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Profile Information

Name: Steve
Gender: Male
Hometown: Florida
Home country: US
Current location: US
Member since: Sat Oct 16, 2004, 01:04 PM
Number of posts: 26,489

Journal Archives

Disney's $1 billion bet on a magical wristband


If you want to imagine how the world will look in just a few years, once our cell phones become the keepers of both our money and identity, skip Silicon Valley and book a ticket to Orlando. Go to Disney World. Then, reserve a meal at a restaurant called Be Our Guest, using the Disney World app to order your food in advance.

The restaurant lies beyond a gate of huge fiberglass boulders, painstakingly airbrushed to look like crumbling remnants of the past. Crossing a cartoon-like drawbridge, you see the parapets of a castle rising beyond a snow-dusted ridge, both rendered in miniature to appear far away. The Gothic-styled entrance is teensy. Such pint-sized intimacy is a psychological hack invented by Walt Disney himself to make visitors feel larger than their everyday selves. It works. You feel like you’re stepping across the pages of a storybook.

If you’re wearing your Disney MagicBand and you’ve made a reservation, a host will greet you at the drawbridge and already know your name—Welcome Mr. Tanner! She’ll be followed by another smiling person—Sit anywhere you like! Neither will mention that, by some mysterious power, your food will find you.

“It’s like magic!” a woman says to her family as they sit. “How do they find our table?” The dining hall, inspired by Beauty and the Beast, features Baroque details but feels like a large, orderly cafeteria. The couple’s young son flits around the table. After a few minutes, he settles into his chair without actually sitting down, as kids often do. Soon, their food arrives exactly as promised, delivered by a smiling young man pushing an ornately carved serving cart that resembles a display case at an old museum.

more at link

Obama to announce changes for student loan repayment


(Reuters) - President Barack Obama is slated to speak to students at Georgia Tech on Tuesday about how he wants to make the process of repaying student loans easier to understand and manage.

Obama will sign a “student aid bill of rights” and will speak about an assortment of policy tweaks and projects to try to make it easier to help people with student loans pay back their debt.

"It's our responsibility to make sure that the 40 million Americans with student loans are aware of resources to manage their debt, and that we are doing everything we can to be responsive to their needs," said Ted Mitchell, undersecretary of education, on a conference call with reporters.

More than 70 percent of U.S. students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree leave with debt, which averages $28,400.

If you need to lower your cell phone bill....

I'd like to recommend Consumer Cellular. I don't use a lot of data or texts, and I don't do a lot of calling. My bill will be going down 50% per month. You can keep your phone (maybe) and your phone number (definitely).

I found out about them via AARP. Anyway, caveat emptor, YMMV. Happy to help. Have a lovely day!

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara


What an 18th century non-war with France has to do with the Senate’s letter to Iran (Logan Act)


Technically, which is to say, legally, you and I are not allowed to travel to Tehran to try to work out a deal between the United States and Iran. There are a lot of reasons why that prohibition makes sense; your ability to gain an audience with the country's leaders being the least of the many difficulties.

But after a doctor named George Logan traveled to France in 1798 to try to prevent war between our two countries, it became illegal for anyone to freelance in that capacity. The law has never been enforced, but it has a habit of popping into the political conversation when someone -- say, most of the Republican conference in the Senate -- tries to influence foreign relations, say, by sending a letter to the Iranian opposition. Which, you're probably aware, has happened.

At the time of Logan's trip, the United States and France were building toward a war, as Michael McConnell, a former federal judge and professor of constitutional law at Stanford University, explained to me by phone. Logan went to France after an official delegation from the United States had been met with demands from anonymous French emissaries for a bribe, an incident known as the XYZ Affair. The Federalist Party of President John Adams was advocating for war, but Logan's visit prompted France to take some actions that defused the situation. Disappointment in Adams's subsequent ramping down of tensions led to the act that bears Logan's name.

As originally drafted, the Logan Act (as it is known) prohibits:

Any unauthorized United States citizen to carry on any verbal or written correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government with an intent to influence its measures or conduct in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States.

more at link

The 47 Republican Senators and their letter to Iran

I'm seeking feedback here. I see it as a blatant political ploy to the racist base back home, a way to "stick it to the black man in the White House". What do you think ?

TAFT CAUSES HOTEL DELUGE (caps in original at NY Times)

June 19, 1915

Tidal Wave from His Bathtub Floods Bankers in Dining Room.

CAPE MAY, N.J., June 18. — Ex-President Taft, who came here yesterday as the guest of the Pennsylvania Bankers' Association, took a bath in his apartments in the Hotel Cape May. He failed properly to consider the size of the average seashore hotel bathtub, however, with the result that when he got into the tub the water overflowed and trickled down upon the heads of the guests in the dining room.


A blast from the past, eh ?

Bloomberg: Did 47 U.S. Senators Just Commit Treason By Attempting to Sabotage Iran Deal?


News that 47 Republican senators sent a signed letter to Iran's leaders warning them against cutting a deal with the Obama administration had many Americans on Twitter openly questioning whether the action constituted treason.

The letter, organized by Senator Tom Cotton, a freshman from Arkansas, warned Iran that "...we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei. The next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time."

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the letter's goal was to "undermine" negotiations with Iran, but also noted that if the Obama administration reached an agreement over Iran's nuclear program that it would not be a treaty subject to congressional ratification.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, meanwhile, said it was highly unusual for a political party to insert itself into a foreign policy negotiation in opposition to the president.

IMHO, the article author should have bypassed the whole treason debate and focussed on the Logan Act.

Tapper Grills Sen. Cotton: Are You Trying to ‘Sabotage’ Obama’s Iran Deal?


CNN’s Jake Tapper grilled Senator Tom Cotton today putting together an open letter to Iran with 46 of his Senate colleagues explaining to them how America’s government works and how a deal on nuclear power without Congress’ consent will not abide.

Tapper asked Cotton point-blank if he and his colleagues are “trying to sabotage this diplomatic effort.” Cotton insisted all he supports is a “good deal” that will absolutely keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but has waning confidence that President Obama will be able to pull it off.

Tapper brought up the unprecedented nature of the letter and asked how Republicans can say Obama (or any president) should have unlimited power to fight terrorists, but Congress should impose limits on the president’s ability to negotiate these kind of agreements. Cotton again insisted he’s just trying to “send the clear message that Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons.”

video at link

Satan straps on ice skates AGAIN! Twice in one day!

Obama mocks Republican letter to Iran over nuclear talks


US President Barack Obama has criticised a letter from Republican senators to Iran, accusing them of "interfering" in ongoing nuclear talks.

He said the 47 senators made an "unusual coalition" with Iran's hard-line religious leaders.

The letter reminds Iran that any deal is just an executive agreement unless it gets congressional approval.

Talks on Iran's nuclear programme are at a critical stage, with an outline agreement due on 31 March.
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