A “pretty shameful day for Washington”? No. Our founders would be proud.
This is the way Washington was designed to work. The Executive branch shouldn’t get its way just because it wants it. Instead, the system of checks and balances ensures that the will of the elected one doesn’t override the will of the elected many.
So go stomp your feet, cry, throw a temper-tantrum, and vow to defeat the Constitution using some end-around play, but this is the way it’s supposed to be.
We will mourn the dead—the two who have died. An innocent child. A bystander.
It’s sad for all of us.
We will not, however, mourn the 40 people who were murdered during the last 24 hours. We will not, however, mourn the 90 people who died in auto accidents in the last 24 hours.
And we certainly will not hear of the 3,000+ abortions provided yesterday.
What has this country come to that the deaths of 3,130 people is mundane? Why are we not remembering these deaths as a tragedy as well? Where’s the outrage? Where’s the gut-wrenching reaction of our media over these deaths, the same media who are ignoring the outrageous tragedy of Kermit Gosnell’s war on life?
I don’t discount the tragic nature of these two deaths. Their deaths are truly tragic. Every life is precious and worth being sorrowful for the loss thereof. But so, too, are the deaths of the other 3,130.
Let’s mourn them all, shall we?
If you haven’t read of the horrors of Kermit Gosnell, an unlicensed doctor performing late-term baby-killing abortions, then don’t be surprised. The liberal media has determined that you don’t need to know about it. Don’t click if you have a weak stomach.
“But Bill!” you say. “I thought late-term baby-killing abortions are illegal! Why did he perform them?”
To which I reply, “This is the same mentality that gun control advocates have. ‘If we ban scary weapons, they won’t exist and kids will be safer!’”
As my friend Darren would say, Good luck with that.
I’ve been reading through 1 Samuel recently on my year-long adventure through the Bible, and I am amazed at the intimacy God has with His people through these ancient days. They pray, He listens, and He responds. It’s a very close relationship, and one I want to experience as well. Last Saturday night, I was blessed to experience a level of intimacy with Him which I’d not yet encountered, and for reasons you’ll know in a minute, it’s my responsibility to share it with you.
It begins with a car, a 2004 Mercedes-Benz E320 4Matic (W211)1 which has recently begun to refuse to start. The conditions are kinda’ odd: it’ll start right up if I try immediately after I arrive somewhere, but after 15, 30, 45 minutes it won’t start. A bit later (maybe an hour after I turn off the engine?), it will start just fine. Weird, huh?
The story continues with a bottle of vodka or, rather, a nearly-empty bottle of vodka. I was in the mood for a martini last Saturday night, not a martiny, so I headed down to Village Sprits where I found Rick to be out of the vodka I prefer. (Why it matters I don’t know, because I make mine dirty and the olive brine masks just about any subtle flavors of the vodka.) “No problem. We’ll have a case for you on Tuesday.” (Er, Rick? I only need one bottle…) So I left.
Except that I didn’t go anywhere. The car, parked between Papa T’s and VSOP, refused to start, pulling its usual cranking without ignition problem. Now, the last time this happened and I was out somewhere, I hypothesized that the fuel filter is a bit clogged (I’m sure it is) and that pointing the car downhill would solve the problem. On that occasion, I coasted around a bit, the nose of the car was pointed downhill, and it started right up.
This time, not so much. And worse, I was blocking two parking spaces. My only option was to continue coasting into a space in front of The Electric Blue, Tolland’s infamous topless bar.
And that’s where I sat in the glare of the parking lot lights wondering just how it would look when my car was seen there on Sunday morning with the stickers on the back which identify it very much as mine (an Apple apple, a bicycle, a Felt logo, a palmetto and crescent, and my—ahem—Christian fish). “Huh. Bill got drunk at The Blue. At least he had the sense to have someone else drive him home.” Yeah… that’s going to go over well in town politics…
So I did something I don’t see fit to do very often: I asked God directly for help. They did it all the time in the Old Testament, so why not now? But as I did so, I wondered to myself exactly why He’d help me. After all, if I turned the key and it started up, I’d go home and say, “Guess what I did? I got my car going. I figured it out. I did it!” instead of giving God the glory for helping me out of that situation. I guess I figured that this time would have to be different. So I turned the key.
And it didn’t start.
Hmm. I decided that God must have a purpose in this, and that I’d try turning the key every five minutes because I’d noticed that the temperature gage was falling an appreciable amount and I hoped it was temperature related. In the meantime, I Googled “E320 W211 won’t start hot” and there are a lot of posts about how the crankshaft position sensor (CPS) fails to work when it’s warm, but works when it’s cool or hot and how there was a code P0335 on the computer when that happens. Huh. This was new information to me.
Another five minutes elapsed and as the car tried to crank for its usual five seconds, it started after 4-one-thou… seconds of cranking!
I drove home, thankful and thanking God for delivering me from the valley of the shadow of the Electric Blue (and Subway, to be fair). I got out my OBDII scanner and whaddaya know? Code P0335 was reported.
Let’s review: I prayed, God listened, and He responded. I’m going to take a guess at His purpose in this, too: I think He knows me well enough to know that I’d go home and tell the story, giving God the glory He deserves. On top of that, He revealed to me the problem with my car and saved me much frustration, time and money.
And that’s why I’m writing this, not because I owe it to God, but because I want to let you know that He is alive and well, that He listens, and that He is not so busy dealing with the world-shaking stuff to pay attention to your problems. So, as the psalmist says, “Let everything that has Internet access and a blog host praise the Lord!”
…or something like that.
1 I’m not putting this in here to brag. I had initially just written “a 2004 model” and was going to leave it at that. But then I thought if I put in the specific model, others may find the answer to their problem, too, whether automotive or spiritual in nature.
Where are the conservatives? Where’s one single voice of reason?
“There’s no immediate debt crisis, Boehner says, agreeing with Obama” - latimes.com
We may as well give up. This is ridiculous.
I know, I know… Correlation is not causation. But do you really think Adobe engineers weren’t fried when they designed their installers?
iOS 6 added a Reminders app, and I use it in spite of the awful interface. (The “on/off” switches for “Remind Me On a Day” and “Remind Me At a Place” are particularly awkward, and why doesn’t checking off a task make it go away?)
I have a daily reminder at 7:30pm to remind me about a task. Sometimes I do it early and check it off as being done. (Yay, me!) Strangely, reminders then reminds me at 7:30 that same night to do the task… and shows it as needing to be done at 7:30 tomorrow. It also shows up in the Reminders list as needing to be done at 7:30pm tomorrow, though it just reminded me about it at 7:30pm today.
Yes, a bug. An annoying bug.
Update: I can’t reproduce the bug. So I’ll delete my event and hopefully that’ll solve the problem.
In a fascinating excerpt from his book, frog design’s Hartmut Esslinger recounts his days at Apple. The most interesting quote, to me, is this one which cautions against everything which happened at Apple between 1986 and 1996, and against analysts’ “visions” for Apple in the coming years:
Most importantly, I explained, Apple needed one design team that directly reported to him, and that design had to be involved far ahead of any actual product development in Apple’s strategic planning. This system would enable Apple to project new technologies and consumer interactions for years ahead, which would avoid shortsighted ad-hoc developments.
Click over to Fast Company and read the rest.
I’ve been reading The Motley Fool since Apple’s remarkable tanking two weeks ago. So far, Fool has been consistent in its observations regarding the irrational behavior of the market—namely, that what happened was nuts.
Here’s the money quote from today’s article:
There is only one basic truth why the market suddenly fell out of love with Apple, and that is exuberant expectations. The market expected Apple to grow at a double digit rate, each and every year. This, of course, is unsustainable. Because fear and greed are such dominant emotions in the market, a little sense of disappointment quickly turned into aggressive selling. It has nothing to do with the business or spirit of the company; it has everything to do with the minds and emotions of investors.
Keywords to note: fear, greed, emotions. If you have no stomach for these, you have no business investing in the stock market.
Because Apple is notoriously secret.
Because Wall Street and the mainstream media will believe and regurgitate nearly anything the rumor mill produces.
Because the stock’s value is not tied to reality.1
Because Wall Street AAPL analysts are used to asking for a Red Ryder BB gun and getting a pony instead.
Because Wall Street AAPL analysts are disappointed when they ask for a Red Ryder BB gun and get a Red Ryder BB gun (with a compass in the stock) instead.2
Because Apple hasn’t dominated the China market yet.
Because it might never go back up to $700 per share.
Because Steve Jobs died and Tim Cook is obviously failing.
Because Apple has only had several record-breaking quarters in a row.
Because Windows Phone will surely dominate the market.
Because the iPhone 5 hasn’t been replaced by a bigger iPhone yet.
Because Apple is only selling more phones in a day than Google sells in two months, because Android is taking over the world, and because nobody makes money from it.
Because the Apple HDTV hasn’t started shipping yet.
1 None are, really, but AAPL less so than most.
2 Christmas morning at their houses must be interesting.
Am I the only person who recognizes and loathes the verbal tic “Say, ‘Hey…’”?
Bob: So we could get together and say, “Hey, what’s wrong with the part?”
If you notice yourself doing it, you could simply eliminate the entire fictitious dialog.
The example again, improved:
Bob: We could get together and discuss what’s wrong with the part.
I responded to an article posted on Forbes.com which is generating a lot of traffic and is being cited far and wide. Unfortunately, the original article is fraught with problems, not the least of which is that neither the subject MIT professor nor the author is an expert in the systems in question—or even aviation, for that matter—and that they are both speculating about the cause, the fix, or the likely result is nothing more than fortunetelling. You’d do better to use a Magic 8 Ball.
Here is my response:
I am disappointed in this reporting. It is sensationalistic, purely speculative, and does not deserve the bandwidth it is generating on the internet.
While Professor Sadoway certainly has the credentials to understand and comment upon Li-ion batteries, he has no firsthand knowledge of the failure. Though the article says as much, it is clear that this professor and Mr. Cohan are seeking an ill-deserved spotlight.
Mr. Cohan regurgitates Sadoway’s speculation about a total redesign of the battery pack to incorporate a different technology—without mentioning that other technologies are also fraught with problems such as high levels of self discharge, perhaps not a desired characteristic of a backup battery. Boeing or its subtier supplier almost certainly considered all available technologies and weighed the benefits, risks and costs of each one. Professor Sadoway, unless he was directly involved in these decisions (which neither his publications nor partnerships implies he was), probably should not be speculating on what Boeing should or should not have done.
Furthermore, Mr. Cohan implies that Boeing is being cheap in its choice of pack design without understanding the design considerations which were required of the pack. (“More holes” does not necessarily mean “less expensive.” It just means there are more holes.) He further implies that a few pounds here or there is insignificant without considering the weight targets promised to the airlines and the trades required to meet these targets—and the financial penalties of not meeting those targets. Though these assertions should be made if indeed they are true, consulting a battery expert whose knowledge of the event and of the design is limited (at best) and whose expertise is not in the field of the assertions is poor reporting practice.
Mr. Cohan is listed as a contributor to Forbes.com and has quite a list of credentials, and I do not question either his or Professor Sadoway’s expertise in their respective fields. However, the result of a financial expert’s quoting a battery expert about a subject on which neither is an expert nor of which either has first-hand knowledge is tantamount to journalistic malpractice. Even though Mr. Cohan is not necessarily a credentialed member of the press, given that this article is being quoted far and wide, it is incumbent upon the editors of Forbes.com to vet this sort of reporting and ensure that it is either improved with substantial facts or is deleted for lack of substantive content.
(Disclosure: I am an electrical engineer working for a major aerospace corporation—and I hold a long position in the corporation—which has significant content on the 787. I do not, however, have any direct involvement in the event. I’m not even sure who makes the pack; my company may make it, for all I know. That having been said, my point here is purely regarding the lack of journalistic quality found in this article, and I will not veer off into technical territory because I have no experience or knowledge of the matter.)
This is the same speculative reporting that the Wall Street Journal took part in when citing unsubstantiated rumor about the iPhone 5 production cuts in the last few months, and it drives me absolutely nuts.
(Magic 8 Ball says “Reply Udvar-Hazy, try again”.)
And Apple shares tumble 5% in after-hours trading… because Wall Street traders are idiots.
Apple beat their estimates. iPhone 5 sales beat the low end of their estimates. Earnings were “flat” even though they increased.
It’s about time. These three guys are the hardest-working, most fan-oriented, best musicians in the business.
Citing nothing more than a seat-of-the-pants hunch, Eccles Chief Analyst and Bottlewasher Bill Eccles upgraded his rating of Apple Incorporated from “Wow!” to “Buy a lot!” In keeping with the Wall Street Analyst Code of Conduct, though, he cited meaningless statistics and rumor to validate his change in rating.
Eccles said, “I see about half of Wall Street saying it’s a ‘hold’ (Wall Street lingo for ‘Run for the exits!’) and the other half of Wall Street saying ‘buy’ (Wall Street lingo for ‘Buy’). With this kind of volatility, I’ve got to cover my shorts and longs and encourage people to buy the stock. You know, because I have some skin in this game, too.” He further cited the incredibly strong sales of iPhones of all models, which are meaningless unless you look at the profit they generate for Apple (which has not commented and will not comment until later today), as further evidence that Apple is doing just, as he put it, “hunky dory.”
Discounting the naysayers who clearly don’t have a clue and are debunked thoroughly about Apple’s product cycles, he added, “Look, it’s all about consumer sentiment. iPhones are still the hottest product out there and they have nothing but room to grow. While Samsung is making inroads into the market, the average consumer doesn’t see this as a zero-sum game, as ‘If Samsung wins, Apple loses’. No, this is more about an ever-expanding market for smartphones in which both Samsung and Apple can win.”
When asked about Microsoft’s phones, he replied, “Microsoft? They make a phone?”
He went on to say that the iPad mini’s dominance in the marketplace has not undercut iPad sales, either. “You buy the one you want.” Citing as evidence he stated, “My mom just got an iPad 4. (Hi, Mom!) With 64GB of storage, too. I mean, she could have bought a mini, but she went all out and bought the full pull. In a family of cutting-edge technologists, this is clearly evidence that the iPad is alive and well.”
When it was pointed out that he has a hand-me-down iPad 2, “which is nothing to sneeze at,” he replied that “I am my own prediction’s fulfillment. APPL has nothing but upside.”
When asked about Microsoft’s tablet, he replied, “Microsoft? They make a tablet, too? Sheesh, the things you learn…”
This statement may contain forward-looking statements derived from Magic 8-Ball or other sources and should not be construed as investment advice.
Since micro-outsourcing refers to small companies who outsource, I hereby introduce the term nano-outsourcing, which refers to when a single worker outsources as this guy did.
Quite frankly, about the only reason the guy should be fired that I can find is because he broke just about every rule in the intellectual property, export control and IT departments’ books. But otherwise…
Public debate in Washington has deteriorated into Sesame Street sing-a-longs.
Whereas “We [will] take real steps to make our kids and our communities safer”;1 and
Whereas media and the entertainment industries play a central role in glorifying the violence in our society, in popularizing the violence being exhibited in our schools, and in making combatting this problem nearly impossible anywhere other than the front lines; and
Whereas student populations in schools cannot possibly be protected by signs declaring schools to be “gun free zones”; and
Whereas gun controls have been shown to be largely, if not completely, ineffective in stemming the tide of gun-related deaths;2 and
Whereas the most effective means of protecting our school children is likely to be armed personnel stationed in the schools; and
Whereas the Connecticut state budget is already stretched to the limits and cannot withstand the costs of armed guards in all schools;3 and
Whereas the states of Massachusetts and New Hampshire have found that state troopers are a costly requirement at road construction sites;4 and
Whereas the guarding function at a road construction site does not require the deterrence of an armed person:
Now, therefore, be it therefore resolved that armed Connecticut State Troopers shall be moved to schools as part of their regular duties in an undercover capacity where they will provide a deterrent to would-be assassins.
Be it further resolved that the troopers shall rotate among the schools in a secret and random fashion unknown to all but the principal; and
Be it further resolved that the troopers shall visit classrooms and demonstrate upright moral behavior and be good role models for our children such that would-be assassins will never know when a well-trained, armed individual with legal and moral authority to eliminate threats to our children may be present within a school with the sole purpose of doing bodily harm to said threat.
Sounds about right to me.
1 Gov. Dannel Malloy as quoted by the Newtown Patch