Now Cough

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Is this success?

The founder of Pay Pal, a now very wealthy ($100-million+) 32-year old named Max Levchin, is profiled in the New York Times. (reg required)

One of the many hair raising items in the profle is about how Mr. Levchin views know, making it. Right now he is working on start-up #2;

...he said he would not consider, the photo and video sharing site he founded in 2005 that is still in its start-up phase, a success unless it is ultimately worth, in real dollars, “at least $1.54 billion”— the price eBay paid for PayPal.

“Otherwise,” he asked rhetorically, “what have I learned?”


What have you learned?

His girlfriend shares the house she picked out. A $5-million+ San Francisco mansion where almost none of the boxes have been unpacked. In the associated videocast, you can see her looking into the camera after shutting off her cell phone, lamenting she never knows when Levchin will be returning home.

Anyone want to take a bet on the churn rate of this relationship?

In the same video Mr. Levchin says he wants to have an impact. But if one of the biggest Internet successes is not big enough for him, I suspect the one after that won't be either.

Is this success? Is it addiction?

What has he done with the money from Pay Pal. By all accounts, he hasn't spent it in any way that makes him feel happier. He is pushing a rock up a hill.

“I enjoy sitting on nice beaches and hanging out with my girlfriend and playing with my dog, but that’s three hours a day,” Mr. Levchin said. “What about the remaining 18 hours I’m awake?”

Anyone want to give him any suggestions?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pot Calling Kettle Black

"Burmese authorities claim they desire reconciliation. Well, they need to match those words with actions. A good way to start would be to provide the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations access to political prisoners; to allow Aung San Suu Kyi and other detained leaders to communicate with one another; and to permit U.N. Special Envoy Gambari to enter their country immediately. And ultimately, reconciliation requires that Burmese authorities release all political prisoners -- and begin negotiations with the democratic opposition under the auspices of the United Nations."
-- President Bush Oct 2007

Open Sesame

Finally, after about five months of construction, set backs, backed up drains, accidental painting of pipes, poorly installed ceiling lights, leaks..the garage at Lindell Terrace is open.

Are there visitor spots? Oh sure, for $10 a day.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Tortured Arguments

Maybe it's me, but usually when you need an army of lawyers (Ok, White House lawyers and a bunch at the Department of Justice) to keep writing and stating opinions secretly about how much pain you can cause a captive human being held in secret, you are probably doing something wrong. Maybe illegal. Certainly something you really don't want to ever be made public.

Now, the ugly, secret, 'legal' rulings are emerging that provide cover for the president and those who act in his name: those who conduct the horror of Abu Ghraib. The black CIA prisons in countries that permit authorities to do anything they want with captives. The anonymous imprisonment and extralegal proceedings that keep hundreds of suspects in Guantanamo.


"Robust Interrogation"

Q Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the Vice President "for torture." We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in. We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we're party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that.

And thanks to the leadership of the President now, and the action of the Congress, we have that authority, and we are able to continue to program.

-- Office of the Vice President , October 24, 2006 Interview of the Vice President by Scott Hennen, WDAY at Radio Day at the White House


Civilians were systematically subjected to tortures of all kinds, with the object of obtaining information.

Civilians of occupied countries were subjected systematically to "protective arrests" whereby they were arrested and imprisoned without any trial and any of the ordinary protections of the law, and they were imprisoned under the most unhealthy and inhumane conditions.

In the concentration camps were many prisoners who were classified "Nacht und Nebel". These were entirely cut off from the world and were allowed neither to receive nor to send letters. They disappeared without trace and no announcement of their fate was ever made by the German authorities.

Such murders and ill-treatment were contrary to international conventions, in particular to Article 46 of the Hague Regulations, 1907, the laws and customs of war, the general principles of criminal law as derived from the criminal laws of all civilized nations, the internal penal laws of the countries in which such crimes were committed, and to Article 6 (b) of the Charter.
-- Nuremberg Trial Proceedings - Indictment: Count Three: War Crimes

Beep Beep

Happy Anniversary Sputnik!

Where were you? I was taken as a 3 and a half year old to a parking lot of an Acme grocery store on Kirkwood Highway in Wilmington, DE. It was very dark and a bit spooky because the parking lot was packed, but all the lights were out. People were laying on their car hoods and craning their necks upward to the star filled sky---all looking for Sputnik. My little eyes only saw stars and I remember the frustration of not knowing exactly what we should be looking for. Like the old newsreels, you could see people with their arms extended pointing, looking for a moving little dot crossing north to south across the starfield. Did i ever see it? I can't remember THAT, but the evening and the gathering of hundreds of people in a suburban parking lot is what sticks with me!