Saturday, April 23, 2011

Last Call

My BS detector could really use a day off.

Amid rising scrutiny of their practices, Google Inc. defended the way it collects location data from Android phones, while Apple Inc. remained silent for a third day.
The companies' smartphones regularly transmit locations back to Google and Apple servers, respectively, according to data and documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal.
Research by a security analyst this week found that an Android phone collected location data every few seconds and sent it to Google several times an hour. Apple disclosed in a letter to Congress last year that its phones "intermittently" collect location data, and the company receives it twice a day.

Twice a day is pretty darn consistent, and way more than what makes sense.  And then we have a nice about-face in facts from Google, which further clouds the issue.  Users can allow their location to be used for certain services, such as GPS mapping.  Sharing that information and sending it back so it can be recorded are two different things.

He added that "any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user."
Tests of the Android phone showed the transmissions included a unique ID that is tied to the phone. Google says this ID is associated with location and not with other user information. The user can change this number by performing a "factory reset" of the device, which deletes the phone's data.

So if you want to use programs that can use your location, you can't trust your phone to share it anonymously, or in a way that isn't recorded.  And you are perfectly welcome to reset it to factory settings because that's logical.  Jerks.

Where's The News On The People's Budget?

I talked about The People's Budget, the liberal answer to the Ryan Unicorn Plan, the week before last and asked:

It's got the whole kitchen sink in there:  the public option, killing the Bush tax cuts on the upper class and replacing them with Rep. Jan Schakowski's 45-47% tax rate on the wealthiest Americans, taxing capital gains and foreign income, getting rid of the limit on Social Security taxable income, putting in the Medicare doc fix, and increases education and infrastructure spending.

Oh, and they cut $5.7 trillion from the deficit and balance the budget by 2021.  Rep. Grijalva has a pretty good blueprint here and is putting it up to give the President ammunition for Wednesday.

Oh yes, it has about the same chance of passage as the Ryan plan, if not less.  But it's on the table.  You want to see if anyone in the Village praises it as "serious" like the Ryan plan, or even mentions it at all

Well, have YOU heard of "The People's Budget?" after a good ten days?  No?  Rachel Maddow wondered about that too.

As she says, the House Progressive Caucus's budget actually balances the budget faster (in just eight years compared to the decades for the Ryan Unicorn Plan) and does it with a public option and spends more on education and infrastructure, and does it in a balanced way.  When Clinton raised taxes on the rich to 39.6% and balanced the budget, the country was doing really well.

Then Bush destroyed the economy.  And before we go apoplectic about the 45% tax rate, let's keep in mind that the Ryan Unicorn Plan wants to lower the tax rate on the top Americans to 25% and is the main reason why the plan can't balance the budget for 20 plus years and oh yes, adds six trillion dollars to the national debt, unlike the Progressive Caucus plan.  Oh, and during the Reagan years?  The top tax rate?  It was 50% through 1986.  Before that, from 1932 all the way through 1981, the top tax rate was much, much higher.  That includes the boom years of 1945 through the 60's.

Yet the more responsible plan is completely ignored by the media...the media owned by the corporations who would have to pay higher taxes under the Progressive Caucus plan.  The one where the corporations who own the media have to pay less in taxes?  Courageous and gets daily coverage!

And yet the media continues to not cover the angry town hall meetings where House Republicans on Easter recess had to defend their votes for the extremely unpopular Ryan Unicorn Plan.  When the town halls were about "Obamacare" it was wall-to-wall coverage, remember?

The Progressive Caucus budget is being completely ignored and it's being ignored by the people who don't want you to know that America's wealthy paid a lot more in taxes in the past...and America prospered.  By the way, the last time the top marginal tax rate was 25%?  The Roaring 20's...right before the massive stock market crash and the Great Depression.

Something to think about.

Who Has Two Thumbs and 675,000 Stolen Credit Card Accounts?

This guy:

WASHINGTON – A computer hacker from Georgia pleaded guilty Thursday to fraud and identity theft after authorities found more than 675,000 stolen credit card accounts on his home computers.
Credit card companies have traced more than $36 million in fraudulent transactions to the accounts that were breached by Rogelio Hackett Jr., 26, of Lithonia, Ga.
Court documents indicate that Hackett built a reputation for himself as a teenager in the hacking community and had been stealing account information for roughly a decade. Typically, he sold the account data to others, who would use them to make fraudulent charges.
With a dipslay of some astounding legal haggling skills, he is only facing 2-12 years in prison.  It is believed that he has earned over $100,000 in selling accounts to fellow thieves.  Authorities say he may have supported himself for the last few years solely from income from this activity.  This is the new criminal of our era.  He isn't a big brute, he doesn't have to be.  He can weigh a buck thirty and as long as he can type fast and think like a computer, he is a threat to any organization or person who crosses his path.  This is the guy who would be able to exploit something like Apple's recent fiasco  

Well, If Assumptions Aren't Good Enough I Guess We Can Go Check. Sheesh.

This takes some marbles, folks:

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. told California regulators Thursday that it will never find documents for some of its older gas pipelines, and that if the state doesn't accept "assumptions" about some pipes, the company will have to spend five years shutting them down and testing them with high-pressure water.
In a filing with the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E said it cannot satisfy a state order to come up with "traceable, verifiable and complete" records on all 1,800-plus miles of its pipeline in and around urban areas.

So in other words, if the state is going to hold them accountable for reporting some data as to the safety and condition of the pipelines running through the state, PG&E is willing to heave a sigh and see what they can do about that.  That's right nice of them, perhaps they could have done this all along.  I think we have learned from recent events that natural disasters cannot be predicted.  We can only do our best to be prepared.  Maintaining and reporting on gas and water structures should be a no-brainer.  Factor in that the area is prone to earthquakes and along a coast.  Up the no-brainer status to epic fail.

Without a trace of remorse or comprehension.  Let's see how they handle this one.

Embracing The Ignorance

Count on the 2012 Republican presidential nominee to have flip-flopped on being a birther, on fiscal responsibility, and to have abandoned global warming.  The current crop of hopefuls are lining up their bona fides by taking the ignorant GOP mob's position on all three subjects to embrace the stupid.  Today's example:  the story of how T-Paw threw Minnesota environmentalists into the lake.

When Will Steger was 15 years old, he and his brother piloted an old motorboat down the Mississippi River from Minnesota to New Orleans. At 17, he journeyed to the Arctic. At 41, he became the first man in history to travel unsupported to the North Pole and come back alive. He's traveled across Antarctica by sled (another first), hopped freights, and found his purpose at a mountain monastery.
But there's just one challenge the Arctic explorer couldn't complete: Keeping Tim Pawlenty honest on global warming.

After working closely with Steger for two years to combat climate change, the former Minnesota governor and current GOP presidential contender abruptly reversed himself on the issue in 2008, just as his name was being floated as a possible presidential running mate for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Steger and Pawlenty haven't spoken since. Today, the politician who once cut a radio ad with Janet Napolitano calling for a federal cap on greenhouse gas emissions calls his work on climate change "stupid" and says the science is uncertain at best.

"I'm baffled by that—did he actually say that?" says Steger, when asked about Pawlenty's recent statements. "I'm baffled by that. But I think he's getting information from the wrong source and it's really too bad for our children. It's reckless."

Steger should have known better than to trust a Republican as an "environmental moderate".   No such creature exists, having been hunted to extinction in the 2008 and 2010 primaries.

Like Mitt Romney's effort to reform Massachusetts' health care system, Pawlenty's global warming initiative is now anathema to the GOP base. With Steger's support, Pawlenty signed into law a bill that would force the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. But that won't do him much good in the GOP primary: According to a recent survey, only 29 percent of Republicans believe man-made global warming is happening.

"It's misguided; I made the mistake," Pawlenty said on Laura Ingraham's radio show last week, addressing his past support for climate change legislation. "The question is, once you made a mistake, do you recognize it? Do you admit it? Are you willing to come forward? Are you a big enough person to say it was the wrong thing to do?"

It's a mistake now.  It's politically inconvenient.  The damage has already been done.

If you're magically expecting a moderate Republican to ride to the party's rescue in 2012, I have news for you.  Won't happen.  The person who does win the nomination will have one job:  to ensure that the last 80 years of civil rights, social rights, and economic rights since the New Deal are reversed, and that America becomes a corporate state in truth as well as in name.

Only the anti-science, anti-environment, anti-women, anti-minority, anti-worker ignorance will survive the GOP primary.  The 2012 nominee will be a complete nutjob.  Count on it.

Patently Ridiculous

The patent battle between Apple and Samsung over touch-screen smartphones and tablets is turning into a full-out war.

Samsung Electronics Co has filed patent lawsuits against Apple over the U.S. firm's iPhone and iPad in a tit-for-tat case after Apple claimed Samsung's smartphones and tablets "slavishly" copied its products.

Apple filed a lawsuit last Friday alleging Samsung violated patents and trademarks of its iPhone and iPad, as the popular gadgets are being threatened by the fast rise of rival devices based on Google's free Android operating system.

The legal battle between Apple and Samsung could jeopardize business ties between the two technology companies, as the Cupertino, California-based company depends heavily on Samsung for components such as chips and LCD displays.

Operating systems have emerged as the key battlefield for dominance of the world's smartphone market.

Android became the most popular smartphone software in the United States in the three months ending in February, ahead of Apple and Research in Motion, according to a recent survey by research firm comScore.

Samsung is one of the fastest growing smartphone makers on the back of the Android boom and has emerged as Apple's strongest competitor in the tablet market, with models in three sizes.

First business partners, now bitter foes suing each other as Apple's iOS and Samsung's Android products are now the biggest kids on the block, especially on the tablet side as the Samsung Galaxy takes on the Apple iPad.

I can see how Apple feels betrayed with buying Sansung parts for the iPad only to see the company build the tablet's top competitor, but that's business, guys.  So now both sides are duking it out, and the only losers here are going to be consumers.  Samsung could make things very painful for Apple if they choose to and depending on who wins this lawsuit, the loser could be gone from the market for good.

Less competition and all.  Not a good thing.

StupidiNews, Easter Weekend Edition!

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