Free Markets, Free People

Miscellaneous


Saturday link-o-rama

Good for thee, but not for me – this administration is, well, just something.  Apparently, lowering taxes to spur economic growth only works in China.  If you suggest it here, well, you’re an extremist:

While making positive comments about the most recent five-year-plan developed by the Communist government of the People’s Republic of China, Undersecretary of State Robert Hormats specifically applauded China’s decision to lower taxes because it would spur economic growth.

Instead you’re going to hear the left double down on income inequality as a prelude to their tax the rich panacea.  When they do, keep this in mind:

“Any analysis of taxes paid in high tax-and-spend countries shows that the U.S. has the most progressive income tax system in the world.”

Speaking of taxes, the inevitable is about to happen in Germany.  Inevitable what?  The inevitable “solution” to an out of control welfare state.  Germany has been much more successful than some of the other European states in putting this off, but apparently the time has come.

GERMANY is proposing to levy extra taxes on the young to pay for the costs of the country’s growing numbers of old people, under government plans for a ”demographic reserve” levy.

The usual political over promise that’s been woefully underfunded.  Of course the same problem exists here as well.

I always say there are only a few polls to watch between elections.  One is the “right track/wrong track” polls that measure whether people think the country is on one or the other tracks .  Real Clear Politics presently has that at 60% wrong track and 33.7% wrong track.

Can anyone ever again consider NBC a news organization?

John Derbyshire hits bottom with this piece of garbage.

The Hill publishes a piece that just takes your breath away.  It is so poorly written and argued you have to wonder if they have been hacked by a 12 year old and just don’t know it yet.

Anti-Semite MJ Rosenberg, of Media Matters For America, resigns and hits the trail – sort of.

When you chum for sharks, what would you expect to show up?

Best first pitch ever.

Egypt (Arab Spring you know) continues to pursue pro-democracy American NGO workers.  The country has requested Interpol arrest them.  This while Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is welcomed in the White House.

Economic “recovery” is slow and weak due to Obama Administration policies.

The annual silliness surrounding membership at Augusta National is upon us.  In a free country you get to run your business the way you want too … and suffer the economic consequences of your decisions.  Forcing Augusta to allow women won’t empower them a bit.  Women starting their own “women’s only” golf club will.  And it certainly isn’t the business of politicians.

Global warming alarmists have almost become pathetic in their desperation.  James Hansen puts the cherry on top of that desperation.

Obama declares “women are not an interest group” although he and the Democrats clearly believe they are and have spun up this phony “war on women” with that in mind.

Finally – the real unemployment rate, as we’ve pointed out for quite some time, isn’t what is officially touted (8.2%).  Instead it is more like 10.9%.

Enjoy your weekend.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Link-o-rama

Sometimes there are a lot of stories out there on a day but few that really spark a need for a lengthy discussion.  Today, at least to this point, is one of those.  Yes, all attention is focused on SCOTUS and the ObamaCare law, but that will be later in the day.

But there are some things I’d like to just hit with a short comment or two.

Such as the fact that Newt Gingrich simply doesn’t know when it’s over.  Hey Newt, it’s over and charging $50 bucks for a campaign photo isn’t going to endear you to those whose support you’re seeking.  And by the way, when the press pulls all their people from your campaign, it’s a sign that even most addle-brained politicians can usually figure out.

Anyone else as appalled at the “love fest” Dick Cheney sparked by having the audacity to accept a heart transplant.  And how about this “bioethicist” who weighed in saying Cheney was “too old” to qualify and shouldn’t have gotten one.  But remember, in the future, there will be no “death panels”.  Newsweek again proves why it’s not worth reading anymore.

Do you remember all the lefties hyperventilating over the rise of militias a while back?  And the Southern Poverty Law Center claiming the they were the internal threat of the future.  That was all driven by a group called the Hutaree militia group out of Michigan.  They were arrested by federal agents and charged with conspiring to commit sedition and conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction among other things.  Yesterday:

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts granted defense requests for acquittal on all charges against five of the defendants and the most serious charges against two others: alleged ringleader David Stone Sr. and his son Joshua Stone.

Acting after prosecutors rested their case, Roberts ruled the government didn’t have enough evidence to back its claims.

Given this DoJ, is anyone surprised?

Under the category, “there is no cure for stupid”, we have some wannabe assassins, to include a former army officer and an active duty soldier, who’ve been plotting to do “wet work” with undercover DEA agents (thinking they were drug cartel members) for a year.  You’ve got to read the story to believe it.  My guess is there are way too many ninja movies in these bozo’s past.

Spike Lee is a dumb ass.

The real reason to push the global warming scare.

Astroturfing Allen West.  Hey, why not?  The professional protesters on the left are always looking for a new gig, especially now that OWS is winding down.

VIPER teams?  Did you know that TSA is now out on the highways and byways?

Zimmerman/Martin case – it has nothing to do with the FL “stand your ground” law.  In fact, it is “legally irrelevant”.

EPA slap down.  Nothing like missing a deadline to act by 3 years.  The court was not impressed.

Have we hit rock bottom on this little charade yet?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Really?

In the world of “hard to swallow” claims, the claim that the architects of the buildings below just had “no idea” this resembled the 9/11 attack on the World Trade center is exactly that:

MVRDV-Towers.preview-570x570

Said the Dutch design firm MVRD, in an English language release:

“It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks,” the designers insist, “nor did we see the resemblance during the design process.”

Really?  I mean, by goodness, look at the design.  You’d have to be an addled 5 day old badger not to see it.

I’m raising the big red BS flag here on this obviously disingenuous claim … especially after this:

The problem with this assertion – apart from its inherent implausibility – is that they have admitted the contrary in Dutch. Thus Jan Knikker of MVRDV told the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, “I have to admit that we also thought of the 9/11 attacks.”

Of course they did, what fool wouldn’t?  Yet they still thought it was a design in good taste and then lied about it when confronted.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Top five public speaking tics that are annoying as Hell

I spend a lot of time in front of an audience. It’s a major source of my income, and if I suck at it, my bank account will feel it.

Since I’m rather fond of my bank account, I try to listen to others who do public speaking, and pick up do’s and don’ts from them. It’s mostly don’ts, I’m afraid, especially from politicians. Our generation has very few good public speakers, and no genuine orators of consequence as far as I know. 

The worst things I see are tics that speakers fall into. They annoy the heck out of me, and probably you too. I try to observe and remember those annoyances, so that I can avoid them in my own delivery.

Here, then are the top five things I notice in public speakers that grate on my nerves. Any of you that need to get in front of a group should try hard to avoid having a single one of these tics even one time in your presentation.

 

1. "…you know…" This is the one I see the most right now. Politicians seem to particularly susceptible to this one, including Obama. Here are a couple of examples from Senator Mark Warner in an interview published just a couple of days ago.

You know, there’s ideas, for example, that I’ve found a tremendous response on that says, you know, we’ve got thousands of schools in our country that are energy inefficient. Why not take folks, particularly young people, 18 to 30 year olds, who’ve been on unemployment for more than 10 or 15 weeks and say, you know, we’re going to continue…

Well, you know, the – I wish I’d say that, you know, I’m extraordinarily optimistic, but, you know, the alternative becomes, you know, if we’re going to look at gridlock, candidly, the whole Congress ought to get fired, because the American people ought to expect us to do our job.

…there are a whole series of things that we could do that, frankly, you know, we do need folks – particularly in the House – to simply stop saying “no” and kind of roll up their sleeves and, you know, try to work together in a bipartisan way.

I doubt Warner even knows he does this, but I find it incredibly annoying when someone speaks like this. You probably do too, so make sure, you know, you’re not doing it.

2. "…like…" Another well known tic is the gratuitous use of "like". Example: "This problem is like really hard to solve. You should like give us some extra time to like figure it out."

Conversational tics go in cycles, and this one is (hopefully) on the decline. At its height five or so years ago, I used to sit in audiences and calculate the "like index", which was the number of times the speaker gratuitously stuck in "like" per minute.

Younger female speakers were and are by far the worst offenders, and for some reason this tic seems to be worse in California. I heard a young lady speak in front of a group a couple of years ago with a "like index" of about fifteen.

Because this one has been around a while, people notice it, and therefore it’s especially important to avoid it. It also has a connotation of youthful cluelessness, which is another very good reason to, like, keep your presentations "like"-free.

3. "…, right?" This one’s fairly recent. I first noticed it about two years ago. Presenters began the tic of inserting the question-tone "right" at the end of about every other sentence. Even some quite good presenters I know picked this up, and I suspect it’s because it became a conversation tic inside Microsoft – the culture there has a tendency towards such tics.

A presentation with the "right?" tic sounds something like this:

"The turboencabulator uses a CPU to encarphalize the singlial signal, right? And that minimizes energy drain by the gristocentrum, right? Compare that to an agilomodelizer. It connects garphal entities to anthrocentic viewlicanters, right?"

Unlike "like" or "you know", I think perhaps one or two "right?" insertions per hour for emphasis might not be too bad. But as a tic inserted in every paragraph, not only is it irritating, after a while the audience begins to wonder if you’re not trying to convince yourself. Right?

4. "…frankly, …" and its relatives. This one has been a favored tic from politicians for years. They like to insert "frankly" every so often in whatever they are trying to get across. You can get as many examples as you like with simple searches. Here’s one for “senator frankly”.

I think they are striving for the implication that they’re being honest with us, which of course for a politician is always an open question. I find it insulting, though. Are they not being honest if they don’t keep inserting "frankly" in every other sentence?

There are variations on "frankly", and some are far worse. Sometimes politicians realize they have used "frankly" too much, and switch to "candidly", which is just as bad. An even worse variant is "To be honest with you…". A really bad variation is the insertion of "trust me", which almost any audience member will interpret as "don’t trust me".

If you believe in what you’re saying, it should come through in your tone and body language. You don’t need to keep reassuring your audience that you’re telling the truth. Unless you’re lying, of course.

5. Overuse or misuse of "literally". I’ve been guilty of this in my writing on occasion, probably because I’m trying to emphasize that I’m really not kidding about something that sounds outrageous. However, I recommend that you never use it in public speaking.

First, it has some of the same problem as "frankly", in that your tone and demeanor should make it unnecessary. Second, there is a bad tendency in present day communication for it to be used naively. Some people apparently don’t understand what the word really means, and they just use it for general emphasis. If you use it, you risk being dumped into the bucket with those folks.

There are others: "a going-forward basis", "incentivize" and other verbicized nouns, switching out perfectly clear terms such as "spending" to something that isn’t really accurate but has a better connotation ("investment"), and other forms of drone-speak. However, it’s the tics that really bother me. I can’t really seen any excuse for them whatsoever in someone who speaks as part of their profession.

If you have to get in front of a group more than once or twice a month, these tics will bother your audiences too. So do your best to banish them from anything you say in front of a crowd or on camera.


Horrific storm night in the South

And an incredible loss of life, especially in hard hit Alabama.

AP is now saying that the death toll for the night stands at 178, with Alabama reporting an incredible 128 deaths.  Mississippi lost 32, Tennessee had 6 dead, 11 in Georgia and 1 in Virginia.

For me it was eventful but mostly sound and fury with thankfully little evident damage (a couple of trees down, etc.)  But the supercell storms that passed to the north of us (we sort of caught the edge) were monsters.  Watching the local TV weather folks until we lost power, the reports were unbelievable.  2 to 2.5” diameter hail (with vid), wind sheers of 115 mph.  Storms moving at 65 to 70 mph.  One report showed over 300 lightning strikes in one of the storms in a 10 minute period.  And the different cells lined up behind each other as they moved NE.  Rome GA got hammered.

There are also estimates of over 130 tornados spawned by these storms. 

I actually learned a lot about these storms watching the local weather people out of ATL.  Imagine the velocity of the winds aloft that can keep hail with a diameter of 2” up there as it forms and then eject it into what they called a “hail core”.  Also, they repeatedly pointed out a trailing hook pattern which indicated tornados.  I was introduced to the BTI which is some sort of rating from 1-10 which goes from “not likely” to “on the ground” when it comes to tornados.  At times the BTI of the storms was 9.9.

I’ll pass on a repeat and I wasn’t even in the worst part.  Probably a result of global warming.

~McQ


Radio Free Internet

If you ever share anything on the web, you know that when you hear an interesting clip of someone speaking — part of an interview, speech, or podcast — you pretty much automatically resign yourself to the fact that it’s hard to share, so it’s unlikely to spread far even among people who you think might like what they hear.

But even that’s getting ahead of ourselves.  How often do you happen upon a piece of audio that says something interesting about the topic you’re researching?  And even when you do find a promising piece of media, is there anything you’d rather do less than sift through it for the useful parts, which you can’t easily break out and share anyway?

These problems can be solved with current technology, and open up new avenues for profit while we’re at it.  That’s what I discuss in a series at the blog of CRAFT | Media / Digital, where I work with QandO founder Jon Henke and one of the earliest bloggers, Sean Hackbarth.

Enjoy, and please share with anyone who might find this a cool idea:

Radio Free Internet

Part I: How Much of the Web Hears You?

Part II: Grasping and Spreading the Word

Part III: Integrating the Spoken Word into the Web


Announcing 3Media Partners LLC

On October 1st of last year, the company I’d worked with for 24 years was sold to a competitor and I, along with most of the work force, were laid off. Such is life. It was the impetus for me to suggest to two others you know well that perhaps it was high time we tried to do something we all love. Thus was born 3Media Partners LLC. The "we" is myself, Dale Franks and Michael Wade.

3Media Partners is an internet marketing and consulting firm. Here’s the short description from the 3Media website:

We provide marketing services that focus on branding, brand management, advocacy, messaging, information and intelligence research for political and corporate clients using the social media as well as other online means. 3Media also partners with corporate and political communications departments and other media companies to help run online grassroots and grasstop outreach, pushback, advocacy and messaging campaigns.

So, the short and sweet is, we’re here and we’re in business. While readers here may not be in the market for our services, perhaps you know of someone looking for them. A referral would be appreciated. Contact information is available on the 3Media site.


9/11 – FDNY’s Lt. David Halderman Jr.

A post I did in September of 2006, originally entitled “September 11th, 2001 – “We Lost David”.  It is the ongoing fulfillment of a promise made in the last sentence of the post.  This is what 9/11 should be about.

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Each week I do a tribute on Boston’s WRKO 680am called “Someone You Should Know” about a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman who’s been awarded a medal for valor in combat. Those medals represent their actions above and beyond the call of duty. But, as we all know, valor and courage aren’t exclusive to the military or combat. And no better example of that is what the courageous men and women of fire, rescue and police did that awful day in September of 2001 when terrorists attacked our country by flying commercial aircraft into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

A few weeks ago I signed on to an effort called the “2996 Project” organized by a blog to do a tribute to each and every one of those who died on that day. Three thousand bloggers are participating. The names were assigned randomly. When you signed up, you got whoever was next.

I was honored to draw the name of David Halderman Jr.

Of course, I never knew David Halderman. I’d never previously seen his name or if I had, it never registered beyond that of a person who’d died that day in those barbaric attacks. But when I began to research David, I found a man for whom my admiration and respect knew no bounds.

You see, David Halderman was a firefighter with Squad 18 of FDNY.

On that grim day in September, FDNY lost 343 of its finest who, disregarding their own safety, rushed toward the scene of the disaster while others were running away. It is estimated they saved over 20,000 souls that day. In the finest tradition of firefighters everywhere, they never hesitated. David Halderman, Jr. was among them.

Squad 18 is located in Greenwich Village. When the towers were hit, Squad 18 responded immediately. All seven firefighters on duty that morning were lost.

A visitor to New York just prior to 9/11 happened to remember Squad 18 for a particular reason:

This past Labor Day weekend, one of the youngest attendees, my nephew Beau, was walking with his mom and aunt past Firehouse #18 in Greenwich Village. Beau asked if they could stop. Three firefighters took the time to show Beau and his sister the fire truck and posed for some pictures.

Among the three firefighters who so made those visitors feel so welcome was David.

After returning home to Alaska, and following the terrible events of 9/11, Beau asked his mom if the guys in the picture were OK. After checking back with Squad #18, and showing them the picture, my sister in New York learned that “Chris and Harry made it. We lost David.” The photograph was the last picture taken of him.

As I looked further and further into the life of David Halderman, I found a man who was worthy of love, admiration and respect. He was a 2nd generation firefighter, following in the footsteps of his father and namesake who had very recently died. His brother also was with FDNY.

The fact that he’d taken time out of his day to spend with a young visitor from Alaska seemed something completely in character for him. The fact he’d responded immediately to the disaster of the World Trade Center came as no surprise either. His mother remembers the night before:

On Monday night, David Halderman called his mother in Brentwood to comfort her, as he has done regularly since his father died on Aug. 8.

“I asked him to have a good night, to be careful, to be safe, and I told him I loved him,” his mother, Geraldine Halderman, said. “That was the last time I spoke to him.”

“I love you, take care of yourself.” That was how David Halderman always ended his telephone conversations with his mother.

The next day fate and tragedy took David Halderman while performing the duty to which he’d dedicated his life:

On Tuesday morning, Halderman, a firefighter with Engine-Squad 18 in the West Village, entered the World Trade Center to help victims escape. He is now among the missing city firefighters.

“He was in the building when it collapsed,” Geraldine Halderman said. “They found his helmet. That’s all they found.”

The helmet was identified by its badge – No. 10652, the same badge number used by Halderman’s late father.

Where do we get such men? In the face of every human instinct which tells us to flee, they resist that and walk into danger, risking their lives to help others escape and live. Courage and valor are rare commodities. That’s why we revere and reward them. Those attributes were displayed by hundreds of the fire and rescue people who responded with David Halderman Jr. on that grim and horrid day in September of 2001. As a nation watched in stunned horror, men like David were saving lives.

A few days ago, David’s mother left this message on his memorial site:

Dear David, Five Years! My son you are in my thoughts and prayers every day. I have moved from the house where you grew up,it was too much for me alone. I carry all my memories in my heart. I know you are with me always, you are the voice within me that says “don’t be afraid” when I am sad or anxious. The ache in my heart remains, dulled with time but always present even through the laughter and happy times. There have been weddings and a birth since you left us,and you have been missed so much and remembered at those times. I love you forever.
Mom

Life goes on but the hurt never goes away, and mothers suffer a special agony which comes with losing their children. But we are all poorer for the loss of David and those like him. It is they who define what is good and right about us. It is they who show us what man can be. It is they who give us hope for the future.

September 11th is the day to remember those, who like David Halderman Jr., gave their lives in the service of others. I didn’t know David Halderman before this year. But I do now. He was a man to both admire and respect. And every subsequent September 11th I will remember and honor his name. It is the least we can do for the heros among us.

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