Archive for Opinion

Check out these cool McDonald’s in high places

When people around the world think “America”, one of the first things that comes to mind is “McDonald’s”—cheap, cheerful fast food that feeds over 60 million people per day.

To get a handle on that—the UN World Food Programme, which is the “world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security”, feeds 90 million people per year.

Complaining about McDonald’s is as uniquely American as McDonald’s. Take Anna Hess of “Take Part”, who highlights five “culturally ruinous” McDonald’s around the world, (“The Most Shameful McDonald’s Locations Worldwide”) as if Stonehenge was used to build their newest UK outpost.

Hess introduces by saying:

There are no words to describe the utter disappointment a traveler feels when they’re strolling down the Rue de Julien, craving sole meunière and weightless croissants, only to be assaulted by those Golden Arches.

Unless that (American) traveler is blind, they can easily get croissants and baguettes to their heart’s content everywhere but McDonalds—oh wait—at McDonald’s too.

quelle délicieux!

In fact, if you check out McDonald’s menus around the world, you can find some mouthwatering, culturally-appropriate food, from paneer to gazpacho to pitas.

But that doesn’t stem the tide of the writer’s outraged ink.

First stop: McDonald’s in the Louvre. Hess snarks,

Visitors come here from far and wide to enjoy some of the greatest works of art of all time, including the Mona Lisa—and a Le Big Mac with fries, because when in Rome Paris?

At best, it’s a popular café that appeals to the wildly-trafficked museum’s visitors and earns millions for the museum, allowing it to invest in more priceless works of art—at worst, it’s a well-designed Pop Art installation among those hallowed halls.

Next on our tour is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a Milanese shopping center. Hess claims “like all malls, old and new, there’s also a McDonald’s there too.” Somehow, that’s supposed to cheapen this historical mall, as if once malls reach a certain age there’s a rule that certain people can’t afford to eat there.

In Bray, Ireland, there’s a cute little McDonald’s in the town hall. Hess clumsily concludes:

A wyvern, the mythological dragon featured on the Brabazon coat of arms, crowns the outside drinking fountain and is a protector for the town and its hall. But even with such a fierce guardian, Ronald could not be kept at bay.

The McDonald’s in the town hall actually has been named one of the coolest of the franchises, is a tourist destination in itself, and gets high reviews. Once again—only Henn is complaining.

New Hyde Park is home to one of the most unusual McDonald’s in the world—a McMansion. Hyde can’t even muster a kvetch here, claiming:

[this] led to the most elegant American restaurant in the McDonald’s franchise, complete with a glassed-in veranda seating area and a grand staircase.

The building hadn’t been a mansion for over a half a century—and was turned into a restaurant and even a funeral parlor. McDonald’s considered demolishing the dilapidated building but actually saved it—working with the town’s council to preserve the landmark and restore it to its 1926 glory.

downside: no ball pit

And our tour ends at the Piazza della Repubblica in Rome, where a demure McDonald’s exists amongst the columns.

Hess attempts snark again:

The piazza marks the site of the official Roman forum, which dates back to the age of empire; ruins of ancient Roman baths and temples have been uncovered on the south side of the square. Hopefully, a thousand years from now, archaeologists will uncover the ruins of this sacred McDonald’s franchise.

This is anything but holy ground. Considering the amount of blood, guts, vomit and debauchery that the forum saw in its heyday—having a McDonald’s there can’t possibly desecrate it.

Darn it–now I’m hungry.

feeding millions every day isn’t a crime!

Should Google force you to use your real name?

Is it inevitable?

Google may not force people to use their real names now, but it hasn’t had the best track record with this stuff. When it launched Google+ back in 2011, the company made the hugely controversial decision to prevent people from using pseudonyms, a rule it was forced to relax some time afterward.

More recently, Google introduced Google+ login buttons, which people use to sign up for services using their Google+ accounts. Late last year, Google also tied users’ Google Play reviews to their Google+ accounts, preventing them from anonymously reviewing apps.

The two features seem like they targeting different things, but they both tie into one word: trust. By enforcing a system wherein everyone is using their real names, Google says it can more effectively assure users that they’re dealing with real, legitimate, trustworthy people (and websites).

Vint Cerf, a senior Google executive known as a “father of the Internet” thinks it is a bad idea:

When Google+ launched in 2011, its requirement that users display their real names alarmed activists who accused the Web giant of abandoning its “Don’t be evil” corporate mantra to pursue growing rival Facebook. The world’s most popular social network has been the most aggressive in enforcing its policy, with Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg once equating keeping multiple identities with “a lack of integrity.”

In one instance in 2011, Facebook suspended British author Salman Rushdie’s account and, after reviewing his passport, changed his Facebook identity to “Ahmed Rushdie.” The company relented after Rushdie played up the row on Twitter, but it has stood by its policy as a general matter.

“This real name culture leads to greater accountability and a safer and more trusted environment for our users, and we firmly believe that the use of authentic identity helps people get the most value out of the site,” Facebook spokesman Frederic Wolens said.

Due to its easy integration, many online messaging boards or third-party apps — like music-streaming service, for instance — increasingly require users to log in with their Facebook credentials. Last week, Google introduced a similar Google+ log-in service for third-party sites.

In response to public outcry, Google in 2012 began allowing nicknames and pseudonyms for a fraction of Google+’s 500 million users, and has since reiterated that it would encourage – but not require – Gmail and YouTube users to sign in with Google+.

Daily Show mocks Chris Matthews for his bad presidential predictions

WATCH: Dennis Miller On The Zimmerman Verdict, Snowden And Obamacare

“They didn’t exactly do a cracker jack job,” he said of the prosecutor’s performance at the trial.

Pat Codell: I’m offended by Islam (VIDEO)

Are sharia councils failing vulnerable women?

Sharia courts “as consensual as rape”…

Female genital mutilation – unreported, ignored, unpunished…

Migrants from Europe bringing girls to tolerant Britain for genital mutilation…

Saudi school lessons in UK concern government

BBC’s Panorama claims Islamic schools teach anti-Semitism and homophobia…

British schools where girls must wear the Islamic veil…

Religious butchering now commonplace in Britain…

Ex-soldier jailed for burning Koran…

Muslim spared prison for anti-Semitic incitement to violence…

Jailed for anti-Islam images in window…

Anti gay bigotry, the East London Mosque, and Lutfur Rahman…

East London Mosque breaks its promise on homophobic speakers after just eight days…

East London Mosque holds a rally for terrorist lovers…

East London Mosque condemns homophobia yet advertised four anti-gay speakers in one month…

More on the East London Mosque and homophobia…

Inextricably linked to controversial mosque: the secret world of IFE…

Islam: List of persecution of homosexuals…

You can download an audio version of this video at

Audio: Adam Carolla rips race-baiting media

The media is not doing its job according to the nations most downloaded Podcast. Listen to Carolla react to race baiters and finger pointers who play a blame game instead of actually try to solve a problem. Specifically targeted: The Huffington Post for their attack on his interview with Lt Governor Gavin Newsum.

(NSFW Language warning)

Windows 8 Puts Microsoft Back in Game

Tech blogger Robert Scoble on the latest products from the tech giant. Previously FBN’s Shibani Joshi commented on Microsoft’s unveiling of Windows 8 at its developer’s conference.

Is the iPhone boring?

Is the iPhone boring as of late? This Slate column thinks so.

If you have an irrational loyalty to Apple, you might well demand, What more do you want out of the iPhone? It’s a legitimate question, and I’ll concede that it’s a bit churlish to ding a gadget because it’s already so great that I can’t imagine how it can become any better. The iPhone, like all computers, will get faster and lighter, and it might get longer battery life. Perhaps it will acquire the ability to let you pay for stuff through a near-field communication chip. Meanwhile, Siri will get better, turning from what seems like a marketing gimmick into a truly useful, perhaps transformative way to interact with your phone. Perhaps Apple will make good on Steve Jobs’ promise to make FaceTime an open standard, so that in time, it will work everywhere, not just on Apple devices. (But I bet not.) So if all that happens—if Apple continues to improve the iPhone incrementally—will that be enough for me?

I’m still yawning a little. Consider that every other phone maker is also improving its devices at a breakneck pace. Google’s version of Siri works just as well as Apple’s. Google Now, Android’s artificial-intelligence-based assistant, isn’t matched by anything in the iPhone. Meanwhile Windows Phone’s “live tiles”—the home-screen icons that passively update you on everything going on with your friends and in the rest of your life—offer a better, easier way to navigate your phone than anything Apple has cooked up.

So, sure, Apple’s phone will get better. But as everything else gets better, too, the iPhone will remain with the pack unless Apple does something radically different. What should it do?
At Google’s developer conference last week, the search company spent a lot of time talking up Glass, its still-in-development digital goggles. The device lets you do pretty much everything you can do on your phone—browse your texts and email, take photos, look at your calendar—through a display built into your glasses. It’s a digital feed superimposed upon the real world, sort of like the Terminator’s heads-up display.

While everyone on Twitter made fun of the goggles—does Google really think people will wear those geeky things?—the journalists who got an in-depth briefing (myself included) came away enthusiastic. After speaking to people at Google who are working on the project—and after getting to try on Sergey Brin’s own pair for about 20 seconds—I couldn’t contain myself. Google’s goggles offer the most captivating new digital interface since the iPhone. Google Glass will allow people to experience the digital world without becoming distracted from the real world—you can interact with your digital friends while maintaining eye contact with your real friends. Because you’ll be able to access digital information faster than you can on a cellphone, and then quickly return to the offline world, I have high hopes that these glasses will save us from our tech-addled selves.

I’m not asking for Apple to create augmented-reality glasses. But I do hope that it’s working on something just as ambitious as Google’s spectacles, a product that represents the next wave of mobile computing. I don’t know what that thing should be. But it’s not my job to know. It’s Apple’s—this is a company that has repeatedly wowed us by inventing the future we didn’t know we wanted. The iPhone might have changed everything, but now it’s five years old. It’s time for something new.

Adam Carolla on “paying your fair share”

“Let’s really examine this,” Carolla told Sean. “If 10 people all go out to dinner together and the bill came and it was $500 and we decided to split it up 10 ways, then your share is $50. Unless you had 26 Heineken’s that I don’t know about, your fair share with the other 9 strangers your sitting with, considering you’ve all ordered the same thing off of the same menu is $50! I paid the equivalent of $450 in taxes last year! And I’ve got the 2 guys who paid nothing pointing at me and telling me to pay my fair share?! You’ve got to be kidding me,” Carolla exclaimed. 

Adam also discussed his new book, “Rich Man Poor Man” in which he exposes the phenomena that are embraced by the really rich and the really poor – but never the middle class – like having an outdoor shower, wearing your pajamas all day, or always having your dog with you. Carolla’s new book is a hilariously accurate look at what the people born with silver spoons in their mouths have in common with the people whose only utensils are plastic sporks stolen from a Shakey’s.

SOPA Threatens to Break the Internet

Stupid GoDaddy deserves boycott:

How stupid does a company have to be to take an aggressive stance on a hugely controversial issue and then abruptly reverse itself — unconvincingly, to be sure — when customers start noticing? If you want to look like a gaggle of idiots, that’s perhaps the best way for a company to do it.

What was GoDaddy thinking?

Either the company had a valid reason to support SOPA — and I can think of some — or it did not. I will presume the company is less stupid and more gutless, so they had a good reason for supporting SOPA but lacked the guts to take fire when that position became known.

SOPA, depending on what side you are on, would either stop sales of counterfeit goods over the web or blow web security and privacy sky-high. While I support the noble goal stopping crime, technical troubles make SOPA unworkable. I have written elsewhere that the only way to effectively deal with piracy is to engineer a better or new Internet.

You have to wonder about the lack of corporate good sense that led GoDaddy into this mess. Did they think nobody would find out about their SOPA support or that customers wouldn’t care? Surely, they didn’t believe Internet enthusiast customers would actually welcome GoDaddy’s SOPA support?