Friday, February 29, 2008

Staying to Help in Iraq

I have the greatest admiration for Bono and Bob Geldof and Mia Farrow and Angelina Jolie and others who are able to transcend politics and move past the demagoguery and actually work constructively to improve the lives of oppressed people around the world.

There are all too many politicians in Washington and sideline commentators around the world for whom victory only means dealing a political defeat to their opposition.

So when
Bob Geldof praises George Bush's humanitarian activities in Africa and condemns the media for failing to give President Bush the credit he so richly deserves, I want to cheer. Not because I'm a Bush cheerleader, but because Bob Geldof actually places the welfare of the poor in Africa ABOVE politics!! Geldof has consistently looked for answers and help for Africans, not headlines or political points.

By the way, Geldof's article in this week's TIME MAGAZINE is a must read for everyone: Geldof and Bush: Diary From the Road. But, as usual, I've wondered off track....

Today I want to once again give praise and credit to Angelina Jolie, one of the brightest, most articulate and passionate people working today to help the poor, the oppressed and the forgotten. Jolie's work in Iraq this past week (and the past several years) is magnificent.

In a
Washington Post Op-Ed letter today, Jolie recounts the situation in Iraq and her recent visits with both the refugees in Iraq and with U.S. Army General David Petraeus, United Nation's High Commissioner António Guterres, and Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Jolie is a woman on a mission and she is succeeding.

Certainly Jolie is no fan of George Bush. She is deeply affected by the suffering of (by Jolie's estimates) over 4.5 million Iraqi refugees. She wants to help these people to return home safely and to rebuild their lives.

More than that, she wants and expects the United States and the United Nations to step up to the plate and provide financial and humanitarian assistance in this effort.

Jolie doesn't endorse the surge, she doesn't endorse the war. Jolie doesn't play politics. But she does recognize both the real situation on the ground and the need for the United States to play a significant role in rebuilding the lives of the people.

I think it's really significant that instead of sitting safely at home and running "General Betray Us" ads in the New York Times, Jolie goes and meets Petraeus and gets the support she needs to increase the humanitarian aid.

I hope you'll read Jolie's entire article:
Staying to Help in Iraq

Today's humanitarian crisis in Iraq -- and the potential consequences for our national security -- are great. Can the United States afford to gamble that 4 million or more poor and displaced people, in the heart of Middle East, won't explode in violent desperation, sending the whole region into further disorder?

What we cannot afford, in my view, is to squander the progress that has been made. In fact, we should step up our financial and material assistance. UNHCR has appealed for $261 million this year to provide for refugees and internally displaced persons. That is not a small amount of money -- but it is less than the U.S. spends each day to fight the war in Iraq. I would like to call on each of the presidential candidates and congressional leaders to announce a comprehensive refugee plan with a specific timeline and budget as part of their Iraq strategy.

As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible.

It seems to me that now is the moment to address the humanitarian side of this situation. Without the right support, we could miss an opportunity to do some of the good we always stated we intended to do.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Barack Obama Will Never Leave Iraq

The Wizard gazes into his crystal ball.............

I had the day off from work today and had the opportunity to watch Hardball with Chris Matthews. I still find Matthews to be terribly unfair and his coverage of current political events to be blindly biased. That is a terrible shame, but it's completely beside the point.

My point is the exchange I've just watched today between Republican front runner (and virtually assured nominee) John McCain the Democrat front runner (and presumptive nominee) Barack Obama.

You can read a Associated Press news summary of the cross country debate here:
McCain, Obama Tilt Over al-Qaida in Iraq

All my regular readers (and we're now getting several hundred a day courtesy of
Blogburst and Little Green Footballs - Welcome Lizards!! Feel free to comment here or there) know that I've simultaneously endorsed BOTH John McCain and Barack Obama.

Regular readers also know
I've supported and endorsed the McCain/Bush surge in Iraq and strongly support our continued military presence in Iraq. I believe that even though we should NEVER have invaded Iraq, now that it's done, we must stay and build a free and open democracy in the middle east.

So how can I possibly support and endorse Obama for President? Simple. Barack Obama will never leave Iraq. And the proof comes from today's long distance debate.

John McCain, who will be a real opponent as compared to the weak and timid Hillary Clinton, quickly fired a shot across Obama's bow this morning (from the above sourced AP report)

McCain criticized Obama for saying in Tuesday night's Democratic debate that, after U.S. troops were withdrawn, as president he would act "if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq."

"I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq. It's called `al-Qaida in Iraq,'" McCain told a crowd in Tyler, Texas, drawing laughter at Obama's expense. He said Obama's statement was "pretty remarkable."

The key element surrounding my confidence that Obama will not abandon Iraq came both in last night's debate with Clinton and in Obama's long distance reply to McCain today.

Obama quickly answered back while campaigning in Ohio. "I do know that al-Qaida is in Iraq and that's why I have said we should continue to strike al-Qaida targets," he told a rally at Ohio State University in Columbus.

McCain said he had not watched Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate but was told of
Obama's response when asked if as president he would reserve the right to send U.S. troops back into Iraq to quell an insurrection or civil war.

Obama did not say whether he'd send troops but responded: "As commander in chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad."

On Wednesday, Obama expanded slightly that he "would always reserve the right to go in and strike al-Qaida if they were in Iraq" without detailing what kind of strike that might be—air, ground or both.

Our choice in November will not be between victory and defeat. There are two excellent candidates running. And Barack Obama is an intelligent man. It is entirely possible, even likely, that he can find a strong and secure negotiated settlement for the middle eastern crisis. But I don't believe he will simply "surrender."

Will the far left wing of American politics feel betrayed? Probably. But their dream of withdrawal is simplistic and naive.

American security will demand Obama take intelligent and measured steps in his withdrawal.

election will be a good one for America. Voter will be able to chose between two clear choices for our future in Iraq and for the war against Islamic fundamentalism. But the choice will be between two strong leaders.

Monday, February 25, 2008

How Real Investigative Reporting is Done

While The New York Times was wasting four reporters for six months investigating a non-story about John McCain that ultimately cast only the New York paper itself in a negative light, The TIMES OF LONDON was doing real work investigating and now revealing a stunning connection between British~Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchiand and Democrat Presidential Candidate Barrack Obama.

The highly detailed and fact rich TIMES OF LONDON article, complete with time lines and charts, raises serious questions about "loans" of millions of dollars to Obama's campaign and Obama's already questionable purchase of a Chicago Mansion.

The headline story was just released moments ago on the TIMES OF LONDON website. It remains to be seen if the American media, which seems lovestruck with Obama jumps on the story. It will be equally fascinating to see how Hillary Clinton and John McCain react.

Here are some key portions of the story. Please be certain to
read the entire story. And, if you have contacts at the New York Times, suggest they study how real reporting is actually done.

A British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama's fundraiser just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender, an investigation by The Times discloses.

The money transfer raises the question of whether funds from Nadhmi Auchi, one of Britain’s wealthiest men, helped Mr Obama buy his mock Georgian mansion in Chicago.

A company related to Mr Auchi, who has a conviction for corruption in France, registered the loan to Mr Obama's bagman Antoin "Tony" Rezko on May 23 2005. Mr Auchi says the loan, through the Panamanian company Fintrade Services SA, was for $3.5 million.

Three weeks later, Mr Obama bought a house on the city's South Side while Mr Rezko's wife bought the garden plot next door from the same seller on the same day, June 15.

Mr Obama says he never used Mrs Rezko's still-empty lot, which could only be accessed through his property. But he admits he paid his gardener to mow the lawn.

Mrs Rezko, whose husband was widely known to be under investigation at the time, went on to sell a 10-foot strip of her property to Mr Obama seven months later so he could enjoy a bigger garden.

Mr Obama now admits his involvement in this land deal was a “boneheaded mistake”.

Mrs Rezko’s purchase and sale of the land to Mr Obama raises many unanswered questions.

It is unclear how Mrs Rezko could have afforded the downpayment of $125,000 and a $500,000 mortgage for the original $625,000 purchase of the garden plot at 5050 South Greenwood Ave.

In a sworn statement a year later, Mrs Rezko said she got by on a salary of $37,000 and had $35,000 assets. Mr Rezko told a court he had "no income, negative cash flow, no liquid assets, no unencumbered assets [and] is significantly in arrears on many of his obligations."

The house-and-garden deal raised questions about whether Mr Rezko, a property developer and fast-food restauranteur, made it possible for the Obamas to purchase a mansion they could otherwise not afford.

Mrs Rezko paid the asking price for the garden but the Obamas bought the house for $1.65 million, - $300,000 less than the asking price. The sellers deny they offered the Obamas a discount on the house because the garden had fetched full price from Mrs Rezko.

The spotlight fell on Mr Rezko's ties to Mr Auchi last month when the Chicago businessman was thrown in jail for violating his bail terms by failing to declare a different $3.5 million loan from the British billionaire, made in April 2007. Prosecutors feared Mr Rezko, who travels widely in the Middle East, might flee to a country without an extradition treaty such as his birthplace of Syria.

Mr Auchi was convicted of corruption, given a suspended sentence and fined £1.4 million in France in 2003 for his part in the Elf affair, described as the biggest political and corporate scandal in post-war Europe. He, in a statement from his media lawyers, claims he is appealing against the sentence.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Excellence of Steven Spielberg

I want to thank Steven Spielberg with all my heart. He has exhibited rare courage and extraordinary moral leadership. And he has placed his principles and his concern for mankind above everything else.

Steven Spielberg is already a living legend. The Academy Award winning director's place in history is already assured. However, Spielberg could have capped his career with his opportunity to direct the entire artistic exposition of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It is a real testament to his skill and craftsmanship to have been chosen by the Chinese government and Chinese Olympic Organization as the Artistic Director.

But Steven Spielberg realized that China is not only failing to condemn the genocide in Darfur, but is actually funding and supporting the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of people.

First Spielberg
attempted to put pressure on the Chinese Government through public comments and private negotiations. He became a very vocal critic of China's involvement.

As it became more and more obvious that his pressure was having little effect, Spielberg made the difficult decision to
resign his position with the 2008 Olympics

"I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue business as usual," he said in a statement.

Steven Spielberg was an artistic adviser to the Chinese Olympic Games
"At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies, but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur."

More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million forced from their homes in the five-year conflict between Sudan's Arab-dominated government and Darfur's ethnic African rebels.

Human rights activists have accused China of being partly responsible for the trouble in Darfur because of its diplomatic backing of the Sudanese government.

Spielberg said: "Sudan's government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these ongoing crimes, but the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more to end the continuing suffering there.

If only Warren Buffett had just one ounce of Spielberg's courage, honor and humanity, perhaps we could finally turn the situation in Dafur around.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Keller's Low Standards are Destroying The New York Times

Under a relentless attack from both conservative and liberal corners alike, The New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller sought refuge in the warm confines of National Public Radio to defend the Time's bizarre decision to run a vague and vapid story attacking John McCain on the front page of the Times, above the fold.

The biggest problem with the story is that it is extremely misleading, implying both an extra marital affair and improper favors given to lobbyists, especially the alleged paramour named in the article, lobbyist Vicki Iseman.

As I
discussed last night, the sensational and splashy article actually contained almost no facts. It's all smoke and mirrors and frankly there's damned little smoke.

And while NPR attempted to be fair to Keller in articles and audio interviews this morning, Keller's explanations are as vapid as the article itself. It's hard to defend a story with no basis, and Keller fails miserably in his defense.

Here is Keller's explanation from
David Folkenflik's story on the NPR website:

"If, hypothetically, we had established that he had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist — and had done favors for that lobbyist — that would have been a different story," he [Keller] says.

But the newspaper was not able to confirm any relationship. Instead, Keller tells NPR that the article that ran Thursday morning provided a slightly different insight into one of the nation's leading candidates for president.

"It's not a 'gotcha' story about some kind of quid pro quo," he says. "We don't know if there was a quid or a quo in this case.

In other words, it's an eight year old story about nothing.

And that deserved a feature position above the fold on page one? A breathlessly written gotcha story with no facts? Right next to an unusually large and splashy photo of Barack Obama?

Bill, all you proved today is that you are unfit to make judgements about news stories. I
repeat my call for your resignation for the good of the Times.

Bill Keller Needs to Resign

Bill Keller and I share the same last name. To my knowledge we are not related. But even if we were brothers I would still lead the call for his resignation.

Keller, in case you somehow didn't know, is the Executive Editor of The New York Times.

But I'm reasonably certain that you do know that the Times did print a stunningly vague, undocumented and sloppily written hatchet piece
slandering John McCain on the front page of this morning's newspaper.

While I can safely leave it to conservative bloggers to defend McCain, it isn't McCain that was damaged today. The real damage was to The New York Times itself.

In running a pointless story designed only to damage the Republican front runner for President, the Times virtually ruined what remained of their already tarnished image.

From Jayson Blair to Judith Miller, the Times has consistently proven it neither challenges its reporters to seek the truth nor does it bother to fact check the obviously sloppy results of lazy and/or politically biased reporting.

This attitude starts at the top. The Executive Editor sets the standards for his editors and reporters to follow. Clearly, a change in leadership is seriously needed at the Times.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

McCain Declares Obama the Winner

Yet another primary and yet another chance for the Wizard to observe and comment....

The really big news tonight from Wisconsin was not Obama's ninth primary win in a row, it was the McCain 'victory" speech delivered precisely at the peak of prime time viewing.

It was McCain's best crafted and best delivered speech so far. And, my friends, McCain is neither eloqent nor inspiring.

But McCain's speech did reveal that the McCain camp has come to realize that Barack Obama has effectively won the Democratic Party nomination for President and he will be the standard bearer this fall.

McCain's attack on Obama was sharp and perfectly delivered for repeated televison and newspaper sound bites: "I will work hard to make sure Americans aren't deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change."

The McCain camp is already sharpening the attack on Obama. Clinton was not even on McCain's radar.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Recommended Reading

My wife did something very "retro" recently. She joined the public library.

In the 1950's , when I was a mere lad back in Pueblo, Colorado, every school aged child had a library card. Because, unless you were very, very rich, the library was where books came from!!

Back in 2001 I boldly predicted that the Internet would ultimately change all that. I believed that Congress, or perhaps even the publishers themselves, would overcome the enormous complications created by copyright laws and all books would be availble on-line for an affordable fee. Sadly, I wasn't quite correct in my predictions....... at least not yet.

Consider for a moment the magnitude of the opportunity to serve mankind.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with nearly 119 million items on approximately 530 miles of bookshelves. The collections include some 18 million books.

For the purpose of this discussion, let's assume each of those 18 million books has 250 pages.

Now my wife is a voracious reader. She can read 100 pages in a book in one evening. But even reading at this torrid pace, she could only read 11,680 books in her lifetime. And that's if she read for 100 pages a day for 80 years. Not a likely scenario.

But if she did, that's only 6/10ths of 1% of the books only in just the Library of Congress. And The Library of Congress itself only contains a small portion of the writings world wide.

In other words, we don't have a prayer of ever scratching the surface of human knowledge and creativity.

And of course a substantial portion of human creativity has already been lost. Books go out of print and fade into the dustbin of history. Which brings me to the point of this essay.

The World of Paul CrumePaul Crume was one of the most talented and insightful writers and essayists who ever lived. His column appeared on the front page of The Dallas Morning News from 1948 until his death in 1975. And selected essays have been collected into two books, now both long out of print.

My wife and I have been rereading The World of Paul Crume, because we are lucky enough to actually own a copy. This book, published back in 1980 won't be found in any library outside of Dallas, and probably not even there. As of this writing a few old and well worn copies of the book are available on Amazon but I can't promise you any will still be there when you click the link.

Sometime in the mid 90's Marion Crume (Paul's wife) or another relative set up a Paul Crume Website on Geocities. But even by 2001 the website had fallen into disrepair. Links were broken or missing. Nothing remains today.

Small snatches of a very few of Paul's essays used to be available at this site. My guess is that even for Paul's wife there were copyright or other legal hassles that prevented a larger portion of the books to be reprinted.

And here is where our society and government must allow and even force change. Every essay Paul ever wrote should be archived on-line. It would be easy and very inexpensive to do this. For a small fee (or perhaps advertising support) Every person in the world would be able to read his writings, be warmed by his wit, be touched by his love.

Millions and millions of similar, perhaps even greater works are held back from humanity out of greed, ignorance or simple stupidity. Today lawyers and "creative rights managers" in this country will withhold creative works from the Internet and let them disappear rather than allow one person to read the work for "free."

Every day this week Paul Crume has made my world a better place in which to live. We need for it to be possible for you to have the same experience. At the click of a button.

excerpt from the essay

by Paul Crume*

.....people know a great many things that science has not yet discovered.

    Science will eventually get around to discovering them and making them official, but meanwhile they work just as well while they're undiscovered.

It was several millennia after people had begun to use a good stout sapling to pry rocks with that science discovered the lever, and Archimedes announced that with a proper lever and a fulcrum to put it on he could move the world. This is an "iffy" scientific attitude. Science discovered the wedge and the wheel after people had been using them for years.

This inability of science to keep up with people is called a cultural lag.

It has only been 300 years since Issac Newton discovered that an apple, if it becomes detached from the tree, falls to the ground, though we may reasonably suppose that generations of apple-knockers had known this all along. True, Newton did figure out why the apple falls, a discovery of very little utility if you know ahead of time that it is going to fall.

* from the book The World of Paul Crume, edited by Marion Crume, copyright 1980 Marion Crume, SMU Press.

Here's hoping that science (or maybe the lawyers) will soon discover the Internet is a good way to both store and distribute the knowledge, wit and wisdom of mankind to all of mankind.

People have been knowing this for years, as Paul Crume might have said.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Dream Election 2008

Yet another primary and yet another chance for the Wizard to opine......

Barack Obama LogoWe are very, very close to the Wizard's "Dream Election" of Democrat Barack Obama facing Republican John McCain. This is the very best possible matchup for the American people. McCain and Obama are the best of their respective parties and either would make an excellent President.

Even more important these are two men of extraordinary integrity and honor. We can actually respect them both for exactly the same reason - Their positions on the war in Iraq. You see, even though they are polar opposites, both have held their positions even when faced with overwhelming public opposition! These men don't sway with every breeze in the polls. They actually believe what they say. That is refreshing in itself!

JohnMcCain.comAnd this election is best for the American public because the choice couldn't possibly be more clear. In McCain we have a supporter of the continued occupation and (potential) liberation of the people of Iraq versus Barack Obama, a champion for withdrawal of the troops from Iraq.

In their speeches tonight, both men fully embraced their positions on Iraq. Neither man will back down.

The voters in American will finally be allowed to choose. No fence sitting. The course of action, the future path of American foreign policy, will be clear once the dust settles in November. If the people really want to leave Iraq (and possibly Afghanistan), the road map home will be drawn in the quiet privacy of the voting booth.

If, on the other hand, the American public agrees with John McCain and believes that America must take the War on Terror into the Middle East, that renewed surge must find its roots in the polling places of America.

These are tough choices. These are real leaders.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It's Only Science Fiction

Ahhh.... A delightful Sunday Morning..... Surfing the Net.... Having a cafe mocha (my second)... and listening to Wizard Radio [Now Playing: Grayson Wray's "It's Only Science Fiction" from the album Alternate Heavens]

Science Fact

One of my favorite movies of all time is "A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court" starring Bing Crosby. The movie is, of course, based on Mark Twain's book of the same name.

A pivotal moment in the story occurs when the time traveling Hank Morgan (the Bing Crosby character) uses an almanac to correctly predict an eclipse to impress King Arthur and save his life.

What I didn't know is that Mark Twain based this episode on similar real life event that actually saved the life of Christopher Columbus and his crew.
Joe Rao writing for tells the entire story in a fascinating "must read" story. Click the link above and enjoy this great read.

And enjoy a real full eclipse of the moon on February 20th (details are included in the story).

Seed Pod Campaign to Save a Science Fiction Series

No, those aren't seed pods from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, they're Sunflower Seeds being mailed by the thousands to the USA Television Network in
an effort to save the cult science fiction series "The 4400."

It seems that sunflower seeds are a favorite of Dr. Kevin Burkhoff , a character on the series. So fans are working to bury the USA television offices in a mountain of Sunflower seeds. Here is a link to the
Save The 4400 campaign.

Giants Sunflower Seed Company knows a good thing when they see one. They are promoting the campaign heavily on their web site.

Yes, I'll admit that I ordered a case sent to USA Network today. I'm a fan of the show, too.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Dear Rush, Sean, Ann and Michelle,

My open letter to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin.....

Dear Rush, Sean, Ann and Michelle,

The other shoe dropped today at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as Mitt Romney suspended his failing Presidential campaign, virtually clearing the road for John McCain to mount a national campaign against the yet to be determined Democrat alternative.

As Brian C. Mooney of the Boston Globe sarcastically pointed out this afternoon, Romney "ended his candidacy for president today in a manner befitting his political transformation -- exiting stage right from the Republican campaign."

But Romney failed to excite either excite or unite conservatives in spite of your very best efforts. But I don't think this is any reflection on your united efforts to thwart the McCain campaign.

In the end the real issue wasn't a battle between the conservative versus the moderate/liberal wings of the electorate. And it certainly wasn't a fight for the soul of the Republican Party. It was, in reality, the public's verdict on the four key issues of leadership: consistency, integrity, honor and courage.

Put simply, McCain had those four critical characteristics and Romney did not.
And those character traits outweighed philosophical differences. What cost Romney this election is exactly what cost another Massachusetts politician his run at the presidency, John Kerry.

George Bush was already a relatively unpopular President in 2004, struggling with a failing occupation of Iraq following an ill advised invasion. Although the economy was good, Bush got no credit for its success. Bush's popularity frequently dipped below 50%.

No, Bush really didn't win the election; he simply beat one of the most flawed candidates in the history of the nation.

Almost anyone else could have beat Bush. But Kerry was hopelessly inconsistent and had been his entire career.

At the 2004 Democrat convention he took the stage as a war hero while trying to ignore his horrific testimony before Congress in the 1960's where he basically lied about his Viet Nam experiences, telling second hand and exaggerated stories of atrocities and cowardice committed by his fellow GI's.

While in the 60's Kerry was loved by fellow peace activists, the military serving in Viet Nam never forgave him and turned in him like a swiftboat in the 2004 election.

Kerry looked like a "poser" on stage at the convention and his inconsistencies didn't stop there. Kerry tried on alternative days to be pro-war and then anti-war. There was a discernable lack of conviction on Kerry's part. And a telling lack of courage.

I believe if Kerry had simply remained consistent with his peace activist heritage and not flipped between supporting and then opposing the war, he could have beaten the very vulnerable Bush.

Flash forward four years and we have Mitt Romney following in Kerry's footsteps. Romney moved from a pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-big government, pro gun-control "Massachusetts’s Moderate" (which would be a flaming liberal in 40 other states) to the champion of the ultra right-wing conservative causes.

Nobody believed him. Had he followed Rudy Giuliani’s model and run as a social moderate and economic conservative, he might well be the candidate today.

Brian C. Mooney of the Boston Globe continued,
"The Mitt Romney who stood before an approving crowd today at the CPAC convention was a political figure largely unrecognizable to many who elected him in his adopted home state of Massachusetts. The upstart who threw a scare into Senator Edward M. Kennedy in 1994 and won the governor's office eight years later was in many ways a conservative adapted to survive in a liberal environment. Even as he cemented his conservative bona fides in today's remarks, Romney continued to shed policies that defined him as governor."

So Rush, Sean, Ann and Michelle, I really think that most Republicans actually both agree with you and respect your opinions on conservative values and policies. It's simply that Mitt Romney was a terribly flawed candidate.

And, when it comes time to make a real contest for President this fall, McCain's consistency, integrity, honor and courage will make him a strong and formidable candidate.

My Best Wishes to you all,

The Wizard.......

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Thinking about Microsoft's proposed buyout of Yahoo.....

I've written previously about past tragic buyouts in the computer and Internet industry. In fact I'm hard pressed to think of even one acquisition that has served users, employees, stockholders or the industry well.

Innovation is inevitably killed in workforce reductions and assimilations. For some reason failed managers are placed in charge of the brilliant developers and marketeers that the acquiring parent had hoped to exploit. Of course the founders and top managers of the acquired companies usually take the money and run.

Creativity dies a slow and torturous death.

One of the worst examples I've previously cited was the purchase of MusicMatch (the mp3 music jukebox company) by Yahoo themselves. MusicMatch had created one of the most user friendly, platform friendly, and trouble free programs ever created. They had been rewarded with customer loyalty, industry awards and a rapidly growing market share.

Yahoo was struggling with a poorly written, buggy program rightfully ignored by most music afficionados and computer users. So, in 2004, Yahoo acquired MusicMatch for $160 million dollars. Makes sense, right?

Wrong. In a few short years they destroyed MusicMatch making it's successor program Yahoo Music one of the worst, buggiest, non-working programs in history. Yahoo's corporate bureaucracy at first ignored MusicMatch's programmers that they micro managed the innovation to death. Here's just one of thousands of blog and magazine articles on
the debacle from WIRED MAGAZINE. Here's another one.

Everybody lost. Yahoo's investment was wasted. Users lost a great program. Employees lost their jobs, And innovation was smothered to death.

Yahoo has repeated this program dozens of times. If they've had a "successful" acquisition, I'm not aware of it.

In fact, Yahoo has so consistently wasted their resources that they have squandered their industry leading position and their mammoth stock price (and corporate value) so that Microsoft can acquire them for a mere song (pardon the pun), a tiny fraction of the value of the company just a few years ago.

But nobody has destroyed more companies and stifled more innovation than Microsoft. While
41 BILLION DOLLARS looks like a bargain today, when Microsoft's rigid bureaucracy chews up and spits out Yahoo, don't expect a dime's worth of value to be left.

The technology blogosphere is almost universally opposed to this acquisition. A great place to start reading is
Farhad Manjoo's series of articles over at