Monthly Archives: July 2011

Mark The Moment

House Speaker John Boehner's debt ceiling plan doesn't have the votes to pass, but let's remember (because it will be distorted in the future), that he doesn't have REPUBLICAN votes.  It's the Tea Party people he can't bring on board.  Remember that when Democrats get blamed.

RELATED:  Country about to go belly-up, still high unemployment, etc., but fear not American… the SMURFS are on Wall Street.

Smur072911h
Grownups, please.

RELATED: As if to preface what I say, here's Time's Joe Klein yesterday, before last night's breakdown in the House.

[S]o, here we are. Our nation's economy and international reputation as the world's presiding grownup has already been badly damaged. It is a self-inflicted wound of monumental stupidity. I am usually willing to acknowledge that Democrats can be as silly, and hidebound, as Republicans-but not this time. There is zero equivalence here. The vast majority of Democrats have been more than reasonable, more than willing to accept cuts in some of their most valued programs. […]

The Republicans have been willing to concede nothing. Their stand means higher interest rates, fewer jobs created and more destroyed, a general weakening of this country's standing in the world. Osama bin Laden, if he were still alive, could not have come up with a more clever strategy for strangling our nation.

That last line was of particular interest, because it echoes a recent point from Nick Kristof. Indeed, the NYTcolumnist recently argued that Republicans represent a kind of domestic threat, possibly undermining the nation's interests from within: "[L]et's remember not only the national security risks posed by Iran and Al Qaeda. Let's also focus on the risks, however unintentional, from domestic zealots."

A Tea Partier’s Notion Of Fiscal Responsibility and Kids

“I won’t place one more dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids and grandkids unless we structurally reform the way this town spends money!”

– Freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Illinois), a tax-bashing Tea Party champion who sharply lectures President Barack Obama and other Democrats on fiscal responsibility

Okay. Fair enough.  Wait – what's this?

Freshman U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh…  owes more than $100,000 in child support to his ex-wife and three children, according to documents his ex-wife filed in their divorce case in December.

I see.  He's not GIVING his kids debt; he's just PUTTING his kids IN debt.

But wait.  It gets worse.

Walsh’s attorney conceded that the congressman owes unpaid child support, but added Walsh has “had no more problems with child support than any other average guy.”

The "average guy" isn't a deadbeat dad.

I think maybe our friend Joe ought not lecture Obama on fiscal responsibility… or ANY kind of responsibility for that matter.  Which brings us to the quote of the day:

“You know how bad pundits and annoying politicians like to pretend the Federal government is like a household when they talk about how we need to balance our books? If we take that flawed analogy seriously, it does not really make a lot of sense to trust the budget to someone Joe Walsh, a private sector failure who is hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, whose condo was foreclosed on, and who is unable to make his child support payments. On a six-figure salary!”

New Documentary Focuses On Life Of Eva Braun’s Late Husband

NEW YORK—The History Channel announced Thursday it will air a new documentary this fall examining the life of the late husband of prewar German model and amateur photographer Eva Braun. "This film is a fascinating, in-depth look at a central figure in Eva Braun's life," said History Channel spokesman Charles Lansing, adding that the broadcast will feature more than 300 archival images of Braun with her husband, a German civil servant and vegetarian noted for his charisma and interest in art. "Braun's longtime lover had a significant impact on her views regarding politics and aesthetics, and the footage of him we've unearthed highlights the persuasive power of the man she often wrote about." Lansing added that the new documentary, entitled The Man Behind Eva Braun, will cover the very active life of Braun's spouse right up to his sudden passing in 1945 in the basement of the couple's Berlin apartment.

[Source]

Who’s Doing Well In This Economy?

Exxon!!!!!

NEW YORK — Exxon (XOM) said Thursday that higher oil prices and improved refining margins boosted its second-quarter profits 41%.

The largest publicly traded oil company reported earnings of $10.68 billion, or $2.18 per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares with $7.56 billion, or $1.60 per share, for the same part of 2010. Revenue grew 36% to $125.5 billion.

It's the highest profit for Exxon since it set a corporate earnings record of $14.8 billion in the third quarter of 2008. But the results fell short of Wall Street estimates of $2.30 per share. Revenue topped projections of $119.2 billion.

Whew!  I was so worried about them.

HBO Documentary Looks At The “Hot Coffee” Case

You've all heard about the klutzy woman who sued McDonald's because her coffee was hot when she spilt it on herself?  And how she won?

That story is used repeatedly to show that lawyers are bad people who create frivilous and stupid lawsuits.

A couple of years ago, I discussed the "McDonald's coffee" case, exposing it for what it actually was: a very serious lawsuit about a very serious injury.  Not that it changed the tide.  It didn't.

Fortunately, this might:

Hot Coffee, a superb new HBO documentary directed by Susan Saladoff, points out that this politically potent narrative consists of half-truths and outright falsehoods. Liebeck’s suit and the jury’s decision were in fact far from unreasonable, and the misleading narrative about the case has helped corporate interests and their political allies make it more difficult for corporations to be held accountable in court.

Saladoff’s film lays out the real story in lucid detail, and no matter how many times the suit was used in Jay Leno monologues there was nothing funny about it. Liebeck was not careless, but spilled the coffee when she, as a passenger in a parked car, took the lid off the cup. The spill did not cause a trivial injury, but severe burns that required multiple operations and skin grafts to treat. McDonald’s, which served its coffee at 180 degrees, had received more than 700 complaints from customers, constituting a clear warning, but it nonetheless required its franchises to serve it at that temperature without warning customers.

Nor was Liebeck greedy or especially litigious. Her initial complaint requested only about $20,000 to cover her medical bills and other related expenses, and she took McDonald’s to court only after the corporation offered a paltry $800 settlement. The headline-generating $2.7 million Liebeck was awarded in punitive damages (selected because it approximated two days worth of the revenues McDonald’s makes by selling coffee) was reduced on appeal to less than $500,000. (The case was later settled for an undisclosed amount.) The Liebeck suit was a thoughtful attempt to seek appropriate redress for a serious harm, not about a clumsy woman trying to wring millions from an innocent corporation.

Sounds like good TV.

North Carolina To Possibly Consider Making Bigotry The Law This Week

North Carolina lawmakers might consider a state constitutional amendment that would ban all “recognition of same-sex marriages, civil unions, domestic partnerships and other public and private arrangements for same-sex couples” as early as Thursday, when legislators consider several unrelated measures:

Their session rules allow them to consider only those and certain other topics, but, on Tuesday, Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland) filed an adjournment resolution that would allow the legislature to quickly adjourn on Wednesday and reconvene on Thursday. The new session would allow for consideration of constitutional amendments. […]

There’s been no serious indication the anti-LGBT bills will be heard on Thursday, but statewide advocacy group Equality North Carolina emailed their supporters Tuesday evening and urged them to contact their legislators. The group has also issued a call for volunteers to help them staff phone banking efforts today.

A special fall session on constitutional amendments could still be in the works. Tillis told reporters Tuesday that heintends to return and hear amendments that don’t make the cut Thursday. In June, Tillis told Asheville’s Citizen-Times that the anti-LGBT amendments would “definitely be brought up in a special fall session.”

North Carolina is “the last remaining state in the Southeast without a constitutional amendment banning recognition of same-sex relationships” and the New York Times’ Nate Silver has projected that the measure “would be a heavy favorite to pass.”

Today’s Debt Ceiling Crisis Must-Read

I like what Paul Krugman is saying today:

The Cult That Is Destroying America

Watching our system deal with the debt ceiling crisis — a wholly self-inflicted crisis, which may nonetheless have disastrous consequences — it’s increasingly obvious that what we’re looking at is the destructive influence of a cult that has really poisoned our political system.

And no, I don’t mean the fanaticism of the right. Well, OK, that too. But my feeling about those people is that they are what they are; you might as well denounce wolves for being carnivores. Crazy is what they do and what they are.

No, the cult that I see as reflecting a true moral failure is the cult of balance, of centrism.

Think about what’s happening right now. We have a crisis in which the right is making insane demands, while the president and Democrats in Congress are bending over backward to be accommodating — offering plans that are all spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of public opinion.

So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent — because news reports always do that. And we have influential pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship.

The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president — actually a moderate conservative president. Once again, health reform — his only major change to government — was modeled on Republican plans, indeed plans coming from the Heritage Foundation. And everything else — including the wrongheaded emphasis on austerity in the face of high unemployment — is according to the conservative playbook.

What all this means is that there is no penalty for extremism; no way for most voters, who get their information on the fly rather than doing careful study of the issues, to understand what’s really going on.

You have to ask, what would it take for these news organizations and pundits to actually break with the convention that both sides are equally at fault? This is the clearest, starkest situation one can imagine short of civil war. If this won’t do it, nothing will.

And yes, I think this is a moral issue. The “both sides are at fault” people have to know better; if they refuse to say it, it’s out of some combination of fear and ego, of being unwilling to sacrifice their treasured pose of being above the fray.

It’s a terrible thing to watch, and our nation will pay the price.

Little Rock Arkansas Is Still Backwards, Apparently

Kymberly Wimberly has a huge disadvantage.  And it's not that she has a funny name that rhymes.

She's a teenage mom.

Still, she managed to stay in school.  In fact, she got only a single B in her 4 years at McGehee Secondary School, and loaded up on Honors and Advanced Placement classes. She had the best grades in her high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, thus making her valedictorian.

Oh… one more thing about Kymberly Wimberly.  She's black.

Black high school kids in Little Rock Arkansas.  What could possibly go wrong there?

Yup, you guessed it.  Apparently we haven't progressed much from this:

Littlerock9a

Because it seems that the principal of McGehee Secondary School wanted to avoid the “big mess” that would have ensued if Wimberly had been named sole valedictorian.  I mean, can you imagine her being applauded at graduation by McGehee’s majority-white parents?  So the principal, Darrell Thompson, told Kimberly's mother “that he decided to name a white student as co-valedictorian,” although the white student had a lower G.P.A.

Lawsuit, you say?  You bet.  A big honkin' one.

So, Principal Thompson — how's that "avoiding a big mess" working out for you?

Beating The Heat

Dog discovers pool outside and thinks, "This would be awesome inside".  And can you blame him, with the heat?  He gets very determined.

 

Yes, I Know Amy Winehouse Was In My Dead Pool

From my post dated December 9, 2010:

There IS an actual "Dead Pool" game though.  What you do is pick ten famous people to die in 2011.  If they die, then you take 100 minus their age when they died.  So if someone 75 years old dies, you get 25 points. Someone 98 years old dies? Oh! That's a two pointer.  Person with the highest number on January 1, 2012, wins.

Strategically, I like to pick "younger" people (60-70 year olds) who have been sick lately, mix them in with a few octogenarians (or older) who really should be dead this coming year barring a miracle, and then throw in an Amy Winehouse or a Charlie Sheen (for obvious reasons).

So here's my "competition" dead pool list for 2011:

  1. Zsa Zsa Gabor (born 2/06/1917)
  2. Billy Graham (born 11/7/1918)
  3. Dick Clark (born 11/30/1929)
  4. Al Jarreau (born 3/12/1940)
  5. Dick Cheney (born 1/30/1941)
  6. Aretha Franklin (born 3/25/1942)
  7. Penny Marshall (born 10/15/1942)
  8. Michael Douglas (born 9/25/1944)
  9. Jeff Conaway (born 10/5/1950)
  10. Amy Winehouse (born 9/14/1983)

9 and 10 are dead, and they are relatively young.  In fact, they were the youngest on my list.  Conaway was 50, so I get 50 points for him.  Winehouse was 27, so I get a whopping 73 points for her.

Total: 123.

On The Norwegian Terrorist

Well, one can imagine what would be said if Andre Brevik, the Norway terrorist who killed 90 people (UPDATE: ummmm… seventy-sex people) on Friday, was a Muslim intent on starting a holy war against Christians.

But now having dissected his 1,500 page online manifesto (in well-written English) and YouTube video, we now know he was a conservative Christian "knight".

So now we are faced with the question: Apart from the God they worship, what is the difference — morally — between Christian knights like Brevik and McVeigh, and Islamic martyrs like those who attacked us on 9/11?

BONUS:  From the New York Times….

The man accused of the killing spree in Norway was deeply influenced by a small group of American bloggers and writers who have warned for years about the threat from Islam, lacing his 1,500-page manifesto with quotations from them, as well as copying multiple passages from the tract of the Unabomber.

UPDATE: A must-read from William Saletan in Slate begins:

On Friday, anti-Islamist blogger Pamela Geller pounced on news of a massacre in Oslo. "Jihad in Norway?" she asked. She posted a second item—"You cannot avoid the consequences of ignoring jihad"—and linked to a previous one: "Norway: ALL Rapes in Past 5 Years Committed by Muslims." As the Oslo body count grew, she piled on: "if I hear another television or radio reporter refer to muhammad as 'the Prophet Muhammad,' I think I am going to puke. He's not your prophet, assclowns."

Then things went horribly wrong. It turned out that the suspected terrorist in Norway wasn't a Muslim. He hated Muslims. And he admired Geller.

In a manifesto posted online, the admitted killer, Anders Behring Breivik, praised Geller. He cited her blog, Atlas Shrugs, and the writings of her friends, allies, and collaborators—Robert SpencerJihad WatchIslam Watch, and Front Page magazine—more than 250 times. And he echoed their tactics, tarring peaceful Muslims with the crimes of violent Muslims. He wrote that all Muslims sought to impose "sharia laws" and that "there are no important theological differences between jihadists and so-called 'peaceful' or 'moderate' Muslims." He reprinted, as part of the manifesto, a 2006 essay by "Fjordman"—a blogger whose work appears frequently on Geller's site—which argued that "radical Muslims and moderate Muslims are allies" and that because Islam teaches deception, no Muslim who claims to be moderate can be trusted.

***

[In Geller's defense,] you can use this guilt-by-association tactic against anybody. To take the simplest case: President George W. Bush sent Abdul Rauf to the Muslim world as an informal ambassador. That makes Bush a supporter of a supporter of terrorism. But the new poster child for guilt by association is Geller herself. She has been implicated in the Norwegian massacre.

***

Geller is outraged. "Attempts to link us to these murders on the basis of alleged postings by the murderer mentioning us are absurd and offensive," she writes. Breivik "is responsible for his actions. He and only he." She adds: "Watching CNN and BBC coverage about Norway, I found very disturbing to hear the number of times they use the word 'Christian.' They would never dare refer to religion when it is jihad, and this attack had nothing to do with Christianity."

Now you know how it feels, Ms. Geller. When the terrorist is a Christian—in his own words, a "Crusader" for "Christendom"—and when the preacher to whom he has been linked is you, you suddenly discover the injustice of group blame and guilt by association. The citations you didn't create, the intermediaries you didn't recognize, the transactions you didn't know about, the violent interpretations you didn't condone—these exonerating facts suddenly matter.

Yup.

Back In My Hometown Of Concord NH…

State Rep. Lynne Blankenbeker (R-Concord) is a nurse in the Navy Reserves and is currently at Fort Dix, N.J., training with the U.S. Army.

On Thursday, she wrote an email to her colleagues in the New Hampshire House and updated them on her training, explaining that the Army was "short staffed," which is why she was at Fort Dix.

In her message, she joked about moderate Republicans (RINO — Republican In Name Only) and even talked about using a .50 caliber gun to scare off labor unions.

From her email, obtained by The Huffington Post and also posted by Politico's Ben Smith:

I am a truck commander on a hum vee for convoys. I had to learn how to drive both day and at night with night vision goggles. My vehicle has a rhino (no, not a RINO) on it to trip IEDs before my vehicle reaches it. Today I got to be the gunner which was fun. The .50cal is quite a gun! I was never ascared of the unions but they better not F#%k with me again!!! Just saying.

What the hell?

She continues….

I have mastered hand to hand combat as well. I'm headed out of here August 5th. Reports from Kandahar are extremely grim. Tons of casualties ( soldiers, locals, kids). We work 24/7. No one gets a day off but with no alcohol or place to go I guess that's ok.

I hope the NH legislature won't miss her much.

Verizon 4G Is Here

Greensboro, NC — Verizon Wireless turned on their 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network Thursday in the Triad.

The change will impact several areas in North Carolina and more than 100 cities across the nation.

Verizon said the services are up to 10 times faster than their current 3G network.

The service is only available for 4G capable phones, which currently include three smartphones, a tablet, two hotspots and three USB modems.

All 4G capable devices can access the new system Thursday morning without a update or additional step.

 

Heat Dome

Some 141 million Americans over nearly 1 million square miles were under a heat alert on Wednesday, the result of a heat "dome" that's only slowly moving away from the central U.S. — and into the East Coast.

Actheat_600x405

Lovely.

How To Get A $330,000 House For Under Twenty Bucks

Law schools students learn in their first year Property class about a thing called "adverse possession".  Adverse possession goes way back.  It basically means that if you openly live somewhere long enough, and nobody objects, it's yours.  Legally. The statute of limitations varies from state to state: I believe in North Carolina it is seven years.  So if I squatted in an empty house for seven years, and made no secret of it (i.e., I didn't "hide"), then after seven years, the house is mine.

Texas adverse possession law is a little trickier, and a little better for potential adverse possessors.  One guy did a little research, got a little clever, and now he's got a fairly decent legal claim on a $330,000 house that he's been squatting in for three years.

 

Not bad.

Bachmann Bombshell

Michelle Bachmann is the #1 GOP candidate for President in 2012 according to some polls, so this bombshell is relevant:

The Minnesota Republican frequently suffers from stress-induced medical episodes that she has characterized as severe headaches. These episodes, say witnesses, occur once a week on average and can “incapacitate” her for days at time. On at least three occasions, Bachmann has landed in the hospital as a result.

Let's set aside that she's a lunatic who thinks the rapture is upon us.  And that she signed a pledge against same-sex marriage that also states that black families were stronger under slavery (she's since backed off on it).  And that she wants to eliminate the minimum wage in order to create jobs.  And that she claims that scientists support intelligent design. And that she thinks Obama is going to force kids into FEMA labor games, using his "secret army".  Or that she's married to a man who thinks he can "cure" gays of homosexuality (and he oughta know, if you get my meaning!).  Set all that aside and ask:

Do we really want a president who blacks out for days whenever presented with stress?

A Message From Ronald Reagan

 

"Congress consistently brings the Government to the edge of default before facing its responsibility.  This brinkmanship threatens the holders of government bonds and those who rely on Social Security and veterans benefits. Interest rates would skyrocket, instability would occur in financial markets, and the Federal deficit would soar. The United States has a special responsibility to itself and the world to meet its obligations. It means we have a well-earned reputation for reliability and credibility — two things that set us apart from much of the world."

The present-day GOP likes to think of itself as the party of Ronald Reagan.  Don't kid yourself.  They've specifically rejected what Reagan is saying here.  The present-day GOP is ultra-rightwing radical.

Related: 53 percent of all Republicans — and 65 percent of Republicans who said they agree with the Tea Party — say no economic crisis would result if the debt ceiling weren’t raised by then. Among Democrats, 56 percent held the opposite view.

Why You’re Wrong

You're wrong because when you first got that idea in your head, it was full of misinformation.  Misinformation which, sadly, you became married to:

Once an idea enters your mind it's hard to get rid of it. Even after you've been proven wrong and know that you are, your brain is wired to stick with the original information. It even influences you subconsciously. This makes it exceptionally difficult to actually feel wrong even when you know you are.

Scientific American has the explanation of this phenomena:

Psychologists asked college stu­dents to read an account of an ac­cident involving a busload of elderly passengers. The students were then told that, actually, those on the bus were not elderly. For some students, the information ended there. Others were told the bus had in fact been transporting a college hockey team. And still others were warned about what psychologists call the continued influence of misinformation-that people tend to have a hard time ig­noring what they first heard, even if they know it is wrong-and that they should be extra vigilant about getting the story straight.

The study found that when the college students were warned about the continued influence of information they tended to make fewer inferences based on the old, incorrect "facts" they were given. But even then, misinformation existed, as there were still often lingering elements of the original story.

Presumably, this is why dictatorial regimes like to indoctrinate children at such early ages.  Because what people hear first, no matter how factually wrong it is, they are likely to insist on it as being true.  I'll bet that's also the philosophy behind the cozy relationship between Fox News and the GOP.

FIFA Women’s Final

Seriously, just how disappointed can any American be?  Our girls played well and it was a close game.

Japan lost 23,000 of its countryman.  The women's soccer team victory in no way compensates for that, but damn if it isn't nice to see Japan getting some good news.

Hard Work Being in Love, eh? Especially When You Don’t Know Which Girl It Is.

One of my favorite, and one of the highest acclaimed, coming-of-age movies ever made was a little Scottish film called Gregory's Girl, by filmmaker Bill Forsyth.  Made in 1981, it followed the life of wimpy 16-year-old Gregory, as he tries to impress the girl who has just joined the football (soccer) team.  The film still has a strong cult following.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed the NETFLIX was now streaming the sequel, Gregory's Two Girls.

What?!?  He made a sequel??  Apparently so, in 1999, with much of the same cast.

That said, I think Netflix got the synopsis wrong.  At least, I HOPE they did!

Gg2

How Am I Doing?

With 2011 half over, it's time to look at my "dead pool" predictions for this year, that I made in December of last year.

Once again, the list:

  • Zsa-Zsa Gabor
  • Bob Barker
  • Mike Wallace
  • Jack LaLanne (1/24/11)
  • Harry Morgan
  • Olivia de Havilland
  • Michael Dukakis
  • Billy Graham
  • Betty Garrett (2/12/11)
  • Eli Wallach
  • Stan Musial
  • Abe Vagoda 
  • Nancy Reagan 
  • Both Kirk and Michael Douglas
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Al Jarreau
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Norman Lear
  • Jean Stapleton
  • Yogi Berra
  • James Garner
  • Lauren Bacall
  • Jack Klugman
  • Both Mickey and Andy Rooney
  • Jeff Conaway (5/27/2011)
  • Both Garry and Penny Marshall
  • Dick Clark
  • Gene Wilder
  • Fidel Castro

As you can see, I'm not doing too well.

C'mon, people.  Let's get dying!!!

This Is Why The French Can Never Win Wars

Liza Minnelli recently received a new recognition when she was ranked as an "officier" in France's Legion of Honor.

By the way, this is what she said upon receiving the award… and you can just HEAR her saying it, too:

"I’m honored!… I’m totally in love with all of you! To stand in this room in front of all of you, my God! This is my dream come true!"

Observers say they hadn't seen that much gushing since [oh, hell…. write your own joke] [Source]

Bachmann and the Marriage Vow

I love trashing Michelle Bachmann and how she keeps putting her foot in it.

Last week, as presidential candidate, she signed something called the "Marriage Vow", which is a pledge among presidential candidates (well, those who sign) to, among other things, fight against same-sex marriage, fight against Sharia law (this is a problem?), fight against porn, and basically return to family values stuff.

The Marriage Vow became controversial because it included this stunning statement:

"Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President."

… a rather stupid statement which had Bachmann and others to assure people they were anti-slavery.  (Also, the facts of that statement aren't true.)

Anyway, the ladies from The View were cooking with gas about this today:

 

Why Google Plus Might Be Better Than Facebook

I was burned by Google Buzz, Google's previous attempt at social networking.  The main problem with it… it didn't work.

Google+ is Google's next attempt at social networking, and although my invite hasn't arrived yet, everything I read about seems promising.  It has a cleverer, and to my mind, better approach…. than Facebook.  Here's a short list of factors that excite me:

(1)  If you're already a Google person, it is integrated well with what you have.  I have a Gmail account, Google calendar, use Google's Picasa for photo sharing, and I even have a Google voice number.  Google Plus integrates all this stuff.

(2)  Facebook's approach to the people in your social life is too digital — they either ARE your friends, or they're not.  Google’s Circles concept takes this into account.  With Google Plus, you have concentric circles of "friends" — some who have with whom you are willing to "share" more than others.  This is a huge advantage over the Facebook approach where (it seems) every one of your friends (no matter how remote) has access to everything you do.  But the Google Circles concept is also (if you think about it) more like life.

(3)  Facebook is, and has always been, JUST Facebook, but Google is closely tied to Android.  What does that mean — better apps.  That means Google Plus is likely to look and feel better at the cell phone level.

(4)  Google is, of course, the search engine king, and the Google Spark concept is the search feature of Google Plus.  Basically, it will help you find things to share better than Facebook, which doesn't "do" searches very well.

(5)  Your personal data might be safer with Google Plus.  Facebook is a young, fast moving company that has proved it to be cavalier in its movements, lacking in respect for user data privacy. Google on the other hand, is a far more mature company that is, I would argue, more trustworthy than Facebook. 

(6) There is a privacy level in each piece of content of Google Plus. For example; when we create a photo album, or write an article, Google+ give us a choice to that send that content only for our choice people. Facebook does not do this.

(7)  Facebook just announced a deal with Skype where they are bringing video chat to Facebook.  Nice, but Google is ahead of Facebook on that front.  Ad hoc group chatting is available.  

******

The obvious advantage to Facebook over Google Plus is that EVERYONE is on Facebook, and it is a true social network.  Right now, Google Plus isn't much of a network at all.  But if they play their cards right, you might see (in a year or two) a huge migration to Google Plus — thus making Facebook a high-end MySpace.  Wouldn't that be weird?

Patterico Guest Blogger Shows His Ass And Can’t Understand Why He Can’t Get People Interested

COMMENTS CLOSED:  The ankle-biters seem to think that repeating the same fallacious argument over and over again amounts to moving the ball forward in some way, and I don't have the time or inclination to respond to the same bad arguments five or six times.  (This will be viewed as a "victory" by the ankle-biters, but rest assured, it's merely shaking them off to address more pressing things in my day).

Anyone wanting to make up their own mind about whether Aaron Worthing misrepresented Richard Stengel's Time article can do so without any more "help" from me or Aaron.  Read on.

*****************

Oh, Aaron Worthing.  What a sad little man.  Look at him — pounding the drum relentlessly at Patterico's Pontifications, trying to get people all worked up that NPR and Time magazine have turned to a guy named Richard Stengel as a constitutional expert.  Stengel used to be President and CEO of the National Constitution Center and still works with their Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution.  On the other hand, Aaron Worthing — never came close to that.  

But Aaron thinks he has the goods on Stengel.  He thinks he has discovered fourteen clear factual errors in a piece Stengel wrote for Time magazine about the Constitution.

The problem with Aaron — and I have crossed paths with him before — is that he is one of those nutballs who — either by evil design or stupidity (I haven't figured out which yet) — likes to take people to task (or "fisk" them) for things they didn't say or write.  His case against Stengel is a prime example.  

Still Busy

If anyone is interested about my Costa Rica trip, it is more or less being serialized here.  Even though we were together most of the time, my ex-girlfriend's account pretty much purges all traces of my existence, Soviet-style*.  That's fine – you can substitute most of the "I"s with "we"s, and it's still fairly accurate.

* She just chose to do it that way — for whatever reason.  I wouldn't read much into it.