Tag Archives: Google

Peer Pressure Crushes Silicon Valley Entrepreneur

Monkey bureaucratsAnne Wojcicki is one of those Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that started a “disruptive” company aiming to change how we view an established industry. But she’s not one of those brain–rich, resource–poor visionaries passing the hat among bored World of Warcraft players window–shopping on Kickstarter.com.

No, she and her partners, Lucy Page and Laura Arrillaga–Andreessen — respectively the wives of Internet billionaires Sergey Brin (Google), Larry Page (Google) and Marc Andreessen (Netscape) — didn’t have to do anything so common as asking for money.

Google kick–started the project, so to speak, with an initial investment of $3.9 million and soon other vulture capitalists jumped on the bandwagon. The company, 23andMe, made its debut among the one percent at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, rubbing elbows with the likes of Bill Gates, Bill Clinton and other political or economic plutocrats.

Alexandra Wolfe writes in The Wall Street Journal, that as guests left the annual Google blowout, they were asked by “spit coaches” for a sample of their saliva. (This is one of the major differences between a redneck party and a one–percent party. At the redneck bash no permission is necessary. You just attempt to match the various pools of vomit with the contributors.)

In return for spitting in a cup the guest would receive a free DNA analysis and report. (Yet another aside: No wonder tech companies have zero concept of customer privacy, if management gives a DNA sample to a complete stranger, it’s not surprising they expect to be able to snoop freely in our secrets.)

Whereas in the past captains of industry might have indulged the little woman in a dress boutique or tea shoppe, Internet titans and their wives think bigger. Wojcicki and partners want to “drive this revolution where an individual had more of a say in health care.” Mainly by giving them a complete DNA report and analysis of individual genetic tendencies toward disease.

I don’t have a problem with any of this. It’s Google’s money and I’m not a stockholder. If the board doesn’t see a conflict of interest is funding wifey’s company, who am I to complain? Wojcicki also travels in different circles than I do and networking at the top only makes sense.

My problem is what she’s done after the product went public.

The Sultan of Spit recently made a charm offensive trip to DC and received lavish coverage in the WaPost. Wojcicki explained, “23andMe’s customers mail a test tube containing their saliva to the company, which analyzes their DNA. And for $99 they get back a report detailing any risk for more than 240 health conditions.” Time magazine was so impressed that the product was named invention of the year for 2008.

The Post writes that “celebrities gleefully tweeted their results” letting fans know if celebrity genes made it more likely for them to die of a heroin overdose in a squalid shooting gallery, suddenly change their image from that of clean teen to sex–act–simulating slut or be prone to shouting homophobic insults when surprised by a photographer.

By June of this year Wojcicki was negotiating to sell the results from an amazing 700,000 DNA samples to Edward Snowden because information wants to be free.

And then the FDA struck.

She received a “scathing letter” ordering her to cease all sales of the DNA analysis kit because it had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In the letter the FDA threatened “seizure, injunction and civil money penalties.”

Why were the bureaucrats at the FDA so exercised? The Journal summary said, “The FDA contended that genetic results aren’t always accurate and can mislead consumers. Officials feared that, without the supervision of a physician, users of the service might have unnecessary elective surgery based on inconclusive genetic information.”

And even if they did, what hospital would let a walk–in start ordering medical procedures?

Alberto Gutierrez, head of the FDA’s Office of In Vitro Diagnostics, was quoted by the WaPost, as claiming “Results from questionable tests can be unnecessarily alarming, adding that some women have undergone surgery, for example, based on tests that purport to gauge the risk for ovarian cancer.”

And right here we discover why HealthCare.dud didn’t work. Federal bureaucrats are delusional. The reasoning behind the stop–and–desist order is surreal. I don’t take my car into the shop without talking to the service consultant first. Does the FDA really think there’s a danger of someone getting a DNA analysis and calling the hospital to schedule a mastectomy?

And the worry about unnecessary surgery is politically selective. If a deeply disturbed patient decides he wants a surgeon to vandalize his private parts to turn him into a woman — the definition of unnecessary, dangerous and permanently damaging surgery — the FDA, American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association all have no problemo with that monumentally flawed decision.

I’m wondering when the FDA is going to get around to regulating newspaper horoscopes and palm readers. Gullible consumers make all sorts of life–altering decisions based on these pseudo–sciences, to say nothing of the devastation wreaked in many families by teenage nutritionists deciding to “go vegan.”

DNA results in the mail pale in comparison.

So far I’m in Wojcicki’s corner. She wants to give consumers access to more medical information so they can make their own, informed decisions. As Wojcicki told the Journal, “For example, patients often don’t know how much a procedure at a doctor’s office costs ahead of time. “That’s why I felt we had to drive this revolution where an individual had more of a say in health care.”

Her research has shown that in India hospitals post prices lists for procedures so that patients can see what their cost options are. Rumor has it that in China organ harvesters will even price their products on a sliding scale according to the age of the replacement part.

She’s on a mission and then turf–conscious, unresponsive federal bureaucrats issue an arbitrary decision that eviscerates her business. She’s faced with months of tedious hearings, requests for documents and bureaucrat butt–kissing. And all the while she can’t sell her product. It’s all outgo and no income until the problem is solved.

Prospects for reversing the FDA edict through channels aren’t promising. The Obama administration has issued over 1,800 rules and regulations in less than three years and the WaPost reports that every single one of them are illegal since the rules violate the 1966 Congressional Review Act. Yet none of the rules have been rescinded.

This leaves Wojcicki with three options:

  1. She can file a lawsuit. This is not my favorite because it puts your fate in the hands of lawyers and judges and only serves to increase their baleful impact on modern life. I’ve never had much affection for a process that lets everyone make money from my misfortune, except me.
  2. She can try to put political and media pressure on the bureaucracy and force them to reverse the decision. If you think cockroaches scuttle for the shadows when you lift a rock and expose them to the sun, you should see a bureaucrat in the glare of publicity. For a brief time it looked like this was her intent. The WaPost coverage of her “charm offensive” and her testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee looked to be the beginning, but it seemed to peter out quickly.
  3. She can surrender and hope FDA bureaucrats, once they get around to finalizing their decision, leave her a business to operate.

But what Wojcicki choose to do appears to be the worst of all possible worlds. Five days after returning to California from the DC trip, she hosts a $32,400–a–person fund–raiser for the architect of her business problems: Barack Obama!

DC bureaucrats pull the plug on her business and she responds by raising money for the man and the party that support even more crippling regulation and expanding government intrusion. Why not just sign a quit–claim on your investment and give it to the Democrat National Committee?

Evidently being part of the leftist insider tech crowd is more important to Wojcicki than saving her business and striking a blow for the free market. If 23andMe goes out of business it will be bad news for employees and the other investors, but Wojcicki will be fine. Her money comes from a company that started too small for busybody federal bureaucrats to notice and by the time they did, it was too big to stifle.

That company is Google and it can afford to indulge the lifestyle leftism of its founders and support Obama and Democrats like the rest of the cool kids.

My Valentine’s Date with Obama: Google Hosts Fireside Chat

imagesOn Tuesday President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address. On the following Thursday the President will sit down with Americans from across the country in an exclusive Google+ Hangout dubbed the Fireside Chat. During this time Mr.Obama promises to field questions from regular Americans regarding the issues that concern them the most. I am beyond thrilled and honored to tell you, dear reader that I will be one of those Americans invited to question the President. The organizers at Google have made a concerted effort to find people from all across the political spectrum. While certainly the White House will have final approval of all questions, as one Google executive told me, “We’re not looking for ‘rah rah Mr.President’ questions; we’re looking for folks who will offer thoughtful, challenging but respectful questions that truly offer the President the chance to answer questions he wouldn’t necessarily hear from the media”. To that end, this conservative blogger and housewife will be asking at least one of those questions on Thursday.

I’ve had a lot of suggestions on what exactly I should ask the President. Some serious, some not-so-serious (no, I’m not going to ask him where he gets his jeans). The bad news is I’ve already submitted my questions for approval and I wouldn’t use my one chance to talk to the leader of the free world to be a smartass. Some of you would, but not me. The good news is that you can pose your own questions and you may see the President answer them. All you need to do is head to YouTube.com/whitehouse and ask a question. Rifle through the questions already there (sorry, I didn’t mean to use a GUN reference; I’m a part of the problem!!!) and vote them up or down. The questions that get voted to the top will be given to Mr.Obama. So far I see a lot of questions about internet access and legalizing marijuana. We can probably do better than that! Go ahead to the site and flood it with common sense and good votes. This is our chance to ask the questions the media won’t. And don’t forget to tune in to Google+ this Thursday at 4:50pm ET to see me! Well, me and that other dude who runs the country…but mostly, me! See you there!

Cyber Monday Alert: U.N. Plans May Change Your Online Future

It’s Cyber Monday – the online equivalent of Black Friday. As you prepare to take advantage of online deals and revel in the marvel that is modern technology, it’s a good time to keep in mind that next month the UN will meet to put into place it’s first step in global Internet regulation. The meeting of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will begin on December 3 in Dubai. The 11-day meeting (11 days?It’s terrifying to think what 11 days of UN meetings could produce) will address such issues as spam and fraud, according to the ITU. However, there are other issues of concern tucked into the agenda. On the table will be proposals that could grant wider accessing power to dictatorships like China and Iran, putting bloggers and online freedom activists further at risk for censorship and punishments. The ITU will also propose ideas to impose fees on providers and platforms like Google and Facebook. Those companies would pay fees for anyone who accesses their sites across borders. The money raised from those fees would then go to the UN to provide Internet access in underdeveloped countries. ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure (why are there so many black communists named Toure these days?) has already announced Internet access should be considered a basic human right and the U.N. is hard at work to enshrine that right across the globe.

Companies such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon are already warning their customers of the potential threat to what is now referred to as “net neutrality” and plan to attend the conference to protest. In an online statement, Google had this to say: “Engineers, companies and people that build and use the web have no vote. The billions of people around the globe that use the Internet, the experts that build and maintain it, should be included” in the decision-making process.

Naturally, the ITU claims it has no plans to restrict online expression (no, not the U.N.! They would never seek to censor anyone, ever) but that they simply want to adjust outdated international responses to changing technology. ITU’s Toure says he expects “a light-touch regulatory approach”. The United States is expected to resist any regulations and will send a 123 member delegation to the meeting next month.

123 members of one nation to attend an 11-day U.N. meeting in the most expensive place on earth – that sentence alone is everything that is wrong with the United Nations. It is an organization run by thieves and despots. These are the same people who want to regulate what small arms we own as American citizens and what parental rights we have when it comes to our disabled children…but we’re supposed to believe they will take a “light-touch regulatory approach” to what has been the biggest boon for freedom and free markets in the history of mankind.

This is one time where I wish the liberal narrative of “big business” were true. I wish Google and other Internet giants were all-powerful like they are in Hollywood and could just use their Illuminati-fueled powers to destroy this nonsense once and for all. Unfortunately, just like nearly every other liberal premise that one is mostly fantasy. Hopefully the amount of money those companies add to the U.S. economy will be enough to motivate Obama’s delegation to resist any attempts at international control of American communications. For our part, we can call our representatives and let them know we know about this and are concerned and we can also spread the word about what will be happening in Dubai. Share this blog and other stories about the conference. Check in with Google, Amazon and others to sign their petitions and find out more about how you can make yourself heard.

The Internet has opened the doors to freedom, free communications and prosperity across the planet. It is no wonder that the dictators and whack jobs in the U.N. feel moved to control it. It’s in their nature. That is in the nature of communist/socialist believers – the idea that we humans are and should be in control of everything. It is a dangerous idea and it is on our doorsteps. Don’t forget that as you support the economy online today.

 

crossposted at kiradavis.net

Consumer Watchdog Counters Google’s FOIA Objections in FCC Wi-Spy Probe

SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Consumer Watchdog today countered Google’s objections to the Federal Communications Commission’s release of detailed documents about the Commission’s investigation of how Google hacked into private Wi-Fi networks and sought broad disclosure of the documents’ contents.

Consumer Watchdog has filed a request for the significant documents related to the FCC’s investigation. Google has opposed much of the request, claiming that portions are commercially sensitive or private personal information.

“The FCC’s notice of a $25,000 fine to Google for obstructing the investigation makes it clear that deciding to use Street View Cars to ‘war drive’ and hack into Wi-Fi networks was a deliberate decision involving a number of people,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project. “We need the underlying documents in the investigation to understand what in Google’s culture allowed the Wi-Spy scandal to happen.”

“In seeking to block our request Google is showing what’s become its predictable hypocrisy,” said Simpson. “Their mission is to organize the world’s information and make it accessible, but when it is information about them, Google becomes a black box.”

Consumer Watchdog’s response noted that the FCC has held that information that is likely to cause “mere embarrassment in the marketplace or reputational injury” does not warrant protection from disclosure.

“Clearly Google is embarrassed and that is why they are stonewalling,” said Simpson.

Consumer Watchdog noted that Google had filed a patent application for mapping Wi-Fi hotspots to determine geolocation of mobile devices and questioned how information about those mapping efforts could be considered commercially sensitive when they were revealed in the patent application.

Read Consumer Watchdog’s response to the FCC here.

The Wi-Spy scandal is still being investigated by a group of more than 30 state attorneys general. Consumer Watchdog attorneys are counsel for the plaintiffs in a federal class action suit against Google in the Wi-Spy case.

Read Google’s Wi-Fi mapping patent application here.

The Fight Against Cyber Jihad

photo: topnews.net.nz

The fight against Islamist Muslim extremism goes far beyond the battlefield of soldiers on the ground. It is more than U.S. law enforcement agencies stopping terror attacks on our home soil, the real battle “for hearts & minds” is on the internet and citizen cyber-warriors are at the forefront.

Through the use of use of leading social media platforms such as Google’s YouTube & BlogSpot, FaceBook &, increasingly Twitter, the Islamist jihadi  are spreading the ideology of global Islamic supremacy, and recruiting young people all over the world to “kill the unbelievers for allah”.

At the forefront of this fight are a dedicated group of grassroots individuals who spend their free time tracking and reporting these various sites, exemplified by the YouTube SmackDown Corps.

I discovered these individuals by accident one day as I was debating with a proclaimed Muslim who believes that Islam is a religion of peace. That is a conversation for another time. It was at that time a person, who shall remain unnamed as he/she continues the fight against cyber Jihad, jumped to my defense. After easily making my point, and it’s not hard, this person told me about the “CJ”, Counter jihadist, and what they do.

They relentlessly comb various blogging and video websites in search of Islamist jihadi wannabe terrorist. Once discovered, they then begin collecting intelligence and tracking their movements. By searching blogs and the people who associate themselves with them, they follow the connections. Recording and reporting on the growing web of terrorism promoting Islamist jihadi.

The problem lies with Google. Google has developed a reputation, or so it would seem, of pandering to these terrorist. At times they can be slow at shutting down these YouTube sites and blogs, if at all.

Senator Joe Lieberman in particular has been vocal about this issue, especially in response to the New York Police Department arresting Jose Pimentel for building a pipe bomb that he planned to use to hurt, and with any success, kill U.S. military personnel.

“TPM obtained a letter sent by Lieberman, chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, to Google CEO Larry Page on Tuesday calling for him to make some changes to their policy.

“Pimentel’s Internet activity — both his spreading of bomb-making instructions links and his hate-filled writings — were hosted by Google,” Lieberman wrote.

“On his site Pimentel stated, “People have to understand that America and its allies are legitimate targets in warfare. This includes facilities such as army bases, police stations, political facilities, embassies, CIA and FBI buildings, private and public airports, and all kinds of buildings where money is being made to help fund the war.’ As demonstrated by this recent case, Google’s web hosting site, Blogger is being used by violent Islamist extremists to broadcast terrorist content,” Lieberman continued.”

Lieberman continues “Through your updated YouTube standards, Google has affirmatively stated that terrorist content will not be permitted on some of your sites. I strongly believe that Google should expand that standard to include your other platforms.”

This is Google’s response to Lieberman’s request regarding Youtube videos in 2008. To this date, Google his issued no response regarding  Blogspot.

Psychological warfare is a valuable tool that the Jihadist can use to lure in individuals who can’t seem to find their place in the world. Young males in particular.  Allowing the enemy to use these sites affords them the opportunity to build moral and make people sympathetic to their cause. I urge everyone who reads this to contact their senators and tell them to support Senator Lieberman and keep the pressure on Google to shut these YouTube and blog sites down.

Google Ends Green Energy Projects




Google, best known to Internet users for its ubiquitous search engine, put quite a bit of the money it made into green energy projects. Yesterday, Tuesday, November 22, 2011, the company announced that it is abandoning its effort to make renewable energy cheaper than coal (RE<C). Google’s Green Energy Czar, Bill Weihl, said in 2009 that he expected to demonstrate within a few years working technology that could produce renewable energy at a cheaper price than coal. Weihl is no longer with Google.

The plan to end green energy projects represents the third “spring cleaning” announcement that Google has made since Google co-founder Larry Page re-took control in April, 2011, from Eric Schmidt.

Google had a $100 million stake in the Oregon Shepherds Flat wind project. It also had large stakes in Solar City and Clean Power Finance residential photovoltaic (PV) companies, Alta Wind Energy Center Mojave Desert wind project, Atlantic Wind Connection project, the Peace Gardens wind farms in North Dakota, and Makani Power, an Alameda, Calif. startup that claims to harness electricity from wind turbines mounted on kites. Google is also heavily invested in BrightSource, a Robert Kennedy, Jr. project that received a Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee. No word yet on the fates of these projects.

Regarding the reason for abandoning the projects, Google said it is dropping development of “solar thermal” electricity because solar thermal cannot keep pace with the rapid price decline of photovoltaic solar technology. “The installed cost of solar photovoltaic technology has declined dramatically over the past few years, making solar photovoltaic technology a compelling choice for consumers,” Google Fellow and senior vice president of operations Urs Hölzle said in a blog post. Google has increased its investment in renewable energy technologies developed by others, investing $850 million to date into solar power projects, wind farms, and other projects.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if it was only Google that had to suffer the losses of poor investments in solar power? But no, our federal government “invested” taxpayer money into the solar energy industry for us, and now we’re all down a few dollars.

But that’s just my opinion.

Rick Perry: "I'm Sorry I Said You Didn't Have A Heart"

You may have remembered Rick Perry’s less than stellar showing at the Fox News/Google debate from Sep 23rd, you know, the one where he said, “I don’t think you have a heart”.  Well, it looks like Ricky Perry has spent a lot of time remembering it too, and he’s decided to walk back that statement and better explain some other ones.

Above is a segment of an interview he did with Newsmax.com.  In it, he did a much better job explaining what his positions are on many aspects of immigration.  Besides the famous “you don’t have a heart” line, he also addressed how he feels about a border fence.  He says you can build one, but without personnel to man the fence, it’s not going to keep anyone out.  He also brought up concerns about how a border fence would affect private property.

I think he clarified a lot of things in the interview, but I’m still not confident he can give solid answers when he’s under the pressure of a debate.  I’ve seen him strike out three times so far, but I would be glad to see himself do a better job in the future ones.  What do you guys think?  Did this interview help redeem the poor performance he had in last week’s debate?  And do you think Perry can handle the next debate, or is he just not good answering questions under pressure?  Let us know in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you.

What Does Morgan Freeman Think Of Herman Cain?

On the same weekend that Morgan Freeman was saying the Tea Party is “racist” and that they want to “get the black man out of here”, Tea Party voters in Florida were voting for a black man.  I think the real “problem” is that they were not voting for the black man that Morgan Freeman wanted them to.

Sadly, this is what Liberals do.  They will try to discredit and ruin the lives of fellow citizens just to win a game.  Everyone is a pawn or a useful idiot to them.  In my mind, their disregard for the well being of their fellow man is on par with the mentality that goes behind human trafficking.  But, I digress…  Here is a video I made summing up my thoughts on Morgan Freeman’s cruel and inaccurate charges.  I hope he sees it.  Better yet, I hope he apologizes for demonizing people that don’t agree with him.  I won’t hold my breath.

In happier news, congratulations, Herman Cain, for winning the P5 straw poll in Florida last weekend.  You truly had  a breakout week in Florida to include your inspiring performance at the Google/Fox News debate.  We salute you.

 

September 22nd Fox News/Google GOP Debate [Full Length Video]

Thursday, September 22nd at 9pm, citizens got to ask questions of nine GOP presidential candidates. Fox News and Google co-sponsored the GOP debate and let viewers ask questions of the candidates through a submit and vote-up feature.

Attendees were:

  • Michele Bachmann
  • Herman Cain
  • Newt Gingrich
  • Jon Huntsman
  • Ron Paul
  • Gary Johnson
  • Mitt Romney
  • Rick Santorum
  • Rick Perry

In case you missed it, here’s the full length video of the debate:

Fox/Google GOP Debate: "Search"ing for a Leader

The Fox/Google Republican debate was held in Florida Thursday night and it turns out Gary Johnson is still running for President.  Yes, the New Mexico governor is far more notable for his stance on legalizing marijuana than his Presidential aspirations – a fact his team should probably have noted before they allowed him to appear on television in a patterned tie that displayed psychedelic effects under the glare of the cameras.  Gary Johnson doesn’t seem like a bad guy.  He seems sort of smart.  But also, kind of high.  His lazy speech and obvious nerves gave the impression of a buttoned-up, paranoid stoner.  His stance on education was appropriately Republican and Johnson has an attractive air of sincerity about him.  But also, he may have been high.

The debate threatened to be the Romney/Perry show in the beginning as the Fox moderators devoted ample time to spirited back and forth between the two candidates.  Thankfully they moved on after about 30 minutes and were able to provide quite a generous amount of time to most of the other candidates from that point on.

Rick Perry looked tired.  His wrinkles seemed deeper and he even looked smaller in his high collared shirt and long suit jacket.  He didn’t seem like he really wanted to be there at that debate.  He stammered at times and began to repeat himself, especially on health care.  His foreign policy answer was a bit drawn out and difficult to follow.  It almost seemed as if he lost his place at one point. Perhaps he is still smarting from his collapse in the second half of the last Republican debate.   Where Perry was the strongest, as usual, was on states’ rights.  Perry even skillfully turned a question about his rumored rift with George W. Bush into a monologue on his strong support of states’ rights.  It was his strongest moment in an otherwise lackluster performance.  Perhaps the only other bright spot for Perry came when he defended his stance on the Texas “Dream Act”, refusing to back down from his obviously unpopular (among conservatives, at least) view.  The crowd seemed to appreciate that and offered applause.

Romney had strongest showing yet.  He may have been emboldened by Perry’s poor performance in the last debate.  He was well rehearsed, but loose.  Romney gave the best explanation of Romneycare he has offered to date, touting it as a states’ rights issue and breaking it down against Obamacare.  It may not be enough to erase the blemish, but it was a solid explanation and he made sure to assert that Obamacare is bad law and should be repealed.  Romney stopped short of guaranteeing a repeal, but he did guarantee waivers to all 50 states immediately.  Romney is hitting his stride and beginning to sound like he’s laying out a general election platform.  I didn’t even notice his hair tonight, so that says a lot.

Herman Cain garnered the most touching moment of the debate when Chris Wallace alluded to Cain’s recovery from cancer.  The audience offered a long, heartfelt applause to the man who had survived Stage IV colon and liver cancer.  Cain’s big, genuine grin as he thanked the crowd actually put a little lump in my throat.  You go, Herman!  Cancer is stupid and I’m glad you kicked it’s ass.  Cain had another strong showing, although it is quite obvious that he remains weakest on foreign policy.  He did try his best to let everyone know that he has a clear vision on Israel, and wants America to be as clear as possible when making it clear to other nations that we clearly stand behind our clear allies.  Clearly, Cain is still searching too much when it comes to foreign policy questions, but he is so strong on other issues, he seems able to make up for that shortcoming.  Cain took every opportunity to mention his 9-9-9 plan, as he has been doing consistently over the last few debates.  The plan is perhaps his greatest policy strength at the moment.

Michele Bachmann looked solid, but seemed to shy away from directly attacking Perry, which many expected her to do tonight.  The upcoming Florida straw poll will determine whether or not that was the right thing to do.  While she made sure to highlight her strong conservative values, she may have made a fatal mistake by choosing not to aggressively attack what many see as her biggest obstacle right now – Rick Perry .

Jon Huntsman was able to sound almost human in this debate.  Perhaps it was the amount of time he had to speak.  Thursday’s debate was the most time he has been given in a debate thus far.  Mentioning that he feels his family of seven children has been like a “clinical trial” at points did nothing to dispel me of the suspicion that Huntsman is actually very sophisticated alien technology.  But his daughter has juvenile diabetes so you see, he’s human.  Huntsman did seem the most animated he’s been through this whole process.  The only problem with Huntsman is that, no matter how human he seems, he’s still Jon Huntsman.  It will be hard for him to overcome…himself.

It was another strong showing for Newt Gingrich.  In this debate Newt came off less as “cranky Uncle Newt at family Thanksgiving” and more like “Jovial, witty Grandpa at Christmas time”.  He actually seemed warm at points, and even stirred up a few laughs.  As usual his answers were biting, provoking and intelligent.  His only low point in this debate is that he kept reminding viewers how old he was, and how he is such a part of the past in this country.  His goal was to highlight his history and his experience, but it came off as reminder that he is perhaps too connected to the “old” politics, and this is the “tea party” era.  It was another great performance for ultimate cabinet pick Newt Gingrich.

Honestly- and I’m being completely serious- I forgot Gary Johnson was even there until someone asked him a foreign policy question.  So, it turns out he was actually there, and his answer was quite logical and intelligent.  Also, he may have been high.

Rick Santorum debated with the passion and sincerity of a man who seems like he knows he has nothing to lose.  Santorum was straightforward, passionate and very engaged.  Much to the delight of the audience he stood clearly and strongly against the repeal of DADT, Obama’s attitude toward Israel, and benefits for illegal immigrants.  It seems unlikely that Santorum can win this nomination, but he hasn’t yet proven that he will lose it either.  He has made quite an impressive comeback during the two most recent debates and it will be interesting to see if he can maintain this momentum.

Ron Paul has clearly been through all of this before.  He speaks like a man who knows his platform by heart, and is inherently comfortable with it.  His answers were true to the libertarian position and as usual, the Paul fans were rolling deep in the debate hall.  Paul’s best moment may have come when he was asked to expound on his (somewhat) bizarre statement regarding a border fence working to keep Americans in rather than simply keeping illegal immigrants out.  Wallace asked Paul if he noticed many Americans rushing to take their money and leave the country.  It could have turned into another tin-foil hat moment for Paul but instead he turned it into a chance to explain that indeed, many Americans are taking their money and investing elsewhere because of stifling government regulation and taxes. It was a skilled turn-around, but then he went on to talk about data banks and tracking illegals meaning every body will be put in data banks one day (pssst…Google already does that. That battle has been lost).  Ron Paul proved why he’s lost two previous Presidential bids – Ron Paul is simply too libertarian for the Republican Party, and nowhere does that show more than his foreign policy opinions.

The closing question wasn’t the worst “fluff” question we’ve seen to date (that honor would be reserved for CNN’s “This or That”) – Who would you choose from this stage to be your running mate?  Newt refused to play the game, as usual, but did so with a rare showing of light-heartedness.  Relatively speaking, of course.

Bachmann declined to pick one opponent as well, instead taking the opportunity to speak directly to conservative voters and highlighting her qualities as a strong, true conservative candidate.  Bachmann obviously knows her base.

Perry wanted to mash Gingrich and Cain together in some bizarre, sicko, The Fly-ish experiment.  Well, he really just wanted to combine their personalities, but Romney rightly pointed out that it was a disturbing image, nonetheless.

Romney refused to answer either, but used the time to remind viewers that the real objective is to defeat Obama, and he would be just the man to do that – LAYING OUT HIS GENERAL ELECTION PLATFORM.

Gary Johnson, who really doesn’t seem like such a bad guy, chose Ron Paul. So…there’s that.  Also, he said his neighbor’s dog made more shovel ready jobs than Obama had, which was a DIRECT ripoff of a joke Rush Limbaugh told earlier that day.  I happened to be listening to Rush on Thursday afternoon when he joked that his new puppy had created more shovel ready jobs than Obama.  Maybe Johnson just forgot where he heard it originally and thought he could get away with the joke as his own.  Because he was high.

Paul deferred until he is a member of the top tier of candidates.

Santorum said he would pick Newt.

Cain acknowledged that it was just a game but said he’d play anyway, to the delight of the audience, who laughed and applauded.  He chose Gingrich.  The audience liked that too.

Jon Huntsman used his time to tell people that he still has a chance to win.

The overall debate format was a success.  Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly were good-natured, provoking and flexible. Google did an excellent job of highlighting their products and technology while integrating them into the format.  I was particularly impressed with the way they used search engine results to bring to light what viewers and voters were searching for, topic-wise, and which candidates were getting the most interest.  The “word clouds” were a very good illustration of results, placing the most searched words in  “cloud” like formation and enlarging the words in order of popularity.  The audience really responded to each result.  One of the first results revealed two of the trending searches were for “marriage” and “marijuana”.  Apparently there were a lot of lonely stoners watching the debate.

 

Romney was the clear winner in the Fox/Google debate. He stood out and looked confident.  Cain and Santorum came a close second and third.  Now all the candidates head into the much heralded Florida straw polls this weekend looking to place strong.  We may see some big changes in the field coming after the results are tallied.