Friday, July 31, 2009

Obama’s ‘Race to the Top’ and the Education Money Myth -

Four billion dollars is a lot of money, but it’s a tiny percentage of what the U.S. spends on education. The Department of Education estimates that the U.S. as a whole spent $667 billion on K-12 education in the 2008-09 school year alone, up from $553 billion in 2006-07. The stimulus bill from earlier this year includes some $100 billion more in federal education spending—an unprecedented amount. The tragedy is that nearly all of this $100 billion is being dispensed to the states by formula, which allows school districts to continue resisting reform while risking very little in overall federal funding.

All of this is on top of the education spending boom during the Bush years to pay for the 2001 No Child Left Behind law. Democrats liked to claim that law was “underfunded,” but the reality is that inflation-adjusted Education Department elementary and secondary spending under President Bush grew to $37.9 billion from $28.3 billion, or 34%. NCLB-specific funding rose by more than 40% between 2001 and 2008.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Kindle Ate My Homework | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD

As part of his studies of “1984,” Mr. Gawronski had made copious notes in the book. After Amazon remotely deleted “1984,” those notes were rendered useless because they no longer referenced the relevant parts of the book. The notes are still accessible on the Kindle 2 device in a file separate from the deleted book, but are of no value. For example, a note such as “remember this paragraph for your thesis” is useless if it does not actually a reference a specific paragraph. By deleting “1984” from Mr. Gawronski’s Kindle 2, this is the position in which Amazon left him. Mr. Gawronski now needs to recreate all of his studies.

Well played!

From the Desk of David Pogue - Take Back the Beep Campaign -

... we're PAYING for these messages. These little 15-second waits add up--bigtime. If Verizon's 70 million customers leave or check messages twice a weekday, Verizon rakes in about $620 million a year. That's your money. And your time: three hours of your time a year, just sitting there listening to the same message over and over again every year.

In 2007, I spoke at an international cellular conference in Italy. The big buzzword was ARPU--Average Revenue Per User. The seminars all had titles like, "Maximizing ARPU In a Digital Age." And yes, several attendees (cell executives) admitted to me, point-blank, that the voicemail instructions exist primarily to make you use up airtime, thereby maximizing ARPU.

EXCLUSIVE: No. 3 at Justice OK'd Panther reversal - Washington Times

Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli, the No. 3 official in the Obama Justice Department, was consulted and ultimately approved a decision in May to reverse course and drop a civil complaint accusing three members of the New Black Panther Party of intimidating voters in Philadelphia during November's election, according to interviews.

(And according to videos.) The allegations are well supported for anyone with working eyeballs.

This is nothing more than self promotion by the permanent entrenched federal bureaucracy, who know better than to threaten the interests of the big boss, especially a Democrat who sees no harm in ever growing federal power. Same as it ever was. See previous article for legal self-serving combined with technological incompetence.

The Department of Justice should take a hint from the Microsoft suit: Don't go after Google.

Easy to agree with conclusion of this article at Slate, but not the premises...

“The antitrust prosecution against Microsoft was misguided. To be sure, the government had the facts right—in the late 1990s, the software giant looked unbeatable.”

You think they are beatable now? Apple, the only serious commercial competitor switched to Intel processors, and the majority of Apple computers now dual boot to Windows, or run virtualization software that runs Windows in a window. These copies of Windows which must be purchased separately actually make more money for MS than the copies bundled with a new computer. Apple isn't a competitor, it's a partner.

'When Gates learned that Intel was building a chip that would let programmers deploy enhanced graphics within non-Microsoft operating systems, he wrote to Intel CEO Andy Grove, "I don't understand why Intel funds a group that is against Windows 95." Intel stopped developing the chip.'

And what has changed now, other than they have learned to use the telephone rather than e-mail for these communications? Everyone now depends on Intel, for almost all computing where Microsoft has an interest. The exceptions are fringe, and not insurmountable. Yes, if everyone replaced every PC with an iPhone Microsoft would be in trouble, but that's not about to happen. I'm quite sure that everyone at the Department of Justice that has an iPhone (and there are probably quite a few) are using them to connect to machines running copies of Windows and Office that together cost more than the iPhone itself. While there is a huge infrastructure needed to earn Apple what it makes on that iPhone, for Microsoft, all they produce is a tick mark on a spreadsheet somewhere where DoJ keeps track of how many Windows/Office licenses they “need”.

“The theory behind the prosecution was that Microsoft's mobster tactics would raise the price of software and slow down innovation. But that didn't happen.”

How do you measure something that didn't happen? This reminds me of young people who say things like “If it weren't for Microsoft we wouldn't have the PC as it exists today.” Maybe not. Maybe we would have something more reliable, using less power, not prone to spyware or pop-ups, free from spam. There a lot of innovations that simply didn't happen because both Microsoft and Intel sucked all the oxygen out of the room. The threats posed to MS/Intel by either Google or Apple are all future tense and speculative.

“It got beat anyway. Many of Microsoft's assets turned out not to matter, because upstarts like Google and old foes like Apple found ways to innovate around them.”

With MS still holding majority share in all of these areas and making enough profit every year to buy thousands of small businesses, you have a very creative definition of “beat”.

“Windows and Office—that it was blind to opportunities in new markets. Microsoft couldn't make a Web e-mail system like Gmail, because that would have threatened Outlook.”

But that's exactly what they are doing. “Hotmail” as they used to call it is the equivalent of Gmail in almost every respect that matters... only your get a few more features from it if you happen to be using Windows and Internet Explorer. Office Live will give, again, steadfast Microsoft supplicants like the DoJ full online versions of their favorite applications. The advantage of Google products will evaporate overnight. What's the primary difference between the Google way of doing things and Microsoft way? Google doesn't lock you into a single OS or single Office suit. Microsoft does. Advantage Microsoft.

“Yes, the first iPod didn't work on Windows. In time, it would help render Windows irrelevant.”

Get back to us when Slate or the Department of Justice replace all their desktop PCs with iPhones.

“Google has the resources to keep fighting these fights, and eventually it may win. But nothing in Google's history guarantees success.”

Now you're talking sense. Google's market share could evaporate almost over night. Transition from Windows to Android or anything else could take years (ask the Europeans). Google has the resources to fight Microsoft's well entrenched monopoly now. But setbacks in search would see most of these efforts that threaten Microsoft starved of funding.

“Varney has said that antitrust enforcement is a key tool for regulators to keep the economy running smoothly. But in the tech business, antitrust regulators are often too slow, fighting battles long after they've ceased to matter to consumers.”

I don't know about Varney's politics, but her statements about technology smack of cluelessness. If DoJ is like other federal agencies I've worked with, the top several layers of entrenched bureaucrats are clueless about technology as well. It's not clear they understand the law either. As far as the economy goes, this is a bad time to accuse anyone in Washington of understanding it. Remember that unemployment in Washington is hovering around two percent.

Obama Approval Slips Three Points in Past Week

PRINCETON, NJ -- Amidst President Obama's push in July to revamp the nation's healthcare system, Gallup finds his average job approval rating registering 56% for the seven-day period ending Sunday, down from 59% the previous week. This three percentage point drop is the largest week-to-week decline seen in Obama's job approval thus far in his presidency, and punctuates a gradual descent from his 66% rating in early May.

Fifty Six percent of Americans still don't have a clue.

How About A National Conversation on Race Hoaxes? - HUMAN EVENTS

Desperate to blame the cop, despite the facts, some liberals have begun making up their own facts. Radio talker Opio Sokoni claimed Crowley told Gates to "shut up" and "I'm going to win, you're going to jail." Even Gates doesn't claim the cop said that.

On MSNBC's "Hardball," Chris Matthews said that Gates did not say, "I'll speak with your mama outside," as stated in the police report.

"He didn't say this," Matthews asserted as fact. This invented fact allowed Matthews to accuse the cop of engaging in "projection" and to conjure Crowley's psychological state, saying, this is "what a white guy thought a black guy would say."

Eugene Robinson endorsed Matthews' invented fact, saying: "I cannot imagine in this universe Skip Gates saying, 'I'll speak with your mama outside.'" As proof, Robinson explained that Gates "rolls with kings and queens and Nobel Prize winners." (I'm not "projecting" what I think a black man would say; he really said that.)

And then they both had a laugh about the cop applying racist stereotypes to such an esteemed figure as Professor Gates, who apparently would NEVER use the phrase "your mama."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Yahoo committed seppuku today � The Jason Calacanis Weblog

Yahoo committed seppuku today.

The once proud warrior of the internet space laid down its sword, knelt at the feet of Microsoft and gutted itself today. There was no honor in this death, it was one brought by the shame of losing to Google and a lack of faith in one’s ability to compete in the space they created. To be clear, Yahoo didn’t need to do this deal, Microsoft did. Ultimately Yahoo will look back at this moment as the second–and perhaps fatal–mistake in their epic history.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Robert J. Samuelson - Obama Reform Sidesteps Health Costs -

But what helps many Americans as individuals may hurt society as a whole. That's the paradox. Unchecked health spending is depressing take-home pay, squeezing other government programs -- state and local programs as well as federal -- and driving up taxes and budget deficits. The president has said all of this; he simply isn't doing much about it. He offers the illusion of "reform" while perpetuating the status quo of four decades: expand benefits, talk about controlling costs. The press should put "reform" in quote marks, because this is one "reform" that might leave the country worse off.

Bacterial computers can crack mathematical problems | Science |

The research, published today in the Journal of Biological Engineering, proves that bacteria can be used to solve a puzzle known as the Hamiltonian Path Problem. Imagine you want to tour the 10 biggest cities in the UK – one route might start in London (number 1) and finish in Bristol (number 10), for example. The solution to the Hamiltonian Path Problem would be the route that takes in each city just once.

This simple problem is surprisingly difficult to solve. There are over 3.5 million possible routes to choose from, and a regular computer must try them out one at a time to find the one that visits each city only once. Alternatively, a computer made from millions of bacteria can look at every route simultaneously. The biological world also has other advantages. As time goes by, a bacterial computer will actually increase in power as the bacteria reproduce.

Obama 2004: Bush Rushed Legislation Through Congress Without Allowing Time to Read Or Debate |

BARACK OBAMA: ...When you rush these budgets that are a foot high and nobody has any idea what's in them and nobody has read them.

RANDI RHODES: 14 pounds it was!

BARACK OBAMA: Yeah. And it gets rushed through without any clear deliberation or debate then these kinds of things happen. And I think that this is in some ways what happened to the Patriot Act. I mean you remember that there was no real debate about that. It was so quick after 9/11 that it was introduced that people felt very intimidated by the administration.

Audio at linked source.

Monday, July 27, 2009

US Vice President Biden hits nerve in Russia

"It raises the question: Who is shaping U.S. foreign policy? The president or members of his team, even the most respected ones?" said Kremlin foreign policy adviser Sergei Prikhodko.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs on Monday downplayed suggestions that Biden was setting a different U.S. policy from that laid out by the president.

In Russia they ask questions that should be asked over here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Poll: What was the Obamateurism of the Week?

"Previous “winners”:

* Obama salutes the Ghana flag
* Obama jokes about Alaska sale with Russians
* Obama uses union and DNC plants at health-care town hall
* Obama plants a question on Iran with HuffPo
* Change in Iran coming because “Obviously, after the speech I made in Cairo…”
* Flashing his soles to the camera while talking to Netanyahu
* “If you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.”
* “We can no longer afford to spend as if deficits do not matter and waste is not our problem.”
* Siccing Tim Geithner and Charlie Rangel on tax cheats
* Phony Churchill quote on torture throws Grandpa under the bus
* Torture probe flip-flop
* Obama covers up IHS while quoting Jesus
* Austrian is a language?
* Obama bows to the Saudi king
* 1908 Model T got better gas mileage than today’s SUVs"

The OMB-CBO throwdown

Obama called Elmendorf to the White House after the CBO director testified that the present House bill would add $239 billion to the deficit over the next ten years, creating a rift between moderate and liberal Democrats in the House and abruptly halting the effort in the Senate. Obama denied that he intended to intimidate Elmendorf into providing more sympathetic numbers in subsequent analyses, but the White House got roundly criticized for inappropriately interfering with Congress’ independence in fiscal analysis.

Now, however, the White House has dispensed with the illusion of bullying and made it as overt as possible. This makes the intent of the earlier meeting crystal clear. They had hoped to intimidate Elmendorf in private, and since that didn’t work, they’re now doing it openly. - White House eases stimulus lobbyist restrictions

In a significant change, the Obama administration will now allow lobbyists to meet and have telephonic discussions with government officials regarding economic recovery projects.

The lifting of the ban comes after K Street has cried foul for months and has challenged the White House on its restrictions.


Oh, see the ACLU was offended. That explains it.

The Beez' speaks..: From Russia with Linux

The easiest way is to let the customer decide when he buys the system. If he accepts Windows he gets a DVD, a license and he can activate it from the privacy of his own home. WGA should prevent any piracy - if it is any good. The licensing costs are added to the bill and that's it. If he takes Chrome - for example - it's free. It's as simple as that.

Be sure Microsoft will put up a fight, because it will:

1. Make clear to the customer what he pays for and how much he pays for it;
2. Make it virtually impossible to impose its terms to hardware manufacturers;
3. Give customers a real alternative, backed by a major company;
4. Expose the vulnerability of its business model in the 21st century to the shareholders in a way that cannot be misunderstood;
5. Create a dangerous precedent - if here, why not in the US?

Power Line - A Strategy, Not A Gaffe

It's hard to tell, sometimes, whether Gibbs's incoherence is deliberate. Often, I think it is; perhaps that's the case here. The "issue" that President Obama "has been concerned about" and that "communities and law enforcement work together" on is apparently racial profiling. The conversation that Obama intends to have with Gates and Crowley over a beer could get a little tense if Gates (and Obama?) think they are working on the issue of racial profiling, while Crowley thinks they are working on the issue of privileged people with connections in high places acting abusively toward police officers who are trying to do their jobs.

U.S. Professor: I told FBI about kidney trafficking 7 years ago - Haaretz - Israel News

The anthropologist says that the man who led her to Rosenbaum says that he initially believed Rosenbaum was a man who saved the lives of people in need. According to Scheper-Hughes, that man told her he had changed his mind after meeting some of Rosenbaum's donors - confused and impoverished people from Eastern Europe.

One out of every five adult males in some of Moldova's poorest villages has had his kidney removed, according to Scheper-Hughes. But a 2004 State Department report stated that "it would be impossible to conceal a clandestine organ trafficking ring."

Well, maybe they should have said impossible to conceal for more than 7 years!

Just 3 weeks in mayor's job — and indicted - Crime & courts-

Stanley Renshon, a psychoanalyst and City University of New York political science professor, says it's really not that surprising.

"Politics has a lot of temptation because it has to do with power. People are attracted to the power. Ambition is like a loose cannon — it can be dangerous," Renshon said.

Great "reporting" by AP and MSNBC, but both of them neglected to report that quite possibly, ONE of the 44 people arrested was a Republican. Or maybe as they would have printed it "Repugnican".

Friday, July 24, 2009

Security Breach May Lead To Obama Natural Born Status

A series of 2008 security breaches at the US State Department may indicate that someone knows Barack Obama’s true status as a natural born citizen - and is waiting for the right time to reveal it.

The breaches, which occurred on January 9, February 21 and March 14 of 2008, were done by two “low level” contractors and another in a mid-level position with no management role. Then- State Department spokesman Sean McCormack admitted that officials only became aware of the incidents on the afternoon of March 20.

According to a CNN report of the incident, “a State Department source said passport files contain scanned images of passport applications, birth date and basic biographical information, records of passport renewal, and possibly citizenship information.”

Inspector General Fired by President Obama Files Lawsuit to Be Reinstated* - Political Punch

As we've covered, on June 11 President Obama fired Walpin, who had been criticized for his handling of an investigation into the use of AmeriCorps funds by a community group called St. HOPE Academy, founded by Kevin Johnson, former point guard of the Phoenix Suns, who was elected Mayor of Sacramento last November and is an ally of the president’s.

In April of this year, St. HOPE Academy agreed to pay a $423,836.50 settlement -- $72,836.50 of which would be paid personally by Mayor Johnson.

But Walpin didn't approve of the settlement, or the way it was handled, and said he was "proud" that he and the Inspector General's office "refused to go along with the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Corporation in bowing to the media and political pressure that resulted in this hasty settlement, contrary to the interests of the United States Government."

Microsoft Changes 'Laptop Hunter' Ad After Apple Complains | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD

Brian: The main reason you can't run OS X on a PC is that Apple doesn't want you to. Apple could claim unique use of hardware when they ran PowerPC chips, and they could have done some fairly interesting high end things in that realm, but they chose to make Apple computers more like PCs, and in fact there is very little difference in the technology. There are supercomputers made from PowerPC chips, all the game consoles use them (for speed) and there is a lot of commonality in PowerPC and the chips used to build IBM mainframes. But no, they weren't “good enough” for Apple.

Now, to show I'm an equal opportunity hater... It's clear now that Apple's (or Jobs' anyway) goal was to comoditize the Apple computer, make it MORE like a PC, and thus cheaper to stamp out by the thousands in some far away country, just like Dell and HP do. Other than unibody Aluminum enclosures and chicklet keyboards, there is less and less that is unique about an Apple computer with every revision. Apple is instead turning to innovation in total user experience, making computer, multimedia, phone, and online products that seamlessly (or more seamlessly than the alternatives anyway) integrate.

Why does Microsoft have to advertise products (PCs ) that they don't even make and hardly mention the part of it they are responsible for? Well, I think that question answers itself. There is nothing new and exciting about operating systems, any of them, and there isn't really much that is new an exciting about the hardware either. We are finally approaching the cliff that turns our interaction with computers into something akin to our interaction with TV sets and refrigerators. A greater reliance on hardware standards (an idea pushed early on by Microsoft of all companies) has made the technology differences in PCs (including Apples) minimal which means that the OS has less covering up to do. That coupled with a greater reliance on the Internet, means that prices on both hardware and software will continue to erode. This will force both Apple and Microsoft to make uncomfortable changes to heir business models. Microsoft is responding by becoming more of a network player. Apple is playing a move ahead by concentrating on non-PC technologies, while at the same time milking the high-end market for all it's worth. Neither of these strategies are sure bets however.

As details of discreet vs integrated circuit boards and variations on Dolby are no longer the subject of talk by any but the most fanatical audiophiles, in a few years nobody will be talking about which operating system you use. There may never be an OS XI or Windows 8, or if so they will go unheralded by most people. There will also be less talk about losing all your e-mails, personal photos or music files, because most of that stuff will be “online”. Even most large businesses now forbid employees from storing important thtings on the local hard drive. E-mail and documents worth saving go on networked drives, making the desktop system easily re-formatted with no backup-restore. You have to wonder why you would need a $400 OS for such a task.

In the early 90s when some of my mainframe colleagues proclaimed PCs just a fad they were right, it's just that the fad lasted a lot longer than they thought it would. Thankfully it is coming to an end. - Videos > Is Your iPod Unpatriotic?

Why Are We In Afghanistan? - What's News Tonight

Best signals source tells me that in Riyadh in June, POTUS asked Saudi intelligence to buy the Taliban leaders and end the war so that the US can bug out. Prince Moqrin, head of Saudi Intelligence, is now negotiating with several senior warlords. Will he be successful? Doubtful. The Taliban can try a ceasefire long enough to give the Americans and exit. The aim is to transfer Afghanistan under the control of the Pakistani secret police and other jihadist bullies. I mention this plan not because it is credible to me, but because it is an ongoing delusion of the Obama administration that it can disengage from Afghanistan. Part of the grand bargain with the usurper Ahmadinejad.

Gizmodo 79 - Gizmodo

Has Obama's luck run out?

"In mid-October, hundreds of thousands of protesters surrounded the White House demanding an immediate withdrawal from Vietnam, egged on by a media establishment that had cheered JFK and LBJ all the way into liberalism's war.

With David Broder writing of the 'breaking of the president,' Nixon went on national television to implore the 'great silent majority' to stand with him for peace with honor in Vietnam."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Drug czar: Feds won't support legalized pot - Local -

The federal government is not going to pull back on its efforts to curtail marijuana farming operations, Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, said Wednesday in Fresno.

The nation's drug czar, who viewed a foothill marijuana farm on U.S. Forest Service land with state and local officials earlier Wednesday, said the federal government will not support legalizing marijuana.


Myth: Dems Like to Cut Military Spending - John Stossel's Take

Take it from a speech Defense Secretary Robert Gates gave last week:

"The last defense budget submitted by President George W. Bush for Fiscal Year 2009 was $515 billion. In that budget the Bush administration proposed – at my recommendation – a Fiscal Year 2010 defense budget of $524 billion. The budget just submitted by President Obama for FY 2010 was $534 billion. Even after factoring inflation, and some of the war costs that were moved from supplemental appropriations, President Obama's defense request represents a modest but real increase over the last Bush budget."

Microsoft Blows (Quarter) (MSFT)

What's the deal with the White House press corps? -

"I don't fault the President for trying to control the press. But I ask you, why does the press go along? There is not one moment of spontaneity. The questioners are tipped off, in advance, by the White House and they behave accordingly.

No. Not one questions about Iraq. Not one questions about Afghanistan, where American troops have had the worst month of fatalities in eight years. These guys, and women, are not journalists. They're enablers."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Microsoft Exec: Vista Perceptions Could Change - The Channel Wire - IT Channel News And Views by CRN and VARBusiness

"I think people will look back on Vista after the Windows 7 release and realize that there were actually a bunch of good things there," Guggenheimer said in a recent interview. "So it'll actually be interesting to see in two years what the perception is of Vista."

Well, yeah, XP seemed like a dream compared to Vista, so no doubt Microsoft's latest monstrosity will fill users with longings for the past. Same as it ever was.

China Worker Suicide Puts Spotlight on Hon Hai, Apple -

A spokesman for Apple said, "We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death. We require that our suppliers treat all workers with dignity and respect."

According to local media reports, which couldn't be independently confirmed, Mr. Sun was questioned about the disappearance of a prototype of Apple's next-generation iPhone. The reports also said he had been beaten.

American Thinker Blog: Feds issue guidelines to stay away from Vegas and Orlando for meetings

Following the embarrassment of video-taped scenes of federal bureaucrats boogying at the ultra-luxurious Arizona Biltmore Hotel to ‘relieve stress", it is understandable that agencies want to avoid the "appearance" of doing what they are doing: wasting taxpayer money on useless junkets.

We don't know when this guidance was supplied to federal agencies, but a sneaking suspicion is that it was after the Arizona Biltmore tape aired, and some genius in the White House reacted, not realizing that Harry Reid is up for re-election next year. Amateur hour stuff, it seems to me.

At some point the major media will take the trouble to report that before winning his party's nomination Obama hadn't won a major election outright. In previous contests his opponents had been forced to drop out for one reason or another. Hillary (and I'm no fan of hers either) had 15 years (count'em) of anti-Hillary material built up against her by both conservatives and liberals of one kind or another. McCain is considered a lefty among Republicans. "Acceptable" but nothing more. Meanwhile, Democrats who said things like "McCain is one Republican I could see voting for", voted for Obama anyway.

While Obama's term in office will most certainly hurt people who voted for him more than it hurts people who didn't, it will hurt all Americans in ways that will take a generation to recover from.

The empty suit in the White House isn't really all that hard to explain. It will be hard to forget.

American Thinker: Letter of Amends from a Recovering Liberal in Berkeley

These are not easy words for anyone to utter, much less a leftist from Berkeley, or a recovering leftist, that is. Even though I've been in recovery for 14 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days, leftists are always right in your face, in an I-hate-you-if-you-disagree sort of way. Hence, this letter of amends to all the people I've lectured, scolded, ranted and raved at, and otherwise annoyed during my 30 plus years of "progressive" politics.

Palin to feds: Alaska is sovereign state

While seven states – Tennessee, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Alaska and Louisiana – have had both houses of their legislatures pass similar decrees, Alaska Gov. Palin and Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen are currently the only governors to have signed their states' sovereignty resolutions.

The resolutions all address the Tenth Amendment that says: "powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Climate Cult - What's News Tonight

Meanwhile I read on ClimateDepot that there is a surprising detail this Summer 2009 about sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere. This is not a positive for the "we are melting" chant. Al Gore, call your science officer: "June 2009 monthly sea ice data is now out for NH and SH. The global sea ice anomaly in June 2009 remained positive. Over the 1979-2009 period, there is zero trend in global sea ice anomaly, with a SH increasing trend offsetting a NH decreasing trend. June 2009 NH anomaly was not remarkable." What I understand from the 82 comments is that the NASA projections for the retreat of the Northern Ice Pack do not take into account this "anomaly." Also that the worldwide warming trend may be limited to the North Hemisphere. This seems irregular. The cult gotta lotta "splainin' to do. "Looks like cryosphere is ignoring the Southern Hemisphere. Guess they aren't really talking about 'worldwide' climate, just the Northern Hemisphere...."

Tehran Murder of an Only Child - What's News Tonight

The puzzle of the ongoing turmoil in Tehran and throughout the Islamic Republic is how the continuing silence of the Obama administration is aiding the vast resistance to the usurper Ahmadinejad and his IRGC predators. The DoD has consistently detailed the efforts of the IRGC to wreck the Iraq government and defeat the Coalition since 2003. Ahmadinejad is voluble in his threats against Israel and the Jewish people. The Supreme Leader Khamenei is a tyrant and provocateur of naked aggression. All this, and since June the steady stream of reports of the brutality of the Basij militia against the Iranian people, and still neither POTUS nor significant representatives of the Obama administration speak in public to name Teheran as a rogue. The silence does not improve the facts. The well-sourced intelligence that the Obama administration aims to negotiate an expedient bargain with Tehran, to add to a similar bargain offered by the Bush administration, is said to explain POTUS silence. Thaddeus McCotter speaks for the American people who have listened in disappointment for an honest, sturdy voice of liberty from the elected leader of "the citty on a hill."

American Thinker Blog: Obama and the CPUSA

"The really striking thing about all this, though, is that the CPUSA can openly align itself with the President of the US, right under our noses, and it will have zero effect on public sentiment because the lapdog media studiously averts its gaze."

Lawyer Freed After Spending 14 Years in Jail on Contempt Charge | ABA Journal - Law News Now

They probably talk about this in Russia.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Clinton likens North Korea to unruly children | Reuters

"What we've seen is this constant demand for attention," Clinton, who is in India, said in an interview that aired on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Monday.

"And maybe it's the mother in me or the experience that I've had with small children and unruly teenagers and people who are demanding attention -- don't give it to them, they don't deserve it, they are acting out," she said.

I try very hard not to pay much attention to liberals. Problem is that every now and then they get hold of something that can do harm to themselves and those around them.

White House putting off release of budget update

The White House is being forced to acknowledge the wide gap between its once-upbeat predictions about the economy and today's bleak landscape.

The administration's annual midsummer budget update is sure to show higher deficits and unemployment and slower growth than projected in President Barack Obama's budget in February and update in May, and that could complicate his efforts to get his signature health care and global-warming proposals through Congress.

The release of the update - usually scheduled for mid-July - has been put off until the middle of next month, giving rise to speculation the White House is delaying the bad news at least until Congress leaves town on its August 7 summer recess.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Google’s Chiller-less Data Center � Data Center Knowledge

Chillers, which are used to refrigerate water, are widely used in data center cooling systems but require a large amount of electricity to operate. With the growing focus on power costs, many data centers are reducing their reliance on chillers to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities.

This has boosted adoption of “free cooling,” the use of fresh air from outside the data center to support the cooling systems. This approach allows data centers to use outside air when the temperature is cool, while falling back on chillers on warmer days.

Google has taken the strategy to the next level. Rather than using chillers part-time, the company has eliminated them entirely in its data center near Saint-Ghislain, Belgium, which began operating in late 2008 and also features an on-site water purification facility that allows it to use water from a nearby industrial canal rather than a municipal water utility.

Michael Savage: Pack your bags for England!

While we are on incompetents (and incompetence) in office, I was shocked at this article:

No, not the turnaround on banning Michael Savage... which was more of a circus event, but this statement from the stepped down Home Secretary:

Last week, Jacqui Smith admitted she was not up to being home secretary, saying she should have been given some training for the job before being named.

"When I became home secretary I'd never run a major organization," she told Total Politics magazine. "I hope I did a good job but if I did it was more by luck than by any kind of development of skills. I think we should have been better trained. I think there should have been more induction."

Last month, Smith resigned her position in the wake of scandal over personal use of taxpayer funds and her controversial ban of Savage.

If only the imbeciles in high office over here would have the humility to make such a statement I might be a little less antagonistic at them lining their own retirement portfolios at the expense of mine, all in the name of "helping the disadvantaged" (which it won't).

Saturday, July 18, 2009

EDITORIAL: Lead in the head - Washington Times

On June 22, Baby Sprouts Naturals went out of business. Congress killed it. Baby Sprouts Naturals is a small company making what it calls "natural, non-toxic baby products" such as "organic apparel," toys and the like. None of the company's products contains lead. But an anti-lead law Congress passed in 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), has snared even this leadless company in its trap. - Senator quashes Treasury’s bid for humorist

The chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee quashed an effort by the Treasury Department to hire a cartoonist after the link to the job ad was posted on the Drudge Report.

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) contacted the Treasury Department to complain after Matt Drudge’s website linked to a want ad for contractors with the “ability to create cartoons on the spot about [Bureau of the Public Debt] jobs.”

Friday, July 17, 2009

Charles Krauthammer - 40 Years After Apollo 11, America's Retreat From the Moon -

Next week marks the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing. We say we will return in 2020. But that promise was made by a previous president, and this president has defined himself as the antimatter to George Bush. Moreover, for all of Barack Obama's Kennedyesque qualities, he has expressed none of Kennedy's enthusiasm for human space exploration.

So with the Apollo moon program long gone, and with Constellation, its supposed successor, still little more than a hope, we remain in retreat from space. Astonishing. After countless millennia of gazing and dreaming, we finally got off the ground at Kitty Hawk in 1903. Within 66 years, a nanosecond in human history, we'd landed on the moon. Then five more landings, 10 more moonwalkers and, in the decades since, nothing.

Socialist America Sinking - HUMAN EVENTS

"The United States is declining as a nation and a world power with mostly sighs and shrugs to mark this seismic event," writes Les Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, in CFR's Foreign Affairs magazine. "Astonishingly, some people do not appear to realize that the situation is all that serious."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

CBO: The Long-Term Budget Outlook

Under current law, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, because federal debt will continue to grow much faster than the economy over the long run. Although great uncertainty surrounds long-term fiscal projections, rising costs for health care and the aging of the population will cause federal spending to increase rapidly under any plausible scenario for current law. Unless revenues increase just as rapidly, the rise in spending will produce growing budget deficits. Large budget deficits would reduce national saving, leading to more borrowing from abroad and less domestic investment, which in turn would depress economic growth in the United States. Over time, accumulating debt would cause substantial harm to the economy.

The current recession and policy responses have little effect on long-term projections of noninterest spending and revenues. But CBO estimates that in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, the federal government will record its largest budget deficits as a share of GDP since shortly after World War II. As a result of those deficits, federal debt held by the public will soar from 41 percent of GDP at the end of fiscal year 2008 to 60 percent at the end of fiscal year 2010. This higher debt results in permanently higher spending to pay interest on that debt. Federal interest payments already amount to more than 1 percent of GDP; unless current law changes, that share would rise to 2.5 percent by 2020.

‘God Awful’: Black Chamber of Commerce CEO Rips Sen. Boxer for ‘Condescending’ Racial Remarks

From the comments:

Ha -

Boxer did everything but say, “you need to fall in line with the other black folk and run along”. How embarrassing for this guy to be spoken down to like he is in second grade.

Hey California, another great job on sending just one more elitist to DC. Gosh, why is your state 24 billion in debt again?

I live in California and am ashamed of many of our representatives. They are arrogant and condescending without any common sense. How can the people of California keep electing these people? Look at our state government run by Democrats for numerous years and they have not only taken us down the road to ruin but will not fix the budget because they will not give up their special interests which means making cuts. I am very afraid for where we are going. Yes, it could be humorous but not if you live in this state.

What an amazing display of pure unadulterated racism. First she puts in a Pew study that shows growth in the Green sector, but not how much growth or how many jobs. She puts this forth like the guy is a stupid monkey, and the man is obviously intelligent. He politely lets it slide. Then she puts as evidence an endorsement by the NAACP, a civil rights, not scientific organization, as if the man hasn’t got the intelligence to see beyond his own race and will be awed by the blackness of the report writers. When he finally calls her condescending, and explains to her he is an American, a veteran, as well as black she makes a bizarre connection that her spouse is also a veteran and that has nothing to do with the conversation. He was trying to communicate to her that he is arguing issues not color, and that he is not only black, he is also an American with a proven dedication to his nation. He walked the walk, he did not simply marry the walker. The one thing this interchanges proves is the falsehood of the racists, because this man is so obviously intellectually superior to Boxer it hurts to watch. Imagine if he was sitting in her chair how this same scenario would have played out. How do people like her end up as ‘rulers’ while men like him become their toys?

Barbara Boxer is an idiot. I live in California and am ashamed to say she represents my state. I cringe every time she opens her mouth (which is far too often) because, more often than not, something dumb and completely uninformed comes out. This video is just one example. The gentleman from the Black Chamber of Commerce was correct, she was being condescending (at best). - Joe Biden: ‘We Have to Go Spend Money to Keep From Going Bankrupt’

Vice President Joe Biden told people attending an AARP town hall meeting that unless the Democrat-supported health care plan becomes law the nation will go bankrupt and that the only way to avoid that fate is for the government to spend more money.

“And folks look, AARP knows and the people with me here today know, the president knows, and I know, that the status quo is simply not acceptable,” Biden said at the event on Thursday in Alexandria, Va. “It’s totally unacceptable. And it’s completely unsustainable. Even if we wanted to keep it the way we have it now. It can’t do it financially.”

“We’re going to go bankrupt as a nation,” Biden said.

“Now, people when I say that look at me and say, ‘What are you talking about, Joe? You’re telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt?’” Biden said. “The answer is yes, that's what I’m telling you.”

If statements like this by their own elected officials don't convince Democrats that they've made a horrible mistake, I don't know what will. Either these people are idiots, or they think you are. Which is it?

Censored on House Floor by Pelosi - HUMAN EVENTS

House rules require a bill be publicly posted for three days before it can be voted on. That basic rule was written by none other than Thomas Jefferson as part of the original rules package of the House, as it is essential to the survival of representative democracy.

The House can waive that rule if it chooses on specific occasions. The Republican-controlled House chose to waive it when considering the Patriot Act in 2001 following the terror attacks of 9-11. They thought there was enough of a national defense emergency to just bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

But Nancy Pelosi and her House Democrats have chosen to ignore the rule on every major issue taken up by the House this year, including...

Congress demands answers after $700,000 Arizona conference - Phoenix Arizona news, breaking news, local news, weather radar, traffic from ABC15 News |

Our hidden cameras captured hundreds of federal employees dancing in Phoenix on your dime, private dance recitals and paid motivational speakers.

There was also a trip to a local casino.

"What we want to know from the agency is, how much money did you spend?" said Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas. "Not just on rooms at night, but on travel and organizing the conference."

Brady, who is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee that oversees the Social Security Administration, is describing the three day conference as "a bad use of our tax dollars.

VDH's Private Papers::War and Taxes

It is striking how Obama references past mistakes on Afghanistan and emphasizes the now-tired "reset"-button themes — striking because of what is left unsaid.

When Obama says that things got worse in Afghanistan and that he now is trying to renew attention there and right things, fair enough. He deserves our support for his escalation. But at the same time, he is absolutely silent about the radical shift in Iraq, the once-"bad" war that is now far more encouraging than is its "good" counterpart in Afghanistan.

But someone, apparently to be forever unmentioned, did something right for Obama to inherit relative calm in Iraq, a democratic government that still survives and which is exposing the old shibboleth "we only empowered Iran by going into Iraq" to be a short-term truism at best; when, in fact, a multiparty, Shiite-majority democracy in Iraq that replaced Saddam is probably proving far more destablizing to nearby 8th-century clerics in Iran than are their own IEDs and bought terrorists in Iraq.


The only mystery will be how long will the base of Obama's support stay loyal among high-paid stockbrokers, CEOs, lawyers, financiers, academics, and journalists, who have enough money to get hit hard by new taxes, but not quite enough money not to care.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What is Card Check?

Found at, "Card Checked: The Game" takes players through an interactive web-based game where they experience a union managed card check scheme, much like that suggested in the EFCA. The player is taken through a series of different scenarios where they must make decisions that affect the future play of the game. Unfortunately, the game ends much like real life in that EFCA is expected to cost 600,000 jobs in the first year alone.

Ballmer Ribs Google's OS At Microsoft Conference (MSFT, GOOG)

"I don't know if they can't make up their mind or what the problem is over there. The last time I checked you don't need two client operating systems."

Only one of the readers at businessinsider came up with this list of MS operating systems (I don't know if they are all current):

* Windows XP
o Starter Edition (16 editions for each of 16 countries)
o Home Edition
o Home Edition N (European market)
o Home Edition K (South Korean market)
o Home Edition KN (South Korean market)
o Home Edition for Subscription Computers
o Home Edition for Prepaid Computers
o Professional Edition
o Professional Edition N (European market)
o Professional Edition K (South Korean market)
o Professional Edition KN (South Korean market)
o 64-bit Edition
o Professional x64 Edition
o Media Center Edition
o Tablet PC Edition
o XP for Embedded Systems
o XP Embedded
o Embedded for Point of Service
o Windows Fundamentals For Legacy PCs
* Windows Server 2003
o Small Business Server
o Web Edition
o Standard Edition
o Enterprise Edition
o Datacenter Edition
o Storage Server
o Windows Home Server
* Windows Vista
o Starter
o Home Basic
o Home Basic N (European market)
o Home Premium
o Business
o Business N (European market)
o Enterprise
o Ultimate
* Windows 7
* Windows Server 2008
o Web Server
o Standard Edition
o Enterprise Edition
o Datacenter Edition
o for Itanium-based Systems

Windows Mobile computing

* Windows CE
* Windows Mobile 6

Democrats' reaction to Sotomayor's Catholicism reflects double standard -

Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton, says the Sotomayor hearings highlight a glaring double standard about how the Catholicism of judicial nominees is treated -- and the great irony this treatment exposes.

"According to one theory of jurisprudence," says Mr. George, "the judge may not bring his own moral beliefs or personal feelings to bear on his rulings on what the law is. This is the view held by people like Scalia and Alito and Roberts."

This means that a judge who is personally pro-life can uphold a pro-choice law -- and a judge who is personally pro-choice can uphold a pro-life law. What matters is the law, not the personal feelings. When judges follow this path, they take some of the heat out of culture wars. That's because those who want to change the law -- pro-life or pro-choice -- have to do it the way our Founders intended: through their elected representatives.

"The other theory of jurisprudence," the professor told me, "holds that the judge has a responsibility to bring his or her moral beliefs to cases. This is famously defended by scholars such as Ronald Dworkin, and practiced by judges such as William Brennan and John Paul Stevens."

"Among the many problems with this view is that it leads inexorably to the politicization of the judicial process. If someone expects us to accept this theory as a legitimate judicial philosophy, then he or she has to be prepared to answer questions about what his or her moral beliefs or personal feelings are -- and where they come from."

Max Baucus's Fish Sense -

Enter Mr. Baucus (D., Cattle, er, Montana), who fears a U.S. ban on Vietnamese pangasius would spur Hanoi into a retaliatory ban on U.S. beef. The pangasius industry is critical to the economy of the Mekong River region and employs thousands directly and indirectly. Meanwhile, Vietnam is the fifth-largest market for U.S. beef exports, worth $131 million last year.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sexy New LG Chocolate Shows The Promise Of Google Android (GOOG)

The big idea behind Android is to offer cellphone makers like LG, Samsung, Motorola, etc. a free, powerful operating system for not just bulky smartphones -- like the high-end Android devices we've seen so far -- but for cheaper, high-volume phones, too. (One hardware maker recently showed Google's Android boss Andy Rubin 18 different gadgets running Android. Not all of them, we assume, are going to sell for $200 or more.)

Al Lewis: Wells Fargo Bank Sues Itself -

"Four or five years ago, you would have never seen this," Fernandez said. "Now, it's very common."

In the final years of the housing boom, banks were lending to homeowners with no money down. To do this, they often made 80/20 loans, giving homeowners an 80% first mortgage and a 20% second mortgage.

Now, it seems these moronic mortgages require moronic foreclosures.

Microsoft to step up Google battle

Microsoft is set to broaden its battle with Google this week as it pushes ahead with online versions of some of its core software, including final plans for a “cloud” operating system designed to extend Windows to the internet. The news comes days after Google took aim at Microsoft with the announcement of a PC operating system of its own, dubbed Chrome OS.

The rival moves point to an intensification of the battle between the technology giants, with Google trying to extend its internet platform to PCs, and Microsoft moving in the opposite direction. While Google’s PC operating system is not due to appear in new computers until the second half of 2010, Microsoft’s cloud operating system will be launched formally this year.

Chrome vs. Bing vs. You and Me - Cringely on technology

I agree with much that has been said here... the value of having competition particularly, the relative strengths of the two companies, and the importance of Apple in the dynamic. Here are some nuances:

Google is more vulnerable, and Bing could easily displace enough Google income to cause large cutbacks on the Google side leading to a downward spiral of Google innovation, and more especially, the Google infrastructure, which allows it to host so much content at prices so low that advertising can pay for it.

More importantly, who is Microsoft's largest customer? Without seeing their books, it would almost certainly be the Federal government who buys thousands of copies of Windows and Office on a fairly regular basis for each of the thousands of smaller organizations that make it up. This forces the the purchase of those products by all the contractors working for the Federal government, all but forces States to follow suit, then localities, and then the myriad of companies doing business with those. If the federal government today announced a policy to use web based services over Windows (not necessarily Google, but perhaps using internal servers) then the Windows/Office franchise would be over in months, generating too little revenue for it to be worth Microsoft pursuing other than as a money losing side project such as Xbox.

This could actually happen, and should. A server-centric OS and Office capability, even from Microsoft, would save billions of dollars in staffing costs for the federal government. It would initially produce far less revenue for whoever the vendor of these services might be too, but then it is a growing market, and as more people the world over use computers, one of the biggest disincentives is still the total cost of the proposition, which needs to come down one way or another.

Microsoft is said today to be announcing their own online alternative to Office. If not today, eventually, and when it happens it will mark the start of Microsoft eating into its own profit margins.

And THAT, my friends, is the importance of the Google moves, not just this one, but all of them . Google, Apple, and others, particularly web-based products have forced Microsoft to think outside of its comfort zone.

A few years ago a government executive could threaten to have me fired for suggesting any alternative to Windows/Office in any of the organizations meeting. Today, I don't think that attitude would fly (nor should it have then, but it did). What individuals use at home, and what kids at schools are exposed to, and what the trade publications continue to drone on about has, eventually an overwhelming impact one what gets discussed in strategy sessions within our massive federal bureaucracy. Some day, just as the switch was flipped to favor Word over Wordperfect, our countries biggest “business” will wake up to an alternative to Windows (and it may well be a Microsoft alternative so as to stay in their comfort zone) but it is almost certainly true that that alternative will not be as profitable to Microsoft, while at the same time will have little or no effect on Google. Whatever Google can do to accelerate this shift is to their benefit.

The bigger shift, what the world, particularly China and India decide to do with their computing infrastructure is even more important in the long run and one thing is almost certain, that is that they will not buy the Windows/Office paradigm as it is currently constructed. As much as Microsoft doesn't like the coming change, they will be forced to take part in it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Obama’s health care proposal is, in effect, the repeal of the Medicare program as we know it. The elderly will go from being the group with the most access to free medical care to the one with the least access. Indeed, the principal impact of the Obama health care program will be to reduce sharply the medical services the elderly can use. No longer will their every medical need be met, their every medication prescribed, their every need to improve their quality of life answered.

It is so ironic that the elderly - who were so vigilant when Bush proposed to change Social Security - are so relaxed about the Obama health care proposals. Bush’s Social Security plan, which did not cut their benefits at all, aroused the strongest opposition among the elderly. But Obama’s plan, which will totally gut Medicare and replace it with government-managed care and rationing, has elicited little more than a yawn from most senior citizens.

George F. Will - Liberal Policies Paving Way for Higher Taxes -

Economic policy, which became startling when Washington began buying automobile companies, has become surreal now that disappointment with the results of the second stimulus is stirring talk about the need for a . . . second stimulus. Elsewhere, it requires centuries to bleach mankind's memory; in Washington, 17 months suffices: In February 2008, President George W. Bush and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who normally were at daggers drawn, agreed that a $168 billion stimulus -- this was Stimulus I -- would be the "booster shot" the economy needed. Unemployment then was 4.8 percent.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Justice Ginsburg Says She Originally Thought Roe v. Wade Was Designed to Limit 'Populations That We Don’t Want to Have Too Many Of'

And I've certainly had self proclaimed liberals tell me that this was their desire as well.

Joe Biden update: No 'private meetings,' just meetings closed to the press | Top of the Ticket | Los Angeles Times

OK, so figure an hour for the roundtable, maybe 75 minutes max. You can only talk about that stuff so long before requiring healthcare yourself. Fifteen minutes for handshaking, cellphone photos and congratulations on the excellent roundtable. The VP should be outta there by 12:30.

That leaves -- what? -- five, maybe six hours to make it a seven-hour workday.

According to the White House schedule, Biden will not spend the remainder of the workday in private meetings that are closed press.

Instead: "The Vice President will spend the remainder of the day in meetings that are closed press."

You get the difference, right?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Mean Street: Human Nature and the Coming Failure of Obamanomics - Deal Journal - WSJ

And herein lies the real shortcoming of Obamanomics. It is an invention of academics and bureaucrats. And it takes little account of human behavior — how individuals and businesses operate in the real economy.

As I tried to illustrate in my columns, the economy is the sum of billions of individual decisions. Should I modify my mortgage or walk away? Should I buy the car or wait until I really need a new one? Should I fire more staff or take a hit to this quarter’s earnings?

Our behavior may be unpredictable, but it’s not that complicated. Individuals fight to protect their own interests. Businesses fight to protect their profits. That’s what we do — and what we’re supposed to do.

So why did the White House believe that new income and capital gains taxes on the wealthy would keep them spending and investing?

Can Palin ever come back? | Salon

Unfortunately, it's pretty obvious that Palin still lacks that cadre of trusted pros who are the invisible elves behind every successful national politician -- the assistants who gather and vet material and who filter proposals and plan logistics. In a way, this is part of her virtues -- her complete freedom from routine micromanagement and business as usual. She does her own thing with seat-of-the-pants gusto. It's why she remains hugely popular with the Republican grass-roots base -- as I know from listening to talk radio. Callers coming fresh from her rallies are always heady with infectious enthusiasm.

Of course you'd never know that from reading hit jobs like Todd Purdum's sepulchral piece on Palin in the current Vanity Fair. Scurrying around Alaska with his notepad, Purdum still managed to find comically little to indict her with. Anyone with a gripe is given the floor; fans are shut out. This exercise in faux objectivity is exposed at key points such as Purdum's failure to identify the actual instigator of Palin's extravagant clothing bills (a crazed, credit-card-abusing stylist appointed by the McCain campaign) and his prissy characterization of Palin's performance at the vice-presidential debate as merely "adequate." Hey, wake up -- Palin cleaned Biden's clock! By the end, Biden was sighing and itching to split.

George F. Will - Timeless Lessons From McNamara -

The death of Robert McNamara at 93 was less a faint reverberation of a receding era than a reminder that mentalities are the defining attributes of eras, and certain American mentalities recur with, it sometimes seems, metronomic regularity. McNamara came to Washington from a robust Detroit -- he headed Ford when America's swaggering automobile manufacturers enjoyed 90 percent market share -- to be President John Kennedy's secretary of defense. Seemingly confident that managing the competition of nations could be as orderly as managing competition among the three members of Detroit's oligopoly, McNamara entered government seven months before the birth of the current president, who is the owner and, he is serenely sure, fixer of General Motors.

Official Google Blog: Introducing the Google Chrome OS

"Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we're already talking to partners about the project, and we'll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve."

Official Gmail Blog Gmail leaves beta launches "Back to Beta" Labs feature


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Obama visit gets lukewarm welcome from Russian media | Reuters

Gawker - iPhone to Revolutionize How Municipal Bureaucrats Ignore Residents - iPhone

"In San Francisco, citizens complain to the city over Twitter. Bostonians have it even better: they got an iPhone application just for carping at City Hall. It's never been easier to funnel your complaint into a Kafkaesque black hole!"

Monday, July 06, 2009

Beware the Hidden Costs

Supporters of government-run medical care frequently point to the "affordability" of this type of system, but such terms are inherently misleading. What pundits really mean by slogans about "bringing down the cost of healthcare" often involve programs or policies that lower the price paid out-of-pocket by the patient. This is not to be confused with the actual lowering of the total cost of medical treatment.

Thomas Sowell explains it best in his recently revised book, Applied Economics (2009 edition):

"Since governments get their resources used for medical care by taking those resources from the general population through taxation, there is no net reduction in the cost of maintaining health or curing sicknesses simply because the money is routed through...government bureaucracies, rather than being paid by patients and doctors."

In fact, it's bureaucracy-either a government bureaucracy or a private insurance company bureaucracy-that raises the cost of medical care.

Leading “Progressive” Describes Obama-Chavez Axis

According to an article in The Militant, the newspaper of the Socialist Workers Party, the forum included presentations by "Mary-Alice Waters, a member of the Socialist Workers Party National Committee and president of Pathfinder Press; Eva Golinger, a Venezuelan-American lawyer and author of The Chávez Code; Chris Carlson, a contributor to the website; and Tufara Waller, cultural program coordinator of the Highlander Center in Tennessee."

Other panelists were identified as "Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuela's ambassador to the United States; former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill; August Nimtz, a University of Minnesota political science professor; William Blum, an author who has written a number of books opposing U.S. foreign policy; ex-Maryknoll priest Charles Hardy; and Dada Maheshvarananda, yoga instructor and founder of the Prout Institute."

The communist paper reported that, before there could be a revolution in the United States, Marxist forces would have to take control of Latin America. "Another idea frequently expressed by speakers from the floor and by a few panelists was that 'change has to come from the South,'" referring to Latin America, the paper said.

Almost two years later, that "change" has come to America and is threatening Honduras.

My Way News - Post publisher apologizes for paid dinner plan

"Critics of the program say the newspaper's promise of exclusivity for Washington insiders is at odds with the newspaper's mission to its readers.

Executive Editor Marcus Brauchli said the small-scale dinners were a mistake."

US manned space flight in doubt 40 years after moon walk

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Inconvenient Science | The New Ledger

One of the largest dead-horse memes of the last eight years was the “Republican war on science,” so much so that President Obama made a point of saying that with his inauguration, “the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.” Animated primarily by the Bush administration’s policy positions on funding for two key areas — stem cells and global warming — it’s a descriptive term that becomes laughable upon closer inspection. Just five years after Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards claimed that “when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of that wheelchair and walk again,” the president’s stem cell policy has been thoroughly vindicated, and is now so obviously the correct decision that Obama’s much-heralded path may be even more restrictive on research funding. And incidents like Alan Carlin’s show that when it comes to the environment, this has never been about involving the broadest range of intelligent, non-partisan voices on science, but instead driving a consistent public relations meme to the people, tolerating no dissent.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Antitrust by Alan Greenspan

The railroads developed in the East, prior to the Civil War, in stiff competition with one another as well as with the older forms of transportation -- barges, riverboats, and wagons. By the 1860's there arose a political clamor demanding that the railroads move west and tie California to the nation: national prestige was held to be at stake. But the traffic volume outside of the populous East was insufficient to draw commercial transportation westward. The potential profit did not warrant the heavy cost of investment in transportation facilities. In the name of "Public policy" it was, therefore, decided to subsidize the railroads in their move to the West.

Between 1863 and 1867, close to one hundred million acres of public lands were granted to the railroads. Since these grants were made to individual roads, no competing railroads could vie for traffic in the same area in the West. Meanwhile, the alternative forms of competition (wagons, riverboats, etc.) could not afford to challenge the railroads in the West. Thus, with the aid of the federal government, a segment of the railroad industry was able to "break free' from the competitive bounds which had prevailed in the East.

As might be expected, the subsidies attracted the kind of promoters who always exist on the fringe of the business community and who are constantly seeking an "easy deal." Many of the new western railroads were shabbily built: they were not constructed to carry traffic, but to acquire land grants. The western railroads were true monopolies in the textbook sense of the word. They could, and did, behave with an aura of arbitrary power. But that power was not derived from a free market. It stemmed from governmental subsidies and governmental restrictions.

Nothing much has changed since. Except it's gotten worse.

Congress's Travel Tab Swells -

WASHINGTON -- Spending by lawmakers on taxpayer-financed trips abroad has risen sharply in recent years, a Wall Street Journal analysis of travel records shows, involving everything from war-zone visits to trips to exotic spots such as the Galápagos Islands.

The spending on overseas travel is up almost tenfold since 1995, and has nearly tripled since 2001, according to the Journal analysis of 60,000 travel records. Hundreds of lawmakers traveled overseas in 2008 at a cost of about $13 million. That's a 50% jump since Democrats took control of Congress two years ago.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

YouTwitFace Goes From Late-Night Joke to New Site Idea - Digits - WSJ

Mr. Kay, a 44-year-old accountant, said he got the idea during a March dinner party, when friends were talking about the absurdities of the Internet era. “We decided to come up with a new site that would just poke fun at our use of technology,” he said. “We threw around every possible combination of YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, sites like that, and just as we were leaving, the teenager in the family, who was sort of half-listening to our conversation, blurted out, ‘You guys, it has to be called YouTwitFace.”