Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Obstructionist Google Thought

Thought of the day
I think it's really funny when someone says, "I have to agree with..." Why do you "have" to agree? Would you ordinarily disagree? On what grounds? What makes this time different? Did someone take Oscar, your bunny-rabbit hostage? What did they tell you? "Agree, or we send you a half-dozen individually frozen servings of Oscar stew."

Another thought of the day
"Consumer confidence is drifting," is a funny turn of phrase. How did consumer confidence get in the water in the first place? Is it wearing a life preserver? At the very least I think it should be wearing water wings. Why is it drifting? Did someone forget to secure it to the dock?

Google plus what exactly? " you," just sounds too gooey. Kind of like born again propaganda recruiting for the world's largest spiritual group hug.

If you hold my feet to the bulb of a flashlight that's been on for a couple of minutes so it's moderately warm I will readily admit that I like Google+. One of my friends (great filmmaker and photographer; hire him) was nice enough to invite me to join Google's latest stab at the social media space, in effect answering my supplications to our dear and glorious leader on behalf of Google.

On its face it is very "Google." The interface is clean and uncluttered, navigation is accomplished through clear and easy-to-use icons, and the method for adding and grouping friends is both brilliant and simple. There is a lot of integration with Google services that I'm using anyway such as gmail, docs, and (obviously) Blogger.

One of the major complaints about Facebook has been their cavalier attitude about sharing the personal information of users with advertisers. They make it worse for themselves by releasing new features to user profiles and opening them to the public by default, among other, less scrupulous practices. Google has done a somewhat better job of addressing privacy considerations. Just as an example friends are organized into "circles." These circles allow you to set who can see what really easily by adding the groups with whom you would like to share your content, and leaving out those you don't. There's even a circle where you can add people you would like to block entirely. Through Data Liberation in Google+ it's easy to download all of your content (this includes photos, videos, and posts) and save them offline. 

To be fair, Google does not have the greatest track record when it comes to trying to break into realm of social media. Buzz was a good idea, but was poorly executed and publicized. Wave was a fiasco. This looks as though the powers that be learned from those heart breakers and used those lessons to deliver something with real value that will be attractive to more than just technophiles and Google fan-boys. I'm hopeful.

Minority leader of the obstructionist party
There aren't words for how much this man disgusts me, Mitch McConnell. This is the same ultra-conservative, neo-con Fascist who, when the Republicans took control of the house, announced the number one objective of the new-minted, Republican Congress was to ensure that Barack Obama does not get a second term. In the midst of two wars and a crippling economic crisis, when unemployment is at 9.2% this man has the unbelievable brass balls to say none of that is as important to the Republican party as getting Obama out of office. It's largely under his leadership and the leadership of Obstructionist of the House John Boner...uh...Boehner that debt ceiling talks are going nowhere.

I think the argument over the debt ceiling is the most contentious debate I've ever heard come out of Capitol Hill. I certainly think it's the most destructive. What's sad is how incredibly out of touch with the nation both parties seem to be. Both claim to be representing the interests of the very people who will bear the brunt of the catastrophic economic fallout should America actually default on its debts. That's the thing that pisses me off the most. The posturing buffoons who are gleefully driving our country into ruin will be largely unaffected if the economy goes completely upside down. Some of them will actually call it a triumph on behalf of the American people, and they'll say it with a straight face!

This will sound alarmist and fatalistic, but if our elected officials fail to come to a deal on the debt ceiling by this weekend I'm planning to take out some of the money I've been saving. Not all of it, but enough to cover expenses for two or three months. If the worst happens, and America defaults on its debts, global markets will lose confidence in the American economy. Many may sell off their debts to us in favor of stronger, growth economies like those in India, China, and Brazil. This could result in causing the value of the dollar to plummet, interest rates to explode, and credit cards to cost more to own and maintain than an aircraft carrier full of high-maintenance socialites.

I'd recommend anyone consider doing the same. I'm not talking about closing out accounts. God no. If enough people do that it absolutely will be the Great Depression all over again. Just take out enough in cash to cover expenses for two or three months. If the worst happens, cash is king.

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