Wednesday, August 26, 2009

the Anti-Twitter arrives....welcome Woofer.

I've been a fairly vocal detractor of Twitter's relatively stupid 140 character limit (although I do have to admit that I've embraced it for SOME uses) so the news this morning (via Mashable) that someone has created a much more verbose version is right up my alley. All the more so because of my love of run-on sentences.

Enter Woofer, where your entries are held to a MINIMUM of 1400 characters. Try 'woofing' about what you're having for dinner. I dare you.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009 goes ALL advertisement.

And it works. is one of those websites that I go to out of habit, even though better options exist. Options that haven't sold their soul for advertising dollars (ahem...ESPN) to the point that they embrace pop-up ads. Thank god they haven't figured out a way to make video relevant on their site. (see previous post on how much I hate pre-roll ads here)

Imagine my surprise when I went to today and saw that their entire homepage has been turned into a Toyota Prius Ad, and to great effect. I can't even remember what it looked like before, because all I've ever paid attention to was the search bar. Now I want a Prius.

How long before Bing follows suit, and turns your vacation photo backgrounds into full page ads?


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cash for Clunkers = Jobs

It took a little bankruptcy and a whole bunch of government stimulus, but American automakers are finally reaping the rewards of a transition from gas-guzzling SUVs to more fuel efficient models.

General Motors announced today that it's upping production by about 60,0000 vehicles in the next two quarters and calling 1,350 of its U.S. and Canadian auto workers back to work in direct response to the demand that the Obama Administration's "Cash for Clunkers" program has produced. Ford Motors made a similar announcement about increased production as well.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hilter is way pissed about Facebook Friendfeed takeover.

I hope I'm allowed to find this funny.

Hitler - "The last thing I'm going to do is join Facebook that cesspool of Super Pokes and Mafia Wars"


Monday, August 10, 2009

Congressional Budget Office opines on prevention (at a 8th grade level)

An anonymous high school student, under the guise of the Congressional Budget Office, released a letter Friday to address how the CBO analyzed the budgetary effects of recent proposals to expand "government support for preventative care and wellness services" and to explain their findings.

The findings aim to establish a position that expanded preventative care and wellness services would actually ultimately INCREASE costs, as the expense of expanding the scope of these services would only offset a small percentage of the increased cost of performing them. As an example, they cite a study conducted by the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, and the American Cancer Society which

"estimated the effects of achieving widespread use of several highly
recommended preventive measures aimed at cardiovascular disease
such as monitoring blood pressure levels for diabetics and
cholesterol levels for individuals at high risk of heart
disease and using medications to reduce those levels."

And while the study indicated that these measures would substantially reduce the probable cases of heart attacks and strokes, the savings would only offset about 10% of the increased provider costs.

It's frightening to me that this argument even exists. If preventative care costs exceed the savings that would be seen by avoiding serious conditions (and their associated procedures) shouldn't the take away be that preventative healthcare costs are too high? How expensive can it be to take a patient's blood pressure and give them medication? How are we having this argument at all without any mention of the benefits to quality of life?

The letter goes on to claim repeatedly that expanding government support for preventative care and wellness services would be redundant, as many insurers and employers are already providing those services at little or no cost to the employee/covered. Which is to say that insurance companies and employers have come to the conclusion that those services ARE beneficial (and cost effective) enough to provide. And have also managed to figure out the riddle to providing them, while staying economically viable.

Again, the logic escapes me. It's as if the CBO was tasked specifically with creating an argument against increased healthcare support, and this is the best they could come up with. Even ignoring their own previous findings, like the report they published 5 months ago that found that a bill (H.R. 1256) aimed at decreasing tobacco use (a wellness service) would result in a decrease of "11 percent among underage tobacco users and about 2 percent among adult users" over just a 10 year period. The overall savings involved in those reductions would have to be huge.

I'm convinced that someone assigned a word count to this letter, and said "create arguments and defend them until you've reach 3200 words".


Thursday, August 6, 2009

White House Director of New Media gets it wrong.

White House Director of New Media Macon Phillips is taking heat for a seemingly innocuous blog post Tuesday morning on titled "Facts Are Stubborn Things" in which he suggests that Americans tattle on their neighbors.

His intentions are good. There is a ton of incorrect (if not blatantly fabricated) information circulating on the web about the President's Health Care Reform positions. The White House staff would certainly benefit from getting in front of this disinformation (like claims that the President's reform bill would eliminate current private health plans). But suggesting that if Americans "get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy" that they should "send it to" puts the administration in a very vulnerable position. And the criticism is already coming.

In a letter to President Obama, Senator John Cornyn (R- Texas) raises questions of First Amendment rights of free spee
ch, warns that the policy raises "the specter of a data collection program" and calls for it's immediate end. And he's right.

I've not been shy about the fact that I'm in the tank for the current administration, and I'm constantly encouraged with it's adoption of new media communication methods, but I think Mr. Phillips is missing the boat on the spirit of the "open communication community" which is based on transparency and collaboration...not McCarthyism.

I'd propose that the White House expand their "New Media" department, and use a handful of TARP dollars to hire a dozen currently unemployed, new media savvy "watchdogs" to scour Twitter and YouTube, etc for posts about Health Care reform (or any other issues, for that matter). The White House would be well served to keep a finger on the pulse of the publicly posting public anyway.