Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Mush in California's Middle - George F. Will

"Becoming governor in 2003, when Gov. Gray Davis was recalled, Schwarzenegger promised frugality. But even adjusting for inflation and population growth, spending has increased 20 percent under Schwarzenegger. The $102 billion general fund budget is $15 billion in deficit. This year Sacramento will swallow 9.58 percent of personal income, up from 8.78 under Davis, who was recalled because . . . does anyone remember?"

And Now a Moment of Realism -

"Job security and job satisfaction are both high in America too. 'In Gallup's August 2008 survey, 48% working Americans said they were completely satisfied, and another 42% somewhat satisfied. Only 9% were dissatisfied with their jobs.' And sorry, Lou Dobbs, that war on the middle class and the outsourcing of America that you complain about every night? Americans aren't buying it. Only 8% worry about their jobs being outsourced to foreign competition. Scott Hodge of the Tax Foundation tells me this squares with the economic data. 'Very few jobs are lost each year to companies moving jobs offshore,' he says."

Friday, August 29, 2008 >> Jonathan Gurwitz - There is not much that is bipartisan about Barack Obama

"But just as in Springfield, Obama proved to be nothing more than a shrewd and opportunistic partisan. He could have joined the bipartisan “Gang of 14” that negotiated a halt to divisive judicial nominations, but didn't. He could have been a leader for bipartisan compromises on immigration, terrorist surveillance and energy, but wasn't.

According to a Washington Post database, Obama votes with his party 96 percent of the time, which makes him tied for the eleventh most partisan member of the Senate. At 96.6 percent, his running mate Joe Biden is the eighth most partisan senator.

By comparison, John McCain votes with his party 88.3 percent of the time which — here's a comment on the true nature of bipartisanship in Washington — makes him 65th in the partisan rankings."

Biden Wanted to Break Up Iraq -

"At the Democratic convention, Joe Biden had the opportunity to showcase his foreign policy experience. Yet his principal and most recent foreign policy initiative -- his plan for the soft partition of Iraq -- was glaringly absent from his acceptance speech. When Barack Obama named his running mate, he ticked off Mr. Biden's work on a range of other foreign policy issues -- from chemical weapons to Bosnia. But there was no mention of Mr. Biden's plan for Iraq."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

YouTube - The Amazing Lyrebird of Australia - Unseen Footage

And now for something completely different:

Barack Obama : Political Career Timeline

Interesting bits (excerpted):

* 1996, Jan - Obama has his four competitor petitions invalidated; he emerges as the only candidate

* 2001 - Obama receives legal services contract with Illinois firm owned by Robert Blackwell, Jr. A few months later, Obama writes a letter on Illinois Senate letterhead in support of a tourism grant for a different Blackwell company. The next day, "Obama's U.S. Senate campaign received a $1,000 donation from Blackwell... In the presidential race he is credited on Obama's website with committing to raise $100,000 to $200,000 for Obama's campaign."

Obama reported $98,158 income for providing legal services; $80,000 was from Blackwell's firm."Illinois ethics disclosure forms are designed to reveal possible financial conflicts by lawmakers... Obama did not specify that EKI provided him with the bulk of the private-sector compensation he received... he attached a multi-page list of all the law firm's clients, which included EKI among hundreds."

* 2003 - Obama begins running for US Senate; the leading Democratic candidate will withdraw in 2004 due to a sex scandal that Obama's campaign urged the Chicago Tribune to report.

* 2004, Jun - Obama's Republican opponent withdraws due to sex scandal

* 2005 - Obama purchases land from neighbor and now-indicted political fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko

* 2007, Mar - Obama endorses controversial Chicago alderman Dorothy "The Hat" Tillman, who reportedly "[deployed] city resources to hire her family and reward campaign contributors."

* 2007, Apr - Controversy over Obama's MySpace page

* 2007, May - Obama's campaign releases its sophisticated Facebook application, only hours "after the company launched the developer platform." TechPresident argues that Facebook gave the Obama camp an advantage: "the other campaigns found out about Platform’s with the rest of us, on Friday, May 25" and reports that "Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook, is working on the Obama campaign.

I went to the source page to find out what Obama has done with his life other than run for office.

Answer: Not much.

But then many of the candidates today fall into that unfortunate pattern. Once you subtract out military, community service, working on other people's campaigns, or being on a political staff of some sort, there is nothing left. They groom themselves (or are groomed by others) for a political life and never look back.

How are we that much different than the British, with their House of Lords?

Themes for the Barackathon - HUMAN EVENTS

"First, as they did in 2004, the Dems will stage a parade of their leaders proclaiming fealty to “the troops,” complete with a long line of veterans and retired generals who will declare their belief that Obama-Biden are their most faithful friends. That snow job melted in 2004 because the parade included so many Dems -- including Barbara Boxer and Barney Frank -- who have based their careers on contempt for the military.

This time, the Dems will do it better. Look for John Kerry to lead the pack condemning the “swift-boating” of Obama, and others to praise Obama’s promises to rebuild the military. And through the week, no one will try to penetrate the rhetoric."

Isn’t it About Time for Obama to shoot his Goose? - HUMAN EVENTS

"And this brings us to the question which is burning in my mind right now: Isn’t it about time for Obama to shoot his goose? After all, like Hillary, Ford, and Kerry, he has nothing in common with southerners. He hates everything they love. He hates guns, he hates the U.S. military, he hates the fact that we are winning in Iraq, and he hates the fact that we are the world’s sole superpower. His latest push for universal pre-school also proves his disdain and distrust for the family and parental control over education; both of which are near and dear to the hearts of southerners."

My Way News - Jailed Cuban punk rocker to stand trial Friday

"Authorities arrested the 39-year-old lead singer of Porno para Ricardo at his Havana home on Monday, shortly after the band had completed work on a new album. Cuban law defines 'social dangerousness' as behavior contrary to 'communist morality,' and police use it to detain offenders before they have a chance to commit a crime."

Here we call it Political Correctness.

It is not punishable by jail time (yet).

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Joe Biden: Hair We Can Believe In - HUMAN EVENTS

"Dismissing his theft of Kinnock's speech, Biden said at the time: 'So what if I didn't attribute it to Kinnock? I can't quite understand this. If I was making up who I was, then that's one thing.'

But Biden was making up who he was. And he was making up what kind of country this is."

Emphasis mine.

Obama, Biden's Son Linked by Earmarks

"Since Obama announced his selection of Biden on Saturday, attention has focused on Biden's lobbying connections as well as his son's lobbying activities. R. Hunter Biden is one of many relatives of members of Congress who work as lobbyists."
Working for change!

Paper currency and checks also accepted.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Google LatLong: From Google Maps to gold medal

"After returning home to Boise, Idaho, I exported the GPS data to several different formats, one of which I was able to launch with Google Earth. I was then able to trace the entire course from the comfort of my home half a world away and find a similar route to train on back in Boise."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

"'I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,' Biden said. 'I mean, that's a storybook, man.'"

Why Microsoft and Intel tried to kill the XO $100 laptop - Times Online

"Nicholas Negroponte had a vision: to build a $100 laptop and give away millions to educate the world’s poorest children. And then the fat-cat multinationals got scared and broke it..."

This may be a dupe. Too lazy to look, plus developing related stories, etc.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Perot Charts » Charting Government Fiscal Irresponsibility

"The American people must wake up and face the reality that promises made in the past will soon bankrupt this nation. These problems are explained in an easy-to-understand chart presentation discussed further at the bottom of this page. Comments to the charts and other material described to the right are encouraged."


D.C. Tries Cash as a Motivator In School -

"For years, school officials have used detention, remedial classes, summer school and suspensions to turn around poorly behaved, underachieving middle school students, with little results. Now they are introducing a program that will pay students up to $100 per month for displaying good behavior."

Oh, yeah, I'm sure that will work.

I just heard about the results of a program to reward kids who pass proficiency tests to get into college. Results: fewer kids passing, lower scores. Of course the lower scores can be explained by kids taking the test just for the chance to "win" money. Fewer kids passing: Our retarded public education system.

U.S., Iraqi Negotiators Agree on 2011 Withdrawal -

"U.S. and Iraqi negotiators have agreed to the withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces from the country by the end of 2011, and Iraqi officials said they are 'very close' to resolving the remaining issues blocking a final accord that governs the future American military presence here."

Records Sought in AMD's Suit Against Intel -

AMD filed its suit in 2005, alleging that Intel engaged in a world-wide campaign to coerce its customers into not doing business with AMD. A trial date is set for 2010. News Corp.'s Dow Jones & Co. unit, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, was among the organizations making the request.

Twenty Ten?!

That was news to me, I find it hard to believe.

I wonder if FTC computer systems aren't sabotaging the effort?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bottled Water–Not the Same as Tap |

"We keep hearing in the news these days that bottled water and tap water are basically the same thing or that that bottled water may not be as good because it is regulated less. In today’s Wall Street Journal, one reporter says “experts say tap water is held to more stringent standards by the EPA [the Environmental Protection Agency],” than is bottled water, which is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If those individuals who keep publishing such claims bothered to check the facts, they’d learn that the unidentified “experts” they cite are simply wrong."

Federal Regulations Helped Spawn Mortgage Crisis |

"Additional evidence comes from a Washington Post story, which notes that “even late in the housing bubble, Fannie Mae was drawn to risky loans by a variety of temptations, including the desire to fulfill government quotas for the support of low-income borrowers.”"


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Intel, Yahoo Team Up To Bring Web to TV -

Deja Vu all over again? I think we were expecting this a few years ago and then Microsoft came into the playground and threatened to beat everybody up. Net result, not much has changed since Tivo.

Maybe it'll be better this time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Debian Project News - Debian Turns 15

"On 16 August 1993 Ian Murdock announced a new Linux distribution named 'Debian'. 15 years later the project started by him is the biggest Linux distribution worldwide, offering more than 20 000 software packages maintained by over 1'000 volunteers, supporting more hardware architectures than any other Linux distribution, and providing a base for more than twenty active derivatives, like Knoppix, Skolelinux or Ubuntu."

Barack Obama/on lobbyists - Congresspedia

"In 2006, Rood wrote, 'at the request of a hired representative for an Australian-owned chemical corporation Nufarm, Obama introduced nine separate bills exempting the company from import fees on a range of chemical ingredients it uses in the manufacture of pesticides and herbicides. Nufarm's U.S. subsidiary is based in Illinois.'

Also, in May 2006, 'two Washington lobbyists registered to work on behalf of Astellas Pharma, a Japanese-owned drug company which also has offices in Illinois [to] 'Introduce legislation to temporarily suspend customs duties for the importation of a pharmaceutical ingredient,' they wrote on their lobbying forms. Less than three weeks later, the men had earned their $20,000 fee, thanks to Obama. On May 26, he introduced S. 3155, a bill specifically exempting Astellas' key ingredient from tariff payments. The bill cost the federal government more than $1 million in lost revenue, according to government estimates,' Rood wrote.[6]

'Only one other 2008 presidential hopeful has introduced more tariff suspension bills than Obama. Longshot GOP candidate Sen. Sam Brownback, Kan., introduced 30 such measures in the 109th Congress,' Rood wrote."

I guess Obama has experience after all.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Free the Airwaves

PC World - Vendors Rally While Windows Sleeps

"Dell, Intel and their partners announced last week new technologies that represent major leaps forward for mobility. The companies seem to have discovered the secret to making such bold leaps: Cut Microsoft out of the deal.

One technology involves enabling users to gain instant access to a laptop's e-mail, browser and other basic functionality -- without booting Windows at all."

The Week In Washington, D. C. | cooler heads

"The Post has not said anything reasonable or even factually correct on energy for over a decade (they used to support oil production in ANWR)."

Great review, haha!

About this.

Giant of Internet Radio Nears Its 'Last Stand'

'We're approaching a pull-the-plug kind of decision,' said Tim Westergren, who founded Pandora. 'This is like a last stand for webcasting.'

China’s iron Olympic grip starts to slip - Times Online

"The mystery of the half-filled stands at many events at the 2008 Olympic Games has been solved, according to Chinese internet users, who say it is the result of a policy to prevent the gathering of large and possibly uncontrollable crowds.

They claim ticket sales to the public were secretly restricted. Blocks of tickets went to government departments, Communist party officials or state-owned companies, which have quietly obeyed orders not to hand them out. “People are so angry because they slept all night outside ticket booths and got nothing and now they see this,” said one blogger, Jian Yu."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Al-Qa'eda in Iraq alienated by cucumber laws and brutality - Telegraph

"Besides the terrible killings inflicted by the fanatics on those who refuse to pledge allegiance to them, Al-Qa'eda has lost credibility for enforcing a series of rules imposing their way of thought on the most mundane aspects of everyday life."

The rest of the story is hard to believe for those of us with at least a tradition of freedom. How soon might ours evaporate given control-freak thinking at all points along the current political spectrum?

Works and Days » A Not Very Driven Interview

"In tonight’s Rick Warren interview, I don’t know why Obama chooses to insult a Supreme Court Justice at a religious forum, but his comments that Justice Thomas was not qualified to be on the Court were revealing. Why would Obama think, given his own credentials, that he was better qualified for President than Clarence Thomas was for the Supreme Court?"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

FTC Bureau of Competition

The Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Competition champions the rights of American consumers by promoting and protecting free and vigorous competition. The Bureau:

* reviews mergers and acquisitions, and challenges those that would likely lead to higher prices, fewer choices, or less innovation;
* seeks out and challenges anticompetitive conduct in the marketplace, including monopolization and agreements between competitors;
* promotes competition in industries where consumer impact is high, such as health care, real estate, oil & gas, technology, and consumer goods;
* provides information, and holds conferences and workshops, for consumers, businesses, and policy makers on competition issues and market analysis.

These guys must be new. What you want to bet they are all running Windows machines?

FCC Commissioner: Return of Fairness Doctrine Could Control Web Content

“The Fairness Doctrine has not been raised at the FCC, but the importance of this election is in part – has something to do with that,” McDowell said. “So you know, this election, if it goes one way, we could see a re-imposition of the Fairness Doctrine. There is a discussion of it in Congress. I think it won’t be called the Fairness Doctrine by folks who are promoting it. I think it will be called something else and I think it’ll be intertwined into the net neutrality debate.”

Hasn't occurred to me before, but I bet it would be some morphing of "Network Neutrality", including possibly adopting that name, as it has wide popularity among techies. Maybe if Obama wins (most likely) he can tap Andrew Cuomo as the new head of the FCC to clean up this internet mess, that is if he isn't already running for some other office. Liberal media doesn't seem to be too bothered about these developments nor have I heard of any threats from the ACLU. I guess only Republicans can do anything that might be characterized as censorship.

YouTube - cnn

Transcript available at Digital Daily.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Week In Washington, D. C. | cooler heads

"A bit of background: the first National Assessment was released in 2000 by the Clinton-Gore Administration. It was a classic piece of junk science. CEI, led by my colleague Chris Horner, filed suit on procedural grounds. That suit was settled by the Bush Administration in 2001 with a statement that explained that the National Assessment did not represent government policy. The Bush Administration settled a second suit filed by Chris when it admitted that the National Assessment had not been subjected to Federal Information Quality Act guidelines (that is, they admitted that it was junk science)."

Google Street View catches house on fire

'catches house on fire'

You shouldn't say things like that to us southerners. We totally think you meant something else.

I came here to point out that Google satellite imagery does not make use of large magnifying glasses.

Well, I don't think they do anyway. / Asia-Pacific / China - China to overtake US as largest manufacturer

"John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, a Washington-based trade group, played down the effect of the projections. It was “inevitable” that China would take over on account of its size, he said. “This should be a wholesome development for the US, for it promises both political stability for the world’s largest country and continuing opportunities for the US to export to, and invest in, the world’s fastest-growing economy.”"

Uh, yeah.

Why Microsoft and Intel tried to kill the XO $100 laptop - Times Online

"For three reasons the XO turned out to be a gross provocation to the big players in the computer industry. First, it was always going to be cheap, undercutting the competition by thousands. Computers only cost as much as they do because the makers of the software – primarily Microsoft – go to enormous lengths to make their products necessary and expensive, and because makers of the hardware are constantly adding new features that you probably don’t need."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

From Chapter one: Data Processing and the IBM Mainframe | Paul Murphy |

"A data warehousing project originally started on NT servers using SQL-Server 6.0 and now on Windows 2003/XP has recently been redesignated a mainframe service development project. Data center staff are working with two IBM websphere consultants on redeveloping this service as a web information portal built up on a DB2 warehouse services."

Prince George's raid prompts call for probe --

"'This smacks of something from Nazi Germany,' Kovalchik said.

Calvo said he wants federal officials to examine policies that he said have led Prince George's police officials to serve warrants on wrong addresses and kill family pets before."

We used to call Maryland "The Peoples Republic of Maryland". But that was mostly over taxation and other liberal policies. Now it is living up to the moniker in other ways.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

IBM, Canonical/Ubuntu, Novell, Red Hat to Deliver Microsoft-Free Desktops Worldwide - MarketWatch

"SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Aug 05, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- For the first time, IBM and leading Linux distributors Canonical/Ubuntu, Novell and Red Hat will join forces globally with their hardware partners to deliver Microsoft-free personal computing choices with Lotus Notes and Lotus Symphony in the one billion-unit desktop market worldwide by 2009."

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Clinton Embraces Return to Ambassador Role -

"In his first extended interview since his wife exited the campaign in defeat, Clinton said he was glad to be back doing international foundation work. 'This is my life now, and I was eager to get back to it, and I couldn't be happier,' Clinton said in a hotel suite, with three aides looking on."

Well, you would think that he could be happier, if he was back doing this with his wife on the way to the White House. But maybe for once, Bill is telling the truth, wanting to make sure that the Clinton legacy, whatever it turns out to be is his and his alone.

Friday, August 01, 2008


If you look at a candy bar or other (manufactured) food item you will see the list of ingredients in order from that which is most predominant to the least. They don't always list percentages so that companies don't have to divulge their "secret formula" for whatever thing they are trying to sell us. Sometimes they further obscure this by listing other manufactured ingredients, along with (in parenthesis) their list of ingredients, again in descending order:

Cooked white chicken, mayonnaise (soybean oil, water, egg yolks, distilled vinegar, sugar...), celery, water chestnuts, sugar, bread crumbs (bleached wheat flour, sugar, yeast and salt), vinegar, glucono delta lactone, onion, salt, gum arabic.

So in the above list which I slightly abbreviated by use of ellipses, we see that sugar is mentioned multiple times as is vinegar, and salt. Water is mentioned as an ingredient of mayonnaise, but not as an ingredient in bread crumbs (I'd like to see that baking technique). At the end of this list in bold letters for people with poor reading comprehensions they add:

Made with: Egg, soy, wheat.

On some foods to this they now add something like:

Processed on machinery that may have been used to process peanuts or other nut products.

I'm all for full labeling of ingredients in the food we eat. It's one of those areas where the government has, by mandating this labeling, provided a level playing field for all food producers. It would be interesting to see what percentage this adds to the cost of our foods. I would hope it is fairly small.

I used to think carbon dioxide was a fairly major component of our atmosphere. It is in fact "right up there", in a food labelling sense, with nitrogen (which I knew was the major ingredient) and oxygen (which we need, but would kill us if breathed in its pure form for too long). Because it comes in third on the list, carbon dioxide could (again in a food labeling sense) be as much as almost one third of our atmosphere (for example if nitrogen were 35 percent and oxygen were 34 percent and CO2 were 31 percent). It wouldn't surprise me if much of the public has such a loosey goosey picture of what our atmosphere is made of. It must certainly please demagogues such as Al Gore. Fortunately, we don't have to worry about a "secret recipe" when it comes to our atmosphere.

Here are the facts (from Encarta):

Atmosphere: mixture of gases surrounding any celestial object that has a gravitational field strong enough to prevent the gases from escaping; especially the gaseous envelope of Earth. The principal constituents of the atmosphere of Earth are nitrogen (78 percent) and oxygen (21 percent). The atmospheric gases in the remaining 1 percent are argon (0.9 percent), carbon dioxide (0.03 percent), varying amounts of water vapor, and trace amounts of hydrogen, ozone, methane, carbon monoxide, helium, neon, krypton, and xenon

So next time you hear a statement like:

...there is 31 percent more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today than there was in 1750, the result of our burning coal and fuels derived from oil. Methane, nitrous oxide, and CFCs are greenhouse gases as well.

...just remember that that means there was .02 percent of CO2 in the atmosphere before 1750 (and also remember that a percent is one hundredth). I rather think that when I have been given that statement about 1750 (before which I guess we just froze to death without burning anything) I'm being intentionally mislead, unless there is a footnote or something spelling out exactly what that increase is a percentage of.

Given all the animals on our planet who breath and exhale CO2, all the factories, all the output of volcanoes, does this give anyone other than me a changed sense of just how big our atmosphere is?

It's sort of like saying that that candy bar processing machine may have been used to process peanuts, but that was 20 years ago and we've cleaned it several times since then, but if you are REALLY sensitive to peanuts, then don't eat this, and if you do eat this, then don't sue us!

This is why I often argue with people who say things like "we should just terraform Mars". Step one, I guess, would be to start burning coal there and then wait a couple hundred years (except Mars already has lots of CO2, what it is missing is Oxygen (and more gravity). If we could get plants going there, and if it were capable of retaining an atmosphere as dense as ours (which it isn't because f its low gravity), I wonder how long it would take an Amazon rain forest on Mars to produce enough oxygen to sustain us. Quite a while I'm pretty sure.

Anyway, when the members of the Church of Global Warming (a modern day offshoot of the Luddites) come knocking on my door (hopefully having ridden in on bicycles while being sure not to exhale) I'm going to be a bit skeptical about taking any of their pamphlets.

When Al Gore flys in on a jet to give a PowerPoint presentation, I'll just keep laughing.

There are no mobile G84/6 problems - The INQUIRER

"There is no power problem, really, and the A03 stepping that is due in the near future has nothing to do with it. In fact, bumping the core voltage from 1.3V to 1.375V(1) is simply doing their part to make those pesky polar bears go away quicker, not indicative of any problems. Silly customers, polar bears can eat you."

You read it on the Internet.