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Articles: commentary

Page 1 | Page 2 | ... | Page 5

The Evolution of Blogging
Sunday, 2013 October 13 - 11:21 am
Well, I've finally had enough. As of today, there'll be no more comments on this blog.

There was a time when blogging was a community conversation. We found people with common beliefs and interests, we shared information and personal stories with each other, and we had a constructive dialog via our comment sections. I made several real-life friends through this blog, and I learned to open up about myself; I don't regret any of it.

But blogging has changed as a medium. Now, really, there are basically two types of blog commenters: rabid Obama-bashing trolls, and spammers. I didn't get so much of the former category on this blog, but I did get buckets and buckets of spam. Despite all my attempts to rein it in (CAPTCHA, keyword blocking, IP address blocking, country blocking), I still got a thousand spam comments for every useful one. I'm tired of trying to ban every possible spelling and usage of "Oakley", "Gucci", and "Nike". Handling email spam is easy compared to handling comment spam.

I'm really not sure where I want to go with this blog in general. I don't write as much overall, as I'm sure you can tell. For short-form stuff, I've pretty much switched to Facebook and Twitter. I still like having this blog for longer-form writing every now and then, because I like having it under my control, and I like that my posts won't get lost in all the noise of social media sites.

I predict that someday we'll come up with something new: some kind of decentralized social media organization, one where we can connect with real people and real friends, but cut out spammers, trolls, and advertisers. Ideally it'd be a place where each person has some control over their own layout and content. The technology exists; someone just has to put it together and find a way for it to gain widespread adoption.

Maybe we'll call it "Geocities".
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Posted by Ken in: bloggerscommentarysite-business

Newtown
Tuesday, 2013 January 22 - 2:09 am
It's been a month since the Newtown shooting and I've stayed quiet about the issue of gun control until now. But I think I need to say something.

Being a civil libertarian, there's a part of me that believes that responsible gun ownership is part of living in a free society. But that doesn't mean it can't be regulated and controlled in a sane manner.

I would hope that we would all agree on a couple of things. First, we should not tolerate living in a society where it is relatively easy for a teenager with mental health issues to walk into a school and murder first graders, using a weapon that has no practical use in either self-defense or hunting. So doing nothing is not the answer. The status quo is unacceptable.

Second, not everyone should be allowed to own nuclear weapons, nerve gas, or fighter jets... so regardless of where you stand on handguns and assault rifles, surely you agree that there's a line that should be drawn somewhere, and the right to bear "arms" is not an absolute license to own any kind of weapon imaginable. We should be able to have a discussion on where that line should be drawn, without accusing each other of being anti-American or part of a socialist conspiracy.

As for me, I will probably never own a gun. Not to be critical of my gun-owning friends, but if I ever reach a point where I think it's necessary to have a gun to keep me or my family safe, then it means that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong with my life. I'll change my tune when the zombie apocalypse comes, but as of today I'm much more likely to die from alcohol poisoning than an armed assailant, and I'd like to keep it that way, thank you very much.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

Shame
Wednesday, 2012 May 9 - 12:42 am
My favorite quote from "Broadcast News":
Paul Moore: It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room.

Jane Craig: No. It's awful.

Last night I was up until about 2:00 a.m., debating with someone I didn't know, about the North Carolina marriage amendment, on Facebook.

Ugh.

Those of you who know me know this: I generally try not to assert superiority over anyone. I do not like stereotypes, and the stereotype of the "smart Asian" makes me cringe.

But: when someone who may or may not have completed high school, and whose career now reads "trainee at a Pepsi plant", tries to tell me that they have a deeper knowledge of constitutional law, theology, economics, and public policy than I do... frankly, I'm offended. I have read the entire Bible several times over and have delved into many passages in the original Hebrew and Greek. I have studied the Constitution and a hundred Supreme Court decisions, and I can recite to you most of the various decisions that support the Establishment Clause and the Incorporation Doctrine. I've studied Keynesian economics and neoclassical criticisms. Also I know a large variety of Internet memes, Urban Dictionary terms, and funny cat videos.

So you know what? When you assert that Obama will ruin the country, and that China owns the U.S., and that God will judge homosexuals... you do not impress me. When you assert that liberals will take away your freedoms and force you to give up your private health insurance and force your church to marry gays... I tell you this: YOU, MR. WHITE PROTESTANT, HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT'S LIKE TO HAVE YOUR RIGHTS TAKEN AWAY.

Maybe that's all that it is... you have to have been the victim of discrimination, hatred, and bigotry to appreciate its harmful effects. Or, you have to be one of my enlightened and beautiful friends, apparently.

Today North Carolina voted to amend its Constitution with a horrific amendment that institutionalizes bigotry and discrimination. I am ashamed and embarrassed to live in this state. But as long as I live here I will fight this shamefulness.

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Don't be the last one. Stand up and fight.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

Security
Sunday, 2012 February 5 - 3:46 pm
Amy's wallet was lost or stolen last week, when we were out at a douchey nightclub downtown (we didn't even want to be there, but got roped into it). In the wallet were a driver's license, a credit card, a bank card, and her social security card. Yeah, we know, no one should carry their social security card around with them, but an employer said they needed to see it. (They don't, by the way; the SSN can be verified by employers online.)

Anyway, that got me thinking about the antiquated mechanisms we have for identity security.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: commentarytechwatch

The End of the Space Shuttle Era
Thursday, 2011 July 28 - 8:42 pm
When I was 11 years old, I was utterly fascinated by everything to do with outer space. I'd grown up reading books about the Apollo moon missions, books about quasars, and anything else space-related I could get my hands on.

When I heard that the U.S. was building a highly advanced reusable spacecraft, a ship like nothing we'd ever seen before, my mind was blown. A spaceship with wings? That could fly back to earth and then be used again? It was like science fiction.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: commentarylife

Current Events
Sunday, 2011 July 24 - 8:41 pm
Geez, I go away for a while, and all sorts of stuff happens. (I took my cousin Kaitlyn to audition for American Idol. More on that in a future post.)

Amy Winehouse was found dead at the age of 27. She was a terribly troubled person, but for the brief time she had it together, she put out some amazing music. It's just a shame.

The federal debt crisis is still unresolved, causing many to worry that the stock market will plummet this week. Me, I'm debating whether I should sell every stock that I own (and prepare to buy back in if/when the crisis is resolved). It's hard to know where to put money, though: precious metals are already overbought, and of course U.S. bonds are definitely out. Foreign bonds, maybe?

Apple released new models of the Macbook Air and the Mac mini. I'll have a brief summary of the new models in a separate post. Or I suppose you can just look it up elsewhere.

The Space Shuttle completed its final mission Thursday. As my Facebook friends know, my mom found the original drawing I did for the first Columbia launch in 1981, when I was 11 years old. Again, I'll have a separate post about that.

Anyway, I know, long time no blog. I'll try to catch up shortly.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarylife

Osama Bin Laden
Thursday, 2011 May 5 - 1:01 pm
It's been four days since the big news that a U.S. Navy Seal team had entered Pakistan and killed Osama Bin Laden, in the mansion in which he'd been hiding. Unless you've been living in a cave (ha!), you have probably spent these last four days thinking and talking about the event.

By and large, Americans have been celebrating. In Washington D.C. and New York City, crowds gathered outside and celebrated all through Sunday night. Both Democratic and Republican politicians have hailed this as a great achievement for the country.

But then there are the critics. There are always critics. In this case, there are criticisms from both the liberal and the conservative side, and I wanted to take the chance to talk about a few of them.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

Well Hello Blog
Monday, 2011 February 7 - 8:54 pm
What has it been, a month? Hmm, Kato No Blogging Month... Kanoblomo?

So yeah, I've been slack. My normal sources of material are dry: college football season is over; I'm not watching American Idol this year, what with Simon Cowell being gone and all; and the frozen lunch experiment is over (though I have eaten a few new ones lately; I'll post reviews of those soon). Still, there are still things going on, and I don't want this blog to go dormant. So:

In Apple news, Verizon has rapidly sold out of their initial stock of iPhones. Some surveys have suggested that up to half of Verizon's Android customers are considering switching to the iPhone. Now we'll really see what happens when there's a level playing field.

In more Apple wannabe news, there are dozens of tablets lining up to be the #1 imitator of the iPad. Seriously, doesn't anyone have an original idea any more? And here's the thing: either the tablets are significantly more expensive than the iPad ($800 for the upcoming Motorola Xoom), or they're smaller (7" screens). The brilliant thing about Apple's product lineup lately is that they've secured the best prices on components, and other manufacturers simply can't compete.

Pundits think that Google is going to follow in Microsoft's footsteps and chase Apple out of the mobile computing market, but don't forget that Microsoft had IBM as a hardware partner in the early going. Google is relying on Samsung, Motorola, and HTC. Things are not the same here. And anyway, by the time tablet manufacturers have caught up to the iPad, Apple will already have moved on to its next big thing.

I did think the Xoom SuperBowl commercial was clever, even though Motorola was setting up a straw man. It's not like Apple has really taken over the world... they've just taken over the people who have taste.

Speaking of SuperBowl commercials, I liked the Volkswagen Darth Vader, the Faith Hill "Your Rack is Unreal", and the BridgeStone "Reply to All". The Coke and the Pepsi commercials were cute. There were a lot of losers, though: the Chatter.com commercials didn't work at all. The GoDaddy commercials were lousy. And the GroupOn Tibet commercial with Timothy Hutton? Tasteless.

I give Chrysler props for their edgy pro-Detroit Chrysler Eminem commercial. But people know that Chrysler is essentially owned by Fiat now, right?

Anyway... sorry for the long absence. More blog posts will be forthcoming in the next few days.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarytechwatchtelevision

Today's TSA Atrocity
Tuesday, 2010 November 16 - 11:04 pm
So the latest bit of wonderful news from your local friendly TSA: they will now grope your screaming three-year-old toddler!

Unfortunately for the TSA, this particular three-year-old was the daughter of a newscaster... who caught the incident on video, and put it on the local news. Yeah, that's not going to be good publicity for the TSA.

And by the way, for those of you on the east coast... you can now take a bus from Durham to Washington D.C. for ONE DOLLAR (if you book in advance). It's called the Megabus and it goes from D.C. to various east coast cities, including Pittsburgh, New York, and Boston. It's a double-decker bus with Wi-Fi. And if the one dollar fare isn't enough to sell you on this... there's also NO GROPING by power-hungry TSA goons. I'm trying to see if there's a catch... so far, I haven't discovered one.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarytravel

Invasion of the Body Scanners
Friday, 2010 November 12 - 11:20 pm
So have you experienced the body scanning machine at the airports yet? I've been through them a few times... and if you hadn't heard or read about these machines, you might find them to be pretty innocuous. You stand there with your hands up, the machine waves around you, and then you're cleared to go through. Simple and painless, right?

But of course, being the well-informed netizen that you are, you know that these things are pretty much the 21st century version of the X-Ray Goggles from the comic books... the person viewing the image can see your hoo-ha or wee-waw in all its glory. It's essentially a digital strip search.

How have we come to this? How have we become so terrified of terrorists that we're willing to subject ourselves to such indignities? Doesn't this mean that the terrorists have won?

Some are now calling for a mass protest on November 24th; everyone is supposed to opt-out of the body scan and choose the manual pat-down instead. (There's an interesting story about a guy who decided to do that.) Oh, by the way, November 24th is the day before Thanksgiving... the busiest travel day of the year. If people are really going through with this, I'd be tempted to just sit at the airport to watch the carnage.

For those of you who are inclined for to be a little more subtle in your subversion, consider putting some large metallic alphabet stickers on your body, and send a personalized message to the TSA guy. Perhaps something like "ENJOY THE SHOW, PERV."
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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Fired For Facebooking
Tuesday, 2010 November 9 - 10:21 pm
So, apparently getting fired for blogging about your job is sooo 2002. A Connecticut woman was recently fired for complaining about boss on her Facebook wall.

The odd and/or annoying thing is that we're rehashing the same arguments about teh Internets and privacy and free speech that we did eight years ago. Today on NPR there was an older guy who said posting on Facebook was just like publishing in a newspaper (whatever that is), and a young-ish woman who said you can make your Facebook private, JUST LIKE MY VAG. Okay, she didn't say that, but she could have, because none of her friends are old enough to listen to the radio.

In another eight years, we will all have our own Internet TV shows (in 3D) that nobody watches, except when we use them to complain about work. When that happens, you'll have to figure out the obscure privacy settings that hide your rants, or the weird video you made lip-syncing to Lady Gaga. Except that no one will know who Lady Gaga is any more, so it won't matter.

The National Labor Relations Board is suing on behalf of the woman. Stay tuned to my blog for more news on this. Except that I'm a blogger, and I'll forget to post any updates, and you can just Google "woman Facebook firing" just like everyone else.

(This is National Blog Posting Month. How's THAT for some old-school blogging? Suck it, Facebook.)
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Posted by Ken in: bloggerscommentaryfunnyhaha

Today's Episode of "The Biggest Douchebag"
Thursday, 2010 January 14 - 1:55 pm
In the red corner, we have Rush Limbaugh, who suggests that the White House might steal from any Red Cross donations you make via the whitehouse.gov link.

In the redder corner, we have Pat Robertson, who suggests that the Haitians are being punished for making a deal with Satan in exchange for freedom from French rule in 1803.

The winner: nobody. We all lose. We'll have to continue enduring these idiots for many years to come. Thank you for playing.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

This Is Why Newspapers Fail
Tuesday, 2009 September 1 - 4:03 pm
If you're a Michigan football fan at all, you're probably aware of the recent hoo-hah that some folks are calling "PracticeGate". Last Friday, The Detroit Free Press published a sensationalist article accusing Coach Rich Rodriguez of violating NCAA rules concerning limits on practice time for football players.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: bloggerscommentarysports

The Post in Which I Advocate Medieval Torture
Saturday, 2009 August 29 - 10:03 am
Long time no blog, I know. And there's so much going on! I'll just cram a bunch of unrelated things into this one post.

By the way, I remember the first time I heard my Dad say "Long time no see", when I was like seven years old; I thought he was on acid or something. "No see"? What kind of sentence structure is that? Can you please diagram that on the blackboard?

Anyway... so what's the most spectacular news item of the past few weeks?

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Today's Headlines
Monday, 2009 May 11 - 9:39 am
The new "Star Trek" movie grossed $76.5 million on its opening weekend, thanks to positive early reviews. I'll have my own review posted later today.

That Georgia professor whom I thought was so smart? Turns out he had evaded police by killing himself. Perhaps not so smart after all.

Roxana Saberi, the U.S. reporter who had been jailed in Iran on charges of espionage, has reportedly been released. Most believe it was due to relentless diplomatic pressure from the U.S. and other countries. But I think that secretly, the U.S. government loved having her young pretty face be the symbol of the struggle against Iranian fascism.
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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Today's Headlines
Friday, 2009 May 8 - 8:36 am
Former Illinois police sergeant Drew Peterson has been indicted on a murder charge in the death of his third wife. Wasn't he Sloan's dad in Ferris Bueller? Also: what's the deal with guys named Peterson killing their wives? There was Scott Peterson, Michael Peterson, and now Drew Peterson. Note to women: don't marry men named Peterson.

Senate Republicans are attacking Obama's health care plan... before they even know what it is. Really? I guess the idea is "any change to our health care system would be bad". God forbid we should have the same "socialist" health care they have in Europe (i.e., affordable and convenient). Better to keep our good old American system with its spiraling costs and profit-motivated insurance providers. Note to Republicans: when you talk about reducing the size of the federal government, please keep in mind that the government spends about 750 billion dollars a year on health care. Doesn't that seem like a good reason to reform our system?

Top flu expert warns of a swine flu-bird flu mix. Note to pigs: stop having sex with chickens.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

Today's Headlines
Monday, 2009 May 4 - 9:19 am
Some U.S. senators have suggested that Obama's pick to succeed David Souter on the Supreme Court should perhaps come from somewhere other than the federal appellate courts. Mr. Obama: I agree. Pick me.

Notre Dame's decision to have Obama speak at their commencement has infuriated some Catholics. I suppose a war-mongering torture-supporting President would have been OK, though. Why are people so insistent on making abortion the single defining issue in politics?

I'm fascinated by the story of the professor who allegedly killed his wife and two other people. John Bankhead of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation states: "He's not the typical type of fugitive police have to deal with." In other words: most criminals are dumb; this guy isn't. Hollywood usually portrays criminals as idiots. In the Hollywood version of this story, the professor would be caught after attempting to sneak back into town to cut out the heart from his wife's body or something. No such luck for police this time.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

Today's Headlines
Wednesday, 2009 April 29 - 9:11 am
Fox News commentator Sean Hannity said he'd volunteer to be waterboarded for charity. Now MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann has
challenged him to go through with it. My hunch says Hannity chickens out.

The San Antonio Spurs are out of the NBA playoffs. Normally I couldn't care less* about non-Detroit teams in the NBA, but if there are two teams that make me happy when they lose, it's the Spurs and the Lakers.

Egypt is slaughtering 300,000 pigs over swine flu fears, despite the fact that no cases have appeared in Egypt yet. Next: Egypt to kill all Spaniards due to fears of Spanish flu.


*And yes, the correct phrase is "I couldn't care less", not "I could care less"... pet peeve grrr.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarysports

In the News
Tuesday, 2009 April 28 - 1:06 pm
Sometimes I feel guilty about not posting more often. It's not just that my blog is being neglected (and that recent entries are dominated by American Idol posts), but also that I often see interesting stories in the news that seem like they'd be worth a quick comment.

On the other hand, sometimes I don't really have much to say about those stories, so I'm not sure if anyone would care for my one-line analysis. Eh. It's my blog, I guess, so whatevah, I do what I want.

So anyway, read on for a couple of newsworthy tidbits.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: commentarypoliticstechwatch

Economic Downturn
Saturday, 2009 April 18 - 12:34 pm
So, in the last twelve months, we've lost 15% of our net worth, due to the economic downturn. I'm not gonna say how many dollars that is, but let's just say, it's more than a fistful. This is the first annual decline in my overall net worth since I graduated from college. I mean, 2001 was bad, but I've never seen anything this bad.

I read stories about the downturn, and I hear about friends losing their jobs. But, ironically, it never really felt personal to me until I ran the numbers.

Still, I'm optimistic that if I carefully start putting money back in the stock market, I'll be able to recover most of those losses within a year or two. Maybe this time I'll actually catch the next wave at the right time. Green tech, perhaps?

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Posted by Ken in: commentarylife

Worst Business Decision Ever
Tuesday, 2009 April 14 - 4:54 pm
In Beaumont, Texas, Time Warner Cable has been experimenting with bandwidth caps on its high-speed internet service. They're trying a tiered pricing model where light users get 5 GB per month, and heavy users get 40 GB per month. Exceed the limit, you pay $1 per GB. The fee is capped at $150 total per month, so that will be the new price of unlimited internet access... a three-fold increase over their current price.

Now, they want to expand the trial to more cities, and eventually, they want to roll this out nationwide.

This is a terrible, terrible idea. I hope web site operators, many of whom have founded their business models on users having unlimited internet access, rail against this idea. I hope consumers, who probably don't even realize how much bandwidth they're consuming, refuse to have the internet doled out to them in metered parcels.

Here's the thing: cable modem providers have a near monopoly on Internet services in some areas. There are places where DSL currently doesn't reach, or only reaches with diminished performance (like my house). Plus, current users who use an rr.com email address have a barrier to switching providers, much like cell phone users used to have trouble switching carriers (before the government made it mandatory that phone numbers be made portable for free). So Time Warner's plan is little more than a plan to wring extra money out of their top customers. They'll get to advertise that they have the highest broadband speeds ("Turbo Boost! 10 megabits per second!") but they'll conveniently omit the fact that at that speed, you can exceed your monthly download quota in just half a day.

I won't stand for it. If this comes to the Raleigh area, I'm done with Time Warner. I'll find some other way. Maybe DSL will have improved here by then, or Verizon FIOS will be available here. Maybe there'll be some sort of high-speed fixed wireless access I can get. But listen to me, Time Warner weasels: you're taxing my patience with your cable rates as it is. If you add internet metering to your money-grubbing methods, you've lost me as a customer. I've already created a new domain name to move my remaining collection of rr.com email addresses. I'm tempted to offer free email accounts to any users who drop your service in response to this move.

When will corporations learn? It doesn't pay to piss off your best customers.
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Posted by Ken in: commentarytechwatch

Next, She'll Want Us to Bleach Our Hair
Friday, 2009 April 10 - 11:35 am
Texas state legislator Betty Brown suggested that Asian-Americans change their names so that state poll workers would have an easier time dealing with their identification.

To Betty: the name I will choose is "Up Yours". Is that American enough for ya?
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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Facebook and Photos
Sunday, 2009 March 29 - 3:50 pm
For those of you not following along on Facebook, I've started posting photos there. For a long time, I resisted using hosted photo-sharing sites like Flickr... I figured I could do just as well with my own site, and I thought that would give me more control.

I used Apple's iWeb and MobileMe (née mac.com) for a while, but they kept changing the dang publishing system, so it's hard to keep everything straight. They've got yet another photo hosting system available now (MobileMe Gallery), but I don't feel like I can trust Apple not to replace it with something else. Apple is still inexplicably behind the curve when it comes to Web 2.0 stuff. What's up with that?

But Facebook is a pretty nice way to post photos. I can control who can see the photos by regulating my friends list. Tagging is effortless, and commenting is simple. And best of all, iPhoto '09 has built-in support for publishing to Facebook.

I'll still include photos in my blog posts here on realkato.com, but when it comes to posting whole albums, Facebook is where I'll do it.

If you're a friend and you want to find me on Facebook, you can do it here. But please, if you're someone I haven't seen in ten years and we were never really that close anyway, don't be offended if I don't accept your friend request... you know? I try to keep my friends list restricted to people I really consider to be friends. (In fact, I'm trying to figure out how to pare down my existing friends list without seeming like a jerk. What's the etiquette for de-friending someone?)
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Posted by Ken in: commentarylifetechwatch

Ann Arbor News Shutting Down
Monday, 2009 March 23 - 9:46 am
From the wire today: Ann Arbor News to publish its last edition in July.

I enjoyed in Ann Arbor News growing up. I seem to recall that for a number of years, I read the entire newspaper every day. You just can't beat a local paper for coverage of local sports teams and in-town events.

I remember that my friend Mae's dad worked for the paper. I remember reading Bloom County religiously in the comics section. I remember sending in weekly college football picks and collecting bumper stickers that said "I Dumped The Dope" when I out-picked the sports columnist.

I suppose it's no big surprise that print newspapers are going away. I stopped getting the Raleigh News and Observer years ago. But losing the Ann Arbor News just gives me a bit of a nostalgic twinge.
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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Nortel Freezes Severance
Thursday, 2009 January 15 - 12:38 pm
Nortel Networks announced that recently laid-off employees would not receive their severance packages. The packages are frozen as part of the bankruptcy proceedings, and it's likely that after other debts are paid, there'll be nothing left for severance.

People who have been laid off within the last sixty days are most heavily affected, since there's a sixty-day period from the time of the layoff until severance pay begins.

Pension funds and vested 401k accounts should not be affected by the bankruptcy.
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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Nortel Files for Bankruptcy
Wednesday, 2009 January 14 - 12:04 pm
Nortel Networks filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. Shareholders to be screwed first; employees shortly thereafter.
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Posted by Ken in: commentary

You Have the Right to Remain Silent
Monday, 2009 January 5 - 9:49 pm
I'm generally fascinated by Constitutional law issues. I regularly read a blog called SCOTUS Blog, and today they listed several cases up for certiorari. The one that I'm particularly interested in is Illinois v. Lopez.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Controversy 2: Abortion
Thursday, 2008 November 27 - 11:47 am
This is my second post about a politically controversial topic: this time it's about abortion. The first post, concerning gay marriage, can be found here.

The point of both of these posts is that although some religious conservatives have taken very hard lines on these political issues, these positions are not backed by Biblical texts as they might claim. So, perhaps it would behoove us all to separate the religious arguments from the political ones, and perhaps then these issues wouldn't be so divisive.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

Controversy 1: Gay Marriage
Friday, 2008 November 14 - 4:39 pm
Sometimes I wish that we didn't pay so much attention to divisive topics like abortion and gay marriage. There are so many more important issues to discuss, and so many ideas in which we can find common ground... why devote such energy to wedge issues like this?

But with what's happened with Prop 8 in California, I think I have to say something. That will make me as guilty as anyone of fueling the fire of debate, but so be it.

Read more...
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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

News In Brief
Tuesday, 2008 September 23 - 9:22 pm
Random things I noticed in the news today:

Time Warner Cable in North Carolina is going to carry the Big Ten Network, finally. It'll be on a digital sports tier, but it'll be worth it to be able to catch all my Meeechigan games.

Clay Aiken is gay. No, for real this time.

Sarah Palin met Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in New York today. Why is everything that Sarah Palin does described as "controlled" or "scripted"? McCain might as well have chosen a wooden puppet as his running mate.


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Posted by Ken in: commentarypoliticssports

Miscellany!
Sunday, 2008 March 16 - 10:58 am
Wow, I haven't done a "miscellany" post in a while. But there are a few stories I've seen recently that are begging for commentary.

The New York Times posted a flow chart that diagrams the path of your life depending on whether you were exposed to Dungeons and Dragons early in life. I think the best part of this diagram is the little square in the lower left that says "doubting the technical accuracy of this diagram". I am certain that people who are familiar with flow chars AND who played D&D early in life will end up in this square.

The University of Michigan has won a contract from the United States Army to design robotic bats. This is presumably either to combat the hordes of robotic mosquitoes that the terrorists plan to use against us, or to bombard the Ohio State football team with robot guano. I, for one, welcome our new robotic bat overlords.

Disney is reportedly exploring the idea of an "adult-oriented" theme park, near Disneyland in Florida. I'm not exactly sure what they mean by "adult-oriented", but this does remind me of when my friend Gary and I had the idea of a porno theme park called "Bush Gardens". (You can just imagine the possibilities... think of roller coasters entering tunnels, staff members dressed as famous porn stars, and a popular midway game called "Whack-Your-Pole".)

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Posted by Ken in: commentaryfunnyhaha

Debate on Whether God Exists
Sunday, 2008 February 10 - 8:17 pm
I found this fascinating: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (best known for his TV show, "Shalom in the Home") engaged the noted atheist author Christopher Hitchens in a debate on whether God exists.

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Posted by Ken in: commentaryinteresting

Apple Posts Record Profit, Stock Plunges
Wednesday, 2008 January 23 - 11:46 am
Sometimes I think Wall Street investors are a bunch of idiots.

Yesterday Apple announced its fiscal 2008 first quarter results: $9.61 billion in revenue, resulting in $1.58 billion profit ($1.76 per share). Compared to the same period a year ago, that represents a 54.4% increase in earnings and a 35.4% increase in revenue.

Overnight, the stock lost about 13% of its value. Why? Because Apple's conservative second quarter forecast came in below expectations, and is seen as a further sign of a weakening economy.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarytechwatch

The Golden Compass?
Wednesday, 2007 December 12 - 9:16 am
You know, I really didn't have any desire to see "The Golden Compass" until church leaders started warning people not to see it.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh has issued a letter warning parish pastors about the subversive, atheistic themes in the new movie "The Golden Compass" and the book by the same name.

I'm all about subversion.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarymovies

Paris and Britney News
Tuesday, 2007 September 11 - 7:47 pm
Maybe I should forget this whole Michigan football thing and be a pop-star blogger.

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Posted by Ken in: commentaryfunnyhaha

Phrases of the Year
Tuesday, 2007 September 4 - 10:06 pm
I am having trouble deciding which is my favorite phrase of the year so far.

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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Miscellany
Thursday, 2007 August 23 - 9:34 pm
Tony Snow; infant marriage in Arkansas; smokin' Jesus.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

OMG Hello Kitty OMG
Monday, 2007 August 6 - 10:25 pm
Wow, two separate Hello-Kitty-related news items to report.

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Posted by Ken in: commentary

In the Ghetto
Tuesday, 2007 July 24 - 11:13 pm
On the word "ghetto", and race... and Eric Cartman.

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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Tips for Would-Be Murderers
Thursday, 2007 June 21 - 10:35 pm
Be careful where you surf.

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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Woman Hits Man With Hammer
Sunday, 2007 June 10 - 10:45 am
No, really.

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Posted by Ken in: commentaryfunnyhaha

Miscellany
Thursday, 2007 June 7 - 10:49 pm
Today's topic: women's health.

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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Spelling
Monday, 2007 June 4 - 10:26 pm
Thoughts on the wonderful English language.

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Posted by Ken in: commentary

And Now, The Traffic Report
Thursday, 2007 May 31 - 9:57 pm
Cops; license plates.

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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Drinking News
Friday, 2007 May 18 - 8:44 am
A MADD volunteer is arrested; a North Carolina bill is proposed to prevent underage drinking; and a beer company markets alcoholic energy drinks.

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Posted by Ken in: commentary

Naked News
Monday, 2007 May 14 - 8:44 pm
I get a lot of Google hits for posts titled "Naked News", so hey, here's an instant traffic booster.

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Posted by Ken in: commentary

This Can't Be Good
Thursday, 2007 May 10 - 8:10 pm
A wild plan to reduce greenhouse gases.

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Posted by Ken in: commentaryscience

Is Al Sharpton a Bigot?
Thursday, 2007 May 10 - 7:57 pm
Good old Al is taking a beating this week.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarypolitics

More Pseudo-Science
Friday, 2007 May 4 - 8:29 am
The Institute for Creation Research has launched a journal for peer-reviewed papers.

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Posted by Ken in: commentaryscience

In the News
Thursday, 2007 May 3 - 7:53 am
Detroit evens the series in the NHL playoffs; a man dies of thirst; the pope compares a comedian to a terrorist.

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Posted by Ken in: commentarypoliticssports


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