Friday, February 4, 2011

"Great men have two lives," the diplomat Adolf Berle once observed, "one which occurs while they work on this Earth; a second which begins at the day of their death and continues as long as their ideas and conceptions remain powerful."

Berle was speaking in May 1945, the month after Franklin D. Roosevelt died, and his words captured the enduring influence that FDR would exert over Democratic politics and liberal ideology for the half-century to follow. In 2011, they could just as easily apply to the totemic force that Ronald Reagan continues to hold over the right, on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

These days, no Republican with national ambitions will miss an opportunity to remind us of his or her Reaganesque bona fides. Reagan's precepts of a smaller government, a bigger military, lower taxes and conservative social policies demand absolute fealty.

The irony is that Reagan would not have become such a transformational figure if he had not challenged the political orthodoxy of his own time. His self-declared legatees invoke his name as a pledge to do the opposite, a reassurance that they will not venture beyond what has become conventional thinking in the GOP. What starts as a touchstone, however, can over time become a millstone, if history is any indication.

The power of the Reagan dogma has grown in the years since the 40th president left the scene. In 1994, when Republican Mitt Romney was challenging Democrat Edward M. Kennedy for his Senate seat in liberal Massachusetts, he declared during a debate: "Look, I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I'm not trying to return to Reagan-Bush." But the evolved Romney now refers to Reagan as "my hero."

So far, Chrome is the only browser of the big four -- Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer being the other three -- to escape the Pwn2Own hacking competition unscathed the past two years. (Sorry Opera aficionados, looks like there's not enough of you to merit a place in the contest... yet.) Evidently, its past success has Google confident enough to pony up a cool $20,000 and a CR-48 laptop to anyone able to find a bug in its code and execute a clean sandbox escape on day one of Pwn2Own 2011. Should that prove too daunting a task, contest organizer TippingPoint will match El Goog's $10,000 prize (still $20,000 total) for anyone who can exploit Chrome and exit the sandbox through non-Google code on days two and three of the event. For those interested in competing, Pwn2Own takes place March 9th through 11th in Vancouver at the CanSecWest conference. The gauntlet has been thrown -- your move, hackers.
If Nokia has come to Capital Markets Day this Friday - an event where the company traditionally has revealed interesting information and important initiatives - rumors are swirling again that they are announcing a major platform shift by a competitor. Both Android and Windows Mobile has in the past several times, including no small part to the fact that an appearance Nokia's rotating wheel platform is the backs of S60 and Maemo for far too long but so far is not true. This time around, it is said that Microsoft has announced a partner in the 11th - and although Nokia's inclusion of Windows 7 Phone is obvious strategic shift, it is important to note that companies are actually in front of a collaboration with relatively small effect on the market, it is quite possible to be ramping up to do that again, sharing applications and services between S60 and Windows 7 Phone / MeeGo. We doubt it, but it is within the realm of reason. 

But turning our attention back to the main platform shift, there are several factors that are a little more to add credibility to the rumor this time. First, the elephant in the room recently appointed CEO Stephen Elop is the Microsoft of good and it is clear that got marching orders from Nokia to include a new, more profitable direction of the Symbian Foundation has made to guard decorated Elop, for example, and He only hinted a few days ago that the joining of an existing ecosystem can help. More importantly, however, we have a reliable source of our own now saying that tide is back and it seems to happen in the Capital Markets Day - and that one of the existing platforms from Nokia has dropped as a direct result. It is difficult to choose which one is this: S60, but terribly outdated, still very popular in Europe and emerging markets, while MeeGo are technically promising, but yet to have any effect on the market whatsoever. On the other hand, noted Microsoft pundit Mary Jo Foley has not put much stock in this latest round of rumors. 

So, this is the question: Can Nokia is another Samsung, LG, and HTC, betting his hopes and dreams about his chops as a manufacturer of hardware only? Historically, the Nokia is defined as many (if not more) than its hardware platform, the Samsung's character for end-to-end in-house sourcing. Whatever happens next week Friday, it's all for a very interesting indeed MWC.
In a jarring February development, North Carolina point guard Larry Drew II has left the Tar Heels team and will transfer, according to a source close to the situation.

The source did not cite a reason for Drew's decision to transfer but did say the junior left campus Thursday, roughly 48 hours after recording nine assists in 19 minutes in North Carolina's 106-74 victory over Boston College.

The source also said North Carolina's coaches were aware of Drew's decision.

Drew essentially has shared the point guard position this season with freshman Kendall Marshall; he lost the starting role to Marshall in mid-January.

As a result, Drew's playing time, scoring and assists have dropped from last season -- minutes down from 28.8 to 22.8 per game; scoring from 8.5 points to 4.4; and assists from 5.9 to 3.9.

However, he's had some of his better floor games in the Tar Heels' past three games, all victories, racking up 19 assists and only two turnovers while playing fewer minutes than Marshall.

Davos, Switzerland (CNN) -- Microsoft founder Bill Gates sat down recently with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta in Davos, Switzerland. The billionaire philanthropist was attending the World Economic Forum to push his mission of eradicating polio by 2012. Gates, through his foundation, also pledged $10 billion to provide vaccinations to children around the world within a decade.

Gupta asked Gates for his thoughts about the alleged autism-vaccine connection. He also asked: Who holds ultimate accountability for the billions of dollars being spent on aid? Is a certain amount of corruption and fraud expected? Below is an excerpt of their conversation.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Ten billion dollars [pledged] over the next 10 years to make it "the year of the vaccines." What does that mean exactly?

Bill Gates: Over this decade, we believe unbelievable progress can be made, in both inventing new vaccines and making sure they get out to all the children who need them. We could cut the number of children who die every year from about 9 million to half of that, if we have success on it. We have to do three things in parallel: Eradicate the few that fit that profile -- ringworm and polio; get the coverage up for the vaccines we have; and then invent the vaccines -- and we only need about six or seven more -- and then you would have all the tools to reduce childhood death, reduce population growth, and everything -- the stability, the environment -- benefits from that.

DALLAS (AP) -- With two days to go before the Super Bowl, it looks like Green Bay or Pittsburgh might have been better locations to host the big game. At least they're used to dealing with nasty winter weather.

A snow storm early Friday has curtailed arrivals at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and shut down commercial flights at Dallas Love Field.

It's just one last blitz at organizers of the big game, who have struggled all week with ice and freezing temperatures in north Texas.

Airlines are counting on a weather forecast that calls for the snow to end and temperatures to rise into Saturday.
Andy Pettitte
NEW YORK (AP) -- Andy Pettitte announced his retirement at Yankee Stadium, saying he no longer has the "hunger" to pitch another season.

With wife Laura sitting at his side, Pettitte said Friday he had conflicting feelings about leaving the game. He said "it was an easy decision, but it wasn't an easy decision." As recently as two weeks ago, he thought he would return for another season.

The 38-year-old left-hander said at a news conference that his body was in shape to pitch but "my heart's not where it needs to be."

"It just didn't feel right for me anymore," he said. "I didn't have the hunger, the drive I felt like I needed."

Pettitte is a five-time World Series champion who finished 240-138 with a 3.88 ERA in 16 major league seasons, 13 of them with the Yankees. He set a major league record for postseason wins, going 19-10 with a 3.83 ERA.

Pettitte said he was pretty sure after the Yankees' last playoff game in October that he would retire, but Laura persuaded him not to make a decision until he was sure. She said he made up his mind last weekend, while driving home to Deer Park, Texas, from their ranch.

"I'm done," she remembered him saying.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi watched from a front-row seat. Former Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams entered about 20 minutes in and took a second-row seat.

"Always strolling in a little late," Pettitte said with a smile.

Pettitte won't disappear from public view entirely. He is expected to be a witness this summer at the trial of former teammate Roger Clemens, indicted on charges he lied to a congressional committee when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs.

Today employment report showed that unemployment fell sharply by 9.0 percent and the private sector payrolls grew by 50,000 in January. Changes in private sector wage data show that 1.1 million jobs were added in 2010, the strongest private sector job growth since 2006. 0.8 percentage point fall in unemployment over the past two months, a positive, but remains unacceptably high.

The general trend of economic data in recent months has been encouraging initiatives in this administration to take into account, but there is still much to do. Today, on the administration to submit a comprehensive innovation strategy agenda, what information we need for the training of American leadership, investment in science and the infrastructure companies need to succeed faster. Innovation is a key factor in the economy have strengthened our position in the U.S. House to consolidate the world's best new businesses and industries, and the best jobs.

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Pakistan's ruling party said Friday it plans trim the bloated 50-plus-member Cabinet to help cut spending at a time of severe financial crisis.

The offer, an apparent bow to opposition demands, was aimed at gaining broader political support for economic reforms sought by international lenders.

Pakistan's economy relies heavily on loans from the International Monetary Fund and the government has struggled to raise revenues, in part because many residents avoid paying taxes. Chronic power shortages have hampered economic growth and floods last year caused massive damage to infrastructure and other sectors.

Leaders of Pakistan's ruling People's Party met Friday to discuss downsizing the Cabinet.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, who chaired the meeting, told participants he wants a "mean, lean and above-board" Cabinet, said presidential aide Farhatullah Babar.

The People's Party has tried to reach out to opposition groups in recent weeks, particularly after a key partner in the ruling coalition threatened to quit and bring down the government.

The defection was stopped after the People's Party agreed to shelve economic reform plans, including a new sales tax. The step drew criticism from the U.S. and the International Monetary Fund.

The government has since looked for ways to form a broader consensus on fixing the country's economy.

If you’re a mobile operator, it’s good to have an iPhone in your inventory. This was proven Thursday as Verizon’s first day of iPhone 4 pre-orders turned out to be the most successful first day of sales in the history of the company.

The company didn’t give a precise number of how many iPhone 4s were sold, but it took only two hours to sell out the pre-order stock.

“In just our first two hours, we had already sold more phones than any first day launch in our history. And, when you consider these initial orders were placed between the hours of 3 a.m. and 5 a.m., it is an incredible success story,” said President and CEO of Verizon Dan Mead in a prepared statement.

The pre-orders are closed now, but the iPhone 4 will become available again at 7 a.m., February 10, at Verizon’s stores, as well as Apple, Best Buy and select Wal-Mart stores. The device will also be available to order at 3:01 a.m. Wednesday, February 9 at and
An anti-abortion group that has repeatedly taken on Planned Parenthood released a videotape on Thursday that it says shows employees at a Virginia clinic offering to help a man posing as a pimp get secret abortions for underage girls.

The group, California-based Live Action, called on Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to investigate the Planned Parenthood clinic, in Richmond, over what founder Lila Rose called its willingness to exploit young girls.

"Our new video shows their Richmond clinic willing to aid and abet the sexual exploitation of minors and coaching a pimp about how girls as young as 14 or 15 could circumvent parental consent laws for secret abortions," Rose said in a written statement.

The new video comes one day after Planned Parenthood said it had fired a manager of a clinic in central New Jersey based on a Live Action videotape that appeared to show the employee coaching people posing as a pimp and prostitute to lie about their age and other information.

A Planned Parenthood spokesman said in a written statement that the organization had notified local and federal authorities of the Virginia visit and that a counselor at the clinic "reacted professionally to the highly unusual person posing as a patient."

It has been a tumultuous time for small ISP resellers lately. In the past several months, the CRTC has issued rulings that affect the way small Internet resellers can compete against incumbents. Some of the decisions favour the small ISPs, such as being able to match bandwidth speeds offered by the big guys, and others have not, such as being forced to adopt a usage-based billing format.

Well, until Thursday. The CRTC’s decision to delay the implementation of UBB, pending a review of the whole thing, seems to have given small ISPs a reprieve of sorts. However, judging from Konrad W. von Finckenstein’s comments Thursday, ISPs such as Teksavvy -- and their unlimited Internet plans -- are a source of concern for large providers and for the CRTC.

Today, we have a representative of one such small ISP, George Burger of TekSavvy Solutions, who’ll be online for an hour to chat with Globe readers about the CRTC’s reversal and some of the issues around the UBB debate.
LONDON (AP) -- The BBC has apologized to Mexico's ambassador for remarks on its "Top Gear" program that described Mexicans as lazy and oafish.

The BBC wrote to Ambassador Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza on Thursday, saying that national stereotyping is part of British humor - and that the presenters did not intend to be vindictive.

"Our own comedians make jokes about the British being terrible cooks and terrible romantics, and we in turn make jokes about the Italians being disorganized and over dramatic; the French being arrogant and the Germans being over organized," the statement read. "We are sorry if we have offended some people, but jokes centered on national stereotyping are a part of 'Top Gear's' humor."

The remarks came in a segment in which presenter Richard Hammond claimed that cars imitate national characteristics.

"Mexican cars are just going to be a lazy, feckless, flatulent, oaf with a mustache leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat," he said. Presenter James May mocked Mexican food, while Jeremy Clarkson suggested the ambassador would be too busy sleeping to register his outrage.

Lara Logan and her crew have been released from custody one day after being detained by the Egyptian military. Logan was questioned and then detained while outside Israel’s embassy in Cairo. CBS was not commenting yesterday, but in an internal email obtained by TVNewser this morning, CBS News D.C. bureau chief Chris Isham writes:

Lara, Don and Max were released from Egyptian military custody early this morning and are now enroute back to Washington via London. They are scheduled to arrive at Dulles this evening.

New York Times’ Brian Stelter reports Brian Williams and Katie Couric are also returning to the U.S. amid heightened concerns for the safety of all journalists. Couric was in her New York studio last night for “Evening News.” Williams returns today.

White Stripes

An announcement made by White Stripes on there website!

The White Stripes would like to announce that today, February 2nd, 2011, their band has officially ended and will make no further new recordings or perform live.

The reason is not due to artistic differences or lack of wanting to continue, nor any health issues as both Meg and Jack are feeling fine and in good health.

It is for a myriad of reasons, but mostly to preserve What is beautiful and special about the band and have it stay that way.

(CNN) -- John Lennon wondered how many holes it would take to fill the Albert Hall, and now we know: If it's the Esa'ala in the South Pacific, then one will certainly do the job.

In the film "Sanctum," this is "the mother of all caves," an unexplored abyss in the Earth's crust and the site of an ambitious spelunking expedition led by master caver and all-round hard-ass Frank McGuire (Richard Roxburgh) and bankrolled by businessman-adventurer Carl Hurley (Ioan Gruffudd).

A sudden storm cuts the team off from the surface -- the tunnels flood "quicker than a blocked dunny" -- and they're forced to head deeper. If they can locate the subterranean river that runs into the ocean, then they might yet survive -- assuming they don't drown, suffocate, starve or kill one another first.

Fans of producer James Cameron's work will know the "Avatar" director is an avid diver himself, and has exhibited a faintly perverse fascination with death by drowning in movies like "The Abyss," "Titanic," and, uh, "Piranha 2: The Spawning."

GENEVA (AP) -- The FIFA rule-making panel will study the results from 10 different goal-line technology systems being tested to help referees make decisions.

FIFA said Friday that the systems will be tested at its headquarters next week by researchers from a Zurich-based technology institute. A report will be presented to the International Football Association Board ( IFAB) following an independently monitored testing phase.

The subject will top the agenda when IFAB - comprising FIFA and the four British federations - meets March 5 in Wales for its annual review of soccer's laws.

IFAB also will consider letting UEFA use the five-referee match official system at the 2012 European Championship. Other proposed rules changes relate to stray objects on the field, players wearing snoods and tights, plus referees using vanishing spray to mark where defensive walls stand.

Goal-line technology has long been resisted by FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who has insisted that human error is part of the game.