Video: Palin

“She’s not running for Vice President. She’s running for one heartbeat away!”

Wow, she came off as almost an idiot and made Bush look intelligent. It is all sound bites. And even then, they are strung together in such a way as to not make much sense. She comes off as ill prepared, over managed, and overwhelmed.

full video:

Sadly, her response reminds me of this answer to a simple question by a Miss Teen USA contestant:

Nouveau Capitalism

The Merriam-Webster dictionary should add the following entry.

Word: Nouveau capitalism (nou·veau cap·i·tal·ism)
Pronunciation: \nÃŒ-vō-ka-pÉ?-tÉ?-liz-É?m\
Function: noun
Date: 2008
: a capitalist economic system characterized by all the risks taken by the state and all of the rewards taken by private parties.
related:

There are several examples of nouveau capitalism in the news during the past few weeks.

First, the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed into conservatorship by the U.S. government. Both GSEs were and are publicly trade private companies whose debts were guaranteed by the U.S. government. That fact was a moral hazard since the companies’ actions were distorted knowing they could take high risks with little personal repercussions. Well, one good thing did happen in that the existing shareholders’ stock values were diluted when the government took a 79% share of each company as they entered conservatorship.

Then, the Federal Reserve Bank and U.S. Treasury provided an $85 billion loan to the giant insurance company A.I.G. in return for 80% stock, a move that, in effect, it nationalized A.I.G. and likewise diluted existing shareholder value.

Now, the Treasury wants to buy all the toxic, bad debt from the credit and money markets.

$700 Billion Is Sought for Wall Street in Massive Bailout – NYTimes.com.

The ambitious effort to transfer the bad debts of Wall Street, at least temporarily, into the obligations of American taxpayers, was first put forward by the administration late last week, after a series of bold interventions on behalf of ailing private firms seemed unlikely to prevent a crash of world financial markets.

A $700 billion expenditure on distressed mortgage-related assets would be roughly what the country has spent so far in direct costs on the Iraq war and more than the Pentagonâ??s total yearly budget appropriation. Divided across the population, it would amount to more than $2,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

Whatever is spent will add to a budget deficit already projected at more than $500 billion next year. And it comes on top of the $85 billion government rescue of the insurance giant, American International Group, and a plan to spend up to $200 billion to shore up the mortgage finance giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Well, seriously folks, the bailout proposed by the Bush administration is more than a bailout. It proposes to take only the most toxic debt off the hands of those holding it. That means, we’ll be left holding the bag entirely while the rewards of better debt will be left in private hands. There has to be a better way. I’m certain of it. I’d like to see the investment bankers and those who profited off the toxic debt cough up some most of their gains as a result of this plan.  Otherwise, what will make people think twice about the consequences of their actions in the future? Why can’t the government just accept all debt from a given portfolio, good and bad? I can barely wait to see how economists and financial industry watchers react to the bailout. I’d also like to hear how Bush, McCain, and Obama, Congress, etc. expect to pay for this. More tax cuts?

btw: if you’re wondering why I’m spending time reading/writing about this when I have other, higher priorities, Fannie/Freddie are subjects of a tax policy paper I’m writing. That, and I can’t help but chime in; that’s my son’s future they’re pissing away. 😉

My First Pottytunity

The Gift of Gold

This can be filed under TMI (too much information).

Since he was born, just under four months ago, we have been saying a special code word when we see my son pee. At first, that was quite often. It seemed that every time we’d change his diaper he’d target us for a shower or he would pee moments after the second pin would be clasped. Once, he peed so hard, I could hear the stream as it hit the diaper.

Starting about two weeks ago, we started putting him on a little potty after he wakes and when we change his diaper. We also do so when he is fussing but is not hungry.We? I should say, my wife has been putting him on the potty. This afternoon, I did it for the second or third time. Each time he sits on the little potty is called a pottytunity.

For each pottytunity, we also say the special code word. The word is something he should never hear out or in regular conversation. Let’s just say, the special code is “unique.”

After only a few days, he gave the gift of gold. He has now been peeing into the potty a few times a day (sometimes less, sometimes more). Even if he does not leave anything behind, we reward him with smiles and congratulations after each pottytunity.

Now to my story. I was holding him this afternoon and he began to fuss. My wife identified it as his pee complaint. So I quickly put him on the potty but nothing came out. He just sat there. After a minute, or perhaps more, my wife she reminded me to say the special code word. Immediately after I said the code word, he began to pee. Incredibly, he had waited for me to say the word.

The technique is called elimination communication. Let me say, it works. I was skeptical until now. But wow, it really does work. Now we just need to figure out if baby sign language works so he can more easily tell us what he wants: milk; pee; poo; playtime; or sleepy.

My First Pottytunity

I’m such a potty mouth these days.

Configuring Modem and Router for AT&T DSL

I found out tonight that my DSL problems are related to the default configurations for my DSL modem and router, which are not set properly for use with the AT&T DSL network.

Not once did AT&T tech support, in all of the calls I had with them during the past week, tell me that there are settings specific to the AT&T network that need to be set on both the modem and router. Its customer service representatives, both Tier 1 and Tier 2, knew: 1) I had a new DSL modem (because my old one crapped out last week); 2) the brand and model of the DSL modem (D-Link DSL-2320B); and 3) that I was able to get to some web sites but most others timed out (Google worked fine but Yahoo! didn’t).

In addition, traceroutes all made it look like the AT&T network was the culprit, but it wasn’t (at least not directly). What’s more, VPN to my work network cleared up any of my issues which made it look even more likely my problems were related to some bad switch or router in the central office or some regional switching facilities.

Here are configurations for the AT&T DSL network, based on the old SBC network. I’m not sure if the old Ameritech, SNET, or BellSouth network configurations are the same.

DSL Modem:

VPI: 0

VCI: 35

Protocol: PPPoE (PPP over Ethernet)

Note: If you have a D-Link DSL-2320B DSL modem, uncheck the “DSL auto-connect” box and click the next button to configure manually.

Router:

MTU: manual

[MTU] size: 1492

To think, it would have cost AT&T much less money to educate its reps that connection problems reported by customers who are using new modems (or routers) could have something to do with incorrect default settings and to provide those settings. What’s more, AT&T does not even list the configuration settings for DSL modems in its help site specifically created to tell customers how to set up a DSL modem.

I hope this helps at least one other person and that you do not go grey or lose all your hair attempting to get helpful information from AT&T. If only AT&T had real competition. This only strengthens my support for a layered regulatory framework for communications services, to replace a silo regulatory framework.

Mitch Albom: Don’t judge Palin’s book by its cover

Mitch Albom has the most intelligent comments about Sarah Palin that I’ve seen from anyone, including mainstream media (MSM), the blogosphere, or the various emails I’ve received. His latest column is worth reading.

My take on Palin is that interest in her will wane, as interest always does in America, and by next month, we’ll feel silly about the frenzied fuss that was made in her early days.

This bodes badly for Republicans who think they’ve captured lightning in a bottle, and for Democrats who think they’ve found the Holy Grail of attack.

But Palin — like all of the them — deserves to be evaluated on her actions, and analyzed from research, constant listening and comparing records with words.

If we don’t want to work that hard, we deserve whatever boxed-up product we get.

Don’t judge Palin’s book by its cover | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press.

Why customers do not like AT&T

1) I got this screen while seeking help from AT&T this evening for a poor DSL experience.

[flickr]photo:2857894843[/flickr]

The telephone number this screen says I can call “24 hours a day, 7 days a week for further assistance” operates close to regular business hours.

2) I cannot use AT&T’s self-help systems because its systems do not recognize my account number. I have naked DSL and the systems aren’t built for account numbers that are not legit telephone numbers. It has been this way since I got the service. Otherwise I might have been able to check if there are local outages.

3) My DSL service has been going up and down. When up, I can only see certain web sites (Google, CNN, Westlaw, Santa Clara University, Stanford, Univ. of Michigan, AT&T, my blog) I cannot see Yahoo! or other Yahoo! web sites, MSNBC, LA Times, and most other news web sites. It is not my computer because I can use Google WiFi to reach all of those web sites with no issue. Sadly, free Google WiFi is more dependable than the AT&T DSL service I pay for.

4) When I finally reached someone, via an instant message client, I was sent a link that I’m glad I couldn’t see at the time: http://helpme.att.net/article.php?item=1. I can get to att.com but not att.net.

The rep ultimately told me to move my DSL modem away from anything that might cause interference and if that does not work to call the AT&T line repair team.

“The following are a few of the possible causes of Electromagnetic Interference on a DSL line: Halogen desk lamps near the DSL modem or telephone line, especially those with dimmers Any electrical dimmer switch Electronic devices, such as stereo speakers, PC speakers, televisions, monitors, microwave ovens, etc. Routing the telephone line parallel to an AC power cord for more than a few inches Electronic insect electrocution devices (bug zappers) Low quality 900MHz cordless telephones Any other emitter of high frequency electromagnetic radiation Placement of DSL equipment directly on a carpeted surface.”

I do not think that’s my problem. Still can’t get to certain web sites.

Dislike is probably an understatement.

Update: I pulled out my work computer and connected to its network through VPN. My work computer has none of the problems I’m having with my personal computers. They are sitting side-by-side, connected to the Internet through the same router. My work computer loads pages with blazing fast speed including all of those that I cannot access at all with my home computer. I’m afraid the lines might melt with that kind of speed. My work computer is brought down to earth when I disconnect it from VPN.  🙁

Update #2: Turns out my new dsl modem is configured improperly, but AT&T’s Customer Service reps and help site were mum on the subject of configuring it. Read more about it on Configuring a Modem and Router for AT&T DSL.

Nana’s Ice Box Dessert

Incredients:

  • 1/2 lb. graham cracker
  • 1/2 lb. dates
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 lb. marshmallows
  • 2/3 cup cream

Directions:

  1. Roll the crackers. (I assume, she means use a rolling pin to crush the graham crackers.)
  2. Mix all ingredients, except 1/4 cup of crushed/rolled graham crackers.
  3. Shape into a roll, then roll the roll over the 1/4 cup graham crackers that you saved.
  4. Place in refrigerator for 12 hours.
  5. Slice
  6. Serve with whipped cream (optional)

btw: posted for my mom and aunts (the nana referenced is their nana).

Nana’s Pie Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shortening *see note below
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

Mix ingredients and moisten with ice water. Use a tablespoon at a time until dough holds together. Don’t work the dough too much, or it will be tough.

Notes, hints, and substitutions:

  • To double, use 14 tablespoons of water.
  • Shortening probably refers to Crisco; however, note that Crisco is a partially hydrogenated, trans-fat. Recently, a lot of health news has been made about how bad partially hydrogenated fats are for you. Essentially, those fats are more likely than others to clog arteries. But whoever said pie was health food. The alternative is butter (not exactly diet food either).