Friday, December 24, 2010

S*!t Republican('t)s Say

The Humbug Express -
Have you heard the one about how there’s been an explosion in the number of federal regulators? Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute looked into the numbers behind that claim, and it turns out that almost all of those additional “regulators” work for the Department of Homeland Security, protecting us against terrorists.

If you listen to the recent speeches of Republican presidential hopefuls, you’ll find several of them talking at length about the harm done by unionized government workers, who have, they say, multiplied under the Obama administration. A recent example was an op-ed article by the outgoing Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who declared that “thanks to President Obama,” government is the only booming sector in our economy: “Since January 2008” — silly me, I thought Mr. Obama wasn’t inaugurated until 2009 — “the private sector has lost nearly eight million jobs, while local, state and federal governments added 590,000.”

Horrors! Except that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, government employment has fallen, not risen, since January 2008. And since January 2009, when Mr. Obama actually did take office, government employment has fallen by more than 300,000 as hard-pressed state and local governments have been forced to lay off teachers, police officers, firefighters and other workers.

So how did the notion of a surge in government payrolls under Mr. Obama take hold?

It turns out that last spring there was, in fact, a bulge in government employment. And both politicians and researchers at humbug factories — I mean, conservative think tanks — quickly seized on this bulge as evidence of an exploding public sector. Over the summer, articles and speeches began to appear highlighting the rise in government employment and issuing dire warnings about what it portended for America’s future.

But anyone paying attention knew why public employment had risen — and it had nothing to do with Big Government. It was, instead, the fact that the federal government had to hire a lot of temporary workers to carry out the 2010 Census — workers who have almost all left the payroll now that the Census is done.

You ain't seen nothing yet!

Next year the Burning Pants Party will run the House of Representatives. Keep those shovels handy, they're going to pile it higher and deeper.

Skype Suffers Massive, Multi-hour Network Outage - VOIP and Telephony - News & Reviews -

Skype Suffers Massive, Multi-hour Network Outage - VOIP and Telephony - News & Reviews -
"Skype went down for several hours Dec. 22, the result of server crashes linked by peer-to-peer technology. Millions of VOIP users were affected by this worst outage since 2007."

Honestly …

I never noticed.

I've been managing my calls with Google Voice since before it was Goole Voice. (It was Grand Central.) Incoming calls ring my landline, my SkypeIn number and lately, ring in Gmail which is always open on my always on laptop.

I don't miss calls. The only thing I noticed during the outage was the sudden death of the icon in the system tray. I restarted Skype and kept on rolling.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Problem? Opportunity?

Small business and startup issues: paperwork galore « crowdSPRING Blog

1099s will now have to be issued for goods as well as services, and second 1099s will now have to be issued to corporations as well as individuals. This means that small businesses will now be sending out literally millions of 1099 forms and will be responsible for keeping track of every one of these throughout the tax year. Beginning in 2012, businesses will be required to issue 1099 tax forms not just to freelancers and contract employees, but to ANY individual or corporation from which a business buys more than $600 in goods or services.
This means that in addition to the 1099s that you already prepare, you will also be preparing a flood of these for your office supply provider, office cleaner, caterer, accountant, computer hardware supplier, office furniture vendor, and on and on and on. The bill will drastically alter tax reporting by highlighting payments that have typically gone unreported – the idea is to increase government revenues by helping the IRS to account for millions of these payments.

Come on coders. Whether we're talking Office or QuickBooks, PCs or the cloud, this is an opportunity to use the APIs to automate this reporting in the applications businesses already use to monitor their cash flow. There's room for proprietary and open source solutions as well as cloud based sevices both free and fee.

But all I hear is whining. Con't make lemonade, make a lemon daiquiri.
con·cept: December 2010