Friday, January 15, 2010

The crowd may not be so wise as was thought

According to CNET News, Internet pioneer Jaron Lanier believes that "the wisdom of crowds", embodied in sites like Wikipedia, is actually causing more harm than good.

Online culture, he goes on, "is a culture of reaction without action" and rationalizations that "we were entering a transitional lull before a creative storm" are just that--rationalizations. "The sad truth," he concludes, "is that we were not passing through a momentary lull before a storm. We had instead entered a persistent somnolence, and I have come to believe that we will only escape it when we kill the hive."

His new book, "You Are Not a Gadget", might be a worthwhile read for us tech geeks.

Ho-lee Crap

If this is true (and you have to wonder if CNBC would be stupid enough to put it out there without proof), I would not want to be a bank executive any time in this century.

The short version is that some lenders are, in certain specific circumstance, requesting payments off of the RESPA statements. This is illegal.

The long version is here. With The Obama already hard after the banks, this one will bear watching.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The next Lexington Gun Show

Since I seem to come up tops in search results for the phrase "Lexington gun show" (Brandon really needs to get a web site), in the spirit of public service I'd like to announce that the next edition of that august institution is being held January 23-24, 2010 at 1618 National Highway in Thomasville, NC. This is the former location of a Food Lion grocery store.

Trust me, it's really weird to have someone tell you that "the guy with the nice Smith like the one you were looking for is right over there in the Produce section".

So much for a Christmas bounce

The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales declined 0.3 percent in December compared November...

In an economy where consumer spending accounts for roughly 70% of economic activity, this is Bad News. You might want to look into what varieties of plants you want to put in that new garden this year.

Darn skippy

(Via the Drudge Report)

At least he understands who he'd be working for if he gets elected.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Are the wheels coming off?

(Via Timebomb 2000)

It certainly seems so.

Arizona state legislators go back to work Monday in an attempt to battle a nearly $1.5 billion dollar deficit.

"The February school payment we can't make, February payroll there's no money there," said State Treasurer, Dean Martin.

Martin said unless the capitol buildings are sold before the end of the month, there will be no more money meaning, "If they continue to issue checks without having money from the sale of the buildings, I have to bounce them."

Arizona isn't the only state in trouble. We've all heard California's tales of woe, but the problem doesn't stop there. Washington has a $2.6 billion hole, New Jersey is looking for $9.6 billion, New York needs to find $7 billion--the list goes on and depressingly on. State governments across the country are feeling the pinch of unfunded federal mandates, the pain of decreased tax revenues and suffering the results of years of out of control spending.

Hit Google News and search for "sales tax receipts"--almost without exception, the stories are about sales tax collections going down right when states can't afford for it to happen. Oil prices are trending up, and that won't help out the state budgets. More and more people are unemployed, and many states are having to "borrow" the money to pay the unemployment checks from the Feds.

On a national level, the stimulus apparently wasn't stimulating enough, and the Amateur in Chief wants another one. Great...we got into this by spending money we didn't really have, we made it worse by spending more money we didn't have...the third time's bound to be the charm!

"Shotguns and canned goods" was good advice last week, and I still think it's good advice this week. Along with solar panels, medical supplies, tools, clothes, linens, toilet paper....