March 21, 2007

Carnival Barking (032107)

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 5:56 pm

Newshound’s 64th on Ohio politics is here.

Biz Weak Bits (032107)

The March 21 issue of Biz Weak was one of its better efforts. Even some of the usual sacred cows weren’t spared. So here are the highlights.

Stephen Wildstrom ripped Microsoft’s Windows Vista (“Slow and Dangerous”; appears to be free for now):

….. flaws that I thought would grow less annoying with extended use have actually become more troublesome.

….. Microsoft claims it will run with 512 megabytes of memory. I had recommended a minimum of a gigabyte, but 2 GB is more like it if you want snappy performance. This is especially true if you’re also running resource-hungry Microsoft Office 2007.

The most exasperating thing about Vista, though, is the security feature called User Account Control. UAC, satirized in an Apple (AAPL ) ad as a security guy who constantly interrupts a conversation, appears as a pop-up asking permission before Windows will do a number of things: change system settings, install programs, or update antivirus software. UAC may well be necessary to block malicious programs from secretly installing themselves or hijacking your browser settings. But Microsoft has designed it to drive you nuts.

There’s a real danger here: UAC is such a nag that many folks will just turn it off, which Microsoft has made quite easy to do.

….. As for general usability, I still have trouble finding once-familiar features that have been hidden in odd places.

….. I’m sure I’ll get used to Vista’s quirks, Microsoft will smooth out the rough edges, and, in time, Vista’s many attractions will outweigh the drawbacks. For now, though, it’s a pain.

America Online co-founder Stephen Case is trying to start up a merchant service competitor (requires paid subscription; third item at link) to the big boys (Visa, MC, Amex, Discover) called Gratis — It plans to charge retailers 0.5% of the cost of a purchase — vs. 2.2% (for the current players). The biggies and PayPal should be just a little nervous about this.

Economist Michael Mandel believes the mortgage industry situation “is a correction, not a meltdown.”

Speaking of housing, Maria Bartiromo quotes Countrywide Financial’s CEO in her column trumpeting the opposite opinion of Mandel (“Inside the Mortgage Crisis”) saying that he’s never seen a soft landing (appears to be free for now) in housing. Zheesh — maybe not in the mortgage lending industry, but home prices nationwide haven’t had a full down year in decades. How much softer can you get?

Money quote from an article on carbon offsets (“Another Inconvenient Truth”; appears to be free for now) — “Middlemen pocket a big chunk of the money generated by offsets.” Another dirty secret is that the offsets buy energy use reductions that were going to happen anyway. Thomas Lifson at American Thinker had more on this particular article last Saturday. Ace calls them “hypocrisy offsets.”

Globaloney: No Wonder They Want to Say ‘The Debate Is Over’

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:13 am

Because if they get in a real debate, they lose ground:

Wednesday night, with the Park Avenue Fahrenheit still at 66.9, several hundred well-dressed New Yorkers packed an auditorium at the Asia Society to watch a three-on-three panel debate the proposition: “Global warming is not a crisis.”

….. None of the panelists disputed the assertion that the world’s climate is changing or that humans are partly responsible. Those things, all agreed, always have been true.

“The weather is very different today,” said Crichton, a Roslyn High School graduate. “On Long Island, we used to get off for school for hurricanes.”

But that’s where the comity stopped. The no-crisis panelists argued strenuously that the catastrophe is nowhere near and that efforts to solve the alleged crisis will only make thing worse. That’s the thing to be alarmed about, they said.

The yes-it-is-a-crisis debaters said the deniers were only kidding themselves. Fossil fuels and other byproducts of modern life, they argued, are seriously threatening the health of the Earth. The longer we wait to act, they said, the worse the damage will be.

….. Before the debate, not-a-crisis got 30 percent of the vote. After, the number rose to 46 percent. The is-a-crisis tally dropped from 57 to 42. The undecideds dipped slightly, from 13 to 12.

I’m not as convinced of the “warming is occurring” arguments (see the satellite temps reference at this previous post). But the 15-point turn in one evening is evidence that when the light of truth is allowed to shine through, the globalonists get taken down.

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UPDATE: I get the sense that a significant segment of the “scientific community” (difficult term, given how fractured things are) is trying to start walking back globaloney as far as it possibly can. This latest link talks of supporters for the two scientists who criticized the “Hollywoodisation” of global warming a few days ago.

Ho Hum Hiring Headline (032107)

Filed under: Business Moves — Tom @ 6:08 am

Another new facility in a business that the naysayers want to tell us is dying in the US. Well, not quite:

A new call center in Charlotte, N.C., will join several others that Convergys Corp. is opening this year.

The company said Thursday that it will hire about 400 people for the call center, which will open during the third quarter. Convergys has another center in Charlotte, and one each in Greenville and Jacksonville, N.C.

Sad, But Probably True

Filed under: Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:03 am

This incident (HT Jawa Report) probably explains why this isn’t happening (supported by actual threats at Gitmo noted by an actual anonymous soldier at Patterico’s place last year).

Positivity: Their quick actions saved a stranger

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From South Bend, Indiana:

Article published Mar 9, 2007

Troy Smith was about to pay for a pair of pants at Kohl’s Department Store on South Bend’s south side when he heard a “code blue” come over the store’s intercom.

Troy saw people gathering back in the shoe department, and concern — more than curiosity — sent him that way.

That’s when he saw 73-year-old George Avon of South Bend on the floor between racks. He was the victim of a heart attack and seemed to be in a frozen state.

“And for three to five seconds, I froze, too,” says Troy, 36. “It was as if I had gone into shock.”

Other bystanders seemed to be the same.But Troy, the operations coordinator at Univar USA in South Bend, had been trained by his company in CPR.

“So I talked to myself calmly and said, ‘OK, Troy, you can do this.’ ”

Yes, he could.

And while he started doing chest compressions, another bystander was staying in touch with the 911 operator.

At about that time, 23-year-old Cory Allen of South Bend arrived at the scene. The loss prevention officer at Kohl’s and a full-time Bethel College student, he cut through the crowd almost at a run.”When I heard the code blue, I thought it might be someone who had slipped and fallen,” Cory recalls. “But then the urgency of the calls made me really hustle.

“I know there were a lot of people standing around, but it was as if I had tunnel vision — all I could see were George and Troy.”

Cory let Troy know that he also knew CPR, and he immediately started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while Troy continued with the chest compressions.

Time almost stood still. Minutes could have been seconds — or hours.

Cory and Troy worked in unison, occasionally checking with one another.”I thought we were working pretty well as a team,” Cory says.

But Troy was worried.

“When I first started the compressions, I heard a crack in George’s chest and I thought I really had hurt him,” he says. “I was wondering if I was going too deep.”The woman talking to the 911 operator told him to keep it up.

For about seven minutes, the two strangers worked together on a man who didn’t seem to be responsive. They couldn’t tell if they were doing any good.

“I knew I was getting air in, though,” Cory says.

“I tried not to look at George’s face — because he wasn’t blinking, he wasn’t moving,” Troy adds.

The paramedics/firefighters from Fire Station 10 on York Road came rushing into the store and took over.”They were amazing in how they handled the situation,” Troy says. “I watched them carefully — just to make sure I hadn’t been too hard on George’s chest and they seemed to be going even deeper on their compressions.”

After they took George off in an ambulance, Troy and Cory stood there for a moment. Then Cory went back to work and Troy returned to the counter to pick up his credit card and pay for his pants.

That was 10 days ago on the early afternoon of Feb. 27.

George was taken to Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center still unconscious and in extremely critical condition, according to his daughter, Susan Quimby.

He was in a coma for 17 hours after suffering his attack.”But then Dad came out of it, and he continues to improve,” Susan says. “Everyone at the hospital has told me that Cory and Troy saved his life, that they did everything right.”

On Wednesday in his hospital bed, George was able to thank Troy and Cory personally as they visited him.

“I appreciate their efforts,” says George, still a little groggy. “I was very fortunate that they both had CPR knowledge.”

And were willing to use it…..