Saturday matinee

| March 28, 2009

We all need a bit of entertainment.

We all need a bit of entertainment.

MORNING LINKS (Gotta post!)

ITEM: Hey, “Earth Hour” is tonight, another blip of self-congratulatory, feel-good environmental idiocy and irrelevance. Here’s how I think we should really celebrate Earth Hour (from Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle; and if you haven’t read it lately, why the hell not?):

Be the First In Your Block to Help Blow Out the Electric Power Network of the Northeast

East Village Other is proud to announce the first annual blackout of the Werewolves which is fixed for 3 p.m. on Wednesday, August 19, 1970. Once more let me put the system to the test. Help the companies producing and distributing electric power to improve their balance sheets by consuming as much as you can; and even then find some way of using a bit more. In particular, switch on electric heaters, toasters, air conditioning, and any other apparatus with a high consumption. Refrigerators turned up to the maximum, with their doors left open, can cool down a large apartment in an amusing way. After an afternoon’s consumption spree we will meet in Central Park to bay at the moon.


Hospitals and other emergency services are hereby warned, and invited to make necessary precautions.

The East Village Other (an underground paper), July 1970

Hey, it’s stimulus, isn’t it?

Then once you’ve done this, if you’re in the northern half of the US, go outside and see something truly amazing: the International Space Station passing overhead. Its brightness has jumped dramatically because of the new solar panels added.

ITEM: Here’s a headline to strike fear in the hearts of anyone over a certain age: BAM CHANNELS LJB. As Ralph Peters puts it, “The only LBJ touch that BHO lacked was the word ‘escalation.'” Given that my nephew Darren (USMC) is heading over to Afghanistan shortly, and my son Jon (USMC, recently returned from Iraq) may be heading over there in a few months, I sure as hell hope that Commander-in-Chief Obama has better plans for Afghanistan than “I’m sending more troops and more money.”

ITEM: On the other hand, the WaPo editorial board thinks that Obama does have a better plan. Meanwhile, the Economist is taking a wait-and-see approach.

ITEM: Nice to see someone calling Obama on his profound illogic, though I’d rather it be the WaPo and the New York Times than the NH Union Leader:

Speaking of his $3.6 trillion budget, President Obama asserted on Tuesday, “This budget is inseparable from this recovery. It is what lays the foundation for a secure and lasting prosperity.”

The first sentence is an impossibility. The second is a non sequitur.

First, the President would have us believe that only his budget can pull the economy out of recession. If it is not passed, there can be no recovery. That is the meaning of “inseparable.”

Does anyone on earth, even the President, actually believe that?

ITEM: Speaking of missing the cluetrain: “Weeks of Obama’s budget sales pitch and support still slips.” Maybe the sales pitch is what’s causing the support to slip.

ITEM: Speaking of newspapers, the LA Times has obviously overshot on its layoffs and needs to hire a few people back. Look closely at all the headlines on the left-hand side, as well as the caption under Matt Lauer.

ITEM: Consumer spending up for the 2nd month in a row. God bless our materialistic society, out there buying stuff even in the face of economic collapse. Madison Avenue must really be on a roll.

ITEM: On the other hand, the idiotic moves by Congress and the Obama Administration continue to have ripple effects: “Venture capitalists fear closer government scrutiny and higher taxes.” Now there’s a way to permanently cripple our economy.

ITEM: Creeping socialism/fascism update, part 1: “Tea Party” protest canceled by local government out of fear too many people would show up. Are we starting to get into “unlawful assembly” territory here?

ITEM: Creeping socialism/fascism update, part 2: New directive from the Obama Adminstration :

Under the directive, which began going into effect this week, agency officials are required to begin meetings about stimulus funding for projects by asking whether any party to the conversation is a lobbyist.

“If so, the lobbyist may not attend or participate in the telephonic or in-person contact, but may submit a communication in writing,” reads Obama’s memo, which requires the agencies to post lobbyists’ written communications online.

ITEM: “Obama to CEOs: Show some restraint!” Isn’t that what we’d like him to do?

ITEM: OK, I think these are the most idiotic paragraphs I’ve read in a major news story in some time:

GRAND JUNCTION — When Stefan Martin-Urban drove into a tranquil cul-de-sac on a Saturday morning in October, pulled a pistol from behind his back and methodically shot strangers, his behavior was eerily similar to characters in the video games he played obsessively. …

Like the thugs in “Grand Theft Auto” and warlocks in “World of Warcraft,” Martin-Urban showed no emotion as he fatally shot dentist Terry Fine, 61, while Fine held out a hand in greeting to the young stranger.

Does this mean mandatory changes to video games to make the player’s character show remorse, conflict, or hesitancy as it kills other characters? Of course, hysteria over games corrupting our children is nothing new. By the way: none of this should be taken as an endorsement of “Grand Theft Auto” (which I think truly is a vile game), but I don’t think that Martin-Urban started killing strangers because he played the game; I think he played the game because he liked the idea of killing strangers.

ITEM: Maryland refuses to check on illegal immigrant status for those applying for drivers licenses. Maryland has a high rate of drivers licence fraud. Unlike the “video games cause random murders” meme above, I think it’s safe to say this is not just correlation but actual cause-and-effect. Any questions?

ITEM: Speaking of cause-and-effect and un-thought-through consequences: more problems with those annoying fluorescent bulbs we’re all supposed to buy.

ITEM: And yet more consequences from the Obama Administration, though it’s hard to tell if these are unintended or not.

ITEM: On the other hand, these are some really unintended consequences (hat tip to Dave Barry).

ITEM: I’m glad someone is prospering under Obama. Other than Sen. Chris Dodd (D-$$), that is.

ITEM: Video of the day: laid-off SEIU staffers picketing SEIU (big union, big Obama contributor, in case you don’t know):

“How do you spell ‘hypocrisy’? “S-E-I-U!”  Heh.

OK, back to work. See you on Monday. ..bruce w..

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Category: Business, Creeping socialism, Economics, Games, Geopolitics, Information Technology, Journalism, Links roundup, Main, Media, Obama Administration, Stimulus, US Politics

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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