Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Limiting Your Subscription Services

I have cable TV. I have Chromecast. I have Netflix. I am about to trade cable TV for over-the-air TV and a Tivo subscription. And Amazon Prime. That’s another $99 a year, which is enough that it shouldn’t be forgotten. What else? Phone service. Can’t forget that. My wife has a $25/month Virgin Mobile wireless plan. I have the same one, but it costs $35 because my wife got hers years ago and her low price is grandmothered in. You probably have this many subscriptions yourself — or maybe more. We need to be careful not to go crazy with all these services that look like they only cost a little. It’s easy to let them build up to the point where they cost real money. READ THE REST

Monday, June 23, 2014

19 projects win Knight News Challenge on strengthening the Internet

The Knight News Challenge has been spurring the development of news gathering and distributing methods for many years. This year's winners are all about the Internet. Check them out!
And here's the press release..

Friday, June 20, 2014

Inside the Koch Brothers’ Secret Summit of Billionaires

Nice place, eh? The Koches had a secret meeting there to discuss strategies to screw working Americans and enrich the rich even further. Aren't you sad that you weren't invited? Bet they had lots of top-shelf booze for you to suck down. 


"This is what happens when Marco Rubio, Mitch McConnell, Tom Cotton, Cory Gardner and a gang of the world’s richest people meet behind closed doors," says this article at The Nation. Read it and weep, friends.... 

Friday, June 13, 2014

First Florida Medical Marijuana Necessity Trial To Go to a Jury Begins Monday June 16th at Broward County Courthouse



WHO:      Defendant Jesse Teplicki and his Attorney Michael C. Minardi

WHAT:    The launch of the first medical marijuana necessity trial to go before a jury in the State of Florida.

WHERE:  Broward County Courthouse, Courtroom 4870 (Judge Rothschild) 496 SW 3rd Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale FL, 33315

WHEN:    Monday June 16th, 2014 at 8:30 A.M. Eastern Standard Time

WHY:      The facts of this historic case are emblematic of the need for medical marijuana reform in Florida. This is an important and timely issue as citizens debate the upcoming vote on Amendment 2, which would allow for the medical use of marijuana in the State.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Atlas Slugged by Merlin Broil*

 -> THE SEX COLUMN 


Atlas Slugged

by Merlin Broil*

Anna Dry thrummed her fingers against her long, silky-smooth left thigh. It was a slow day at Cato's Pleasure Parlor in Georgetown. Not a single one of her favorite Congressmen had come in for their regular whippings; they were all in the House chamber today, voting to cut taxes for lottery winners, children of rich industrialists, gangsters, and other people more deserving than the few Americans still silly enough to work for a living. 
The thought of lower taxes for the rich made Anna wet inside. She swished aside the sheer silk panties (made by dollar-a-day Thai child laborers) that were the only barrier between her questing digits and her hot, throbbing clitoris. 
"Oh," she cried, "It is so good to be self-reliant. I am proud to be able to pleasure myself instead of sitting around, waiting for a government cock handout like... like... a Democrat would do."
The lovely girl moved and writhed, unable to contain her juices, which loved freedom more than anything -- and proved it as they immersed her long, red nails (which she had done every Thursday by a Vietnamese immigrant woman who didn't believe in business licenses or taxes) in their sweetness. 
But liberated as she felt by her orgasm, Anna still had needs. Her rent was due, and without customers her capitalist enterprise would not be able to keep its doors open. "I suppose it's time to get online and ply my entrepreneurial trade," Anna said to herself. "After all, exchanging pleasure for money is a win-win deal, one that is far better than drawing a government paycheck even if the police, being civil servants, have trouble understanding that a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do."

Anna logged onto her favorite Web site, a geek hangout called CrowShun. "It's always full of libertarians with hard-ons, and that's what I need right now," Anna said to herself.Using her "Ayn Rand" login name, she posted a short screed about how she was iritated by government plans to tax the Internet and restrict access to child porn. As she clicked the "Submit" button she fondled the penguin doll sitting on top of her monitor. "Bring me a man," she told it. "A man with at least $500 in his pocket, stiffness in his crotch, and an autographed photo of Ronald Reagan in his wallet next to his driver's license. A real man, a free man, a man who undertands the evils of the biased liberal media."
It didn't take long. 
Moments later "Candle" responded. "I love freedom, I hate the government and I wish Newt Gingrich was still Speaker of the House," his message said. "I have the afternoon off and I have $1000 in expense account money I have to spend before tonight or give it back to my editor at Weird magazine. So what are you up to today, Ayn?" 
Anna wrote back, "I'm sitting here stroking my penguin, wishing I had a hot man to tell me about why COPPA is evil." 
"Why don't you meet me at Freetown Tavern on 14th Street?" came back a second later. 
"Oooh!" Anna typed, "I love that place. All that Barry Goldwater memorabilia! Let me slip into something comfortable and find a cab. I'll be there in half an hour." 
"See you then," Candle replied. "I'll be wearing a 'Freedom to Innovate' t-shirt and reading a copy of the Wall Street Journal." 
"I can hardly wait," Anna typed. "By 4 now." 
It only took Anna a few moments to shuck out of her robe, check in with her security service, throw on a sheer, satin dress (made by child workers in Calcutta), and step into the red, high-heeled, strapless Andean sandals she had bought from a coca-chewing street vendor during her last trip to Bogota. She ran outdoors and hailed the first cab she saw. 
"Driver, she said, "Would you care to make a government-unsanctioned service barter? Oral sex in return for a trip to Freetown Tavern on 14th Street?" 
The driver said, "I am sure that is sound good." He scratched under his turban. "I come escape from regime where government regulate life, the universe and everything, I love America, freedom and sex for cab rides, it is good place, so sure pretty lady you do it while I drive. Everybody in Washington here they drive crazy anyway. You sit in front seat with me, okay?" 
Anna opened the right front door and slid into the cab. The door hinges squealed as she slammed it shut, and the cabby, whose name, according to his badge, was Bull Shinglerev, immediately zipped down his fly. "Oh, I love your little jamie, Bull," Anna exclaimed as she lowered her head and started carrying out her part of the bargain. 
The Freetown Tavern 
Twelve minutes later, her face cleaned and her lipstick refreshed, Anna stood in the door of the Freetown Tavern as her eyes adjusted to the dim interior. A giant photo of Dick Armey, its eyes replaced with 25-watt light bulbs, provided the only illumination in the dining room, but that was all she needed to spot a blonde, tousle-headed young man sitting alone in a back booth, wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Bill Gates and the words "Freedom to Innovate" on it. As promised, he was reading a Wall Street Journal. She slid into the booth next to him, rubbed her head on his shoulder, and said, "Hey, Candle." 
"Hold on a second," he said. "I'm making notes on this editorial by Dick Cheney. I need to interview him. He's a truly great American, one of few willing to stand up to the welfare hordes that infest our cities, and one of even fewer who recognizes that oil company executives have our national interests at heart and environmentalists don't." 
Anna's heart did a little flutter in her chest at Candle's words. "This is my kind of man," she said to herself. "A man who knows what's important, who realizes that government at its best is worse than private enterprise at its worst." She felt his biceps and almost moaned. Even though she tried to halt it, a small sigh escaped her. 
But Candle didn't look up even though she rubbed her breast (augmented with silicone produced by a medical supply house in South Africa that didn't bother with U.S. FDA approval and sold its products for 70% less than licensed equivalents) against him so hard that both of her nipples stood up -- of their own free will, of course. 
Finally Candle turned to her. "I don't meet many women who understand the cold, hard, reality of economics," he said. "It's very sexy, you know. Anyway, my full name is Candle H. McCall, and the 'H' is for 'Hug' in case you wondered. And is your name really Ayn Rand?" 
"Well, that's the name I use online, and I use it at work, too, because a lot of the Senators seem to like it," Anna said, her lips pulsing with need, "but my real name is Anna. Anna Dry." 
Candle's hand slipped under the table and inside Anna's dress. "You sure don't feel dry to me," he exclaimed. "You feel like a regular fountainhead!" 
Anna couldn't hold a moan in any longer. Indeed, it came out almost as a gasp. "I want to feel your objectivism inside me," she said.
It was her turn to reach below the table. She felt Candle's crotch and moaned again. "Oh, she said," You are as much of a man as Howard Roark, and he was a fictional character! 
"But I am real, not fiction," Candle said. "Let me take you to my office and help you exercise your inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness..." 
The Washington Bureau
It was a bright and cheerful white-painted room in an old browstone with only two computers -- a Dell laptop running FreeBSD and an original NeXT cube -- in plain sight. They were on computer stands next to a six-foot desk that stood in the middle of the room. The desk was bare. Anna leaned back on it as Candle removed his shirt (purchased from a Chinese merchant who came to the U.S. to escape his home country's repressive regime) and revealed his slim, tapered torso. 
She could barely contain herself as she asked, "But isn't this supposed to be a trade of money for pleasure?" 
"Ah, but the question is, 'who has the money, and who has the pleasure?'" Candle said as he stepped out of his Nike-branded pants (made in Singapore). "This is the voice of reason, is it not?" 
At that moment Anna didn't want to hear any more about reason. She took Candle's hardening, perfectly-sculpted penis in her mouth and pulled him down on top of her, on the desk. 
"Suddenly I feel like this is an obituary for my conservatism," Candle murmured. He reached down to the floor, where his pants had fallen, and pulled a wad of money out of the right front pocket and handed it to Anna. "Take it," he said, "Take it all. Just don't stop. This is even better than the fantasy I had about Ann Marie. Even your name is almost the same..." 
The Unknown Ideal Revealed
It was only a few moments before Candle's wax spouted in a gush of hot liquid. Anna quietly pulled herself out from under him and sat on the edge of the desk. "Well," she said, "You sure got you money's worth there, didn't you?" 
Candle looked a bit lost. He was not used to feeling such strong emotions about anything besides politics and economic theory. He took a moment to collect his thoughts before he said, "It was nice, but I don't think it was worth as much as I gave you." 
He grabbed Anna's arm. "I think I should leave you with two hundred dollars and take the rest back." 
He threw Anna down on the desk and tried to pull the wad of money out of her hand. "And there's nothing you can do about it, bitch," he shouted. "In this city prostitution is illegal. The cops aren't going to help you." 
"No, they won't," Anna said in a surprisingly calm voice. "The cops here don't respect private enterprise." She smiled. "But there are always private security services available." 
Anna smiled again, then yelled "Hey, hey!" at the top of her lungs.
The office door burst inwards, followed by a size-14 foot, followed by a leg so huge it looked like a column that could hold up a building, followed by a chest and a set of shoulders so large they could have have supplied all the muscle needed by the entire Redskins defensive line. And on top of all this, a shaved, nut-brown head. 
The face below the shaved head smiled. "Hey, Anna baby," it said, "you want I should take care of this bitch-boy for you?" One of the giant arms reached out as he said this... and slugged Candle deep in his gut. 
"Please do that, yes," Anna said demurely as she slipped back into her clothes. "This young man needs a brief applied lesson about the virtue of selfishness."
She scooped up the wad of bills, peeled $500 from it and gave it to her helper, and turned back to Candle, who was now crouched into a fetal-position ball. "Ayn Rand got almost everything right. Except one word," she said. 
"Wh-wh-what word was that?" Candle stuttered as he gasped for air.
"Shrugged," Anna said. "Without government to restrain free enterprise, there is no reason for the strong not to take advantage of the weak. I got you all hot and bothered, and you gave me -- I counted -- $2200.
"Then you decided to take back all except $200 of it because you thought you were stronger than I was and I didn't have protection from the government. But now I have the position of power, and I get all $2200, minus the $500 I just paid my friend." 
"What does that have to do with the word 'shrugged'?" Candle whimpered? 
"Oh," said Anna. "It was supposed to be 'Slugged' but the editor changed it at the last minute by mistake. 
"Anyway, I have to go now, but I'll leave my friend Atlas here to help you get a better understanding of unbridled free enterprise, and how it works in the real world." 
And with that, Anna shook her perfect ass and flounced through the now-broken doorway, ready to teach yet another man the practical reality -- as opposed to the theory -- of Objectivism.

*"Merlin Broil" is the nom de plume of a wordsmith known primarily for writing about technology.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A permanent solution to homelessness and welfare

This is an artist's rendering of a small "park" full of tiny, very cheap dwelling units. The article it illustrates is headlined, Tiny Houses for the Homeless: An Affordable Solution Catches On. I've long believed that we need to put up "camps" like these outside of cities, but with bus service several times a day into the city for residents who work or are seeking work -- or are going to school. My thought is that anyone gets to live here as long as they don't impinge on other residents.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Operating Systems Get Less Important Every Day

Last month I posted this article: Cross-Platform Applications Save Time, Therefore Money. This month, let’s ask a related question: “If we use the same programs in all the operating systems we own, does it still matter which operating system we use?” My answer: “Your operating system choice matters less every day.”

I’ve read article after article that said you needed Windows if you wanted to run Microsoft Office. This is no longer true. Microsoft now touts “Office when and where you need it” via Office.com, which I’ve tested successfully in Chrome and Firefox browsers, in Linux, Windows, Android, and Mac. So if I ever decide to stop using Google OfficeOpenOffice or LibreOffice, it won’t be a major task for me to switch to Microsoft Office. It won’t even be expensive: Microsoft Office online costs nothing. That’s right. It’s as free as Google Office, OpenOffice or LibreOffice for individual users. 

Read the rest.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Sad Tale of San Francisco Then and Now

Many years ago friends and I liked to go to a place called Hamburger Mary's on Folsom St., which had bikers, drag queens, sissy boys, and all the other assorted life forms who wanted a burger after the bars closed. 

Many years later I was in San Francisco for a LinuxWorld (computer conference) and noticed that Hamburger Mary's was still there. So I went in, sat dow, ordered a burger. Same as I remembered. Good sourdough bread (you could request your bread), a thin slice of tasty cheese, natural-tasting lettuce, a half-handful of sprouts. As California as a burger could be, EXCEPT... I looked around me and saw none of the kinds of people who used to make the city (and Hamburger Mary's) interesting. The damn place was full of tech-type yuppies carrying laptops and cell phones & paying for their food with corporate credit cards. In despair, I called my friend/coworker Rod Amis, another refugee from Baghdad by the Bay, and told him what was going on. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fighting the War on Christmas


Fighting the War on Christmas
(Alexandra Petri/The Washington Post)

(Alexandra Petri/The Washington Post)

If there’s a War on Christmas, Christmas is winning. I’ve touched on this before. Insofar as there is a war, it’s not on Christmas. It’s by Christmas on everything else. Poor Thanksgiving has been run over roughshod. Now even Wal-Mart employees are being fed dinner and obliged to stay at work for that day, otherwise known as Black Friday Eve.
That’s why I am a vigilante.
I am a rogue. I am a bandit. I am a Thanksgiving Warrior.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tinfoil hat? Ha! Aluminum is More Modern


When you have an aluminum hat with an adjustable headband, there's no WAY those NSA bastards can pick up your thought waves. Every American should have one!