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I'm a Yellow Something Something! Steve Bates,
The Yellow Something Something
POLITICAL GRAVITY -- DAMNED LITTLE LEVITY -- COULDN'T GET MUCH VERSE
(FORMERLY THE YELLOW DOGGEREL DEMOCRAT)
I'm a Yellow Something Something!
WARNING! UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE,
ANY COMMENTS YOU ADD MAY VANISH!

BlogDoggerel
for December 2009

 

BLOGS + MISC LINKS



RECENT COMMENTS

   

Moved, Left Forwarding Address

I've moved to a Blogger blog, The Yellow Something Something:                http://yellowdoggereldemocrat.blogspot.com/.
Please visit that link for all newer posts.

  • Comment popups are available for new posts on the new blog.
  • Comment links here will CEASE TO WORK shortly after 1/1/2010. Please do not use them at all!
  • Archived pre-2010 posts will live here indefinitely unless I figure out how to port them.
  • I am working on how to use Blogger to allow showing the archived comments from here. Don't hold your breath (unless my T-shirt is soaked through...)
  • If you care why this shiny New Year is being tarnished by a blog move, see the post upstream.

Happy Holidays and Merry Moving, if you're a blogger in a similar situation.

Steve
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You Say Goodbye, I Say HALO - CORRECTED

CORRECTION: below, I said the new Echo system would cost me $120/yr, a figure which I got by multiplying 12 months by (approximately) $10 a month. It appears I am mistaken. The ads I've seen recently show the price as $9.95/year, not month. Obviously I have to think things through again. My apologies for the error. I'm still not certain I'll keep the system, but as ill as I am these days, it may not be worth it at that price to undergo a major changeover right now (or any other time). I'll keep you informed.

AFTER FURTHER READING on the Echo blog comments: I couldn't agree more with the anonymous poster "Guest" (good luck finding the specific comment; I can't find a way to bookmark individual comments in a stream of more than 50 comments), who concludes this way:

     ...

You're only giving us two weeks' notice? Some of us have better things to do with our lives, and don't appreciate being forced to spend Christmas sorting out our blog comments, thanks. And there's no free trial period? It's just "Pay us within 2 weeks or we kill your comments"? You call this an upgrade; I call it extortion.

I've been a very happy and appreciative Haloscan customer for years. You've destroyed all that good will in under 5 minutes. Good luck with that business plan.

Please note the last paragraph. That about sums it up. The guy (gal?) who runs is "VP Product Strategy & Community" of this nightmarish company is named Chris Saad, but as far as I'm concerned, s/he he can just saad off.

UPDATE 12/20: I just left the following comment on their blog:

I suppose it is just as well that a company full of bright young (mostly) men should get its first epic fail out of the way early. The product? an epic fail? NO... your customer relations.

Somewhere below is a comment (um, how does one link to an individual comment?) in which someone writes,

(Imagine a blockquote here)

You're only giving us two weeks' notice? Some of us have better things to do with our lives, and don't appreciate being forced to spend Christmas sorting out our blog comments, thanks. And there's no free trial period? It's just "Pay us within 2 weeks or we kill your comments"? You call this an upgrade; I call it extortion.

(Imagine a concluding /blockquote here)

And so do I. I've been a happy subscriber to HaloScan for many years, but any goodwill I may have felt toward your company is gone. Now, my Christmas present is this: I get to rebuild my blog. No way will I reward your bad corporate behavior.

Oh, there may be typo's in this comment, but there's no Preview feature...

I posted it as "Guest" to make a point.

UPDATE PROGRESS Sun. 12/20 2313: I have exported the 18,607 comments you've all left over the years into a set of XML files and verified that they work properly... as XML files. Who knows about importing them on the new blog. IF YOU ADD ANY NEW COMMENTS, THEY WILL APPEAR HERE FOR A WHILE, BUT THEY MAY NOT BE MOVED IMMEDIATELY TO THE NEW BLOG. Any additional notifications will appear here.

(Original post follows.)


HaloScan commenting system has announced that it is going commercial. My notification arrived today, announcing a gun-to-the-head changeover to a new system called Echo for $9.95/mo, to begin... get this... Jan. 2, 2010. Thanks for all the notice, guys... what a great time of year to spring this upon us. No extra break for your former paying customers like me, either.

HaloScan has been deplorable in the maintenance category. Back when they had only one programmer, he had to sleep sometime, and things would sometimes crash for 24 or 48 hours at a time. Now that there appears to be a staff of sorts at JS-Kit, they've apparently been busy developing the new system in preference to maintaining the existing one. These are the people who want to charge me about $120/yr for a new "improved" system. Forgive me if I am skeptical.

I'm not sure what course I'll take. I hate to reward corporate behavior of that sort, but they've effectively made this into a "this is a stickup; fork over your money now" situation. I may switch to another blogging system rather than cave in to the criminals. In any case, I'll certainly contemplate all the alternatives I know of. I have a feeling I'll find a suitable one, or move away from my home-grown blogging approach to a blogging system with built-in comments, stats, etc. This is the second time in a couple of years that Son of HaloScan has pulled this kind of trick, and I'm tired of it.

Needless to say, if I ditch HaloScrew, any comments you've left will vanish on 2010/1/2, so if your magnum opus is out there, you'd better fetch it now.

I'd conclude, "your comments welcome," but the irony would be too great...

Steve
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Hamsher: - 'All Just Senate Kabuki'

Jane Hamsher, transcribing and commenting on Dr. Howard Dean's debate with Sen. Mary Landrieu over what was and was not in the President's original healthcare plan, concludes that the public option (let alone Medicare-for-all) was never real, that the bill emerging now as the "final" bill, was always Obama's intention (possible but who knows), and moreover, that the Democratic majority (in the Senate, not among the public) favoring such an option was never there to begin with. Could've fooled me... indeed, it seems the whole [expletive deleted] Democratic government, president as well as Congress, did, in fact, fool me. It's enough to make me sick... except that I already am sick. Read Jane. Put down your coffee or beer before you do so. We have been had.


No, I am not recovered; more shit just keeps hitting the fan. In addition to problems with my meds that left me unable to walk for a couple of days, now Stella has (by her own term) a bad "cold," though I would have thought it was something worse. So blogging here will still be sparse. I just couldn't let this pass without a minor rant, which is all I have the strength to do. We have been taken, and in my opinion, our chances to respond through the agency of the Democratic Party have all but been eliminated. Time will tell if I am right, and not very much time at that.

Steve
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Snow On Snow

... in Houston, no less. We had actual snow today, not heavy but not negligible, either, especially in a city where no one knows how to drive on snow and ice. The "winter wonderland" arrived this morning shortly after I woke up, and continued most of the day, sticking on roofs and (for a while) lawns. Earlier I said in a comment thread that we were expecting only a light freeze; that's changed: 25°F is predicted overnight. Fortunately, Stella and I both can stay home today and tomorrow. That's especially good as the freeways are already beginning to have fender-benders, and I am not trained in driving on icy or snow-covered roads.

To make my day complete, I started a new medication last night that has some unpleasant side-effects: nausea and a just plain "weird" feeling. My doctor forewarned me, and the timing is good because I don't have many responsibilities this weekend, and if this works, I shall be very glad of the intended effect. But I'm not a very contented sicko, and I can't wait to see the side-effects pushed to the side.

Steve
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Dialing For Dollars

For this post to make sense, you have to know two things:

  • I have had the same land-line phone number for over 25 years.
  • I am not, to the best of my knowledge, in any kind of long-term debt.

Recently I've received many automated debt collection calls which included my name, crudely inserted into the middle of a standard threatening text. They have been annoying, but I have learned to recognize the Caller ID by its name... the number varies... and if I'm home, I simply pick up and hang up. If I'm not home, the debt collector "considerately" leaves a message. I get more messages from Toll Free Call than from anyone else.

Today I received an almost identical call, but instead of my name, J.W.'s name was inserted (name withheld for the sake of privacy). J.W. lived in this rent house some time back, and I receive occasional snail mail for him or her.

Think about this for a moment. Is J.W. in debt? Who knows, but it seems likely to me that the collector is employing an exceedingly primitive matching scheme: if the addresses agree, call the current phone number obtained by a reverse lookup. In a lot of neighborhoods, this procedure inevitably yields a live phone... and it is equally inevitable that about 99 percent of numbers obtained that way are not the numbers of the person being sought for collection. In other words, it is utterly useless for collecting debt, but very effective at intimidating people who may wonder about their credit status.

"O brave new world," that has such software in it. Aren't you glad you live in the nation that probably invented it? Aren't you proud, when you pick up the phone for the third time in the course of a day only to be reminded of someone else's debt, that your nation's debt collectors are so clever?

Yes, I know about do-not-call lists. I also know about reporting in-state phone harassment to the state Attorney General. Unless the AG has a button on his desk for each collector, and can press that button to obliterate the collector's phone, I don't much care. In Texas, the problem is a little different: the AG is a GOPer, and is effectively on the side of the harassers.

Steve
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But Remember... The First Click Is Free!

Via Cookie Jill, from the BBC:

Google to limit free news access

Newspaper publishers will now be able to set a limit on the number of free news articles people can read through Google, the company has announced.

The concession follows claims from some media companies that the search engine is profiting from online news pages.

Under the First Click Free programme, publishers can now prevent unrestricted access to subscription websites.

Users who click on more than five articles in a day may be routed to payment or registration pages.

     ...

Just how many ways can print newspaper publishers be unbelievably foolish when it comes to profiting from their readers?

  • Fewer free click-throughs mean fewer readers. Fewer readers mean fewer ad views. Fewer ad views mean less advertising revenue.

  • Google unintentionally trains its users in which results not to click. If (Dog forbid) I were a fan of Fox News who discovered that Fox News but not CNN placed a five-click limit without a paid subscription, I'd run right out and subscribe, wouldn't I? Like hell I would... I'd find another news source. It's not as if there's a shortage of sources either of quality journalism or of the irrational hype favored by wingnuts.

  • As newspaper sites move more aggressively to a subscription model and web-only sources move to a primarily advertising-funded model, most users, who after all are looking for good journalism wherever they can find it, will abandon the mainstream newspaper-derived sites altogether. For example, it's not that I avoid the New York Times site, but I usually go there only through a Google search reference... exactly what owners are complaining about. So if the NYT restricts my Google click-throughs, I will be gradually moving from perhaps a few dozen ad views a month on the NYT to zero ad views. How does that help their profits? Damned if I know.

I just don't get it. No one is suggesting that news sites should not be paid for their work, but we already have a shining example of wholly advertising-sponsored content in the broadcast TV market, and that's been going for literally all of my life (I'm 61 years old). I can see how physical newsprint might place restrictions on the amount of advertising content in a birdcage-lining newspaper, but the web has no such limitations.

So... is it greed or stupidity on the owners' part? or both?

Steve
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'We Cannot Afford This War'

So says Keith Olbermann, and not only is he correct, his assessment may even be an understatement:

Some among us lived through the Vietnam era. More than a few of my friends, classmates and colleagues actually fought in that war. All of us, crippled stay-at-homes like me and battle-hardened veterans, watched in horror over the years and concluded, as at last Lyndon Johnson himself concluded, that the war couldn't be won and that the U.S. had no business being there, all the standard Communist domino theory rhetoric notwithstanding.

What part of this lesson has Barack Obama not learned? When the history of the misbegotten American version of the Afghanistan war is written (for our nation is far from the first to plunge into that hole), will it become Obama's signature, his legacy, his political epitaph, as Vietnam was for Johnson?

And so, between a generation lost to Bush's Iraq war and another generation lost to Obama's Afghanistan war (for that assignment surely will be made), many of the best of America's youth will, for the third time in my lifetime, be sacrificed on the altar of an ill-defined cause, possibly because a few old men feel useful when they are pursuing war on a grand scale, possibly because a few more old men gain unbelievable amounts of taxpayers' money by pursuing such a war.

As Olbermann proclaims emphatically near the end of his special comment, "We cannot afford this war." Somehow it is clear, to me at least, that he is not talking only about the Treasury. In every other meaningful sphere, morality, ethics, diplomacy and just plain human values, we cannot afford this war.

"When will they ever learn..."

Steve
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Selected Links To Recent Posts

 
Click any permalink below to go to the original article on a previous page. Click a comment link below to add a comment to the original article. Your comment will be noticed, by the YDD at least: HaloScan has a page allowing me to view recent comments, no matter which post they refer to. Some very recent posts may be included in their entirety.

Dave Has A Good Idea

Steve
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How Many Quid Pro How Much Quo?

Steve
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A New Birth Of Freedom A Newt Burden On Freedom

Steve
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Early Voting For December 12 Runoff

Steve
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So Much For Loving Thy Neighbor

Steve
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Forging Ahead: Odd Usage Of The Week

Steve
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Friday Princess Pillow Blogging

Steve
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Wholly War Over Healthcare Bill

Steve
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The Senate's 'Hairy Buffalo' - UPDATED 2x

Steve
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Got The Blues? No? Try The Krugman Blues!

Steve
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Negligent Or Premeditated? Unconscionable Either Way

Steve
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Cold Comfort

Steve
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Friday Feline Friend Blogging

Steve
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Now This Should Stave Off Terrorism

Steve
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Collider Digs Ready For Higgs Gigs

Steve
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Start The Closing Of Guantánamo Next Week?

Steve
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Dear President Obama:

Steve
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Dear Representative Culberson:

Steve
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Friday Final Farewell Blogging

Steve
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Keeping The Force Before The Cart

Steve
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Princess Ida - UPDATED

Steve
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Revoltin' Joe's Wife Lobbies Against Healthcare Reform

Steve
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Election Results

Steve
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Maher Arar's Case Dismissed - UPDATED

Steve
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It's Time

No excuses. Go. Vote. Today!

Steve
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Sweets To The Sweet... Here's A Nut For You

Steve
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Kids Take To The Streets

Steve
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Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the constant omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.
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I belong to the Democratic Party wing of the Democratic Party.
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The pile of offal offered above is Copyright © 2009 Stephen S. Bates. Permission is granted to individuals to distribute freely, by email, fax or photocopy, to other individuals, but not for profit. All organizations, nonprofit or otherwise, please contact the author here for permission to publish. DO NOT reproduce the poems on your web site... please link to this page instead, using the individual links provided. Quoting reasonable fragments of the commentary, without any associated poem, is permitted.

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