January 2009

I went 0-4 last week. If there’s a better way to start a blog please share.

Here’s my quick predictions for the conference championship games. Again, only take these if you want to lose money.

Philadelphia (-4) over Arizona

Philly’s the new Boston.

Eagles 24 Arizona 17

Pittsburgh (-6) over Baltimore

I still think Big Ben should retire.

Steelers 13 Ravens 3


Obama, babe, you’re saying the right things

President-elect Barack Obama wants to win approval of stalled free trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, but more work is needed on two of the pacts, Democratic lawmakers said on Wednesday.

“The president-elect wants to work with Republicans and Democrats to get those trade agreements moving,” House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel said during an meeting to outline the panel’s priorities for the year.

More evidence that perhaps Obama was playing to political game during the Democratic nomination. We’ll just have to wait and see just how ‘free’ the FTAs will be. One of Bush’s achievements in office was the expansion of FTAs. Obama needs to keep this ball rolling.

9 yr old defeats Chess Grandmaster

This has to be one for the records. At the Parsvnath Open in New Delhi the nine-year-old Hetul Shah defeated an experienced grandmaster, with the black pieces, in a regular tournament game with FIDE time controls. His opponent was 31-year-old Kasakh GM Nurlan Ibrayev, rated almost 600 points higher than the lad, and now probably the world’s most embarrassed GM.

Woah. Hopefully this kid will keep his sanity.

IBM’s CEO in the WSJ…

Today, we live in a digital world. Many of our most valuable assets are online, traded virtually. As a result, communities with broadband access grow employment at a significantly higher rate. And yet today, the United States, the country that developed the Internet, ranks 12th in broadband penetration and 15th in average broadband speed. This is unacceptable if we want our nation to compete in the 21st century.

Here here! Enough of the bridges and highways talk. If Obama is going to go big, make it big tech. The U.S. should always be the most forward-thinking, big idea country out there. We need to stay ahead of the digital revolution. Our power grid is in need of a hefty overhaul.

Also, my parents still do not have access to high speed internet. They are part of the 10% of adults in this country still using dial-up. Some can’t afford broadband, but others simply don’t have the access. That needs to change.

From the NY Times…

So even as President-elect Barack Obama talks about promoting green jobs as America’s route out of recession, gulf states, including the emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are making a concerted push to become the Silicon Valley of alternative energy.

They are aggressively pouring billions of dollars made in the oil fields into new green technologies. They are establishing billion-dollar clean-technology investment funds. And they are putting millions of dollars behind research projects at universities from California to Boston to London, and setting up green research parks at home.

Makes sense to me. You have to support your economy somehow when the oil is gone. I guess the ‘invisible hand’ does apply in the gulf.

Mexico’s Pres speaks the truth…

Mexican official sources said Calderon was to urge Obama to continue or expand collaboration in four areas: the war on drugs and organized crime; improving competitiveness within the North American Free Trade Agreement; immigrant rights; and the need for Congress to pass immigration reform.

During his campaign Obama’s team called for renegotiating NAFTA, which since 1994 has brought the United States, Mexico and Canada into a single market, saying that it was hurting US workers.

Good to see Calderon speaking the truth. I always thought it was a bit strange that Obama, the hip grown-up with an ipod that everyone wants to have a beer with, never made the correlation between tech efficiency and international market connectivity. Early in his race for the Dems ticket he was very much in favor of renegotiating NAFTA, but after he won the nomination he took a more centrist stance (gotta love politics). Obama has quite a few free-traders on his economic team, including Larry Summers, so I remain hopeful the U.S. will continue opening more trade borders.

After all, to everyone but the U.S., foreign policy IS trade policy.


The Beer Runners’ concept is simple. You give them a call, they take your order — $20 minimum — and if you’re within 3 miles of the store, the delivery charge is $5, or 65 cents per mile after that.

Their prices are typical — $4.25 for a pack of Marlboros, $5.91 for a six-pack of Miller Lite.

“You think what you would have to pay for court fees if you got a DUI, what’s $10 to have beer delivered?” said Jon Fox.

The owners say this will help keep some intoxicated drivers off the road. Instead of driving to the store to get more booze, they’ll give ‘Beer Runners’ a call and have their drink of choice delivered.

While convenient, I’m not sure how this helps keep drunk drivers off the road. People still have to leave the party at some point, whether it’s that night or the next day. The convenience of alcohol delivery may influence some partygoers to stick around longer, to have another beer or two. I don’t understand how a service that ‘keeps the party going’ encourages fewer people to drink and drive.

With that said, I wish I came up with this idea while in college.

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