Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fun Stuff Just For Fun

Sometimes you just want to be amused.  Here you go...

I find the BaneCat video absolutely hysterical.  I'm not sure why, but I do.  Don't judge.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Business Advice From Mr. Wonderful

One of my favorite TV shows over the past few years is ABC's Shark Tank.  It's a group of self-made millionaires/billionaires who are now venture capitalists (i.e. "sharks") looking for new businesses in which to invest.  Entrepreneurs come into the "shark tank" to pitch their business or product in the hopes of enticing one or more of the sharks to invest in exchange for a percentage of ownership of the business.  They're real investigations, with real people, and real money at stake.

It's fascinating.

One of the sharks is Kevin O'Leary.  Known for being brutally honest and using phrases such as, "You're dead to me" or "I give you permission to kill your business," O'Leary has justly developed the ironic nickname Mr. Wonderful.  Despite his prickly demeanor, he knows a whole lot about starting, building, and running businesses.  He was recently interviewed on CNN about the current state of the American economy, and he knocked it out of the park:

He's business-ed his way into a net worth in the billions; he knows what he's talking about.  He's exactly right on this.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Obama: Surrendering The Internet, Too

As if American foreign policy wasn't enough of a joke under the Obama administration, what with all the bowing and spineless bluster of unenforced red lines, the latest big story to be horribly underplayed by the sycophantic media is the fact that Obama is planning to give away control of the Internet.  Don't laugh, it's a much bigger deal than you might think:
When it comes to the Internet, there's never really been much question about who owns, operates, and influences it the most: The U.S. does.

But that will all change in 2015, when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) cedes U.S. control to a global amalgam of Internet groups.

ICANN is the entity that controls assigning and administration of top level domain names--the .coms and .nets and .orgs with which Internet users are so familiar.

As a result of the changes, you and your business may face higher prices, less Web security, less consistent service, and, potentially, less freedom of speech.
Keep in mind the fact that this is coming from a business-centric website rather than a political one.  That's how mind-bogglingly obvious this mistake is.  Not that business websites can't play in politics, of course - they just don't do it very often.  By taking a political stance on anything, you almost invariably alienate half (or at least a significant portion) of your customers.  It's just not worth it most of the time.  So, it's all the more poignant coming from this source.

Let's look at some specifics of how it will affect you:
While ICANN has operated like a monopoly for decades, it's been a fairly well-regulated one, Rosenzweig says. So when ICANN announced in 2012 that it would release 2,000 new domain extensions, prices to obtain them did not spin wildly out of control, Rosenzweig says. That could change with more members controlling ICANN.

That's particularly important to business owners, because when you buy your domain name, you usually have to buy all the others related to your brand, to prevent competitors from muscling in on your territory.

To illustrate how expensive it can be already for companies to purchase new domain extensions, when ICANN released the new domain extensions two years ago, Google submitted applications in four categories, such as trademarks (.google), core businesses (.docs), subsidiaries (.youtube), as well as domain names they thought had creative potential (.lol). It spent an estimated $18 million for those.

Similarly, Amazon reportedly spent $14 million acquiring new domain names two years ago.
Plan on buying anything online?  Plan on paying more for it after this transition giveaway takes place.
Another concern is how well-managed the technology around naming will be going forward. The technical management provided by Verisign for the past 14 years has generally been efficient, without significant service outages, experts say. The new ICANN will have to decide who runs this function, and could possibly put it out to bid for another company, or companies, to handle. And the switch could cause service interruptions, or worse. ...
Technology entrepreneurs like Tejune Kang, founder and chief executive of Six Dimensions, a small business that offers mobile and Web content management as well as cyber-security solutions to other businesses, worries that security breaches could become more common as well, should Verisign's role be phased out, or handed over to multiple parties.

"A hacker could get in, figure who the domains and IP addresses belong to, and the hierarchy and blueprint for the whole Internet could be exposed," Kang says.
Who else has the infrastructure in place to run a global technology network like what we're used to?  No one besides us.  Giving control to anyone else will be an invitation to both security breaches and simple failures making the unholy joining of Comcast and Time Warner Cable look rock solid.  We're used to the Internet simply working, all the time.  Kiss that goodbye.

And here's the biggie, if you ask me:
Additionally many countries have more restrictive attitudes toward freedom of speech, and that could cause some problems with certain domain names themselves under new management.

"The Internet is the forum for free speech today, so who will [ICANN] bind themselves to, to protect free speech, and openness, and not ban .gay or .islam?" Rosenzweig says.
Or what about content?  How long will it be before Communist-style censors start shutting down websites because they openly endorse political or religious views that the reigning governments don't like?  Not that anything like that would happen under Obama's watch, of course.

Still, take a look at any attempt by a third world dictator to quell an uprising in the populace, and you'll see one of the first things that happens is that pieces of Internet access -- if not the whole thing -- are severely choked or cut off.  That's because it's an open medium that inherently promotes free speech and transparency.  Our own government is bad enough, but just imagine how open and transparent the Internet is going to be with Russia, China, or pretty much any Middle Eastern/Islamic nation holding serious influence over policy.  Syria, for example, seems to have made a habit of cutting off Internet access when the people get too greedy for pesky little things like political freedom and discourse.  In fact, they did it again just a few days ago.  Even Turkey, that supposed bastion of Islamic tolerance and sophistication, that gateway nation that joins the best of Islam with the best of the West in what gives delusional liberals optimism for a willing dhimmitude in our, my, my, they just cut off Twitter a few days ago because the political discontent bouncing around the social media platform hit a little too close to home.  Perhaps they'll be on the governing committee of the new ICANN...?

There's even a formal organization, Reporters Without Borders, dedicated to preserving Internet freedom around the globe.  The NSA's recent activities have landed the U.S. on the Enemies of the Internet list for the first time this year, but it's a simple enough task to reform the NSA and clear the air (though Obama isn't about to do that).  Still, if you question the assertions in this article about many nations throttling Internet access for political gain, just take a spin through the list (here) and you'll see that this happens constantly, and if anything, the article actually downplays the danger.

Has American stewardship of ICANN and the Internet been perfect?  Of course not.  Should things be reformed in the light of the recent NSA spying messes?  Definitely.  Is giving away control like this the right answer?  You'd have to be a complete mind-numbed idiot (or a liberal Obama supporter) to think so.  The correct answer is a resounding no, for many reasons.

Now you're informed.  You might consider contacting your Senators and Congressman to give them your thoughts on the subject.  Sure, it's down the road a ways, but there's no reason to even let this proposal survive to see an actual attempt at legislation.  Sound off now, and hopefully we won't have to fight it back later.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

This Is eSports Episode 11 - StarCraft World Championship Series Prelims

Sorry it's been a while since the last video in this series was posted, but let's pick it back up and finish it out.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Government Targeting Of Political Opponents Only Happens In Russia

Only not really:

Lois Lerner did not flinch from using the IRS to persecute conservative citizens groups and corrupt the 2012 election.  Once again she has taken the Fifth rather than come clean to Congress about what the IRS did to squelch the Tea Party and others, and who ordered it.  President Obama brazenly lies to Bill O’Reilly’s face and says there’s not a smidgeon of scandal.  This is an unrepentant crew.
Obama is channeling Clinton’s famous hair-splitting on whether oral sex is sex.  It all depends how you define scandal.  Since Democrats believe they have the right to use the IRS to persecute political opponents, perhaps in Obama’s eyes, there is no scandal.

Some say liberalism is a mental disorder.  It's contortions like this that make me think they're right.  At minimum, there can be no doubt that it's irreconcilable cognitive dissonance.  But I digress.

Democrats are embracing their inner tyrant.  Voters tell pollsters they are ready to hand the Senate to Republicans in 2014 so we can repeal Obamacare.  Not to worry, Democrats have an answer, and it is not to respect their constituents and repeal the monstrosity. 
The Democrat answer to the voter’s revolt is the IRS.  From now on, the IRS will openly suppress the conservative vote. 
The White House is working to make permanent the IRS targeting of opposition groups before the 2014 election.  According to Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal, “Treasury appears to have reverse-engineered the carefully tailored rule—combing through the list of previously targeted tea party groups, compiling a list of their main activities and then restricting those functions.”
Texas's Ted Cruz offered an amendment to prohibit IRS employees from deliberately targeting individuals or groups based on political views. It was unanimously rejected by every member of the Democratic majority.
Democrats have no qualms of conscience in sending the IRS after conservatives.  Opposition to utopia is by definition illegitimate.  Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid thundered that Americans are un-American for running ads protesting Obamacare.  Governor Cuomo of New York told conservatives they should leave his state.  Democrat Congressmen gave Obama a standing ovation when he asserted a regal privilege to suspend or change laws at will. 
Democrats don’t actually want a free country any more, where others can disagree and sometimes win.  Opposition is an outrage to these new Democrats.  They think the first black president has the right to rule unopposed.    
You know, I kind of expect this from the Democrats.  The thing that really burns me up about this situation is that the Republicans seem to agree with them.  This country would be in a lot better shape right now if there was actually a party of opposition; instead, there's the Dems who agree completely with him and the Reps who agree...mostly with him.  But again, I digress.  Let's continue exploring how Obama is using the IRS as a tool to squelch political opposition:

In election campaign of 2010, Obama made a dozen speeches with McCarthyite claims:
All around this country there are groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars of ads against Democratic candidates . . . You don't know if it's a foreign-controlled corporation.
In March of 2010, the IRS began to flag Tea Party groups for special scrutiny.  By July 2011, President Obama’s approval rating hit a low of 41%, the lowest of his presidency. 
That month, Carter Hull, a 48 year veteran at the agency, was told by Lois Lerner’s office that he was no longer authorized to review 501(c)4 applications from conservative groups.  They were all to be routed to Counsel Wilkin’s office.  Yet Wilkins told Congress under oath that he knew nothing about it.
There are 100,000 employees at the IRS.  Two are handpicked by Obama.  One is William Wilkins, Chief Counsel of the IRS, the other is IRS Director Doug Shulman.
Wilkins. He’s a longtime Obama crony and Democratic donor who earned his spurs by successfully defending, pro bono, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright (Yes, that Rev. Wright) from charges that his radical politicization of his pulpit should deny his church tax-exempt status.
When Hull disagreed with the counsel’s office and Lerner about how the Tea Party cases should be handled, the files were taken away from him and transferred to a woman with only several months experience at the IRS.
Hull also described a meeting about the Tea Party applications on Aug. 4, 2011, where the IRS chief counsel's office had three representatives present.
On April 23, 2012 Wilkins met with President Obama at the White House.  On April 24, 2012, the other Obama appointee, IRS Director Douglas Shulman, met with Obama.  On April 25, one day later, the IRS revised the criteria by which to harass the Tea Party. 
Over one hundred conservative groups were stonewalled and harassed, and lost their opportunity to take part in the 2012 election.
The IRS targeted individuals as well as groups.  Obama’s campaign published names of individual Republican donors and called them crooked businessmen.  These blameless citizens were soon audited by the IRS.  The IRS leakedconfidential tax information on prominent conservatives to Obama’s Economic Advisor, who leaked it to the liberal press, where they were vilified.  In other cases, the IRS leaked confidential tax returns of Republican donors in Texas.   A pro-marriage group had their tax return sent to their political opponents. 
An exemplary citizen and small business woman in Texas who started a group called True the Vote to work against voter fraud was harassed by the IRS, OSHA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco, the FBI, and even her Senator knocking on the door.  They found no wrongdoing.  It was crude intimidation and punishment for free speech worthy of a police state.
And you thought it couldn't happen here!

This is fascism.
Democrats want it.
And Republicans?  Why is our leadership slow walking the investigation?  Is it because they like seeing the Tea Party and other citizens groups silenced? 
When the IRS scandal broke eight months ago, Speaker Boehner got in front of a camera to say,  "My question isn't about who is going to resign. My question is who's going to jail over this scandal?"
We’re still waiting, Mr. Speaker.  Where are the citations for contempt of Congress?  Lerner has refused to testify, Wilkins lied, and the new head of the IRS hasn’t even handed over Lerner’s emails, subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee a year ago.
Conservative groups are still being hobbled by the IRS.
This is the best Republicans can do?
Our pusillanimous Republican leadership seems to be waiting until the election to do anything. 
If we wait, it will be too late.  We must stand up to fascism or it will stand on us.
This fall is another election.  It's not a Presidential election, but it is nonetheless critical.  It will be a chance to insert more conservatives into Congress to hopefully begin reigning in the radical Obama liberalism that has festered and ruined for the past five years.

In my humble opinion, a major part of the problem is the Republican leadership.  Almost everything Obama has done since he's been in office has been in direct opposition to the majority of Americans, and the landslide 2010 election results prove it.  Seeing this happen, Obama and the Democrats used every tool available -- particularly the IRS -- to prevent that scenario from repeating in 2012, and it worked.  That doesn't mean Americans want the second-rate economy, self-bashing, anything-goes brand of liberalism Obama is forcing down their throats.  Signs are already pointing toward another landslide defeat for Democrats this fall, and they know it (one indication is that a lot of long-time Dems are resigning rather than facing certain defeat).  However, despite the Democrats governing in opposition to the American people, Republicans refused to oppose them on anything.  Budgets, scandals, wars, Obamacare, hypocrisy, nothing.  Worse, when a small handful of Reps did occasionally make waves, they were quickly squashed by the Republican leadership.

Folks, this is inexcusable.

Here's what needs to happen.  Every possible Democrat needs to be ushered out of office, yes, but perhaps just as important is that every member of Republican leadership needs to be kicked out with them.  Here's the rule of thumb I'm going to be using in the next election:
1. If they're Democrat, vote no.
2. If they're an incumbent Republican, vote no.
We have no time to lose, and we really need to get it right this time.

And Then There Was One...

Just one class left... major project... last presentation... month to go...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My, How Times Change!

Check out this hysterical video of kids being presented with an old rotary telephone:

My personal favorite was one of the comments on texting: " they wanted to talk to their friends...ooooh, that's how. They would call..."

A close second: "What's a payphone?"