Daily Archives: April 13, 2009

Franken Declared Winner in Minnesota Senate Race

The judicial panel hearing Coleman’s challenge against Franken in the Minnesota Senate Race has made its decision: Franken is the the winner of the election and should be certified. The procedure is this: A ten day period occurs after which the Governor certifies the election. Unless there is a challenge in the State Supreme Court.

Colman has been ordered to pay Franken’s legal costs.

Coleman is expected to continue to obstruct democracy. About half the people of this state knew he was a bastard before this started. That number has grown.


Amazon Dot Com is a different kind of thing

It is a ground breaking company, it is a bookstore that is mega mega like few other companies are. It is a bookstore that is a huge corporation. Think about that for a second. Think about bookstores in the old days then think about this thing, Amazon Dot Com. A bookstore that is leading the way in mega cloud computing. It has one of the most effective ways ever of interfacing with its customers. It has become the go to place for many people for the purchase of almost anything one can imagine being delivered by mail. Amazon Dot Com is a thing the likes of which we have not seen before.

You all know about the #AmazonFail maneno1. I suspect that most of what you know is slightly incorrect. I have read three or four blog posts about it, and not long ago I listened to a current NPR report. They neither jibe nor jive. I suspect as more details come out this will be a two part story: A serious socio-political screwup followed by a “glitch” of very significant proportions. I could be wrong about that, but we shall see.

(Here is a very insightful commentary on the situation giving details and links.)

What is important here is this: Whatever rules you were thinking may apply to the conduct of a large corporation and how they must interface with the rest of society do not apply here. Amazon is not a private corporation that can do whatever it wants. It is actually a utility, a public good, part of our economic commons. It is like Google in this respect.

I know, I know, Amazon and Google are private corporations yada yada yada. You can think that if you want, but you’d be ignoring the important reality that all of our public goods and utilities, including the police, the fire companies, the energy suppliers, even the road building agencies of city, county, state and federal governments (in the US) have transited between private and public and sometimes back (or to some combination). What our society needs to get it’s pin-headed collective head around is the nature of this thing, this Amazon and Google (and whatever) thing. And to recognize that it is very real and not just a dot com that will go away when everyone realizes they don’t need it or the loans come due. Which will bring us, ultimately, to the question of OpenAccess and OpenSource. And who owns The Internet. And a few other issues.

1 = big problem.

When Do Immigrants Learn English? Likely, not when you think.

A timely repost, given the discussion going on here.


The North End, Boston, Massachusetts
I’m standing outside Luigi’s restaurant having a smoke, and Luigi’s doorman had joined me. Across the street yellow stingray is parked, as usual, to block the alley. The word is, the fire escape down into that alley leads directly from Baronelli’s office. The stingray is an escape pod.

Almost every restaurant on Hanover street and the dozen side streets is like Luigi’s: owned by a family from a particular part of Italy or Sicily, with a local cuisine variant, and for the most part, run by the third generation in the family that originally immigrated to Boston’s North End.

I notice the door man take a quick glance up the street and subtly drop his smoke out of sight next to the stairs. He steps half way onto the sidewalk. Sure enough, Baronelli himself is coming down Hanover, walking his dog … a tiny frenetic brown thing … leash in one hand and an unlit cigar in the other. He’s actually wearing a white ascot to complement his thousand dollar Italian three-piece and light brown cape.

As Baronelli, the walking movie prop and Mafia chief, walks by, the door man address him in Italian, and Baronelli grunts back … but I think the grunt may have been in Italian as well.

This is 1981, and everybody in this neighborhood speaks Italian, because they are Italian. Second and third generation, yes, but Italian is the language of the home and the workplace. This is a neighborhood with zero unemployment, zero unorganized crime, and that serves the city in which it is ensconced as a major international tourist destination. And it is pretty much true that the Italian immigrants that moved to this neighborhood starting more than a century ago are still working on the English Only thing.
Continue reading When Do Immigrants Learn English? Likely, not when you think.

Woman Attacks Polar Bear …


… at Berlin Zoo Friday afternoon after she climbed a fence and jumped into its habitat during feeding time, police said Saturday.

One adult polar bit her several times after she plunged into the moat, police said.

Zoo workers tossed rescue rings toward the woman to hoist her out and distract polar bears swimming nearby, said Goerg Gebhard, a Berlin police officer.

Here are the gruesome stills and film:

Another Video, with more commentary:

Why are people always jumping into Polar Bear enclosures?

It’s unclear why the woman entered the bear habitat, but police issued her a citation for trespassing.


Continue reading Woman Attacks Polar Bear …