September, 2011 archive
The Chicago Tribune wonders:
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?
Your altruistic “job creators” at work:
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.”
Seventy-three linear feet of shelving and an 8×4 pegboard installed to south side of garage.
Regular insanity resumes tomorrow.
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.
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.
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?
The bartender says, “We don’t serve your kind in here.”
A neutrino walks through the door.
The latest straw poll winner in the GOP is Herman Cain. From John Baur in my ex-local rag:
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.
It sort of speaks for itself, does it not?
MisterMix adds a little commentary at Balloon Juice.
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.
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:
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.”