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Archive for January, 2009

>I Give Up — Join The Enemy

>A Note To Advertisers 
If you can’t defeat them, join them. That’s the mood I’m in right now, succuming to the baser instincts by printing Overstock’s fare today. Our readers may find something here to buy or look at. Hopefully, there will be a day come soon when New Product Clearinghouse will have the numbers, the raw readership, to warrant some merchandising of its own — that would be alright with me. Lord knows I need the money. So as an open invitation to advertisers, this is a great blog for advertising your merchandise. Maybe I could become one of your trusted outlets. Let me know of your interest. Don White

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TAKE 5 WITH PATRICK BYRNE - CEO OF OVERSTOCK.COM
TAKE 5 WITH PATRICK BYRNE - CEO OF OVERSTOCK.COM
TAKE 5 WITH PATRICK BYRNE - CEO OF OVERSTOCK.COM TAKE 5 WITH PATRICK BYRNE - CEO OF OVERSTOCK.COM
TAKE 5 WITH PATRICK BYRNE - CEO OF OVERSTOCK.COM
TAKE 5 WITH PATRICK BYRNE - CEO OF OVERSTOCK.COM
TAKE 5 WITH PATRICK BYRNE - CEO OF OVERSTOCK.COM
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>The First Ten Days and A Trillion Dollars Later

>

Seventy thousand jobs lost, announced last week. Fifteen thousand new job losses announced today.
What happened on Capitol Hill is an economic and political fraud. It’s not a bailout, just an economic stimulus plan that may or may not work.
If Obama wants to succeed, he needs to:
Lower business taxes and leave capital gains taxes alone, respect a good Bush tax cut that spurred a great economy and a successful run of years for George Bush from 2001 through March of 2007. Let’s face it, the liberal press wanted a Democrat in office and they manufactured this baloney that Bush was a failed president. He wasn’t. He kept us safe. He chose conservative jurists. Yes, he spent a lot of money — something conservatives would never do. But we all knew Bush was a moderate, not conservative financially.
Thirty-three countries have lower business taxes than the U.S.
The past several years of runaway Washington spending has helped us go into this financial meltdown. We only have so much money, and the president should say we must slow this train down. Not keep pumping money into the problem.
Obama is going to send everybody $500 dollars and lower the taxes for the poor. But if he does this, that $500 will be used to pay off debts, but it won’t stimulate the economy.

Americans are suffering because of Democrat and Wall Street Street indiscretion and corruption. Here are the people Bill OReilly named last night on Fox TV. You can join him as he goes to their homes and head-bops them.

He should add Franklin Raines of Fanny Mae and Massachusetts’s 4th congressional district Representative Barney Frank, House financial chair who bullied and blackmailed Bush into signing a bill that loosened lending requirements so the poor could get a house, which in turn caused the financial meltdown. Had the Democrats signed the military funding bill without strings attached, Bush wouldn’t have signed the bank lending bill. It was political blackmail of the worst kind by Frank. Let’s face it, Congressman Frank should resign like they do in Japan, in total humiliation, and go out and commit hari kari, but don’t count on it. He’s not principled.

  • Dick Fuld, former CEO of Lehman Brothers: He was paid an unconscionable amount of money to take down a company. Fuld has several houses and a lot of money, but he didn’t help his country.
  • Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve Chairman:Many times publicly downplayed U.S. housing difficulties long before the entire industry went down. Was that stupidity or corruption or both? He saw it coming and he was responsible for it because of his monetary policies, always lowering interest rates.
  • Robert Rubin: Former finance guy for Clinton, former CitiGroup chair. He allowed derivatives, slicing and dicing of mortgage backed securities, and other risky paper, and then after he took a half billion dollars in wages and bonuses he wants the USA to bail them out? Where’s the compassion for America’s taxpayers?
  • Angelo Mozilo, former countrywide CEO and founder: He made unconscionable loans that led to a lot of mortgages collapsing. Bank of America had to take them over. He got nasty even with his own board when people complained of his bad judgment, incompetence and corruption.
  • Bear Stearns Cos (BSC) co-president and co-chief operating officer Warren Spector: Resigned under fire in 2007, a casualty of a credit risk crisis at the investment bank. Along with . . .
  • James Cayne: He helped lead BSC to collapse. But he got out before they collapsed and took many millions from the company. To us small-time investors, that’s called insider influence and fraud. He should go to jail along with the rest of the above. He ran the company into bankruptcy but decided to retire with lots of money, knowing it would go down.
  • Bernie Madoff: I chose the most culpable for last. Accused of a $50 Billion fraud, he hatched the biggest falster ponzi scheme in history. Ripped off charities and friends and ruined the confidence of investors for years to come while he basked in the sun on his large yacht and on expensive trips.
Wall Street executives: Today, President Barak Obama chastised WS execs who took $18 billion in bonuses for 2008 while Wall Street and the World were collapsing around them. It’s unconscionable, it’s outright wicked, especially during these dire times when the elites are at the center of blame for this crisis.
Politico.com is now reporting that Obama is going to announce, state by state, all of those states whose representatives voted against the stimulus bill and how many jobs they are responsible for losing. So much for the spirit of unity. Only 45 percent of the people think the stimulus plan will help the economy. As more people get the details of this bill and see how the stimulus is back loaded, the more the president may get the message. It is a pork spending bill to grow government, not to employ people.

If there should be a bill, and even that’s controversial, it should have been one that benefited every American. It’s way too early for Demos to try to shame Republicans to vote for the bill by publishing a state by state list to give job loss numbers.
Karl Rove suggests that Repubs should put out their own state by state list, of how many people would gain jobs under the Republican plan. The Republican plan reportedly would create more than six million jobs, twice that in the current house bill. Remember this: Only the conservative Republicans really know how to grow jobs. Democrats are dazzled by money, but haven’t a clue.

The Democrat House stimulus bill is about 180 pages, found on the Heritage Foundation web page, ASK Heritage.org.

“The $825 billion bill would dump $10,520 of new debt per household into the laps of our children and grandchildren. The interest on this debt ($347 billion) will leave them even more grief. After Congress appropriates the FY’09 omnibus bill, it may have spent over $1.4 Trillion in less than one month.

2) Under the stimulus, new groups of children and adults would be eligible for Medicaid, the welfare program for the poor. These expansions are on top of spending $89 billion to bailout out failing state Medicaid programs.

3) The current “stimulus” bill will be the largest spending bill ever

4) President Obama anticipates that spending over $800 billion will create 3.7 million new jobs. That means each job will cost more than $200,000, which is roughly equivalent to 5 times what the average American worker earns!

5) The bill is full of wasteful spending, including $21 million on new sod for the National Mall in Washington, $600 million on cars for government bureaucrats, and $650 million for digital television converters.

The hidden liberal policy agenda inside the ‘stimulus bill’…
enacted by Congress, makes Roosevelt’s New Deal look small, accounting for inflation.

  • Over $142 Billion in Federal education funds: Nearly double the total outlays for the Dept. of Education in 2007 – making good on Reid-Pelosi-Obama education promises to the NEA.
  • $87 Billion Medicaid bailout
  • A nationalized health care policy with no debate. The government will soon be responsible for more health care spending than the private sector, i.e. socialized medicine.
  • Over $35 billion for the Dept. of Energy. DOE’s current budget is $23.8 billion. So-called “green jobs” will replace real jobs.
  • Family Planning and birth control for children, immigrants and the wealthy, which could also be used as a backdoor to allow federal funding of abortions. How is this stimulus? **UPDATE: Nancy Pelosi agrees this is not stimulus and has removed it from the bill proving these measures are allergic to sunshine.**
  • Redistribution: Refundable Tax Credits for people who don’t pay taxes.
  • Pork Spending: Digital TV Coupons ($650 Million), Gov’t Cars ($600 Million), Nat’l Endowment for the Arts ($50 Million), Repairs to National Mall ($200 Million, including $21m for sod).
· Pelosi/Obama promise between 3 & 4 million jobs, yet House Tax Committee staff can’t estimate even ONE job will be created.
  • Ineffective: The Congressional Budget Office estimates that only 52% of the spending in the ‘stimulus bill’ can even be spent by the end of FY’10. Well short of the 75% benchmark set by President Obama.
The above figures are found on ASKHeritage.org which I suggest everyone reads on a regular basis.

>Americans: Taking It On The Chin

>

Who’s Going Down With Blagojevich?

by Don White

There have been three Democrat governors put in jail. Will Rod Blagojevech be number four? It’s almost a foregone conclusion.

In the present and past, a Chicago political machine has run things in Illinois. Under the jaundiced eye of Richard Daily, and now his namesake son, both Chicago mayors, the tone of this state is set by big city politics.

Ironically, in 1840 Chicago may have been the second largest city in the state. It was second to Nauvoo, Illinois, located on the Mississippi River, which was inhabited by Mormons who were viciously driven in the middle of winter out of the state by Illinois gunmen. The Mormons suffered greatly in Illinois and on the trail to the Great Basin which was marked with shallow graves of those who died of disease, starvation, icy cold weather, and other privations as they attempted to make it to Zion.

The perpetrators of the injustice done to Mormons were not your ordinary good people — they were mobsters who murdered innocent people, looted their homes and burned their farms, but by no means do they represent the fine law-abiding people living in Illinois today or in that day.

Illinois has a spotted political history. Even the last Republican governor is in jail. What is it about this state, Illinois, the fighting Illini state?

People say it isn’t the people who live in the Illini state, it’s party poilitics and it’s the same everywhere. Maybe the old mayor of Chicago, Richard Daily, started a corrupt party machine, ideas like “it’s the Chicago way,” from which the good people of Illinois can’t escape.

But I beg to differ with people who say the “Chicago Way” is the way it works in every state. It simply is not that way in the other 49. They say their leaders aren’t any worse than citizens in any other state. But if not, why are they leading the “league” in in choosing governors who end up corrupt? And somebody had to become deceived enough to vote for these scum bags.

In a way, I side with Blagojevich. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was wrong. I don’t like the way he got the cart before the horse in this case. Why is it taking so long to bring formal charges against Blagojevich? Why didn’t Fitzgerald build his case before he created all of this hoopla to the media, which is the wrong way to bring criminal charges against anyone?

Wyoming Defense Attorney Gerry Spence agrees: Legal Blog Watch quoted the flamboyant and successful western-attired attorney in a story cited below. The blog said: “Has U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald absconded with Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s presumption of innocence and right to a fair trial? If so, whose conduct — that alleged of Blagojevich or that seen of Fitzgerald — is more abominable? These are questions Carolyn Elefant asked here last month, and now trial lawyer Gerry Spence raises them on this blog in a post entitled, “Guilty Until Proven Innocent.” Never one to mince words, Spence accuses Fitzgerald of acting more like a jury than a prosecutor.”

It would be a travesty of justice if Blagojevich got off because he couldn’t get a fair trial anywhere in America, wouldn’t it? Then you would hear the people howl. If Spence was his counsel, Blago would probably turn around and sue Fitzpatrick and the entire juris prudence system, the state of Illinois, and the Legislature for evicting him from the executive mansion. He may have a valid cause of action, how can we tell? Before you become critical of that statement, just think about it a while? What if the things people are saying about him are true but don’t constitute enough evidence for a conviction? Only Fitzgerald knows. Only a duly constituted jury can decide.

If they convict the former governor, don’t believe for a moment that he will go down alone. He has the goods on a lot of people in Springfield, Illinois and Chicago and he is a vindictive man and a windmill, filibustering, blustering fool of a speaker. He will rat on his best friend if he can take ten years off his jail term.


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>See What Discrimination Looks Like In Japan

>

Thursday, January 29, 2009 Japan News and Discussion

Aso, Obama agree to hold summit at early date

Prime Minister Taro Aso and U.S. President Barack Obama agreed Thursday to make arrangements through diplomatic channels to hold face-to-face…

11-year-old girl attacked with spray while walking home alone in Niigata

An 11-year-old girl was attacked with some kind of spray on Wednesday afternoon as she was walking home in Ojiya…

Global Health

The best health insurance for foreigners in Japan.

NPA left red-faced after official blows his top at Narita

NPA left red-faced after official blows his top at Narita

On Jan 22, police sent prosecutors documents on a National Police Agency official who allegedly threw a tray at a woman working at a security…

43 knives stolen from Jusco store in Ibaraki

Police were called to a Jusco store in the town of Tokai, Ibaraki, on Wednesday after one of the staff noticed 43 kitchen knives were…

High School Musical

High School Musical

“High School Musical” stars Zac Efron, left, and and Vanessa Hudgens, center, receive a bouquet from former Morning Musume singer Natsumi Abe prior to the…

Sapporo to sell beer-like drink that leaves ‘cool sensation’

Sapporo Breweries Ltd said Wednesday it will market a new “third-category” beer-like drink, which the company claims leaves a chilling and refreshing feeling in the…

Obama must apologize for U.S. crimes against Iran: Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demanded on Wednesday that President Barack Obama apologize for past U.S. “crimes” against the Islamic republic, after the new U.S. leader…

Appeals court orders ex-nurse to pay Y50 mil for putting patient in coma

The Sendai High Court on Wednesday ordered a former male nurse at a Sendai clinic to pay 50 million yen in damages to a 19-year-old…

Japan cancels humanitarian aid to Russian-held islands

Japan decided Wednesday to cancel humanitarian assistance to four disputed Russian-held islands for the remainder of fiscal 2008 through March this year as Russia demanded…

New Panasonic cameras come with facial recognition feature

Panasonic Corp said Wednesday that from February it will market four compact digital cameras capable of registering facial data in advance so that the cameras…

Tourism agency maps out action plan to lure more foreign tourists

The Japan Tourism Agency said Wednesday it will promote Japan’s spa resorts in South Korea, especially targeting single South Korean women in their 30s, as…

Asashoryu in trouble again for pumping his fist after victory

Asashoryu in trouble again for pumping his fist after victory

Even when he wins, Mongolian sumo grand champion Asashoryu finds a way to get into trouble. The head of the Japan Sumo Association criticized Asashoryu…

JapanToday JOBS

New Feature! JapanToday JOBS… Search and apply to Japan-related job information via JapanToday.com.

>Technology, Technology, Technology

>

From the Desk of David Pogue

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about my bumpy initiation into the world of Twitter. It’s sort of a complicated cross between a chat room and private e-mail. And it’s both an interrupty time drain and an incredible source of real-time connection and information.
Some of you blasted me for impugning Twitter‘s greatness. Some of you hailed me as a seer of its imminent demise. (A few of you thought my assessment was right on.)
Continue reading…

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Today, I thought I’d follow up by sharing the sweet, funny, interesting results of a Twitter experiment. It’s too entertaining for me to keep to myself.
Yesterday, I spoke at a conference in Las Vegas. The topic was Web 2.0, with all of its free-speech, global-collaboration ramifications. At one point, I figured that the best way to explain Twitter was to demonstrate it, live, on the big screen at the front of the ballroom.
So I flipped out of PowerPoint and typed this to my Twitter followers: “I need a cure for hiccups… RIGHT NOW! Help?”
I hit Enter. I told the audience that we would start getting replies in 15 seconds, but it didn’t even take that long. Here are some of the replies that began scrolling up the screen:
* florian: Put a cold spoon on your back – that’s what my grandfather would do for hiccups.
* megs_pvd: Put your head between your knees and swallow hard.
* bethbellor: Packets of sugar.
* jfraga: BOOOOOOOOOOO! (How many of those did you get?)
[Answer: about 20.]
* michaeljoel: drop a lit match in a glass of water to extinguish it. take out match. drink water.
* jbelmont: Simple. Just hold your breath until Windows 7 is released..
Visit David Pogue on the Web at DavidPogue.com »

Circuits

Basics

Sites have been adding features to give users more control over who sees personal and potentially embarrassing information.

State of the Art

Netflix is cracking the technology code on Internet downloads to find the ultimate film delivery system.

Phone Smart

Telephony providers like Skype and Fring make themselves available as apps.
Microsoft Word keeps a list of documents I’ve been recently working on under the File menu. Is there a way to stop this or clear the list?

If you still have a few tapes clattering around in your closet, the Alesis TapeLink U.S.B. could wring one last bit of music out of this expired medium.

It’s a good thing the Apple iPhone is pretty, because its two-megapixel camera sure won’t help you look good. Griffin Technology is hoping to remedy that.

Tag Junior is a smaller, simpler reading system meant for children 2 to 4 years old.

Location Based Technologies’ PocketFinder is a GPS device that lets you locate the holder anywhere in the United States via the Internet.

Epson’s MovieMate 55 projector is an all-in-one video projector — an LCD projector joined to a DVD player and speakers.
Do you need a TV tuner card in the computer to get IPTV?
List.it creates a sidebar panel in the Firefox window with a box to type or paste in notes and other bits of information.

Go to Circuits »

Multimedia

John Markoff om the mysterious worm infecting millions of Windows computers; IT-consultant-turned-author Daniel Suarez on his new novel, “Daemon,” and more.

Multimedia

To watch David Pogue’s latest video, please visit nytimes.com/pogue.

Technology Product Search

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>The Real Cost of the $819 Billion Bailout

>One of the ways rich people discriminate against the poor is in charging exorbatant interest rates. Try 42 percent, for example.

But that’s against the law, you protest. What about laws on the books prohibiting gouging or usury? You’re right, consumers are not supposed to pay rates in many jurisdictions higher than 18 percent.

The word usury means the charging of unreasonable or relatively high rates of interest. As such, the term is largely derived from Abrahamic religious principles; Riba is the corresponding Islamic term. The primary focus in this article is on the Christian tradition. The pivotal change in the English-speaking world seems to have come with the permission to charge interest on lent money: particularly the Act ‘In restraint of usury’ of Henry VIII in England in 1545. Every state has usury laws on the books.

But we’re talking about government usury. Not ours, but probably China’s. A country like the USA borrows all its money and then pays back at an effective rate of about 42 percent. Sounds awful, doesn’t it. It is!

How could we have gotten ourselves into this bind — having to pay the communists almost half of our bailout money? We’re dumb, and they’re smart. They also have savings accounts, while most Americans use a credit or debit card and spend every last dollar coming in.

When the wall came down in East Germany we thought we had won the cold war. We did. But now we’re losing it, and it’s an economic war not a political war. The more we bail out companies, banks, and governments the smaller our U.S. dollar becomes — and the less it buys at the grocery store. American people are becoming poorer, not better off because of these bailouts and many Americans are convinced the bailout stimulus package is not a good idea at all. In essence, America is becoming a socialist country and with each passing day and an increasly larger planned economy and less capitalism, we are resembling Communist China — at least socialist Germany.

Taxpayers will pay much more for the fiscal stimulus than previously revealed – over $1.17 trillion according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Most sources have assessed the cost of the stimulus package at approximately $825 billion. But the CBO reports those estimates do not include the cost of the money that must be borrowed to pay for the plan. [Editor’s Note: To view the CBO letter reporting on the total cost of the stimulus plan, go here now.]

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., asked the CBO – the research arm of Congress – to calculate the “money cost” of borrowing the funds needed to fulfill the stimulus projects being sought by congressional Democrats and President Obama. Like every other borrower, the government must pay back borrowed principal plus the interest on its debt.

The CBO responded with a Jan. 27 letter from CBO Director Douglas W. Elmendorf estimating the cost of borrowing the money would be $347.1 billion – or about 42 percent of the cost of the projects. That would push the total cost of the stimulus package to over $1.17 trillion.