Bill Eccles: September 2010 Archives

It’s simple. If the Bush-era tax cuts stay in place, then they will make legislation which is distinctly Obama’s—the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Obamacare—look just that much worse.

Article here.

The headline reads:

“Christian Terrorist” Arrested…

and it should read:

“Christian” Terrorist Arrested…

Subtle, but I think a more accurate portrayal of a person who is a real terrorist and a fake Christian.

No, really: slowly.

Article here

Yeah, how’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ out for ya? Wasn’t it supposed to be change for the better?

Article here

Now wait one minute. Perhaps you just read that last entry of mine and went, “Huh?” After I hit the “Save” button, I re-read the headline of the article, which gets automatically carried over to this blog when I reference it. I then edited my article by adding “Not Enough Eye of Newt” to the headline, which I assumed was the same as what Google Reader had picked up, and it made sense as I thought I had written it. “Not Enough Eye of Newt: Source: Israel Rejects Clinton Proposal” But what got picked up my my blog software was not the original headline. It had been revised, so what you read wasn’t quite as funny (if at all… and I’m not sayin’ the new version’s much better, come to think of it).

Here’s what the original headline said as Google Reader picked it up three hours ago:

Screen shot 2010-09-16 at 9.47.44 PM.jpg

Boo-yah! In yo’ face, Hilary!

But here’s what the CNN website says now:

Screen shot 2010-09-16 at 9.51.01 PM.jpg

Ah, that Hilary Clinton, what an excellent choice by Mr. Obama.

Googling the original headline turns up lots of hits at 5:35pm, the original publication time. None of the sites with the original headline are… except for the CNN International site. Googling the revised headline reveals it may have changed about 6:04pm. (Amazingly, Google returns my post as well, published only minutes ago.)

One is decidedly more negative. Is CNN covering for the Obama administration? Or is there something much more innocent going on here? I don’t think there’s anything innocent about this.

At least they don’t call themselves “Fair and Balanced.” They don’t even try.

Ha. See what I did there? Eye of Newt?

Original, unenlightening article here

Something doesn’t make sense about this.

To summarize: Obama wants to give ultra-cheap loans to small banks so they can lend it out to small businesses which will create 500,000 jobs.

Hmm. Let’s start at the top. What’s “ultra-cheap?” Well, the Fed discount rate is 0.75%.

That’s pretty darned cheap already. So what Obama is telling us is that he’s going to loan money out at something under 0.75% and somehow banks are going to be encouraged to loan it out to small businesses. But 0.75% is so minuscule as it is, I’m not sure it will make much of a difference. If a small business didn’t take a loan at whatever the already-low-rate is (because it’s not 0.75%; it’s probably more like 3-4%), there’s not much that will get you to take a loan at all, and with so little room between 0.75% and 0.0%, there’s not much room to get much lower.

And here’s the kicker: banks are already trying desperately to give the money away even as I type this. One loan officer said that there are quotas in place to land loans, and those officers’ jobs depend on making those quotas. Did you hear that, Mr. Obama? The banks can’t originate enough loans as it is! And yet you think that a 0.5% rate cut will make the difference…

I doubt it.

Even if… let’s say small businesses do take these loans. How, I wonder, will this create jobs?

Let’s think about it for a minute. If a business hires a new worker, there’s an inherent assumption that that new person can do enough work to generate enough revenue to cover that person’s salary and overhead and generate a profit. Sure, there might be some lag as the person gets up to speed (and a very short-term loan or even… gasp!… savings can help with that), but essentially, if the demand for that person’s output isn’t there, then that person will never cover their own expenses, and hiring them wasn’t a smart move in the first place.

So a loan to hire somebody is, essentially, a waste of money unless the demand for that person’s output already exists, in which case you don’t need the loan to start with: Go hire the person already! Or, if you needed a loan, then you probably already took it because you know the demand is there. The mere availability of a loan isn’t going to make a difference in your hiring because your hiring is based on demand, not your ability to pay, because if that were the case, I’d just borrow a trillion dollars and hire everybody. But then I’d have to change my name to “U.S. Government.”

Sigh. What else might create that job from a loan? You could go out and buy capital equipment, certainly. That would allow you to create more product. And oftentimes, that’s the right way for a business to grow. But, again, you have to have (drumroll, please) demand. Just because I get a loan from Mr. Obama for $1,000,000 (at only 2% APR!) and buy a really nice printing press doesn’t mean that the demand for the output of my printing press is real and will support the press, much less a press operator.

OK, then, what about increasing demand? What do we have to do to increase demand? Why, Timmy, it’s as simple as making sure people have money in their pockets to spend. Sounds simple enough, except that Mr. Obama is dead set on ensuring that the people who can most afford to spend are afraid to spend and won’t.

Some more thought is required to see why this is the case. Well, who spends money at a small business? I racked my brain and thought of the different kinds of small businesses that a typical family might visit and didn’t come up with a whole lot of essential goods and services that people of all income levels might use. There are some notable exceptions, including health professions, repair and maintenance services, maybe home heating oil or propane distribution, that sort of thing. But where does the food come from? The GigantoMart. And the kids’ school supplies? StaplesMaxOfficeSupply. Gas? BP. Clothes? China—certainly not the local tailor’s shop.

Small businesses, on the other hand, seem to service a different clientele—either other small businesses (such as printing firms who make forms for other small businesses) or (wait for it…) people who can afford to buy their “stuff” from somewhere other than WalSuperDiscountTargetMart.

That pool you want put in? Small business-provided. The new home? Sold by a small-business real estate agent. The new car? That auto dealership is a small business. The hand-painted pot from the local pottery shop? Yup, small business again. Pavement for the driveway? Small business. The new wing on the conservatory? Your builder is probably a small business. Even splurging on pizza from Papa T’s Pizza is not an essential good or service… it’s a nice-to-have, though clearly more accessible (and more often accessed) than a new RV.

What am I saying? What I’m saying is that if you want to encourage spending, make sure the people who have disposable income are not afraid to spend it. The way the Obama administration is going about it, though, scares all of us supposed-haves into keeping our money and squirreling it away because we know the government is after it. We’re certain that letting the tax cuts expire is only the first step, that the definition of “rich” (however true or not) at $250,000 will soon become $200,000 and then $150,000 and then $100,000, that 39% will become 40%, that the AMT will hit damned-near all families, that the marriage penalty will become even more severe as Obama recognizes the boon that “domestic partnerships” could be.

No, these days we’re more likely to save than spend, although with the increases in tax rates on capital gains and potential takeover of 401(k)’s and all of that other hooey, even what little incentive to save that we have is going, going… and almost gone.

Which leaves me wondering: Why, as a small business owner, would you want to expand? Your income goes up while the amount you work goes up. (Payroll and insurance and taxes and withholdings and vacations and headaches for one more worker? Is it really worth it?) And yet your taxes go up disproportionately because you get richer… which is the point of expanding in the first place.

In other words, Why bother?

And so, Mr. Obama, that loan that you think you’ll get to me somehow to encourage me to hire more people to make more money? You can just keep that money. Instead, leave the “tax breaks” in place. Buy some more infrastructure. Do something better with it than pretend you’re creating jobs with it.

Or give it to the Chinese. We owe it to them anyway.

Ah, let the ridicule start.

Oh. It already has, courtesy of, among others, a Mac pundit. (John, stick to Mac punditry. You’re superb at it, and I don’t think your occasional blurbs on politics are going to get you a job at The Times like your Mac stuff got you a job with Macworld.)

The only problem with evolutionists is that the things they thought were right, as in, scientifically observable humma humma humma, are sometimes wrong.

Of note, there wasn’t a triceratops. Nope. Got that scientific observable humma humma fact wrong.

Nor was there a brontosaurus. Darnit, Fred, whatcha’ gonna order if not a Brontosaurus Burger?! Wasn’t that a scientific observable humma humma humma fact, too?

And that whole fine-structure alpha constant? Might not be so constant after all.

Furthermore, evolutionists believe that it’s not possible for God to have created the world/universe/McDonald’s in six 24-hour days. But somehow they are willing to believe that nothingness became somethingness in a cataclysmic event called The Big Bang. Guess what?

These things were, you know, right based on observed fossils. Things left behind that we can see, feel, touch, and interpret.

Just as the Bible is something that we can see, feel, touch… well, read, anyway… and interpret.

So while you’re bending over backwards to avoid political incorrectness, to avoid denigrating Muslims and Islam, don’t forget to avoid making fun of regular old people who choose to believe something different than you do. I believe they deserve the same courtesy as everybody else.

Including evolutionists.

As is clearly stated, this update is not PHP-neutral. Apple installs PHP 5.3.2 over your custom PHP installation.

I looked at the configure that Apple uses and there are two new flags, '--enable-zend-multibyte' and '--enable-zip'. If you just append these flags to the previous configure statement, all is still not well because there will be a mismatch between the libpng headers and libraries. Finally, Apple’s sticking 5.3.2 out there. Why not use 5.3.3, I say?

So the steps required to make this all work with what we have from our previous expeditions:

  1. Keep copies of the Apple binaries and how they configured their installation:

    $ php -i > ~/php-config-2010.09.03
    $ sudo cp /usr/libexec/apache2/ /usr/libexec/apache2/
    $ sudo cp /usr/bin/php /usr/bin/php.old
  2. Get the 5.3.3 tarball and unpack it.

  3. Move the libpng headers around a bit so that configure doesn’t find old headers for use with the new libraries:

    $ sudo mv /usr/X11R6/include/png.h /usr/X11R6/include/png.h_old
  4. Append the new flags to the configure statement and configure away:

    $ ./configure  '--prefix=/usr' '--mandir=/usr/share/man' '--infodir=/usr/share/info' '--disable-dependency-tracking' '--sysconfdir=/private/etc' '--with-apxs2=/usr/sbin/apxs' '--enable-cli' '--with-config-file-path=/etc' '--with-libxml-dir=/usr' '--with-openssl=/usr' '--with-kerberos=/usr' '--with-zlib=/usr' '--enable-bcmath' '--with-bz2=/usr' '--enable-calendar' '--with-curl=/usr' '--enable-exif' '--enable-ftp' '--with-gd' '--with-jpeg-dir=/usr/local' '--with-png-dir=/usr/local' '--enable-gd-native-ttf' '--with-ldap=/usr' '--with-ldap-sasl=/usr' '--enable-mbstring' '--enable-mbregex' '--with-mysql=mysqlnd' '--with-mysqli=mysqlnd' '--with-pdo-mysql=mysqlnd' '--with-mysql-sock=/var/mysql/mysql.sock' '--with-iodbc=/usr' '--enable-shmop' '--with-snmp=/usr' '--enable-soap' '--enable-sockets' '--enable-sysvmsg' '--enable-sysvsem' '--enable-sysvshm' '--with-xmlrpc' '--with-iconv-dir=/usr' '--with-xsl=/usr' '--with-pcre-regex' '--with-freetype-dir=/usr/X11R6' '--enable-zend-multibyte' '--enable-zip'
  5. Use four cores to make PHP. It’s a lot faster to use the -j 4 option, and if you have more cores, make the number match:

    $ make -j 4
  6. Install.

    $ sudo make install
  7. Restart Apache.

    $ sudo apachectl restart
  8. Clean up what we did to the libpng headers:

    $ sudo mv /usr/X11R6/include/png.h_old /usr/X11R6/include/png.h


Yeah, ‘cause he just knows.

Article here

Let’s translate the PR, shall we?

Apple® will broadcast its September 1 event online using Apple’s industry-leading HTTP Live Streaming, which is based on open standards.

!)#%&# you, Flash.

Viewing requires either a Mac® running Safari® on Mac OS® X version 10.6 Snow Leopard®, an iPhone® or iPod touch® running iOS 3.0 or higher, or an iPad™.

Screw you, too, Windows.

The live broadcast will begin at 10:00 a.m. PDT on September 1, 2010 at

Rats, I’m busy at that time.

But there’s more to it than that.

Yes, it’s a decidedly-anti-Flash “telecast,” and I chose that word intentionally. What if a bunch of network execs were watching this “telecast” somewhere offsite, waiting to see how well it works, on an AppleTV? What if they were watching on Macs? What if they were watching it side-by-side with Windows boxes of various flavors?

I think there are three purposes to showing this “telecast.” They will demonstrate to network execs that:

1 - Flash isn’t necessary for streaming video.

2 - If we own the platform, it provides a much better viewing experience than anything else out there, especially if it’s a Windows Media PC or Windows box of some sort.

3 - We have the capacity to stream live TV to a zillion viewers.

Care to sign up?

(via Daring Fireball