Saturday, May 29, 2010

iPad Meets the World

Quote of the Day
"iPads appear to be stocked out already...the nine countries where the iPad launched on Friday are Apple's strongest international markets, accounting for about 50 percent of the Cupertino, Calif., company's overseas revenue. And yet, still 78 of the 88 countries where the iPhone is available have yet to receive the iPad."
                                                                 - Mike Abramsky, analyst with RBC Capital Markets

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Peggy Noonan Unhinged

I read one of Peggy Noonan's articles yesterday that I found particularly hard to swallow. She attempts to draw firm conclusions about the future of Obama's presidency from a couple of facts, and throws in a heap of fiction. The piece appeared in HipHopRepublican.com and is below in full.



Peggy Noonan Unhinged -

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Articles of the Day

The predictive value of the MCAT.
Dental care link to heart trouble.
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Teachers' Unions stand up.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Get a Job

Obviously, these are tough times in which to look for a job. And since it's not getting any easier, you just have to work harder and smarter. I ran into this excellent blog post about networking more effectively, and for that matter, efficiently. Steve Buttry is a journalist, and his advice is basically for the journalism industry. However it's applicable to different industries and various sectors. In fact, generally speaking I enjoy reading how those with different careers approach their job hunt. Why? Because there are certain characteristics or personality quirks inherent to some careers and not others.

Buttry, for instance, is bullish on Twitter. Of course Twitter is growing rapidly and many different industries are clamoring to find out how best to utilize it. But as a journalist it's how Buttry perceives Twitter that really stands out. To him, it's your virtual self. It's your personality on display for the public and prospective employers to see. I agree with that view. While some think "geez, is anything private these days?" I take a different tack, namely: promote yourself, because no one is going to do it for free. May sound a bit dire but it's true. 

Self-promotion doesn't mean you have to be annoying. However it does mean you have to be invested. The product is yourself and the investment is yours to make. Can't afford it? Then who can afford to invest in you?  Buttry's piece is worth a full read. I'll be talking more about social media in the coming weeks.

You can follow me on Twitter here: @policydiary


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Microsoft is late to the cloud.
Best bookmark tools.
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Teachers' merit pay may not work.


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Justice Department Delays Justice

I published a piece over at HipHopRepublican.com (the pdf is below) about the Justice Department's custody of Faisal Shahzad, the alleged "Times Square bomber." The piece focuses not necessarily on Shahzad's detention but more so how long it took for him to receive a preliminary hearing.

In general, I believe Holder and the Obama Administration in  are moving a bit too fast to 1) adopt the Bush Administration's worldview on the 'War on Terror', and 2) not explaining why some terrorism suspects will be tried in military tribunals, while others are tried in civilian courts. I'll be writing a bit more on this topic in the future. I've delved into some of it previously here and here.




Two Weeks to Justice -

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Patagonia teaches companies how to go green.
6 steps of a foreclosure.
How one's childhood influences a career.
Tech and education.


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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Obama's Everchanging View on Civil Liberties

I'm not sure what is more surprising and near incomprehensible at the same time, the Obama Administration's take on civil liberties, that, in some cases, is far worse than George Bush's (41) or the fact liberals/progressives and Democrats are talking so little about it.  If that sounds like hyperbole then you probably have not been paying significant enough attention. Aside from Glenn Greenwald, a few law professors, attorneys who have litigants directly involved with current or former cases, and some bloggers, it is very hard to find Democrats beating the drum that this Administration needs to get their act together.

I've written about it before here and here. The Obama Administration is constantly moving the goal posts on which detainees deserve habeas corpus review and which do not and, more importantly, not clearly communicating how they are making the fine distinction between the two. Is it based on constitutional law? Is it based on judicial precedent? Or is it solely based on politics, namely mid-term elections and how fiery the GOP's speeches are?

Glenn Greenwald, while at times a bit too anti-establishment, proffers a very fair case why the recent appeals court case is so destructive to our sense of liberty and justice.

 So congratulations to the United States and Barack Obama for winning the power to abduct people anywhere in the world and then imprison them for as long as they want with no judicial review of any kind.  When the Boumediene decision was issued in the middle of the 2008 presidential campaign, John McCain called it "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country."  But Obama hailed it as "a rejection of the Bush Administration's attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantanamo," and he praised the Court for "rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus."  Even worse, when Obama went to the Senate floor in September, 2006, to speak against the habeas-denying provisions of the Military Commissions Act, this is what he melodramatically intoned:  

As a parent, I can also imagine the terror I would feel if one of my family members were rounded up in the middle of the night and sent to Guantanamo without even getting one chance to ask why they were being held and being able to prove their innocence. . . .
By giving suspects a chance -- even one chance -- to challenge the terms of their detention in court, to have a judge confirm that the Government has detained the right person for the right suspicions, we could solve this problem without harming our efforts in the war on terror one bit. . . .
Most of us have been willing to make some sacrifices because we know that, in the end, it helps to make us safer.  But restricting somebody's right to challenge their imprisonment indefinitely is not going to make us safer. In fact, recent evidence shows it is probably making us less safe.
Can you smell the hypocrisy?  How could anyone miss its pungent, suffocating odor?  Apparently, what Obama called "a legal black hole at Guantanamo" is a heinous injustice, but "a legal black hole at Bagram" is the Embodiment of Hope.  And evidently, Obama would only feel "terror" if his child were abducted and taken to Guantanamo and imprisoned "without even getting one chance to ask why and prove their innocence."  But if the very same child were instead taken to Bagram and treated exactly the same way, that would be called Justice -- or, to use his jargon, Pragmatism.  And what kind of person hails a Supreme Court decision as "protecting our core values" -- as Obama said of Boumediene -- only to then turn around and make a complete mockery of that ruling by insisting that the Cherished, Sacred Rights it recognized are purely a function of where the President orders a detainee-carrying military plane to land? 

The entire post is worth a read. I've written an op-ed to appear on HipHopRepublican.com about the Justice Department's handling of Faisal Shazad, the alleged "Times Square bomber." When it is up I'll update and post it here.

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Empowering your speeches.
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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Andrew Cuomo Will Run for Governor

Michael Appleton for The New York Times
As if we didn't already know...everyone expected it, and it was just a matter of time until Cuomo formally announced his candidacy. He is definitely expected to win due to his 1) high approval rating as attorney general, 2) proven track record in NY state politics (though some would debate to what extent he's been successful at reforming Wall Street as AG), and 3) fundraising advantage over any Democrat willing to go toe to toe with him (and none aren't at this point).

Also, there isn't a credible GOP candidate in the race thus far. At least credible enough to pose any threat. According to a Rasmussen poll conducted in late April, "Cuomo pick[s] up 56% of the vote to Republican ex-Congressman Rick Lazio’s 24%." And that's one of better GOP candidates who has a bit of name recognition himself. Add to that, the fact Bloomberg and Obama haven't stumped for Cuomo yet and you get a landslide waiting to happen.


The New York Times ran an interesting piece earlier today which compiled video perspectives on Cuomo from former colleagues and influential Dems. It's worth a look. 



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Articles of the Day

Kagan should "stonewall" the Senate.
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Want Your Political Views Heard?

This guest post is by Shavonne Shorter. She's a master's candidate in political communication at Purdue University. 

Greetings! My name is Shavonne Shorter. Currently I am a second year Masters student in the Department of Communication at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. My area of specialization is political communication. As a requirement for graduation which is this August, I must complete an in depth writing project on a topic I am passionate about. The goal of my project is to examine African Americans and their relationships with U.S. political parties. To fulfill my goal, I am currently looking to interview African Americans who are affiliated with political parties. I write to you today with the hopes that you may be willing to serve as an interviewee for my project.

The interview would last for 30-45 minutes. I would conduct the interview over the phone. Under no circumstances would your name be placed in my project to protect your identity. I would like to record the interview, with your permission, so that I may transcribe your answers. After I have completed my project, I would be happy to share it with you. If you would be interested in helping me further my educational goals, please feel free to contact me via facebook message or email at srshorte@purdue.edu. Thank you very much for your consideration! 


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The dangers of Internet addiction. (Nah, no way.)
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

KIPP's Lessons

In general, I'm a fan of KIPP and support their overall mission. But this article in the Washington Post doesn't really accomplish all that much in talking about the program or the "consequences they teach students about their actions."

Fellow blogger Shaun Johnson puts it best:
What I do not seem to understand is the whole meme of no excuses and extremely strict, almost militaristic, consequences for urban students.  Why is the solution always boot camp?  Plus, we’re giving out money in middle schools, turning them into little consumers?  Putting them on a Porch?  I wonder why they chose that word, what purpose does it serve?  In any case, many schools enact these kinds of measures, so let us not pretend we’re onto anything new.  It’s possible that they have the confidence to be harsh, they have support from multiple stakeholders and the community, whereas parents and others are a bit more skeptical of teacher judgment in public schools.  I just don’t seem to get the whole Joe Clark, boot camp, excessive discipline, walking in formation kind of education.  Who, why, how did this become automatically what urban students need?  It seems cliched to an extent.  Why is this acceptable with African-American students?  If it is so effective, then why do we not see these methods implemented in troubled suburban or rural schools?  Trust me, there are many out there.


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Law & Order's Goodbye

Thoughts on Law & Order's recent cancellation by Michael Kinsley.


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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cable is Losing Its Grip on Video

I love reading Mark Cuban's blog Blog Maverick. The posts come often and are filled with humor, business insight, and predictions on consumer choice in technology. Recently, he blogged about the future of TV. As he sees it, "The future of TV is TV. That is what consumers want. Consumers have made their choice to spend money on new HDTVs. Why ? Because  they want to watch TV."

He also says: 
You know what is AMAZING about VOD [Video on Deman]? It gives you thousands of choices and its already connected to your TV. It just works. You don’t have to buy another box. You don’t have to figure out how to connect it to your TV. You don’t have to stream from another device over your WIFI netork and get all confused about how to pull video from the internet. It just works.  That’s what you want when you unbox that great big flat screen TV. You want it to work…. like a TV. Easily. Quickly.

Which is why I don’t understand why so many people think that consumer choice is about having millions of videos available online to watch any time is some big deal.  Consumer choice is about having the brand new device on which  you just spent hundreds of dollars or more work immediately and just as you expected.  It’s about getting the most out of your investment in your new big screen that looks beautiful on your wall.
He's right that VOD is huge and growing fast (35 percent last year by Nielsen's count). But what's interesting is that if cable providers had realized this 10 years ago Netflix would've never been invented. Think about it: before streaming video, which provides access to thousands of movies, we had pay-per-view. The problem is that it was, well, pay per view. It was too expensive and still is.

But what if instead of paying per movie you had the option of paying $20 or $30 dollars for access to a movie library that was on demand? I know HBO has on demand, but I'm talking about a Netflix style catalog - thousands of movies and more added each month. I think cable providers missed the boat. People are leaving cable. It's expensive and more content is focusing on being in the mobile space, whether you look at Flo TV, apps like ABC and Netflix on the iPad, the increased streaming capability or cell phones and gadgets, or movie rentals by Amazon and Youtube.

Fact is, I can't remember the last time I rented a movie from a brick and mortars style store while at home. I did it when I visited Vegas. I entered a Blockbuster and felt lost while asking myself "why am I strolling aimlessly down aisles of nothingness looking for an overpriced movie?" I can find a movie on iTunes or Amazon in half the time (and that's not even adding in the drive time and having to ask a clerk 'hey, do you have any more copies of this in the back?'). See, you're never too late to rent a movie online. That's another thing.

When I'm home I solely use Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes. Between those three I can find whatever I want whenever I want. Until cable companies can do that they are working on a flawed model when it comes to stealing Netflix's business.





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