From Pine View Farm

September, 2011 archive

Facebook Frolics 0

The Chicago Tribune wonders:

Which brings us back to the crossroads.

Market research is nothing new. The concentration of data in the hands of one company is, though, and it should raise concern. The data (and those patterns) provided by his 750 million users — us — is marketing gold that will be parlayed into enormous financial gain for Facebook and its partners (there’s a Facebook IPO just around the corner).

Swept up by the feel-good effects of “friends” and “like” buttons, 750 million of us have unwittingly allowed a business model that relies on our giving away information and then celebrating the “free” access we have to it.

Shouldn’t Mark Zuckerberg be paying us?



Mikhail Gorbachev:

If what you have done yesterday still looks big to you, you haven’t done much today.


The (Job) Creationism Myth 0

Your altruistic “job creators” at work:

The ConocoPhillips oil refinery in Trainer, Pa. may be closed within months if the company does not find a buyer.

In an announcement on Tuesday morning, the company said it is seeking a buyer for the 185,000 barrel-per-day facility.

ConocoPhillips said it will immediately being the process of idling the facility and will “permanently close the plant in six months if a sales transaction is unsuccessful.”


Drinking Liberally Wednesday in Virgina Beach 0

New location: We are still checking out locations to find a place with a good mix of menu, location, and layout.

Fun and fellowship for liberals. Join us.

When: Wednesday, September 28th, 6 p

The Jewish Mother
600 Nevan Road (Map)



Seventy-three linear feet of shelving and an 8×4 pegboard installed to south side of garage.

Regular insanity resumes tomorrow.


Deficit Hawks 0

Debt Increases by Recent Presidents

Via Bob Cesca.


Rallying the Teabags 0

Teabag Rally

Via Contradict Me.


We Need Single Payer 0

Life insurance has been described as a wager: You bet that you are going to die, the life insurance company bets you won’t, and you hope that they win the bet.

Of course, you know the death rate is the same everywhere, as Mark Twain observed: One per person.

Nevertheless, the gag points out what gets forgotten: insurance companies don’t want to pay claims; they want to pay the bosses’ country club memberships. Their business model is founded on not paying.

The Philadelphia Inquirer details the attempt of a severely crippled 27 year old woman–one whose hands and legs are too weak for her to maneuver herself–to get a modern wheelchair.

It took months, and three appeals of her insurer’s denials, to get the wheelchair she now uses in her family’s small home in Gibbsboro, Camden County.

People who evaluate and fit patients for wheelchairs say cases like hers have become more common in recent months. They say many requests for the kind of chairs that patients like Lorey use – expensive, motorized units with multiple custom features – are being denied because insurers and Medicare officials are worried about high costs and fraud. Doctors, physical therapists, and patients must appeal the decision, or else the patients give up and accept lesser chairs.

“It’s gotten to the point where words are not enough to convince the medical directors” of insurers, said assistive technology professional Robert Townsend of Jeff Quip, a Boothwyn company that supplies complex chairs.

Experts said patients who fight – especially those who appeal in person – often can get the chair they need, but during the bureaucratic battle, they must make do with loaner chairs or lie in bed.



Davy Crockett:

If one man in the country could take all the money, what was the use of passing any bills about it?


The Power of the Stink 0

Read Anne Laurie on Making a Stink in Public. A nugget:

The current GOP obsession with keeping the government from functioning uses Making A Stink in Public as its most powerful tactic, but if you listen to the Koch-bankrolled lobbyists, the Murdoch-bought media, and their wholly-owned (mostly) GOP legislators, it’s that Black guy in the White House who’s… Making A Stink in Public. Who gave him the right—the power—to stand up in public and argue against them?


Beyond the Speed of Light 0

The bartender says, “We don’t serve your kind in here.”

A neutrino walks through the door.

Via KPO.


More Light Bloggery 0

Home improvements continue through the week.


Falling Dominoes 0

The latest straw poll winner in the GOP is Herman Cain. From John Baur in my ex-local rag:

WATCHING Republicans stagger through their candidate-selection process is like watching kids at a birthday party play Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

They’re blindfolded, so you never know where the pin gets stuck.

How else to explain Saturday’s surprise win of pizza king Herman Cain in Florida’s straw poll?

The event itself was meaningless was a meaningless fundraiser in which voting came with a fee and few persons participated, but it reminded me of Dick Polman’s column on teabag litmus tests last week:

Perry certainly passes the right-wing litmus test on a huge range of issues – global warming is a fraud, Social Security is a con, regulation is bad – but conservatives are looking for someone who will toe The Line 100 percent of the time. And Perry soured his Florida debate listeners when he stood up for the ’01 Texas law that provides in-state college tuition rates to some children of illegal immigrants. For purists, the law that Perry signed is a no-no. Worse yet was the way he defended the law:

“If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because (otherwise) they will become a drag on our society.”

Two problems for Perry: (1) The tea-partying Floridians want to kick out the illegals, not educate them; as one straw-poller told Politico last night, “If they’re illegal, they need to get the hell out of America.” And (2), the kick-’em-out folks resented being told that they are heartless.

Litmus paper, in case you may have forgotten because of the adoption of that term by political reporters, is used for quick and dirty pH tests.

Litmus tests reveal that the Repubican base is acidly corrosive.


Legends of the Fallen 0

Republican Robin Hood Tales

Via Bob Cesca’s Awesome Blog.



Thor Heyerdahl:

Progress is man’s ability to complicate simplicity.


“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0

Always use your manners when dining out:

Angered that his Taco Bell drive-thru order failed to include hot sauce, a Missouri man returned to the fast food restaurant and allegedly pulled a shotgun on an employee, who fled in fear from the takeout window.


Chart of the Day 0

It sort of speaks for itself, does it not?

Fact Checking Republican Hopefuls

MisterMix adds a little commentary at Balloon Juice.


The Entitlement Society 0

At Bloomberg, Jonathan Weil argues that the government of Switzerland must bail out the bonuses of the UBS bonus babies.

His argument boils down to this: If the geniuses who have run the banking industry into the ground, along with the international economy (persons labeled by Weil as the “best and the brightest”), don’t get their bonuses, they might go work somewhere else.

In other words: They work for a bank. Therefore they know what they are doing.

This is hardly persuasive; it is, indeed, wankery of the highest order.

Nothing in the banksters’ performance indicates that they are the best at anything or the brightest in anywhere.

Their exit to other employment, employment for which that have demonstrated expertise (perhaps administering ball-toss games at carnivals in the parking lots of your local Catholic Churches) would likely benefit the economy and the society.


Custis Tomb 0

A reporter from the local rag tells of trekking to Custis Tomb on the Eastern Shore and wonders about the implications of the epitaph on the tomb of John Custis IV:

Aged 71 years and
yet liv’d but seven years
which was the space of time
he kept a bachelors house
at Arlington on the
Eastern Shore of Virginia.

Eastern Shore legend does not wonder, but unequivocally holds that Mr. Custis was most unhappily married.

The story told by my father states that, one day, accompanied by his wife, Mr. Custis steered his carriage into the Chesapeake Bay.

“Mr. Custis,” asked his wife, “where are you going?”

“To hell, Mrs. Custis.”

“Drive on, Mr. Custis, drive on.”


Sunday Drive 0

This Modern World