Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Marriott's Megabonus offer just got better, but you have to act today!

NOTE: The gift cards are sold out. But it is possible to buy Marriott gift cards on eBay and elsewhere, just not at a 20 percent discount. So keep your eyes peeled!

    I've posted several times that I think the Marriott Rewards program is one of the best for casual travelers. Their first quarter Megabonus offer provides most casual travelers with a free room night for every two stays, up to three free nights (the offer is personalized, but most receive the stay-two-get-one offer).
    The free room certificates are only good for a Catagory 1-4 hotel, so in New Orleans for example you can use your certificate at the Courtyard or Springhill Suites but not the full Marriotts. That's good enough for us.
    Jinny and I have used some of the certificates, and have yet to use one on a hotel with a rate of less than $150. So they have real value. There are plenty of Fairfield Inns out there with rates under $100, so essentially this offer allows one to purchase three one-night stays for $66. Given the inflation in hotel rates, that's a great deal.
    For today only, eBay is offering $50 Marriott gift cards for $40. So a room normally costing $100 can be had for $80. So three hotel nights can be had for $160, or $53.33 each, and the night purchased with the free night certificate can almost always work out to be a decent hotel with a rate of over $150. So $160 gets you $360 or more worth of hotel stays.
    Now the math doesn't always work out perfectly, but this is as good as it gets. So if you have any travel planned in the next few months, go ahead and get a few of these gift cards today, AND TODAY ONLY.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

'Cleaning Fairy' welcome to victimize me anytime

Susan Warren, Cleaning Fairy
    Police have arrested a "Cleaning Fairy" for shoveling snow out of people's driveways without permission.
    Susan Warren of Elyria, Ohio, was already on probation for breaking into a home and cleaning it and then leaving $75 for the homeowner before leaving.
    Is there any way I can volunteer to be a victim?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Choices our elitist, hypocrite president makes for his children are fair target for scrutiny

    The NRA has gone beyond the pale by dragging President Obama's children into the gun control debate, or so claim his leftist supporters and such RINOs as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
    I disagree.
    If Malia or Sasha Obama should miss a homework assignment, get in trouble at school, or break up with a boyfriend, that's a private matter. But the choices politicians make for their children are a matter of public concern, particularly when these politicians are able to make choices for their children that are denied to most Americans.
    For example, Malia and Sasha attend an exclusive private school, Sidwell Friends School. The public schools in Washington, D.C. are pretty dreadful for bright children, and I don't blame the president for sending his children elsewhere.
    But I do blame the president for making choices for his children that are denied to most Americans. Obama has consistently opposed efforts to provide vouchers so that all Americans, regardless of income, can enjoy the same choices that he has made for his children. No, vouchers won't gain admittance to elite schools for dull, disruptive children, but they will ensure that every bright, well-behaved child in America can get a decent education.
    You see, Obama is a typical liberal elitist. He prattles on about how wonderful public schools are, but he doesn't send his own children to public school. Yet when ordinary Americans seek the same opportunities, Obama slams the door in their face. For him, it's far more important to keep the teachers unions happy than it is to provide a decent education for America's kids. And if huge swaths of American society receive sub-par educations as a result, why should he care? He's got his!
    Obama and other liberals initially pooh-poohed the idea of having armed guards in our schools, even as the Sidwell Friends Schools has an 11-person security team. These aren't Secret Service employees; they work for Sidwell, albeit in shifts. Not all of these employees are licensed to carry weapons, but some are policemen who presumably are armed.
    So once again Obama is happy to enjoy a benefit for his own children while seeking to deny the same rights to ordinary Americans. It's wrong and it's a fair target for public comment. If there are errors in the ad, complain about the errors, not the ad itself.
    The Obama administration is now coming around to the idea of encouraging schools to have "resource officers;" presumably such officers will be armed. But when NRA Executive Direct Wayne LaPierre made this suggestion three weeks ago he was treated like a nut.
    In any event, the president and his family are certainly entitled to a little bit of privacy. But that curtain of privacy deserves to be raised when the president makes choices for his family or his children that aren't available to ordinary Americans.
    Many thanks to the NRA for producing an outstanding advertisement. If the president doesn't like it the solution isn't to stop running these types of ads. The solution is for him to stop being an elitist hypocrite.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Reporter quits after CBS News forces CNET subsidiary to lie about best technology product

    CBS News has long been known for its tendency to make up news in order to promote the network's liberal agenda. Thus the Dan Rather episode when George W. Bush was running for re-election in which the network presented documents which it knew or should have known were forged to suggest that Bush's National Guard commander was highly critical of his service.
    Even after strong evidence was shown that the documents were obviously fake CBS continued to claim that they were real until finally the network was forced to back down. Oh, and the supposedly "real" documents were "burned" after they were faxed to CBS. Sure.
    Now comes another scandal, albeit smaller in scale. CBS owns CNET, a tech website that presumably is supposed to be allowed to operate independently of the network. CNET editors recently attended the annual CES show in Las Vegas and voted Dish Network Corp.'s "Hopper with Sling" the best home theater and audio product.
    CBS is currently in litigation with Dish Network over the "Hopper" feature, which allows views to skip advertisements, and so ordered the editors to lie to the readers and tell them another product was the best. And so the editors falsely claimed that a sound bar by Vizeo was the "best" new product.
    One CNET reporter had the gumption to quit and blow the whistle. Greg Sandoval tweeted the news Monday morning. From the Fox News story:

    In an apparent response to the resignation, CNET Reviews Editor-in-Chief Lindsey Turrentine posted a story on the site a few hours after Sandoval's tweet saying that around 40 CNET editorial members voted, and Dish's Hopper won the designation because of "innovative features that push shows recorded on DVR to iPads."
    She said "the conflict of interest was real" and said she contemplated quitting as well, but stayed on to explain the situation to staff and prevent a recurrence. She said CNET staff was asked to re-vote after the Hopper was excluded, and regretted not revealing at first that it had won.
    "I wish I could have overridden the decision not to reveal that Dish had won the vote," she wrote. "For that I apologize to my staff and to CNET readers."
We've long known that CBS News couldn't be trusted as a news source. It's a shame to know that CNET is rather biased as well.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New York Times article reports problems with Stephen Hayne testimony, need for review

    The New York Times reports tomorrow on the need for a review of Mississippi criminal convictions based on testimony of Dr. Stephen Hayne.
    The story begins:
     JACKSON, Miss. — For a long time, if a body turned up in Mississippi it had a four-in-five chance of ending up in front of Dr. Steven T. Hayne.
     Between the late 1980s and the late 2000s, Dr. Hayne had the field of forensic pathology in Mississippi almost to himself, performing thousands of autopsies and delivering his findings around the state as an expert witness in civil and criminal cases. For most of that time, Dr. Hayne performed about 1,700 autopsies annually, more than four for every day of the year and nearly seven times the maximum caseload recommended by the National Association of Medical Examiners.
     During the past several months, in courthouses around Mississippi, four new petitions have been quietly submitted on behalf of people in prison arguing that they were wrongfully convicted on the basis of Dr. Hayne’s testimony. Around 10 more are expected in the coming weeks, including three by inmates on death row.
    I've already said what a disgrace I think this is. These cases need to be reviewed. Better some guilty people go free then to have lots of innocent people locked up.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Legal scholar points out that Obama's use of autopen may not be valid signature

    Did President Obama intentionally set up a court fight over the recent tax bill passed by Congress?
    Obama apparently left Washington without signing the bill and then ordered that the bill be signed by "autopen."
    A blog post by legal scholar Eugene Voloch, a blogger and professor at UCLA, points out that such electronic or proxy signatures have traditionally only been valid when the person ordering the signature has actually been present. Obama was not and therefore the signature is arguably not valid (although a 2011 White House legal opinion concludes that they are).
    Voloch cites the opinion of law professor Terry Turipseed, who has published a paper arguing the traditional opinion that the signer of the document must be present.
    Ordinarily a bill becomes law after 10 days with or without a president's signature. The only exception is when Congress adjourns within 10 days of the bill's passage, as occurred in this case. Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution states:
If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a Law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a Law.
    Thus by not being present when the bill was signed by autopen an argument can be made that Obama has exercised a pocket veto, since Congress adjourned almost immediately after the bill's passage. Obama can, of course, resign the bill. And it may be that the autopen signature will be found to be valid even though Obama wasn't present.
    But why risk a court fight over the issue? Obama was present and able to sign the bill. Why not sign it before going to Hawaii? Or why not have the physical bill brought to him for signing?
    Someone somewhere is likely to challenge the validity of this law. It seems silly to create a mini-Constitutional crisis when there is no need for one, unless that's exactly what Obama was seeking to do.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mr. Magazine Samir Husni puts blame for Newsweek failure on Tina Brown

    Ole Miss journalism professor Samir Husni writes on his blog why all 10 of Tina Brown's 10 reasons the magazine had to fold are a load of bulloney.
    In a blog post entitled, Killing Me Softly With Her “Talk”: Why Tina Brown’s 10 Excuses for Killing Newsweek Are ALL DEAD WRONG.
    Towards the end of his post Husni said:
Thanks, Newsweek, for the memories, may you rest in peace or pieces as you, that is, Ms. Brown, wishes. And if you ever think that the Daily Beast has a higher value as a brand than Newsweek, think not once, but twice and thrice for that matter.

Blogger blames poor historical knowledge on 'mediocre' public education -- at Stuyvesant

    Here's an interesting blog exchange from the new Lion of the Blogosphere blog concerning the newly released movie, Les Miserables:
I’ve also managed to get this far in life knowing very little about the period of French history in which Les Miserables takes place. I blame the mediocre public school system for this gap in my education. (I highly recommend sending your kids to private school if you can afford it.)
    And the comment from one of his readers:
You went to Stuyvesant.
    If only all qualified Americans would have access to such a mediocre public school!