Thursday, June 25, 2009

Senators and Congressmen are better than you.

Of course, the Daily KOS doesn't talk about Senator Kennedy's section of the plan allowing Congress and the Senate to Opt out of the National Health Plan. The KOS just points out the things that the Liberals can wrap themselves in like a warm blanket -- the things that promise to punish the rich for being successful by taking their money and giving it to those poor, poor people who are being exploited by "The MAN" One-Hundred and ten thousand dollars for a family of four?! Really? Sixteen-thousand in Medicaid for every person -plus- paying the doctor's Medicaid fees directly; With a 10% premium!

This is why we all want transparency. This is why we all wanted bills posted for review five days before the president signed them. It's why a campaigning Obama promised his administration would do so. We simply don't need more spending, we need more cutting. Maybe letting Senators and Congressmen Opt out of the Government plan is how they plan to cut spending? After all, most of those men and women are old, some are feeble, and paying for their final years of life, and their death, could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars! I think I'm starting to get it. Good show Senator Kennedy! Now that's how you look out for the little guy.

Then again, Senator Kennedy does plan to tax insurance benefits as a tax. So there's some extra cash flow for the plan. But Don't count on the Unions helping out. Now with the health care plan anyway. They won't pay any tax on their health benefits because all of their money already goes to the author(s) of this plan in the form of campaign contributions.

This is it people. This is exactly what no one wants. Hopefully the Kennedy version of this will die. Its only provision to actually cut costs seems to be in creating a new oversight board to investigate waste. I guess their first investigation would lead to themselves?

Kennedy's *AHEM* Senator Kennedy's outline can be seen here.

Dow Jones' digital distribution

From Crain's New York, Via Boing Boing:
Wall Street Journal Dow Jones Calls Google 'Digital Vampire'
First, Please note, that even though The Wall Street Journal was mentioned in this article, it is the Chief Executive of Dow Jones who is making these statements.

The Chief of Dow Jones still believes that news outlets are in competition with Google.

On the surface this seems simply like another swipe at the search giant. And Google is just that: a Search Giant. Sure, they have added features that drive their users to the ads, (which is the real business of any search giant,) but the news publishers really don't seem to grasp, or don't want to grasp, that linking to their news stories is simply one of those added features. Newspapers are failing not because of competition from Google, but also the competition from bloggers, Craigslist, podcasts, AM radio, e-mail, water cooler conversations etc. etc. At least Google always links to the source. Google is simply not the enemy. In fact quite the opposite is true, Google should be the newspaper's best friend.

And so when we look at the best thing to come out of this story:

"Dow Jones is just at the end of developing a new platform from which to conduct business on the Web. Imagine this future: the Journal is one of the many newspapers you might buy in one place and with one payment… Watch for it.

There, friends, is the real news story. The Dow Jones is going to fight Google by createing a... a NEWS STAND! (probably digital)

Many news outlets are going to gloss over the juiciest statement of the news clip. That statement could be plumbed for speculative fiction for months. What is Dow Jones doing? Who is involved? What do they hope to accomplish?

Well, Mr. Hinton is hinting, (groan) that Dow Jones is working to create a unified method of collection and distribution for the content that Dow Jones produces. Here's the rub, if they are trying to create an entirely new service they are fools, and it will fail. No ifs, ands or buts. If they try to compete with Google, Craigslist, Twitter, Kindle and other RSS based technologies they have no hope. However, if they unite with those business to harness that technology they just may have some success.

"The News" is the new MP3. For a long time the only way you could get news was the paper, TV and Radio. Music was the same, except where there was paper, there were CDs. Then, along came the internet: it all went digital. It became easy to get that same content without having to buy a paper, or wrestle with newsprint in your cubicle. It was easier and more convenient.

And it's that convenience that's killing the news business as a whole. If it was ever more convenient and worth the cost to pay an official outlet for news you would have. But Just like the music industry, instead spending time and money to cash in on digital information, they just ignored it until it started eating their profits.
So here is the million dollar question: If Dow Jones is building a digital news stand, how will they do it? Will they partner with Amazon and the Kindle; with Google, Yahoo and Bing? Will they try to put every newspaper website in the nation behind a pay-wall? Will they attempt to charge search engines to link to their content? If so, how will they respond? Do search engines need the content of the Dow Jones partners? (That Link will take you to Dow Jone's partnership page. Take a moment to look at all of the content that Dow Jones owns.)

With all of the content that Dow Jones either directly or indirectly controls they have a lot of leverage. If they choose to bypass the established digital distribution methods and search engines it could get nasty.

Speaking of security...

Speaking of security, if you are wandering the web with Internet Explorer Six Please, for the health of the entire internet, stop using it, and upgrade to one of the following:

The current version of Internet Explorer;
-- Using your new version of IE

Firefox;
-- Firefox switcher's guide

Chrome.
-- Chrome switcher's guide

Thanks from me, and the rest of the internet.

More U.S. sensitive data found on hard disks in African junk shops

Hard disks found with sensitive U.S. Gov Contractor data... Again.

What is it with the repeat stories today?

Found via Boing Boing, hard disks with sensitive data turned up in Ghanain junk-markets. The data belonged to Northrup Grumman, a U.S. Government contractor.

I'll make this one short and sweet. OS X, Vista, Windows 7 and Linux all include Whole Disk Encryption technology. It's time to make it mandatory.

I'm not one to force people into behaving in a certain way, but this issue stretches far, far beyond simple security. If every modern disk was encrypted and could only be un-encrypted and read through the use of a token on your thumb drive or smart card worms, viruses, email hoaxes, money scams and most every other type of garbage that we all deal with on a daily basis would, if not simply disappear, become so expensive to create that we would hardly ever encounter it. So what are we waiting for?

Hate Crimes again?!

Holder Urges Hate Crime bill.

Again, I'm all for protecting people from violence. But that's why we pay police, arm our citizens, teach self-defence, etc. Protecting people has nothing to do with passing so-called hate crimes bills and their enforcement doesn't reduce those types of crimes. Meanwhile these "Hate Crimes" are decreasing -- and will continue to decline as baby-boomers die and the Thirty-Something crowd takes their place. The same goes for bigotry and intolerance for the disabled. Why? Because this is as close to an "ignore it and it'll go away" situation (there is no such thing, really) as we'll ever have. Children are not taught tolerance, they are taught intolerance when adults behave like, and enforce stereotypes. We simply need to teach our children that some people can't help the way they are -- we accept that people are different; and also that some people can help the way they are -- we accept that some people are just assholes.

Creating and supporting hate crime bills only serves to return us to a time of Separate but Equal.

And that's just stupid.

About Faking Normality

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Faking Normality. The one place we don't do it. All is not well. The world is not coming to an end. Don't fake normality, achieve it.