Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nice Quote Mr. Reid

“Not a single child, not a single student, not a single teacher, not a single nurse, not a single police officer, not a single senior led us into this recession,” Mr. Reid said, decrying the massive number of cuts to federal spending offered by the House. “Not one, and punishing innocent bystanders will not lead us to a recovery. We’ll continue talking and continue working to find a middle ground.”

Mr. Reid of Nevada, speaking on budget negotiations with the House, quoted from an article here.

To City Councilors

I wrote this to the City Council this morning and to the Portland Press Herald and the League of Young Voters.  In the past, smaller markings have made me upset.  But quite literally, our downtown was destroyed this morning. 

The markings are for a new gas replacement project.  I can’t foresee the gas company replacing the entire street, the cobblestones, the sidewalk, and the granite.   So what we’ll be left with when this is done is a new strip of pavement down the middle of the street and spray-painted everything. 

Live shot from about 10 minutes ago.  I went for a field trip with Freeland to photograph the damage.


Here’s my letter:


And the links from the letter:

Flickr site

Similar article (by David Hench Portland Press Herald)

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Morning After App

Thanks to a reader from Old Orchard Beach who sent this in.  Some of you, you can go nameless, may need this iPhone app after this weekend’s Jeff Tweedy event.

The iPhone Morning After app cleans up those embarrassing photos and texts you wish you had never posted.  That tweet about how you love everyone is now history.

This one gets four mustaches out of five, losing one for not cleaning up emails … ughh … sorry about that  one Mr. Vinton.


iPhone Screenshot 1iPhone Screenshot 2

Friday, March 25, 2011

The National, A Bear, The President, and Strange Hats

You can’t make this stuff up.  This music video, Conversation 16 by The National, is incredible.  The video features Kristen Schaal as the President and Mad Men's John Slattery in some crazy diplomatic weird shit. Thanks to my wife who dug up this gem.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Hipmunk your next Trip

Need to know where to get a hotel that is close to the bars? food? tourism spots?  Go no further than Hipmunk which just unveiled an awesome hotel finder addition to its website.

It overlays a heat map of food locations (or whatever you choose in the little radio button menu) with hotel prices and a map of the city. 


Congratulations Hipmunk on winning Moogaz’s heralded 5 mustache rating.


Hope and Prediction

My hope is that either the FCC or the Department of Justice deny the pending merger of AT&T and T-mobile (I mean seriously, could we have any less competition in the mobile phone market?), but my prediction is that after “a careful review,” both entities will rubber stamp this thing.  Go corporate interests. 

In case you missed it AT&T has offered to buy T-Mobile  in a deal valued at $39 billion.

Sprint had this to say:

The combination of AT&T and T-Mobile USA, if approved by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC), would alter dramatically the structure of the communications industry.  AT&T and Verizon are already by far the largest wireless providers.  A combined AT&T and T-Mobile would be almost three times the size of Sprint, the third largest wireless competitor.  If approved, the merger would result in a wireless industry dominated overwhelmingly by two vertically-integrated companies that control almost 80% of the US wireless post-paid market, as well as the availability and price of key inputs such as backhaul and access needed by other wireless companies to compete. The DOJ and the FCC must decide if this transaction is in the best interest of consumers and the US economy overall, and determine if innovation and robust competition would be impacted adversely and by this dramatic change in the structure of the industry.

And PC magazine sums it up in this article:  AT&T Buys T-Mobile: Great For Them, Bad For You,2817,2382279,00.asp

Can we get any more clear-cut that this is a bad corporate play?

Friday, March 18, 2011

There’s More People out there Like Me

A few weeks ago on a Friday like today I belted out an antithesis to our current malaise which is conservative do-nothing capitalism-rules-above-all philosophy.

While it generated some nice hits, I felt a little bit like its message rippled out like throwing a pebble in the ocean.  This morning I was excited to find that someone out there has the exact same feelings as me and sums it up nicely in this post on Thought Catalog.

I particularly love these paragraphs:

Is it really true that we assess the economic success of our country via the GNP? But if we’re making more money and getting less and less for it — less education, less healthcare — then isn’t that the sign of a failing economy? Isn’t that obvious, even to one such as myself with no economic training?

San Francisco public school teachers are furloughed once a month. I’m not making this up. Thirty miles from here is Google, Yahoo, Apple, Genentech, and Facebook. And teachers are furloughed. Uh, hmn, doesn’t it seem like corporations are getting away with something — like not paying enough taxes?

How about we say: you can form a corporation but once your valuation exceeds a billion dollars, you have to give the schools in your own fucking neighborhood enough money to pay the teachers and provide a lunch other than mad cow meatloaf?

I wonder out loud … where is this middle class rage going?  I feel like I constantly am reading charts about how wages are stagnant and how the top 1% has reaped all of the rewards of the last 30 years of capitalism and yet the only rage manifesting itself is in cutting middle class programs under the disguise of fixing the deficit.  Boxed up and supported by plugged in business lobbyists and messaged to death by Republican TV talking heads.

My guess is that liberal leaning middle class angsters are actually caused-out.  We’re the ones in the community groups fighting for recycling or street improvement programs.  We’re the ones selling cookies to raise funds for school or in the meetings protesting cuts to community pools and parks.  We have to constantly fight business interests and threats to our environment.

Given  all that, we’re exhausted.

Conservatives don’t have this baggage.  If everything is left to the individual, why fight for anything.  They are the proverbial bullies in the back of the classroom, disrupting everyone but adding no value. 

Adding value is hard to do.  Much harder than being a bully.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wapo Sucks

The Washington Post just released a new web design which bites.


First, it’s visually ugly.  This is subjective although I’m right.  Although it’s hard to see from this snapshot, the font sucks.  And 95% of a newspaper layout is its font.

Second, I have imposed this grid on the new design (23 x 32 squares) and calculated that only 40 squares actually have news in them.  That’s a whopping 5.4% of the page dedicated to actual news, which in this case is just a title: US URGES AMERICANS TO EVACUATE, WARNS OF EXTREMELY HIGH RADIATION.  So basically it’s the most web space ever given to a single tweet. 


Apparently they learned nothing from the research done last time they redesigned their site. 

My guess is someone said they should be like Huffington Post, who pioneered the massive headline approach.  This picture shows actually a small title by HuffPo standards, usually size 360 Font is pretty standard.


At any rate, these days are over.

The New York Times 1910

Monday, March 14, 2011

My view of People from New Jersey

As a New Englander, we’re practically trained from birth to not be nice to people from New Jersey.  But after this commentary by NJ Representative Albio Sires, I’m going to try and be nicer.  He’s almost too nice in advocating for high speed rail.  I’m going to help him out with some charts.

One of his main points:

During the past 50 years, the United States has invested nearly $1.3 trillion in our highways andover $484 billion in our aviation infrastructure. In contrast, rail investment has received only $67 billion over the past 31 years.

needs graphing.


The next time someone says “what a waste of money railroad is” ask them how much they want to cut in highway subsidies next year.  Or ask them if the $100 billion per year China is spending on high speed rail PER YEAR will make them more or less competitive when they’re finished?  Speaking of which, here’s the same graph with China’s investment in high-speed rail alone this year.


And just to put Obama’s federal stimulus expansion of high-speed rail into perspective.


I would put the money that Wisconsin and Florida rejected on this graph, but frankly the amount is laughable.



[n(ot) i(n) m(y) b(ack) y(ard) .]

n. Slang, pl., -BYs.
One who objects to the establishment in one's neighborhood of projects, such as incinerators, prisons, or homeless shelters, that are believed to be dangerous, unsightly, or otherwise undesirable.

Green Development? Not in My (Liberal) Backyard

"Test yourself: When a sign in a hotel bathroom exhorts you to reuse your towel for the sake of the planet, do you nonetheless tend to throw it on the floor to get a new one?"

Author: Guilty.

Amicis: Not guilty. In all honesty I do put the towel back to reuse. (More often than not however, they are replaced and washed anyways but that is for another post.)


Take away message is that wind turbines need to be seen as common so that we no longer “see” them any more than we see phone lines now.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

We were Spoiled

A business analyst’s take on why this winter has sucked so much from


Is it too much political irony that the flip coincides exactly with LePage’s January inauguration.  The cold icy winds of change can be tough on the soul.

While there may be only 10 days until spring, the 2014 election is 1,335 miserably cold days away.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Invisible Man

Liu Bolin is an artist in Shandong, China who camouflages himself.  Thanks Lew for sharing and this site for providing the information.  There’s a ton of his artwork here.

Also, Shandong is here.  In fact, it’s been a goal of mine to learn the provinces so for Moogaz readers out there with the same aspiration, check out this fun little online game.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Moogaz Video Rundown

These videos are all from Sociological Images, a blog I recommend that breaks down all sorts of norms. 

This one is a video promoting the hiring of blind people in Norway.  More here

This one is a Star Trek scene redone using female actresses from The Girls on Film, a group that reproduces male-centered scenes using females to illustrate typical movie roles.

And here's a new Doctor Pepper product, the Doctor Pepper 10 with only 10 calories. But because men are tough, you can't market 10 calorie drinks to them in any sort of normal fashion. So inject Rambo ...

Jim, you know this is your new drink

Sociological Images really does a good job bringing up the imbalance in marketing and social norms; and their videos are good too.

Sheen, Beck, or Qaddafi?

This one comes to us from a reader in Vermont.  The game challenges you to distinguish quotes between Charlie Sheen, Muammar Qaddafi, and Glenn Beck.  Toughy.

It’s Time to Play ‘Sheen, Beck, or Qaddafi?’

Portlandia’s Proposed School Budget

Superintendent James C. Morse’s proposed 2012 budget for the Portland School District can be found here.


Normally, school websites and information systems are abysmal but kudos to the Portland School District.  First, they have a Facebook feed and it’s kept up to date.  Second, their website is modern and full of information.  Third, the school meeting was last night and they already posted the budget.

Impressive.  Imagine what schools could do if they were actually funded.

Need to read through it but I liked this line from the Press Herald article “Morse's budget also would add three multilingual teachers and two elementary world language teachers,” with the stated goal of maintaining Spanish classes for all students in grades 3-5.  That said, the cuts at the high school level and to after school sports programs are severe.  In total, nearly 80 positions out of 1100 are cut. 

If I the budget right, $39 million will go to teachers for 6,900 students or roughly $5,600 per teacher per student per year.  Which is nearly the amount I spend annually on my car payments.  Sad.

The untold backstory here though may be this graph thrown into the last page of the budget which shows Portland enrollment since 2000.  With dwindling populations and a fast-growing student diversity requiring more resources, it may be hard to fault Mr. Morse’s efforts.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Things worth Keeping

Cut, cut, cut.  This is a pretty stunning chart showing the madness of conservative thought.  Cut $11.2 billion for childhood programs but keep the same amount in tax cuts for millionaires' estates. Cut $4.6 billion in teacher training and afterschool programs but keep the high-income itemized deductions.  And so on … great comparison.