Archive for November, 2010

November 30, 2010

Oh… No wonder Netflix doesn’t work on Linux!

by Ben Hoffman

REDMOND, Wash. — March 26, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that its board of directors has increased the size of the board from nine to 10 members and elected Reed Hastings, 46, chairman and CEO of Netflix Inc., to the board. Hastings has also been appointed to the finance committee. At the meeting, the board of directors also declared a quarterly dividend of $0.10 per share, payable June 14, 2007, to shareholders of record on May 17, 2007. The ex-dividend date will be May 15, 2007.


November 28, 2010

American Hero: Colorado Trooper Rescues Boy Who Fell Into Icy Pond

by Ben Hoffman

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) ― An off-duty Colorado state trooper plunged into an icy Greeley pond to rescue a 10-year-old boy who had fallen through the ice.

Trooper Dan Haley and the boy he rescued, Brenndan Daviet, of Greeley, were treated for hypothermia at a hospital and released.

Haley, 25, and his wife had taken their 2-year-old daughter on Saturday to the Greeley Family FunPlex, a park next to the lake. Haley said he saw Brenndan and a couple of other boys go out on the ice, then back to shore, and had just told his wife he was worried one was going to go in.

“Brenndan walked out a little farther out there than any of them previously had and I heard a big crack and he fell in,” Haley said Sunday evening in a telephone interview.

He told his wife to call 911, ran toward Brenndan and crawled on his stomach out to the boy, who was about 45 to 60 feet from shore. When Haley — 6 feet, 205 pounds — was about 10 feet away, he went through the ice, which he estimated to be about an inch thick.

“The ice cracked underneath me and I was under the water at that point. He was staying afloat because his coat wasn’t too waterlogged,” Haley said.

The water was so deep that Haley couldn’t touch bottom and was unable to get out, so he started breaking the ice and had Brenndan swim behind.

“He was amazingly calm,” Haley said.

When the boy’s coat filled with water and his head went under, the trooper grabbed Brenndan’s collar and pulled him up.

“Somehow I was able to throw him up on the ice and it was thick enough to hold his body weight,” Haley said. His wife, an emergency room nurse, stripped off the boy’s wet clothes and put a sweat shirt on him until rescuers arrived.

Haley, who figures he was in the water eight to 10 minutes, said he rested with his arms on the ice and kicked his legs to keep his body up but resumed breaking off more ice until it was thick enough to pull himself up.

He was wearing a shirt, jacket and shorts.

“The ice was really wet. I couldn’t get any traction. So I ended up doing a log roll over to the bank and climbed up on the bank,” Haley said. “I stood up and walked on the bank and just collapsed ’cause I was just so exhausted.”

By that time, police arrived and wrapped him in blankets.

Read more…

November 27, 2010

Terrorist Attack Thwarted

by Ben Hoffman

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal agents in a sting operation arrested a Somali-born teenager just as he tried blowing up a van he believed was loaded with explosives at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland, authorities said.

The bomb was an elaborate fake supplied by the agents and the public was never in danger, authorities said.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested at 5:40 p.m. Friday just after he dialed a cell phone that he thought would set off the blast but instead brought federal agents and police swooping down on him.

Yelling “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great!” — Mohamud tried to kick agents and police after he was taken into custody, according to prosecutors.

“The threat was very real,” said Arthur Balizan, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. “Our investigation shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack on a very grand scale,”

Read more…

November 24, 2010

Christian Terrorism: Texas priest accused of trying to hire hit man

by Ben Hoffman

SAN ANTONIO — A Roman Catholic priest has been arrested on charges that he solicited a hit man to kill a teenager who had accused him of sexual abuse. Authorities said John Fiala first offered the job to a neighbor, who blew the whistle and helped police arrange a sting. They said Fiala got as far as negotiating a $5,000 price for the slaying before investigators moved in.

The 52-year-old clergyman was arrested Nov. 18 at his suburban Dallas home and jailed on $700,000 bond. In April, he was named in a lawsuit filed by the boy’s family, who accused Fiala of molesting the youth, including twice forcing him to have sex at gunpoint.

The abuse allegedly took place in 2007 and 2008, when Fiala was a priest at the Sacred Heart of Mary Parish in the West Texas community of Rocksprings, a rural enclave known for sheep and goat herding.

The family’s lawsuit also named the Archdiocese of San Antonio and Archbishop Jose Gomez, alleging that church leadership should have known Fiala was abusive.

Read more…

November 23, 2010

Corporate Profits Were the Highest on Record Last Quarter

by Ben Hoffman

The nation’s workers may be struggling, but American companies just had their best quarter ever.

American businesses brought in $1.66 trillion at an annual rate in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or non-inflation-adjusted terms. Corporate profits have been going gangbusters for a while. Since their cyclical low in the fourth quarter of 2008, profits have grown for seven consecutive quarters, at some of the fastest rates in history.

This breakneck pace can be partly attributed to strong productivity growth — which means companies have been able to make more with less — as well as the fact that some of the profits of American companies come from abroad. Economic conditions in the United States may still be sluggish, but many emerging markets like India and China are expanding rapidly.

Read more…

November 21, 2010

What’s the difference between a Ferrari and a giant pile of dead fetuses?

by Ben Hoffman

Q. What’s the difference between a Ferrari and a giant pile of dead fetuses?
A. They don’t have a Ferrari at the Bangkok Buddhist temple!

Sorry, old joke. 🙂 Read more…

November 19, 2010

Pope says health care an “inalienable right”

by Ben Hoffman

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI and other church leaders said it was the moral responsibility of nations to guarantee access to health care for all of their citizens, regardless of social and economic status or their ability to pay.

Access to adequate medical attention, the pope said in a written message Nov. 18, was one of the “inalienable rights” of man.

The pope lamented the great inequalities in health care around the globe. While people in many parts of the world aren’t able to receive essential medications or even the most basic care, in industrialized countries there is a risk of “pharmacological, medical and surgical consumerism” that leads to “a cult of the body,” the pope said.

“The care of man, his transcendent dignity and his inalienable rights” are issues that should concern Christians, the pope said.

Because an individual’s health is a “precious asset” to society as well as to himself, governments and other agencies should seek to protect it by “dedicating the equipment, resources and energy so that the greatest number of people can have access.”


November 13, 2010

Talking Dogs

by Ben Hoffman
November 11, 2010

Impeach Obama for serious dereliction of duty!!!

by Ben Hoffman

“In light of the admission by the former President, and the legally correct determination by the Department of Justice that waterboarding is a crime, you should ensure that Mr. Durham’s current investigation into detainee interrogations encompasses the conduct and decisions of former President Bush,” wrote ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero.

Amnesty International Senior Director Claudio Cordone said in a statement that the Obama administration must prosecute the former president.

“If his admission is substantiated, the USA has the obligation to prosecute him,” he said. “In the absence of a US investigation, other states must step in and carry out such an investigation themselves.”

In a press release Wednesday, Nadler also pressed the Obama administration to look into Bush’s waterboarding orders.

“Waterboarding has long been considered torture – a view shared by the Obama Administration – and committing or ordering torture is a severe crime under both international and U.S. laws, for which we have convicted foreigners and Americans in the past,” Nadler said. “The President is bound by the Constitution to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’ Failure to order a criminal investigation would be a serious dereliction of duty. With President Bush’s admission, no further excuses or evasions are conscionable.”

“It is a smoking gun,” Nadler told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Wednesday. “I’m dubious that he will do it because this administration unfortunately has taken the opinion, taken the attitude that they’re not going to look at any criminal actions by, within the prior administration. They say ‘let’s look forward, not backward.’ By that standard no one would be prosecuted for any crime.”

But it’s not just Democrats and rights groups that have Bush in their sights. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has said that he has “no hesitation” in investigating the former commander in chief.

“I’m not afraid of going after the Bush administration,” he told MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Tuesday. “I wasn’t brought here by the establishment.”

Read more…

November 11, 2010

Bob Altemeyer’s – The Authoritarians

by Ben Hoffman

The Authoritarians summarizes the research of Dr. Robert Altemeyer, whose professional career has focused on the study of the Authoritarian Personality, and development of the Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) personality and ideological variable widely studied in political, social, and personality psychology.

Download the book here for free

November 9, 2010

Fair Game (Movie): The Valerie Plame Story

by Ben Hoffman

Fair Game is a 2010 thriller film directed by Doug Liman and starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.[2] The film is based on the true story of Valerie Plame, and is based on Plame’s memoir, Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House.[2] Naomi Watts stars as Plame along with Sean Penn as Plame’s husband, Joseph C. Wilson.[2] It is set to be released in 2010 and is one of the official selections competing for the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

November 7, 2010

When one side breaks the social contract, and the other side makes a virtue of never calling them out on it, the liar always wins.

by Ben Hoffman

This column explains why fighting for Democrats is a waste of time.

President Obama lowered taxes. Why doesn’t the country know that? Rick Perlstein on how Rush Limbaugh helped mislead a nation—and why the Democrats let him get away with it.

We live in a mendocracy.

As in: rule by liars.

Political scientists are going crazy crunching the numbers to uncover the skeleton key to understanding the Republican victory last Tuesday.

But the only number that matters is the one demonstrating that by a two-to-one margin likely voters thought their taxes had gone up, when, for almost all of them, they had actually gone down. Republican politicians, and conservative commentators, told them Barack Obama was a tax-mad lunatic. They lied. The mainstream media did not do their job and correct them. The White House was too polite—”civil,” just like Obama promised—to say much. So people believed the lie. From this all else follows.

And it was all too predictable.

Consider February 24, 2009, when, after four glowing weeks in office, Obama delivered his first, triumphant, address to a joint session of Congress. Two weeks earlier, he had signed the $700 billion stimulus bill. This was his speech defending it.

That was the one in which Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, looking like a cross between a deer in the headlights and a 10-year-old delivering a prize school report, delivered the Republican response. You remember! He singled out for excoriation the $140 million in stimulus spending “for something called ‘volcano monitoring'”; this happened to be about a month before a volcano erupted, releasing a 60,000 foot cloud of ash near—dot dot dot—Wasilla, Alaska.

On CNN, David Brooks followed Jindal. He called the governor’s “stale, government-is-the problem” rhetoric “a disaster for the Republican Party,” and excoriated those who insisted on hugging tight to it as “insane.” The people appeared to agree. In a snap poll, 92 percent of those surveyed had a positive reaction to Obama’s speech—68 percent a very positive reaction. Only 8 percent had a negative reaction.

The next morning I tuned in to Rush Limbaugh. I was fascinated to see how the hell he might respond.

Like a deer in the headlights? Not quite. The first caller, though a self-professed ditto-head, took objection to Rush’s argument that Obama had revealed himself in the speech as a tax-and-spend liberal. The caller quoted Obama’s words: “Because of this plan, 95 percent of the working households in America will receive a tax cut –- a tax cut that you will see in your paychecks beginning on April 1.” (Which was true: People did.)

Rush responded, fluidly and without a gram of doubt. “Pay no attention to what Obama says. He means the opposite in most cases. What he says is irrelevant.”

So the guy to whom all Republicans must kowtow on pain of political death had just laid down a marker that everything Obama said was a lie.

What if the White House had in those months in early 2009 put in the rhetorical forefront a story about Rush’s tens of millions of listeners, and all politicians who refused to denounce Rush, were effectively saying anything the Chief Constitutional Officer of the United States said was a priori a diabolical lie?

When one side breaks the social contract, and the other side makes a virtue of never calling them out on it, the liar always wins.

But Obama didn’t. That would be the “old politics of division.” Not Obama’s bag.

This would have been one of many opportunities to wedge the opposition between the authoritarian nihilists and the “constructive” Republicans who had America’s best interests at heart. Instead, the nihilists got to tell the story that endures in the day-after punditry from last Tuesday: that the electorate “rejected Obama’s agenda.”

The vector worked, and works, like this:

(a) A mountebank teaches his millions of followers that everything the president says is a priori a lie;

b) The mainstream media that acts as if anything his millions of followers believe is a priori deserving of respect as heartland folk wisdom (note the cover article lionizing Limbaugh in this week’s Newsweek);

(c) The president unilaterally renders himself constitutionally incapable of breaking the chain between (a) and (b), such that, (d), the assumption that Obama raised taxes when he really lowered them becomes hegemonic for a majority of the electorate, and even a large plurality of Democrats.

Q.E.D.: Governing has become impossible.

When one side breaks the social contract, and the other side makes a virtue of never calling them out on it, the liar always wins. When it becomes “uncivil” to call out liars, lying becomes free.

And dammit, the essence of Obamaism as an ideology is that it is Uncivil to Call Out Liars.

So you find him at a press conference, the day after the midterm elections, saying with all apparent sincerity that he agreed the majority of Americans participated in a “fundamental rejection of his agenda”—who, that is, implicitly believe he raised their taxes.

When he really lowered them.

For a Constitutional Republic, if this continues, it may be the end of the line.


November 4, 2010

Final Blog Post

by Ben Hoffman

For the past few years, I’ve been promoting Democrats in this blog because I believe that their policies are the best for our country. I’ve been trying to inform people about the lies spread by Republicans and the damage they’ve done to our country. Our country is in decline due to Republican policies. We’re deep in debt due to the reckless tax cuts. We’ve been involved in two unnecessary wars and occupations at a cost of three trillion dollars due to Republican policies. Many of our good jobs have been outsourced to other countries due to conservative policies. And the Republicans have blocked all efforts to bring some of those jobs back.

The Democrats passed a stimulus bill that many economists believe kept us out of another depression. One third of that bill was tax cuts. The rest came to less than $200 billion a year for five years to improve our infrastructure, save the jobs of many teachers, and to provide loans to small businesses. The Democrats passed mild reform for the financial sector and the credit card industry.

Yet the Democrats haven’t touted their accomplishments at all. They actually ran from them. They haven’t done much to get the word out about the lies. They should have gained seats this past election, not lost them.

And so, why bother. This country is going to hell in a handbasket and blogging about it is a waste of time. I have better things to do. Maybe I’ll take it up again for the 2012 election.

Adios, amigos!

November 3, 2010

Proud to live in a blue state

by Ben Hoffman

This country is going to hell in a handbasket.

November 2, 2010

Credit Card abuse: Be ready and BE CAREFUL!!!

by Ben Hoffman

I was given a Sears credit card about six months ago. I’ve never used it and never even activated it. But under their new terms, by the end of a year, I’d have a balance of $437.88 if I did nothing!

New terms: 25.24% interest with a minimum charge of $2.00 and a $35.00 late fee.


I called to cancel the card and they tried to offer me other credit! Be careful. Fascism is taking over America.