Monday, July 31, 2006

Stupid Marketing

I'm in Las Vegas right now, at the WSOP. Harrah's is making money hands-over-fist on this thing. It's hugely popular, both on TV in in real life. They have security at the doors to the large ballroom hosting the main event to keep out the riff-raff. YOu have to be a player or the press to get in (I weaseled a press badge so I can get in) but the crowds of fans still throng the doors to get try to get a glimpse of their favorite degenerate gambler through the open doors. Amazing.

What I think is even more amazing is the bursts of total incompetence that Harrah's marketing people sometimes display. It just amazes me how people this stupid can still stumble on a money machine.

The have hundreds of little folded up maps at tables going into the Life Expo Event (or whatever they call it, a Poker Trade Show). They just look like advertising brochures of some kind, there's no indication of what they actually are -- maps. On one side a map of the booth floorplan of the Show, on the other side a street map of the Las Vegas Strip.

My girlfriend is here and she's working at the WSOP. She's doing some press coverage for some websites and she's also going around to various booths meeting people and gathering information useful to her sites. She never even noticed that map -- it just looked like a random advertising brochure. When I showed it to her she commented that it would have come in handy a couple of days before when she was trying to figure out where the various booths are.

But that's not the part about the brochure that struck me. It's a street map of the strip with the location of the various Harrah's properties marked. No is no indication of the location of other strip casinos.

That's wrong on so many levels that I'm just stunned that Harrah's marketing people could actually be this stupid.

On one level it makes it harder to use than otherwise. A lot of visitors to Las Vegas know where the Bellogio is but don't know where the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd. and Flamingo (Bellogio is on the corner). For those people it would be very simple to find Cesaer's Palace if they knew it was across the street from Bellogio.

Also, anybody who want's a map of the strip will want to visit many casinos, not just Harrah's owned casinos. And they can't use the map to do that. They can use the tear out map in What's On magazine, which can be found free at the Rio and other casinos.

So they've managed to create a give away map which is more difficult to use than it needs to be, but just won't be used by anybody anyway because it's just not nearly as useful as the readily available alternatives.

They just don't think in terms of providing value to customers. It's not about product to these people. It's just about promotion and cross-selling.

But, I guess it works. It's the kind of approach to marketing that got George Bush elected twice.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Friday, July 21, 2006

When life begins

I was reading an Island of Doubt blog posting about Bush's stem cell veto. I was going to make a comment on that blog but it wouldn't let me post (I guess I'm not on the approved list or something).

Anyway, while I agreed with the writer's sentiments, I think he's making a nonsense point.

No identifiable boundry for the beginning of life, he claims.

In describing a continium of life he says, "First the living sperm and living egg membranes fuse".

I'm not a biologist. I don't even know what "fuse" means in the above. But it sure looks like an identifiable boundary to me.

Is he claiming that there is no life? That laws against murder make no sense because life is a continium and there's no identifiable boundary where life starts? It sure sounds like that's what he's saying.

Look, Bush is insane, there's no question about that. But there's not much we can do about that right now. And, this kind of silly claim that we can't draw a line doesn't help.

You do not have to know where a line is to know that a line has been crossed. I don't know when life begins. But there are stages in life that are clearly identifiable where I know for sure that life has begun. He's claiming that's not true and that's nonsense.

His arguement would work a lot better if he tried to avoid nonsense.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Patriotims used to be about people and shared sacrafice. Today it's about not having to worry about getting drafted and supporting an incompetent president.

Somebody sent me a quote from Teddy Roosevelt.

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by
the president or any other public official."

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I was working on writing something about that arrest of the online sports book owner, but I got sidetracked and havn't finished it. Maybe tomorrow.

In the meantime, one of the things I've been reading is a history of SWAT teams from Cato (one of those nutcase think tanks) the other day. He documents a lot of the police and government screw ups in our criminal justice system, many of which are really not tolerable in a free society.

I highly recommend it. We should really think about what's going on in this country a lot more than we actually do. It's not good. This isn't a partisen issue, this is really about what kind of people we are and what kind of people we want to be. It's about us, not about government.

We're the ones who put up with this nonsense and we're the ones who actually make excuses for these clowns with guns when they screw up. We don't need to be doing that.

Anyway, until next time.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sometimes it's a crime, sometimes it's not

A legal blog on immigration recently published a copy of an email he got from a reader that I think demonstrates a very common misunderstanind of your legal system. And it's a misunderstanding that does color the debate on immigration policy.

Just because you violate a law doesn't mean you've committed a crime. Most laws are not criminal laws. Criminal codes are a very seperate part of the lawbook. They are special because the penalty for violation of criminal laws carries special penalty. You don't go to prison for violating a law, you go to prison for violating a criminal law.

You don't got to prison for running a stop sign. It's not a crime. If you don't pay the fine you might go to prison. But the crime is failure to pay, not failure to stop.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Sunday, July 16, 2006

If God doesn't want any homosexuals

If God wants us to irradicate homosexuality then one of the most effective ways for us to do it is for us to not just tolerate gay marriage, but to actively encourage it.

There is some sort of genetic base for homosexuality. That doesn't mean that genetics determines sexuality. It's possible it's both genetic and a lifestyle choice in that it might be that genetics only makes it a viable lifestyle choice for those with the genetic predisposition to find it an attractive thought. But even if it is a lifestyle choice, there's still a genetic base.

By discriminating against homosexuals and by not allowing gay couples to form families we cause many gays to reproduce who wouldn't do so if the society was more tolerant of homosexuality.

So by encouraging gay unions we'd be reducing gay reproduction and doing God's will if it's true that God really hates gays.

So, God wants gay marriage and only haters of Jesus would oppose it.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Isolated incident v. typical incident

From a recent newspaper article.

Isolated incident

The U.S military has charged five soldiers, including two sergeants, in connection to the March 12 alleged rape and murder of Abeer Qassim Hamza in the Youssifiyah area and the killing of her parents and a younger sister.

Typical incident

The U.S. military said Tuesday it condemns "in the strongest of terms" the release of the video showing the two mutilated American soldiers. "It demonstrates the barbaric and brutal nature of the terrorists and their complete disregard for human life," it said in a statement.

You can tell the difference easily becuase when an American soldier does a bad thing it's an isolated incident but when some Arab does a bad thing it's typical behavior of a subhuman terrorist.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Support the troops

Read the lyrics for this Ernest Tubb tune from the 40's. to the lyrics of this Toby Keith jingoism set to music.

Then think about what ir really means to support the troops.


I was just watching a Futurama rerun and they had a country western singer singing some patriotic ballad about the flag. "My proud flag flies around the world from Dallas to Ft. Worth".

I thought it was funny.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Hannity confuses The Simpsons and The Klan

I was driving back from Tulsa yesterday and as I always do on the road I was listening to various right-wing and christian talk radio. If you really want to see the decline of America first hand, spend some time listening to this radio crap that's going on everywhere. I find them entertaining, but the idea that anyone might actually take them seriously is kind of scary. You'd have to have the IQ of a turtle to actually take people like Sean Hannity seriously.

Since I'm actually writing this blog entry about something Hannity said, I wonder what that says about my mental state? Oh, well, here goes anyway.

Anyway, he was talking about that gaffe Lieberman made about Indians running convenience stores. Lieberman had made some comment that you have to have at least a slight Indian accent to go into a convience store these days. I'm not sure but I think he made the statement in the context of some comments in favor of "good immigration" and opposing "bad immigration". Or some kind of really tough political stand like that.

Anyway, Hannity, as usual, goes nuts about it. No different from Trent Lott's comments that Strom Thurmond should have been president, according to Hannity.

No different?

Well, I think Leiberman's comment was ill advised, but it's still just a comment on what the reality in America is today. Indians and Pakistanis are running our convenience stores and our roadside motels all over America. That's a reality that anyone who actually gets out of the house every now and then sees often.

The expression of the idea that Strom Thurmond should have been elected President isnt a politically incorrect observation about what America is -- it's an expression of an opinion about what America should be. It's basically an expression of the idea that America would be better off if we were run by the Klan.

Some of y'all might think the opinion I just expressed is something of a stretch. I don't think it is. I'm not saying that Lott was expressing support of the racists agenda of the Klan, but I am saying that he was expressing support of the idea that rule by a secret organization is a good thing.

I remember when the Klan ran Mississippi. So does Trent Lott. The Klan was not a political party that put out a slate of candidates. It was more like a PAC that could deliver both votes and money. If you went against the Klan then you would have a hard time next election cycle, and would probablly find youself having some trouble even before then. It was a powerful, powerful organization in Mississippi and Trent Lott saw the results of it first hand.

Strom Thurmond was a candidate of the States Rights Party and not a Klan candidate in the sense that he was on the ballot listed under Klu Klux Klan. But he was a Klan candidate in the sense that he had their support, you could not be a leading, powerful, political force in South Carolina if you were not strongly supported by the Klan. Strom Thurmond deferred to the desires of the Klan of South Carolina and Trentt Lott was well aware of how that works.

Sean Hannity may thing that observing that a lot of convience stores are being bought be people from India and expressing the opinion that we'll all be better off if the Klan was running things are equivalent.

But, I can see a difference.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

What did God intend?

Did God really intend that marriage be the union of a man and a woman?

If so, then he screwed up on the creation of offspring part.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Monday, July 03, 2006

Fourth of July and POW's

Yesterday the NYT had an oped about British treatment of American revolutionary soldiers during the American War for Independece. More American's died in prison than on the battlefield.

There was no Geneva Convention back then. But Europeans did have some agreed upon rules for war which included humane treatment of POW's. But the British didn't follow those rules in the treatment of American's held prisinors. They said they weren't POW's, they were rebels, and so didn't deserve humane treatment.

Sometimes things just don't change.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Which God?

I live in Cushing, Oklahoma and I went out to Sunday morning. My girlfriend lives in Pittsburg, PA and I was talking to her on the phone. I told her that Cushing has a half dozen restuarents, but only one that's open on Sunday morning. Both major religions are represented here --- both the Baptists and the Church of Christ.

Then I got home and found an email from a cousin with a
film clip
that she said was a tribute to our founders. It was a bunch of quotes from famous American's who had mentioned god, or the concept of god, in a positive light. Fourth of July, god, it all kind of gets mixed up. Somehow my cousin thinks quoting Lincoln in a campaign speech mentioning god is a tribute to Lincoln.

I wonder if she ever wondered exactly which god Lincoln was talking about? The christian god who advocates slavery? Or the christian god who set out rules for when it's okay to kill your children? Or maybe he was talking about the butterfly god?

I wonder if god is on Americas side in our various wars? If so, then why can't we win one?

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Bill O'Reilly's villians

Bill O'Reilly has one of those silly Fox News style polls on his website.

Who is the real villain in the terror-money story?
The New York Times
The people who leaked the story
No villains

Some of us think the only villians in the story are those who try to pretend that the publication of the story in some way damaged the security of the United States.

Lifestyle and Political Blogs

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ribbons and More Ribbons and More Ribbons

I was in the lobby of the VA hospital in Temple, Texas the other day and they had a vendor selling various bling for vets. A lot of ball caps. Caps with the American flag, with various unit insigna, or just lettering announcing that the wearer is a veteran.

Three hats in particular caught my attention. One with lettering announcing the wearer was a veteran of both WWII and the Korean War. Another announcing the wearer as a veteran of both the Korean War and Vietname. And a third with lettering announcing that the wearer was a veteran of both the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Replicas of appropriate service ribbons were pictured right under the lettering.

For the vet of WWII and Korea -- 4 ribbons.

For the vet of Korea and Vietnam -- 5 ribbons.

For the vet of the Gulf war and Operation Iraqi -- 6 ribbons.


Lifestyle and Political Blogs