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Showing posts from July, 2015

Elvis blows his horn

The Donald keeps yelling "any seven" and the press keeps saying "let it ride" and the GOP establishment keeps playing the pass line - and loosing.
"Listen the next time you’re at a craps table and count how many times the stickman advertises the hardways or yo’s and the seven. No matter how educated some players may be there will always be those who play the high risk bets. The casinos love the high roller who does nothing but bark out orders for the dealers to place the propositions because they know it will likely make the house a nice chunk of change." There is something wonderfully comical about the "high roller" barking insults like "these people are idiots" or "management here stinks" every time he throws some chips on the table. Or making pie in the sky promises like "I'll make America great again" or I'll do “something terrific” to entice the saps to bet along with him. The DC political and media es…

Dr. Nucatola and Ms. Hide and the hard law of life

There are many aspects of Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" that make it worth reading over and over again. One of my favorites is the structure of the novella and the slow, inexplicable unraveling of events by which the mysteries of the story reveal themselves to the narrator - A lawyer named Gabriel Utterson who tries to grasp the nature of Jekyll/Hyde dualism. Utterson is a fascinating choice for the amateur detective searching for meaning in the exploits of Jekyll (above the law) and Hyde (below the law) and slowly realizing the that the two men were, in fact one - or, as Jekyll writes in his confession at the end of the story the one is, in fact, two.
"I was born in the year 18-- to a large fortune, endowed besides with excellent parts, inclined by nature to industry, fond of the respect of the wise and good among my fellowmen, and thus, as might have been supposed, with every guarantee of an honourable and distinguished futur…

Sad Day/Happy Day

There are moments, events and speeches that turn tides, ignite fires and anoint leaders. Today might well have captured such a moment, event and speech. I have no idea how the next 18 months will unfold and weather someone like Ted Cruz could ever secure the GOP nomination or, having done so,  win enough electoral votes to become president of the United States of America. There are many obstacles in his way - probably the biggest is the absolute dread the deep pocket GOP establishment has of seeing a small "r" republican take the scepter from their hand and give it back to the people. But when I hear the phrase "the world's greatest deliberative body" this is what I think of and I wish there was a hell of a lot more of it. Commentators and talking heads will cluck, cluck about Senate decorum and rules, alienating his own caucus, "bomb throwing" (figuratively) and all the rest, but isn't this what Senators - real Senators - are supposed to do? It …

An ungrateful nation atones

Aaron Sorkin has been clownified on this blog for his obsession with fake presidents and his nefarious influence on popular entertainment, but I've got to cut him some slack for "The Newsroom". Not that the show is good or watchable - it isn't, but it is incredibly accurate. Listening to the in-crowd pleasing platitudes and watching the straw man of the left get immolated every week while digesting a sumptuous meal reclining on the leather couch remote in hand must be pleasant for some - not for me. I grind my teeth, rend my garments and pull clumps of hair from my head whenever I subject myself to "The Newsroom" not because it's implausible, the characters are churlish infantile twits and the "message" is boilerplate left wing pabulum - I expect that, I know what I've tuned in to. No, I suffer angst and crushing impotent rage because the show is so true - This really is what a modern day newsroom at a TV/Cable network or publishing outfi…

Deep Impact

Forget WikiLeaks, the Sony Hack, Edward Snowdon and the OPM breach - A crew called the Impact Team has hit the mother load of data!!!
"Late last night, the 37 million users of the adultery-themed dating site Ashley Madison got some very bad news."Suckers. Ass-clown suckers. Now (maybe) there are 37 million people who have learned to take cyber space seriously.

FBI says Abdulazeez's motive is unclear

It's a mystery as to why a "good kid" like 24 year old (i.e. what used to be known as a grown man) Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez would shoot up a military recruitment centre and a naval reserve centre in Chattanooga. "FBI sees no terrorism link". Well, that's a relief, but raises more questions than answers. I wonder if anyone has explored displaced clown resentment syndrome as a motive?

President Obama should consider renaming the agency to the FBO - O for obfuscation.

Greasin' up the cog machine

With his customary erudition Christopher Caldwell explores the source, currents and possibilities of the Greek tragedy (or maybe it's a comedy) that has been unfolding over the past 5 months (years) and sums it all up with this hammer swing:
"Still, Tsipras’s gambit has unleashed thoughts among other political actors that cannot be unthought. Indebted peoples, leftists, and nationalists across Greece and Europe are beginning to realize that they have not only reason to distrust the EU but also opportunity to change it. Russia, which in early July hosted a summit of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), has grown close to Greece of late (president Vladimir Putin talked to Tsipras on Monday) and sees a chance to tip over the wobbling European consensus on the U.S.-led program of sanctions occasioned by its annexation of Crimea. And there are other countries in Europe. Were Greece kicked out of the euro, now or later, some other nation, possibly …

Masters of War

Unless you are an arms merchant, oil trader or terrorist it's hard to get too excited about the group of six "deal" signed yesterday with the Iranians. When I want to know what's going on in the mind of the Democrat party regarding these events I always click to their PR team at the New York Times and as you can see from the screen shot the NYTimes did not let me down. They even published a press release from the White House on their editorial page which included a few beauties like this:
"The deal nearly faltered on a demand by Iran and Russia that United Nations bans on the purchase and sale of conventional weapons and ballistic missiles be lifted immediately. But in the end, the accord requires that the conventional weapons ban remain in place for five years and the missile ban for eight years — assuming Iran abides by its commitments." Right. I bet that was a deal breaker - No conventional weapons sales! No missiles! Get with the program John Kerry, th…

Liberté, Sûreté, Propriété

I wish all my republican brothers in France a happy Independence Day. Here in America we remember with solemn reverence the support and contribution France provided to our revolutionaries and founders during the birth of our nation. Vive la France!

Bastille Day commemorates one of the great moments in modern European history and reading accounts of the events will send a tingle up the spine of every Liberty loving human who's dreamt of tearing down a prison - weather it be physical, mental or spiritual. May France forever cling to the passion and excitement of those early days of their Nation and remember them with humble thanks to God and a commitment to live up to the dreams and aspirations of their forefathers who endeavored to establish a Republic of Humanity. We all know that this glorious effort degenerated into a Republic of Virtue which inflicted a decade of horror on the noble French citizen only to be replaced by the Empire of a stubby-fingered Corsican, but for two or …

Flash Audit Alert - Archuleta actually gonna kick Big Blue out of .GOV?

The era of Big Government is... our era. By some estimates 40 million people work for it either directly or, more commonly, indirectly. It's just about 20% of the US national workforce. Not that you'd ever be able to calculate the leviathan by looking at Federal OPM numbers because they only count the direct employees - one's that have a paycheck cut from the treasury that says Federal Employee on it. But of course there are tens of millions more who work for the Federal Government - how many millions? About 21.5 Million. That's what Wired says anyway and it's so cute the way they phrase it: "That breach affected some 21.5 million people—not only federal workers but friends, family members and others who were interviewed over the last twenty years for security clearance applications." Umm, no, not "friends, family members and others" but contractors, off the books, Federal employees. One of the good things to come out of the recent OPM Cybersec…

The NYSE is NOT run on an iPad

For a time I worked in NYC at a large IT firm and my mentor at the time had the NYSE account - $35M quota as I remember but he was (is) a top performer  - golden circle or whatever it is they award sales guys who land the big deals. In that role, as this guys Sherpa, I learned a lot about Enterprise software and a good amount about the NYSE hardware/software infrastructure. It's massive and they don't dick around with software upgrades on The Street. If someone has the unmitigated hubris to tell you the most prominent marketplace in the world went dark for hours on Wednesday because the MIS dept. was upgrading software (on a Tuesday night!!!) you have every right to call that source a liar. But that's exactly what they're saying.
"The fact U.S. listed stocks continued trading all day Wednesday – despite a halt at the NYSE – is considered to be a victory of the redundancies of the market structure." Just looking for vulnerabilities boys - next time they'll…

Dirty Sanchez

South of the Border is a foul roadside attraction familiar to all who travers the I-95 southern realm - filthy paper thin home to trinkets and trash begging for visitors with mile after mile of roadside promotions. A tiny Mexico located on the South Carolina border.

I blame no one for fleeing Mexico. Some of the great adventure stories I've heard over the years are from Mexicans who jumped the fence and made their way in the USA. One of my favorites is from my pal Marco who crawled under the wire fencing in his youth and ran like hell, evading border security and making his way up to the Central Valley of the Golden State. There he toiled in the fields for several years until he found a way to procure a green card - don't ask me how this is done, but it happens all the time. He drifted across the continent and now resides in Virginia with home, children, property - Not what I would call a true blue American like, say, Oliver Stone, but a better American than plenty of natural…

Take me to the middle of the George Washington Bridge

It's a Diana Christensen world and you don't live in it.

The film Network starts on a NYC street with two old friends reminiscing about the early days of Television.  Max Schumacher(William Holden) is telling Howard Beale (Peter Finch) about a time as a young producer he rushed onto the busy New York streets to hail a cab to take him to a morning news live remote shoot. "Take me to the middle of the George Washington Bridge", he yelled at the cab driver. The punch line is the cabbie, thinking Max intends to kill himself, pleads with him not to do it - that he has his whole life in front of him.

The movie parallels this joke when it is recited a second time just before Beale is given the green light to become a modern day prophet on Network TV. Others, off the top of my head, that resonate:

Howard hearing "the voice" alone in bed and Howard hearing "the voice of Mr. Jensen in the board room.Frank Hackett's address to the UBS shareholders and Diana&#…

Loyal to Leviathan

On Independence Day we honor and revere the Declaration of Independence - The heart of the American experience and touchstone for everything we hold dear. The cornerstone and foundation of our constitution upon which every addition is built (or aught to be) and every law, including the constitution itself, must be measured

But here at the KOTCB blog we want to call out the Loyalist who fought hammer and tong AGAINST independence. Oh yes, they did and when they lost after 8 years of bloody conflict a bunch of them left the States - to Canada, to the West Indies, back to England, but most of them stayed and made trouble - their progeny are still here making trouble today.

The thing we must always remember is that there were A LOT of citizens in 1776 who didn't buy off on the ideas contained in the DoI and there are A LOT (maybe more) who don't buy it today.

Here's a short paper outlining the loyalist breakdown. Common mythology breaks it down 30% Loyalist and 70% Patriot, b…

Shady Ghost in the Machine

Having worked in the high tech industry for the past 20 years I'm always amazed when a report comes out with the shocking news that just 1.7% of Twitters employees are black. Let me say up front that in my time some of the best and brightest people I've worked with, beside and for have been black but go to any IT trade show, analysts conference, consulting firm, back office MIS department and you'll be playing Where's Black Waldo to spot them. There are precious few black people in Info Tech and the powers that be seem to like that just fine. Not because any of those powers are white supremacists - God knows that every other ethnic minority floods the zone in high tech companies and that, except for black people, it is a New World polyglot of diversity - a true multi-ethnic, multi-national, multi-everything society that worships the machine. They just don't hire black people - as Mother Jones points out, The Combined Black Workforces of Google, Facebook, and Twitt…

Special Administrative Measures

Nancy Gertner penned a beauty for the Boston Globe the other day:
Will we ever know why Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spoke after it was too late?To which the following questions must be asked: Who gives a shit lady? Too late for what? Too late to get a lighter sentence???This woman lectures to students at Harvard Law school, in case you were wondering what's wrong with our legal system and she wraps up her analysis of the Defense's predicament thus: "Would that cross examination enable the government to raise every single inflammatory issue it could find, not cabined by the evidentiary rules, to play even more directly on the jury’s prejudices? Given the court’s rulings throughout the trial, the defense could well have feared a wide-open attack, with the limitations of the SAMs preventing a meaningful rejoinder about who Tsarnaev was and is." Poor little Dzhokhar might have been subjected to a "wide-open attack" by State prosecutors and had to answer, under oath (fo…