Thursday, March 27, 2008

Secret Questions...

I got to check out my Verizon bill online today, and am faced with the need to "Update My Account" with a confirmation and additional "secret questions." You know the type: Used to be "Mother's maiden name?" but now can be a host of questions designed to personalize the questions and therefore make it more secure.

Some companies, like Verizon, seem to forget that the answers to these questions should be memorial, however.

I get to choose my questions:

What is the name of your first pet? I dunno. I was probably like 3 months old at the time.

What company did you first work for? As an adult? Does my paper route count? How about part time jobs?

What is the name of your first school? I dunno. My family (like many families) moved a lot.

What is the title of your favorite book? Pretty much whatever I'm reading at the moment. Not much help for a security question.

What is your favorite food? Better, but I really don't have one food I can choose. Let alone remember I chose it.

What is the last name of your best friend? Besides my wife? Or is my wife included?

Stupid questions. How am I supposed to know what to pick, let alone remember I picked it, just so Verizon can be sure that no one will get into my account. Hell, I can't get into my account!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Trade Fact of the Week

It must be the policy wonk in me, but I love these emails from the DNC's Progressive Policy Institute. Today's is about Haiti's HOPE Act.

My all-time favorite was from 2006: The Shipping Container is 50 Years Old Today.

Richard Widmark

Actor Richard Widmark passed away. I remember him in a slew of second-rate movies in which he played the bad guy or a cowboy. Steady actor, never played too big. There are a slew of great actors who thrived in the 50s & 60s that I wish I had a chance to see more of.


South Korean college sues Yale

Yale mistakingly confirms attendance by prospective professor. Oops.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Obama endorsements

I'll post more later. Bill Richardson's endorsement was big (though a little late, IMO, probably due to intense lobbying from Billary) But this former head of Office of Legal Counsel for George HW Bush and Ronald Reagan endorses Obama

Another far lefter. It is amazing how often, when people actually read and listen to what Obama is saying, suddenly they are jerked to the far left under his Jim Jones-like charisma and unthinkingly endorse the guy. It's freakish.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Red Sox threaten not to go to Japan if they aren't paid


Good for the Red Sox. Apparently the players are getting paid, but the coaches and support staff are not, despite earlier promises that they would be.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama's speech on race

Stunning. Really. Long (yes), a bit tough to get into at first, but soaring, challenging, and hopeful.

Dinosaur mummy found

Found in the Badlands.

The fact that there is skin as well as bones is an amazing find for researchers.

The math and the Democratic primary

Looking ahead for the Dems:

PA: 188 delegates
IN: 84
NC: 134
NE: 31
WV: 39
KY: 60
OR: 65
MT: 24
SD: 23
PR: 55
GU: 9

Total of 712 delegates still to be chosen. If Obama and Clinton split these, this'll give Obama 1411 + 356 = 1767 pledged delegates. With 207 superdelegates already stating they will support Obama, that gives him 1974 altogether--only 51 short of the nomination. A switch of 26 delegates from Clinton's side and he's got the nomination. Or, even fewer, and the settling of some caucus states (like Iowa) result in more delegates pledging to Obama as they go through their process.

Obviously this is all subject to change. Clinton seems very strong here in PA, but we have some weeks to go. However, what gains Clinton makes in PA are likely to be overturned in Indiana and North Carolina where Obama has healthy leads himself.

On the Clinton side, there really is no way she can win it with Florida out of the picture and Michigan less and less likely. She's trying to take super delegates but the numbers just aren't there for her. Splitting delegates in the next 11 contests (not easy to do) will give her 1598 pledged delegates. With 237 super delegates this leaves her short 190 delegates.

There are 356 super delegates (796 total - 211 - 237) who have not endorsed a candidate. Clinton *might* be able to pull it off by somehow convincing a majority of the uncommitted super delegates to support her (despite Obama's leads in the popular vote, pledged delegates, and states won). I have no doubt they will do what they have to do. But the numbers are against her.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Internal Microsoft documents show they believed Vista to be, at best, labelled poorly

I'm always heartened by companies who get burned using their own products, especially when it was clear that there was a problem even before release.

I'm not sure I agree with the lawsuit idea, but by all accounts Vista is a piece of crap.

The Really Terrible Orchestra

Really. That's their name. Wonder if they can use a guitar player?

Dem popular vote numbers

I'm a solid Obama supporter, and hope that he'll win his second in a row today in Mississippi (looks good so far). But it is worth noting several things:

-Obama has a clear (greater than 500K) lead in the popular vote. This is without 4 states, of which Obama won three. With the eventual addition of those states, his popular vote lead will only increase.

-I've been asked by several people my thoughts on Michigan and Florida getting back into the game and having delegates count, either through some kind of self-financed voting scheme or some other negotiated method. My response: Too bad--let them sit it out. Think about it for a moment: These are two states who defied the DNC in order to make their delegates more relevant in the process by having their elections very early. Now that the process has passed them by, they want to negotiate, in order to have their delegates become relevant (!). If the DNC gives in to Michigan and Florida (and I've got no reason to think Howard Dean is enough of a hardass to hold the line) then they lose all control over the process, and states will do what they want, content that they can either force the issue or negotiate to get exactly what they want.

Saddam and al-Qaeda: "No operational links."

For those of us outside the Administration (and their lackeys), a collective "No shit, Sherlock."

"I'm not running for the office of Vice President"

Good stuff.

The longer Clinton campaigns, the more its own arguments are falling apart. Perhaps this comes from the lack of tough campaign experience on her part. Perhaps she really believes that everyone is out to get her and she'll do whatever she has to (unlike some people, I don't believe that being ambitious is a negative for someone seeking national office). I do believe, like Lieberman, she feels she's better and more important than the Party,

Hilzoy nails it:

That's why I think some enterprising reporter should ask her whether she would support Barack Obama if he were nominated. If she would, then she should be asked why she would be willing to support someone she does not believe is qualified to be commander in chief

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Costs of the War on Terror

$3 trillion?

Next time someone complains about the lack of border agents, tell them that the cost of the war effort for a single day would pay for 11,000 more border agents.

The light hand of the law

Treasury Department and "watchlists"

Monday, March 03, 2008

Funny pictures of dogs failing...

Simple recipe. Funny pics. In a year this will be a real time-wasting site, but you'll still bust a gut at these pics. My favorite is the cat with the kung fu kick.

"[the French] had also seen us as just a bunch of freeloading backpackers"

Backpackers give up quest after perceptive French, in lieu of his bullshit, see through the crap.

That sounds harsher than I mean it. The cluelessness of the guy made me LOL.

Love the comments after the article.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Maxim's fake music review

I did some music reviews for my college paper many years ago. Not the easiest, but sometimes I found some pretty cool stuff. And got to keep the "product." Apparently keeping the product (actually, partial product) isn't enough for Maxim.

The band Black Crowes only sent out a single, not the whole album. Yet they got 2.5 stars (out of 5) for the album. Sounds like a college professor of mine: I got a C on my first paper and nothing I did after that was any better or worse.