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One of the criticisms surrounding Barack Obama is whether or not the man is actually eligible to be president.  The US Constitution states:

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Obama’s biological father was Kenyan.  His mother was born in Kansas and has always been an American citizen.  All very well.

‘So what’s the problem?’ you might well ask.  That’s pretty much what I want to know.

But there are a number of people, apparently enough of them to form a named group (“Birthers”), who claim that Obama is not a natural-born citizen.  The primary claim, as far as I can tell, is that he was born in Kenya.  This, despite the fact that the man has a birth certificate from Hawaii (which is where he was actually born) and that the certificate’s authenticity has been verified numerous times by multiple parties.

Birthers claim the Hawaii certificate is forged.  Okay, then where is his Kenyan one?  Assuming, of course, that there is even any evidence that the Hawaiian one is a forgery.

Here’s the best part: it doesn’t matter if it is.  Obama’s mother, being an American citizen at the time of his birth, makes him a natural-born citizen no matter where in the world he is born.  That’s the way American law works.  No one disputes Ann Dunham’s citizenship (as far as I’m aware).  His father’s country of citizenship doesn’t matter.  It wouldn’t even matter if Obama had been born in Kenya.  He’d still be a natural-born citizen.

But Birthers are pretty adamant about this:

These people are crazier than squirrels with their heads stuck in a dog food can.

But it got me to wondering.  In the face of such obvious evidence, to persist in their vitriol suggests that the real motive for their anger is not Obama’s country of birth.  It must be something else.  In this video, the touchstones are “my ancestors fought in wars for this country” and the Pledge of Allegiance (the meaning of which obviously escapes these people).

Are we seeing nothing more than pure racism?  “I don’t want a nigger for President”?  But they know they can’t say that out loud.  Or, more precisely, they’re afraid to admit to themselves what really motivates them.  Is this apparent insanity the logical manifestation of a culture where it is believed that changing how people talk will change how they think?  Outlawing the word “nigger” doesn’t make people stop being racist.  It just sends that racism underground, to seethe and foment and seek other avenues of expression that are more acceptable.

I don’t know a great deal about Delaware’s social customs or cultural origins, but I wouldn’t generally call them Southerners (despite the accent of the shrill woman in the video).  The Southerners I’ve encountered over the years are pretty blunt about their racism (if they are racist, which most of them are not) and are not afraid to use the words that go with it.

Birthers are, then, a possible window into the consequences of a culture where speech is regulated (and don’t kid yourself about that).  They may also be an example of jingoistic craziness, which is also still alive and well in this country.

This irritates me:

A Canadian astronaut on a six-month stay aboard the international space station said on Sunday it looks like Earth’s ice caps have melted a bit since he was last in orbit 12 years ago.

Bob Thirsk said that there is a “very thin veil of atmosphere around the Earth that keeps us alive … Most of the time when I look out the window I’m in awe. But there are some effects of the human destruction of the Earth as well,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

“This is probably just a perception, but I just have the feeling that the glaciers are melting, the snow capping the mountains is less than it was 12 years ago when I saw it last time,” Thrisk was quoted as saying. “That saddens me a little bit.”

It’s “probably just a perception” and he “has a feeling”, eh?  Oh that’s solid scientific evidence right there.  He actually used instruments from space to somehow measure the amount of ice on the surface of the earth?  No?  Yeah that’s what I thought.

Why is this bullshit even reported?  Why is an astronaut, supposedly a highly trained, intelligent, scientifically-minded individual, offering a totally subjective opinion about something that he is in no position (figuratively or literally) to have information about?  His education is in mechanical engineering and medicine (he’s an MD).  What the hell does he know about polar ice?

Naturally, we can expect the viros to latch onto this throwaway opinion as “evidence” of global warming or some shit.

Interestingly, we don’t really need that evidence.  It is true that the data show a general warming trend over the past 100 years or so.  It is also true that polar ice volumes are changing, apparently getting smaller, and that glaciers are moving and losing volume.

What is NOT clear, however, is the cause.  The link between global CO2 levels and global temperatures is actually reversed from what is commonly believed.  That is, the temperature went up, and THEN the CO2 levels increased.  CO2 increase is not causal.  And yes, I am aware of the so-called refutations of this conclusion:

The reason has to do with the fact that the warmings take about 5000 years to be complete. The lag is only 800 years. All that the lag shows is that CO2 did not cause the first 800 years of warming, out of the 5000 year trend. The other 4200 years of warming could in fact have been caused by CO2, as far as we can tell from this ice core data. 

So basically, this guy is saying that a warming cycle takes 5000 years to complete, and yet we have somehow concluded that the earth is warming up because of human activity just within the past 100 years?  That makes no sense.  Also, the assertion that warming “could” have been caused by CO2, is dishonest, because it is speculation with no data to support it.  I’m not a geoscientist, but the article in question seems intentionally circuitous and misleading.  If anyone cares to explain more clearly the position being advocated, I’m interested.

Then there’s the famous “hockey stick graph” that supposedly shows a dramatic increase in global temperatures over the past thousand years.  It is highly flawed, one might even conclude intentionally so, and is no longer considered valid.

So what exactly is my point here?  My point is, the data we have indicate that we are in the early stages of a trend that is normal for this planet over many past millennia.  Whether or not human activity is contributing is something we are not able to discern.  Astronaut Thirsk is showing an unscientific and unsupportable bias in his statements that serves no purpose other than to be inflammatory and perpetuate an irrational belief about human civilization and the planet we live on.  It is beneath him as a scientist and a human being to speak this way, given his highly public occupation.

You folks may be aware of an incident that happened in Cambridge, Massachusetts recently.  A Harvard scholar named Louis Gates, Jr. was observed by a neighbor shoulder-forcing the door of his own home at night after returning from a trip and being unable to find his keys.  Crucial of note here is the fact that the neighbor didn’t know that it was Gates himself, and that Gates is black (and apparently famous even though I never heard of the guy).  The cops show up, responding to a possible break in at a residence.  Gates refuses to show identification (according to the police report) and becomes belligerent.  He calls the cop a racist, pulls out the “do you know who I am” card, and finally gets arrested for disorderly conduct.

There are a number of interesting details about this story.  One is that Gates is supposedly some famous Harvard “black scholar”, whatever that exactly means.  Another is that the cop refuses to apologize for how he conducted the situation:

Crowley, however, has refused to apologize, and he told the radio station he did nothing wrong. He added he was surprised that a man as educated as Gates would start yelling epithets about Crowley’s mom, part of the incident that never made it into the police report.

“That apology will never come. It won’t come from me as Jim Crowley. It won’t come from me as a sergeant in the police department,” Crowley told WEEI. 

“I know what I did was right. I have nothing to apologize for,” he added.

This is 100% pure awesome.  This is exactly how the cop should respond to this situation.  Indeed, he did nothing wrong and acted properly.  I mean come on.  Somebody reports a guy busting into a house, the cop knows a lot of things could await him at the scene.  A burglar might be there.  The homeowner might be in trouble.  It’s entirely possible that people could still be in the house without the homeowner’s knowledge after the cop arrives.

The officer has to make sure he knows who he’s talking to.  That requires ID.  He’s checking to see if the person he’s dealing with is, in fact, the resident of the home.  Then he has to check the house to make sure nobody unauthorized is there.  Officer Crowley was alone when he first responded, so he had Gates come outside onto the porch, for his safety and for Gates’ safety, and waited for backup.

But the only thing on Gates’ mind is that some white cop is hassling him for being a black man, and he won’t shut the fuck up about it:

“I can’t believe that an individual policeman on the Cambridge police force would treat any African-American male this way, and I am astonished that this happened to me; and more importantly I’m astonished that it could happen to any citizen of the United States, no matter what their race,” Gates wrote.

“I would sooner have believed the sky was going to fall from the heavens than I would have believed this could happen to me. It shouldn’t have happened to me, and it shouldn’t happen to anyone,” Gates continued.

You would think, from the level of whaargarbl in this response, that the cop had randomly stopped him while he was walking down the street and proceeded to arrest him for being a negro in the wrong part of town.  The officer responded to a disturbance, acted in the best interest of everyone there, and this is the thanks he gets?  What if it hadn’t been Gates, and the officer had ignored the call and the house had been robbed?  What if Gates was being held hostage by armed thugs in his house?  He could be dead, or worse.

The whole thing got worse when Obama decided to offer his totally unnecessary and uninformed opinion on the matter:

Asked about the incident, Obama, who is friends with the professor and documentary filmmaker, told reporters at a Wednesday night press conference that he didn’t know all the facts. But he said, “the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.”

Later, a press secretary tried to spin it to be a little less insulting:

“Cooler heads should have prevailed. That’s what the president denoted,” he said. “He was not calling the officer stupid. The situation got out of hand.”

No, I’m pretty sure that this comes perilously close to Obama simply calling the cop a racist without actually saying it in those words.  As for Crowley being surprised that Gates would insult his mother, call him a racist, and say “You don’t know who you’re messing with”, he shouldn’t be.  Gates is just one of that class of elitist, leftist oligarchs in our society who thinks that everyone should recognize him and accord him some kind of deference based on that.

The fact that Gates has a PhD in English Lit and a BA in History (neither is from Harvard, he just teaches there) is no guarantee that he has manners, or, ironically, class.  It’s not even a guarantee that he has any common sense, wisdom, or sense of fucking perspective.

So, Officer Crowley, you go right on ahead telling people to shut the hell up, including the President of the United States.  You acted correctly and Gates is being a whiny bitch whose shit suddenly got real.

Kyle tends to give good advice. Following my message to the White House conveying my displeasure regarding Obama’s support of Zelaya, Kyle suggested that I balance that out by letting the Honduran Embassy in DC know that I support their decision to remove Zelaya from power.  So I sent the following message:

As an American, I want to let you know that not all Americans support President Obama in his attempts to return Manuel Zelaya to power. We know that Zelaya is a criminal, that he was trying to circumvent the Honduran Constitution, and that he is no friend of freedom or the rule of law.

I am angry that Obama supports Zelaya, but not surprised. I have sent a message to the White House expressing my disapproval. Hopefully my countrymen will do the same.

Hondurans, take comfort in knowing that not everyone is against you. Many of us support your decision to remove Zelaya. You are doing the right thing, and his removal is just. He should not be allowed to return. Ignore the rest of the world; they are fools who believe in dictators. Stand strong and do not give in.

I do not know if the sentiment will be appreciated, but I feel better for sending it.  Balancing the negative with the positive — it’s good for me as well as for them.

I just sent this letter to the White House through their comment form at whitehouse.gov.  I am thoroughly disgusted with the United States’ support of that socialist thug.

Mr. President,

I am angry and disappointed that your administration supports Manuel Zelaya in returning to power in Honduras.  It is clear that Zelaya violated Honduran law in his failure to enact properly passed legislation in Congress, and it is also clear that as a friend of Hugo Chavez and Raul Castro, he is an enemy of freedom and democracy. He sought a referendum that would have removed term limits in the Honduran Constitution, thus cementing his power as dictator of that nation.  How can America support this?  Further, why are we interfering in what was clearly a legal and proper removal of a criminal from government?  They even managed it without anyone getting hurt.  Zelaya tried to return, and they blocked his plane from landing. They could have simply shot it out of the sky, and would have been fully justified in doing so, yet they did not.

You say that we should be impartial regarding other nations’ form of government. I disagree. We can and must be vocal defenders of liberty, and we should take every opportunity to denounce socialism and leftist thuggery no matter where it is found.

Mr. Obama, we should not be attempting to return Zelaya to power. We should be supporting the just rule of law in Honduras, and congratulating them on their successful defense of democracy in removing Zelaya.

I feel a sense of despair in being just one voice in this nation. I debate the merit in even sending such comments. Kyle points out that positions are counted, and the government does tally such things.  I presume this is true.  I have to, otherwise I succumb to apathy and disinterest like so many of my countrymen.

Last week, an eBay bidder was the lucky winner of a brand new 2008 E90 M3 BMW. The winning bid was $60,000, which is considerably under the sticker price for such a car. It’s pretty — black with a red interior. Not my style, but probably a fairly unusual color combination.

Long story short, Husker BMW Mercedes of Nebraska is refusing to honor the deal and will not sell him the car for the winning bid. According to the buyer in his thread on M3post.com:

15 minutes after auction end, this guy Michael Barett (At BMW of Nebraska) calls and nervously tells me the auction was a “mistake”.

I reminded him of his contractual obligation to complete the transaction, to which he continues to reply “it was a mistake”, and refused to honor the deal.

He then offered to call his manager and confirm what they could do, but same response. When I pressed the issue and raised the possibility of legal action, this guy had the nerve to condescendingly laugh and say we are a multi-billion dollar company, ebay will definitely side with us.

If true, something tells me that Michael isn’t going to have his job for much longer, if he is even still working there as I type this. EBay auctions are legally binding contracts, and eBay has a history of siding with the person who is in the right according to their rules. The size of the company is immaterial to them (eBay is the 900 lb. gorilla here, anyway; a piss-ant BMW dealer in Nebraska is small potatoes to them).

The auction did not have a reserve, just a starting bid of $60,000. Winner states there was a Buy It Now price of $66,926, but he was the only bidder so he won it at the starting price. From my experience as a seller on eBay, and the specifics of eBay’s contractual rules, the buyer certainly seems to have a legitimate claim.

I’m wondering what BMW thinks of all this. It can’t be happy that a single dealership in Nebraska is damaging its reputation by being such assholes about this.

And there is the larger issue to consider of eBay Motors. It is not unusual for dealerships to “auction” cars on eBay. I would never, in a million years, buy a car sight-unseen on the internet. You have no way of really knowing that car’s history without examining it yourself, or even verifying the VIN in some cases. I can’t be the only person who feels this way, so there has to be a huge component of trust and reputation involved for dealers to still be doing car sales this way. It wouldn’t be profitable otherwise.

If a major new car dealer can screw a customer like this on eBay, it’s devastating for all the other, honest dealers. People are going to start avoiding internet car sales, and that carefully built-up trust is gone in a blink of an eye.

Now, a smart dealership in another area, like a BMW dealer in another town in Nebraska, or even in another state, should jump on this situation and offer the guy an identical car for the winning price. They get a sale, and honest dealers everywhere have their reputations restored.

So how about it, all you BMW dealers out there? If you have a 2008 E90 M3 with a Jerez black exterior and a Fox red interior, why not give this guy a call?

UPDATE 3/25/07: This incident made the eBay buyer’s (whose name is Ken Tanisaka) local newspaper. He reports that the dealership is currently negotiating with him, although the details are not public at this time. The dealer group’s sales manager, Ryan Mathis, indicated that they had posted the auction incorrectly:


“We didn’t have the reserve set properly,” Mathis explained. “We had a ‘buy it now’ at $67,800. It was an error by our eBay [sales] manager. $67,800 was supposed to be the reserve.”

Mathis has indicated that he intends to sell Tanisaka the car, although what the price will turn out to be is anyone’s guess at this point. Probably an honest error on the dealer’s part that blew up in their faces due to the internet exposure.

UPDATE 3/26/07: Apparently the dealership was just playing nice to try to get their internet exposure to go away. Ken, the buyer, posts on M3post.com:

The dealership wanted me to assist in defusing the situation, in letting the sites I contacted know that I was getting my deal. I didnt mind doing that,as long I was JUST that. I had no intention of becoming a pawn for this dealer, not after the way they treated me!

SO I went out and contacted Channel 8, Ebay, BBB and m3post to let everyone know things were moving in a positive direction. But in subsequent conversations, I got placed under the impression that the dealership really isnt sorry for anything they have done here. Their attitude, it seemed was that I am to blame for the firestorm that culminated, implying that I wasnt being proactive enough in getting the word out Hello? Did you not see the international outrage from this situation? Root cause, gentleman. Introspection.Why are hundred of thousands of people around the world so pissed? Until they get it, im under the impression that nothing will change.

We are not that easily distracted.

Husker BMW and Mercedes seems to be of the opinion that bloggers have too much time on their hands, because we’re making such a big deal out of nothing. If you ask me, it’s the dealer that has too much time on their hands, to be balking like this (and damaging their reputation as well as the reputation of BMW as a whole) over a paltry $7,800.

So, I reiterate my call for another dealership to step up and offer Ken a 2008 E90 M3 (black ext./red int.) for $60,000. Surely that media coverage would be worth the “loss” on the car’s price.

This is getting ridiculous.

Having failed to stop piracy by suing internet users, the music industry is for the first time seriously considering a file sharing surcharge that internet service providers would collect from users.

Griffin’s idea is to collect a fee from internet service providers — something like $5 per user per month — and put it into a pool that would be used to compensate songwriters, performers, publishers and music labels. A collecting agency would divvy up the money according to artists’ popularity on P2P sites, just as ASCAP and BMI pay songwriters for broadcasts and live performances of their work.

Oh HELLS no.

Why should I pay for something I don’t do? I have never in my life downloaded a pirated song, nor do I ever intend to. And how would my $5 in any way compensate for the kid down the street who is exchanging thousands of dollars worth of illegal material daily on his open file server?

“I love Paul McGuinness’ idea,” says another scheduled SXSW panelist, Dina LaPolt, a Los Angeles attorney who represents Mötley Crüe and the estate of Tupac Shakur. “And I love the idea of trying to make ISPs pay artists and make up for all the free crap that’s going on. I support both, so long as artists are getting paid for their work.”

Why should ISPs pay for it? They haven’t done anything wrong. That’s like trying to make the phone company pay for a stolen goods transaction between a thief and a fence having a phone conversation. As the article states:

Technology experts say it would be impossible to reliably inspect trillions of packets for pirated material, especially if file sharing networks resort to encryption mechanisms. Legal experts point out that any attempt by an ISP to monitor its traffic in this way would jeopardize its status as a common carrier.

The hypocrisy of the record labels is galling, too. They talk about “artists” getting paid, when in reality the artists barely profit from their own material. It’s the publisher that takes the lion’s share. Just be honest and talk about the copyright holder, which is the record label and not the artist.

I am sooooo fucking tired of this shit.

You can’t stop music piracy. That’s the reality. Trying to get the money out of whoever you can lay your hands on is not an appropriate response. Identifying and locating the individuals who commit media piracy is basically impossible, due to the nature of the internet. RIAA is going to have to live with that, and stop throwing lawsuits in random directions to see who they can bully into forking over some money.

This fabulous incident came to my attention today:

A 19-year-old Israeli Arab woman has survived an attempted “honor killing” by her brother on Tuesday in the Arab village of Na’ura, near Afula, after two bullets fired at her head shattered on impact, failing to penetrate her skull.

Paramedics said the girl survived by playing dead, leading her brother to stop shooting and kicking her.

I especially like this bit:


According to police, the attack had been carefully planned over a long period, and the suspect had informed his family of his murderous intentions.

This guy is so full of fail that I’m speechless with laughter. He shot the victim TWICE in the HEAD and both bullets shattered without penetrating her skull? And this was a carefully planned crime that just completely didn’t work.

According to Islam, everything happens as part of Allah’s will. People die when Allah decides they will, and any human attempts to defy this will are doomed to fail. Therefore, they consider human beings to be incapable of guilt or blame in the crimes they commit, and no activity is too risky, because there’s nothing they can do if Allah decides to claim or spare a life.

By this reasoning, I can only conclude that Allah didn’t want this girl dead, and her brother’s attempt to defy Allah’s will failed completely (and in the face of pretty overwhelming odds, I must say).

I won’t comment on the morality, or lack thereof, in the entire concept of honor killings. It isn’t deserving of discussion, being a barbaric and nonsensical practice that is a logical extension of the devaluation of human life (and women) that seems to be inherent in radical Islamism.

UPDATE 1/6/08: As of this morning, the article has been updated to include an amusing disclaimer/apology. Also, item #5 has been changed to read as follows (changed portion in bold):

5. Clean out your computer

Photos, videos, music and unneeded applications — and the files that you download to install them — can also slow down and clutter up your computer.

Go to the place where you store these items on your computer, and choose the view them by “details.” or “list,” if you are on a Mac.

Then click on “Size” to sort your items by how big they are. Try to delete as many large files as you can. If you are unsure about deleting a file, looking at the “Date Modified” field to see the last time you used that file may help you decide.

Another piece of clutter that you can remove are installer .exe files used to install programs from the Internet such as iTunes or Firefox . Once you have downloaded the installer .exe and you’ve installed the program, there’s no need to hang on to that file. The equivalents on a Mac are .dmg files downloaded to install programs.

I still think it’s bad advice for a general audience publication. It’s also amusing that the “disclaimer” doesn’t mention that the last paragraph of item #5 has been completely changed. But I printed a copy before it was updated.

(Original post follows):

Today’s Orlando Sentinel website has a “tech advice column” written by some USDA Certified Douchebag Moron with the tech expertise of a green bean.

Why am I being so harsh? Well, the article has lots of fodder, but it’s item #5 that caused this article to get greenlighted on Fark.com:

5. Clean out your computer

Photos, videos, music and unneeded applications — and the files that you download to install them — can also slow down and clutter up your computer.

Go to the place where you store these items on your computer, and choose the view them by “details.” or “list,” if you are on a Mac.

Then click on “Size” to sort your items by how big they are. Try to delete as many large files are you can. If you are unsure about deleting a file, looking at the “Date Modified” field to see the last time you used that file may help you decide.

The same thing goes for .exe files, which are the files you download to install a program. Once you have a program installed, there’s no need to hang on to the .exe file that you used to install it. The equivalents on a Mac are .dmg files.

Lemme just get this out of the way real quick:

Do Not Delete .exe Files From Your PC

There, that’s better. Now, some of you are mentally adding caveats to this, such as “Unless you know what you’re doing” and “Without making sure they are not needed”. Sure, those caveats are good. But the fundamental advice that people should not delete files from their computer unless they know what they’re doing is something that is only heard by people who don’t need to hear it.

Even my mother knows better than this. I read her the relevant bit, and she gave me a horrified look and said “But aren’t .exe files the programs on the computer?” Yes. Yes they are. Deleting setup packs (installation programs) from your PC is something you can do to clean up a bit, but 1) not all .exe programs are setup packs, and 2) not all setup packs are .exe files. Setup packs are sometimes just .zip files that contain an .exe that installs the program.

Earlier today I emailed Horowitz (he was dumb kind enough to include his email at the end of the article) about this:

Dear Mr. Horowitz,

This advice is not good:

“The same thing goes for .exe files, which are the files you download to install a program. Once you have a program installed, there’s no need to hang on to the .exe file that you used to install it.”

At the risk of being rude, you IDIOT! Don’t tell people to delete .exe files! That’s the file extension for ANY and ALL executable program files on a PC, including the installed programs. If people go through their computers and delete every .exe they see, their PC will become an instant brick and they will have to have the entire hard drive reformatted, and may lose irreplaceable personal data. You can’t fix something like that once it’s done, because of the deep interconnection between program ancillary files and their executables.

Are you supposed to be some kind of computer expert? You’re not in any position to be giving people computer advice in a newspaper column if you say something this irresponsible and honestly don’t know any better. God help you if people follow your advice to the letter. You might find yourself being sued pretty soon.

anne haight
California

I realize that Horowitz is talking specifically about setup packs, but the way his advice is worded is very poor and nonspecific. Most casual PC users don’t even know where their download folder is, and should not be encouraged to go digging through their file directory looking for .exes and deleting them willy-nilly. People who read newspapers for tech advice are not going to understand the distinction between installers and the .exes that are required for their computer to function normally.

In any case, this is a surprisingly complex and out-of-place piece of advice in an article that includes such items as “1. Install Firefox” and “3. Get a USB flash drive”. Item #2, “Buy your domain name” is, frankly, silly. I can’t imagine that it would be necessary at all. I own 2 domains and have never seen the need to own a domain comprised of my name. Furthermore, people names are not unique. If you have two guys named Kyle Gordon Haight who want their domain, who wins? Can one sue the other? As I said, a silly piece of advice.

Item #1 on the list is actually good advice, although not for the reasons the writer cites:

1. Download the Firefox Web browser

Mozilla’s Firefox Web browser is easier and more useful than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. It’s built on an open-source platform so there are thousands of third party applications or “extensions” that you can download to enhance your surfing experience, such as an application that controls music or a pop-up blocker. Different Web pages are displayed as “tabs” instead of multiple windows and if your computer crashes while you have several tabs open, the next time you restart Firefox, it gives you the option to restore the Web pages you had up when your computer crashed. The newest versions of Internet Explorer also have tabbed browsing, but I find Firefox to be a faster browser, especially on an old computer.

MSIE has supported tabbed browsing since the first version of MSIE 7. Granted, that’s relatively recently, but MSIE is pretty good at updating itself and I find it unlikely that anyone is still using a really old version of MSIE. The claim that Firefox is “faster” is simply not true these days. More pertinent is that Firefox does not use ActiveX and thus does not have a lot of the malware and spyware vulnerabilities that MSIE has. Also, MSIE actually comes with spyware in it, called Alexa. Firefox does not. I happen to find Firefox more flexible, because of the extensions and plug-ins available for it. It does a better job of blocking popups, ads, and browser hijacking.

The comments section on the Orlando Sentinel’s site under the article is fabulous. Horowitz should be fired outright for even suggesting something so irresponsible, no matter how carefully worded, in a newspaper column. I can’t wait for the carnage that is going to result.

Okay, I admit that by even talking about this, I’m probably contributing to what I think is a publicity stunt rather than a serious lawsuit. But on the off chance that the women in question really is this naive…

NEW YORK — A model who says she has worked hard to maintain a wholesome image has filed a $5 million lawsuit complaining that a jewelry company’s video advertisement in which she writhes and moans looks pornographic.

The 37-year-old woman claims in her lawsuit that she did not “consent to or authorize the use of her likeness, picture, image or name to simulate a female having an orgasm or otherwise experiencing sexual pleasure.”

So okay. Just for amusement’s sake, here’s the commercial itself. It’s not obscene, but I’m still marking it NSFW:

Now that you’ve seen that, I’ll draw your attention back to this part of the article:

The plaintiff, who is a married graduate student in elementary education, “has worked hard to project a wholesome image and has been extremely careful to avoid doing any work in the industry that would cheapen or tarnish her reputation,” the lawsuit states.

It seems to me that this woman can’t possibly have been tricked into this. It’s not like the director did some creative editing of otherwise innocuous footage. She had to know perfectly well during shooting that what she was being asked to do is fake an orgasm. And if, by some stretch of the imagination, she really didn’t comprehend that at the time, what exactly WAS she pretending to do?

Inquiring minds want to know. Anyway, the commercial is tacky and unimaginative from a consumer point of view. Family Guy did it better:

I still can’t believe they got away with airing that on prime time television.