December 5, 2006

BizzyBlog Named Finalist in 2006 Weblog Awards!

Filed under: General,News from Other Sites — Tom @ 10:11 pm
WLAannounced

This is especially gratifying because 2006 only has 10 finalists (vs. 15 last year).

Here is the list of “Best Business Blog” nominees:

WLAbizNoms

Special thanks to those who nominated me (Matt at Weapons of Mass Discusson, and Puddle Pirate at Brain Shavings), and of course to the WLA folks for selecting me.

More details on how to stuff the ballot box legally vote as often as possible will apparently be available tomorrow. Voting starts Thursday and ends on Friday, Dec. 15.

‘London & Hong Kong Heart Sarbox SOX’ Bumper Stickers are for Sale

Filed under: General,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:45 pm

Here’s the design (actual size is 3 x 11.5):

LondonHKSB3x11pt5

I’m taking orders. The price is $5 each (min quantity 10; $7 each for fewer than 10), and I’ll absorb UPS ground or US mail shipping to keep it clean. If you want 100 or more, the price drops to $4. Use this e-mail addy to place a “formal order,” to attach a formal purchase order if your firm requires it (we’ll discuss particulars from there), to discuss smaller quantities, different methods of payment, or for other questions. Absent a firm PO from a known company, I won’t ship until payment has been made.

Use the e-mail address noted at this link to make a direct payment for bumper stickers into my PayPal account (make sure your accompanying message includes the necessary shipping info and a phone number).

Though I normally expect the process to go more quickly, allow 10-12 business days for delivery from the date of your order.

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8:45 PM UPDATE: Revised the design at the suggestion of commenter Kevin, who says that securities industry types call the despised law “SOX.” I guess that fact that stock symbols are 3-5 letters in length is a clue to the industry’s attention span. :–> Seriously, I greatly appreciate the tip, and the new version looks better.

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Previous Post:London and Hong Kong ‘Heart’ Sarbanes-Oxley”

Google News-Centcom.mil Listing: Open Follow-up Letter

Patience wears thin. This open follow-up e-mail was just sent to Dan Pastor at Google. Mr. Pastor, you may recall, acknowledged receipt of my e-mail concerning centcom.mil’s near non-presence in Google News last Tuesday (links within the test were added by me for this post to show that conditions giving rise to the original concerns have indeed not changed):

Subject: Inclusion of the US Military’s Central Command as a Google News site

Hey Dan,

It has been a week since you told me someone “should be in touch ….. shortly,” and five days since I spoke with you in an attempt to follow up. I have just verified that conditions have not changed, i.e., only Centcom’s “Horn of Africa” news (type only “centcom.mil” at link to confirm — Ed.) is making it to Google News, and that Centcom press releases are still being treated as if they are from blogs.

Anything you can do to ensure that I get a response, or to put me in touch directly with the person or group I need to correspond with, would be appreciated.

There are more than a few people keenly interesting in Google’s response to this matter, and I would rather not report that I was promised a response and inexplicably did not get one.

Regards,
Tom Blumer
BizzyBlog.com

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Previous Posts:
- Dec. 4 — Re Google News and Centcom Inclusion: This Post Is Unintentionally Unresolved
- Nov. 28 — Centcom.mil and Google News: Open Letter to Google News Official and Google Public Relations
- Nov. 28 — UPDATE — Centcom.mil, Google News, and Yahoo! News: Brain Shavings Explains It All (and I Almost Understand It)
- Nov. 27 — Why Is Almost All of Centcom.mil Not Being Picked Up by Google News? (Further Help Needed)

ISM Service-Sector Reading Wallops Expectations

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:34 pm

From AP (Institute for Supply Management release here):

NEW YORK (AP) — The service sector of the U.S. economy grew at a quicker pace in November than in the previous month, shaking off some effects of the housing slump, a trade group said Tuesday.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based Institute for Supply Management reported that its index of activity in the service sector, which makes up about two-thirds of the nation’s economy, rose to 58.9 in November from 57.1 in October.

The results came in ahead of analysts’ forecast of 55.5.

The index went UP by more than it was expected to come DOWN.

Earlier this week, the manufacturing index, making up about 12% of the nation’s economy, came in just barely in contraction mode at 49.5 after 41 months of expansion (above 50 indicates expansion).

Two-thirds of the economy is on fire, and burning more brightly; 12% is just below simmer (I believe that all of the rest is the government sector). I’ll take it.

Remember BizzyBlog’s Rule (actually common sense): Absent compelling evidence to the contrary, the Administration and the 109th Congress get full credit or blame for the economy until Sept. 30, 2007.

Bill Sloat’s ‘The Daily Bellwether’ Debuts

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:13 am

Former Cleveland Plain Dealer Cincinnati reporter Bill Sloat has struck out on his own with “The Daily Bellwether” blog.

So of course his first post has a real (sorry, I couldn’t resist, Bill) dingaling idea, namely that Mike DeWine should resign early to, among other things, give newly-elected Sherrod Brown a leg up on seniority ahead of other newbie senators.

So I got to be the first commenter, and lodged strong objections (welcome to Blogland, Bill).

Heaven forbid that Bob Taft read Bill’s post. He might actually follow through, in which case a new blogger would accomplish more in his first post than most of us have accomplished in many months. But let’s hope not. :–>

I’m Glad Somebody Did This, and I’m Not at All Surprised by What He Found

What Jim A. Kuypers at Virginia Tech covers in his book (“Bush’s War: Media Bias and Justifications for War in a Terrorist Age”; Amazon link here; HT LGF) has bothered me since about a month after 9/11, when I heard the president make a first-class live radio speech that wrapped with an inspiring reference to Flight 93 and “Let’s roll.” It got ZERO press coverage the next day.

Since then, I have been utterly astounded at the difference between what I hear in Bush’s speeches or read in transcripts compared to the news coverage of them, when coverage even takes place.

Kuypers has looked systematically at years of Bush’s post-9/11 speeches and the press’s coverage of them, and this is what he sees:

“What has essentially happened since 9/11 has been that Bush has repeated the same themes, and framed those themes the same whenever discussing the War on Terror,” said Kuypers, who specializes in political communication and rhetoric. “Immediately following 9/11, the mainstream news media (represented by CBS, ABC, NBC, USA Today, New York Times, and Washington Post) did echo Bush, but within eight weeks it began to intentionally ignore certain information the president was sharing, and instead reframed the president’s themes or intentionally introduced new material to shift the focus.”

This goes beyond reporting alternate points of view. “In short,” Kupyers explained, “if someone were relying only on the mainstream media for information, they would have no idea what the president actually said. It was as if the press were reporting on a different speech.”

You could, I suppose, argue that the press got tired of hearing the same themes and therir framing. That argument doesn’t fly with me — Does anyone remember the press getting tired of Bill Clinton’s “Bridge to the 21st Century?” in 1995 and 1996? Didn’t think so.

If It Weren’t So Important, It Would Be Good Sport

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:17 am

As described at Soxfirst, I’m talking about the upcoming Democratic Party bloodletting between hard-core “there is no crisis” defenders of Sarbanes-Oxley like Eliot Spitzer, Senator Christopher Dodd and others vs. those inclined to reform it like Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank.

The vast majority of Republicans should support reform, especially now that Mike Oxley is (thank goodness) gone from Congress. Passage of something sensible “should” be easy.

So let’s just skip the histrionics and get on with it, okay?

Quote of the Day: Bjorn Lomborg on the Global Warming Hysteria

Filed under: Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:12 am

At TCS Daily, the recovering Greenpeacer and author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, makes a general point on why enviros make so much headway, and then a specific one:

….. you really have to realize that people also have very strong emotions in this area, and that for some reason we have come to believe that it is almost crucial to believe that things are going in the wrong direction, otherwise we don’t feel comfortable.

….. I think for a while it really was moving in the right direction and people were understanding the issues and the arguments better. But I think what is happening now is that we are increasingly seeing a tailspin into hysteria over the global warming discussion, where it is almost commonplace to say things are worse than we thought.

It’s at the stage where people are saying its even worse than we thought yesterday, and that it is going to be catastrophic, and chaotic and disruptive – all these kinds of words.

And in case you dare dispute the enviros’ orthodoxy, you’re told the “science is settled” and the intimidation ensues. Baloney.

Read both items — at TCS Daily, and at OpinionJournal.com.

Of Course These Measures Will Lead to Higher College Costs

Filed under: Education,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:07 am

From Jeff at Credit/Debt Recovery, on the idea of cutting student loan interest rates in half:

Bottom line is, lowering student loan rates will ultimately just make college more expensive, offsetting the benefit of this latest scheme. It’s just not the answer.

Add to that the fact that the new congressional leadership wants to “Make college tuition deductible from taxes, permanently.”

What both of these ideas will ultimately do is further enrich the colleges, who will simply keep raising their costs at twice or more the rate of inflation, at the expense of already-overburdened graduates (and of course any non-graduates who borrowed). I would rather not get generational about this, but it’s sooooo obvious that the Baby Boomer powers-that-be in Congress and at the colleges could give a rip about the long-term consequences of what they are inflicting on Twentysomethings as long as they can keep the status quo of rampant college cost inflation going — all the while pretending to be the “compassionate” ones.

How many times does this song have to be replayed before somebody, ANYBODY forces higher education to rein in its bloated cost structure? I’m starting to think that it’s time to seriously look at how to credentialize scholarly career paths that totally go around the university system.

Pre-Inauguration Openness to Promise-Breaking

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:02 am

Matt at RAB has the details on Ted Strickland, schools, and (of course) “not ruling out” tax increases.

Positivity: 6 Year-Old Saves Mom’s Life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

In Southern Colorado (Windows-friendly audio is at link):

On the eve of Thanksgiving, a Southern Colorado mother has her son to thank for saving her life. 6-year-old Isaac called 911 during an emergency.

We first aired the amazing 911 tape on Monday. Today, we meet Isaac in person.

During an afternoon walk, Isaac’s mom fell unconscious. Isaac, without missing a beat, called for help. This is part of the 911 call.

Operator: Colorado Springs 911, what’s the address of your emergency?
Caller: Yes, I’m at Venetucci Park. My mom can’t breathe.
Operator: Okay. What’s your name?
Caller: Isaac.
Operator: Alright, Isaac, how old are you?
Caller: 5

Well, actually, Little Isaac Kubik shows us on his fingers that he’s six years old. But, getting that number right wasn’t important the day his mother was lying unconscious on the ground.

Operator: And you said her eyes are open. Is she talking to you at all?
Caller: She’s quiet right now.
Operator: Can you have her lay on her back for me, Isaac?
Caller: Mom, lay on her back… She won’t.

Isaac takes his mom back to where it all happened. “You were over here and fell right here. I was over here.” He’s a mighty little first grader who knew exactly what to do in an emergency. Isaac says he learned about 911 in school and well, apparently, he’s good with numbers. “I never have help with math and stuff,” Isaac told us.

His mom, Tessa said she’s incredibly proud and grateful to her son. “He’s a fast thinker.” She just never knew that one day, Isaac’s million dollar smile would be the smile of her hero. “He’s my angel.”