Archive for August, 2013

Syria: Gas and Fog (August 26, 2013)

Posted in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Military, Vietnam on August 26, 2013 by e-commentary.org

. . .

C1        “There are times when a line in the sand is one side of a box you build around yourself.”

C2        “When you have someone trapped in a corner, you are also in a corner.  For centuries, nations have outlawed going to war and then regularly gone to war.  For one hundred years, all civilized nations have banned the use of poison gas and very few nations have used poison gas.”

C1        “But what if all the nations decide not to go to war against a nation that or individual who uses poison gas?”

. . .

C1        “I was against attacking Iraq and against attacking Afghanistan and am still against attacking Iran.”

C2        “And you were also against attacking Vietnam at a very young age.”

C1        “I don’t see this proposed attack as in our national interest.  Once again, the draft dodgers and neo-cons want to get America involved in another ill-conceived war to serve their individual interests.  Let them commit their sons and daughters first.”

C2        “They are beating the drums of war and drowning out the guitars of peace.”

. . .

[See the “e-ssay” titled The Drums of War (February 20, 2012)”]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Bombs away

We will get fooled again

It is time to draw the line on drawing lines

Going The Extra Mile: Today’s Airline Mileage Programs (August 19, 2013)

Posted in Aviation, Market Solutions, Markets on August 19, 2013 by e-commentary.org

. . .

A          “That is correct.”

P          “So I drive from my home near Raleigh to the airport and then fly sitting in a middle seat to Kuala Lampur International and wait for seven hours and then fly to Kathmandu International and sit for ten hours and then fly to Timbuktu International Airport and then go I arrive.  That is the best you can do under the mileage program.”

A          “That is correct.”

P          “I get it.  I had to accumulate a lot of miles and then the available routes entail enduring all kinds of miles in the air on inconvenient routes with long delays between flights.”

A          “That is correct.”

P          “So that is why they call it a mileage program.”

A          “That is correct.”

P          “That is the best itinerary to get to Durham Airport.”

A          “That is correct.  Would you like the available flights from Ft. Worth to Dallas?  In August, we can route you through Antarctica.”

. . .

P          “The president of the airline is a Harvard MBA and a sociopath who makes 120 million a year and could not make a HO gauge train in his den run on time.” 

A          “That is correct.” 

. . .

P          “You are required to read from a script and stay on message.” 

A          “That is correct.” 

. . .

[See the “e-ssay” at An Airline (Partial) Survival Guide (January 24, 2005).]

Bumper sticker of the week:

“Remember, we are not happy until you are not happy.”  Today’s Airline. 

Boycott The Olympic Boycott (August 12, 2013)

Posted in Boycott Series, Gay Politics, Government Regulation, Russia, Society, Sports on August 12, 2013 by e-commentary.org

. . .

A          “Boycotts are often the most effective moral and economic means to vote against oppression and repression or in favor of truth and justice.  Do not buy a product or do buy another product.  However, boycotting an Olympics is more of an act to ‘cut off your nose to spite your face.’”

B          “Spite and nose cutting are not pretty.”

A          “Send the athletes to compete.  The Olympics are often expressions of nationalism, jingoism and aggression with all manner of doping, deception and dishonesty.  However, there is the possibility that a hard-working kid gets a chance at a bigger stage and a few minutes on the winner’s podium.”

B          “Even if the Russian policy toward gays and gay marriage is reactionary, America should react by sending its athletes who have trained hard to perform.”

A          “Prevailing at an away game on foreign soil and celebrating with restraint is always more sublime.”

. . .

B          “Let the pitchers pitch.”

A          “Pitch your pitch on the pitch.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

Play ball!

Just win, baby, with dignity and without dope.

Digital Deception (August 5, 2013)

Posted in Consumerism, Digital, Economics, Perjury/Dishonesty, Pogo Plight, Privacy on August 5, 2013 by e-commentary.org

. . .

1          “I mentioned to a close friend privately that digital is holding its own against analog.  However, digital has some downsides.”

2          “I call it digital deception.  Digital allows for so much more deception because nothing is permanent.”

. . .

1          “I clicked ‘add to cart’ to add a product on the ‘Styx’ e-commerce website, jotted down the price and noted the free shipping on a sheet of paper.”

2          “Which gets us back to the need to make a written record that is permanent.”

1          “I minimized the site on the screen, called a local store for comparison and then maximized the site on the screen.  The price was the same, but the free shipping was changed to a much more substantial cost.”

2          “Bait and switch transcends technology.  You may find that the shipping is free, but the shipping date is in a month or longer.  That may prove to be an unprofitable stratagem because it goes against the all-consuming desire for immediate gratification.”

. . .

1          “Now it is offering free shipping and delivery in a week.  It is almost as if the system detects that I will purchase the product if the shipping is free.”

2          “If you leave the site for a period of time and then return, the algorithm may reset to bait you with free shipping.  Switch from the site for a while and see what happens.”

. . .

1          “The ‘Fly By Night’ travel web sites provide the best price for a flight and then in a subsequent visit to the site a few minutes later increase the price or offer less appealing routes.  Once they have gotten you, they have got you.”

2          “Unless you don’t let them get you.”

. . .

1          “The ‘Pillow’ real estate website regularly changes and updates information including what it represented to be historical data.  The predicted price for my house in 2007 is now materially different.”

2          “I can predict the closing price of the Dow last week.”

1          “Taking a screen shot requires a clever workaround.  I filed a printed screen shot of my property and then compared it a year later.  The figures and historical graph were different.  I printed the subsequent results to keep a record in a printed format and then check later.”

. . .

1          “I checked on the availability of a website address and was shocked at this late stage of web address homesteading that it was still available.  I then checked the availability of another more general website and discovered that it was already staked.  When I returned to purchase the first website, it was not available.”

2          “If I find that a website address is available, I immediately purchase it.” 

. . .

2        “You could use another computer and search for a product or flight without revealing your identity or propensity until you sign in to make a purchase.  However, the dubious real estate data appears on every computer screen.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

Clio needs to clutch the parchment scrolls tenaciously

Let the buyer be aware and be wary and be weary

Mano-a-mano with a machine