Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Security Flaw On Yahoo Search Engine

Alright, I openly admit it, I am an idiot. I can’t spell, type, or really even skip and chew gum worth a crap. Not only am I an idiot, but I am dyslectic, and the problem that lead to this post is, I often look at my hands when I type.

What has happened on occasions is that I click on “big blue ‘E’” to open Internet Explorer. When I do that, sometimes I triple click accidentally. This especially happens when the computer is having an especially difficult time opening the browser. Eventually my default page opens up, I select the “MAIL” button, and the “User Name” and “password” text boxes appear waiting for my input. My gaze falls on my fingers and I start to type away with my “user name” and “password”. When I finish, I hit the “enter” key. Then I return my gaze to the screen only to find while I wasn’t looking, the second explorer window open and a new default yahoo page at the search engine appears. I saw my username and password entered into the search text box, and I saw the bars filling in at the bottom of the screen proving that a search of my user name and password was in fact being conducted. I think to myself, “you dummy when are you going to learn not to look at your fingers when you type.” Other then that I didn’t think anything of it.

Then today, I did this on a computer with the yahoo “search assistant” enabled. For obvious reasons, (like people who disagree with me would bombard my e-mail account with hate mail) I do not want to post it here. However you could currently put my username in a yahoo search engine and it would suggest my user name followed by my old password. Just as I had accidentally searched for it before. In writing this blog I tried to use a search for “testusername” and the “password” followed immediately. However the program works, it currently doesn’t compile the data immediately.

So be aware. If you are ignorant like me, and accidentally enter your user name and password into a search engine, then change it immediately. They never forget.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Guiliani, There Is A Big Difference Between A City and a Country

When on his stump Giuliani always mentions that He was the Mayor of a city, one of the biggest no doubt, but still just a city. There are a lot differences between running a city and making decisions that effect an entire country the size of The United States. How you approach taxes, finances, and even the response to an attack such as 9-11 are completely different mindset.

The best way to exemplify this point would probably be to compare the role of a defense attorney as opposed to that of the prosecutes.(This is based on the defined respective roles and expecting that both aren't self serving low life weasels.) As a defense attorney you are commissioned to advocate for just one person. Your job is to get your client out of whatever trouble they are in, or to minimize the effect of the trouble. The approach you take is simply to cast doubt. This is like a city mayor. Your job is to represent just a city with no regard to the people outside of your area. You have no concern what effect your actions have on say Dallas, Texas. Your policies might actually negatively on these other cities. This is a reality that is often true of surrounding cities. However, a prosecutor has a job to get to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. His job is to represent the people and all of the people. The irony is one of those people he represents if actually the defendant. The prosecutor has to be extremely certain that he is charging the right defendant. If he is not he is failing the defendant who is one of the people he has been appointed to represent, and he is failing the community by not taking the right criminal off the street. This is how a country is regulated. Each decision you make at the presidential level will have complexed outcomes. A good president has to reconcile the negatives and the positives to the most encompassing outcome.

Often Rudy cites that in New York City he was able to lower taxes and generate an increase in income of the city's economy. Well yah!! that is what cities do to generate interest in their city over another city. Say I have a tech company that can really be located anywhere. I could either locate in say Newark, NJ or New York, NY. A web design company could just as easily set up in Siberia as Silicone Valley. If I had a million dollar pre-tax company that generated about a million a year and Newark had a tax rate of 5% and New York had one of say 2.5%. where are you going to establish your business? You are going to have a $25,000 savings just by locating in New York. Not to mention all the benefits of being located that close to other companies. Nice fringes there. Those “fringes are important when taxes rates are equal between Newark and New York. If you lower taxes as a mayor you might screw your neighboring city, but who cares.

If you lower taxes as a president. You could very well remove an option of a city like Newark to control their own economy in a way in which to compete with New Yorks natural fringe benefits.
Giuliani was Mayor during the 90's. Everybody was making money then. The stock market and tech boom was in full swing. If anything He should have raised taxes in an attempt to save some money for tougher times.

Secondly as a mayor in a time of crisis your job is to calm your city and become an advocate for your people. As a president you need to look at the impact the crisis has caused as a whole, determine what needs to be done that is in the best interest of the whole country, and make long term plans to thwart the same disaster from happening again. On 9-11 Giuliani's job was to make some moving speeches, appear collected and confident, grant overtime to all departments that needed it and talk bad about those who had attacked them. The president has to see the grand scheme of things. He has to ask the questions, “how did this happen”, “Why did our intelligence miss it”, “could it happen again”, “how can we assure that it doesn't happen again”? As president you have to get on and make all the regret filled “we are going to get to the bottom of this and hold everybody responsible”. In reality your biggest concern as a leader is to try and keep the fear and uncertainty from spreading across the country. (obviously this is something that the current administration not only failed to do, but capitalized on encouraging the unnecessary fear.)

So Rudy, just because you can run a lemonade stand doesn't mean that you can be CEO of McDonald's. If anything it could mean that you aren't qualified. The decisions you make as a mayor are often 180 degrees out of sync with what you need to do as a president.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

This is Their Best Economic Stimulus Package?

So the president, congress, and the senate are all close to agreeing on an economic stimulus package. There is one thing you can know for certain. If they all agree, we all are about to get screwed. The idea they have concocted makes no sense of course.

If I got the basic outline of what is being proposed it is this. They are going to send everybody in the middle class to poor income brackets. As I understand it, there are figures being thrown around of anywhere between $300 and $600 per working family member, and maybe a little more if you have a kid or two. They are also going to make available a bunch of money for business. The idea is they will put money into the hands of people who will spend it right away. When they spend it, it will create economic flow and get the system started again. Business will see an increased need to expand, and they will hire more people. This in turn will generate more cash for people to put back into the system.

Great!! The concept seems right on paper. Here is the problem. The reason for the economic woes of today is that Americans are in debt over their heads. Thus the sub-prime loans catastrophe, bankruptcy and foreclosure problems, and credit card debt situations. economically stated 80% of America's individual families have a net worth ratio of less then 1. Simply stated, the average family owes more money then they have guaranteed. If the bank they owe loans to, credit card companies, and mortgage companies all called in their debts today, 80% of Americans couldn't meet their obligations.

So, if they are given $1200 extra dollars back in taxes, the smart ones will pay down their credit cards, car loans, or apply and/or save it for their mortgage. The not as economically aware will spend it on A) actually keeping up with their monthly obligations and B) on one big purchase that they will probably put half of it on credit. Two months after the refund the problem will still exist. It is the system that is broke, not the contents that flows through it. This is kind of like adding transmission fluid to your leaky car. In the end there will still be a pooling of money in the wealthiest pockets.

The problem with giving money to business is that congress has had a problem with controlling that money in a way that is healthy for the economy. As an example I offer the SUV loophole. For years a tax exemption called “rapid deduction” existed in the business tax laws. This allowed business who bought a vehicle weighing more then 80,000 pounds to rapidly deduct up to $10,000 a year. The idea was to spur business growth by allowing companies to buy dump trucks, semis, and other work type trucks. However with the introduction of the SUV and the Heavy duty personal pick-up trucks made vehicles that fit that bill. Under the republican legislators and the current administration that loophole was increased to $100,000. That made it possible for a person who owns a small plumbing company to buy a SUV like a Hummer and claim it was for business use. They would effectively get a free Hummer. Another control gap also exists. Those that start business often get product from overseas or employ illegal immigrants. This stipends the impact of money injected through trickle down economics.

So I will gladly cash my extra $1200, but it will go to pay for outstanding medicals bills from my daughters birth, pay some credit debt, and save for the future shortcomings. No new money will enter the system from me. So what are our brilliant leaders going to do to fix the system? By the way, does anybody know where this extra money is going to come from?

“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.” - Thomas Sowell

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Economic Stimulus: Republicans, Democrats Are Both Wrong

There are two basic perspectives on the way to “stimulate” the economy. Of course that is Dependant on whether you are of a democratic or republican persuasion. Neither will actually supply long term economic correction. It might help to take a look back at the earlier post here.

Simply stated the Republicans think if you don’t collect as much money from the tax paying public, they will spend it on stuff that will create jobs, which will put more money into the pockets of more people who will spend it, and in turn create more jobs and prosperity. The problem is that in the end tax savings money either goes to back to rich people who don’t need anymore big screen TV’s produced by some company in , or it goes to a family that has already bought the big screen TV and uses the money to pay it off. If they don't they just go further in debt and creating a bigger problem. Effectively this will not correct the problem. The problem is that people can’t afford to buy food shelter and clothing and other things that they need. They also can't afford the things they don't need but they want it anyway. That has not stopped people from charging these desired goods and services. If you did take a peak at that economic model, then tax reduction will only contribute to the pool of already stagnate cash flow. Smaller amounts might make it through a few cycles before eventually being dumped there.

The democrats have the brilliant idea of taxing people more. They especially have their eyes set on people in the upper income brackets. If reducing taxes leaves more money to the wealthy, then increasing is a way to force them to give up some of that wealth they are hoarding. The problem is that when the government bureaucracy takes money, they are the ones tasked with spreading in a way that is fair and “stimulating.” Most of their ideas are to put it back into t he system by extending unemployment benefits, food stamp, and welfare programs. The trouble is that this is just bailing out the Titanic with a sand bucket. Look, if you are on welfare, having an extra 6 months of free food, you are not going to create jobs by doing what you have already been doing for the past year. At best you are going save the jobs of those people who are already working for 6 more months. Brilliant. So when that runs out you are further in debt and the problem still exist. Referring to the economics model again, one can see that taxes operate outside the economy. Ultimately they just end up returning cash flow back to the same pool as it had left. Unlesd you tax the rich until the system represents more of a communistic model, it will not correct our current crisis.

If congress wants more money to allocate, it could first try not spending money it doesn’t need to spend. Money spent on wars and special interest programs. The government itself is in debt, and it wants to help us out? Bring home the troops, stop spending money like a drunken sailor abroad, and start forcing companies to pay tariffs where labor is disparaging. I am not asking to give the America laborer an advantage, just give him a level playing field.

The economic stimulus that the economy so desperately needs is not one of redistributing the actual dollars. It is one redistributing the actual wealth in a fair and democratic way. Those of you who have read my posts before know that my biggest stump is one that reorganizes the wage compensation in this country. Only when the top and bottom are forced to have relative growth can congress do anything to get a handle on the economy. A minimum percentage as a replacement for minimum wage is no longer a suggestion, it is now a requirement.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

’08 Elections And A Plee To The Baby Boomers

I know it is early, there is no reason to get our panties all bunched up. However, the sentiment is one that has occurred to me over the past 6 years or so. The two winners at the New Hampshire primary gleaned their votes predominantly from people over 45. If the trend continues it seems that people under 30, often, who stand by and watch, are coming out in droves.

The boomers still represent the largest sector of the voting constituency. They also seem to be the ones most influenced by cheap marketing gimmicks like catch phrases and crying for the camera. “Experience” equals “I have been in the pockets of Washington lobbyists for a longer period of time.” “Change” from their mouth equals “back to the way it was last time”.

Since before the boomers reached voting age, we have had a major conflict every 20 years. In between conflicts have been periods of economic disparity. The boomers claim to fame, champion of the political arena was Bill Clinton. While Washington in the 90's was claiming the policies were the reason for the United States economic boom, those of us who were under 30 were actually making it happen in spite of the huge strains on the system. The economic sucess of the 90's should be credited to the Bill Gates, Andy Bechtolsheim, Vinod Khosla and Scott McNealy, plus Bill Joy, and the Tim Berners-Lee's. Not to mention the IEEE, ASCII, and all of silicone valley made making money in the 90's easier then hunting deer in a Kentucky state park. For god's sake, we made a publicly traded company that sold dog food!! Bills few attempts at influencing the economy were misguided at best. Think NAFTA here.

I do have good things to say about Bill Clinton, but not here. Here is where I tell you to forget the nostalgia, it was puff. That last 8 year have really put us in a pickle and we need the best and sharpest minds thinking outside the box.

Then there is McCain. Pretty much McCain voters are represented by the last remaining sector of the population that still believe Saddam had WMD, Iraq was required, you can have a war against and emotion such as "terror", and trouncing around the middle east killing and even occasionally raping and murdering, is the best way to stop a group of people that make up about 1% of a population from taking cheap sucker punches at us. This is all done while encouraging gaping holes in our border and looking the other way as millions of people come crawling into our country with out question. You also have to hold the belief that the only thing that makes you American is that location of soil in which you were born on. Protecting the freedom of speech, liberty, movement, and religion are only afterthoughts. American can be enslaved by the environment, finances, education, and disparity, but as long as they have land to stand on they are still Americans. This is pretty much what you would have to believe to be a McCain Supporter.

Hillary at 61 and McCain at 72 are way to old to get a grasp on what is going on out there in the cultural world. Those of us who have grown up with the internet as a constant no longer view countries, race, and governments the same way. It is a positive effect of a virtual world that has none of those. We now live in a word where one of your best friends could be a half a world away, not speak your language, and lives under a completely different governmental and belief structure. It doesn’t matter because we both like the same rock band, sport, or school subject.

So I guess what I am saying to the "Baby Boomers" is that you have had your time. Normally we are not at such dire straights. Your generation has brought us to this point. You have raised us sensible enough to take care of your needs. We understand that you need more social security benefits, bigger signs, and better health care. So do we. We also know that you don't get computers and that signing up for programs, voting, and traveling via the computer is something you will never completely grasp. Right now we need you to sit down, shut up, and trust us. That means we don't need your old hags with Washington "experience" and "change" back to the same again.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New Hampshire: Reading Between The Poles

I really Haven't weighed in on the race for the nominations. I have been wanting to compile some data about each of the candidates and time has been an enemy lately. A quick summary of what I would place my bets on is this. The presidency is the democrats to win. The only thing they could do to screw that up would be to nominate Hillary Clinton to run against pretty much any republican. The only republican that could have actually lost to Clinton would have been Giulliani. The republicans seem to have dispatched with their weakest link immediately. The democrats are doing the one thing they seem to be good at, screwing up a free lunch.

Briefly, this is my take. There are so many people who still have a gritty taste for the Clintons and what their trailer park antics did to the integrity of the white house in the 90's. against the backdrop of the past 8 years it seems trivial. However, a country hungry for a divergence away from politics as usual has forgiven but not forgotten. The idea that an election of another Clinton would mean a 24 year old person would have lived their entire life under the rule of either a Bush or a Clinton is not appealing. There are many reasons why this is true. many of them are logical and sensible, some just based on a blow job in the oval office. Many former republicans, including myself, voted for George Bush because of the desire to distant ourselves from the antics of the 90's. Most aware people understand that the economic boom of the 90's was in spite of Bill Clinton and not because.

So what does the results all mean? It means that the people who support Hillary are staunch supporters that are sold on the nostalgia of the 90's. The rest of the people voting for the rest of the democratic field are longing for a real, dare I say it, “change” in direction. I do not know a single person who is torn about who is considering different candidates includes Hillary in that consideration. Most of them are selecting the candidate that they feel will beat Hillary. It is my belief that if all of the other candidates dropped out, Barrack would win the nomination hands down. The same could be said about Edwards and maybe even Richardson.

Look between the lines at the poles and see that those voting for Barrak and the less successful candidates you will see that it is the young and normally independent voters. As we look at the results of New Hampshire and ponder what would happen if the winners there were the nominations it would be interesting. First, since most of the country had counted John McCain, I hadn't considered him. He represents the continuation of the Bush foreign policy that is edging us closer to WWIII. If these two were to be the nominees, then a strong independent candidate will emerge. It will certainly be a factor most likely to divide the democrats and have a repeat of the 2000 election where the republicans were able to trick their way into the White House because of the small margin.

Reading between the poles, both states have had a turn out of young and independent voters. People so hungry for change that they put down the remote control, walked away from American Idol, and voted. These individuals are voting overwhelmingly for somebody who has not the normal Washington approach. If the democrats offer only the same old, these voters will at best stay home on election day convinced that either candidate will be equally bad. Who could blame them.

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