acroyear: (coyote1)
"I pledge to continue to represent you all to the best of my abilities without regard to race, creed, religious beliefs, national origin or sex.  That's the kind of Sterling Americans you all have been for me and for our community and I pledge to continue to be that kind of Sterling American for you." - Roger Delgaudio, Sterling/Loudoun, "There is no place in Sterling for hate" (from his monthly newsletter to us residents)

Yeah, that's right.

Roger Delgaudio is a man so Conservative he hasn't even caught up to the fact that most of the country, and most of his subjects, considers discrimination and prejudicial writings against people on account of sexual orientation is Hate.

Some of his choice quotes (as 'public policy spokesman for a pro-family group', as he brushes off) he WON'T put in the electorate newsletter, but loves to put in that sidelines business, "Public Advocate" (which he operates on government resources, which is why he is under investigation...I note his letter didn't say a thing about the actual charges in the slightest)
  • "The homosexual lobbies fully support the invasive body cavity searches of elderly citizens, small children, young women and the absurd and dangerous X-Ray machines that scan the human form in minute detail— anybody and everybody for little security reasons whatsoever." - October 24, 2012
  • It was worse than I ever imagined. Row after row of boxes bulging with pro-homosexual petitions lined the walls, stacked to the ceiling. My mind reeled as I realized hundreds, maybe thousands, more boxes were already loaded on the tractor-trailers. [...] Driving away, my eyes filled with tears as I realized he might be right. This time the Radical Homosexuals could win.
  • [An open Letter to Mitt Romney on who should be his VP candidate] “Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Reagan, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Joe Farah, or Chuck Norris would be a great pick from just ten top conservative leaders,”

Another (very specifically fundraising) letter he wrote mentions dangerous legislation like

  • 1) The Homosexual Classrooms Act, requiring every school — even private and religious schools — to teach appalling homosexual acts.
  • 2) The Offense to Marriage Act, repealing the Defense of Marriage Act which has stood for over a decade against the Homosexual Lobby.
    If passed, wedding gown-clad men smooching before some left-wing clergyman or state official is just the beginning.
    You’ll see men hand-in-hand skipping down to adoption centers to “pick out” a little boy for themselves.

  • 3) The Gay Bill of Special Rights, granting special job rights to homosexuals. Every homosexual fired or not hired becomes a potential federal civil rights lawsuit.
    Radical homosexuals will terrorize day cares, hospitals and churches.

culminating, of course, with "In fact, if I’m to effectively defeat even one of these bills, I’m going to need an immediate influx of funds." - Fear-mongering, hatred, and an annoyingly active imagination unable to see reality in the slightest, and his flock should give him money for that. 

How detached from reality is he? He even made a post (I think a tweet, but I can't recall now) about how "his" Sterling so overwhelmingly voted Republican in November (facts? Obama took 65%, Kaine took 68% - both contributing to their late-night wins once the votes were counted - and within Sterling, Wolf was in the minority, though he took his district thanks to Fauquier and Winchester, not Loudoun which went 50/50).  A few hours later, he took that one down.

By the way, the mailing list of people who love to read that kind of stuff?  In the months prior to the election, he sold it.  To Bachmann, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, likely more.

He personally takes home about $171,000 a year writing this stuff, according to analysis of public tax filings.  And this is a 'non-profit' advocacy group, btw.  And that's on top of his PACs, his investments, and his income from the Loudoun Board.  He actually primarily lives in Falls Church (ironically because it has better schools for his kids, who knew?).

And no, I have NO intention of linking to to those pages...but he clearly owns it, as shown by the whois records for the domain.

But no, he's not one who "hates" and there is no "hate" in Sterling, except against him.


acroyear: (number 2 judge)
There's the big question of why did Roberts become the swing.  More importantly (to those reading in detail) why did he change his mind so late in the process (like his namesake did in '37).

My belief: Roberts didn't do it to "protect the supreme court".  He did it to save Scalia.  He did it to protect the Wickard wide-reading of the Commerce Clause that had proven so useful for other conservative decisions like the federal ban on medical marijuana (what should be a 'states rights' issue) and the federal ban on assisted suicide (ditto).

Scalia's dissent, which if you read it right was originally meant to be the decision, as it mentions Ginsberg's "dissent" (that wasn't, it became a concurrence) several times, matched with a recent document he wrote recently basically saying that SCOTUS overreached in Wickard and that the wide reading of Commerce (which he himself used in his decisions on those two cases) was wrong.  They (Scalia, Alito, Thomas) were going to restore limits on the Commerce Clause solely to get rid of the health care law.

Roberts wouldn't let them do it.

He must have a reason. There is (and it will likely take me days to find it) an upcoming case where a Wickard-style wide-reading of the Commerce Clause is going to be the critical decider, and it must be one that is bigger than somethign as simple as charging 4 million people $500 a year for opting out of insurance.  He wasn't saving SCOTUS from being seen as partisan (far too late for that).  He is saving the Commerce Clause itself for more important conservative things ahead, real business issues rather than a simple social issue (one that fiscal conservatives actually like as they're the ones that came up with it 16 years ago).
acroyear: (literacy)
War on Christmas? Sign This Minister Up. -:
Today, Christianity is the dominant culture. So, instead of story of a olive skinned middle-eastern, unwed, pregnant mother, who was seen as little more than property, giving birth to what the world would surely see as an illegitimate child who was wrapped in what rags they could find and placed in a smelly, flea infested feeding trough in the midst of a dark musky smelling animal stall… instead of that story, we end up with a clean, white skinned European woman giving birth to a glowing baby wrapped in impossibly white swaddling clothes and laid to rest in a manger that looks more like a crib than a trough in the midst of a barn that is more kept and clean than many of our houses.

So, “War on Christmas?,” sure sign me up. I'm pretty sure I'd prefer the elimination of what our modern “celebration” has become to the increasingly white-washed version we hear every year.
acroyear: (space 2 ring)
God's Dear John Letter To The U.S. -:
I will keep sending my prophets. You will know them by their love. If the people you follow are teaching you to hate and fear, to exclude people for any reason, then they are not sent by me, even if they say they are. So, when your infatuation with this new god of extremism, nationalism, might-makes-right, and privilege is through using you... I'll still be here. Waiting. Loving.
acroyear: (don't go there)
Romney and the KKK Slogan | Dispatches from the Culture Wars:
But there’s a second reason why pointing out this coincidence is reasonable and that is its inherently xenophobic nature. Romney may not be in the KKK and he may not personally be a racist, but phrases like “keep America American” appeal explicitly to American xenophobia and prejudice. It’s the kind of anti-immigration sentiment that has justified a wide range of oppressive policies over the past two centuries, aimed at pretty much every group that settled here — including white Europeans like the Irish. So racism is only part of the problem of tribalistic bigotry, and that is the kind of fearmongering being exploited by Romney’s use of that phrase.

There is nothing more American than immigration and the blending of different races, ethnicities and religions. That is the quintessential element of American life. Sadly, there have always been pockets of resistance to that idea. In every age, the immigrant is demonized and targeted by rhetoric like “keep America American.” And Romney should be held to account for trying to tap that vein of bigotry for political gain.
acroyear: (surprising)
A comment I left on a blog where the author was showing that a few web adds (on other photography blogger's sites) sold more of his product (an HDR video tutorial) than major print ads in 2 well-distributed magazines, and asking why the BIG names (Nikon, Canon, etc) still advertise on those magazines:

I think one reason the big name camera makers (and software makers) publish in the main magazines is simply to keep the magazines alive at all. As much as blogs are the best tools for helping the hobbyist move forward and learn, the magazine, sitting on the shelf, looking spectacular while carrying the headlines that effectively say “Yes, you can do this!” is what is really selling the cameras themselves. The magazine on the shelf *creates* the hobbyist, without which many of us would be taking crappy shots on an iphone and thinking we were creating “art”. So yeah, even if a particular add in a particular magazine doesn’t “sell” a camera in and of itself (the reviews might, but the ad won’t), the ad keeps the magazine alive, and that keeps the hobby alive (by creating NEW hobbyists) in ways that the blogs don’t.

Blogs like yours help build the talents and experience of the hobbyists (and aspiring professionals) but it doesn’t create them, and so it doesn’t sell cameras in the same way. If the camera makers were only fighting for the people who are hobbyists now but didn’t look to future growth, it would collapse much as many other industries and institutions already have (such as, say, the disappearing audience for classical music).
Stop Advertising in Photo Magazines – Head West to the Web
acroyear: (fof pb neverending)
If Your Business Model Requires Ridiculous Gouging, Then… | Mike the Mad Biologist:
There was a time, admittedly so long ago that liberals freely roamed the political landscape, when banks made profits and didn’t have to have to gouge customers. In fact, they made profits, and debit cards hadn’t even been invented yet (terrifying, isn’t it, kids?). How did they do this?
MtMB talks about how they didn't make loans that sucked, but there was and is more to it: the interest rates for the loans were higher than they are now.

We all hear about the positives of the 3.X % house loan (nice, if you can get it), but truth is that low rate loan is death to the banks.  It is a major reason the banks wouldn't have survived the mess even if they didn't also get involved in the tranching and securities scheme (thanks to Bush II era deregulation).  Banks make profits, just like any other company, by making more money than they spend.  Except there's more to it - by making more money than they spend or lose.

When the interest rates were (Reagan era) 12% for solid customers, and 18% for risky, the 12% was enough to cover the losses from the risky ones that defaulted.  If an 18%'er actually succeeded, then it was a double-win - the customer got a better credit rating the next time, while the bank raked in even more profit.  At reasonable interest rates, the system works.

The current interest rates, while seemingly good, are not reasonable.  They are atrociously low.  There simply is no profit to be made through them.  The main rate for decent customers is barely enough to account for the expenses of getting the loan established in the first place (plus the subsequent handling when it is acquired by Freddie Mac).  It doesn't even come close to covering loans that fail.

As such, the banks simply won't make ANY loan that has even the slightest risk of failure, including and especially loans to small businesses (in spite of the federal guarantees attached to recent stimulus plans).

So long as they know they aren't making profit doing what banks are supposed to do (make loans), and they can't make gobs of money the easy way (by getting into the Wall Street gambling racket that almost destroyed the whole system), then the only way left to make money is charging customers tons of fees for things that cost them nothing at all.

I'll stick with my credit union (for 21 years so far), thank you very much...
acroyear: (don't let the)
New NPR Head Comes From 'Sesame Street' | The Onion - America's Finest News Source | American Voices:
National Public Radio announced Sunday that its new CEO would be Gary Knell, CEO of the Sesame Workshop, home of Sesame Street. What do you think?

Their jokes are ok with this one but I liked my own first thought:

"Cool. Given Sesame Street's expertise in promotions and fundraising, I can't wait to go to "NPR Park", or see get the new NPR studio toy set from Fisher Price for my kid this Christmas!"

on gadgets

Aug. 25th, 2011 06:02 pm
acroyear: (foxtrot saving time)
Technology Devices Either Sell Big or Die Fast -
These days, big technology companies — particularly those in the hypercompetitive smartphone and tablet industries — are starting to resemble Hollywood film studios. Every release needs to be a blockbuster, and the only measure of success is the opening-weekend gross. There is little to no room for the sleeper indie hit that builds good word of mouth to become a solid performer over time.

When Microsoft released the Xbox 360 in 2005, there were widespread reliability issues and the console faced serious competition from the Nintendo Wii, yet the company stayed the course, and now the Xbox is one of the best-selling video game consoles of all time. That kind of tenacity seems to be in diminishing supply.

Some analysts trace the origin of this blockbuster-or-bust mentality to Apple. Each release of the company’s popular iPads and iPhones crosses over into being a mainstream media event
acroyear: (don't let the)
Nym Wars | jwz:
When the rebuttal to your argument is The Federalist Papers, generally that means that you've lost the argument.
-- JWZ on Google's insistence on forcing everybody to use real names.
acroyear: (don't let the)
I, Cringely » Blog Archive » Internet Class Warfare - Cringely on technology:
In the conflict between big and small I tend to come down on the side of small. We’re recovering from the worst recession in a generation and big companies aren’t doing a damn thing to help. They don’t pay taxes, they don’t create jobs, they don’t spend money, and as a result the economy is under-stimulated. Large U.S. corporations have restructured themselves to avoid taxation, they see their primary function as increasing productivity which means decreasing employment, they have their highest profits ever and are sitting on $2 trillion in cash that they aren’t going to spend.

In contrast to this, small and medium-sized businesses, which are responsible for all new job creation in this country, can’t get banks to loan them any money to fund those new jobs.

The priorities of American big businesses are completely screwed-up while small businesses are, for the most part, ignored.
A thousand others have said the same thing. I wonder if some day we'll actually notice they're right, as they have been for decades.
acroyear: (foxtrot IT rant)
Google's gormless 'no pseudonym' policy | GrrlScientist | Science |
It might surprise the white men employed by Google to learn that people use pseudonyms for a variety of legitimate reasons -- reasons that may not be mutually exclusive. They may be trying to evade a stalker or harasser; they might wish to keep their social life separate from their professional life; they may be seeking help about a medical condition that they wish to keep private; they might be a political activist or dissident, or they may have lost a job because they write a blog, for example. Perhaps they've used a pseudonym throughout most of their lives and are not well known by their real life name; they might use a pseudonym to distinguish themselves from the other two dozen people sharing the same name and city; or maybe their real name is too long, unpronounceable for most English-speakers or doesn't use Latinised letters. Or maybe they just plain hate their real name. I am sure there are plenty of other non-criminal reasons for using a pseudonym that I've not mentioned here, but regardless of the reason(s), these are personal.
GrrlScientist was one of those who did lose access to their entire Google profile (gmail and all) because of the pseudonym issue in Google+.
acroyear: (don't go there)
So there's this piece of the WTC framework that "looks like a cross", and it is right now part of the government-paid memorial as part of the site, intentionally because it looks like a cross and thus has God's Blessings over the site.  An atheist group has filed suit claiming establishment.  I think they have a case, only because (just like creationists on school boards) the words of those who put it there show that it clearly was put up BECAUSE it was a cross, with all the religious implications.

In a comment on FB, I didn't explicitly support the atheists but at least defended James Madison and tried to get the pro-cross type to reconsider why she felt it was necessary for government (or "majority") endorsement of Christianity.  That, of course, got ignored.

What she said that pissed me off?

"this is about putting a part of the building that remained standing back in its original location and it happens to be in the shape of a cross. If that does not tell you that God was looking over them, then what would?"

My answer that I didn't write, but was fucking obvious to me:

"The towers still standing."
acroyear: (oh that's clever)


Slashdot's had an interesting discussion on G+ - it turns out that if you violate their terms of service (generally, the main way is by not using your real name - actors beware!), not only will Google suspend your G+ account, they will (by virtue of the fact that they're all tied together) suspend you from ALL google services, including picasa and gmail.  And in spite of hiring a zillion people, customer service is not anything Google has invested one single dime in: there's nobody to call to get them to reinstate and nobody at google pays attention to the google user forums anymore.

Knowing this kind of an automated, senseless policy, I'll assume that they will tell you they're cutting off your gmail account by sending a mail to your gmail account.
acroyear: (yeah whatever)
Google+ Growing As a Social Backbone - Slashdot:
Why is Google+ growing so quickly?
Because everybody on G+ only had to push one button to become a G+ user because they were already on Google in the first place. If you had gmail, google reader, picasa, google calendar, google documents, any google group, you were already in the unified system.  People don't have to "join" google the way they had to join facebook because they were already there.

If anything, G+ adoption is probably slower than it could have been.
acroyear: (don't let the)
Why You Should Skip This Weekend's Liquidation Sales at Borders:
However, in the time since Borders declared bankruptcy, dealnews has listed 22 coupons for discounts ranging from 30% to 50% off. You heard that right: Everyday Borders coupons offered better savings than the merchant's initial store-closing sales.

Obviously one cannot hope for a coupon this time around, but, if Borders does indeed roll out discounts that are comparable to its initial round of liquidation sales, then it will be offering middling markdowns at best — and in some cases, falling short of its regular post-coupon prices.

The Reason Behind Modest Markdowns

Liquidation sales are often run by an outside party that buys the merchant's remaining stock, resets prices to MSRP, and then begins slashing prices.
Someone noted this article and the 'it'll be 8 weeks before 80% so best to wait' and I left the following:

It is a bit more complicated than that, and certain things "move" at a very precise price-point. The profit margin for a store over wholesale (well, wholesale+distribution) is around 43 percent (a bit more for big-ticket items like washer-dryers, but those have commissions built in). Thus, at 40% off, a place still makes a marginal profit on the sale. The early stage discounts at 10-30% are thus still profitable for all involved. 

Amazon can move for less because they get bulk-rate shipping and simply are a warehouse - they have to pay a ton in software to be able to find everything, but they don't have to make the place actually look nice.  But Amazon pays the same price to the wholesaler for a product that Borders does.

When things hit 30-50, the first batch of 50% items are generally saturated - everybody already has it, and the good stuff is still at 30%. When the good stuff hits 40%, most of it disappears in seconds because that's about the point where someone can grab the stock and make a marginal profit reselling on ebay. Also at the 40% point, some distributors and manufacturers will pay for a recall rather than have the item sell for less and impact their larger market nationwide, so that's the point where a lot of consumer electronics suddenly vanish from the shelves in an instant. It is better for some products to not be on a shelf than it is to be seen priced for 50% and still not moving.

By the time you get the 50-70%, it's either not worth it, or the saturation factor hits (translation: you've already got it, and so does everybody else, or even at that price point you know you don't want it).

Some items I simply never saw at 50% (unless it had a damaged package). I saw at 40, but when 50 was the baseline, that entire section of the shelf was empty. This happened at Tower, Circuit City, and the one Borders nearest me that closed already. So if you really want it, look for the 40% mark and grudgingly accept that somebody's making a profit anyways, because it'll probably be gone in a few days.
acroyear: (waitaminute)
Collegiate Grade Inflation: It's All About Supply and Demand : Mike the Mad Biologist:
So I'll posit that a major factor in grade inflation is the increased competition for graduate school slots. This has led to B's and C's having a much stronger influence on students. At the same time, students have become more willing, when possible, to avoid courses that are graded harder. While it might seem that if everyone is getting high grades, that high grades don't matter. But if you don't have a high GPA, then you stand out as a poor student--there is a rachet effect that pushes grades upwards.

If we want to reduce grade inflation, then we have to stop making grades so critical for acceptance into increasingly selective 'good' graduate programs. Until then, grade inflation it is. The good news, I suppose, is that grades can't get any higher...
acroyear: (schtoopid)
Why 'Psychics' Need to Stop Pretending They Can Solve Crimes |
To truly understand how completely soulless the practice is, consider the reasons why any human being would turn this into a lucrative opportunity: Either they genuinely believe they can save the victim or at least find the body --in which case it's deplorable that they would charge money for information that could save a life-- or they are lying about their ability in order to exploit families at their weakest moment. Either way it's the moral equivalent of stumbling across a car accident and taking money out of the victims' wallets before performing CPR.
acroyear: (don't go there)
Attention, Space Cadets: Do Not Proposition Women in the Elevator | Focal Point | Big Think:
If a female stranger is wary around you, it is not because she suspects you are a rapist, or that all men are rapists. It’s because a general level of circumspection is what vigilance requires. Don’t take it personally.

If this frustrates you, try to remember that women are blamed for lapsed vigilance. If a woman does get raped, everyone rushes to see where she let her guard down. Was she drinking? Was she alone? Was she wearing a short skirt? Did she go to a strange man’s room for coffee at 4am?

A woman must be seen to be vigilant as well as be vigilant. If she is deemed insufficiently vigilant, she will be at least partly blamed for any sexual violence that befalls her. If she’s regarded as downright reckless, that “evidence” can be used to completely exonerate her rapist. If it comes down to a he said/she said dispute over whether sex was consensual, as so many rape cases do, the dispute becomes a referendum on whether the woman seems like the sort of reckless person who would have sex with a stranger.
acroyear: (don't let the)
It was an unofficial experiment but the experience proved insightful. I set up a special screening for a church group in downtown Los Angeles back in the sixties. The motion picture I chose to screen was Walt Disney’s “Song of the South.”

You see, before the heady days of Blue Ray DVDs and video tape the only way one could watch a Disney movie was in the theaters. Should your favorite Disney film not be in release you were out of luck. There was absolutely no other way to enjoy one of Walt’s delightful feature films. There was one exception. Should you happen to be an employee of the Disney Company you could check out a full length feature on 16mm motion picture film. You probably already know where this is going. My audience was African American, and all were gathered together to enjoy this “controversial” Disney movie on a pleasant Saturday evening.

As expected there were laughs, tears and the usual emotions one would expect at a Disney screening. Applause filled the auditorium as the film ended with the on screen logo, “a Walt Disney production.”

Wait a minute! You might ask. Isn’t this the insensitive, offensive racist movie that black people are suppose to hate? Isn’t this the reason the Disney Company continues to keep this delightful tale of the old south under lock and key never to be released? Apparently, my African American audience of the nineteen sixties had gotten beyond that.

I wonder how long it’ll take the Walt Disney Company to do the same?
"Mr. Fun" is Floyd Norman, Disney animator and story man (today, an occasional consultant for Pixar), was named a Disney Legend in 2007, and was the first African-American animator in the Disney studios.


acroyear: (Default)
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