Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fox News goes after Media Matters:

Over at their affiliated site, Fox Nation:
Want to File an IRS Complaint Against Media Matters? Click Here...

Media Matters for America is organized as a tax exempt 501(c)3 organization. Under IRS guidelines, they must abide by several rules to maintain this status. Specifically, 501(c)3 organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.

You can read an interesting article on this subject "Is Media Matters Breaking the law in its ‘war' on Fox News?" The article strongly suggests that Media Matters is violating its exemption as an educational foundation by actively participating in partisan political activities. Specifically the IRS application for 501(C)(3) tax-exempt educational foundation status, Section VIII, Question I asks the applicant: "Do you support or oppose candidates in political campaigns in any way?" (Emphasis added).

The Internal Revenue Service has a complaint form 13909 Tax-Exempt Organization Complaint (Referral) Form that is one page in length. The form comes with easy to follow instructions and then can be mailed, faxed, or emailed to the IRS office.

I have taken the liberty to complete the initial heading of the form to include Media Matters for America's mailing address and tax ID number in order to assist any submitter with completing the complaint form. You may download this form HERE.
The author is not stated on the Fox News page but at the link where the story has been excerpted from the author is merely "Todd".

Anybody that thinks the Fox media empire doesn't play rough is fooling themselves.


Are you ready for "The new Google experience"?

After many weeks of testing, Google finally updated the homepage and search results pages. The changes aren't so radical, but they're still significant: there's a black navigation bar, two updated buttons for "Google Search" and "I'm Feeling Lucky", while the corporate links are moved to the bottom of the page.

Google says that this is just a small step from a redesign that will affect many other services. "The new Google experience that we've begun working toward is founded on three key design principles: focus, elasticity and effortlessness. (...) With the design changes in the coming weeks and months, we're bringing forward the stuff that matters to you and getting all the other clutter out of your way. Even simple changes, like using bolder colors for actionable buttons or hiding navigation buttons until they're actually needed, can help you better focus on only what you need at the moment."
The new Google experience is focused on three design principles, none of which is utility or ease of use.

Now it's light gray text on a black background, which is harder to read than the former dark blue on white. (Also, text is/was aliased in both cases, which I think makes the lesser contrast display - aka the new Google - more difficult to scan.)

BONUS! Google has already implemented on their maps page a label-less blue button for search (it has a magnifying glass instead). And there's talk that Google may do the same on it's home page - removing the pesky, and informative, "Google search" label from the button. That's following in the steps of the excellent Microsoft Office U/I where the File menu was replaced by an unlabeled four-color "office button", along with other deletions of text labels.


A prediction:

The Republicans will be intransigent on the debt limit up to the very last minute. Throughout this time they will have gotten on the record – and already have – politically toxic Democratic concessions (e.g. Medicare cuts) that they can brandish in the next election.

Obama’s ultimate “victory” on the debt limit issue will be a one day story because nothing bad will have happened and the issue is too abstruse for most voters anyway. The Democratic concessions will not vanish since they can be effectively portrayed as a hit against seniors and others.

The Senate Democrats and Obama shouldn't have bothered with negotiations because the Republicans weren't interested in solving a problem. They were interested in gaining political advantage.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Time to give up on politics?

View that spending kills jobs gains traction, despite expert consensus
Fifty-five percent of respondents said cuts in government spending and taxes would be more effective at creating jobs than maintaining or increasing government spending.

The question is confusingly formulated, because economists usually think of tax cuts and spending increases as part of the same stimulus-based approach, not as opposing approaches. But at root, the results appear to indicate that most Americans think cutting spending, not increasing it, is more likely to create jobs.

But that's almost the opposite of what most experts--on both sides of the political divide--believe. "That wouldn't square with the way we normally think about economic activity in a depressed economy," Andrew Samwick, a former chief economist on President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, told The Lookout. When the economy suffers from a lack of demand, as it does now, Samwick explained, most economists think increasing spending is the more effective way to generate that demand and get things moving again.

Why has the opposite view begun to take hold? In part, Samwick argued, it's thanks to the efforts of congressional Republicans, who want budget cuts and lately have hammered home the view that government spending has stymied growth. "You have the Speaker of the House talking about job-killing government spending," said Samwick, now a professor of economics at Dartmouth College. "But they have not been tasked with making clear exactly how the government is killing jobs."


Another Facebook discovery:

Let's say you create an account but provide the bare minimum of profile information. No address, no phone number, no employer info, no politics. Sometime later you wish to change your Username, let's say because you want to add a word to distinguish you from others (e.g. change from "Jack Smith" to "Jack Surferguy Smith"). You log in, you go to Account Settings, your connection is now https, and click to change user name. This pops up:
Before you can set your username, you need to verify your account.
If you have a mobile phone that can receive SMS messages, you can verify via mobile phone. If not, please try to register your username at a later time.
If you click Continue, you are given the option of a SMS text message being sent or call-me-now.

That's right, you cannot change it without giving Facebook your phone number. I wonder why?

SORTA-RELATED: Kudos to the folks at Microsoft and/or Firefox for putting together a package that causes the browser to lose focus periodically. This doesn't happen if you only have, say 5 browser sessions up (each with half a dozen tabs), but if you have more sessions, the probability increases to a near certainty. This is on a new machine (6 months old) with plenty of horsepower, Windows 7, FF 3.6.13. This never happened on older machines. (Nor does it happen on an XP with FF 3.6.13) So the lesson is, as products evolve, they become less capable. Good to know.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Nonsense from Scalia:

The Supreme Court struck down a California law that would have banned the sale of violent video games to minors. Story:
The Supreme Court's majority opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia rejected California's argument that violent video games should be banned just like the sale of sexually explicit material to minors. (...)

Scalia cited famous books for children throughout history that have depicted violence.

"Grimm's Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed," he said with examples of Snow White's poisoning, Cinderella's evil stepsisters having their eyes pecked out by birds and Hansel and Gretel killing their captor by baking her in an oven. (...)

"What sense does it make to forbid selling to a 13-year-old boy a magazine with an image of a nude woman while protecting a sale to that 13-year-old of an interactive video game in which he actively, but virtually, binds and gags the women, then tortures and kills her?" Breyer asked.
Scalia's says that prohibiting minors access to sexual material but allowing it for violent material, is okay because that's what people did, and still do. What kind of argument is that?

He's a hack. He makes up whatever argument he wants whenever he wants.

UPDATE: Here's a fuller quote of Scalia's argument:
California's argument would fare better if there were a longstanding tradition in this country of specially restricting children’s access to depictions of violence, but there is none. Certainly the books we give children to read—or read to them when they are younger—contain no shortage of gore. Grimm's Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed. As her just deserts for trying to poison Snow White, the wicked queen is made to dance in red hot slippers "till she fell dead on the floor, a sad example of envy and jealousy." … Cinderella's evil stepsisters have their eyes pecked out by doves…And Hansel and Gretel (children!) kill their captor by baking her in an oven…High-school reading lists are full of similar fare…[William] Golding's Lord of the Flies recounts how a schoolboy called Piggy is savagely murdered by other children while marooned on an island.
Okay, let's play Scalia's game. First, we'll just laugh at the "longstanding tradition" argument, since that has nothing to do with law. Let's focus on the stories that he has cited: fairy tailes, Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and being marooned on an island. Those are either fantasy or nevger-gonna-happen situations. Thus, they are not in the category of Grand Theft Auto, which is set in contemporary America and does not involve magic or other reality-defying elements. The stories Scalia cites are substantially different from (at least a subset of) violent video games, and given their unreality, a plausible argument can be made that they have little or no character-shaping impact, so why mention them at all.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Facebook: always trying to harvest your personal information:

If you have a Facebook account, you may have encountered the section where a security question is to be set. This is in case of lost passwords or forgotten email accounts. Most websites have something like this, offering a number of questions that include father's middle name, favorite book, first pet, and so on. Sometimes you could create your own security question and answer. In any event, if you wanted to, you could pick a question to answer that didn't in any way identify you.

Now here's the complete list of security questions that you can choose from at Facebook:
  • What was the last name of your first grade teacher?
  • In what city or town was your mother born?
  • What are the last 5 characters of your driver's license?
  • What street did you live on when you were 8 years old?
Each of those, to different degrees, help Facebook construct a historical/geographical/orricial-records biography of you. Something, say, that "what is your favorite color?" doesn't.

There are a lot of people out there that try to limit the amount of personal information that they give out. At other websites they can, if they choose, have the security question reveal virtually nothing about themselves. But it's not as simple with Facebook. There, they could enter bogus information to any of those questions, but keeping track of them is a hassle and so they probably acquiesce and end up giving out information they'd prefer not to.

NOTE: You can ignore setting the security question but not too many folks are going to do that. You could never use Facebook, but that's becoming harder to do. Recently, the Los Angeles Times changed part of their website so that you had to have a Facebook account to make comments.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

A fool heading a federal regulatory commission?

This move sounds more like a cost-saving measure for industry than anything else:
Power grid change may disrupt clocks

A yearlong experiment with the nation's electric grid could mess up traffic lights, security systems and some computers — and make plug-in clocks and appliances like programmable coffeemakers run up to 20 minutes fast.

"A lot of people are going to have things break and they're not going to know why," said Demetrios Matsakis, head of the time service department at the U.S. Naval Observatory, one of two official timekeeping agencies in the federal government.

Since 1930, electric clocks have kept time based on the rate of the electrical current that powers them. If the current slips off its usual rate, clocks run a little fast or slow. Power companies now take steps to correct it and keep the frequency of the current — and the time — as precise as possible.

The group that oversees the U.S. power grid is proposing an experiment that would allow more frequency variation than it does now without corrections, according to a company presentation obtained by The Associated Press.

Officials say they want to try this to make the power supply more reliable, save money and reduce what may be needless efforts. The test is tentatively set to start in mid-July, but that could change.

Tweaking the power grid's frequency is expensive and takes a lot of effort, said Joe McClelland, head of electric reliability for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

"Is anyone using the grid to keep track of time?" McClelland said. "Let's see if anyone complains if we eliminate it."
The answer is, obviously, YES. And putting it in terms of clocks-only is misleading since other devices would be affected.

To clarify, from a commenter at Yahoo:
Any clock that flashes "12:00" when you unplug the device is controlled by a crystal oscillator. The power line frequency won't have any effect on it because, internally, those devices all run on DC current. The only clocks that will be affected are those that run on AC synchronous motors. There aren't many of those kinds of clocks still in use.
That's correct, but there are still lots of devices dependent on proper frequency, along with substantial use of AC synchro motors, as another commenter notes:
... many industrial processes run on AC-syncronous motors. The least of anyone's worries will be clocks. When you change the line frequency, the RPM's of AC motors change as well. For everything to work properly in industrial systems, things would have to be converted to DC motors to avoid issues with frequency fluctuation. DC motors rarely provide the cost-effectiveness in terms of torque, reliability and simplicity. ... De-standardization of electrical systems is NOT the way into the future.
FYI, Joe McClelland was appointed in 2007 (draw your own conclusions).

We'll see how harmless this experiment turns out to be. If the frequencies are allowed to wander significantly, older audio equipment like tape decks and turntables will not function properly.

FOR THE RECORD: Some people are saying concern about the frequency change is analogous to Y2K. I always thought Y2K was way over-hyped. Changing frequencies seems much more substantial a hazard.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

The end of Republican "compassionate conservatism"?

Certainly, that's what the Republican governors have made clear. But at the national level, what's the perception?

Two observations this week, from admittedly liberal perspectives, say that's the case and - more important - it could become a growing perception by the electorate.

SALON: When the GOP doubled down on crazy
After the catastrophic Bush presidency, the Republican right had two choices: rethink or go crazy. A disturbing number chose to double-down on dogma. As a consequence, the estimable Fareed Zakaria argues in Time, the GOP has become as dependent upon abstract ideology as its worst enemies.

"They resemble the old Marxists, who refused to look around at actual experience," Zakaria writes. "'I know it works in practice,' the old saw goes, 'but does it work in theory?'" Indeed, watching the cast of Republican presidential candidates in their recent CNN debate reminded me of the ferocious certitude of Kremlin apparatchiks depicted in Vassily Aksyonov's brilliantly satirical novel "Generations of Winter."

No more "compassionate conservatism" for them. The GOP candidates competed to describe an imaginary paradise of sweeping tax cuts, vastly reduced spending, an end to government regulation, the bolstering of state's rights, and burgeoning prosperity for all. It's as if the presidency of George W. Bush never happened.
Jonathan Chait in TNR: Post-Compassionate Conservatism
Rich Lowry smartly holds up uncompassionate conservative Rick Perry as evidence of the Republican Party's rightward lurch post George W. Bush:
The backlash against Bush has long been brewing. Compassionate conservatism was a product of the moment when Bush began to run for president in the late 1990s. (...)

Bush-style conservatism never really took with the broader party, although it gained acquiescence. (...)

Now, [the anti-Bush feeling] in full flower and evident on all fronts, from spending and immigration to foreign policy, as Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns point out in Politico. Running on his message circa 1999, George W. Bush would be hard-pressed to gain traction in the current Republican party.
The problem, of course, is that the conditions that required Bush to present himself as a moderate still largely hold true today. The GOP is discredited among swing voters, and not because they think Bush cared too much about poor people and minorities. Now, it's possible that the economy is bad enough that the party can overcome public distrust of its extremism. But it's also distinctly possible that the economy is bad enough that a moderate-seeming Republican would be likely to win, but a Republican running straight from the party id would lose.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

The more egregious you are, the less the press will call you out:

E.J. Dionne, writing about the recent move by states to make it harder for (Democrat aligned) groups to vote, writes: (emp add)
These statutes are not neutral. Their greatest impact will be to reduce turnout among African Americans, Latinos and the young. It is no accident that these groups were key to Barack Obama’s victory in 2008 — or that the laws in question are being enacted in states where Republicans control state governments. (...)

Paradoxically, the rank partisanship of these measures is discouraging the media from reporting plainly on what’s going on. Voter suppression so clearly benefits the Republicans that the media typically report this through a partisan lens, knowing that accounts making clear whom these laws disenfranchise would be labeled as biased by the right. But the media should not fear telling the truth or standing up for the rights of the poor or the young.


Friday, June 17, 2011

This is what propaganda looks like:

Over at the Fox Nation (set up to appeal to Fox News viewers), there is this large-text headline on their main page:
Media Inflamed Over Romney's Innocent 'Unemployed' Joke, But Totally Ignore Obama's Callous 'Shovel-Ready' Joke
Delving into the story, we read: (emp add)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is taking flak from Democrats after telling a group of out-of-work Floridians "I'm also unemployed."

The former Massachusetts governor and multimillionaire made the comment Thursday at a Tampa coffee shop. He told the group that he did have his eye on one particular job.

Romney was criticizing President Barack Obama's economic performance, calling it the worst since President Jimmy Carter's in the 1970s.

Democrats were quick to pounce on Romney's comment. Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said he is out of touch with the average American and that being unemployed isn't a joke. Wasserman Schultz chairs the Democratic National Committee. (...)

President Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness met today in Durham, NC at Cree Inc., a company that manufactures energy-efficient LED lighting. One of the Council's recommendations to President Obama was to streamline the federal permit process for construction and infrastructure projects. It was explained to Obama that the permitting process can delay projects for "months to years ... and in many cases even cause projects to be abandoned ... I'm sure that when you implemented the Recovery Act your staff briefed you on many of these challenges." At this point, Obama smiled and interjected, "Shovel-ready was not as ... uh .. shovel-ready as we expected." The Council, led by GE's Jeffrey Immelt, erupted in laughter.
Two points:
  • The media was not inflamed. If anyone, and it's a stretch to say she was 'inflamed", it was Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee.

  • Obama's "joke" was not callous. It barely met the criteria for being a joke. Callous is saying: "There are no shovel-ready jobs, so people should use their shovels to dig their own graves." Or something like that.
But, facts aside, Fox Nation wants you to believe that "the media" is out to get Republicans, and that Obama is a cold-hearted dude. No wonder there is such polarization in our politics these days. Much of it courtesy of Rupert Murdoch.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

James Arthur Ray:

Remember him? He's the self-help guru that was running a sweat lodge event that got way unsafe, resulting in the death of three participants.

He's been on trial for months, and it's close to being turned over to the jury.

The guy is a predator/huckster. He charges people lots of money for his events (up to $10K) and yet, in one instance where people were outdoors and freezing, he'd give them ponchos in exchange for $250. That kind of fleecing at every stage is characteristic of a mindset that has contempt for others. It's also characteristic of cult leaders.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Republican debate wrap-up:

Michael Scherer is being rightly praised for his summary of what went on. Here is a sample:
2 minutes. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum goes first with four sentences. “Karen and I are the parents of seven children,” he says of his wife at the end. Impressive. But Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann goes next, and she totally has Santorum beat: nine sentences, five children and, as a coup de grace, “we are the proud foster parents of 23 great children.” No wide shot of Santorum to see his reaction. But he just got schooled.

3 minutes. Newt Gingrich won’t play the children-counting game, opting for two sentences and a zinger instead: “We need a new president to end the Obama depression,” he says. As the audience takes in the gravity of that phrase, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney quickly gets the debate back on track: 6 sentences, 5 sons, 5 daughters-in-law, and “16 grandkids.” He also tries for a bit of self-deprecation. “Hopefully I’ll get it right this year,” he says of the 2012 election season. This is candidate code for: “I may have been a tool in 2008, but it’s okay to like me now.” As the audience tries to calculate whether Romney’s grandkid-to-daughter-in-law ratio trumps Bachmann’s biological-to-foster-child ratio, Texas Rep. Ron Paul drops an atom bomb: “I delivered babies for a living and delivered 4,000 babies.” How can anyone compete with this? Game. Set. Match. The debate might as well end right here.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

That's the difference between the Tea Party and the John Birch Society?

On policy issues, not much. Here is a sampling of stances held by the John Birch Society:There are a few areas where the JBS might not be in accord with the Tea Party: immigration and the Federal Reserve. But some national Republicans (Ron Paul) are on board with them, and lots at the state level.

The JBS has a problem with various international organizations, but that aspect of their policy stance seems muted these days.

Of interest the JBS was a co-sponsor of the annual CPAC gathering this year. A gathering that was Tea Party - dense. Now the Tea Party is a diffuse set of self-proclaimed independent chapters, each with a slightly different outlook, so you can't say that everybody in the Tea Party movement agrees with the JBS, but it's safe to say that a majority does.


Friday, June 10, 2011

"If you were a tree, what kind would you be?" - Barbara Walters to Katherine Hepburn

Here's the latest on Facebooks facial-recognition software and what to do about it:
Several experts have also suggested that you upload photos of inanimate objects like trees and mountains and tagging them as yourself to throw the software off.


That first step didn't take much effort, so walking all the way to the North Pole should be easy:

Joe Lieberman's solution for Medicare:
First, I will propose raising the Medicare eligibility age every year starting in 2014 by two months until it reaches 67 in 2025. So if you turn 65 in 2014, you will have to wait an additional 60 days before you become eligible for Medicare. That’s a small sacrifice to ask for the benefits you will receive from a healthy Medicare program for the rest of your life.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Facebook wants to own you:

The pattern is clear. First you are lured into thinking that your experience at Facebook is largely confined to friends - the dozen or so people that you share information with that you wouldn't want everybody to know.

But over the years, there have been various "Oops!" episodes where Facebook - "Golly, we messed up somehow!" - exposed what you were doing, or where you happened to be, or where you lived, or other stuff. It's like letting the world into your home to peek through your wallet and filing cabinets, rummage through your closet, and so forth.

The latest from Facebook is that when you identify somebody in a picture, it will use facial recognition technology to build up a profile for that person. And you can't turn it off.* So not only does Facebook have records of your activities, it is building records of your - and your friends' - physical make up.

The corporate culture at Facebook is obvious. It's to provide a service, but also to harvest as much information about you, and your contacts, as possible. The repeated instances of privacy intrusions (aka "violations") isn't happening by mistake. It's policy.

* You can turn off a "suggestion" feature, and that's being incorrectly reported - even in various tech blogs - as if no facial recognition is taking place. But it appears that Facebook will continue to build a database of faces-people independent of the "suggestions" status. The basic problem is that nobody really knows what's happening at Facebook on this issue. There hasn't been a clear declaration of what they are doing, and so far what they are saying is highly elliptical, which isn't particularly reassuring.


The decline of David Brooks:

He looked silly when he initially called Paul Ryan's plan "the standard of seriousness", but now he's gone further in attempting to promote it.

In a New York Times column this week, Brooks claims Ryan's plan is probably superior to all the others because it's not a top-down, centralized system. Boo, top-down systems!!

But the advantage of a top-down approach in many cases is that it consolidates economic interests, resulting in greater bargaining power. There may be some inefficiencies as a result, but in many cases it's more advantageous to be a single large economic entity than to be an atomized set of tiny ones.

The numbers bear this out, at least in health care, if you compare systems throughout the world - which Brooks does not do.

Also, Brooks touts the Medicare-D program as spending less than projected - which Ryan attributes to "consumer choice", but which is due to (a) fewer people enrolling in the plan, and (b) many drugs going off-patent, causing costs to go down for all plans everywhere.

The Brooks column has triggered a number of skeptical/derisive posts: Ezra Klein, Kevin Drum, somebody at the Economist magazine, Jonathan Cohn, Jonathan Chait, Bob Somerby.


Monday, June 06, 2011

I'm pulling for Anthony Weiner to get out of this pickle:

Seriously, people have got to understand that social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook have essentially no boundaries. That what you do can very well end up exposed to the world.

If you are going to be on a social network, your persona has got to be at a minimum "business casual" - the kind of person you'd be at a company party. No politics. No sex. No outrageous statements.

It's not just Weiner. Other politicians have Tweeted boorish remarks (or worse) and gotten caught.

Time to throttle back on the social network stuff, guys.


Friday, June 03, 2011

Obama is no Truman:

If this report is to be believed:
Obama also told the assembled Democrats not to count on more fiery rhetoric from the Oval Office.

"He said, 'There's a difference between me and a member of Congress,'" another lawmaker said, paraphrasing the president as saying: "When I say something the markets react, all of society reacts, other countries react. I've got to be careful with what I say. I can't just say it for brinkmanship. I've got to say it in a way so that I get what I want said, but I don't upset markets and so on."
Look, Bush said all sorts of things, like "there is no trust" when referring to government bonds. The markets didn't freak out. Markets recognize political speech. Obama should not hold his tongue out of a concern of upsetting markets.


Thursday, June 02, 2011

Public Policy Polling for Iowa Republicans shows Huntsman in single digits:

And the worse kind of single digit, it's 1.

But that's not 1 percent, it's 1 voter:
Here are some facts about Huntsman's supporter:

-He is 'not sure' when it comes to Barack Obama's job performance- doesn't approve or disapprove. He reports having voted for Obama in 2008.

-Huntsman is the only potential Republican candidate he has a favorable opinion of. He expresses 'no opinion' about Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Buddy Roemer, Rick Perry, Fred Karger, Paul Ryan, and Gary Johnson. He has an unfavorable opinion of Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Donald Trump.
When your only supporter that shows up in the poll is someone who voted for Obama, your chances are pretty low.


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

So much nonsense out there:

Why follow politics, if all you read are things like this:
Sen. Mitch McConnell: It is true that divided government is the only government that can do transformational, difficult things…
Unified government, such as those in the 1930's under FDR and the 1960's under LBJ, did enormous transformational things. You could argue that the Republicans in the last decade under GWB also did transformational things (tax cuts, Medicare part D).

Yet McConnell says divided government is the only type that can do big things. That's false, but it's the talking point of the day - not only by politicians, but pundits - so you encounter it all of the time. It's absurd.