Going to Dover a Photo Op? Who cares? Just donate.

The latest Fox blather has Rush Limbaugh claiming that President Obama went to Dover AFB to get a photo op, instead of to honor the fallen troops who arrived there.  To which I say: whatever. First of all, I had no problem with the President honoring the fallen by going to Dover.  Contrary to many liberal Democrats, I also had no problem with President Bush not going to Dover.  He chose instead to visit with the families of the dead soldiers instead.  I think it’s those families that matter, and not me in those circumstances.  What I had a problem with, was the Bush administration applying a blanket rule, outlawing press photographs of caskets.  It seems to me that it should, once again, be left to the families of those  involved.  As it was, it also seemed to me that President Bush was attempting to downplay the number of people who died in Iraq.  That number stands at 4,355, according to icasualties.org and antiwar.com.  Let’s also keep in mind the other 31,545 Americans who were injured, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.  In looking for sites to donate to the benefit of soldiers and their families, Fisher House is one that people tend to mention, but I wonder what other people think.  Donating seems to me the appropriate way to comment on this otherwise rabid nonsense.  I also wonder how much Rush Limbaugh has donated.

Cynicism at its worst: A Republican healthcare plan

AP reports that Representative John Boehner is touting the Republican healhcare plan, and that it is in some ways better than the Democratic plans.  The laugh is that every resident of the United States is living the Republican healthcare plan right now.  The Republicans had 12 years to offer a healthcare plan, and while they did create a drug plan for Medicare, that was only an earlier cynical attempt to stave off more sweeping legislation, that will actually make a difference to the 46 million people who have no coverage.

You don’t get to cry about other peoples’ ideas when you’ve been given an opportunity to test your own and chose not to.  That’s called taking pot shots, which is what the Republicans and the WSJ have been doing.

Death in Detroit at the hands of the FBI or just due to stupidity?

The New York Times has an excellent article about the case of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who died in a shootout with the FBI in Detroit on Wednesday.  Mr. Abdullah was apparently well known by the FBI, had a past criminal record, and wasn’t known for being a shrinking violet.  It is possible that he also died of terminal stupidity by firing a weapon in the presence of law enforcement.  As the Times and other papers report it, the FBI confronted Mr. Abdullah in a warehouse where he was housing stolen property.  Once they confronted him, it’s possible there was no way for them to have avoided shooting him, given that he fired shots.

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

I wonder, however, if they confronted him in the right way.  To be sure, this is Monday morning quarterbacking, but in my experience, that is how we learn.  Sometimes it is possible to request that people turn themselves in.  This avoids any violence, at the risk that the individual will flee.  Was that a reasonable risk to take in this case?

Once they decided that they needed to arrest him, would it have made sense to do so in another venue?  Certainly there is a risk to law enforcement when they arrest someone at home, as that person may be hiding weapons in the house, and certainly knows the layout better than the cops.

Would it have been better to nab him on the way out of his house?  He may have been on parole.  Could his parole officer have requested him to come in?

My point: it’s not clear cut to me that the FBI did the wrong or the right thing.  We’ll probably never know, but hopefully someone asked and answered these questions before the they confronted Mr. Abdullah in that warehouse.  Otherwise maybe it could well be that police/siege mentality contributed to this man’s death.

Does Facebook Getting Money from a Spammer help?

CybercrimeAs many will have seen, Facebook won a court judgment today for $711 million from well-known spammer Sanford Wallace.  It’s always nice when a spammer gets told “stop that”, but as bad as some people might think Wallace is, he is a walk in the park compared to the real villains out there.  They are faceless, nameless, thugs who want to steal your money, your identity, and whatever else they think they can take from you and your family.  They have no scruples and cannot be easily traced.  The occasional bust makes the news across the world, which is one way of knowing that these miscreants are hard to find.  The other way is that your mailbox is still collecting spam, some of it dangerous.

Nokia making money the old fashion way: suing Apple

Back in the early 1990s, when Apple saw the threat coming, but didn’t have a decent response, the only resort they had was to sue Microsoft in what became known as a “look and feel” lawsuit.  They lost, and their fall from grace continued like a lead balloon.  It was only when they came to terms with the fact that they really had no decent products that Steve Jobs was able to rescue the company.

courtesy: Yerson O

Today, the shoe is on the other foot.    Once again, there has been a fall from grace, but this time the one doing the falling is Apple’s disrupted competitor, Nokia.  Apple has taken huge swathes of market share away from Nokia because, quite frankly, Nokia phones aren’t what they used to be.  They suck in comparison to Apple, and the reason they suck is that they attempted to cater strictly to service providers and not to the people who use the phones.  Nokia’s Symbian O/S is slow and uninteresting in comparison to Apple’s OS/X.  Their integration with existing products such as the iPod is so limited compared to Apple’s ecosystem as to be entirely insignificant.  Nokia’s network functionality was so poor as to be unusable, except for specific applications like Good.  Their IMAP functionality was just broken for mailboxes of any size.

And so Nokia has announced that they are suing Apple for infringement of ten patents, since it seems that it is the only way they will make money.  I don’t know whether there is any merit to their suit, but I can say two things:

  • A lawsuit will not help consumers one bit; and
  • There is a special place in Hell for those who bring lawsuits involving technology that is standardized.

If Apple’s earlier experience is any indicator, Nokia has further to fall.  They must stop suing and start innovating and catering to consumers, who Apple rightly recognized were the real customers.  Apple has given Nokia a good kick in the pants, but Nokia has a long history of success.  They are down but not out.  To be out, they need to be thinking about new approaches to the consumer, new ways to attract developers, and it actually all has to work.

Nokia image courtesy of Yerson O