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Category Archives: Of Dubious Distinction

An update on Windows Phone 7.8 Via Windows Phone Blog Team

Allow me to summarize what you will read via the Microsoft Windows Phone Team blog:

  1. As we said some six months ago, Windows Phone 7.8 update is coming. The features we are “announcing” right now are all of the features you already know about.
  2. We are still not giving you a solid release date, other than “early 2013.”
  3. The “hugely popular” games Words with Friends [two star rating] and Draw Something [three star rating], games [that lost their popularity a while back when EVERYONE was playing them…except Windows Phone 7.5 users due to a lack of availability] are “already available,” while Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Star Wars are [still] on the way.

So there you go. It is stunning how slow and clueless Microsoft is at generating hype. This only to end in a sad and lethargic fizzle. Slow golf clap…

P.S. Thank you for your support of Windows Phone.

-Terry

Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone

P.P.S. I do love my Windows Phone 8 Lumia 920.

-Christopher

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Moyers & Company Program Series On Crony Capitalism ~ How Wall Street and Washington Got Together And Stacked The Deck Against The Rest Of Us.

‘Crony Capitalism’ – A description of capitalist society as being based on the close relationships between businessmen and the state. Instead of success being determined by a free market and the rule of law, the success of a business is dependent on the favoritism that is shown to it by the ruling government in the form of tax breaks, government grants and other incentives.

All text via http://billmoyers.com/

Moyers & Company 101: On Winner Take All Politics – Full Show

In its premiere episode, Moyers & Company dives into one of the most important and controversial issues of our time: How Washington and Big Business colluded to make the super-rich richer and turn their backs on the rest of us.

Bill’s guests – Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson, authors of Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class, argue that America’s vast inequality is no accident, but in fact has been politically engineered.

How, in a nation as wealthy as America, can the economy simply stop working for people at large, while super-serving those at the very top? Through exhaustive research and analysis, the political scientists Hacker and Pierson — whom Bill regards as the “Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson” of economics — detail important truths behind a 30-year economic assault against the middle class.

Who’s the culprit? “American politics did it– far more than we would have believed when we started this research,” Hacker explains. “What government has done and not done, and the politics that produced it, is really at the heart of the rise of an economy that has showered huge riches on the very, very, very well off.”

Bill considers their book the best he’s seen detailing “how politicians rewrote the rules to create a winner-take-all economy that favors the 1% over everyone else, putting our once and future middle class in peril.”

The show includes an essay on how Occupy Wall Street reflects a widespread belief that politics no longer works for ordinary people, including footage we took at the OWS rally from October – December 2011.

Moyers & Company Show 102: On Crony Capitalism – Full Show

This weekend, continuing its sharp multi-episode focus on the intersection of money and politics, Moyers & Company explores the tight connection between Wall Street and the White House with David Stockman – yes, that David Stockman — former budget director for President Reagan.

Now a businessman who says he was “taken to the woodshed” for telling the truth about the administration’s tax policies, Stockman speaks candidly with Bill Moyers about how money dominates politics, distorting free markets and endangering democracy. “As a result,” Stockman says, “we have neither capitalism nor democracy. We have crony capitalism.”

Stockman shares details on how the courtship of politics and high finance have turned our economy into a private club that rewards the super-rich and corporations, leaving average Americans wondering how it could happen and who’s really in charge.

“We now have an entitled class of Wall Street financiers and of corporate CEOs who believe the government is there to do… whatever it takes in order to keep the game going and their stock price moving upward,” Stockman tells Moyers.

Also on the show, Moyers talks with Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter and columnist Gretchen Morgenson on how money and political clout enable industries to escape regulation and enrich executives at the top.

Moyers & Company Show 103: How power and influence helped big banks rewrite the rules of our economy. – Full Show

Big banks are rewriting the rules of our economy to the exclusive benefit of their own bottom line. But how did our political and financial class shift the benefits of the economy to the very top, while saddling us with greater debt and tearing new holes in the safety net? Bill Moyers talks with former Citigroup Chairman John Reed and former Senator Byron Dorgan to explore a momentous instance: how the late-90’s merger of Citicorp and Travelers Group – and a friendly Presidential pen — brought down the Glass-Steagall Act, a crucial firewall between banks and investment firms which had protected consumers from financial calamity since the aftermath of the Great Depression. In effect, says Moyers, they “put the watchdog to sleep.”

There’s no clearer example of the collusion between government and corporate finance than the Citicorp-Travelers merger, which — thanks to the removal of Glass-Steagall — enabled the formation of the financial behemoth known as Citigroup. But even behemoths are vulnerable; when the meltdown hit, the bank cut more than 50,000 jobs, and the taxpayers shelled out more than $45 billion to save it.

Senator Dorgan tells Moyers, “If you were to rank big mistakes in the history of this country, that was one of the bigger ones because it has set back this country in a very significant way.”
Now, John Reed regrets his role in the affair, and says lifting the Glass-Steagall protections was a mistake. Given the 2008 meltdown, he’s surprised Wall Street still has so much power over Washington lawmakers.

“I’m quite surprised the political establishment would listen to groups that have been so discredited,” Reed tells Moyers. “It wasn’t that there was one or two or institutions that, you know, got carried away and did stupid things. It was, we all did…. And then the whole system came down.”

How Wall Street and Washington got together and stacked the deck against the rest of us.

 

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Investigative Report: How the BP Oil Rig Blowout Happened–Popular Mechanics

Deepwater Horizon burned for a day and a half before sinking in the Gulf of Mexico on April 22.

”…the Horizon disaster resulted from many human and technical failings in a risk-taking corporation that operated in an industry with ineffective regulatory oversight. By the time the blowout came, it was almost inevitable. ‘It’s clear that the problem is not technology, but people,’ says Robert Bea, an engineering professor at the University of California–Berkeley. ‘It was a chain of important errors made by people in critical situations involving complex technological and organization systems.’”

”Oil and gas leases are the federal government’s second largest source of revenue, after income taxes…”

”What unfolded over the next few hours could almost have been written as a treatise in the science of industrial accidents.”

”The offshore rush was on, and nothing was going to stop it. ‘when you think you’ve got a robust system,’ says Henry Petroski, a professor of civil engineering at Duke university, ‘you tend to relax.’”

“How can a device that has 260 failure modes be considered fail-safe?”

“The argument revealed the inherent conflict on the rig. BP, which was paying Transocean $500,000 daily to lease the Horizon, wanted to move as quickly as possible. With its costs covered, Transocean could afford to focus more on safety and well control.”

”In the end, 11 men died…But worst of all, says Ford Brett, president of Oil and Gas Consultants International, the blowout ‘wasn’t an accident in the traditional sense, like when someone just hits your car. It was an accident that was totally preventable.’”

Investigative Report: How the BP Oil Rig Blowout Happened

 
 

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Tyson Homosexual Was A Blur In Blue…

Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.

His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn’t count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here’s what does matter: Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he’s certainly someone to watch in Beijing.

“It means a lot to me,” the 25-year-old Homosexual said. “I’m glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me.”

You might think it’s a joke, until you read the original AP story, which begins this way:

Tyson Gay was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.

His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn’t count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here’s what does matter: Gay qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he’s certainly someone to watch in Beijing.

“It means a lot to me,” the 25-year-old Gay said. “I’m glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me.”

So what the hell happened here? The American Family Association obviously didn’t foresee the problems that might arise with its strict policy to always replace the word “gay” with “homosexual” on the Web site of its Christian news outlet, OneNewsNow. The group’s automated system for changing the forbidden word wound up publishing a story about a world-class sprinter named “Tyson Homosexual” who qualified this week for the Beijing Olympics.

“We don’t object to the word ‘gay,'” Fred Jackson, news director of OneNewsNow explained, except “when it refers to people who practice a homosexual lifestyle.” And the “G” word, he says, has “been co-opted by a particular group of people.” (People who are g-a-y.)

The OneNewsNow story about Gay, which was spotted by  scienceblogs.com, even included these nice details about Mr. Homosexual’s qualifying sprint:

Wearing a royal blue uniform with red and white diagonal stripes across the front, along with matching shoes, all in a tribute to 1936 Olympic star Jesse Owens, Homosexual dominated the competition. He started well and pulled out to a comfortable lead by the 40-meter mark. This time, he kept pumping those legs all the way through the finish line, extending his lead. In Saturday’s opening heat, Homosexual pulled way up, way too soon, and nearly was caught by the field, before accelerating again and lunging in for fourth place.

But as scienceblogs discovered, OneNewsNow’s filter didn’t work perfectly; the “G” word did slip through, just once:

Gay’s race came with the wind blowing at 4.1 meters per second; anything above 2.0 is not allowed for record purposes.

“I didn’t really care what the wind was,” Homosexual said.

Stunning and hilarious!

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2008 in Of Dubious Distinction

 

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