Month: December 2007

Important Announcement…


From now on photos will be posted on Flickr and blogging will be done on WordPress.

Why am I moving? Here’s why.

What are the new web addresses?



Please update your bookmarks and/or hop on over to the links above, where you can subscribe via Email or RSS feed.

Have a great 2008!


Important Announcement…


From now on photos will be posted on Flickr and blogging will be done on WordPress.

Why am I moving? Here’s why.

What are the new web addresses?



Please update your bookmarks and/or hop on over to the links above, where you can subscribe via Email and/or RSS feed.

Have a great 2008!


Why I Switched From

In a word, because sucks. It’s the AOL of the blogging world. Ok, I admit it, I still keep a few AOL email addresses among the 20 or so other ones I have, but there are reasons for that.

Anyway, here are the reasons why I finally dumped Typepad:

1) They charge you for something you can get free at other places, such as at

2) Not only do they charge you, but they charge you a LOT. I mean $9 per month for a blog!? Come on! You can get a hosting account at Yahoo for about $8 per month — maybe even cheaper if you use signup on one of their promo pages, like this one: Compare Web Hosting Packages from Yahoo.

3) The Typepad design and user interface is junky.

4) The Typeface functionality is pretty crappy, too.

5) And, the Typepad customer service is a dud.

Now you know: Stay away from Typepad! Use WordPress or one of the other free services or host your own blog at Yahoo, Godaddy or one of the many other inexpensive hosting service providers out there. Just do a Yahoo or Google search. I personally prefer Yahoo, but I’m a contrarian. I’d rather use the underdog even if the leader might be a little better. Google is powerful enough!

PS: It is really easy to export your blog from TypePad and import it into WordPress (click those links for instructions).

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Article: Laying Waste to the Deep Sea


From the Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007, Time Magazine:

Laying Waste to the Deep Sea
By Ken Stier

Far out on the high seas, on any given day, hundreds of fishing vessels drag huge nets, big enough to snag a 747 jumbo jet, across the ocean bottom, vacuuming up 150-year-old fish, flattening ancient reefs and destroying everything else in their paths.

Only the biodiversity of tropical rainforests rivals that of the deep sea — our planet’s largest wilderness — an aquatic wonderland that is now being systematically razed by what is likely the world’s most environmentally destructive business.


Great series of articles on sub prime mess


Subprime Securities Market Began as `Group of 5′ Over Chinese
By Mark Pittman

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) — Representatives of five of Wall Street’s dominant investment banks gathered around a blonde wood conference table on a February night almost three years ago. Their talks over take-out Chinese food led to the perfect formula for a U.S. housing collapse.

The host was Greg Lippmann, then 36, a fast-talking Deutsche Bank AG trader who aspired to make mortgage securities as big a cash cow for Wall Street as the $12 trillion corporate credit market.

His allies included 34-year-old Rajiv Kamilla, a trader at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. with a background in nuclear physics, and 32-year-old Todd Kushman, who led a contingent from Bear Stearns Cos. Representatives from Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were also invited. Almost 50 traders and lawyers showed up for the first meeting at Deutsche Bank’s Wall Street office to help set the trading rules and design the new product.


This Is What Happens – or Should Happen – When Companies Get Greedy


It’s too late for the for big media now… Oops!

Striking writers in talks to launch Web start-ups
Dozens are turning to venture capitalists, seeking to bypass Hollywood and reach viewers directly online.
By Joseph Menn
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

December 17, 2007

Dozens of striking film and TV writers are negotiating with venture capitalists to set up companies that would bypass the Hollywood studio system and reach consumers with video entertainment on the Web.

At least seven groups, composed of members of the striking Writers Guild of America, are planning to form Internet-based businesses that, if successful, could create an alternative economic model to the one at the heart of the walkout, now in its seventh week.

Three of the groups are working on ventures that would function much like United Artists, the production company created 80 years ago by Charlie Chaplin and other top stars who wanted to break free from the studios.

“It’s in development and rapidly incubating,” said Aaron Mendelsohn, a guild board member and co-creator of the “Air Bud” movies.


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Interesting Piece on Google: The Next Microsoft: Google is learning too well from the master


From the November 2, 2007 Pulpit

The Next Microsoft: Google is learning too well from the master.
By Robert X. Cringely

Google shares rose above $700 this week, making the search giant worth more than Cisco, Intel, Apple, or IBM, but still less than Microsoft and General Electric, if just barely. Is the company really worth that kind of money or is this just the effect of a bubble market? Google is on a tear, that’s for sure, but I see a few potholes ahead that the company could avoid but probably won’t. Part of this stems from Google starting to look, in some ways, a bit like Microsoft. Uh-oh.


Excellent Article: The Picture Of Conformity – Big Brother Is Watching


From the Friday, November 16, 2007, Washington Post:

The Picture Of Conformity
In a Watched Society, More Security Comes With Tempered Actions

By Lynne Duke
Washington Post Staff Writer

Don’t look now. Somebody’s watching.

But you knew that, didn’t you? How could you not? It’s been apparent for years that we’re being watched and monitored as we traverse airports and train stations, as we drive, train, fly, surf the Web, e-mail, talk on the phone, get the morning coffee, visit the doctor, go to the bank, go to work, shop for groceries, shop for shoes, buy a TV, walk down the street. Cameras, electronic card readers and transponders are ubiquitous. And in that parallel virtual universe, data miners are busily and constantly culling our cyber selves.

Is anywhere safe from the watchers, the trackers? Is it impossible to just be let alone?

There, in that quintessentially public space, the Mall, came Michael Thrasher, 43, an ordinary guy, just strolling on a lovely recent day. We found him near an entrance to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, where a tower-high surveillance camera loomed overhead.

Thrasher didn’t immediately see it. But when asked his feelings about privacy and surveillance, he said, “You just feel like there’s always someone looking at you.”


Article: After the Money’s Gone


From the December 14, 2007, New York Times:

After the Money’s Gone

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced plans to lend $40 billion to banks. By my count, it’s the fourth high-profile attempt to rescue the financial system since things started falling apart about five months ago. Maybe this one will do the trick, but I wouldn’t count on it.

In past financial crises — the stock market crash of 1987, the aftermath of Russia’s default in 1998 — the Fed has been able to wave its magic wand and make market turmoil disappear. But this time the magic isn’t working.

Why not? Because the problem with the markets isn’t just a lack of liquidity — there’s also a fundamental problem of solvency.


Another Example of Insurance Companies Screwing Us – Healthcare Must Change – Plus My Rant: We Must Help Each Other – A Look at the French


America, we need to wake up and protest this kind of shit. We need to stick together and stick up for EACH OTHER. It’s the only way we can change the current system.

Changes won’t happen if we only care about ourselves and only say something when we’re personally wronged.

Imagine a system in which, if you were wronged people would rush to your aid, whatever that might be, and if others were wronged you would rush to their aid? Sounds like a fairy tale, but it is possible. Indeed it’s happening in some places.

In America the media makes fun of the French people and their system, which of course is not perfect, just like every other system. Did you ever wonder why it is that these fat cat corporate types, politicians, lobbyists and media companies, which are owned and controlled by rich people who benefit from the current system, spend so much time bashing the French? Why they want you to look down on them? Because they’re scared that if you open your eyes and think for yourself that you’ll see that the French actually have it pretty good… and if you see that then you’ll want to make changes to the American system to make it more like the French system (in some ways)… and if that happens it will cost them money and power… and they like their money and power… they want to keep it… they don’t want you to have any of it…. just shut-up and keep beavering away at your shitty little job… here’s a $300 tax rebate… boo, the terrorists are going to get you! Be scared! Consume! That’s why.

Do you know that the French economy is more productive than the U.S. economy even though it has higher unemployment, everybody has healthcare, they only have a 35-hour work week, and they get many, many weeks of vacation per year? And they eat and drink lots of great food and drink! How can they have all this? Because they stick together. When the fat cats try to take from one group, the others strike and protest. It works. I mean there’s more to it than that, but the point is that they stick together and they stick up for each other. They are all about “we.” It seems most of us Americans are all about “me.” That’s the crux of the biscuit.

Pay attention and think for yourself. Most importantly, stick up for other people, especially those who don’t have what you have. That is the system we should work towards. We can do it by expanding the circle one person at a time. Get out there and stick up for someone. Now repeat. Make it your life! Cheers.

Now on to the article, which is just a microcosm of what’s going on in the entire corrupt and perversely incentivized system.

State accuses Blue Shield of illegal cancellations
By Lisa Girion
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

December 13, 2007


Article: Why Dyslexics Make Great Entrepreneurs


Business week picks up on the recent New York Times story, which I posted here: Article: Tracing Business Acumen to Dyslexia.

December 12, 2007
BusinessWeek Magazine:

Why Dyslexics Make Great Entrepreneurs
Ability to grasp the big picture, persistence, and creativity are a few of the entrepreneurial traits of many dyslexics

by Gabrielle Coppola

When Alan Meckler, the CEO of IT and online imagery hub Jupitermedia (JUPM), was accepted to Columbia University in 1965, the dean’s office told him he had some of the lowest college boards of any student ever admitted. “I got a 405 or 410 in English,” he recalls. “In those days you got a 400 just for putting your name down! Yet I was on the dean’s list every year I was there, and I won a prize for having the best essay in American history my senior year.”

It wasn’t until years later, at age 58, that Meckler learned he was dyslexic. He struggles with walking and driving directions, and interpreting charts and graphs. He prefers to listen to someone explain a problem to him, rather than sit down and read 20 pages describing it.


What Does This Say About The System?


From the December 13, 2007, New York Times:

Contempt Vote in Panel for Bush Aides

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Thursday to hold a present and a former aide to President Bush in contempt of Congress, but it is by no means clear that they will be dragged before the lawmakers anytime soon.

By 12 to 7, the committee voted citations against Joshua B. Bolten, the White House chief of staff, and Karl Rove, the president’s former chief political adviser, for refusing to comply with subpoenas in a Congressional inquiry into the firings of nine federal prosecutors.


Article: The Dream Is Dead


From the December 12, 2007, New York Times:

The Dream Is Dead

The man crowned by Tommy Franks as “the dumbest [expletive] guy on the planet” just made the dumbest [expletive] speech on the planet.

Doug Feith, the former Rummy gofer who drove the neocon plan to get us into Iraq, and then dawdled without a plan as Iraq crashed into chaos, was the headliner at a reunion meeting of the wooly-headed hawks Monday night at the American Enterprise Institute.

The room was packed as the former No. 3 at the Pentagon, previewing his upcoming book, “War and Decision,” conceded that the case could be made that “mistakes were made.” His former boss, Paul Wolfowitz, and the former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle sat supportively in the front row.

But he wasn’t self-flagellating. He was simply trying to put an egghead gloss on his Humpty Dumpty mishegoss.