Friday, May 14, 2010

Kayak.com cofounder wants Africa covered in free wireless Internet.

This is the type of project that would help Africa because it makes the people even more self-sufficient and able to create their own type of work. Just like wireless phones have transformed parts of Africa into thriving centers of economic progress.

Do I think it will happen on the scale he envisions it? No. Way too many obstacles and bad governance to get pass before you get something like this moving in the right direction.
Paul English, the cofounder of travel search engine Kayak.com, wants to blanket all of Africa with free and low-cost Wi-Fi. It's a "big, big project," one that will consume the next decade of his life, English tells FastCompany.com.

JoinAfrica aims to bring a world of information to a continent whose population only has 8.7% Internet penetration right now. At the core of JoinAfrica is the belief that providing basic Internet is as essential to society as clean water and clean power.

English plans to kick off the nonprofit/for-profit hybrid this summer and begin creating partnerships between JoinAfrica and local African for-profit telcos. JoinAfrica would first branch out existing Web connections in villages using, for example, simple WiMAC hubs.

Through these hubs, JoinAfrica would provide residents with free basic Web service, including access to email, Google, Wikipedia, and various news sources. Downloads of data-rich video, porn, or other non-essential sites would be limited (similar to what libraries in the U.S. do now), via a process called "bandwidth shaping." Local for-profits would charge for upgraded access and faster connection speeds, and English is also searching for ways to make sure these local companies continuously improve the service and lay more fiber.

"I want this to be completely self-sustaining," he says.

Sprint screwed up the EVO 4 pricing as predicted.

The everything plan is not the problem but the $10 surchage tacked on the EVO 4 and then 29 bucks a month for making the phone a wifi hotspot is ridiculous. I am actively rooting for rooting on the EVO when it comes out.

The other thing I am worried about when it comes to Sprint is the timely updates to Android or will EVO owners be behind everyone else as it is happening now to Sprint Android users?

Japan's Hatoyama poll numbers drop over hideous shirt.

and the reinforcement of the idea that he is too old fashioned and out there to effectively lead Japan into the future.

Throughout history, the shortcomings of political leaders have been a depressing litany: corruption in office, sex scandals, verbal gaffes and the like. But it's rare for a politician to fall out of favor over fashion sense (or lack thereof).

Yet that seems to be the fate that history has singled out for Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. True, the beleaguered leader was already struggling in the polls, but his popularity has taken a nose dive since his appearance in public wearing a shirt that one U.S. fashion blogger described as "an item last seen whooping it up on the Arsenio Hall show." Behold AFP's photo of the shirt here — if you dare:




Did no one around him have the heart or courage to tell him no before he left the house?

(Video) Top Gear explaining Jaguar owners

Still less of an ass to be around than an Apple fan boy.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Charlie Crist signs revenue sucking red light camera bill.

These red light cameras are nothing more than a revenue stream for cities and counties who want more money out of the public. The sad part is this is just another move by Crist to get the special interest groups to get the vote out for him.

Crist signs bill legalizing use of cameras to stop red light violators
Gov. Charlie Crist signed (HB 325) which authorizes cities to use cameras to crack down on drivers who run red lights. The measure, which takes effect July 1, also imposes standards to allow for uniform enforcement of the controversial cameras now in use in dozens of communities around the state.

AAA, formerly the American Automobile Association, had urged the governor to veto the bill, saying that increases the incentive for cities to use them to generate revenue more than protect the public.

50%+ of Russians believe bribery is the way of life.

Basically the New Jersey of the East.

More than half of Russians think bribing officials is the best way to "solve problems," according to a new poll.

Fifty-five percent of respondents to a Levada Center poll of 1,600 Russians said they believed that "bribes are given by everyone who comes across officials" in Russia.

President Dmitry Medvedev, halfway through his four-year term, has pledged to fight Russia's all-pervasive graft and build a law-abiding state, where everyone observes the rules rather than looking for ways around them.

But findings by the Levada Center showed that Russians still pay bribes to obtain better medical services, prefer to "buy" their driving licenses, bribe police when caught violating traffic rules, or pay to ensure that their child can dodge the draft or get a place at the right school.

Ten percent confessed they had even paid to arrange funerals for relatives or loved ones.

Lost: Lindelof and Cuse Across the Sea interview pisses me off.

Via Hitfix. The tone is basically fuck the fans because its our show and we know what is best for you to know at all times. I disliked the Jacob and MiB backstory because it wasn't executed very well. You can go from the pulp fiction like yellow light cave to the appearance of the smoke monster( I get its the desires of Jacob's brother come to life) to the "rules" which is never fully explained and how it was created. Just the this is how it is and thats that writing turned me off.

I don't expect cut and dry explanations, but a bit more than " I am special" and its variations is needed.

Swedish University bans Lars Vilks from appearing again?

Violent Muslim supporters win again as this gutless excuse of higher learning bows down to conflict.
A Swedish artist whose drawing of the Prophet Muhammad offended Muslims said Wednesday he hopes to get another chance to deliver a lecture on free speech that was interrupted by violent protests.

But officials at Uppsala University said they doubted they would invite Lars Vilks again after police used pepper spray and batons to help him escape a furious crowd Tuesday.

"It's nothing that we're discussing right now, but it's not very likely given how it turned out here," university spokeswoman Anneli Vaara said.

While Vilks escaped the incident with broken glasses and a bit of a shock, he said it raised concerns about the freedom of expression at Sweden's oldest and most prestigious institute of higher learning.

"What you get is a mob deciding what can be discussed at the university," Vilks told The Associated Press, adding he was ready to repeat the lecture if re-invited.

"I'm ready to go up again," he said. "This must be carried through. You cannot allow it to be stopped."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spain cuts spending, Zapatero is Obama's little bitch?

How soon will the howls of protest begin about America demanding and seemingly getting its wish that EU countries get their act together?
MADRID/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Spain belatedly joined the euro zone's austerity bandwagon Wednesday in response to a widening debt crisis as the European Commission sought an unprecedented right of prior review of national budgets.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Madrid would slash civil service pay by 5 percent this year, freeze it in 2011, cut investment spending and pensions and axe 13,000 public sector jobs in a drive to meet EU deficit targets.

"We have to make a singular, exceptional and extraordinary effort to reduce our public deficit and we have to do it when the economy is starting to recover," he told parliament.

The announcement came two days after euro zone governments, the European Central Bank and the IMF agreed on a $1 trillion rescue package to stabilize the euro in exchange for pledges by highly indebted countries to pare down their deficits.

Portugal's finance minister said his government had picked a set of new measures for deeper spending cuts and would discuss them with the opposition before announcing them.

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates will meet the leader of the main opposition party Thursday to discuss the additional austerity measures, which the cabinet may approve in a weekly meeting later the same day.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who has intervened in the euro zone crisis because of risks to U.S. banks and economic growth, telephoned Zapatero Tuesday to press for "resolute action" to reform the Spanish economy, the White House said.

Los Angeles to boycott Arizona over immigration law

Considering that Los Angeles is broke and busted city, any money saved from Arizona may help its bottom line. But refusing to do business with an entire state is just hurting themselves more than anything else.

A spokesman for Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who signed the bill on April 23, said "an economic boycott against innocent people just adds to the massive economic burden Arizonans have sustained for years due to the federal government's failure to secure our borders."

"It also appears that the L.A. City Council appears hopelessly out of touch with most of America on this issue," spokesman Paul Senseman said, as various polls have shown nationwide support for the state's enforcement of immigration laws.

Several other cities across the United States have considered resolutions to protest against the law or sought boycotts --among them San Francisco and Saint Paul, Minnesota.

A nationwide study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released on Wednesday found that 59 percent of adults approve of Arizona's new law, while 25 percent support President Barack Obama's immigration policy.

Pew Poll shows massive support for Arizona illegal immigration law.

The more the media and liberals try to demonize Arizona the more support the state gets from the public.
A solid majority of Americans back Arizona's tough crackdown on illegal immigrants, while just 25 percent support President Barack Obama's immigration policy which includes legalizing millions of unauthorized migrants, a study found on Wednesday.

U.S.

The controversial Arizona law passed last month requires state and local police, after making "lawful contact," to check the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect is in the country illegally, and arrest those who cannot prove it.

The report by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (www.people-press.org) found that 59 percent of adults polled in a national survey gave their overall approval to the law, which opponents charge is unconstitutional and a mandate for racial profiling.

Seventy-three percent said they backed a measure requiring people to produce documents verifying their legal status if police ask for them, while 67 percent approve of allowing police to detain anyone who cannot verify that they are in the country legally.

EU wants nations to submit budgets for "peer review"

Never let a good crisis go to waste. EU leaders making their move to get more into nation political decisions.
The European Commission wants EU countries to co-ordinate plans for national budgets in a move to strengthen financial co-operation.

It would involve submitting budgets to the EU for a "peer review", possibly before they go to national parliaments.

Some reports suggested the proposal would involve just the 16 countries using the euro currency, though this has not been made clear.

The Commission said its aim was to help prevent another EU financial crisis.

But the move, controversial as it would mean encroaching on sovereign territory, was immediately criticised by Sweden's prime minister.

Sprint screwing up EVO 4G by raising prices?

HTC Evo 4G is the highly anticipated smart phone and it looks like from these training papers, they are having an EVO only price plan which would just piss me off royally. Sprint needs a winner and if they start to nickel and dime people its is going to kill the phone.

Hollywood: Islam now a taboo subject after South Park and Times Square.

If it wasn't self censoring before these two events, the word is its not official unofficial that Islam is off the table.

Don't mess with Allah. That's the new, unwritten code in Hollywood following the one-two punch of Islamic extremists' threats against the creators of "South Park" and the failed bombing attempt outside the cartoon’s parent company, Viacom, in New York's Times Square.

In the current, supercharged climate, it just isn’t worth endangering the safety of an entire production staff or network by pursuing a storyline that Muslim extremists might find offensive, media executives and writers tell Fox411.com.

Aasif Mandvi, a self-described “liberal Muslim” and the “senior Islamic correspondent” for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, said on air after the “South Park” threats that it would upset him to see the Prophet Muhammad depicted in a cartoon. But, he added: “Here’s what’s more upsetting. Someone, in the name of a faith that I believe in, threatening another person for doing it.”

But after the failed Times Square terror attack, "The Daily Show" asked Mandvi not to comment further on the matter, according to his spokesman. In fact, reps for the networks and television shows reached for comment on this article, including Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, FOX, NBC, and CBS, either failed to respond or asked to speak on background for fear of retribution.

America pushing EU leaders to stop debt crisis and take action.

This is really going to torque people in Europe who was against bailing out Greece.

Worried the fragile US economic recovery may be scuttled by the European debt crisis, President Barack Obama's administration is pushing EU leaders to take firm steps to contain the turmoil.

The US Federal Reserve has also moved to provide critical support to the embattled eurozone economies, reopening a lending program in which it funnels dollars to the European Central Bank and other central banks overseas.

Obama, who inherited the biggest financial crisis in decades when he entered office in January last year, and his Treasury chief Timothy Geithner have been busy prodding swift action in phone calls with EU leaders and other officials.


.....Following the market hemorrhage, Geithner lamented in calls to his Group of Seven counterparts that Washington was not pleased with the eurozone rescue efforts, US officials told AFP, confirming reported comments.

"He was very direct," said one official, adding Geithner had told his counterparts the intervention was not in the "right order of magnitude" and should be increased.

"He had said more commitments were needed from struggling countries in terms of "fiscal credibility."

European Union finance ministers agreed on a 750 billion euro (close to a trillion dollars) package of loan guarantees and credits in marathon talks lasting more than 11 hours that ended early Monday.

Washington welcomed the aggressive action.


EU taking debt advice from a $12 trillion in debt America. Hilarious.

German media is really angry at bailing Greece.



German anger at the 750billion Euro Greek bailout is swelling as world markets slid after initial excitement at the bailout fizzled.

The headline on the front page of Germany's biggest newspaper, Bild, summed up the national mood, declaring: 'We are once again the schmucks of Europe!'

Meanwhile world stocks and the Euro dropped sharply today as the massive relief rally triggered by the plan to contain Europe's debt crisis fizzled out.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 107.88 points, or 2 per cent, at 5,279.54 while Germany's DAX fell 52.95 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 5,964.96.
The CAC-40 in France was 72.23 points, or 1.9 per cent, lower at 3,648.06.

EU: "We can't finance our social model anymore"

Unless there are huge changes to the framework of their socialist policies they are screwed under a mountain of debt. But they have to deal with a population that has grown up expecting the government to be their mommy and daddy. When you have no concept of how government is paying for all these easy social programs, you get riots in Greece.

Government debt has been flagged by the IMF as a chief risk to economic recovery, particularly in the developed world and in such high-debt emerging economies as Hungary.

"We can't finance our social model anymore -- with 1 percent structural growth we can't play a role in the world," European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said Monday in remarks at the World Economic Forum in Brussels, just hours after European Union finance ministers approved the new program. European growth rates are lagging behind those in the United States and the rest of the world as the recovery takes shape, with Spain and Greece still in recession.

Access to the fund will be conditional: Countries that think they need help will have to show they are willing to make the changes needed to bring their deficits under control, similar to the process Greece went through in arranging a $140 billion bailout.

But the political challenge looms large, cutting to the heart of Europe's postwar identity. Particularly in the south, unions and socialist movements have established generous work rules and social welfare programs.

Greece, for example, is considered by the IMF to be one of the most inefficient economies in Europe because of the patchwork of rules governing its labor markets -- including the public sector's "employment for life" practices; the syndicates that keep control over pharmacies, law offices and other professions; and the array of early-retirement rules that drive up pension costs.

The government is pushing through changes to the pension plan this week, and the unions are gearing up for a fight.

"The rights of workers are not 'privileges.' The privileges are being enjoyed by the industrialists and big businesses," said George Perros of the executive committee of the Pan-Hellenic Workers Front. "Our position is clear: stable and enduring work for all."

(Video) Muslims attack Swedish cartoonist at university lecture.

Just an utter embarrassment. Sweden has allowed way too much in this sort of behavior and needs to crack down hard.

The Swedish cartoonist whose depiction of the prophet Mohammed as a dog has elicited death threats was the object of an attempted attack Tuesday at Sweden's Uppsala University, police said.

The cartoonist, Lars Vilks, was not hurt, though a police officer was, said Jonas Eronen, commissioner with the Uppsala police.

Two people were arrested, he said.

When Vilks entered a classroom where he was to deliver a lecture to about 250 people -- all of whom had passed through a security checkpoint to gain admission -- about five people started protesting loudly, Eronen said.

After Uppsala uniformed and non-uniformed police calmed the protesters, the lecture got under way at about 5:15 p.m. (11:15 a.m. ET), Eronen said.


Video here.

CBO: Obamacare costs $115 Billion.

This won't be the last time you see more corrections as the price of Obamacare becomes clear.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama's new health care law could potentially add at least $115 billion more to government health care spending over the next 10 years, congressional budget referees said Tuesday.

If Congress approves all the additional spending called for in the legislation, it would push the ten-year cost of the overhaul above $1 trillion - an unofficial limit the Obama administration set early on.

The Congressional Budget Office said the added spending includes $10 billion to $20 billion in administrative costs to federal agencies carrying out the law, as well as $34 billion for community health centers and $39 billion for Indian health care.

The costs were not reflected in earlier estimates by the budget office, although Republican lawmakers strenuously argued that they should have been. Part of the reason is technical: the additional spending is not mandatory, leaving Congress with discretion to provide the funds in follow-on legislation - or not.

"Congress does not always act on authorizations that are put into legislation by drafters," explained Kenneth Baer, a spokesman for the White House budget agency. "Authorizations for discretionary spending are not expenditures."

Bailout Is ‘Nail in the Coffin’ for Euro

Investor Jim Rogers says party is over for the Euro.

Investor Jim Rogers said Europe’s bailout of indebted nations to overcome the sovereign-debt crisis is just “another nail in the coffin” for the euro as higher spending increases the region’s debt.

The 16-nation currency weakened for a second day against the dollar after rallying as much as 2.7 percent on May 10, when the governments of the 16 euro nations agreed to make loans of as much as 750 billion euros ($962 billion) available to countries under attack from speculators and the European Central Bank pledged to intervene in government securities markets.

“I was stunned,” Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Singapore. “This means that they’ve given up on the euro, they don’t particularly care if they have a sound currency, you have all these countries spending money they don’t have and it’s now going to continue.”

U.S. and European stocks fell yesterday on concern the plan to rescue debt-laden governments in the region will fail to reverse the euro’s worst start to a year since 2000, forcing the European Central Bank to keep rates at a record low for longer.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fannie Mae seeks $8.4 billion to cover more losses.

Remember, Fannie and Freddie have an unlimited credit line with your tax money to keep making bad business decisions.

Fannie Mae, the largest U.S. residential mortgage funds provider, on Monday asked the government for an additional $8.4 billion after the company lost $13.1 billion in the first quarter.

Including the latest request, Fannie Mae will have received more than $84.6 billion from the government, and the firm said it saw no end in sight to federal assistance.

The announcement comes less than a week after smaller mortgage finance company Freddie Mac, said it would need $10.6 billion in government funds after losing $8 billion in the first quarter.

The U.S. Treasury took control of the two entities at the height of the financial crisis in 2008 as mortgage losses mounted. The two firms have now tapped more than $145 billion in assistance from Uncle Sam's unlimited credit line.

Housing analyst Rajiv Setia of Barclays Capital said Fannie Mae is likely to draw another $40 billion to $50 billion from the government.

Monday, May 10, 2010

EU comes up with a $962 Billion loan package to stop debt crisis.

But is it enough to actually stop it? The structual problems that caused it in the first place are still there and now you add this amount of money to paper over any problems beyond Greece.

European policy makers unveiled an unprecedented loan package worth nearly $1 trillion and a program of securities purchases as they spearheaded a drive to stop a sovereign-debt crisis that threatened to shatter confidence in the euro.

Jolted into action by last week’s slide in the currency to a 14-month low and soaring bond yields in Portugal and Spain, governments of the 16 euro nations agreed to make loans of as much as 750 billion euros ($962 billion) available to countries under attack from speculators.

The ECB will also embark on “very significant operations,” European Union Economic and Monetary Commissioner Olli Rehn told reporters in Brussels after the 14-hour meeting. “The ECB has taken a decision to intervene in the secondary markets of government securities.”