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Google: Principled Defenders of Privacy or Communist Enabling Stooges? January 24, 2006, 10:18 pm

Posted by quintapalus in Industry, Outrage, Technology.
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You may remember a story from last week regarding the Bush administration’s attempts to get porno querying habits from search engine companies like Yahoo, MSN and Google. (Full disclosure: don’t waste time trying to track me down; Quinto uses the search string “thai+asian+slut” regularly and often. What’s the matter? So I like the Asian girls, sue me.) Yahoo and MSN complied and Google told the feds to get bent:

Google on Thursday rebuffed the Bush administration’s attempt in federal court to force it to hand over search-engine data on millions of customers. The Justice Department asked a federal judge in San Jose on Wednesday for an order to turn over the records as part of the adminstration’s efforts to revive a controversial online pornography law. The issue is expected to be resolved by March. Google has already refused to comply with a subpoena, issued in August, to turn over a mountain of material, including all requests entered into Google’s search engine from any one-week period and 1 million randomly selected websites from Google databases. Rival search engines Yahoo and Microsoft’s MSN have cooperated with the government. But Google, the world’s largest search engine, opposes releasing the information because it says that doing so would reveal trade secrets and that the information requested is not relevant to the government’s case.

BTW, this is one of those issues that drives me batty with the Republican party. Can’t we leave this BS nanny state stuff to the Democrats? Oh no, there’s porn to be found on the Internet! So what! Let parents do their jobs and stay out of people’s lives with this stuff.

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Reason 4,127 Why the American Auto Industry is in Trouble January 22, 2006, 7:09 pm

Posted by quintapalus in Industry.
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Tomorrow is being called “Black Monday” by Ford Motor Co. employees because it is tomorrow that Bill Ford, Jr., CEO of Ford, will be detailing the massive restructuring plan that is slated to include up to 25,000 job cuts and 10 plant closures. Detroit News has a long article about it here, but just to give you the typical structural problems that American auto companies like Ford are facing, check this part out:

Even if Ford boarded up all of its American factories tomorrow, it would still have to pay the 87,000 United Auto Workers members who labor in them, while also continuing to cover health care and pension costs not only for them, but also for twice that many UAW retirees and their dependents.

Think about that for a second. I can disagree, yet still understand, having to pay the 87,000 workers; they are operating under a mutually agreed upon contract. However, it’s the TWICE AS MANY retirees and dependents that Ford still has to take care of part (in terms of pensions and health care) that gets nuts. These are people that no longer contribute to any amount of the revenue that the company takes in, yet their benefits are taken right off the top. Now, I am not saying to throw these people under the bus, but who thought this was a good idea in the first place? And, with health care costs going up by double digit percentages every year, this problem is far from being at its worst. There is simply no way for Ford, or GM for that matter, to compete with companies that aren’t stuck with paying for huge amounts of people who no longer work for them.
I have discussed at length previously why defined benefit plans (i.e., pensions) are horrible and that they should be phased out as soon as possible by employee contribution plans (i.e., 401(k)’s), but if there is any good that can come of this, it is that it will give us a good preview of what to expect in the main event of the fight card: Social Security and Medicare.

Here it is…The Honda Fit January 10, 2006, 7:32 pm

Posted by quintapalus in Industry.
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I used the example of this upcoming car in my post here about the reasons why the American auto industry sucks. I just received an email from Honda announcing its arrival.

Check it out here.

Reason 4,126 Why the American Auto Industry is in Trouble… December 31, 2005, 12:25 pm

Posted by quintapalus in Industry.
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Like a lot of teenagers, when I was in high school I had to use the mom’s wheels whenever I went out. 236,000 miles later, she still has that car that will forever have a special place in my heart: the 1992 Honda Civic hatchback. That car was so good that when I upgraded my wheels in college from my $500 1983 Nissan Sentra, I ended up finding and buying a ’92 Civic hatchback. There’s a certain kind of special comfort in the knowledge that even though you are buying a used car with 65,000 miles on it, it may as well be new since you are going to get another 100K from it. With its manual transmission, that car was not only fuel efficient, but it was also quite zippy in the lower gears. I sold it when I moved to downtown Chicago after college, where cars can be more trouble than they are worth (trust me, after you get a few $50 or $75 parking tickets that double if you don’t pay them in a week, you will want to shoot yourself in the face; not to mention how banged up your car gets just from parking it on the street). Nothing makes me miss that car, however more than my current vehicle.

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