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Archive for March, 2008

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The Eliot Spitzer School of Ethics?

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Hat tip to Lisa Fiorenzo for this gem:

Students at the University of Texas at San Antonio were determined to uphold standards at their school. They wrote an honor code that discouraged both cheating and plagiarizing. But they weren’t going to waste a lot of time writing the darn thing themselves. The wording of a draft of the honor code appears to match the honor code at Brigham Young University. The student in charge of the project says the lack of a proper citation was just an oversight.

Categories: The World Wide Weird | 1 Comment »

On Politics: Enough Already…

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Barack Obama: His pastor is not running for president. He is. If you have some sort of evidence to suggest that Obama is a racist, let’s hear it. Otherwise, stop rewording the same question about his pastor’s beliefs to him, in hopes that he’ll trip up and make a gaffe that you’ll then use to discredit him throughout the campaign. It’s a waste of time and a distraction. Plus, when it comes to not saying the wrong thing, this guy’s good…

Elliot Spitzer has done for prostitution what Bill Clinton did for blow jobs. We now have a dialog going on about whether or not prostitution is really that bad after all. I note that of the many arguments made in the above-linked article, none of them address the morality of it. Is it so wrong for something to be illegal because we, as a society, agree that it’s not acceptable behavior? It’s not about the particular woman or the particular man, it’s about the special place that sex has in our moral code, and how prostitution runs counter to that belief.

Then again, maybe I have an old set of morals. Spitzer, a man who not only paid a prostitute for sex, but also showed an unbelievable level of hypocrisy, violated the public trust, and completely disrespected his wife and children, slinks off into the shadows, waiting for it to be safe to sign a book deal, while we discuss the relative victim-hood of Ashley Alexandra Dupre (a.k.a., “Kristin”). In the meantime, Ms. Dupre – far from being vilified – is being celebrated as an overnight celebrity. Her pictures are on the front page of all the local newspapers, her MySpace page is the most popular page on the site, her music is making her tens of thousands of dollars on the Internet, and Larry Flynt doesn’t think she’ll pose in Penthouse magazine because she’ll have too many other, more lucrative offers. If she’s really lucky, her book will come out around the same time as Spitzer’s, and they’ll both sail on to even more fame and fortune.

And speaking of coming out…

Jim and Dina Matos McGreevey: Attention starved, are we? You’re no longer public officials. You are not relevant to the Elliot Spitzer case at all. Dina did some television to give us insight into how Mrs. Spitzer was feeling while standing next to Elliot at the podium – that’s fine, I guess. But if you two want to continue embarrassing each other, please go find someone who’s interested.

Hillary Clinton: After eight years of George W. Bush, your husband’s presidency has taken on the soft sheen of an articulate President who led the nation to soaring economic heights. Thank you for reminding us about all the lawyering, maneuvering, technicality-laced rhetoric that peppered those eight years. Between you claiming the mantle of experience, pressuring super-delegates to vote against the public will, and drumming up fake controversy (“He’s not a Muslim, as far as I know”; “Shame on you, Barack Obama!”; “It’s not all about words”) in an attempt to sway the electorate, you’ve brought it all back in spades. Also, John McCain, a twenty-six year veteran of the House and Senate and author of several significant pieces of legislation, is sitting on the sidelines taking careful notes about your views on experience, in the event he has to run against you for the presidency. Oh, and his approval rating just hit 67% – its highest in eight years. You’re not helping yourself, Senator…

Iraq: It seems Iraqis are uniformly feeling better about their lives, the future of their country, and the United States’ decision to invade (49% now believe the invasion was a good thing, up from 37% last August). As Glenn Reynolds would say, read the whole thing. You’d hear more about this in the mainstream media, I’m sure, but they’re too busy covering racist pastors, hookers, ex-gubernatorial three-ways and dirty campaign tactics.

Categories: Political Rantings | 2 Comments »

A Red Sox fan gives in to Yankee Class…

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Click through to find out what made Peter Hughes, originally of Brockton, Mass, say this:
“It’s going to be hard to root against the Yankees ever again.”

(Hat tip: Joe Catania)

Categories: Sports Talk | 5 Comments »

The Awareness Test

Monday, March 17th, 2008

I guarantee you that you’re going to watch this video twice:

I was right, wasn’t I?
(Hat tip: Willow Gross)


Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | 3 Comments »

Breaking News: No Operational Relationship Between Iraq and Al Qaeda

Friday, March 14th, 2008

News flash! The Pentagon will release a report on Wednesday that shows that there was no operational link between Iraq and Al Qaeda:

Sponsored by the Pentagon, the report found no “direct operational link” between Saddam’s government in Iraq and bin Laden’s Al Qaeda terror ring before the U.S. invasion, an official told McClatchy.
The Bush administration put forth the argument that there was a connection between Saddam and bin Laden when it made the case to go to war with Iraq after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

Ah ha! We’ve got ‘em now! This is big news! They LIED to us! Rumsfeld himself said there was “bulletproof evidence” that Al Qaeda were in Iraq. And now, six years and 600,000 documents later, we finally find out that it’s all untrue! What shocking, shocking news!
At least it was back in July of 2004, when the 9/11 Commission Report was released.
Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Political Rantings | 2 Comments »

Sometimes, what happens in Vegas LEAVES Vegas

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

The monstrosity to the right is currently sitting in Rockefeller Center, right where the famous Christmas Tree stands during the holiday season. And if you think it looks weird in the picture, understand that the 3,390 LED bulbs light up in a sequence that “replicates the movement of water.” In other words, it’s a giant, electric pseudo-fountain.

Otherwise known as pop art. This particular ahem…”work of art” is entitled “Electric Fountain” (creative, huh?) is brought to us by acclaimed British artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster, and is on display at the coveted spot in front of 30 Rock all the way until April 5th.

Yeah, sure – you don’t care. You don’t have to walk past it every morning.


Categories: New York, New York | 3 Comments »

iPhone Gets a new Outlook on life…

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Back in April of 2006, I said this:

Not only have studies predicted the potential sale of an additional one million machines (22% increase in sales, 80% increase in market share) [if Apple could run Windows natively], but these studies don’t even address the corporate market. If the architecture on these machines is pure (i.e,. the Windows environment is an exact duplicate of what you’d find on a Dell or Compaq machine), I believe Apple can expect to quickly capture some portion of the much larger, and more sustainable, corporate PC market.

And now, almost a year later, we have this:

Apple on Thursday unveiled a list of upcoming features, including support for Microsoft Exchange e-mail server, that Apple hopes will convince corporations to adopt the iPhone as the device of choice for mobile workers.

During a news conference at the computer maker’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs promised that the iPhone in its upcoming software update in June would contain “the long list of important features that enterprise customers have told us they need to really drive iPhone use.”

The list included the ability to push e-mail and calendar items from servers to the iPhone, synchronize contact lists, and enforce security policies. In addition, the iPhone would support Cisco’s client for secure connections to an IP-base virtual private network, and would have technology that a company could use to remotely wipe out data on a lost or stolen iPhone.

One of the most requested corporate features is support for Exchange, Jobs said. To meet the demand, Apple licensed Microsoft’s ActiveSync protocol for connecting the iPhone’s e-mail client directly to an Exchange server. As a result, e-mail, calendaring and contact items can pushed directly to the smartphone, a feature that Apple demonstrated at the event.

This is huge. Not only has Apple finally thrown its hat into the ring with Dell, HP, and others for the corporate desktop, they’ve now entered into the much faster growing, much more dynamic corporate handheld market. Who’s going to buy a Blackberry when they could have an iPhone that does all the same things and more?

The article also says that Apple is releasing a SDK for enterprises to build their own iPhone applications. This allows companies to brand their own access, implement their own additional security features, etc., essentially removing many of the possible excuses for not buying the product. And since a WindowsMobile device has yet to take hold in this space, the issue of “standard software architecture” has not yet been achieved on handhelds, forcing corporate IT departments to support heterogeneous environments (i.e., RIMM running on their Exchange servers).

The only downside is price. iPhones are much more expensive than Blackberry’s right now, but as the volume increases dramatically, the cost will decrease. And when people start getting them at work, the cost/features of the backend network & data plan will become less of an issue. Witness how many people have Blackberries that they pay for themselves. Almost no one. QED.

It’s refreshing to see Apple play the game in front of them, rather than constantly insisting that the game is unfair, or that the rules ought to change. I think this is going to be huge…

Categories: Tech Talk | 2 Comments »

Obama’s Favorite Ice Cream?

Friday, March 7th, 2008

From the Slate-hosted political blog, Trailhead, we have the winner of the “Name an Ice Cream Flavor after Barack Obama” contest: “Yes, Pecan!”

Top runners up include “Barackadamia Nut” and “Neopolitician,” which have been declared the front runners for those parts of the country where “Pecan” rhymes with “Oh, it’s on!” rather than “Yes, We Can!” Other suggestions include Peanut Butter Barackle and Obamana Split. Baracky Road and Obamaberry were disqualified because, “we’ve got to draw the line somewhere.”

So, anyone have any Clinton or McCain inspired Ice Cream flavors? I’ll start you off: For Hillary: Health Care Crunch. For McCain? How about McCaindy Coated Cookie Dough?

Go ahead, top that!

(and not with a cherry. BA DUM!)

Update #1: “Grand Ol’ Pistachio, made with real McCain sugar!” – Ted Aronson (from the Penn Band Listserv)

Categories: Political Rantings, The World Wide Weird | No Comments »

Bill Moffit Dies…

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Bill Moffit passed away on Wednesday in his home in Jacksonville, Florida. He was 82.

Most of you are probably thinking, “Who is Bill Moffit?” Then again, most of my regular readers have been in a marching band with me, so probably not.

Here’s the bottom line: if you’ve ever heard a marching band perform, particularly a high school marching band, then the odds are almost 100% that you’ve heard a Bill Moffit arrangement. He would arrange commonly used songs like The Star Spangled Banner in such a way that they sounded good but weren’t overly complicated, so a group of non-professional musicians could play them. As such, almost every high school and college did just that.

The above linked article says he arranged 450 songs for Marching Band, but I’m actually surprised it wasn’t more than that, given how often I’ve seen his name. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that he directed the fanfare trumpets at the Olympic Games in 1984 and the Pan American Games in 1986.

Good for him. Talk about a legacy that will live on forever…
(Hat tip: Kushol Gupta)


Categories: Words about Music | 1 Comment »

Press 1 for another message to Press 1…

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

A big ol’ tip of the hat to Hal Emmer, who pointed out gethuman.com in a recent e-mail discussion. This is a site listing the customer service phone numbers for (at the time of this writing) 559 different companies, along with a strategy for reaching an actual human being when you call (example: Press #; at prompt press #; at prompt press #; at prompt press 3.)

There’s also a facility for people to rate their customer service experience and report how long they waited on hold, so you can review a quick history before you dial.

This looks like a very useful tool, and one that I’ll be putting on my Cool Links page for future reference…

Categories: Random Acts of Blogging | No Comments »

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