Saturday, September 27, 2008

WaMu failure editorial

A salient quote.

And Alan Fishman seems to be the most overpaid, underwhelming executive to come along since...Kerry Killinger.  Nice going board and Fishman.  Nice.

Editorials & Opinion | WaMu: Seattle's big bank bites the dust | Seattle Times Newspaper
How many of Washington Mutual's 43,200 employees should be deemed personally responsible for this? Very few. The directors, to be sure. A more useless board of directors would be difficult to find. Former CEO Kerry Killinger, absolutely. A few others.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Don't believe the polls

Hot off the presses.  The nonpartisan Pew Research Center finds that the previous assumptions that cell phone users thought similarly to landline phone users who are able to be polled are likely not valid.  In fact, 62% of young cell phone-only users preferred democrats and Obama specifically. 

Therefore, any polls that are head-to-head national and do not include cell phone users are very, very suspect.

The Associated Press: Study: Omitting cell phone users may affect polls
Earlier studies — including a joint Pew-AP report two years ago — concluded that cell and landline users had similar enough views that not calling cell users had no major impact on poll findings. The new report concludes that "this assumption is increasingly questionable," especially for young people, who use cells heavily.

Combining polls it conducted in August and September, Pew found that of people under age 30 with only cell phones, 62 percent were Democrats and 28 percent Republicans. Among landline users the same age that gap was narrower: 54 percent Democrats, 36 percent GOP.

Similarly, young cell users preferred Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama over Republican nominee John McCain by 35 percentage points. For young landline users, it was a smaller 13-point Obama edge.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bush & Paulson: Just making sh*t up

Hat tip to Chuck Schumer who asked a real question of Paulson earlier this week about why $700 billion, and why all the money now?  Why not $150 billion and come ask for more so we can see whether it is working?

Think Progress » Treasury explains how it came up with $700 billion: We just wanted ‘a really large number.’
In fact, some of the most basic details, including the $700 billion figure Treasury would use to buy up bad debt, are fuzzy.

“It’s not based on any particular data point,” a Treasury spokeswoman told Tuesday. “We just wanted to choose a really large number.”

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Insiders steal data from Countrywide

I got my letter this week that my data appeared to be affected.  They are taking serious measures though and offered 2 years of free credit monitoring services to those affected.

Although I can't help but think about how phishy it looks when I was directed to go to not, but  And I'm supposed to know that is Experian??

Insider arrested in relation to Countrywide data theft - Security

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sex for oil scandal

Sheesh.  Everyone knows you should be using water-based lubes for that.

Think Progress » Bush administration officials exchanged sex for oil.
The Interior Department’s inspector general revealed today that 13 government officials “handling billions of dollars in oil royalties improperly engaged in sex with employees of energy companies they were dealing with and received numerous gifts from them.” As the AP reports, the investigation revealed a “culture of substance abuse and promiscuity“:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Evidence that Democratic adminnistrations bring more economic prosperity to America

"The stark contrast between the whiz-bang Clinton years and the dreary Bush years is familiar because it is so recent. But while it is extreme, it is not atypical. Data for the whole period from 1948 to 2007, during which Republicans occupied the White House for 34 years and Democrats for 26, show average annual growth of real gross national product of 1.64 percent per capita under Republican presidents versus 2.78 percent under Democrats.

That 1.14-point difference, if maintained for eight years, would yield 9.33 percent more income per person, which is a lot more than almost anyone can expect from a tax cut.

Such a large historical gap in economic performance between the two parties is rather surprising, because presidents have limited leverage over the nation’s economy. Most economists will tell you that Federal Reserve policy and oil prices, to name just two influences, are far more powerful than fiscal policy. Furthermore, as those mutual fund prospectuses constantly warn us, past results are no guarantee of future performance. But statistical regularities, like facts, are stubborn things. You bet against them at your peril."

Open letter response to "Dear Mr. Obama" video.

I was surprised to find recently that these kinds of propaganda videos/emails seem to stay almost entirely within right-wing circles of discussion. I have googled and either nobody who is a progressive or skeptic is examining the claims or having a balanced discussion about these or they are so drowned out by the same kinds of passive-aggressive postings with little to no added value. Even the right-wing sites that are discussing this are not discussing any salient ideas. It seems like the ultimate "bumper sticker" mentality -- i.e. bumper stickers aren't going to change anyone's mind and really only serve as membership cards in a particular mindset.

So, I figured that this would be a good response to make open to add to the fray and maybe open up some lines of communication about the premises of these kinds of thoughts.

YouTube - Dear Mr. Obama

Anecdote is not plural for data. This, of course, is an anecdote. There are certainly many more military personnel who do not believe as this gentleman does: Take this Zogby poll as some actual data. Here's a choice example:

  • Le Moyne College/Zogby Poll shows just one in five troops want to heed Bush call to stay “as long as they are needed”
  • While 58% say mission is clear, 42% say U.S. role is hazy
  • Plurality believes Iraqi insurgents are mostly homegrown
  • Almost 90% think war is retaliation for Saddam’s role in 9/11, most don’t blame Iraqi public for insurgent attacks

  • The wide-ranging poll also shows that 58% of those serving in country say the U.S. mission in Iraq is clear in their minds, while 42% said it is either somewhat or very unclear to them, that they have no understanding of it at all, or are unsure. While 85% said the U.S. mission is mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks,” 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.”

    “Ninety-three percent said that removing weapons of mass destruction is not a reason for U.S. troops being there,” said Pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International. “Instead, that initial rationale went by the wayside and, in the minds of 68% of the troops, the real mission became to remove Saddam Hussein.” Just 24% said that “establishing a democracy that can be a model for the Arab World" was the main or a major reason for the war. Only small percentages see the mission there as securing oil supplies (11%) or to provide long-term bases for US troops in the region (6%).
    This shows that many in the military are actually
    a) not very clear on the whole as to our mission (not surprising since the rationale was based on lies and has morphed many times as the previous reasons turned out to be bunk or lies)

    But, I think it's more likely that he is like many Americans who look at some outcomes of our involvement in the war and conclude that the end justifies the means. Additionally, none of these people seem to be looking at the cost, and the opportunity cost, of the resources we have expended in Iraq. I'm not saying that Sadaam was not a bad guy, but is it worth the estimated $3 Trillion dollars it will cost? I find it hard to believe that there wasn't something better for our grandchildren to spend that money on than a war of convenience that was sold to us by a bunch of lies. We were never in Iraq to "spread freedom". The original intent was (as the lies go) because we _knew_ that Iraq had WMDs and that they would not hesitate to use them on us. Oh, and then sprinkle in 9-11 over and over until even our troops think that we were going in there because of some link to 9-11. The troops were lied to (probably still are) just as the American people were so it is not surprising to see some make these claims based on their experiences on the ground.

    Here is some more data -- from actually asking Iraqis if they feel they are better off. This one from 2007. 90% think they were better off under Sadaam. It's no wonder since many go without electricity, water, etc. for hours or days at a time. They've been force from their houses. It is very dangerous in many parts still.

    The following two statements were made by the gentleman in the video:

    "Iraq was not a mistake" and "Those sacrifices were not mistakes"
    "When you call the Iraqi war a mistake, you disrespect the service of everyone who has died promoting freedom."

    As to the first, the gentleman appears to be making this claim primarily because of the freedom we have given the Iraqis. Although that was a noble outcome, the price in human life to do this and the $3 Trillion dollar pricetag that we are _borrowing_ to pay for, as well as the fact that we diverted our attention and resources away from Afghanistan and Al Qaeda (the _real_ people who attacked us on 9-11) are all evidence that it was a mistake of Vietnam proportions. In addition, we were not prepared for the aftermath of the war and didn't understand the region and the issues so that it was not even the right time for doing this even if it were the best use of our resources.

    As to the second, that is just not true. It is often put out there that any criticism of the mission is "bad" and "disrespectful" to the troops. But this seems to be based on a fallacy that if the war was a mistake, then those who died are no longer respected which is absolutely not the case and a non sequitur. This is a corollary to the "Love it or leave it" fallacy. There are other alternatives, such as the more correct understanding that the sanity of the mission is a completely distinct cognitive and emotional issue from our respect for those who have served the mission. I don't know anyone (and I doubt that people holding this belief could even point me to one person) who believes otherwise and impugns the military for the mission. Everyone knows that they did not make the mission or decide to do it-- that was the "decider". I believe that it is the ultimate support of our troops to criticize them being put in harm's way for purposes that are really not necessary for our national security (a war of convenience like Iraq). And for them to be put on stop-loss to do it is even more abhorrent to me.


    Redacted wrote:

    From: Sender redacted
    To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
    Sent: 9/7/2008 7:48:18 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
    Subj: Fw: must see...

    Every American should see this,,,pass it on,,,,,,,,,,

    'This commercial was done by a local kid. You have to watch the whole thing.. When he finishes talking and walks away, you get a sense of how this could be the commercial of the campaign season.

    Bob Cook and I were on the Lake County Republican Central Committee together.
    His son Joe returned from Iraq last year and I was at the celebration to welcome him home.'

    Hi, My son Joe just did a commercial for John McCain.
    Please pass this on.

    Excessive SQL logging in Zogby website

    Zogby website backed by...MS Access...yuk.

    Got this gem of an error message this evening trying to bring up a link from google. It's not a good idea to expose this kind of information to the Internet as it makes it easier for someone to attack your application, perhaps with SQL injection.

    Error Diagnostic Information

    ODBC Error Code = S1001 (Memory allocation error)

    [Microsoft][ODBC Microsoft Access Driver] Not enough space on temporary disk.

    The error occurred while processing an element with a general identifier of (CFQUERY), occupying document position (7:1) to (7:43).

    Date/Time: 09/10/08 01:42:35
    Browser: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/2008070208 Firefox/3.0.1
    Remote Address:
    HTTP Referer:
    Template: c:\inetpub\wwwroot\news\readnews.dbm
    Query String: id=1075

    Sunday, September 7, 2008

    Nvidia driver breaks remode desktop on windows XP: SOLUTION

    Gotta love Google.

    I added this key, rebooted and now I'm back in business!

    NVIDIA Forums -> WHQL 175.16 - remote desktop fails
    This problem is not specific to any one graphics company. It can probably happen with printer drivers too.

    The root of the problem is that the session image space is too small and it can't load any more drivers into it. The session image space is shared for the display driver drivers and printer drivers. rdpdd = remote desktop protocol display driver.

    You can fix this bug by increasing the size of the session image space via a registry key. Add the following key:
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management]


    0x20 == 32 MB works on my system anyway.