David Kirkpatrick

December 31, 2008

Looking back at 2008

Filed under: Business, Politics, Sports — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:42 pm

And what a year it was. We had a historic election that will place the first black president in the White House. Even if you take away that extraordinary fact, the whole election cycle was just wild, full of twists and turns.

We’re also in historic territory with the global economy. Who knows how this thing will shake out, but what’s going on is unprecedented.

And looking toward the coming year, NFL playoffs are about to begin — without the Dallas Cowboys or the New England Patriots, but with the Miami Dolphins. Whew. And the coaching carousel is already in full swing.

I extend my wishes for a wonderful 2009 for everyone.

Back to 2002

So to speak. I don’t want to be all doom and gloom here on the last day of the year, but this is some sobering news — 2008 saw the loss of six years of market gains. They’ll eventually come back, but the shocking part of this loss is the speed it happened and how it happened across the board.

Petroleum is way down despite the efforts of OPEC. Hedge funds? Investment banking?  Commodities? The only happy folks are those who shorted everything under the sun for the last half of the year.

From the link:

When the New York Stock Exchange closes later this afternoon, virtually anyone with money in stocks will have felt the punishing drop in the market.

The markets were headed for a higher close Wednesday, but overall, it was a very bad year to own stocks, any stocks — indeed, one of the worst ever. The Dow Jones industrial average will end the year down more than 34 percent, the worst year for the index since 1931, and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index more than 38 percent. Blue-chips like General Motors, Citigroup and Alcoa lost more than 70 percent of their value.

All told, about $7 trillion of shareholders’ wealth — the gains of the last six years — will be wiped out in a year marked by violent market swings.

But what is striking is not just the magnitude of the declines, staggering as they are, but also their breadth. All but 2 of the 30 Dow industrials, Wal-Martand McDonalds, fell by more than 11 percent. Almost no industry was spared as the crisis that emerged in the subprime mortgage market metastasized and the economy sank into what could be a long, gray recession.

December 30, 2008

Mike Shanahan, fired

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:40 pm

Wow. This is going to be one crazy offseason.

From the link:

He was known as a genius, a mastermind and, yes, a Super Bowl champion. Shockingly, though, Mike Shanahan has a new title: unemployed coach.

Shanahan became the latest and most stunning victim of the NFL coaching purge, fired Tuesday by the Denver Broncos after a late-season collapse knocked the team out of the playoffs for the third straight year.

Shanahan became the fourth coach to be fired this week, joining Eric Mangini, Rod Marinelli and Romeo Crennel, after going 24-24 over the last three seasons, including three straight losses in 2008 that turned a three-game division lead to an 8-8 record.

“After giving this careful consideration, I have concluded that a change in our football operations is in the best interests of the Denver Broncos,” owner Pat Bowlen said.

The single biggest (quiet) story of 2008

Easily the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. Before and after this event the government threw money around like a drunk sailor on shore leave. If you had a hand out, the Fed put a cool billion right there in your sweaty palm.

Lehman? Left rolling in their own excrement and costing creditors something around $200B.

The way this entire financial meltdown has been handled is criminal. Just one more black mark on the legacy of the failed Bush 43 regime.

From the link:

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc’s emergency bankruptcy filing wiped out as much as $75 billion of potential value for creditors, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing an analysis by the bank’s restructuring advisers.

A more planned and orderly filing would have allowed Lehman to sell some assets outside of bankruptcy court protection and would have given it time to unwind derivatives positions, according to the analysis by Alvarez & Marsal.

The Journal said it was too early to say how much money Lehman creditors would recover; it said unsecured creditors have asserted they are owed $200 billion.

Lehman filed for bankruptcy protection in September after the U.S. government declined to bail it out and a frantic weekend of negotiations to save the investment bank failed.

Workflow management makes it to the state house

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:38 pm

Efficient government? I think heads are exploding right now.

From the link:

A growing number of cash-strapped states are attacking bulky, frustrating and time-consuming bureaucracies with a Japanese weapon: the notion of kaizen, or continuous improvement.

“It has taken off like wildfire around the country,” said Teresa Hay McMahon, performance results director in Iowa, where kaizen was first used in state government about five years ago.

Kaizen (pronounced ky-ZEHN) is a way of thinking that diagrams a job step by step, puts workers at the center, gives them a sense of the total process they’re involved in, and then frees them to think of ways to best do their jobs.

“We’re making the work visible by doing the mapping,” said Walter Lowell, director of lean management at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. “Everybody knows they play a role in it, but they don’t know the whole thing.

To get at the root of a problem, kaizen encourages people to ask “why” five times.

“You start to hear things like ‘Why are you doing that?'” Lowell said.

From the department of dumb criminals …

Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:34 pm

… a late entrant for this year, but certainly a contender.

From the link:

The robber’s threatening note made a Chicago bank job easy to solve: The FBI says the suspect wrote it on his pay stub.

An FBI affidavit says the man walked into a Fifth Third Bank on Friday and handed a teller a note that read “Be Quick Be Quit (sic). Give your cash or I’ll shoot.” The robber got about $400 but left half of his note.

Investigators found the other half outside the bank’s front doors.

Authorities say that part of the man’s October pay stub had his name and address.

Blagojevich is an idiot

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:33 pm

I’m guessing the next news we hear out of Illinois is a report of gunshots from the Governor’s mansion. Blagois clearly at that point. I don’t know why Burrris would even accept this poisoned seat.

From the link:

Defying U.S. Senate leaders and his own state’s lawmakers, Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obamain the U.S. Senate. Blagojevich, accused of trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder, praised the 71-year-old Burris’ integrity and asked that the corruption allegations not ”taint this good and honest man.”

”The people of Illinois are entitled to have two United States senators represent them in Washington D.C.,” Blagojevich said. ”As governor I am required to make this appointment.”

December 29, 2008

Flying cars and even more extravagance

Filed under: Business, et.al., Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:49 pm

There’s a lot to love, and to mock, on this list but the flying car gets the post.

From the link:

Moller M400 Skycar

Price tag: ?

Since 1962, Moller, a professor at the University of California, Davis, has been experimenting with fixed-wing planes that can take off and land vertically—the perfect profile for the fabled flying car. The latest incarnation, the M400 Skycar, can carry four passengers as fast as 375 mph while cruising along at 13,200 feet. As the Moller site says: “No traffic, no red lights, no speeding tickets.” Also, one hopes, no midair collisions, no terrifying plummets to a fiery death. The site calls the M400 “personally affordable,” but it doesn’t quote a price. We all know what that means: If you have to ask, you can’t afford it. But you don’t have to ask, do you?

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The NFL coaching attrition begins

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:02 pm

First to get the axe are Crennel, Marinelli and surprisingly, Mangini.

From the link:

Lofty expectations did in Eric Mangini and Romeo Crennel, as their teams’ seasons crumbled from high hopes to demoralizing finishes.

Little was expected of the Detroit Lions, though nor was the worst season in NFL history. That cost Rod Marinelli his job, too.

”You can’t go 0-16 and expect to keep your job,” Marinelli said.

Wall Street is in the tank

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:57 pm


From the link:

Investors are preparing to close out the last three trading days of 2008 with Wall Street’s worst performance since Herbert Hoover was president.

The ongoing recession and global economic shock pummeled stocks this year, with the Dow Jones industrial average slumping 36.2 percent. That’s the biggest drop since 1931 when the Great Depression sent stocks reeling 40.6 percent.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is set to record the biggest drop since its creation in 1957. The index of America’s biggest companies is down 40.9 percent for the year.

With these statistics ready to play out this week, it is little wonder why investors are all too happy to close the books on 2008. Analysts are already looking toward January as a crucial period for the market as it tries to recover some of the $7.3 trillion wiped from the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000 index, the broadest measure of U.S. stocks.

“It is hard to gauge a recovery because there’s so many things out there that are interactive with each other,” said Scott Fullman, director of derivatives investment strategy for WJB Capital Group in New York. “Nothing is in a vacuum. Anybody who is managing money has to be on the cautious side for at least the first six months of 2009.”

December 28, 2008

2009 — a year of hurt for retail

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:36 pm

All aspects of retail.

From the WSJ link:

As retailers count their takings, it is becoming clear that consumers took a holiday away from retail land. And broad trends, such as free-falling house prices and rising unemployment, point to a dismal 2009 for anyone in the business of flogging stuff on shelves.

The same goes for the companies that rent them floor space. Real-estate investment trusts operating U.S. malls are especially exposed. Tighter credit has turned the screws on a sector with almost $23 billion of debt maturing over the next two years, according to real-estate consultancy Green Street Advisors, and an aggregate market value of just $17 billion. No wonder that, on average, mall REIT stocks look set to close 2008 down almost 60%.

Cowboys out of playoffs

Filed under: Sports — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:27 pm

In losing to Philly 44-6, Dallas missed the playoffs and looked unbelievably flat for the second straight week.

I’ve always supported him, but I’m starting to think Romo isn’t the guy. He’s pretty much whiffed on every single big game in his career.

(And a quick note to Roy E. Williams — STFU. Don’t run your mouth and lay an egg in the biggest game of your career.)

Research like this …

Filed under: et.al., Science — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:21 pm

… just makes me want to drink more.

It does, but seriously since there’s a major night of binge drinking coming up do go for it, just don’t drive. Take a cab, get halfway through the label before eleven and don’t puke indoors.

The release:

T’is the season to be jolly?

As the party season approaches, a timely reminder of the issues surrounding the binge drinking culture are again highlighted by research into ‘young people and alcohol’ a team lead by Professor Christine Griffin, at the University of Bath. The research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) suggests several considerations for future policy.

Focusing on the role of marketing practices in shaping young people’s attitudes to alcohol consumption, the research included analysis of 216 alcohol adverts, both in print and broadcast. While extreme drinking and determined drunkenness may be perceived as the norm amongst young people, there is some positive news from the research. Evidence suggests that increases in young people’s alcohol consumption is levelling off.

Previously, representations of binge drinking as a source of entertainment, coupled with pervasive coverage of drunken celebrities has increased the social acceptance of binge drinking. Advertising representing the ‘coolness’ of excessive drinking, along with the increasing use of internet based social networking sites that are used to share images of drunken nights out,, also enable the linkage between alcohol and ‘having fun’.

Looking at what steps society may need to take to tackle the scourge of binge drinking, Professor Griffin says, “Top of my list would have to be to stop demonizing and making generalisations about young people and their drinking. We also need to listen and incorporate their views and perspectives.”

Professor Isabelle Szmigin commented “Although many young people recognise the damage that ‘drinking too much’ can do to their health, and the associated risks of physical and sexual assault, few view these as more than short term problems.”

“The study suggests a radical re-thinking of national alcohol policy is required which takes into account the social character of alcohol consumption and the identity implications for young people,” said Professor Chris Hackley.





1. The research involved in-depth interviews with 89 young people in three UK regions over a period of three years and is part of the ‘Branded Consumption and Social Identification, Young People and Alcohol’ project under the ‘Identities and Social Actions’ programme (RES 148-25-0021). This research was graded as good.

2. Principal Investigator: Prof Christine Griffin, Psychology, University of Bath; and: Prof Isabelle Szmigin, The Business School, University of Birmingham; Dr Willm Mistral, Mental Health Research & Development Unit, University of Bath; Professor Chris Hackley, Management, Royal Holloway College, University of London; Research Assistants: Dr Andrew Bengry-Howell, Psychology, University of Bath; Dr David Clarke, The Business School, University of Birmingham. Placement Students, Louise Weale and Danielle Tynan, University of Bath.

3. The University of Bath is one of the UK’s leading universities, with an international reputation for quality research and teaching. In 15 subject areas the University of Bath is rated in the top ten in the country. View a full list of the University’s press releases: http://www.bath.ac.uk/news/releases/

4. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest funding agency for research, data resources and postgraduate training relating to social and economic issues. It supports independent, high quality research which impacts on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s planned total expenditure in 2008/09 is £203 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and research policy institutes. More at http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

Great Aussie Firewall

Very disappointing news from the land down under.

From the link:

Consumers, civil-rights activists, engineers, Internet providers and politicians from opposition parties are among the critics of a mandatory Internet filter that would block at least 1,300 Web sites prohibited by the government – mostly child pornography, excessive violence, instructions in crime or drug use and advocacy of terrorism.

Hundreds protested in state capitals earlier this month.

“This is obviously censorship,” said Justin Pearson Smith, 29, organizer of protests in Melbourne and an officer of one of a dozen Facebook groups against the filter.

The list of prohibited sites, which the government isn’t making public, is arbitrary and not subject to legal scrutiny, Smith said, leaving it to the government or lawmakers to pursue their own online agendas.

“I think the money would be better spent in investing in law enforcement and targeting producers of child porn,” he said.

Internet providers say a filter could slow browsing speeds, and many question whether it would achieve its intended goals. Illegal material such as child pornography is often traded on peer-to-peer networks or chats, which would not be covered by the filter.

“People don’t openly post child porn, the same way you can’t walk into a store in Sydney and buy a machine gun,” said Geordie Guy, spokesman for Electronic Frontiers Australia, an Internet advocacy organization. “A filter of this nature only blocks material on public Web sites. But illicit material … is traded on the black market, through secret channels.”

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy proposed the filter earlier this year, following up on a promise of the year-old Labor Party government to make the Internet cleaner and safer.

December 27, 2008

Buzz for 2009

Filed under: Business, et.al., Media, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:24 pm

This is what I’ve been hearing here at the end of 2008.

On the economy:

From a trader at a major investment bank — write off 2009. Nobody knows a thing and it won’t get better for another 12 months.

From a businessman — his, or her, hedge fund investment is only down seven percent and he’s happy. Down … in the red … money has been lost …  and he’s happy because his friends are losing ten, 15, 30 percent and he’s in single digits. Think about that.

From a CFO — no bank out there will take $1.25 million. He, or she, is sitting on over a million bucks and no one will take it on in any fashion. For anyone who doesn’t know finance, one and a quarter mil is chump change. Banks used to misplace larger figures and not bat an eye. (Well, that might be rash but I’m sure you get the overall point.)

On libertarian pet causes:

From a somewhat connected freedom lover — Obama will likely decriminalize marijuana. Maybe a second term item.

From the keyboard:

As for me? I plan on having a lot of fun, not worrying about things I can’t affect in any meaningful fashion and bringing my blog readers all the fun/cool/infuriating/needs-to-be-told stuff I come across out there

If you have something that needs adding to the list either comment or hit me at davidkonline@gmail.com.

December 26, 2008

Worst financial predictions of 2008

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:44 pm

This is one of those articles that just writes itself under these conditions. I’m betting you could take the business section of any paper in the US and find a bad prediction, or two, every single day of the year until the bottom really dropped out.

Here’s one from the outgoing president:

4. “The market is in the process of correcting itself.” —President George W. Bush, in a Mar. 14, 2008 speech

For the rest of the year, the market kept correcting…and correcting…and correcting.

Cut your IT costs

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:37 pm

Times are tough all around, be it for the home power IT consumer or for corporate IT departments.

Here’s four tips on lowering your IT costs— in essential ways according to the article’s title, no less — from CIO.com.

From the link, tip number one:

1. Use open-source and free software: When you’re trying to keep your business afloat, plunking down lots of cash for off-the-shelf software can really hurt. Thankfully, freeware and low-cost software can be a pleasant surprise in terms of robustness and functionality. While not as polished as Microsoft’s Office suite (but not as much of a memory or resource hog), OpenOffice.org  is a free, open-source alternative with a full suite of applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and databases that are compatible with Microsoft Office formats. Google Docs (docs.google. com) is another viable and free alternative to Office. It’s Webbased,  meaning you have no software to download or install.

Though it isn’t nearly as full-featured as either Office or OpenOffice, the basic functionality and streamlined interface of Google Docs may be all you’ll ever need. Creating PDF files may be crucial for business, but spending $450 on Adobe’s Acrobat Professional is not. CutePDF  is a free program that simply exports files to PDF. Just download and install it; from the target file, choose File•Print, and select CutePDF from the printer menu. (If you’re using OpenOffice or Google Docs, you won’t even need to install CutePDF— both let you export to PDF directly.)

I’ll have to admit I’ve messed around with OpenOffice and came away not wildly impressed. It is decent, though, and it is also free. I’ve downloaded CutePDF for a trial run, but not installed the software just yet. I’ll post a review if it knocks my socks off once I get around to the installation.

Retail down 4% this holiday season

Filed under: Business — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:31 pm

Bet it felt like a whole lot moreto a lot of retailers. Food, a necessity provided a counterweight to these numbers. Take that away and picture really starts to get bleak.

From the link:

Retailers’ sales fell as much as 4 percent during the holiday season, as the weak economy and bad weather created one of the worst holiday shopping climates in modern times, according to data released on Thursday by SpendingPulse.

The figures, from the retail data service of MasterCard Advisors, show the 2008 holiday shopping season was the weakest in decades, as U.S. consumers cut spending as they confront a yearlong recession, mounting job losses and tighter credit.

“It’s probably one of the most challenging holiday seasons we’ve ever had in modern times,” said Michael McNamara, vice president of Research and Analysis at MasterCard Advisors.

“We had a very difficult economic environment. Weather patterns were not favorable toward the end of season, and that resulted in one of the most challenging economic seasons we’ve seen in decades.”

The figures exclude auto and gas sales but include grocery, restaurant and specialty food sales. Although SpendingPulse did not exempt the food prices, McNamara said the decline would have been steeper without them.

“There’s a lot of food that provide a buffer for the total retail sales numbers,” he said.

Here’s another story on the subject with some rougher numbers looking at specific categories.

From the link:

As expected, retailers had one of the worst holiday shopping seasons in decades, with sales falling by double-digits in nearly all categories including apparel, luxury goods, furniture, and electronics and appliances, according SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report by MasterCard Advisors that estimates retail sales across all forms of payment, including check and cash.

The report said that in November retail sales sank 5.5 percent compared with a year ago. They were down 8 percent in December, through Christmas Eve. Excluding gasoline, the decrease in holiday sales ranged from 2 to 4 percent.

Snowstorms and chilly temperatures did nothing to inspire already tightfisted consumers to go out and shop the last weekend before Christmas, usually one of the busiest periods of the year. The weather, though, likely contributed to some good news in online retailing, as consumers opted to surf the Web rather than brave the cold.

The top ten quantum articles of 2008

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:27 pm

From KurzweilAI.net — This story comes from New Scientist Physics & Math and covers things quantum such as antimatter, quantum computing.

A year in the quantum world
New Scientist Physics & Math, Dec. 26, 2008

Four radical routes to a theory of everything, The great antimatter mystery, Anyons: the breakthrough quantum computing needs?, and Matter is merely vacuum fluctuations are among the year’s top 10 in-depth articles about the quantum world.

Read Original Article>>

Top 10 genetics articles from 2008

Filed under: Science — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:25 pm

From KurzweilAI.net — The list comes from New Scientist Health and covers subjects such as human genetic modification and MicroRNAs.

Genetics: Top 10 articles from 2008
New Scientist Health, Dec. 24, 2008

The top 10 best features on genetics in New Scientist include Me and my genome, Genetically modified humans: Here and more coming soon, and MicroRNAs: The cell‘s little emperors.

NewScientist.com is now making free all in-depth articles from the past 12 months.

Read Original Article>>

90 things to watch in 2009

Filed under: Business, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:21 pm

A list for the coming year from JWT, the advertising agency. To tell the truth, this list looks a tad random to me.

The release:

Ninety Things to Watch in 2009

JWT’s Annual List Includes Pisco Sours, Inconspicuous Travel and the Collective Consciousness

NEW YORK, Dec. 26 /PRNewswire/ — JWT, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, today released its list of 90 things to watch in 2009.

“Our list points to the broader trends we’re seeing, showing the ways in which these shifts will manifest in our everyday lives,” says Ann Mack, director of trendspotting at JWT.

Among these shifts, the recession will make the biggest impact, says Mack. “A lot of what to watch in 2009 relates to consumers’ adaptation to the economic situation, from ‘affordable nutrition’ to ‘more under one roof,'” notes Mack.

JWT’s list of 90 Things to Watch in 2009 (unranked and in alphabetical order):

  1. 21st-Century Networking
  2. Affordable Nutrition
  3. Amy Poehler
  4. Apatow-esque Humor
  5. Bruno
  6. Building a Beauty Arsenal
  7. Buraka Som Sistema
  8. Career Reinvention and Extension
  9. Chat-Avoidance Services
  10. The Cleveland Show
  11. Cloud Computing
  12. The Collective Consciousness
  13. Creativity in the Informal Economy
  14. Credit Card Dieting
  15. Crowdfunding
  16. The Decline of E-Mail
  17. Distraction as Entertainment
  18. DIY Repairs and Renovations
  19. Doha
  20. Dragonball
  21. EarthRoamer
  22. Electric Bikes
  23. Elizabeth Banks
  24. Emma Stone
  25. The Energy Race
  26. Environmental Exercise
  27. Family-Friendly TV
  28. Freebies
  29. Gerard Butler
  30. Girl Talk
  31. Giving Circles
  32. Gluten-Free
  33. Good Old-Fashioned Cooking
  34. Graphic Novels Hit Hyperdrive
  35. The Green-Collar Class
  36. hi5
  37. Holographic Projection
  38. Home as Castle
  39. HomeAway
  40. Homemade Beauty Treatments
  41. How to Talk to Girls
  42. Incognito luxury
  43. Inconspicuous Travel
  44. Innocent Cosmetics
  45. Lady GaGa
  46. Lala.com
  47. Lance Armstrong
  48. Lykke Li
  49. Maria Pinto
  50. Marketing with Aromas
  51. Michelle Obama
  52. Microfinancing’s Second Wave
  53. Mobile Phones Get Personal
  54. More Under One Roof
  55. NASA’s Kepler Telescope
  56. Netbooks
  57. Noor
  58. No “Paper” in Newspapers
  59. Nutrition Replaces Dieting
  60. Obama-speak
  61. ODO7
  62. Online TV Network Crackle
  63. Online Video Ads
  64. Outliers (as a term)
  65. Palin’s Grandson
  66. Personalized Travel Guides
  67. Pisco Sours
  68. Presidential Sightseeing
  69. Prince William Wedding Watch
  70. Product Source Tags
  71. Radical Transparency Meets Genomics
  72. Readers + Social Media = Revenue?
  73. Residential Market for Solar Power
  74. Ricky Rubio
  75. Russell Brand
  76. Safe-keeping
  77. The Small Movement
  78. Smart Garages
  79. South Africa
  80. Stuart Karten
  81. Sustainable Fishery
  82. T. Boone Pickens
  83. Telepresence
  84. Touch Screens
  85. Twitter Copycats
  86. Virtual Reality Therapy
  87. Virtual Socializing
  88. Widgets
  89. Wikileaks
  90. Xbox Streaming

  About JWT

JWT is the world’s best-known marketing communications brand. Headquartered in New York, JWT is a true global network with more than 200 offices in over 85 countries employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals.

JWT consistently ranks among the top agency networks in the world and continues its dominant presence in the industry by staying on the leading edge — from producing the first-ever TV commercial in 1939 to developing award-winning branded content for brands such as Freixenet, Ford and HSBC.

JWT’s pioneering spirit enables the agency to forge deep relationships with clients including Bayer, Cadbury, Diageo, DTC, Ford, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft, Nestle, Nokia, Rolex, Schick, Shell, Unilever, Vodafone and many others. JWT’s parent company is WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY).

December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt, RIP

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:45 pm

A sad note to this Christmas, Eartha Kitt — artist of the classic holiday song, “Santa Baby” — passed on at 81.

From the link:

Eartha Kitt, who purred and pounced her way across Broadway stages, recording studios and movie and television screens in a show-business career that lasted more than six decades, died on Thursday. She was 81 and lived in Connecticut.

And of course, here’s “Santa Baby.”

Christmas video fun — Elvis Presley, “I Believe”

Filed under: Arts, Media — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:03 am

A majestic carol from the King.

Xmas video fun — South Park, “Carol of the Bells”

Filed under: Arts, Media — Tags: , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:00 am

Mr. Mackey sings a holiday tune.

Christmas video fun — Judy Garland, “Have yourself a Merry little Christmas”

Filed under: Arts, Media — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:57 am

A classic and a tad wistful.

Merry Christmas to all …

Filed under: et.al., Media — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:23 am

… and best of wishes for 2009. I’ve enjoyed my first year of blogging and expect to keep bringing it in the coming year.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

December 24, 2008

Christmas video fun — the elves Xmas song from Futurama

Filed under: Arts, et.al., Media — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:00 pm

Always fun. Merry Xmas everyone.

Dick Cheney, self-avowed war criminal

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:50 pm

I don’t see how these comments fail to create serious legal implications for Cheney and the rest of the Bush 43 team.

Possibly the group could be exonerated given the gravity and uniqueness of the situation, but I doubt it. Many countries other than the US deal with much higher levels of terrorism and don’t resort breaking international law.

From the link:

Mr. Cheney, by contrast, is unbowed, defiant to the end. He called the Supreme Court “wrong” for overturning Bush policies on detainees at Guantánamo Bay; criticized his successor, Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.; and defended the harsh interrogation technique called waterboarding, considered by many legal authorities to be torture.

“I feel very good about what we did,” the vice president told The Washington Times, adding, “If I was faced with those circumstances again, I’d do exactly the same thing.”

The difference in tone, friends and advisers say, reflects a split over Mr. Bush’s second-term foreign policy, which Mr. Cheney resisted as too dovish. It also reveals their divergent approaches to post-White House life. Mr. Bush, who is planning a public policy center in Dallas, is trying to shape his legacy by offering historians a glimpse of his thinking, while Mr. Cheney, primarily concerned about the terrorist threat, is setting the stage for a role as a standard-bearer for conservatives on national security.

December 23, 2008

Tuesday video fun — remote laser welding

Filed under: et.al., Science — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:30 pm

This is insane. I think a pair of these bad boys would make a great meet and greet tag team by my front door.

(Hat tip: Wes)

Happy holidays, your retirement plan is now gutted

God bless us everyone.

From the link:

Companies eager to conserve cash are trimming their contributions to their workers’ 401(k) retirement plans, putting a new strain on America’s tattered safety net at the very moment when many workers are watching their accounts plummet along with the stock market.

When the FedEx Corporation slimmed down its pension plan last year, it softened the blow by offering workers enriched 401(k) contributions to make up for the pension benefits some would lose. But last week, with Americans sending fewer parcels and FedEx’s revenue growth at a standstill, the company said it would suspend all of its contributions for at least a year.


”We will have to work more years and retire with less money,” said Lee Higham, a 44-year-old senior aircraft mechanic at FedEx, who has worked there for 20 years. ”That’s what we are up against now.”

FedEx is not the only one. Eastman Kodak, Motorola, General Motors and Resorts International are among the companies that have cut matching contributions to their plans since September, when the credit markets froze and companies began looking urgently for cash. More companies are expected to suspend their matching contributions in 2009, according to Watson Wyatt, a benefits consulting firm.

For workers, the loss of a matching contribution heightens the pain of a retirement account balance shriveling away because of the plunging stocks markets.

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