A Cynical Look On "Tiger Woods Only Joking"

Bellowing laughter erupted from the luxurious Florida home of Tiger Woods.

The famous golf professional seemed very pleased, gleefully announcing "They fell for it! They all fell for it!"Tiger's practical joke included leaking a story about an "affair" he was having, hitting a tree in his SUV, and having his wife break the windows of said SUV. It was a brilliant setup, upon further examination. The world's most boring icon, Tiger Woods, having an affair? Obviously ridiculous, but Tiger managed to prank the entire world. Pranksters everywhere, take note. This man has bested you.

"This will screw them all up, they'll be talking about it for weeks! It will be just like that time when Britney Spears was bald," he went on to say.

In an exclusive interview, Woods also explained that the real reason he wasn't attending his own tournament was so he could prank it.

Tiger takes golf in a whole new direction as he announces his plans for what he calls practical golf, "Practical jokes are much more fun than golf, so why not combine the two make golf a little more fun?"

Tiger Woods has all sorts of things planned for the competitors, "Rattlesnakes in the hole, an annoying guy that blows an air horn every time you're about to make a stroke, special tee off locations in quicksand, things like that."

I suppose we can all look forward to seeing more of those golf-ball-in-the-nuts-shots we like so much.

Zoom in to continue story.
Disclaimer: These events did not actually occur.

A Cynical Look On The Death of the Internet

This might be it, the internet may be about to end as we know it.
Things like this picture you love may all be gone...
The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to "national security" concerns, has leaked. It could destroy the fabric of the internet as we know it. In summary, it says:

* That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. In other words sites like Youtube, or Blogger, or Flicker, or Facebook, or any website that material can be uploaded onto would be practically impossible to run. They would have to hire mountains of lawyers to watch and read every second and letter of all material uploaded before it could actually be posted. These sites have enough trouble as it is with profitability, and under these circumstances making a profit would be absolutely impossible. On a site like youtube, over 28,800 hours of video are uploaded every single day. They would have to hire roughly 3550 people, probably closer to 5000 if they need to report on them, in order to do nothing but watch videos 8 hours a day for seven days a week.

* That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living -- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.
There is no habeas corpus here, all that has to happen is that someone ACCUSES you of copyright infringement. As others have noted, this could easily be abused into a form a censorship.

* That the whole world must adopt US-style "notice-and-takedown" rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused -- again, without evidence or trial -- of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright. Sites like google and yahoo could be easily locked down because someone accused them of copyright infringement, even if they had done no such thing.

* Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM, even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM)
That's right, you can buy something, and if the DRM doesn't work properly, you will not be allowed to fix it. Leaving you in the unfortunate position of having spent money using up file space on your hard drive.

Right now, our only hope is that all of this negative attention gets picked up by the main stream press.
Until then, I hope you don't post something that some random person on the internet wouldn't like, because you could find yourself banned from the internet for copyright infringement.

If you want to read more about it go to http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4510/125/ who writes from Canada.

A Cynical Look On Loaning to the Government

California is at it again--raising taxes that is.
Or are they?

What they're really doing is raising their income withholding rate--by an incredible 10%.
"Think of it as a forced, interest-free loan: You'll be repaid any extra withholding in April. Those who would receive a refund anyway will receive a larger one, and those who owe taxes will owe less." - Latimes
Which is interesting, because a forced loan without interest seems to be much more of a tax and much less of a loan.
I don't know about you, but when I give out a loan I expect to make a decent rate back on it.
In addition to Californians not getting their money on time, the money withheld will also take a hit from inflation--whatever percentage the dollar is devalued the year that the money is withheld--while the government holds it. This year that percentage is quite a substantial amount.
Because no interest is given during this period, the holdings are indeed a tax. The tax on this sum can can be calculated by taking into account inflation and the potential that the money would have earned if it were actually loaned at interest, or invested elsewhere.(It would have to be something you were actually going to do with the money)
In any event, when California officials mean that they are holding onto the taxpayer money, they really mean that they are "spending it all as fast as they can in a desperate attempt to turn around budget deficits"
Unfortunately, spending your way out of deficits has never worked very well for the United States. It's exactly like trying to fill a hole, by digging at the bottom of the hole. It just doesn't make any sense. The only way California is ever going to fix it's financial problems is by cutting spending--something California has never been very good at.
As it stands, the good news is that the withholdings will probably go away after the state fixes its deficit problem. The bad news is that the state will probably never fix its deficit problem.
The withholdings tax doesn't look like it's going anywhere, and it will probably increase again for Californians in the future.

What am I going to do about it? My job is to complain about things, not to fix them.
I do have one suggestion for Californians though: move to Florida, where companies are allowed to pay employees a little more of what they earn.

Src: Cbs2
Src: Latimes