Thursday, June 30, 2005
A new campaign is underway to fight underage drinking. It includes a public service announcement with results of a recent survey which asks kids where they are getting booze.
"We were astounded when we found that 65 percent of youth reported that they obtained beverage alcohol from friends or family," said Dand Fudurich with the Century Council. "This meaning they got it from their parents, their friend's parents, older siblings, family members or older friends with or without permission."
Why was the fact that teenagers get booze from older friends so astonishing? What's shocking to me is 35 percent of teens do not get alcohol from either friends or family. Where can these people get it from? Kids these days must have some really good fake IDs or something.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Combined with the president's speech last night, which unveiled "Operation: Clap Harder," it seems that we finally do have an exit strategy for Iraq -- second star on the right, and on 'til dawn!
Boy, I'm glad the grown-ups are in charge.
Unfortunately, apparently Congress is more of a West Coast Hip Hop crowd (Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube) and hasn't learn from my man, the Notorious BIG. See below from some cracker newspaper...
WASHINGTON - Utah Rep. Jim Matheson staged his annual congressional pay raise protest Tuesday, arguing the nation has more vital needs to fund. Education, health care, the war on terror, the national debt - to mention a few
What the good Congressman is neglecting it that times are tough and if you're not looking out for yourself, who will? Besides, how you gonna pay for your Country Club dues with a measly $162,100 a year?
Seriously, I wish my job awarded pay raises for arguing with my coworkers and not accomplishing anything - while we're at war.
Equifax's chief executive says he opposes federal legislation that lets consumers obtain a free copy of their credit report to help them monitor financial accounts for fraudulent activity.
CEO Thomas Chapman called the legislation unconstitutional and un-American because it cuts into profits that Equifax and two rival credit reporting agencies -- Experian and TransUnion -- earn from selling credit reports and monitoring services. Equifax maintains credit data on 220 million Americans. The company earned $1.27 billion in revenue last year.
I’m not quite sure where to begin with this, but…
Here’s the thing, the credit fraud problem EXISTS because you have the right to earn money. There are 3 major credit companies who grade consumers on how good or bad a credit risk they are. Equifax is one.
Now credit would be much of a one making enterprise if every company out there wasn’t hell bent to get you to spend as much money as possible. Even beyond what you should. So they have profited off this consumption monster in the American buyer and now that criminals are getting more astute as beating the system – they are taking the “higher ground” that “we are a corporation, not a charity.” All companies have to make certain allowances to keep their product safe – think of car companies with seat belts and air bags.
Amazingly, the biggest thing this CEO is missing that that they have a whole new opportunity for MORE MONEY. Try to follow me: you GIVE AWAY the annual free credit check, THEN you sell (1) fraud insurance and (2) a monitoring service that alerts you to any new or odd activity.
This is nothing more than state mandated advertising. You should be smarter than to complain about it.
Monday, June 27, 2005
What the RIAA doesn’t have an answer for…
When Napster came under attack from the recording industry, the impact to the peer to peer user base was that they disbursed to multiple different Napster-esque application. Instead of learning about the piracy problem and working with software designers to figure out a solution, the corporate lawyers thought they could scare everyone into submission.
Unfortunately, these types of internet users (a) don’t scare easily, (2) are smart, and (3) don’t appreciate big business complaining they don’t have enough money.
With today’s Supreme Court ruling, makers of software with the intention of peer to peer file sharing can be held liable for the actions of their end users. Yet again, the recording industry has smashed any kind of formal structure they could work with.
All during this time – even before Napster, NNTP (aka newsgroups) has been quietly growing and evolving. Newsgroups predate even the internet. It is the original file sharing system, and, no, it wasn’t designed to share music files. Heck, CD’s for music wasn’t even invented then.
So, newsgroups can’t be caught with the intended purpose issue.
I’m sure the RIAA is hard at work to figure this one out.
But as sure as night follows day, the hackers will work to foil the RIAA efforts, the RIAA lawyers will battle back.
One day the artists will realize that with the internet, they don’t need the recording industry’s resources for distribution.
Come on, Jay-Z. You’ve mastered the rap word. Now, revolutionize the music world. Just the artist and the listener.
PS – I have never downloaded a file illegally. I will tell you that this excuse that record industry revenues are down because of P to P networks is bogus. The recording industry has tried to apply big business tactics to the creative process. And that will never work in the long run.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
This is particularly impressive given 90% of the customers are potentially breaking the law (if they are playing in the US).
The Justice Department is not about to being interpreting the laws in a more accepting manner - so how about a more American (capitalistic) approach?
Think about this -- The biggest reason the law enforcement officials explain in continuing the fight over internet gambling is that since gambling institutions have (historically) had shady dealings with the underworld in money laundering - they can be manipulated by terrorists to move money around to support their actions.
Locally, with Federal tax cuts, states and local governments are struggling to maintain services (education, roads) with less Federal assistance.
Why not legislate that the payment processing servers must be managed in the US with revenue roughly equal to the local sales taxes paid out as some kind of "processing fee?"
We couldn't call it "sales tax" because all internet commerce would be covered and, as someone working in that space can tell you, it's not ready for that additional financial burden.
We tax alcohol and tobacco more heavily as a vice tax, why not gambling? So with 8% of $1 billion, maybe people could feel more comfortable capitalizing on something that's not going away any time soon...
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Yesterday, on the "Today" show, America's favorite whipping boy, Tom Cruise, went off the standard promotional script ("Oh, Mr. X is great to work with, always cracking us up on the set.") and got in to a substantive debate with Matt "How's my hair"Laurer.
The pros and cons of drugs, therapy, and Scientology are for other posts - but let's sit back and enjoy the fact that a major motion picture actor called a major media mouthpiece "GLIB" - and Matt took it smiling.
For those of us who only studied vocabulary for the SAT's here's the dictionary definition
1: marked by lack of intellectual depth; "glib generalizations"; "a glib response to a complex question"
2: having only superficial plausibility; "glib promises"; "a slick commercial"
3: artfully persuasive in speech; "a glib tongue"; "a smooth-tongued hypocrite."
Mr. Cruise, thanks for turning on the media which is conveniently turning on you.
News media, take note. Just following the pack and staying on message, you may look pretty in the short term - but when someone finally stands up to you, you will loose all credibility. And that won't come back easily.
Honesty can be very refreshing....
Friday, June 24, 2005
If you are a Christian who looks to the Bible, not as a literal stenographer's record from the Big Guy, but as a source of Judeo / Christian wisdom and support, it is a sign that common sense may not be dead in politics ... yet.
Mind you, I'm not holding my breath....
What I haven't seen in the popular media is the recognition that all these events are set to the backdrop of an exit from the Vietnam war without honor. Essentially, Marx's pendulum of history has swung from the civil chaos of the late 60's to a fear of the mere questioning of public policy.
It doesn't help that a lot of "armchair historians" and "military strategorists" cling to the notion that as long as we stick together all will be well. General Custer taught us that sticking together isn't enough.
On the far left, the isolationists don't help the healing by evoking policies of immediate withdrawal which fail to recognize that the modern world is permanently interconnected and bound by trade, telecommunications, and the internet.
So how does the pendulum move to the middle -- or at least stop swinging to violently to the left and right?
How do we move past this fear of honest, public debate without burning flags and bras or resorting to scaring people about burning flags and single sex bathrooms?
Somehow we need to have some kind of public therapy session to exorcise the demons of the past - abandonment, betrayal, greed -- and rationalize them with the goals of the future - democracy, equality, freedom self expression.
By incorporating a better view on historical perspective, hopefully we can come to terms with the past and feel more comfortable with ourselves in the present.
Hey, it's not an easy answer, but it's a start.