Archives for the Month of July 2008 on Through the Magnifying Glass

Video of Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony Rehearsal

opening_ceremony.jpgBeijing Olympics officials are unhappy that a South Korean film crew managed to film footage of a dress rehearsal of the opening ceremony. Supposedly, the ceremony was supposed to be top secret. The 3 1/2 hour ceremony is being directed by award-winning film director Zhang Yimou.

As such, thousands of Chinese Internet users are going around making offensive and denouncing comments on sites that have posted the video. There are already attempts to block the video on YouTube. Some have called it unethical, others accused the media of trying to "undermine" the Beijing Olympics.

Such arguments are pretty much ridiculous. The footage only offers a small glimpse of this great event. When the official opening event starts, the television audience will be given the most exciting view of the ceremony (especially in high-definition). It will be hundred times better than what the Korean film crew has shown.

Besides, there have already been reports of people taking pictures and video recordings of the dress rehearsals on the July 15th rehearsal. Plus, the rehearsal opening to the public on July 30. About 70,000 people watched it. Should these folks be arrested for seeing a "top-secret" event?

Also, according to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) two more rehearsals on Aug. 2 and Aug. 5 will be open to ticket holders.

YouTube (depending on how long before it gets taken down):

A.M. for President!

Hey MLS! Treat West Ham United better!

My favorite football club in the UK, West Ham United, is flying to the US and Canada to play MLS outfit Columbus Crew and the All-Star Team in Toronto.

The MLS told boss Alan Curbishley they would get business class flights but when a travel firm went under, it all went wrong.

Now, the squad is being flown economy class in TWO separate planes. Half the squad will fly to Chicago (9 hour), stopover time, then onto Columbus (3 hour).

Plus, the game is being played on astroturf!!! Are they nuts?!?! Can we please use real grass????


Waste of money for the Brangelina Twins

It is true that we all of us congratulate Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on being proud parents of new-born twins, a boy named Knox Leon and a girl called Vivienne Marcheline.

But the amount of money just to see photos of them is really, really ridiculous. How about $15 to $20 million dollars?

It would appear that the Hollywood couple have sold the rights for the first photo of their newly enlarged family to a U.S.-based magazine, which it did not name, and that the proceeds would go to charity.

Two magazines, People and OK! are also duking it out to get official first photographs of the twins themselves. The bidding could top $15 million.

Obviously, since both Pitt and Jolie are already multi-millionaires. The proceeds would go to the couple's charitable organizations: the Jolie-Pitt Foundation and the Make It Right Foundation. The latter is Pitt's group that's dedicated to rebuilding New Orleans.

Highly convenient.

Oh yes, the contract also stipulates that the magazines cannot use the moniker Brangelina, because they hate it.

Ha Ha, deal with it. The magazines are paying all those digits.

Still, a huge waste of money.

Is 'black hole' politically incorrect?

When folks talk about "black holes," it is either a science term depicting a gravitational field which is so powerful that nothing, not even light, can escape its pull, or a term denoting a sucking sound.

It is also considered slang for hosting a black project (defense) or a place where traffic is sliently discarded (computer networking). In business, a black hole means any effort which consumes resources without yielding a useful result.

I think the business analogy fits the story in this case.

From the Dallas City Hall blog:

Fox station in Dallas-Fort Worth has the video of the exchange

A special meeting about Dallas County traffic tickets turned tense and bizarre this afternoon.

County commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments and handle other paperwork normally done by the JP Courts.

Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections "has become a black hole" because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud "Excuse me!" He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a "white hole."

That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.

Mayfield shot back that it was a figure of speech and a science term. A black hole, according to Webster's, is perhaps "the invisible remains of a collapsed star, with an intense gravitational field from which neither light nor matter can escape."

Other county officials quickly interceded to break it up and get the meeting back on track. TV news cameras were rolling, after all.

* * * * * * * * * *

Is this much ado about nothing? How can "black hole" be considered racially insensitive?

Is Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield racist? Or are Commissioner John Wiley Price and Judge Thomas Jones playing race-baiter?

I have heard "black hole" used on a frequent basis to denote political or business issues where things has gotten lost or nothing viable was produced.

What could be next for these race-baiters? If we call a snowstorm with "whiteout" conditions, is that insensitive? Or how about the White House? Is that insensitive too? Next would be the word "blacklisted."

Could folks like Price and Jones would get off their collective arses and start acting like adults?

For you iPhone 3G buy addicts

As such, the next iPhone 3G goes on sale this Friday at Apple at AT&T stores. Just be aware of the new buy rules:

1)Buyers will be 'pre-qualified' via a series of questions.

2)Customers with corporate/business plans will have to go to AT&T to purchase their phones, only phone for personal use can be purchased at the store.

3)You will be required to present valid US government ID to purchase the phone

4)You will be required to provide your social security number to a store employee in order to do a credit check.

5)You will be required to pick a plan and pay the activation fee at time of purchase.

6)Phones will be activated in the store.

What you should know about FISA


What every American needs to know about the new FISA (Foreign Information and Surveillance Act) amendments.

June 11-30 Zogby poll gives Bob Barr 6%


Zogby poll taken June 11-30, 2008 show Sen. Barack Obama holding a 44% to 38% lead over Sen. John McCain, with Libertarian Bob Barr getting 6%.

By Electoral College Count, Obama would get 273, McCain 160, Undecided 105.

According to Zogby, McCain is having trouble trying to shore up his conservative base, and Bob Barr is taking some core conservatives away from him.

Bob Barr receives the support of 7% of voters who identify themselves as conservative or very conservative voters. Barr gets 43% of libertarians and 11% of independents. McCain’s support among conservatives is 74%. On the left, Ralph Nader gets less than 2% nationally.

Obama has the support of 83% of Democrats, while McCain gets 75% of Republicans.

Independents break 39% for Obama, compared with 31% who support McCain.

For white voters, race doesn’t appear to be playing a significant factor. McCain leads Obama, 43%-39%, with Barr at 6%. Among black voters, Obama wins the vast majority of support.

A Ben Franklin quote to remember

In the spirit of the Fourth of July holiday:

“Those who can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
–Benjamin Franklin

Why are some conservative bloggers angry at WALL-E?

I find it utterly ridiculous when there are some bloggers out there believe that WALL-E is an attempt to brainwash moviegoers that the corporations are dangerous and spewing out environmental propaganda and liberal paranoia at young children.

I would bet that if you ask young kids or even young adults of what they thought about the movie, they would likely say that we should take care of our planet.

Right now, it is the only living planet that we have.

Plus I really doubt an 8-year old kid would understand the corporation-industrial complex.

GOP convention button asks, "If Obama is president...will we still call it the White House?"

Dallas Morning News reports on a booth at the Texas Republican convention selling buttons asking, "If Obama is President... Will we still call it the White House?"

Pretty tasteless. Who would even think of that?

Of course, they are buttons being sold by Republicanmarket which boasts providing "Patriotic and Republican Products." Maybe they are still behaving in the 19th century.

They had another button which featured Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), with the phrase: "Life's a bitch, don't vote for one."

One said, "Press 1 for English. Press 2 for Deportation."

Another said, "I will hold my nose when I vote for McCain."

I wouldn't be surprised if an Asian-American was running for President, the company would substitute "Yellow" for Yellow House.

At least make it humorous or put some sort of political slogan in a positive way.

Think Progress blog

america blog

The World's 10 Most Wired Countries

To rank high on the list — one of 12 included in the WEF's annual Global Competitiveness Report — countries need to have tech-friendly government policies as well as high tech usage.

In the ranking, the WEF focuses on information and communication technologies (ICT), such as cellular connectivity and broadband Internet, noting that "ICT has evolved into the 'general-purpose technology' of our time … responsible for a large part of productivity increases."

Rankings are based on a combination of hard data from organizations like the International Telecommunications Union and responses to the WEF's Executive Opinion Survey on topics such as business adoption of technology and laws relating to ICT. About 11,000 business executives in 131 countries participate in the survey.

1) Sweden
2) Iceland
3) Switzerland
4) Netherlands
5) Denmark
6) Hong Kong
7) South Korea
8) Norway
9) United States
10) Luxembourg


Independence Day or Fourth of July?

Is there a problem for the media to note that July 4th is not just the Fourth of July where we celebrate fireworks and hold barbeques for families and friends, but also the day where we celebrate our independence as a nation?