"History is a wonderful thing, if only it was true"
-Tolstoy

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Interesting bit on history

Listened to interview with Tony while driving home late Monday on NPR.
Interesting, may get his book:

Tony Horwitz’s Book ‘A Voyage Long and Strange’ Looks for Little-Known Stories of American History - New York Times

Dirty Michigan?

So far, just rumor
New state tax incentives may be taking hold

Will Michigan star in next Clint Eastwood film? | Freep.com |

There has been speculation that “Gran Torino” will be the sixth “Dirty Harry” entry — Harry drove a ’72 Gran Torino in 1973’s “Magnum Force,” the first “Harry” sequel — though the smarter money says it will involve Eastwood’s character befriending a Hmong family in a small Minnesota town.

Janet Lockwood, director of the Michigan Film Office, wouldn’t confirm that Eastwood is heading our way.

“Until the paperwork is signed, I can’t make any announcement.”


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

BF

Before Fudgies

Just after 9:30 AM
Our "front yard"

Still experimenting with video function of Canon "Powershot" SD 850IS video

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Long Term Vision

Good stuff on what to believe when it comes to predictions of future events/conditions

Paleo-Future

That said, I still believe in projections, or at least trying to anticipate trends.

Note that trends differ from events and specific devices or technologies.

4AM

Most interesting piece

TED | Talks | Rives: Is 4 a.m. the new midnight? (video)

My first thought was that I am up and about from time to time at 4AM
Men of a "particular age" often get up to go to the bathroom in the night. For me, sometimes it's 3-4AM
If I don't go right back to sleep, I spend sometime getting some work (reading/figuring/writing) done.

Then I flashed back to when we were racing.
The longest was the "24 Hours of Nelson's" (Nelson's Ledges Ohio, near Warren).

Well, the race ran from 4PM Saturday till 4PM Sunday.

4AM was half way
It was also when there was the first hint of dawn. Roughly "Nautical Twilight"
(Wikipedia : At this time, sailors can take reliable star sights of well known stars, using a visible horizon for reference. The end of this period in the evening, or its beginning in the morning, is also the time at which traces of illumination near the sunset or sunrise point of the horizon are very difficult if not impossible to discern (this often being referred to as "first light" before civil dawn and "nightfall" after civil dusk). At the beginning of nautical twilight in the morning (nautical dawn), or at the end of nautical twilight in the evening (nautical dusk), under good atmospheric conditions and in the absence of other illumination, general outlines of ground objects may be distinguishable, but detailed outdoor operations are not possible, and the horizon is indistinct.

Distributed capital and information

Watch it
TED | Talks | Yochai Benkler: Open-source economics (video)

BlueGene vs SETI
MuSoft vs Apache,
Encarta vs Wikipedia
Yahoo vs Google

Social systems vs contracts

Opportunities : build tools and platforms to enable collaboration

Onward Christian Solders

I find it troubling despite the old like that there are no atheists in foxholes.
For a particular sect (fundamentalist or "born again" Christians) to be gaining control of our military is a threat to our Constitution.

First Amendment:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Soldier Sues Army, Saying His Atheism Led to Threats - New York Times:

"Complaints include prayers “in Jesus’ name” at mandatory functions, which violates military regulations, and officers proselytizing subordinates to be “born again.” After getting the complainants’ unit and command information, Mr. Weinstein said, he calls his contacts in the military to try to correct the situation.

“Religion is inextricably intertwined with their jobs,” Mr. Weinstein said. “You’re promoted by who you pray with.”"


Update: CBS Sunday Morning just carried the story

Up Next, Recaps & Links, Stories, Links, More From CBS News Sunday Morning - CBS News:
"THE MILITARY: Religion in Uniform"

There’s an old saying dating back from World War II, 'There are no atheists in foxholes.' It implies that, even if you think you don’t believe in God, you will -- once the bombs and bullets start flying! The sentiment seems harmless enough, unless you’re an atheist in the U.S. Army, as Jeremy Hall is. Now, he’s suing the Defense Department for religious discrimination, saying he was treated as an outcast, passed over for promotion, and even physically threatened because of his beliefs -- or non-beliefs. Correspondent Susan Spencer looks into the role of religion in the military, and growing concerns that it plays far too great a role.

For more information:

www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org

www.constantinessword.com

www.ocf.gospelcom.net

Transcript:
Fighting For God AND Country, Sunday Morning: Are Service Members Discriminated Against By Evangelists Within The U.S. Military? - CBS News

---

Amen (so to speak)

Friday, April 25, 2008

She's ... here

Got the call late this afternoon
I was just headed out for a frozen pizza (well, we do dress them up quite a bit) when my cell rang.

Carolyn arrived, just a bit after 3PM PDT today
Grand daughter

All doing well!

Energy

Interesting stuff

Bloomberg.com: Exclusive: "Brazil's discoveries of what may be two of the world's three biggest oil finds in the past 30 years could help end the Western Hemisphere's reliance on Middle East crude"

Bloomberg references Strategic Forcast, which I subscribe to and find the staff to be pretty sharp.

Is something afoot

I'm no expert on the Middle East but there are some interesting things that appear to be happening

1) Syria/Israel : Israel and Syria Hint at Progress on Golan Heights Deal - New York Times

Syria is close to Iran, is there something stirring?

2) Iraq: Top Sunni Bloc Is Set to Rejoin Cabinet in Iraq - New York Times

"Even though Mr. Maliki’s American-backed offensive against elements of the Mahdi Army has frequently stalled and has led to bitter complaints of civilian casualties, the Sunni leaders said that the government had done enough to address their concerns that they had decided to end their boycott."

Where does Iran fit in here?

Will there be breakthroughs or measurable progress?
Will there be some sort of a deal, more than one deal?

Are things happening behind the scenes between the US and Iran?

What might the implications be for the Presidential Election?

Interesting snippet: MICHAEL BURLEIGH � Iraq and Finland
"This may sound like one of those Eng Lit couplings: Conrad and Fleming. In fact, as President Bush recently acknowledged, the US needs Iran to leave Iraq in a long-term stable condition. It is currently Iran that is not turning up to the offer of meetings. One scenario I’ve heard about is the Finnish solution. At the end of WWII, the US and USSR agreed that while Finland would be a democracy based on liberal capitalism, it would not join NATO and major decisions would be subject to Soviet veto. Although the prospect seems unlikely, Iran is terrified of a revival of Sunni dominance and a renewal of the war which cost a million Iranian dead in the 1980s. The US is also adamant that Iraq’s oil will not fall under Iranian suasion. One solution is therefore for Iraq to become a latterday Finland. Independent, but incapable of menacing its neighbours. That would also assuage Saudi fears about a Shia dominated northern neighbour. Incidentally, last week Bush expressly ruled out the idea of bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities, claiming that this problem had to be resolved with diplomacy."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Just past full moon

6:30 AM
More experiments with handheld (Canon ELPH)

video

Parapsycology is so yesterday

NEWS of the WEIRD - Current News:
"Several psychotherapists told The New York Times in February that treatments are being developed for people who are excessively worried about their own carbon emissions being responsible for 'global warming.' More than 120 therapists are now listed as specialists in the field on Ecopsychology.org, and schools such as Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore., have created courses on counseling such patients. [New York Times, 2-16-08]"

Monday, April 21, 2008

Suggestions

Most of the following are straight forward, but one stands out
Comments in parentheses


R.O.I. - WSJ.com:
"Don't wait for the politicians to pass a law or some bureaucrat to mail you a check. Don't wait for Uncle Sam to put more money in your pocket. Here are 14 ways to do it that you do tomorrow on your own."

1. Change bank accounts.
(pending, but for service)

2. Stop using other banks' ATMs.
(I don't use any)

3. Brown bag it to work.
(lunch is standing at the sink...)

4. Change your household and car insurance.
(done)

5. Sign up for rewards credit cards.
(we do it for miles, and see #2)

6. Get rid of your POTS. That's "Plain Old Telephone Service."
(we have simple service, no LD)

7. Change your cell phone plan, or your provider -- or both.
(done)

8. You pay how much for TV? When you count the cable or satellite service, often in several rooms, premium channels, and TiVo, some people spend well over $100 a month.
(keeping this luxury)

9. The biggest waste of money for most people? "No. 1 on the list is eating out and drinking out," says Jan Geiger, a veteran financial planner in Atlanta, Ga. "That's absolutely, by far, No. 1." She says most people never add it all up. When she makes her clients do just that, "They usually freak out. It can easily be $400, $500 or $600 a month." No, you don't have to live on noodles. Just cutting one $100 meal, or two $50 meals, a month will save you $1,200 a year.
(well, we enjoy eating out at least once a week, sometimes more)

10. Buy a cheaper car and pay cash.
(or just keep the old one)

11. Change your investments.
(done)

12. Shop online.
(we do, and shop little... see the next one)

13. Cutting out crap. Remember before we paid for "iced tea" and water? And half of what people buy has no obvious purpose or merit. If you don't believe me, go to the mall and look around. And most gifts are a total waste of money. I'll bet the typical household could save $500 a year just cutting out crap.
(first off, we rarely go to the mall, and gifts tend to be gift cards so the recipient can choose what they need)

14. Stop wasting energy.
(pretty much done)

These are only ballpark figures. The actual savings will vary enormously by household. But just the steps above can save a household thousands a year.

Enough with the silk scarves

I've ranted from time to time about the Air Force mindset, continuing to try to justify expensive projects.

Defense Sec Gates jumps in.

Pentagon chief urges Air Force to embrace change - New York Times

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- In unusually blunt terms, Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday challenged the Air Force, whose leaders are under fire on several fronts, to contribute more to immediate wartime needs and to promote new thinking.

Gates singled out the use of pilotless surveillance planes, in growing demand by commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan, as an example of how the Air Force and other services must act more aggressively.

Gates has been trying for months to get the Air Force to send more unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, like the Predator drone that provides real-time surveillance video, to the battlefield. They are playing an increasing role in disrupting insurgent efforts to plant roadside bombs.

''Because people were stuck in old ways of doing business, it's been like pulling teeth,'' Gates said of his prodding. ''While we've doubled this capability in recent months, it is still not good enough.''"

Proportions

A most interesting map ...




Where News Breaks � Strange Maps:

"As any journalist knows, news has to be about people - they either make it, or are affected by it. No people, no news. It therefore stands to reason that heavily populated areas of the US, like California or the Northeast, generate most of the news stories. But even allowing for population, some locations account for a disproportionately high number of news items.

Researchers extracted the dateline from about 72,000 wire-service news stories from 1994 to 1998 and modified a standard map of the Lower 48 US states (above) to show the size of the states in proportion to the frequency of their appearance in those datelines (below). Some notable results:"

This Bud's for you

No mention of the energy cost of Aluminum, unless you recycle, like beercans maybe?

Why Cars Don't Get 50mpg | Newsweek Voices - Keith Naughton | Newsweek.com:

"Consider the exercise Ford just went through. It ran a computer simulation on what would happen to the mileage of a Ford Focus small car if you built it entirely out of lightweight aluminum. Losing the steel allowed the Focus to drop 1,000 pounds—30 percent of its body weight. That enabled Ford to outfit it with a tiny one-liter engine, half the size of its old engine, but far more fuel efficient because of new technology. Best of all, the small motor goes just as fast as the big one because the car is so much lighter. The result: fuel economy on this fabulous Focus went from 35mpg to 50mpg. What's stopping Ford from moving this car from pixels to pavement? The cost of an all-aluminum car could top $50,000—not a sum the typical economy-car buyer is willing to pay. 'What's going to be the cost acceptance for this much improvement in fuel economy?' asks Dan Kapp, director of Ford's advanced engines and transmissions. 'We don't know yet.'"

More on weight here : The evidence of weight - AutoWeek Magazine

Creature comforts and safety mandates add pounds.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cult Classic

Encore running "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" tonight
Classic flick

Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973)

Kristofferson, Coburn, Rita Coolidge in Peckinpah piece
Yeah ... and Dylan

Knock Knock Knockin on Heaven's door
Slim Pickins get gut shot, dies to the music
YouTube - knocking on heavens door

At last

Click for video of last lap or two and greeting at victory

Danica Wins in Japan

Saturday, April 19, 2008

OUCH!

With dislike of the goofiness of the right wing Republicans and distaste for the disorganization of the Democrats, I'll stick to being "devout and practicing non-partisan"

Road Map to Defeat - New York Times

"The Democrats are doing everything they can to blow this presidential election. This is a skill that comes naturally to the party. There is no such thing as a can’t-miss year for the Democrats. They are truly gifted at finding ways to lose."

Friday, April 18, 2008

Electric




Willing to consider this one
Electric iteration of the Atom

After all, as Tom Cruizer said in "Top Gun" ... I feel the need, the need for speed

Torque out the wazoo

Not for travel, for "play"
Not practical, for fun

The X1 Prototype


The X1 prototype is a concept car, and a test platform. It is not a production car, and never will be. It’s a proof-of-concept vehicle that will lead to a production car in the future.

To build it as a prototype, we looked for the best of the best, in today’s technology. We chose the AC Propulsion (www.acpropulsion.com) 3-phase AC induction motor and inverter – the highest power/weight ratio system available; brilliantly engineered, and with about a decade of durability testing to date. For the chassis, we turned to Ariel, in Somerset. (www.arielmotor.co.uk). Simon Saunders, the designer of the Atom and the founder and CEO of Ariel, has created in our view one of the world’s most beautiful cars, as well as the quickest, lightest chassis on the road. To drive it is a revelation. Simon’s background is in automotive design, notably for Aston Martin and Porsche. The Atom chassis was substantially modified for the electric drivetrain, but retains the original styling.

The X1 prototype is just the beginning. It meets its design specs of 0-60 in 3 seconds, 170 mpg equivalent; and at 1536 lbs, is only 36 lbs over the design target of 1500. It really does raise the performance driving experience to a new level, even for racing drivers. No clutch, no shifting, precise and immediate control of torque in drive and braking, perfect traction control…first gear takes you to 112mph…

In recent track testing, on street tires, it achieved the following performance:
0-30 mph: 1.35 sec
0-60 mph: 3.07 sec in 117 ft
0-100 mph: 6.87 sec
0-100-0 mph 11.2 sec
Lateral g: 1.3
Braking g: 1.2

The X1 production car will be better… much better.

Rock On

cbs2chicago.com - 5.4 Quake Strikes Southern Illinois



Broadly felt
Bedrock, not the North American Craton, but old, is cool and hard, carries the waves broadly. Lots of sediment over it can shake.

Didn't feel it up here, but reports from Chicago to Georgia

A bit later: more info

Magnitude 5.2 - ILLINOIS:

"Earthquakes in the central and eastern U.S., although less frequent than in the western U.S., are typically felt over a much broader region. East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area as much as ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast. A magnitude 4.0 eastern U.S. earthquake typically can be felt at many places as far as 100 km (60 mi) from where it occurred, and it infrequently causes damage near its source. A magnitude 5.5 eastern U.S. earthquake usually can be felt as far as 500 km (300 mi) from where it occurred, and sometimes causes damage as far away as 40 km (25 mi)."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Vid Experiment

We visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium last Fri
Experimented a bit with video function on my pocket Canon digital
Jellyfish ... duh

And yes, picture is right side up.

Oh yeah - kill the sound, just ambient crowd noise.

video

An important read

Right war, wrong execution.
Reviewer suggests Phil as Democrat National Security Advisor for Republican McCain ... sort of post-modern policy.

Book just went on my - to read list
Read the NYTimes Review

Terror and Consent - Philip Bobbitt - Book Review - New York Times:

"Read as a tract for the times, “The Shield of Achilles” seemed to exemplify the change in American attitudes to foreign policy that began after the collapse of the Soviet Union, accelerated during the Balkan wars of the 1990s and came to a head after 9/11. Some reviewers took it to be a neoconservative work, and Bobbitt’s support for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 lent credence to that view. However, read as a work of history, it was no such thing. Rather, it was a reflection on the decline of national sovereignty in an age of globalization.

“Terror and Consent” is less historical; indeed, it is more concerned with the future and how best we should anticipate its challenges. Did I say “the future”? Bobbitt has learned from the scenario-builders of Royal Dutch Shell the essential point that there is really no such thing as the future — only futures (plural). The task he has set himself here is to challenge nearly all our existing ideas about the so-called wars on terror (note, once again, the plural), in the belief that only a root-and-branch rethinking will equip us to deal with the problems posed by “the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, mass terrorist atrocities and humanitarian crises that bring about or are brought about by terror.”

Bobbitt’s central premise is that today’s Islamic terrorist network, which he calls Al Qaeda for short, is like a distorted mirror image of the post-Westphalian market-state: decentralized, privatized, outsourced and in some measure divorced from territorial sovereignty. The terrorists are at once parasitical on, and at the same time hostile toward, the globalized economy, the Internet and the technological revolution in military affairs. Just as the plagues in the 14th century were unintended consequences of increased trade and urbanization, so terrorism is a negative externality of our borderless world.

The difference, of course, is one of intent. The rats that transported the lethal fleas that transported the lethal enterobacteria Yersinia pestis did not mean to devastate the populations of Eurasia and Africa. The Black Death was a natural disaster. Al Qaeda is different. Its members seek to undermine the market-state by turning its own technological achievements against it in a protracted worldwide war, the ultimate goal of which is to create a Sharia-based “terror-state” in the form of a new caliphate"

Amazon:
Editorial Reviews

"Philip Bobbitt is perhaps the outstanding political philosopher of our time. Terror and Consent is simply indispensable for our understanding, yet it is as readable as it is profound."
--Henry Kissinger

“Philip Bobbitt has long been one of the most thoughtful and wise commentators on the state of the modern world and the challenge that it faces. But in this book, he sets out with clarity and courage the first really comprehensive analysis of the struggle against terror and what we can do to win it. Above all, he understands that this war is new in every aspect of its nature — how it has come about, the profound threat that it poses, how it has to be fought and the revolution in traditional thinking necessary to achieve victory. It may be written by an academic but it is actually required reading for political leaders.”
--Tony Blair

"In this thrilling book, Philip Bobbitt bravely confronts the myths that confound our understanding of terrorism and provides a new way of understanding this phenomenon. He does us the favor of not only describing the traps we've fallen into, but also the ways of escape."
--Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

"In this original, provocative, and deeply researched book, a superb scholar addresses some of the most basic and vital issues of our time. Philip Bobbitt's Terror and Consent deserves to be widely read, debated and absorbed."
-- Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage

“Philip Bobbitt has taken our understanding of terrorism -- and of how to defeat it -- to a deeper level. This brave book confronts us with the knowledge that the worst is yet to come, and it points the way for America and its allies to counter the new breed of shadowy, ultra-violent adversaries. More importantly, Terror and Consent wisely shows how governments can do this without sacrificing their legitimacy as guarantors of human rights. This is truly the book for our times.”
--Steven Simon, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations and co-author of Age of Sacred Terror

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Finally

After Air Force hyping this puppy for everything from ultimate air superiority tool (against who?), to dealing with IED's in Iraq

"Forget the F-22"

The campaign for extra F-22 production is over and lost, says a key general, and leadership must quickly move on to fully embrace the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. “Nobody in [the Bush] administration, nor any of the possible upcoming administrations, is a fan of the F-22. No one.” By comparison, the F-35 still has appeal. “It’s tri-service, more versatile in terms of roles and missions, and a lot cheaper,” he says. “I don’t understand the reluctance of the Air Force to say we’ve lost the battle for more F-22 production. We’ve got 183 Raptors. Let’s use them as best we can and go full-bore toward high-rate production of the F-35.”

Friday, April 11, 2008

Quick notes from The Valley

Some brief notes/links while out here visiting daughter and family.

Doc had musing on blogging
Doc Searls Weblog � What comes after blogging


My response


"How about multi layer, multi participant, multi faceted, not “always on”, non spatial, non or quasi-temporal conversation(s)

I don’t begrudge floggers
(those selling product/services)
Read them once and move on
Incremental cost is near zero, other than my time.

Therefore add self selective to the above “conversation”

The beauty is ability to connect where you might not otherwise, pick up snippets of knowledge and insight that might not be available otherwise. The obverse as well, pass along information (not always knowledge or insight, that’s too presumptuous on my part)

Ciao on a Sunday Morn from SiValley"



I've been trying to help build some buzz to help a young man I've know since he was about 5.
Former Racer Fritz Kling Diagnosed With Terminal Brain Cancer, Benefit Scheduled News Article // RoadracingWorld.com

So I tried to learn digg, reddit, facebook etc.

Had waiting for me a copy of Clay 's book with fits all of these issues
Here Comes Everybody
(link to his blog on the topic)
"Clay Shirky has long been one of my favorite thinkers on all things internet-not only is he smart and articulate, but he's one of those people who is able to crystallize the half-formed ideas (the ones I've been trying to piece together) into glittering, brilliant insights that make me think, Yes, of course, that's how it all works" - Cory Doctrow
Amen
Just about every page has a nugget - just get it and read it.

Very brief summary of some ideas here
Running an Office by Wiki and E-Mail

Again - get it, read it, understand it, use it.

Our daughter belongs to a loose Mom's network of about 2,000 out here in The Valley and uses it to seek advice, buy used toys etc.
Craigs list for mom's?

"Some groups we expect to be technology-obsessed, maleness, singleness, and youth all correlate with technophilia, while femaleness, age, and family life don't. So when a group of mothers adopts a piece of technology, it indicates an expression of preference far more serious than seeing a thirteen-year-old boy go wild over an Xbox" - Clay

Spot on

Sent her this yesterday, turns out she reads it daily:
Blogger Mom from the WSJournal (and one of the most popular articles)

Back to grandparenting

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wake up call

Click below for more info
Doc Searls Weblog

Doc is home from visit to the hospital
Blood clot in his lung
Damn good it wasn't heart or head

Wake up for us "mature" ... "desk potaotes" to get off our butts and get our legs working.

I don't wedge myself into airline seats nearly as much as Doc, and latest physical came out pretty well (cardio wise), but a head's up just the same.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Woof

Spotted the following this afternoon.
Reminded me of shorting this puppy (Iomega) back in the late 90's 

No real reason for the stock to be over $100

Got on the old Compuserve boards and started asking questions. "Believers" were looney... talking about Gillette model of giving away razors to sell blades.
NOT
This company was a short term blip on storage devices, and giving away media to sell players.

EMC Reaches Agreement To Buy Iomega - WSJ.com

"EMC Corp. reached a deal to buy data-storage firm Iomega Corp. for $213 million in cash, scuttling a deal Iomega had made previously with a group of Chinese companies.

The two sides agreed to the deal after EMC sweetened its offer to $3.85 a share. Iomega turned down EMC's original offer of $3.25 a share in mid-March, saying it wasn't enough to overturn a takeover agreement with a consortium led by ExcelStor Great Wall Technology Ltd., which would have given substantial control of the company to the Chinese government."

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Beginning to come to light

Mainstream media starts to understand that there are problems with "green energy"

The Clean Energy Scam -- Printout -- TIME:

"Biofuels do slightly reduce dependence on imported oil, and the ethanol boom has created rural jobs while enriching some farmers and agribusinesses. But the basic problem with most biofuels is amazingly simple, given that researchers have ignored it until now: using land to grow fuel leads to the destruction of forests, wetlands and grasslands that store enormous amounts of carbon."

Pretty much too busy

Unless things change, pretty much too busy doing the grandparent thing to blog this week

Monday, April 07, 2008

So true

Never try to outstubborn a cat.

Eric Raymond ( open source guru )

Friday, April 04, 2008

Compounding Errors not Interest?

Still not happy with my banking at 5th3rd, shopping for alternatives
Then I get home and see this

Wall St.Journal
---

Fifth Third Bancorp is considering a bid to buy its larger rival National City Corp., according to people familiar with the situation, in the latest sign of how stresses on the banking industry are pushing institutions to consider deals long believed far-fetched.


Such a move would create a Midwestern banking giant and stick a thumb in the eye of rival KeyCorp, which is also said to be weighing a bid. Fifth Third is based in Cincinnati, and National City and KeyCorp are both in Cleveland.

Banks and private-equity shops have been poring over National City's books in recent weeks, in large part to ascertain just how sketchy some $25 billion in high-risk assets on National City's books actually are, according to these people. Those assets include brokered home-equity and commercial-real-estate loans, as well as loans remaining after the sale of subprime lender First Franklin Financial Corp.

These risky loans are critical to the structure and price of any potential deal, because they directly affect how much capital a combined company would require. A bank such as Fifth Third, the 12th-largest U.S. bank by market value, potentially could buy National City outright if the loans were so-so. But if the loans were failing, Fifth Third or a similar acquirer likely would seek a capital infusion from a private-equity group to bolster its combined capital, according to people familiar with the situation.

---

Ego over customer service?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Quote of note

Way back last Sunday, we were at brunch with friends Ed and Joni
Joni teaches grade school
Spent a week with classes at local nature area
Walks in the woods every day

From one of the kids, out amongst the pines:
"this smells just like our car air freshener's"

Wow

ZAP..ed

One (maybe among others) that electric cars are not taken seriously.
Just outright fraud

Hype Machine: Searching for ZAP's Fleet of No-Show Green Cars

"By early 2007, Kim, Scheder-Bieschin, and Brandao had all resigned their positions. Brandao filed a sexual discrimination complaint against ZAP with the state of California, alleging that she had been underpaid because of her gender and that Starr had verbally abused her.
Scheder-Bieschin says that Starr and Schneider have been insulated from criticism because of the business they are in. 'Steve plays the game that nobody's ever gonna be tough on us because we're the EV guys.'' (Indeed, Robert Taicher, a consultant for ZAP, called Wired editors as this story was in process, asking the magazine to tread lightly on ZAP, given that 'we're in the green space.') 'Gary Starr and Steve Schneider have likely done more damage to the EV industry than Detroit and the Japanese combined,' Scheder-Bieschin says. 'And the failure of this industry to thrive has affected everything from global warming to the war on terror. How do you put a price on that?'
Brandao thinks the EV industry itself bears some responsibility for ZAP's depredations. 'Nobody wants to talk about how bad ZAP is,' she says. 'Everybody wants the EV space to be protected from scandal or bad publicity.'"

Insults

From HBO's docu-drama of John Adams

Benjamin Franklin, in Paris to John Adams, on word that Adams has been named Ambassador to the Court of St. James:

"The English love an insult, it’s the only proof of a man's sincerity"