Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cold Dead Hands

Who cares about our 4th Amendment rights like when updated FISA laws that sought to allow warrantless wiretaps were being debated in Congress.  Very few around here seemed too concerned. But God forbid someone messes with the 2nd Amendment. And to show just how much our residents want to feel like they are still in the old west, South Dakota set a record for the number of concealed weapons permits that were issued this year.
A record number of concealed weapons permits were issued by the state of South Dakota than any previous year, according to a news release by Secretary of State Chris Nelson.

According to Nelson, 15,029 permits were issued by sheriffs statewide. That's nearly 17 percent more than the previous record of 12,855 issued in 2006. There are slightly less than 50,000 concealed weapons permit holders in south Dakota.

Be sure and remember that stat the next time someone cuts you off on 41st street and you feel like giving them the bird in retaliation as he might be one of the almost 10% of South Dakotan's carrying a concealed heater to prop up their manhood. Do you feel lucky punk?

UPDATE 1/1: I knew it wouldn't be long before someone took exception to this and The Constant Conservative didn't disappoint. He brought up a 10 plus year old murder case as an example of how concealed weapons are needed for our personal safety. Because as we all know, South Dakota is so dangerous and states that allow concealed weapons are so much safer.

I am not quite sure how this line in the 2nd Amendment, "a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." translates into 50,000 South Dakotans having the right to carry a concealed weapon but I am sure Mr

Cashing In On The Digital Switchover?

I was writing a comment to a post that Pat Powers had today (apparently he doesn't read my blog either) over at the SDWC in regards to the old news on KSFY's negotiations with Goldenwest and all of a sudden it hit me. Are local stations like KSFY in this case and KELO with their recent dispute with Dish Network trying to cash in on February's government mandated digital switchover?

My original thinking on this was who cares if Goldenwest drops KSFY, i'll just use my rooftop antenna to pick up the station in the very rare case that they have something on that I can't find elsewhere. In my case that is no problem because my digital ready antenna is hooked up to my nice big HDTV with it's included digital tuner which will have no problem tuning in to KSFY's digital signal when the switchover happens. What if you are like what I can only assume is many folks in that you are relying on having cable or satellite to keep giving you your local stations without the need for getting a new TV or buying the digital converter box?

If that is you, you would be out of luck.

So with that being said, isn't is interesting that local stations, whom have had 16 plus years of exclusive broadcast rights guaranteed by federal law that mandates that cable and satellite companies cannot broadcast out of market stations, are only now starting to ask for payment for such signals?

Hmmm, their sudden interest in getting paid couldn't have anything to do with the fact that they have most of us over a barrel would it? Reminds me of that old Seinfeld episode dealing with "hand", they have it and apparently some are looking to cash in on it.

UPDATE 1/1 - Apparently neither side caved as KSFY is indeed no longer being broadcast on Goldenwest in Canistota. Goodbye KSFY you and your "Wheel of Felons" will not be missed.

The Joke Of The Day

The local media is finally reporting a story I wrote about 5 days ago with the article in this morning's Argus Leader about KSFY demanding payment from Goldenwest for the rights to re-broadcast their signal. My earlier post pretty much detailed my thoughts on the subject but what I found quite humorous from the Argus story was a quote from Goldenwest station manager Rick Reed.
"I want to try to provide programming that is fair and reasonable to my customers"

Being a current Goldenwest customer I would like to ask Mr Reed, when exactly are you going to start doing that? Is that your company's New Years resolution? If neither is the case I wonder if you were able to keep a straight face when you said it...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Of Course There's Nothing Fishy About This

Most everyone I am sure is aware that Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol is pregnant and that her baby daddy Levi Johnston's mother Sherry was recently arrested on felony drug charges. What you may not know is that her investigation and ultimate arrest was delayed until after the election by Alaska officials.
The trooper's affidavit indicates that Sarah Palin's candidacy factored into the investigation, with state officials delaying execution of a search warrant until this month, when Johnston was "no longer under the protection or surveillance of the Secret Service."

Could someone please explain to me why being under the protection or surveillance of the Secret Service has anything to do with delaying this other than it shielding Sarah Palin from the likely distractions it would have caused while being the GOP VP candidate?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

iPhone Now At Wal-Mart!

Big news! As rumoured a few months ago, you can now go into your local Wal-Mart and pick up Apple's legendary iPhone and save a whopping $2 in the process. The world's largest retailer now has the $199 dollar 8 gig version available for $197 and the $299 16 gig version can now be had for the bargain basement price of $297 (2 year agreement with AT&T still required).

So if you were waiting for this monumental event to finally arrive, you can now rush out to one of the 2500 Wal-Marts or 69 Sam's Clubs that have been pegged to carry this technological wonder and get your very own iPhone. But of course if you live in South Dakota like I do, the state with seemingly more Wal-Mart's per capita than just about any state,  you can disregard this post as it is still not available here...

More "Tolerance" From The Party With The Big Tent

Former Mike Huckabee campaign manager Chip Saltsman has brought out an oldie but goodie in an attempt to help him win his current campaign to get elected chairman of the Republican National Committee. He is distributing a CD first made popular by radio big mouth Rush Limbaugh with the hit song (if you are a racist that is) “Barack the Magic Negro” which is set to the tune Puff The Magic Dragon.

(h/t - The Moderate Voice. Video and accompanying lyrics via The Inquisiter)

SHANKLIN (Sharpton impersonator): Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C.

The L.A. Times, they called him that

‘Cause he’s not authentic like me.

Yeah, the guy from the L.A. paper

Said he makes guilty whites feel good

They’ll vote for him, and not for me

‘Cause he’s not from the hood.

See, real black men, like Snoop Dog,

Or me, or Farrakhan

Have talked the talk, and walked the walk.

Not come in late and won!

[refrain] Oh, Barack the Magic Negro, lives in D.C.

The L.A. Times, they called him that

‘Cause he’s black, but not authentically.

Oh, Barack the Magic Negro, lives in D.C.

The L.A. Times, they called him that

‘Cause he’s black, but not authentically.

Some say Barack’s “articulate”

And bright and new and “clean.”

The media sure loves this guy,

A white interloper’s dream!

But, when you vote for president,

Watch out, and don’t be fooled!

Don’t vote the Magic Negro in –

‘Cause — ’cause I won’t have nothing after all these years of sacrifice

And I won’t get justice. This is about justice. This isn’t about me, it’s about justice.

It’s about buffet. I don’t have no buffet and there won’t be any church contributions,

And there’ll be no cash in the collection plate.

There ain’t gonna be no cash money, no walkin’ around money, no phoning money.

Now, Barack going to come in here and –

You'd really have to get behind an RNC headed by such a fine upstanding guy as Saltsman wouldn't you?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I've Heard Some Real Whoppers Before But...

Oklahoma pastor Kenneth Wayne Huneycutt is accused of molesting 2 boys at least 15 times while they spent the night at his house and has come up with a "novel" excuse as to why he did it. He says the his blood pressure meds are to blame.
An Ada pastor accused of molesting two boys now claims his alleged behavior may have something to do with his blood pressure medications.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Be Careful What You Ask For

A few weeks back you may or may not remember the stink that those in power over at KELO-TV made regarding their negotiations with Dish Network about how much needed to be paid by the satellite TV provider to carry our local CBS affiliate. Not being a Dish subscriber because of some 100 year old trees in the line of site to the satellite, I didn't pay much attention to the story as it didn't affect me. It appears though that I am now being affected by a similar dispute between Sioux Falls' ABC affiliate KSFY and my cable provider Goldenwest whom has notified me that because of KSFY's payment demands, I may lose the channel as of 12/31.

When I was informed of this I did a little research and discovered that until just recently, most "over the air" (OTR) broadcasters like KSFY had given their signal to local cable companies for free but with their new demands, I would more than likely have to pay more to receive their ever increasing supply of crap.
Negotiations on a price for what's known as a "retransmission" agreement have failed so far. If new agreements or extensions to the existing free agreements are not reached by Dec. 31, KSFY and its popular ABC programs, such as "Desperate Housewives" and "Dancing with the Stars," could be dropped from the cable lineups of Garretson-based Alliance Communications, Clear Lake-based Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative (ITC), Highmore-based Venture Communications Cooperative and Woonsocket-based Santel Communications. Alternatively, if a deal is reached on a price, the cable companies are likely to pass the added cost on to their customers.

To be honest, I am not sure why local affiliates think that I should be required to pay for programming that they already give away for free with their OTR signal, but what the heck it is a free market right?

Back when the satellite companies first started carrying locals, folks would sign up using zip codes of friends or family in markets outside of the one they actually lived so that they could get their local channels for whatever reason. Say like me you were a Browns fan but lived in a Minnesota Vikings TV market, if you could convince the satellite company that your dish was mounted on a house in Cleveland, you would get Cleveland locals and as a result every horrible game that the Browns played.

Of course that practice was a big no-no because your actual locals would argue that you needed to support your neighborhood advertisers and that you needed your local news and weather. So as a result, they contractually made the satellite companies ensure that they only offered you out of market networks, and then only New York and LA stations, if your locals weren't available on the satellite or with an antenna.

Fast forward to today. Cash strapped KELO and KSFY are looking to get a few dollars from the TV providers and in turn their customers for providing a service that they also provide for free. As I mentioned before, since we are a free market society, should I then also be able to choose which channels I pay for?

With local tiny cable providers like Goldenwest this will not be possible as they don't even have the bandwidth to provide HD content let alone a selection of out of market locals, but if I have satellite or a major nationwide cable provider and I am being forced to pay for free network TV shouldn't I be allowed to choose which ones I receive? Why should I be made to watch our horribly produced local newscasts (can anybody say "Wheel of Felons"?) or have to watch another Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos game if I am being forced to pay for the privilege?

KELO and KSFY are within their rights to ask for compensation for their content so shouldn't I also have the right to chose whose content that I will pay for? I know that with powerful lobbying groups like the NAB and even the NFL whom controls everything that comes into your home, that this isn't possible but there is one thing I can chose. Paying extra for the constant stream of unwatchable newscasts and reality TV is something I will not do.

So the folks in charge at KELO and KSFY might want to be careful what they ask for as it will likely result in even fewer viewers than they have now. I can easily get the few network shows I enjoy as well as my weather forecasts online for free and will have no problem doing so.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

What, 2 Years Or More Warning Wasn't Enough?

The RCJ has a story this morning detailing how Congress is talking to the FCC about pushing back the February deadline for the switch over to digital TV broadcasts.
According to Sen. John Thune, Congress has been talking with the Federal Communications Commission about possibly extending the Feb. 17 deadline for switching from analog to digital television.

Thune says it's at least being talked about because many Americans don't understand the process or haven't yet redeemed their coupons for digital converters.

"I think this is going to catch people by surprise and there's going to be a lot of people in South Dakota who are going to be impacted," the Republican senator said.

My question to Thune and the rest of Congress would be this. If someone isn't prepared for the switchover to digital broadcasts after all these years of warnings and the past year or so of seemingly constant media bombardment detailing the steps needed to change over, will a longer deadline make any difference?

I doubt it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Priorities?

At least the Vatican has their priorities in order...
Pope Benedict said on Monday that saving humanity from homosexual or
transsexual behavior was just as important as saving the rainforest
from destruction.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Denver Plane Crash Via Twitter

If anyone questions the potential value of social media sites like Twitter in breaking news, the crash this weekend of a Continental plane on takeoff in Denver should serve as a good example.

Twitter user 2drinksbehind was on the flight and his first tweet after the crash summed it up quite well
Holy f***ing sh*t I wasbjust in a plane crash!

(h/t - Mashable)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And You Thought You Had A Bad Day

A deer from my old stomping grounds in Northern Ohio will probably have to be euthanized after getting his head stuck in this plastic container.

deer

Photo from Cleveland Plain Dealer

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Question Of The Day

A question for my Republican visitors.

The site FiveThirtyEight.com most often known for their polling and statistical prowess wonders aloud about the near term future of the GOP after the beat down they took in November.

Are the Republicans still a national party?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You've Got To Hate It When This Happens

So this Christmas you really make out when you get a brand new flat screen and a Wii. If that is you, please remember that the Wii controllers have a strap for a reason...



(h/t - Gizmodo)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dig A Little Deeper For The Collection Plates Next Week

The coffers of the Catholic Church, already more than 2 billion lighter from the scores of sex abuse judgements that have been levied against them since 1950, are in jeopardy once more.
Three men who claim they were abused by Catholic clergy in America have succeeded in naming the Vatican as sole defendant in a lawsuit and are hoping to force Pope Benedict XVI to give evidence in the case.

The 6th US circuit court of appeal recently ruled that although the Holy See, as a sovereign state, was immune from most lawsuits, the plaintiffs could proceed with their argument that its officials were involved in a deliberate effort to cover up evidence of sexual abuse by American priests.

Their case centres on a 1962 directive from the Vatican telling church officials to hide sex abuse complaints against clergy.

Another Milestone

Wow, I see Survivor ended another season last night. That means another in an unexplainably growing number of seasons in which I can honestly say I haven't seen one minute of the waste of film otherwise known as the godfather of reality TV.

Of course I still take pride in the fact that I can say that about every other primetime reality show ever broadcast as well.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

SNL Mocks Blind Governor

SNL took a few pot shots aimed at New York Governor David Patterson, whom like his disgraced Illinois counterpart Rod Blagojevich, must appoint someone to replace Hillary Clinton. Hign on SNL's list of parity topics was Patterson's perceived unpreparedness for the job that he fell into when Eliot Spitzer got caught with his pants down as well as Patterson's past cocaine use.

Of course both subjects are easy and obvious fodder for SNL which became at least temporarily relevant again with their Tina Fey/Sarah Palin skits. But if you watch the Patterson skit, they came real close to crossing that imaginary political correctness line that I have a hard time tracking when they mocked Patterson's blindness.

What do you think, too far?

If The Shoe Fits

It appears that President Bush still has few in any friends in Iraq. In what is being called his farewell tour of the country he invaded liberated, he was attacked by a shoe wielding Iraqi journalist.
Mr. Bush got a size-10 reminder of the fervent opposition to his policies when a man threw two shoes at him - one after another - during a news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

"This is the end!" shouted the man, later identified as Muntadaral-Zeidi, a correspondent for Al-Baghdadiya television, an Iraqi-owned station based in Cairo, Egypt.

Mr. Bush ducked both throws; neither leader was hit. In Iraqi culture, throwing shoes at someone is a sign of contempt; Iraqis whacked a statue of Saddam Hussein with their shoes after U.S. Marines toppled it to the ground in 2003.

Video of the shoe toss can be seen here.

UPDATE: Video now up on MSNBC

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Getting More Than You Bargained For

Incompetence has been given as one reason why John McCain didn't win last month. You may or may not agree with that but the latest oops coming from what remains of the McCain campaign isn't helping that perception much after one of an east coast campaign office's fire sale of their remaining assets.
The hottest item?  Blackberry phones at $20 a piece.  There were only 10 left.  All of the batteries had died.  There were no chargers for sale.  But people were snatching them up.  So, we bought a couple.

And ended up with a lot more than we bargained for.

When we charged them up in the newsroom, we found one of the $20 Blackberry phones contained more than 50 phone numbers for people connected with the McCain-Palin campaign, as well as hundreds of emails from early September until a few days after election night.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hitting The Road

After a long day of work I will be hitting the road this evening for my somewhat annual trip to the old homestead in Ohio which means posting here will be light to non-existent for awhile. So while I have the opportunity I would like to wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

See you on the flip side.

What Is Worse, The Punishment Or The Crime?

Most of us hate it when while sitting at a stop light we are forced to hear the thumping of a horrible stereo system cranked well past it's useable volume from the car next to us. A judge in Colorado must have had that happen to him one too many times when he came up with the punishment he doles out to noise ordinance violators that come into his courtroom.
Fort Lupton Municipal Judge Paul Sacco says his novel punishment of forcing noise violators to listen to music they don't like for one hour has cut down on the number of repeat offenders in this northwestern Colorado prairie town.

About four times a year, those who plead guilty to noise ordinance violations are required to sit in a room and listen to music from the likes of Manilow, Barney the Dinosaur, and The Platters' crooning "Only You"

Being forced to listen to Barney or Barry Manilow would certainly be painful enough for me to change my ways...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

This Must Be Why He Gets The Big Bucks

South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long thinks a bad economy might result in an increase in crime.
"When the economy goes in the tank, law enforcement usually has more work to do."

If a grasp of the obvious is a part of his job description, this statement certainly proves his qualifications.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

They Can't Be Serious...

KSFY can't be serious can they? SDSU vs NDSU on in primetime instead of Texas Tech vs Oklahoma? Not cool...

As an aside I wonder how the suits at ABC corporate would feel about that big NBC peacock logo currently being prominently displayed on one of their local ABC affiliates?

A Real One Of A Kind

I have to admit that I am a closet car guy. Owning a muscle car is a dream I have had for as long as I can remember dreaming and putting a 1970 Torino Cobra in my driveway will just about guarantee that I could die a happy man no matter what happened afterwards.

As I am sure everyone is aware, owning a musclecar isn't something your average McDonalds or Walmart employee (or field service technician for that matter) can afford to do but for a few days in January, those of us that like to dream do have the opportunity to watch some of the finest examples of Detroit muscle hit the auction blocks as part of the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction on Speed Channel.

This year's auction has a real gem that will likely require a checkbook quite a bit larger than your average car collector normally has when T-Bird #1 hits the auction blocks in Scottsdale on Saturday January 17th, 2009. The 1955-57 T-Bird along with the Corvette are often attributed with starting the musclecar era and the first ever production car of Ford's popular Bird has to be the most desirable example there is.

The current economic troubles will likely effect what this car eventually sells for but 2 things are for sure, it will be a lot, and it will be worth every penny. Read the sellers description and see more pictures of this historic car here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Focus On The Family Christmas

Very few things that Focus on the Family does makes much sense to me or to most free thinking individuals for that matter and the latest of their ridiculous campaigns is no exception. This time they are putting out a list of "Christmas-friendly" retailers, "Christmas-negligent" retailers and "Christmas-offensive" retailers based on how they refer to the holiday in their advertising and other literature.
On Thursday the Colorado Springs-based ministry's political action arm launched its second-annual holiday campaign by posting an online shoppers guide with three categories: "Christmas-friendly" retailers, "Christmas-negligent" retailers and "Christmas-offensive" retailers.

The "friendly" retailers are so designated because they prominently use "Merry Christmas" and other Christmas-specific references in their catalogs and in-store promotions. Those on the Christmas-offensive list use secular phrases such as "happy holidays" and have "apparently abandoned" the use of the word "Christmas," Focus said. Christmas-negligent companies "marginalize" their message by using "Christmas" in some cases and "holidays" in others.

I am probably a bit cynical when it comes to anything Focus on the Family does but isn't putting out a list of retailers promoting Christmas commercialism "properly" a bit of an oxymoron considering most Christian groups already consider Christmas to be too commercial?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It Really Wasn't That Bad Was It?

I spent much of yesterday updating the trusty iPod in preparation for the 14 hour drive the family and I are planning to Ohio over Thanksgiving. While loading up on some of the 80's best tunes I decided to hit up YouTube to check out the videos that went along with some of these oldies but goodies. In the process I think I discovered one big reason why MTV stopped playing music videos.

I know Courtney looks great in one of her earliest appearances and Bruce is the Boss and all that, but dancing is just not something he should be doing...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Priest Nazi - "No Communion For You!"

So you say you voted for Obama? If you are a member of a certain Catholic Church in Columbia, South Carolina you can probably say goodbye to receiving communion.
A South Carolina Roman Catholic priest has told his parishioners that they should refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they voted for Barack Obama because the Democratic president-elect supports abortion, and supporting him "constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."

The Rev. Jay Scott Newman said in a letter distributed Sunday to parishioners at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville that they are putting their souls at risk if they take Holy Communion before doing penance for their vote.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Even Homophobes Feeling The Economic Heat

Economic times are rough for everyone it seems. Even the homophobic Focus on the Family, fresh off of donating a half million towards passing California's Proposition 8, is having to undergo a second round of layoffs from their work force of intolerance.
Focus on the Family plans an unspecified number of layoffs, and will be announcing specifics in the next few of days, Focus spokesman Gary Schneeberger said Thursday.

This comes on the heels of Focus' announcement in October that 46 employees would be reassigned or laid off next year due to a restructuring of its distribution arm. Focus has a staff of about 1,200 people.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Like A Death In The Family

Growing up in Cleveland in the 70's and early 80's there were pretty much three voices that all sports fans knew and loved. The first is Joe Tait, the current voice of the the Cleveland Cavs and previous broadcaster for the Indians in the 70's. The second was Nev Chandler, the late great voice of the Browns (and Indians in the early 80's) that many non-Clevelanders probably would recognize if they ever heard or saw many of the clips from the AFC Championship games against Denver in the mid-80's. Last and not least was the legendary voice of the Indians for over 30 years, Herb Score.

Many of my childhood memories revolve around spending my summers listening to Herb calling the games of absolutely horrible Indians team on WWWE and yelling at the dial because of Score's unique commentary that at times rivaled famed Chicago Cub broadcaster Harry Carry.
-- "It's a long drive. Is it fair? Is it foul? It is."

-- "Two runs, three hits, one error, and after three we're still scoreless."

-- "Hi, everybody," he said once. "This is Herb Score coming to you from Milwaukee County Stadium." A silence followed, in which it was obvious someone was correcting him.

"What," exclaimed Score, "Oh, Chicago's Comiskey Park. No wait a minute. I'll get this right. Kansas City's Royals Stadium."

So the news yesterday that Herb passed away hits me almost as hard as if he was a member of the family.
Longtime Indians pitcher and broadcaster Herb Score has passed away after a lengthy illness. The team says Score died Tuesday morning at his home in Rocky River.

The Cleveland Indians and Team President Paul Dolan issued the following statement, “Today is a sad day for the Cleveland Indians family and for Cleveland Indians fans everywhere. We have lost one of the greatest men in the history of our franchise. Generations of Indians fans owe their love of the Tribe to Herb Score, who was a powerful pitcher and legendary broadcaster. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy and the Family.”

A few highlights of Herb’s life and career from WKYC in Cleveland:

Goodbye Herb, hopefully wherever you are now has the Indians winning a World Series.

Talk About Your Classic Oxymoron...

It seems the guy that made a mint by buying up the domain sex.com early on has set his sights on a new online project. Gary Kremen is investing some of the $12 mil in cash and stocks he got for selling the domain in 2006 on a porn filter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Don't Go Away Mad, Just Go Away!

Apparently not content to learn from her experience as the GOP Vice Presidential candidate and move on, Sarah Palin continues to try and lay blame for the McCain/Palin loss everywhere except where it belongs. Her latest target is the pajama wearing blogosphere.
In Sarah Palin's interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren this evening, she referred to bloggers as "kids in pajamas sitting in the basement of their parents' homes" spewing out mean and inaccurate things about her.

Now you can feel free to call me politically naive, but if I were her and I wanted to have a future in national politics, I might want to spend the next couple of years working on a few things to prepare for the next campaign. You know like boning up on the continents, learning the job description for the job you are seeking, and maybe studying up on some of the more well known cases brought before the Supreme Court. Then those mean old bloggers wouldn't have had the unlimited supply of ammunition she supplied them that is the subject of her latest whine and cheese fest.

Some on the far right of her party think that Governor Palin is the savior of the GOP, and the next 4 years will go a long way in determining that but will constant whining and complaining really endear her to the rest of the party? Fingernails running across a chalk board might be cute for a few seconds, continuing to do it is just plain annoying.

Have You Kissed A Vet Today?



While you are ice skating around town today (at least those of us in Eastern SD), please take a minute or two to remember those that have served and sacrificed for your freedom on this Veterans Day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stopping HIV?

A possible cure or at a minimum a new treatment discovered completely by accident? One HIV positive patient seems to have beaten the disease.
A carefully selected bone marrow transplant for a leukemia patient appears to have stopped the patient's HIV infection as well--he shows no signs of the virus in his blood nearly two years after the procedure. While it's difficult to draw any conclusions from a single case, the outcome gives hope for new avenues for AIDS treatment.

Read more.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Our Cell Phone Service In For A Change?

Anyone that has spent any amount of time traveling through South Dakota knows that cell phone service is spotty at best. In my experience, the company with by far the best coverage in the state has to be Verizon, especially now that they have upgraded to their high speed EVDO network in several cities including Sioux Falls. With that said, news that the FCC has approved Verizon's request to buyout Alltel could spell big changes here in the great white north, also known as South Dakota.

Why you ask?

Part of the deal that Verizon struck in order to get approval from the DOJ and the FCC was that they had to divest assets in 100 areas in 22 states. One of those areas just so happens to be the whole state of South Dakota.
The Department of Justice said the divestitures were necessary to preserve wireless voice service competition in areas where Verizon and Alltel both already have significant footprints. In addition to divesting its assets throughout the whole of North Dakota and South Dakota, Verizon must also divest wireless businesses in areas of Midwestern states such as Ohio, Minnesota and Kansas; western states such as Arizona, Colorado and California; and Southern states such as Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.

"The divestitures required are necessary to protect wireless consumers and are among the most extensive required by the department in a wireless case," said Thomas O. Barnett, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice's antitrust division.

Considering the deal was just approved last week, the details of any divestment of Verizon assets here are far from worked out. But if the Verizon sell off happens to include several smaller carriers, we could be living the old Verizon slogan of "can you here me now" with no one answering.

Is the DOJ's attempt to promote choice in service actually going to end up doing the opposite here? Time will tell but it quite possibly could depending on how the changes play out. Then again maybe Sprint will buy some of the assets so that their so called South Dakota "coverage map" actually becomes accurate for a change...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Impeach Obama?

Barack Obama hasn't even taken office and already "the sky is falling" groups are calling for his impeachment.
On Facebook, an "Impeach Barack Obama" group has attracted more than 700 members and a lively debate about the Democrat's election victory on Tuesday over Republican John McCain.

Another Facebook group of the same name has 160 members and urges others to join because "we might as well get a head start on the impeachment of Obama."

"There are a lot of Americans out there that do not fully understand the concept of Socialism or Communism which is why they've elected Obama as president," it says.

Yet another Facebook group, "Impeach Barack Hussein Obama," has 160 members.

It decries that Obama "has voiced support for various unconstitutional programs such as the assault weapons ban, universal healthcare, and various schemes for wealth distribution."

"What are we going to do about it? IMPEACH HIM!" it says.

One thing is for sure, the next four years will certainly not be boring.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Eat Your Heart Out

Ok, maybe not but I am smack dab in the middle of one of the worst blizzards Western South Dakota has experienced in years.



At least most of whatever snow is falling isn't hitting the ground. Kind of hard for that to happen with 60-70 mph winds.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Quick Election Thoughts

I am going to be fighting the snow, rain, and possible blizzard conditions West River for a few days but I just wanted to throw out a few comments about last night's election.

First off to Barack Obama, congratulations, you have finished up the easy part when you beat John McCain in a landslide. The hard part now awaits you. You must dig us out of 8 years of lies and mismanagement and keep the scores of promises you made to get you elected. You will have no excuses, you have a majority in Congress and a mandate from a willing populace. Come January 20th we will be watching...

Finally to Leslie Unruh and the rest of the Vote Yes For Life Group. Exceptions, no exceptions, it doesn't matter so please move on to something else.

100,000 Junk Pile

The Silicon Valley startup, Tesla, might be having its issues getting into the automobile business having just had to secure a $40 million loan from investors to stay solvent but it seems that they have figured out one thing on their $100,000 electric roadster. They have figured out that crash test thing.



The above picture is the result of the car going a bit too fast on a wet road during a sales demonstration and crashing at 100mph. Amazingly neither the driver or the would be customer were seriously injured.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

South Dakota Results

As the Presidential election results start coming in here in South Dakota you can use the following widget to track the results.

National Election Results

As the polls start closing here shortly nationwide you can follow the Presidential Race with this self updating widget from MSNBC

Big Day Today

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 will go down as the day that everything changes.

In somewhat of a surprise, that day will go down as the date that the Cleveland Browns benched their high paid Pro Bowl quarterback and handed the reigns to former Notre Dame star and current TV spokesmodel, Brady Quinn. Actually the surprise isn't that it happened, it was just that it happened on a short week as the Browns have to play Denver on Thursday. Now if they can get Braylon Edwards to just hold on to the ball...

And I bet the headline had you thinking that I was going to go into some big commentary on how you need to get out and vote today didn't you? I am sure others will be doing that for me on their blogs, but in reality if you didn't know that by now you shouldn't be voting anyways.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Stay Away From The Corn Fields

If you are in Central South Dakota during the next few days you might want to stay clear of the standard high rent pheasant hunting areas. Soon to be retired Vice President Dick Cheney flew in this morning for his annual taxpayer underwritten pheasant hunt.
Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in South Dakota Monday for his annual trip to hunt pheasants. Air Force Two landed at the Pierre Regional Airport about 10:45 a.m.

Cheney has hunted pheasants in South Dakota each year that he's been vice president. He's done his hunting at a private lodge north of Pierre.

I wonder if he got his absentee ballot in the mail before leaving?

Research, A Novel Idea For Some Apparently

You know, feel free to vote for which ever candidate floats your boat, just take the time to do your research before pulling the lever. If you don't you end up like some of the folks in this video who should strongly consider taking this election off due to extreme stupidity.

I especially like the claim from the woman that thinks Barack Obama wants to change the flag and the National Anthem. And unfortunately this again comes from my home state of Ohio, a co-incidence?



Thank goodness Tuesday will put an end to this madness for a few months before the seemingly never ending election cycle starts up again for 2012.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Crazies Are Coming Out Of The Woodwork

A Michigan wingnut just re-enforces why I stopped blogging about politics. This woman refused to pass out candy to any child whose parents were Obama supporters.

Sad...

(h/t - Roxanne)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sarah Palin Prank Call

A phone prank worthy of Howard Stern's staff was played on Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin by Canadian DJ/comedians Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel. Listen:

Transformation Complete

On a somewhat sad note, the migration away from my political blogging days is just about complete (though of course I will still never completely be silent on that subject). This morning I officially shut down Politics and Hypocrisy so as soon as the DNS changes have had time to propagate, the site will be no more.

All is not lost though as even with the site being shut down, I have decided to archive the 2 years worth of my ramblings right here on this blog. To view these posts just click here for a complete archive, comments and all, from Politics and Hypocrisy and A South Dakota Moderate.

On a side note for bloggers using Wordpress for their blogs. I have decided to use the latest Beta of Wordpress for the archive, 2.7 beta 1, and so far I am quite impressed.

Politics And Hypocrisy Archive

I have decided to archive the posts from my old political blogs Politics and Hypocrisy and A South Dakota Moderate here. If you have come here via a Search Engine referral feel free to browse the archive or click on over to my personal blog which is the focus of my blogging efforts at this time.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Urinal Art

Does this urinal made in the likeness of George W. creep you out as much as it does me?



(created by Clark Sorenson)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

So This Is Where They Went

Did you even wonder what happened to all the music videos that you used to be able to watch on MTV? Well the music television station that no longer plays music has finally put them online and luckily for all the old farts like me, the 1980's is well represented.



All that is missing is Nina, JJ, Mark, Martha, and Alan. (All but JJ who died in 2004 can still be found on Sirius by the way)

My Heart Bleeds...Not

First off congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies for winning the World Series last night against Tampa. That first ever 3 inning continuation win last night was a weird finale to what was otherwise a snoozer of a series.

With that said, a 25 year drought between World Championships for the city (1983 76er's) is no big deal despite what the talking heads over at ESPN keep wanting us to believe this morning with numerous references to that fact. Enough already!

Try being a Cleveland sports fan sometime before giving me your sports sob story. 25 years is a walk in the park for us considering we have to go back to 1964 to find our city celebrating anything. And please don't give me your Chicago Cubs meme. Yes 1908 was a long time ago, but I have 2 words for you, Bulls and Bears.

Again congratulations to Philly fans everywhere and be sure to savor this victory, it is something that for most outside of the Northeast happens very few times in one's lifetime. For those Cleveland fans born after January of 1964, it has never and might never happen.

Just wait until next year...

UPDATE: The Bleacher Report echoes my sentiments perfectly.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Reason Number 99356

Oh that's right, guns don't kill people, people kill people.
An 8-year-old boy died after accidentally shooting himself in the head
while firing an Uzi submachine gun under adult supervision at a gun
fair.

The boy lost control of the weapon while firing it Sunday at the
Machine Gun Shoot and Firearms Expo at the Westfield Sportsman's Club,
police Lt. Lawrence Vallierpratte said.

Smoke In A Can

Being a recently reformed smoker myself (17 months and counting), I can understand the frustration that smokers feel over their ever shrinking number of places to light up. Never fear, a Dutch company might have your back if their drink called Liquid Smoking takes hold.
The tipple, made up of 15% nicotine, will be sold in pubs to help punters beat the smoking ban.

(h/t - Dvorak)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What Happened To Customer Service?

In a bad economy, I think we can safely say that we are in the midst of one, wouldn't you think the best way to set your business apart would be to provide excellent customer service? I was thinking just that the other day while waiting over 20 minutes for my order at a fast food place in Aberdeen. Eating fast food is bad enough, but considering I was one of only 2 customers in the place at 7 in the evening, should I have to wait 20 minutes to harden my arteries further?

Why is this a big deal? Afterall every business has a bad day. Well the next day at a half full restaurant in Watertown, I waited 15 minutes for a server to make her initial visit to my table, and I am still waiting, months and numerous phone calls later, for the carpenter I hired to install a couple of doors to come back and trim them out. Noticing a trend?

Maybe the one silver lining of this downturn will be weeding out companies that fail to realize that without the customer they would not exist. Based on my experience, it is past time that something like that happens.

Wassup!

Remember those old Budweiser commercials from the late 90's? Here is another version based in todays world with a Barack Obama slant.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Gift For The Joe The Plumber In Your Family

Instructables has instructions for building a gift that no self respecting Joe the Plumber would want to be without. Their "coin slot detector" (translation: butt crack detector) senses when your vertical smile is making an appearance and vibrates to make you aware of it.
this hip pack is creating intelligence for an intimate space on your body to allow it to tell you when it's put into a public sphere. this not only gives you the decision to act on that, but it also raises awareness for a part of your body you're not using to thinking about and sensing with. for low-rise pants wearers worldwide, the coin slot detector adds another accessory to the trend.



For step by step instructions and parts list visit Instructables.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Let It Snow

I don't know if our resident weather gurus over at KELO TV would agree but I think we can officially say that here in Canistota, we have seen our first snowfall of the season.

First Snow

Worst TV Spinoffs

Thanks to Todd's comment for the obvious followup to my 20 worst movie sequels. So with no particular number in mind and in no order of horribleness (is that even a word?), I present my list of the worst TV spinoffs:

The Ropers (1979-1980) - Three's company spinoff without Jack and the girls.
Golden Palace (1992-1993) - Golden Girls minus Bea Arthur
Joni Loves Chachi (1982-1983) - Happy Days minus the "Happy"
Joey (2004) - Friends without any friends.
Booker (1989-1990) - Can a horrible show i.e. 21 Jumpstreet have a spinoff? Apparently so.
Baywatch Nights (1995-1996) - As if Baywatch during the day wasn't bad enough
The Lone Gunman (2001) - Could have been as good as the X-Files except for that whole airplane crashing into the WTC plot in the series premiere that came to life a few months later.
A Different World (1987-1993) - Lisa Bonet couldn't cut it here either.
Archie Bunker's Place (1979-1983) - Archie minus Edith
Flo (1980-1981) - Alice's waitress sidekick Flo "Kissing some grits" on her own.
Enos (1980-1981) - Enos from the Dukes of Hazzard minus Daisy.
The Tortelli's (1987) - Cheer's spinoff minus all the characters except for Eddie
AfterMASH (1983-1984) - A decade of Klinger proved to be plenty.

As always feel free to add your own.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Put Your Music In The Clouds

Cloud computing is the new buzz so I guess the next logical transition in cloud computing would be to put your music library online and Lala seeks to help you do just that.

On the surface Lala appears to be just another Amazon or iTunes by offering DRM free music (okay not exactly like iTunes on the DRM front) but that is where the similarities end. First off searching their 6 million song and growing catalog gives you several options, you can listen for free once, purchase the song for 89 cents, or pay 10 cents to add it to your online library for unlimited streams of the song. If you later decide to buy the song, your 10 cents is put towards purchasing it and it will automatically be added to iTunes folder for later syncing to your iPod.



Also available is the ability to upload your own music to Lala so that you can stream it anywhere you have access to a computer. A simple program download allows you to upload your playlists which unlocks online versions of your songs from the Lala library and any songs not available are uploaded and stored so that you can access and stream them any time you want.

Is it legal? Apparently so as TechCrunch mentions in their post on Lala.
Lala has also done some serious legal wrangling to help you populate your online library. Using the site’s helper application (available on Windows and Mac), Lala can scan your iTunes music library and add every song you already own to your Lala web library, essentially giving you online streaming access to any song you already have on your computer. And best of all: Lala will give you free, unlimited streaming access to every song in your library, even the ones you’ve acquired in ways that weren’t quite legal. Ralston says that the record labels resisted this at first (”why should we give them access to something they stole”), but eventually came to the conclusion that users weren’t going to buy something they’d already downloaded.

Getting past paying 10 cents just for the ability to stream a song might be hard for some (just buy it if you can't), but will 89 cents a song plus access to your current library of tunes be the next big thing or it will it be the next big bust? Would you use it?

Sign Him Up

Apparently the ref from this video of the South Carolina versus LSU game forgot that he was no longer a player.


Who needs pads? This guy shows them how it's done.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The 20 Worst Sequels Of My Lifetime

I was watching Escape From LA a few days ago and it got me thinking about the literally endless number of sequels I have seen that should never have been made. Of course once I started thinking about it I just had to make a list of my top or should I say bottom 20. To make my list the original movie had to be something that I enjoyed so no Grease or Legally Blonde 2's allowed. Here's my list:

20. Batman & Robin - I thought Val Kilmer was the worst Batman. After seeing Clooney's portrayal, I discovered that I was wrong...
19. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace - Jar Jar Binks, do I need to say more?
18. From Dusk Till Dawn 2 and 3 - The first was a Quentin Tarantino classic gore flick with Clooney and Keitel. The sequels were Tarantino-less and were unwatchable.
17. Karate Kid (all sequels) - There is only so much "wax on, wax off" a guy can take.
16. Porky's 2 Porky's was an adolescent male's Shakespeare. Porky's 2 was so bad no amount of skin could save it.
15. Lost Boys: The Tribe - The original had Kiefer, Jaime Gertz, and an awesome soundtrack. The sequel didn't.
14. Highlander III - Highlander had Sean Connery, Clancy Brown playing an awesome villian, and heads flying everywhere all set to a great Queen soundtrack, II was barely passable, III was just a waste of film.
13. Escape From LA - Escape From New York was a John Carpenter classic. Donald Pleasence, Adrienne Barbeau, Ernest Borgnine, and Isaac Hayes. Escape from LA has so hokey that I am still laughing.
12. Speed II: Cruise Control - Sandra Bullock is only watchable in small quantities, the original was plenty.
11. Basic Instinct II - The original had Sharon Stone. The sequel had Stone 14 years later. Need I say more?
10. Planet Of The Apes 3 to 5 - After the first 2 even the studios knew that it was a waste and proved it by not giving producers enough of a budget to provide makeup to most of the extras.
9. Jaws 3D - We went from classic lines like "We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat" to some of the worst 3D effects ever filmed.
8. Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd - Dumb & Dumber was a funny retreat from reality and had hottie Lauren Holly to look at. I couldn't get through 5 minutes of this pre-quel.
7. Blues Brothers 2000 - An old Dan Aykroyd and no John Belushi, enough said.
6. Weekend at Bernies 2 - The first was a funny and original concept. The second wasn't either.
5. Rocky 3 through 5 - Rocky should have retired after finally defeating Apollo Creed.
4. The Matrix 2 and 3 - The original was so good I was able to overlook the horrible acting abilities of Keanu Reeves. The following 2 Matrix movies weren't.
3. Smokey and the Bandit III - No Bert, no Sally and no story.
2. The Godfather III - Francis Ford Coppola's first 2 Godfather's were all time greats. I guess he wanted an all time worst to go along with it. He succeeded.
1. Caddyshack II - So bad it almost ruined the reputation of the original and considering Caddyshack is one of the best comedies of all time, that is saying something.

I am sure I forgot some so lay them on me. What are your worst sequels?

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Model Employer?

Tesla RoadsterTesla motors has earned the reputation as a leader in electric car technology. In fact their roadster has gained quite of bit of press including a spot on a recent 60 minutes. Unfortunately they haven't figured out yet how to make any money and along those lines, it also appears they haven't quite mastered that whole employee relations thing yet either.

Laying off employees is just part of running a business so when Tesla announced they were laying off a majority of their Detroit staff, you might not think too much of it. That is except that they did it by blog post!
In a sign of what this new Financiapocalypse might bring, employees in the Metro Detroit branch of electric car maker Tesla Motors were laid off via a blog post. Yesterday, we reported that Tesla would be cutting back and reorganizing, which included shutting down the office in Rochester Hills, near Detroit. Unfortunately, no one told the employees in Rochester Hills. Some of them logged on to find that they were now, according to their own website, obsolete.

And if you think the 10% of the Detroit workforce that remain are happy they still have a job, to keep that job they will have to relocate from Detroit to San Jose on their own dime...Pretty classy of them wasn't it?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Talking Points At Work

Al Jazeera interviews some idiots in my old home state of Ohio at a Sarah Palin rally.



More proof that stupid folks shouldn't breed.

3 Weeks Before The Election?

I know it is an uphill battle having to fight the money and power of our lone Congressional Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, but don't you think opening a campaign office in South Dakota's largest city 3 weeks prior to the election is just a bit late in the game? This came to me via a tweet from Chris Lien this morning:
Hey everybody! With only 21 days to go until Election Day, we have a great way to keep building the momentum for this campaign! We're going to hold a ribbon-cutting for our Sioux Falls office tomorrow (Thursday) from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and we want YOU to be there. Our office is located on the northwest corner of 8th Street and Minnesota Avenue (201 N. Minnesota Ave., Sioux Falls, SD).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mars Attacks!

So what happened to all the aliens that were supposed to arrive yesterday?
WORRIED bookmakers have stopped taking bets on aliens showing up on Earth.

It follows a flurry of bets amid internet buzz that a massive intergalactic spaceship will appear tomorrow [i.e. Tuesday].

Videos and messages on YouTube, blogs and UFO websites are buzzing with predictions that a vessel from the alien Federation Of Light will be visible in our skies for three days.

Proof that nutcases are not confined to the United States. Watch Blossom Goodchild describe her vision that foretold of the alien visitation that was supposed to occur over our Southern skies October 14th:


(h/t - Dvorak)

Is Your Spam Volume Down?...Mine Either

It is said that spam makes up 90% of all email on the internet. So the news that authorities took down one of the largest spam rings in the world made me think that the numbers of junk mail I get daily would drop drastically.

Wrong.

Who would have thought that one of the largest spammers in the world accounts for only .7% of all spam sent.
In a victory that ought to lower your daily intake of unsolicited emails by 0.7%, U.S. authorities have shut down one of the largest spam rings in the world. The group was known amongst spam fighters as HerbalKing, and, at one point, delivered up to one-third of all spam on the Internet. The global reach of its networks gives you a taste of just how hard it is to find and prosecute these guys.

The two alleged organizers hail from different sides of the planet—one a New Zealander living in Australia, and the other an American living in Texas. Servers in China hosted websites that emails would link to. Operatives in Cyprus and Georgia would process credit card information, and drugs—including Zoloft and Lipitor—would be shipped from India.

Well knock me over with a feather...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

5 Websites You Probably Shouldn't Start From South Dakota

While I am not originally from South Dakota, the 11 years I have lived here plus the 6 years I have run websites has taught me a few things about running a web site from our fine state. With that said there are a few topics for sites that one probably shouldn't start while living here.

1. Celebrity Gossip Site - Other than Sturgis Rally week, stalking out Sioux Falls or Rapid City Regional airports for celebrity pics would probably get quite boring.

2. Tech Blog - Kind of hard to write about cool gadgets when most aren't even available here.

3. Traffic Site - Traffic? Other than 41st and Louise, what is traffic?

4. Sports Blog - Somehow I think the Skyforce and Canaries have limited appeal outside of the Sioux Falls/Tea/Harrisburg "metroplex".

5. Gun Control Advocacy Site - Did I say this was South Dakota?

Of course there are exceptions to every rule but this would be a good list to start with.

Any others?

Free The Grapes

I've been a fan of the website woot! for quite awhile. The draw of that site is their one day one deal format that often has cool little gadgets at unbeatable prices. I just got an 8gb thumb drive for like $19 bucks and last year I got my 80gb Zune (refurb) from them for $99 bucks.


Recently I discovered that not only does woot! do gadgets, they also do wine. Being someone that enjoys a good glass of wine from time to time that doesn't consist of one of the many varieties of Mad Dog 20/20 I thought I would check them out.


That same day they had a deal on a port 4 pack that I really wanted to order but when reading the fine print I discovered that like most cool ideas, being in South Dakota meant I was out of luck.


Apparently at one time or another the wine wholesalers had their hooks into South Dakota politics and had made us one of the 23 states that do not allow wine shipments from out of state wineries or retailers. The list of states they can ship to is below:



  • California

  • Colorado

  • Connecticut

  • District Of Columbia

  • Florida

  • Idaho

  • Illinois

  • Iowa

  • Louisiana

  • Michigan

  • Minnesota

  • Missouri

  • Nebraska

  • Nevada

  • New Mexico

  • New York

  • North Carolina

  • North Dakota

  • Ohio

  • Oregon

  • South Carolina

  • Texas

  • Vermont

  • Virginia

  • Washington

  • West Virginia

  • Wisconsin

  • Wyoming


You might have noticed that we are surrounded by states that all allow wine shipments but as usual South Dakota is left out. Anyone noticing a trend?


Anyhow, if you would like to change this, a group of individuals, wineries and retailers have started a coalition called Free The Grapes that seeks to lobby states that still prohibit wine shipments from out of state sellers. They have a newsletter that keeps you informed of their progress and also allow you to send messages to your elected officials letting them know you want this changed.


District 25's Arnie Hauge has been sent my letter, please consider sending one to your rep.

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's Official...We're Screwed

How do you know that we as a country are officially broke? I would say having to upgrade our national debt counter because there are not enough digits would be a good start.



And what's worse, the folks that are in charge of the sign are so sure things will not be getting any better that they will be upgrading it in the near future so that it can display numbers in the quadrillions. That would be 15 zeros for the mathematically challenged, you know like those in our government...

(via CNN)

The Next Best Thing, Not!

HTC G1Okay so yesterday I ragged (again!) on Apple and AT&T for the fact that the most popular cell phone on the planet isn't offered to those of us in the great state of South Dakota. So with that in mind what is a gadget freak in South Dakota supposed to do?

If you are like me, you look at latest so-called "iPhone killing" cell phone coming out with Google's new operating system, Android, loaded on HTC's new G1.

That soon to be released unit is surely generating lots of favorable buzz and in fact T-Mobile has already pre-sold 1.5 million of them. So not wanting to be left out, I decided to throw my name on the 1.5 million name waiting list and went to the G1's exclusive partner T-Mobile's site to do just that. Low and behold this is what I found:



At least the weather is....oh that's right it is South Dakota.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The End Of Politics As I Know It

If you are reading this from your favorite feed reader you might have noticed that you were brought to a different site than you expected. Why?

Well after over 2 years of blogging on politics I have come to the realization that my heart is no longer in it. I thought that writing about the hypocrisy displayed by our elected officials would somehow be therapeutic when in fact it had the opposite effect. Reading the hate, the lies, and the spin that both parties try to pass off as policy has finally turned me off to the process altogether.

With that said, my Politics and Hypocrisy blog will slowly fade into obscurity (Ok it was always there) and instead I will try to get back into blogging about whatever I find interesting at the moment. That will still include politics from time to time but I will now focus on other items as well. I hope the few loyal readers I had will continue to stop by from time to time but if not I want to thank you for making it this far with me.

Finally, I will be shutting down my old RSS feed shortly so if you would still like to follow my rants I would ask that you update your reader with my new feed address of http://feeds.feedburner.com/BobSchwartzOnline. Also if you have an interest in blogging and social media you might want to consider my other blog that delves into those subjects and is a feature of my main blog directory.

Again thanks for your readership and I hope to see you back here soon.

iPhone Coming To Walmart?

Rumor has it that Apple is looking to add more distribution points for their popular iPhone. With that in mind, the world's biggest retailer Walmart could be in line to start selling the phone.

Currently you can get the iPhone at one of the 1200 or so AT&T stores and the 200 or so Apple stores and adding Walmart would put 3500+ US locations into the mix as well. Of course for those of us in South Dakota, there are exactly 0 AT&T stores and 0 Apple stores so if true, putting the iPhone in Walmarts would mean that there would actually be 10 or so stores (one more if you count Best Buy's which now carry the phone) actually in the state that couldn't sell us the phone because AT&T doesn't feel we should are worth providing service to. Thanks again AT&T and Mr. Jobs...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Who You Gonna Call?



Got someone on your gift list that has everything? How about getting them a piece of movie history with the Ecto1 from Universal Studio's Ghostbusters Experience. It is currently for sale on eBay and according to the description, runs great and is signed by Ernie Hudson from the Ghostbuster films.

It has a reserve somewhere North of $40 grand and ends tomorrow so if you haven't lost all your savings in the stock market, this might be a safer investment.

I'm Innocent

Sarah Palin says she is innocent of any wrong doing in regards to the Troopergate scandal in her home state of Alaska and to prove it she just release her own campaign staff generated report that says so.
In an effort to head off the report, McCain campaign spokesman Taylor Griffin released the campaign's own version of events. That report, which Griffin said was written by campaign staffers, says the Legislature has taken a legitimate policy dispute between a governor and one of her commissioners, and portrayed it as something inappropriate.

Karl Rove must be proud.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Product Marketing

I have a running dialog with my wife regarding television commercials. There are some that are so ridiculously stupid or make absolutely no sense that when I see them I turn to her and say "make sure that we don't purchase that".

If you want my money you'd better impress me, make me laugh, or at least don't treat me like an idiot. Here is one that does all three quite well though I doubt we would see it here in the states...

Palin Email Password Guesser Indicted

The 20 year old son of a Tennessee state representative was indicted yesterday for hacking Sarah Palin's government personal Yahoo account.
David C. Kernell, 20, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Knoxville, Tenn., for intentionally accessing without authorization the e-mail account of Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney James R. Dedrick for the Eastern District of Tennessee announced today. Kernell turned himself into federal authorities for arrest and will be arraigned today before U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley.

The single count indictment, returned on Oct. 7, 2008, and unsealed today, alleges that on approximately Sept. 16, 2008, Kernell, a resident of Knoxville, obtained unauthorized access to Gov. Palin’s personal e-mail account by allegedly resetting the account password. According to the indictment, after answering a series of security questions that allowed him to reset the password and gain access to the e-mail account, Kernell allegedly read the contents of the account and made screenshots of the e-mail directory, e-mail content and other personal information. According to the indictment, Kernell posted screenshots of the e-mails and other personal information to a public Web site. Kernell also allegedly posted the new e-mail account password that he had created, thus providing access to the account by others.

If convicted of the charge, the defendant faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a three year term of supervised release. A trial date has not been set.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Fresh off being taken to the woodshed during a Congressional hearing for throwing a huge shindig, AIG, recipients of $85 billion of your money, plans their next get together on our dime.
American International Group Inc., castigated by the White House, Congress and Barack Obama for hosting a $440,000 conference days after an $85 billion federal bailout, plans to hold another gathering for brokers next week.

The event, at the Ritz-Carlton in California's Half Moon Bay, aims to ``motivate and educate'' about 150 independent agents who sell AIG coverage to high-end clients, said spokesman Nicholas Ashooh.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino today called ``despicable'' expenses from the first gathering, a weeklong conference last month at the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach. Those costs included $23,000 for spa services, according to Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Who's Your Buddy?

It's getting harder and harder to figure out what the candidates think should be the direction of our country lately. We're in the midst of a financial meltdown, the likes of which most haven't experience in their lifetime and all that anyone seems to care about is who has been hanging out with whom.


Obama and his buddy William Ayers, McCain and his buddy Charles Keating and Palin and her secessionist buddy Joe Vogler. So what's going on with Joe Biden, is he anti-social or something?

More To Come?

Now that the spineless Democrats have caved and allowed big oil to drill on more offshore sites I thought that I would point out another example of what we have to look forward to.
Hurricane Ike's winds and massive waves destroyed oil platforms, tossed storage tanks and punctured pipelines. The environmental damage only now is becoming apparent: At least a half million gallons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and the marshes, bayous and bays of Louisiana and Texas, according to an analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

And let's not forget Katrina which had it's own environmental issues despite what many big oil surrogates have claimed.
In May 2006, the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) published their offshore damage assessment: “113 platforms totally destroyed, and 457 pipelines damaged, 101 of those major lines with 10 inches or larger diameter.”In all, the two hurricanes caused 124 offshore spills for a total of 743,700 gallons, including six spills of 42,000 gallons or greater.

So feel free to enjoy the few pennies in savings we will soon be seeing (like 10 years from now)...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Am I Missing Something?

Governor Rounds has announced his latest pardons and one in particular caught my eye:
Gary Sapulding was sentenced in Fall River County on Oct. 18, 1985 to eight years in prison for sexual contact with a minor younger than 16.

I am not familiar with the circumstances behind this case but is there a reason he is pardoning sexual predators?

Annoy Your Teen And Feel Better While Doing It

As the father of 2 soon to be teenagers, I know how much they hate having restrictions placed on them. So when Ford announced their latest in remote "babysitting" technology, I can see the heads of Ford family teenagers exploding everywhere.

Starting in 2010, Ford will be offering what they call their "Any Key" option that will allow parents to control certain features of the car using a computer chip embedded in the key. While putting chips in keys has been around for awhile for security reasons, Ford's chip will do a bit more all controlled by the parents including:

  • Alert every 6 seconds that the driver’s safety belt is unbuckled

  • Limit top speed to 80 miles per hour

  • Set off speed warning alerts at 45, 55 or 65 miles per hour

  • Limit stereo volume to 44% of maximum

  • Traction control cannot be disabled

  • Optional blind spot detection cannot be disabled

  • Earlier low-fuel warning


As you can imagine, teenagers might have issues with some of these restrictions but for parents already on pins and needles each time their kid takes the car it could give them a little piece of mind.

Ford plans on offering this feature as standard equipment on the Focus and initially as an option on other models with it moving to a standard feature down the line. Now if we could only do something with South Dakota's ridiculously low minimum driving age of 14...

McCain Mishaps

I wrote extensively last month about John McCain's less than stellar flying record in the Navy which included 2 non-combat related crashes and one near crash. The L.A. Times delves a bit deeper into a couple these mishaps and fills in some of the blanks as to the causes.

In 1960 he crashed into Corpus Christi Bay claiming his engine quit.
But an investigation board at the Naval Aviation Safety Center found no evidence of engine failure.

The 23-year-old junior lieutenant wasn't paying attention and erred in using "a power setting too low to maintain level flight in a turn," investigators concluded.

In 1961 McCain's plane hit power lines in Spain causing a blackout.
In his most serious lapse, McCain was "clowning" around in a Skyraider over southern Spain about December 1961 and flew into electrical wires, causing a blackout, according to McCain's own account as well as those of naval officers and enlistees aboard the carrier Intrepid.

Nowadays the Navy wouldn't allow someone with his questionable judgment to fly a multi-million dollar aircraft so I guess it's only fitting that he could be running the country come January.

What's Wrong With This Picture

While McCain ramps up his campaign of smears towards Obama, yesterday in New Mexico, our markets tumble. There is no better example of that than the picture below which shows the market ticker while McCain continues his hitting on the tenuous Ayers/Obama association.



Why would one example of this be a big deal? Well if you listen to the McCain campaign, they had decided to abandon talking about the economy altogether because they feel they can't compete on the issue with Obama. Apparently they have realized that all they have left is to try and smear their way into the White House.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Dow Taking A Dump

As of 1:50 PM CST the Dow is down over 700, my 401K is down 26.7% for the year and now word is spreading that the affected banks might not even want government help because of the restrictions.
Fears are mounting that many Wall Street banks and financial firms will refuse to participate in the US government's $700bn bail-out package, leaving global markets and world economies in a perilous state for months to come.

'There is a growing feeling that banks ... might instead decide to tough it out,' said Thomas Caldwell, chairman and CEO of Caldwell Financial, a $1bn-plus fund manager. [...]

But Wall Street analysts, believe the addition of so many terms to the bill might deter potential participants.
And what's the hold up?
One of the least attractive elements is a section designed to curb executive pay at banks that participate in the bail-out package. These include limiting stock-related pay and banning 'golden parachutes' for executives.
We wanted to help these companies why again?

How Do You Know When You Have Too Much Money?

Being able to close Disneyland for your birthday party would be a good start.
Miley Cyrus' 16th birthday party was more boisterous than sweet. Cyrus celebrated the hallmark birthday at an over-the-top Disneyland celebration Sunday _ even though she doesn't actually turn 16 until Nov. 23. The theme park was closed for the supersized soiree, which included a four-song performance by the teen queen and a fireworks display above Sleeping Beauty Castle and 16 giant inflatable candles.
Of course I guess it helps that you are Disney's hottest property.

No Longer An Excuse?

After approving $700 billion to bailout big banks for their poor business practices (did you see 60 Minutes last night?), has our government effectively taken away the excuse that we cannot afford something? We don't seem too worried about going so far into debt that our children will still be paying it off so why not go all the way and make sure they have heath care while they are standing in line at the soup kitchens?

What else can we now get that we have always wanted but couldn't afford? Paying for it shouldn't be a problem, we can just print more. Just wondering....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Where's Tim?

While the major theme of Senate challenger Joel Dykstra's campaign has been focused on Tim Johnson avoiding debates with him, I must admit that another issue that Dykstra touched on in his latest ad has kind of made me think.

Much has been made by some, including recently Dykstra, of Tim Johnson being on the Senate Banking committee and voting against a bill in 2005 that would have placed tighter restrictions on the banking industry. While that may or may not have had much to do with our current crisis, his absence on local TV to discuss the issue is more concerning to me. Throughout the mortgage meltdown and the subsequent bailout votes by the House and Senate, our other Congressional leaders Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and John Thune have been quite visible discussing the issue as well as explaining why they voted the way they did.

Tim Johnson on the other hand has been physically invisible on the issue (at least in the stories I have seen, please correct me if I missed something) instead choosing to continue with his press release campaign that while trying to explain his position, just seems sterile and impersonal.

Am I asking too much by thinking Johnson should be speaking to me directly (via news interviews) on important issues? Maybe so but when I am getting ready to be bent over and take on another $1 trillion in debt, I would like a little verbal foreplay first no matter which way you are voting.

Update: Tim has been found. Thanks to commenter Mary for the links to the Johnson interviews

New Comment System

After some research I have decided to upgrade the Wordpress built in comment system with an outside option called Disqus that seems to have quite a bit more functionality as well as options for me and the commenter.

For the commenter, you can:
- track and edit all your comments across all sites using Disqus (are you listening South Dakota blogosphere?)
- Reply to comments via email and cell phone
- Earn reputation with built in reputation system that stays with you on every site using Disqus (30,000 sites and growing)
- Start your own comment blog that collects and shows off your commenting prowess

For me Disqus promises:
- Threaded comments
- Comment ratings
- Strong comment spam and troll filters
- Email and phone moderation

Installation on Wordpress was a breeze requiring only the installation of a standard plugin and they also have support for most other blogging platforms including Blogger and Typepad. Finally you can easily import all your old comments so upgrading didn't result in losing anything.

I'm going to put it through it's paces for awhile so feel free to let me know what you think.