SocraticGadfly: 4/8/12 - 4/15/12

April 14, 2012

#Google riffs on #Kaku ... and #Huxley and #BraveNewWorld

Ross Douthat gives us his overview of Google's Project Glass, which appears to be the search giant's riff on Kurzweilian futurist Michio Kaku's Internet contact lenses. The first three-quarters of this is almost certainly Douthat's best column ever. I don't agree with everything in it, but I think he's certainly right to raise the issue of social dystopianism, even if it's overblown.

I think it is overblown, but, contra the Clay Shirkys of the world [mentioned by name], it's not nearly as overblown as they claim. Douthat's onto something. And, beyond the dystopian, anti-cokmmunal angle is the one of pure egotism, and the money to drive early purchasers of something like this type of technology.

Sadly, Douthat doesn't go into that, and hence, his last one-quarter of the column falls short.

He, probably rightly, worries about what the government might do with this, while saying it's probably not a lot.

But, like all big-business friendly, big-money friendly conservatives, on such a dystopianly empowering technology like this, Douthat's playbook comes entirely from George Orwell and "1984" and not at all from Aldous Huxley and "Brave New World."

The hell with Washington, which probably couldn't manage the flood of data. What about Google?

Rather than Google spitting out Groupon type coupons on your smartphone, what if they pop out on your eyeballs' viewing area? Or Google says, "based on previous Google Glass viewing, you should buy this." Just imagine what Marky Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook would want to do, speaking of anticommunitarianism in the "real" world.

Douthat could have done soooo much more with this. And didn't. You actually maybe should be MORE scared than he is.

Obama and April-June

The current calendar quarter, so political analysis says, is key to Barack Obama's reelection. It's nothing special about Obama, but that the second quarter, fourth year, of a president's term is the matter of focus for voters.

And why? Especially if an economy is struggling, and there's a first-term incumbent in the White House, the opposition's candidates are generally (this year being somewhat an exception) talking about said economy in the primaries. Which means the president has to be either engaging in actual economic stimulus, or the appearance of doing so, while also "managing expectations."

So, file Obama's signing of the craptacular JOBS Act, guaranteed to open the doors for new orgies of destabilizing speculation, under the "appearances" theme. Look for other stuff under either appearances or "managing expectations," since the GOP in the House won't do anything and the GOP in the Senate will filibuster.

Of course, Obama is too weak-kneed to do a Harry Truman and call Congress into special session, and Harry Reid is too weak-kneed to force Senate Republicans to engage in an actual filibuster.

So, when you ask how our government got this dysfunctional, it's not just that Republicans made it happen. Democrats let it happen.

Meanwhile, 2.5 months of White House economic PR ahead.

Ads: The latest #Facebook fun

Great. Now Facebook is going to steal a page from, or give a hat tip to, the likes of Groupon and put ads in everybody's news feeds.

A friend of mine there has asked why I don't like Timeline at all, and I've explained that it's because we don't know what Facebook will do next. And, this illustrates that.

The story points out that we should be more careful than ever what we "like." Thank doorknob I've never "liked" a corporate product other than Hatch green chile. I won't even do something like that in the future.

The story neglects to warn us about "checking in" to places via FourSquare, Yelp or other programs that will post that, though. And, don't you know that FB will "spit out" an ad as soon as you do that?

Another FB friend of mine recommends Firefox with AdBlock (noting it's better than Chrome's efforts -- probably because Google has commercial reasons not to make Chrome's ad-blocking work too well).

I do normally use FF. But ...  That said, since this is going to be in news feeds, I'm not sure Ad Block will work. Or, if it does for now, FB will work to find a way around it.

Speaking of, now that Google Maps can even map the inside of many major malls, speculation has been that it would do something different on smartphones with precise GPS. I think that speculation should probably start ramping up now.

April 13, 2012

I work at the fifth-worst job/career

In case you've not heard about it, newspaper journalism was listed by some career site earlier this week as the fifth-worst career in the U.S.

Throw out my best newspaper job, at a group of suburban Dallas weeklies before they went belly-up (which of course ties to why newspapers are getting ever worse) and I easily believe it.

Last two papers?

A national chain that believes Facebooking everything is the "answer" for driving both website and mobile app advertising sales, even though the website is still free and, IMO, the disparity between mobile-based ads and traditional online ads will not be a long-term deal.

And currently, a paper with "old-school" newspaper vets, Type A male yellers, the senior of whom, I think, believes this Texas Hill Country town can be a new Fredericksburg, when it won't. Sorry. Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

And, it works on the "margins" as far as staffing size, even for today's newspaper world, to boot.

That's even as the national chains continue to engage in forced furloughs, job cuts, or both, at the reporter/editor level at local newspapers, while simultaneously paying out bigger bonuses to top brass precisely for making those cuts.

And that's the dirty secret of why top brass of most national chains have no interest in a nonprofit newspaper incorporation bill, should one ever get real consideration by Congress. They'd rather skim now, and "apres moi, le deluge," than engage in responsible management. Local operations, meanwhile, continue to dream of "new angles" while stretching themselves ever thinner between hardcopy, traditional web, and mobile content delivery, while barely having the staff to do justice to hardcopy coverage.

Sure, lots of college students still study journalism. They may believe the myths of liberal media. They may be clueless about the business-side issues. They may be in love with online journalism while remaining clueless to the fact that about nobody's figured out how to monetize it yet.

And, while they're still taking journalism classes to be a new exploitable crop, and others, formerly in the traditional biz, now work at various demand mills, the fifth-worst ain't going to get much better. It's that simple.

Kids in J-schools should be required to take a class in newspaper business management first. Second, they ought to be disabused of much of their belief in the "liberal media," if they hold it for good, unlike Faux News types.

As for the current disparity between traditional web ad rates and mobile-specific ad rates, reportedly as high as 5-1? Within in a decade, that difference will be no greater than 2-1, driven primarily by greater use of mobile devices, greater competition for eyeballs, etc.

Remember how much higher traditional web ad rates were a decade ago? The same things drove them down as will drive down mobile rates.

The Net, in its various delivery forms, has just the opposite problem as old newspaper media. You got plenty of room for editorial content, of course, but, because of ephemeral attention in many cases, there's limited "space" for ads. Plus, add in ad-block software, etc., and web rates plummeted.

I have no doubt that for both Android and iOS for Apple, somebody will invent the equivalent of ad-block programs, too. It's going to happen.

Oh, and as for the current locale, that's not just my opinion.

Does the 2012 election matter?

On economic issues, at least, Naked Capitalism's Matt Stoller has an emphatic No. And, he's right.

Take the "recovery." How many progressives bemoan how much of the recovery, so far, has gone to the 1 percent, or even more, the 0.1 percent, without mentioning who is president, and  without asking if Obama's been part of the problem? (Stoller has a post on just that issue, too.)

And, Matt Taibbi has yet more reason to be disappointed in Preznit Looking Forward. The JOBS Act seems intentionally designed to produce some of the types of speculation that caused the Great Recession.

Actually, the election DOES matter if you see this and know it's time to think outside the two-party box.

Soon, we won't compare income inequality to the Roaring 20s, but to the 19th century and the Gilded Age.

Free trade with South Korea with a backdoor for China is bad enough. But, Columbia? Yeesh.

Oh, and if unions would think Green rather than Democrat (and environmentalists would stop exploiting eager young workers at times) we could get out of that two-party box better.

So long, PBS as we know it?

A San Francisco public TV station WANTED to run political ads. That's problem No. 1.

So, it sued the FCC after being fined for so doing.

Now, the biggie. A three-judge appellate court group (in what's supposed to be a liberal appellate circuit) said, on 2-1 vote, the FCC was wrong.

The court said the political ads are in "public interest." And, since politics is, in some nebulous way, nonprofit, the court let stand bans on for-profit ads.

Can, and will, PBS simply jerk this station's license/franchise? Or, if not immediately jerk, at least non-renew? Unfortunately, Wikipedia says its already NOT a PBS affiliate. Nonetheless, the ruling could have fallout at PBS stations, too. And NPR, of course.

April 12, 2012

#ALEC - let's not praise #McDonald's #Coke #Pepsi

So what if McDonald's is the latest corporation to leave the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Koch Bros' legislative policy/sausage making/policy shop, after Coke, Pepsi,  Kraft, the Gates Foundation, etc.

The real issues are three.

1. What the hell were folks like McDonald's and Coke doing with ALEC in the first place? Especially given the propensity of, say, a MickeyD's to run minority-themed commercials during sports events, this was rank hypocrisy. Not just hypocrisy, but  rank hypocrisy.

2. Given the anti-labor stance abroad of a company like Coke, isn't it rank hypocrisy to now act like it "cares" here in the U.S.?

3. Why has it taken progressive groups this long to lean this hard on ALEC member businesses? Now some, from this big list, may not be "leanable." But surely, others are. My answer? Progressives get their own donations from these companies, or at least from their foundations, and so don't want to bite the hand that feeds them. (These are often the same "progressive" groups that are behind $24K jobs running "district offices" at 60 hours a week, a pay vs. time scale that would be paying minimum wage, if on wage with time-and-a-half for overtime, rather than salary.)

April 11, 2012

#FDA: #CAFO needs scrips for antibiotics

Well, it certainly didn't take long for the Food and Drug Administration to follow its marching orders from a federal district judge and rule that farmers and ranchers would need prescriptions from veterinarians to give their animals antibiotics.

Now, the $64,000 question: Will this do much to cut the use of antibiotics, especially in concentrated animal feeding operations, to a point to where animals use significantly less than the current 80 percent of antibiotics in America?

My prediction?

This may well bring the issue of overuse of animal antibiotics some additional attention, but it probably won't put much more than a modest crimp in their use. I wouldn't be surprised if official, legal use isn't cut a fair amount, but that a black market of sorts, either through unscrupulous vets here in the U.S., or else from smuggling from abroad, doesn't fill much of the void.

And, as to that, how tightly is the FDA, which in the case of we humans, relies on Big Pharma to police itself on the testing side, and has about zero authority over doctors on the prescribing side, going to police large-animal vets? How much will farm-state Senators push to cut its funds for any such policing?

Even without that, here's about how toothless the FDA can be:
Initially, the F.D.A. is asking drug makers to voluntarily change their labels to require a prescription; federal officials said that drug makers had largely agreed to the change. If some fail to impose the restrictions, the agency will consider a more forceful ban, Mr. Taylor said. 

The reason for the reliance on voluntary efforts is that the F.D.A.’s process for revoking approved drug uses is lengthy and cumbersome, officials said. The last time the F.D.A. banned an agricultural use of a medically important antibiotic against the wishes of its maker, legal appeals took five years. In this case, hundreds of drugs are involved, each with myriad approved uses in various animals. 
In short, your healthy steak will be promoting antibacterial resistance for, oh, 20 years or so from now.

Of course, with the FDA making its ruling, this could possibly open the door to private lawsuits against CAFOs. THAT might change the score.

#Apple loses - and #Amazon wins? on #infowars battle

I agree with Wired: Jeff Bezos should send AG Eric Holder a Christmas card. Bezos and his Amazon are possibly the single biggest winners from the DOJ's antitrust lawsuit against Apple.

Bezos is even smart enough to have an anti-Steve Jobs, low-key reaction:
Officially, Amazon’s response to today’s news is fairly measured. “This is a big win for Kindle owners, and we look forward to being allowed to lower prices on more Kindle books,” writes Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener in an e-mail.
Wired spills out the details.

Since nobody can conduct "most favored nation" deals with publishers, Amazon wins the price-setting war due to its Walmart-like volume.

Second, Amazon looks like a white knight, at least to readers.

Third, because of 1 and 2, Amazon will probably become even more Walmart-like in price setting.

Losers? Besides Apple, possibly book authors. Very possibly Barnes & Noble and others who can't keep up.

Possible losers? We the readers. Definitely we the readers who want to avoid escalation of the infowars. This will certainly give Amazon more leverage with the Kindle, and the Kindle Fire. Expect to see Bezos do a lot of "bundling," and per the Walmart analogy, some loss-leader deals,  even.

There is NO shortage of #STEM students

It's become a meme, especially in the not-so-hallowed halls of Congress, that the U.S. faces a growing brain drain in domestic Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM students. The "answer," from our business-friendly leaders of BOTH major parties, is to .... give more visas to international people.

Reality? This is business as usual by business as usual (along with academia becoming more and more business as usual):
Simply put, a desire for cheap, skilled labor, within the business world and academia, has fueled assertions—based on flimsy and distorted evidence—that American students lack the interest and ability to pursue careers in science and engineering, and has spurred policies that have flooded the market with foreign STEM workers. This has created a grim reality for the scientific and technical labor force: glutted job markets; few career jobs; low pay, long hours, and dismal job prospects for postdoctoral researchers in university labs; near indentured servitude for holders of temporary work visas. 
Note that I mentioned this is bipartisan evidence-distorting. The story cites Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-Wall Street) as one of the people leading the charge on this issue.

Solution? One commenter to the story has it at least somewhat right: Unionization.

Is #naturalgas not a good 'bridge fuel'?

There's a very interesting article to that end at Climate Progress. Joe Romm says that without carbon-dioxide pricing, i.e., things such as a tax, and, without taking more steps to cut methane leakage from pipelines and other spots, it's probably only about 20 percent better than gasoline/petroleum as a bridge vehicular fuel and longer-term bridge to replace coal for electric generation.

Now, it is by Joe Romm, who is somewhat apocalyptic on climate change issues. But, the leakage concern comes from an outside journal, first. Second, the worry that we will eventually get a bunch of LNG or CNG vehicles rolling off the lines in Detroit is a legitimate one. Obama's tougher EPA CAFE standards have loopholes for alt-fuel vehicles. I expected Detroit to look at E85 cars given the government's push for more ethanol, but, the natural-gas angle makes sense too, since fracking of shale fields is spreading to more and more states, and exploiting the loophole would scratch a lot of backs.

So, give it a good read. It may not be too apocalyptic.

April 10, 2012

#NPR pulls a #Kucinich

In 2004, in his first quixotic presidential run, Dennis Kucinich brought a flip chart onto an NPR interview.

We could all hear the chart pages flapping, Dennis, but that was it. You weren't on PBS.

Well, per friend Leo Lincourt, NPR did the same to itself today. He said that, in a broadcast story about Mustafa Kamal Mustafa, also known as Abu Hamza al-Masri, about the legality of his extradition from the UK to the US that it said listeners could easily recognize him by the hook on his left hand.

Well, NPR went one better than Kucinich.

First, unless al-Masri had been extradited to an NPR studio and was banging his hook on a table, that was a Kucinich fail.

Second, per Google images, his hook is on the end of his right arm, not his left. So, NPR batted 0-for-2. That said, Reuters also got that one wrong, saying he has hooks on both arms.

Oh, the often maligned Wikipedia has it right, too.

MLB turns into Big Brother on Castro

MLB has found a way to trump Bud Selig's stupidity of a second wild card. The Miami Marlins have given manager Ozzie Guillen, long known for his off the wall outbursts, a five-day suspension for his comments about Fidel Castro.

My question, first, is did the Marlins act alone? Or did Cuban-Americans of an older generation thraten a boycott? Did Bud push the Marlins? It's too bad there's no real appeals process on this, so we could put Bud on the spot.

Second, given this, why didn't the White Sox suspend him longer for one or another of his antigay (or seemingly so) comments?

Third, will Ozzie finish out  the year as manager?

Fourth, maybe the comment "offended" some people, but can anybody find anything factually incorrect?

Sixth, a statement ... all you older, tea party type Cuban-Americans? Get over it.

Brooks, Cowan, tag-team economic stupidity

David Brooks, riffing on Tyler Cowan, claims that a new American economic boom is around the corner. Not necessarily immediately, but in a decade or two.
Are they right?
Even if not all wrong, they're not as right as they think they are. With Brooks, of course, that's no surprise. And, on a more intellectual level, it's really not a surprise of Cowan. I'm realizing just how much of a libertarian he is, and how he's willing to let his thinking be driven by this.
Let's go to Cowan as the source of what needs to be refuted, starting with this:
To put it simply, the closer other nations come to our economic level, the more they will want to buy our stuff. Indeed most of those nations are growing rapidly, so we can expect their attentions to shift toward American exporters. The leading categories of American exports today—civilian aircraft, semiconductors, cars, pharmaceuticals, machinery and equipment, automobile accessories, and entertainment—are going to be in the sweet spot of growing demand in what we now call the developing world. 
On traditional manufacturing, China's already shown plenty of penchant for stealing know-how, design blueprints and many other things. Add that to its growth in military aircraft, there's nothing to stop China from building civilian planes that it at least deems worthy for its interior market, and sooner rather than later.
Semiconductors? Cowan must be dreaming here.
Pharmaceuticals? In the last decade, they've been more and more outsourced to India, at least generics. Name brands likely will be soon enough.
Entertainment? Bollyworld will continue to grow, not shrink. Ditto for Chinese-made entertainment. And Bollywood at least will probably find a growing market outside of India, due to the English-language factor.
Cars? China is continuing to expand its domestic manufacture, like Cherry Motors. And Cowan acts like he's never even heard of India's Tata. Then, he adds the part about Japan losing its creative edge here. Excuse me? Never heard of Prius? Which is going to become a whole line of Toyota's?
Meanwhile, it's nice, or "nice," to see that Cowan is not only a libertarian of sorts, he's a libertarian hawk:
As a major exporter (among other strengths), the United States can be expected to maintain and even extend its investments in its Navy and Air Force. The current defense budget austerity won’t last very long, meaning, among other things, that it won’t be a fun time to be a pirate.
Austerity? In the middle of fighting one land war in the "war on terror" and giving open ends to the actual military departments, and private mercenaries, to fight more? Austerity?
And, it's even more "nice" to see that, in terms of hard-heartedness, Cowan is a libertarian indeed on the home front. He talks about what all the above (whether he's right about it or not) will mean for American jobs:
The class of elite labor will grow, and protest against the “one percent” will seem anachronistic. ... (S)ignificant segments of the American workforce are likely to continue suffering falling real wages, even in a time of rising export prowess. ... We will continue to cut a proverbial “deal with the devil”, in which ever more jobs will be created in the relatively protected service sectors, while much of the economic dynamism and income gains will accrue to the capitalists, CEOs and managers who dare to export.
And here's the kicker. This is all happening because we're not libertarian enough:
A lot of people complain about this deal from both sides of the political spectrum, but few observers are willing to countenance a truly open, competitive set of educational, governmental and health care institutions as a remedy. Libertarian-leaning recommendations for open competition everywhere may or may not be acceptable to us, but they have a bracing way of pushing the truth before our eyes.
Of course, for Cowan, this too is OK, because he's a (mildish) sort of Internet utopian. He's nowhere near Ray Kurzweil, but he does believe that the Internet is going to transform, for the economically better, the net income bottom line for many.
I hadn't read Cowan in much depth very often before now. And, I likely shan't in the future. In fact, I think I have a mild loathing for the man

April 09, 2012

#SamHarris: behavioralist

John Horgan just nailed it. And just "nailed" Sam Harris. He's the modern day version of B.F. Skinner in his ardent, even strident, denials of the existence of free will:
He is a throwback to the old behaviorists, who pretended that subjective, mental phenomena—because they are more difficult to observe and measure than planets and protons—don’t exist. 
And, if that's not enough, Horgan fires both barrels, again, with perfect accuracy:
Dwelling on Harris depresses me. All that brainpower and training dedicated to promulgating such bad ideas!  He reminds me of one of the brightest students I’ve ever had, who was possessed by an adamant, unshakable belief in young-earth creationism. I did my best to change his mind, but I never succeeded. I probably won’t change the minds of Sam Harris and other hard-core determinists either, but it’s worth a shot.
Now, not all Gnu Atheists reject free will, but it's getting to be an ever-more-common stance. And, Horgan's first comment, at least, is applicable to them, too.

That said, Harris is also, per Horgan, a kind of voyeuristic thrill to watch digging ever deeper into the same holes. I'll probably engage in more of it, tho not to the point of spending money on a 96-page "book."

My own thoughts on how free will VERSUS determinism is a totally false dichotomy are here.

Now, to the degree that it seems, at least, that a fair amount of leading light Gnu Atheists have a prediliction for determinism, the question is, why? It seems to go hand in hand with scientism, in Harris' case. And, some leaning that way seems to be another "joy" of many Gnus.

Harris himself, with an undergrad degree in philosophy, theoretically has no excuse, unless, like Horgan's creationist, he slept through half his philosophy classes.

As for Gnus in general, I think scientism is the fundamental "ism" of it as a movement, or social-cultural group structure (can't call it a religion!) for many.

I'll probably have further thoughts down the road.

Hypocrisy alert, Glenn Greenwald division

Greenwald has spilled cyberink in more than one Salon column, bemoaning that he and his Brazilian boyfriend can't get married in the U.S.

Well, behind the gay rights push in that same Brazil is a rising wave of homophobia, homicidal at times. I had no idea that conservative evangelical Christianity was also on the rise there.

Now, for Greenwald to not talk about this might be more ironic than hypocritical.

But, even more hypocritical?  Noted civil libertarian and free speech advocate Greenwald has never written about Brazil's attempts to criminalize homophobic speech.

And, Greenwald can be black-and-white on civil liberties issues, even ones where there's a LOT of gray, such as deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill.

Therefore, it's not hypocritical on my part at all to say that, if Glenn's going to be black-and-white elsewhere, why can't he be on Brazil trying to criminalize hate speech?
I know the U.S. isn't perfect on gay rights, either de jure, or de facto, as a Tyler Clementi or Matthew Shepard shows. But, it sounds like we might still be ahead of Brazil overall. And, on "hate speech" issues too.

On Brazil and gay issues, I'll also venture that other factors are involved. The homophobia probably splits somewhat on class lines. And, Brazil definitely has bigger socio-economic class divides than the U.S. It probably, sweetness and light aside, still has bigger racial class gaps, too.

And, for new readers here, this isn't the first time I've "called out" Greenwald on civil liberties issues. I have a long post here about other blind spots of his, especially re the ACLU and its selective support for civil rights, board purges and more, as documented here.

That's not to say Greenwald doesn't do a lot of good stuff. His latest column, about documentary filmmakers becoming deliberate U.S. government snooping targets, allegedly as part of the War on Terror, but really as part of the War on Leaks, is great. That said, just once, I'd like to see him reference the Center on Constitutional Rights or some other group in addition to the ACLU.

It's like the environmental movement. The ACLU is the equivalent of the Sierra Club or some other "Gang Green" group. Glenn has a platform to give attention to newer, sometimes fiestier groups, such as the Center for Constitutional Rights. And he won't. I know, because I've emailed and tweeted him about it. I don't know WHY, but he won't.

And, at the same time, one should remember another thing about Greenwald. Good progressives should note that he's still an economic libertarian at heart, as his ardent love for Ron Paul shows. It's very relevant to link this year, because as I noted, Greenwald's love for Paul didn't mention Paul's strong antigay history. That his libertarianism usually trumps all, even with a weird twist like this, doesn't surprise me, from what I know of him, which is more than you see in his columns and books.

April 08, 2012

Freedom of petition and the bipartisan police state

Having been in Denver in 2008, the day before the Democratic Convention assembled, in part to officially nominate Preznit "Looking Forward," and having already seen freedom of petition restrictions there, I agree with this column that this is another area where we have bipartisan collusion moving us closer to a police state in some ways.
But, Barack Obama in 2008 could have said something to the DNC, or the Democratic mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper, to try to get the Denver PD to ease up. True, it wasn't as bad as the GOP convention in Minneapolis, but it was bad enough.

And now, this:
Tampa, Fla., which will host the Republicans from Aug. 27 to 30, and Charlotte, N.C., which will host the Democrats from Sept. 3 to 7, are already following the trend. Charlotte has adopted an ordinance that expands the power of the local police to detain, search and arrest persons in its downtown core. (The Charlotte ordinance also bans camping on city-owned property, a clear response to the Occupy movement.)
The DNC got Charlotte to deliver more union-contracted jobs for the convention. The DNC, with Obama's weight behind it, could speak out about the new ordinance, too. But hasn't.

And, lest Dems protest too much that "at least he's not Bush," the columnist continues about Preznit "Looking Forward":
(To be clear, policies seeking to marginalize dissent do not have a partisan cast. Under the Obama administration, would-be protesters in Manhattan and Austin, Tex., have been prevented — on pain of arrest — from demonstrating near presidential events.) 
That's our "constitutional lawyer" president ... again, not really caring about the Constitution.

I wish the "Democrats right or wrong" types would at least be more honest about this. Say that you're going to vote for him in spite of this, because you can't pull the third-party trigger. (And make that statement without bashing people like me who WILL pull the Green trigger.)

Just be more honest than the preznit you're voting for. Is that too much?

#TigerWoods could be fined

Of course, the PGA never makes discipline public, but, if Tiger does have to face the music for kicking his club Friday, let's hope it's a big slapdown. Maybe, per Dan Wetzel, he'll learn to check his temper more. Or, maybe not, and the tail end of his career will remind us more and more of Tom Weiskopf. That said, it would be fun to see Tiger chunk his whole bag in a creek.

Anyway, he's toast for this year's Master's, and not going to finish fourth or even close. He's not back yet.

Indeed, he had his worst professional finish ever at Augusta. Meanwhile, we had a great tournament, complete with playoff, which I wanted "Shrek" to win, but Bubba Watson was also a fine winner. It was competitive all around, including Phil Mickelson making a boneheaded drive followed by a far more boneheaded decision on the fourth hole. Option 1 was to go back to the tee and take the one penalty stroke. Option 2, IMO, was to hit from his lie after the drive, but, left-handed, his normal way, unless the thicket behind him really was that, that bad. In either case, he likely posts a 5, not a 6, and has less distance to close down the stretch.

Well, Tiger probably still believes in himself more than Sergio Garcia. And, without being New Agey, I'll say that Sergio probably is right -- if he doesn't believe he's capable of winning a major, he'll probably continue to short-circuit himself.

USGS links quakes, fracking

The United States Geological Survey has officially connected rising numbers of earthquakes in certain parts of the country to rising fracking for oil and gas.

Now, there's three or four notable caveats to this.
1. The correlation is, to date, still statistical but not causal;
2. The severity of the earthquakes has not been that great;
3. Even a causal correlation is likely to not be strong.

Nonetheless, it should give us all further food for thought. Including the Obama Administration's Department of the Interior and relevant state departments.

But, it likely won't. The Oklahoma state seismologist, per the story, is among those pushing back.

Beyond the story are other issues, though. Microquakes might explain fracking water's migration into drinking water sources, among other things.