There's ALWAYS a Catch...

 (HT: The Big Picture)

I got sucked into Facebook

*** Language Warning ***

Not Bad...

(HT: Patrick Appel at The Daily Dish)

The Ugly Truth

Ezra Klein nails it on his blog (link).

Democrats won their massive majority because of an economic collapse. They've passed so much legislation because they have a massive majority based on an economic collapse. But the economic collapse isn't over. And having a lot more seats than the other party means 1) voters blame you for the condition of the country, and 2) you have a lot of seats to lose. What the bad economy and the huge majority giveth, the bad economy and the huge majority taketh away. Om. 

If there's a tension here, it's in the way that public opinions and the system interact -- or, more specifically, the way they don't. You can look at this and ask why Democrats passed all this legislation that made them unpopular. But if Democrats had sat around and done nothing after the stimulus, does anyone think they'd be more popular? On some level, Democrats understand that if people's incomes had gone up over the last year, their agenda would be popular enough, but that in the presence of persistent joblessness, they're going to lose the election. The only thing to do in the meantime is try and pass legislation that'll make the country better off. That's what they've done, or at least what they think they've done.

It's ugly in the sense that policy is irrelevant to the outcome of most elections.  I'd really like to believe that this isn't true, and political parties would be rewarded and punished on the basis of the policies that they enacted or blocked.  But, as usual, the relationship is much clearer than that.  Here's the chart Ezra uses to demonstrate the correlation:

This Week's Notable Readings

So here's the idea.  I have begun tweeting links to articles I found interesting.  This page is designed to be a sum up of what I those tweets. I'm not sure if I'll make this a weekly of a daily feature, but for the time being it'll be weekly.

So here's what I liked this week:

Clever needs to be kind

What kind of bias does reality have?

Coming Soon - Deflation 

Who cares about deficits?

Do tax cuts generate additional tax revenue? (No)

What spending should we cut exactly?

Incentives matter

No one ever is to blame

Who will be our next POTUS?

Leaders of the next congress?

Consistently Greenspan

Current Contenders

He's down but he's not out

Got any links I should take a look at?  Feel free to post them in the comments.

Updates, Updates, Updates

Still playing with this blog format thing.  Today I:
  • Briefly added a link to my photos on Picassa and then thought better of it.  
  • Searched like crazy trying to find a way to get Facebook status updates onto the blog.  It looks like you used to be able to do this with an rss feed and then Facebook turned off the functionality.  Which makes sense.  They want you to go to their page for content and not somebody else's.  So no facebook status feed is in the works (No big loss - the Twitter feed updates more anyway).
  • And (crowning achievement) I just added my Pandora stations to the blog.  Admittedly, my use of Pandora is very much in its infancy, but I'm pretty sure that is about to change.
Still my to-do list on the blog is growing.  Here's what I what I'm looking to do next:
  • I need to update my Linkedin profile.  It's a skeleton.  If I'm going to have a web profile, I need to manage it.  So that profile needs to some meat.  I consider it part of the blog because I link to it from the blog.  (See "The Work of Wiebe" to the right).
  • I finished Tyler Cohen's book on the train today, so I need to get my quick thoughts on the reading sub-blog, What's Wiebe Reading (again to the right), before I've lost them.
  • I've been playing Wii Fit and need to get my quick thoughts on it in my gaming sub-blog, What's Wiebe Playing.
That's about it for now.  I'm come up with more later.  Any suggestions for the blog are always welcome.  Comment on anything from content to format.  Negative stuff is more useful than positive stuff so don't pull any punches.

The Twitter Account

My buddy Taylor (Here's his blog: link) got me to sign up for Twitter account a little more than a year ago.  It sat and sat and sat.  I started using Facebook and wondered what the point of twitter actually was.  So it sat some more.  I literally never used it.  Not even a single tweet.

A few days ago I got to chapter four of The Age of the Infovore: Succeeding in the Information Economy (link) in which the author, Tyler Cohen (Here's his blog: link), goes into detail on all the different types of communication available in this era and the how each one is distinct.  And I think I agree.  Email is completely different than texting which is completely different than a phone call.  Each has a very difference emotional impact and each can be more or less useful depending on the content and intent of the message.  Facebook and Twitter both have their own communication uses, as do blogs and face-to-face contact.

So my Twitter experiment begins.  You can see I added my twitter posts to this blog (See right).  I have exactly one follower (Taylor did have me set-up the account), so I'm not exactly setting the world on fire with my messages.  Which is alright.  I'd love to think a cluster of people I know and like will begin using it.  But even if they don't, I have to say I'm already enjoying getting tweets from people (mostly my favorite bloggers) that I'm now following in my twitter feed.

If I'm still using Twitter next year, then something about this worked.  Consider yourself invited to come along for the ride (link).

My Current Facebook Resolution

I created this site in response to my sincere annoyance at the owners of Facebook and their willful disregard for their users.  Several of my posts criticize Facebook and link to criticisms of their policy changes.  I stand by those posts.  It's all true.  The people who run Facebook SUCK.

They also have the most useful social media tool going today.  I admit that I hoped they would be taken down by their mistakes.  It isn't going to happen.  They hit the scale needed to keep growing and growing and displacing the other social media pages.  Let me put it this way.  Your parents bothered to set up Facebook profiles and some of them are actively using it.  Your parents are not moving away from this.  Neither is every other commercial entity that actively markets their own Facebook page.  Facebook won (for now).  Facebook is what the cable company was before the satellite providers.

So...  How do I reconcile my complete disdain for the owners with the overall usefulness of their services?  The key is this blog.  I'm going to make a new Facebook ID.  I'm going to make it completely public.  There is no way I can be surprised by changes in privacy policy when I've given up all pretense of having any privacy.  Then I'm going to completely minimize what I put into Facebook.  I figure they own anything I put into their system.  So what if I just post to my blog and... then use Facebook to link to my blog?  Now they can own the link but I control my content.  If I want to post photos, well, I'm NOT going to do it on Facebook.  I'll link to any number of the other sites that hosts pictures (Flickr, Picasa, Shutterfly, etc.).  Why should I give it to Facebook?  I know I can't trust them.  So I'll just give them the links.  To stuff I control.

To sum up, (1) Assume no privacy (2) Keep control of my material.  I get the benefits of the friend lists and the friend feed and the voyeuristic view of the people I used to know.  I keep the fun stuff.  And give Facebook as little as possible.

Will this work?  I can't say for sure.  It's worth a shot.  And I'll continually re-assess my stand.  I don't like these guys.  But there are plenty of business with services I use whose business practices I don't particularly care for (Think Comcast).  Upon reflection I believe I can make this relationship work.

Blog Update


I've been neglecting my blog.  No postings for close to ten days and the last few posts were kinda weak.  Here's the deal.  Blog posting while on vacation is... not going to happen.  Then work intruded upon my return.  But, I'm still following the noise and just as annoyed at the rise of the tea party, fake deficit concern, and the BP oil spill.  I've seen several items that I thought were discussion worthy, but timing is everything and opportunities sometimes get a pass.  On to the next topics.

Here are my current blog to-do's:
  • I have one book to report on in my reading sub-blog (and I'm almost finished with another book).
  • I actually have a game to report on in my gaming sub-blog.
  • I decided today that I will re-join Facebook.  Given the subject of this blog, an entry explaining how and why is imperative.  I haven't joined up again yet.  When I do, a blog post explanation will definitely follow.
  • I decided to start using my twitter account.  The best part is my feed gets posted to my blog.  So, I need to figure out who to follow on twitter (You're welcome to follow me, my 140 character thoughts are amazing).  My Twitter use demands a blog post explanation.  Also to come.
OK, I'm behind.   But, if you're still reading at this point, your excitement at this wild to-do list must be palpable.  Don't worry, I'll go slowly so as to keep things from getting too crazy. 

Thanks for reading.  More to come.

I'm not a fan...

of torture advocates.  Sullivan find a great quote from one (link):

"Soccer is a socialist sport," - Marc Thiessen, AEI.

Which one are you?


(Hat tip: The Big Picture)