “AdRater ‘phones home’, but tells us as little as possible. AdRater sends the domain name associated with each advertisment you see to SiteTruth.” SiteTruth then sends back advertiser information, in XML, which the plug-in turns into icons.
We use this to find out what the advertisers are doing. Individuals are entitled to privacy; advertisers are not. We’re building up a picture of the on-line advertising market. We now have, for example, a list of Google’s AdSense advertisers.
Soon we’ll be issuing reports on advertiser quality. (Ads on Bloomberg: mostly legit. Ads on LinkedIn: quality varies, mostly OK. Ads on MySpace: mostly bottom-feeders.) More on this in coming weeks.
It’s not just advertisers tracking users any more. Sometimes it’s the other way round.
“Novell’s antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft for destroying the market for WordPerfect and QuattroPro can now move forward. The Supreme Court denied certiorari to Microsoft’s appeal of an appeals court ruling, which is the fancy legal way of saying they ignored Microsoft’s appeal and let the previous ruling stand. Novell’s complaint is an interesting read, because some of this sounds quite familiar, given how Microsoft is now forcing the standardization of OOXML. Statements like, ‘As Microsoft knew, a truly standard file format that was open to all ISVs would have enhanced competition in the market for word processing applications, because such a standard allows the exchange of text files between different word processing applications used by different customers,’ and ‘Microsoft made other inferior features de facto industry standards,’ sound a lot more recent.”
Edwin Smith, the VP for “Compliance/Quality/Certification” at voting-machine manufacturer Sequoia Voting Systems has sent a threatening legal letter to Ed Felten — the Princeton law professor who’s led many security audits of voting machines in the past.
The letter warns that if Felten and his colleagues publish any kind of security audit information of Sequoia’s machines (“Sequoia software, its behavior, reports regarding same”) that Sequoia will “take appropriate steps” through its “retained counsel.”
It’s hard to imagine a stupider legal threat. Honestly.
First of all, if Sequoia’s voting machines actually, you know, work, then why would they threaten legal action against Felten and co., should they publish their findings after a security audit? Presumably, manufacturers want testers to publish glowing reports of their goods — Sequoia’s basically saying, “We’re scared of what you’ll find when you pop the hood on our product.”
The next time a jurisdiction is thinking of sourcing its voting machines from Sequoia, activists just have to show up with copies of this letter: “Why should we entrust our precious votes to a machine from a manufacturer who threatens to sue anyone who does a quality assessment of its products?”
The Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR), a leading government advisory group on internet issues, has written to the Information Commissioner arguing that Phorm’s ad targeting system is illegal.
The letter, signed by FIPR’s top lawyer Nicholas Bohm, states: “The explicit consent of a properly-informed user is necessary but not sufficient to make interception lawful.
“The consent of those who host the web pages visited by a user is also required, since they communicate their pages to the user, as is the consent of those who send email to the user, since those who host web-based email services have no authority to consent to interception on their users’ behalf.”
Wanna bet the Phorm rep that replied to one of my previous posts about them isn’t going to bother replying to this?