April 28, 2014

AP Report on Toyota’s HQ Move From Calif. to Texas Downplays Taxes, Regulations, Other Costs

The Associated Press’s lengthy Monday evening treatment of Toyota’s decision to move its U.S. headquarters and consolidate many of its North American operations in Metro Dallas is reasonably good in spots. But Gillian Flaccus and Michael R. Blood were unduly selective in reporting Torrance, California Mayor Frank Scotto’s reaction to the news that his town would be losing several thousand jobs, and downplayed the relevance of clearly obvious factors influencing the move.

Let’s see what Scotto, a Republican, told the Los Angeles Times, followed by the AP’s reporting.

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Things Must Really Be Bad: AP’s Pending Homes Sales Writeup Says That Market ‘Might Pick Up’

At the Associated Press today, economics writer Christopher Rugaber was a bit subdued, even when presented with nominally favorable news. He wrote that the March rise in the National Association of Realtors’ pending home sales index of 3.4 percent, the first gain in nine months, was “a sign that the housing market might pick up after a sluggish start to the year.”

Rugaber’s relative ruefulness, which after being fed through the media translator actually means “Things really stink,” is understandable once one looks at how pathetic that gain is in the circumstances, and at a key paragraph in the NAR’s press release which he chose to ignore.

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HBO’s John Oliver Ridicules Cover Oregon’s Complete Failure

This is so good that I have to suspend this site’s PG-13 rating for this one post (warming: some profane language; HT Powerline):

Larry Ellison of Oracle, the company which spearheaded the failed effort, was apparently unavailable for comment.

Press Ignores Harvard Prof Alleging ‘Astonishing Interference’ in Latest IPCC Global Warming Report

Professor Robert N. Stavins at Harvard’s Kennedy School hardly seems like a major climate change/global warming boat-rocker. At his blog last year, he described climate change as “the ultimate global commons problem,” where “international, if not global, cooperation is essential.” Commenting on climate talks in Doha, Qatar, in December 2012, he saw the role of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements as helping countries and international bodies “address climate change in ways that are scientifically sound, economically rational, and politically pragmatic.”

So Stavins is no “denier,” as enviros on the left are given to calling anyone who dares to question climate change dogma. But he strongly objects to how his role in the latest IPCC report relating to how countries might co-operate to reduce carbon emissions — basically where the rubber meets the road in affecting everyday citizens’ lives — was compromised by intense political interference. Excerpts from the UK Daily Mail’s coverage, once again an instance of the UK tabloids scooping the U.S. press, follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):

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At Politico, David Nather’s Cliven Bundy Guilt-By-Association Game Blows Up

Politico’s David Nather must have thought he was so clever. Here’s how he opened a recent column: “It can happen to anyone, right? You rally behind a guy … and suddenly he’s spewing racist bile and boy, does it splash on your face.” Yes, I left out a few words, and I’ll get to that. But before providing them, the quote just rendered would apply to how those at Los Angeles branch of the NAACP must feel about their now-withdrawn but not forgotten plan to confer a lifetime achievement award on Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling, who has been caught on tape allegedly telling a woman that she shouldn’t “associate with black people” or have blacks accompany her to Clippers games.

Let’s revise Nather’s blather a bit for another comic circumstance: “It can happen to anyone, right? You rally behind a guy because he comes over to your side on climate change, and suddenly he’s arrested in ‘a 20-count federal indictment that includes charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and tax fraud.’ Boy, does it splash on your face.” Now I’m talking about the fools at Organizing For Action, who celebrated the “breakthrough” of having GOP Congressman Michael Grimm come over to their side mere days before his indictment, which occurred today. These two far more damning examples demonstrate what a fool Nather was Thursday evening as he tried to tar Republicans who were expressing single-issue sympathy for Cliven Bundy in his ongoing battle with Uncle Sam’s Bureau of Land Management with Bundy’s later race-based remarks (bolds are mine):

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NewsBusted (042514)

Filed under: NewsBusted — Tom @ 10:01 am

This one’s a bit late getting posted, but here we go:

TOPICS:
– Kermit Gosnell
– Al Gore
– Crime Fighting Robot
– Al-Jazeera America
– Colorado Marijuana
– Albuquerque Police
– Mark Zuckerberg
– MSNBC’s Jimmy WIlliams
– George W. Bush
– Chewbacca Actor

Best Lines:

  • “Al Jazeera has started laying off employees. Looks like Middle Eastern oil money doesn’t buy as much anti-American propaganda as it used to.”
  • “MSNBC commentator Jimmy Williams said that no one on the left ever threatened to impeach George W. Bush. He’s right. Everyone on the left threatened to impeach George W. Bush.”

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (042814)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

This open thread will stay at or near the top today. Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow. Other topics are also fair game.

Positivity: Speed Reading — The Next Frontier in Email

Filed under: Marvels,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Mailbird, the company I first mentioned in early February (HT TechCrunch):

From TechCrunch’s coverage:

Mailbird Brings Speed Reading Technology To Email

Mailbird, a PC email client bearing resemblance to popular Mac app (and Google acquisition) Sparrow, is introducing an interesting feature in the hopes of helping users save time when reading long emails. The company has now added a “speed reader” option, which, when clicked, lets you read emails in a similar way to reading other text in other speed reading apps, like those powered by technology from Spritz, Spreeder, Velocity and others.

In case you’re unfamiliar with this trend, a number of apps have emerged recently, allowing users to read everything from books to news articles more quickly, using a technique that flashes words one at a time on the screen. This lets you to consume text faster than if you were reading by moving your eyes across the page. Speed reading startup Spritz is one of the more high-profile players in this space, having developed its own technology in stealth since 2011, and last month closing on $3.5 million in seed funding.

Now that same type of technology is available for reading emails. …

… Mailbird’s speed reading option is different from those designed for book-reading or news-reading, the company also notes. Many emails have headlined sections in the body of the message, for example, and its technology adjusts the speed when it encounters this type of text, allowing you to read the headline or section break for a slightly longer period of time than the rest of the message.

Mailbird CEO Andrea Loubier says she hopes the introduction of the speed reading technology into the software will increase its potential with those in the SMB/small teams space. Currently, the company has over 10,500 users for its email software, and is growing its paid user base at 50% month-over-month, with free to paid conversions at 25%.

… Mailbird is a bootstrapped team of 8, based in Indonesia. The company is now raising a small, $800,000 seed round.

More on Mailbird is here.

This is the first time in 29 years as a Mac user that I ever recall being jealous of something Windows users can have that Mac users can’t.