Sunday, February 28, 2010

Al Gore is back | The Real Revo

From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.
I disagree: From the standpoint of redemption, what is at stake is our ability to use human governance as an instrument of rule of law. On the other hand, from the standpoint of rule of law, what is at stake is our ability to use human redemption as an instrument of governance. You get the idea. It is very complicated.
Was there anything about "controlling legal authority" in there?

Planet Moron: We’re Digitally Distressed At How Much This Is Going To Cost Us

As part of the study, FCC researchers broke down broadband “non-adopters” into four categories:

Near Converts
Digital Hopefuls
Digitally Uncomfortable
Digitally Distant
If you are like most Americans, three questions probably pop into your mind:

1) Am I paying for this?
2) Seriously, am I paying for this?
3) Because if I’m paying for this, I’m going to be really ticked off.

Opposing Views: Is Government Spending on Broadband a Waste?

The essential fallacy in the broadband debate is the conclusion that, because Americans would benefit from more broadband, we should spend public funds on broadband. But that simply doesn’t follow. Broadband costs money, and if we want it to be more widely available then we’ll have to settle for less of something else. To justify accelerating consumption, we need to show not only that more broadband would be a good thing, but that it would be better than anything else we could have spent that money on. That’s exactly what underconsumption means, and it’s extremely difficult to prove.


Actually, there is one guaranteed way to find out whether America is underconsuming broadband while benefiting consumers at the same time: Give back the money. Instead of spending billions more on infrastructure, tax billions less. If the taxpayers spent the difference on more broadband, then they were underconsuming. If they didn’t, they weren’t.

Why Does the MSM Ignore Al Gore’s ‘Global Warming’ Million$? - Big Journalism

In yet another case of willful blindness, our formerly august mainstream media all but ignores Al Gore’s global warming millions. Their secular saint, Prophet Al, has become a very rich man off his global warming “science.” Yet, whenever he is interviewed by those virtuous paragons among the media elite, you’ll hear nary a peep on the fact that Prophet Al stands to become the “World’s First Carbon Billionaire,” if and when governments – especially ours – enact the cap and trade legislation, of which Mr. Gore is the most vociferous proponent.

The lying hypocrisy of it is just too much for an honest person to bear.

His OpEd linked below.

I Don't Like The iPad Because... - John Battelle's Searchblog

But the iPad, just like the iPhone, is designed for vertical integration and distribution lock in. Apple is building its own distribution channel, just as it did with iTunes, and media companies are falling over themselves to make an app for that. Why? Well sure, for once, it's sexy and cool and hip. That's why everyone loved the Wired demo.

But the real reason media companies love the iPad is the same reason I don't: It's an old school, locked in distribution channel that doesn't want to play by the new rules of search+social. Sure, you can watch a movie on it. Sure, you can read a book on it. And sure, you can read a publication on it. But if you want to use the web natively, with all the promise that the web brings to media? Not so much. Apple will include a browser, of course. But will media you find through that browser be able to interact with the iPad platform so as to bring full value to you, the consumer? Nope. Not unless that same media is approved by Apple and makes it into the iPad app store.

The State Of Digital Piracy

Q: Why Is The Business Model Of Buying Digital Content Failing?

I'm not sure you can say that it has been fully tried.

The problem with both music (plus movies) and books (plus other print media) is that in both cases you have entrenched interests who have made big investments in physical content production. Those investments were so large that only a few companies could control the process. Musicians and authors had little choice but to work through these large entities, and since that was the case, these same entities took care of many other aspects of the process, truly as a convenience to the content creators. The creator would sign with a publisher, who would not only use their expensive equipment to produce the physical product, but would also take care of copyright issues, monitor for infringement, cover legal expenses, arrange public appearances and so on.

Many of these services were, and are valuable to the content creator all by themselves, but were never unbundled from the one thing that content creator couldn't do on their own: publish.

The failure to unbundle these services is at the heart of the problem (or perceived problem).

Why does a digital version of a book cost almost as much as the physical form? In some respects (especially going forward) the digital form is superior, especially once you get over the desire to see it on a bookshelf or get your favorites autographed, etc. But we all know that the act of physically printing a book is a significant expense that we should see subtracted from the cost.

In order to satisfy content creators that they are still earning their money, publishers need to do certain things, but to satisfy consumers that they are not paying for the printing of a book or the cutting of a CD and having that money pocketed by some middleman, publishers need to make changes on that end as well.

One thing that Amazon has at least partially done (they and other need to go much farther though) is to remember what books you have purchased and make them downloadable again in the future.

When digital media finally replaces physical media, I'm pretty sure it will have the following properties: A purchase will be recorded in a database that allows at least a fairly large number of re-downloads of the content. I shouldn't need to make my own backup copies etc. I should be able to assign (give) my purchases to someone else. I should be protected from future format changes. If the content is PDF and that format is eventually replaced with something else, I shouldn't have to purchase a copy in the new format.

I've only scratched the surface (no pun intended) but I'm quite sure in the future digital content will be worth more, because publishers will do more to earn their keep, both from the perspective of content creators and from consumers. At that point, DRM, if applied, won't be a problem for consumers, but then again, it probably won't be needed either.

Al Gore - We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change -

It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.

Of course, we would still need to deal with the national security risks of our growing dependence on a global oil market dominated by dwindling reserves in the most unstable region of the world, and the economic risks of sending hundreds of billions of dollars a year overseas in return for that oil. And we would still trail China in the race to develop smart grids, fast trains, solar power, wind, geothermal and other renewable sources of energy — the most important sources of new jobs in the 21st century.

But what a burden would be lifted! We would no longer have to worry that our grandchildren would one day look back on us as a criminal generation that had selfishly and blithely ignored clear warnings that their fate was in our hands. We could instead celebrate the naysayers who had doggedly persisted in proving that every major National Academy of Sciences report on climate change had simply made a huge mistake.

More excuse making and naval gazing. Too late I'd say for this generation (and maybe the one before) to not be labeled "criminal" for inventing new programs without figuring out ways to pay for them. At each opportunity we leave behind concerns about a non-existent "lock box" (remember that one?) and move on to some other experimental scheme that "might" pay for itself, or, well, maybe not.

Reduce dependence on foreign oil? Really? Welcome to the Republican party Mr. Gore! When do we start drilling?

Something tells me that while "the public" debates these issues, "smart money" people (and companies) are quietly moving resources to nuclear solutions, which from everything I've read are the only REAL short term alternatives to fossil fuels. Who cares what the rational is to overcome Americans natural NIMBY tendencies. If CO2 concerns fail, switch to security concerns. But could someone tell me whatever happened to concerns about garden variety pollution? I've actually been told by lefties that we would rather base policy decisions on "tentative" (as stated in Al Gore's research links) recent measurements than on much more established understandings about pollution (you know, the kinds that cause cancers and heart disease, kill off species, things like that).

When Responsibility Doesn’t Pay - Mark Steyn - National Review Online

What’s happening in the developed world today isn’t so very hard to understand: The 20th-century Bismarckian welfare state has run out of people to stick it to. In America, the feckless, insatiable boobs in Washington, Sacramento, Albany, and elsewhere are screwing over our kids and grandkids. In Europe, they’ve reached the next stage in social-democratic evolution: There are no kids or grandkids to screw over. The United States has a fertility rate of around 2.1 — or just over two kids per couple. Greece has a fertility rate of about 1.3: Ten grandparents have six kids have four grandkids — ie, the family tree is upside down. Demographers call 1.3 “lowest-low” fertility — the point from which no society has ever recovered. And, compared to Spain and Italy, Greece has the least worst fertility rate in Mediterranean Europe.

So you can’t borrow against the future because, in the most basic sense, you don’t have one. Greeks in the public sector retire at 58, which sounds great. But, when ten grandparents have four grandchildren, who pays for you to spend the last third of your adult life loafing around?

Saturday, February 27, 2010


The squalid utopian fantasies of socialism, communism--or any variant of Marxism for that matter--appeals primarily to people who refuse to acknowledge their own human imperfections, and hence their own capacity for evil. They don't want to admit it, but those who are drawn to the leftist view of the world, tend to see themselves as superior; above all the other boring, ordinary human beings around them; more virtuous, more compassionate, smarter; and of course, much better qualified to decide what's best for lesser beings like you and me.

It is extremely ironic, considering the left's rhetoric to the contrary, to realize that it is conservatism and its underlying priniciples that fundamentally embrace the awful truth about human nature; and understand that it is closer to your average selfish, lazy, superstitious, and money-grubbing con artist than to the utopian "ideal man"--so prominently promoted in the rantings of communists, socialist, or any collectivist or totalitarian. And, as a consequence of understanding that reality, conservatism and its economic policies (i.e., capitalism) are able to harness even the most negative aspects of human nature to bring positive good both to the individual and to the larger society as well.

New York State of Disrepair -

Sometimes the comments outshine the article:

Look around the world. WITHOUT exception those countries that have pursued policies demanded by the Left have lower standards of living than America, less wealth than America, less individual liberty and freedom than America, have invented fewer productivity-enhancing technologies than America - and, as NONE of them have a fertility rate above 2.1, no belief even in their own future.

This includes all of Europe (including Russia, a European country), Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Canada. All countries governed by the Left, whether they call themselves "Progressives," or "Social Democrats," or use the mis-appellation of "liberal." (Classical Liberalism, of course, is the celebration of the individual over the group - the antithesis of "liberalism" today.)

There are NO historical exceptions to this. NONE.

Ethics panel clears 7 House members on earmarks | Reuters

Taxpayers for Common Sense and other watchdog groups criticized the ethics committee's decision to clear the lawmakers, but said it was not surprising.

Members of the ethics committee themselves obtained $200 million in earmarks either by themselves or with other lawmakers, Taxpayers said on its web site.

"The ethics committee seems to have taken a 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' approach to potential earmark quid pro quo," the group said. It said the idea that lawmakers ignore previous or future campaign contributions "flies in the face of political realities and, quite frankly, common sense."

Friday, February 26, 2010

23,000 now expected to lose jobs after shuttle retirement

Obama’s ‘Hope’ – The New Tramp Stamp of Political Decals - Big Government

Today, one can travel down any busy American street or highway and usually spot the new political equivalent of the tramp stamp. Namely, the ubiquitous 2008 campaign decal with the cartoonish stenciled portrait of Barack Obama gazing wistfully into the distance above the nebulous term “HOPE.”

Created by “street artist” and George W. Bush antagonist Shepard Fairey based upon the 2006 photograph of Obama by Associated Press (AP) photographer Mannie Garcia, the image became synonymous with the Obama hysteria.

Utopian Pessimist Calls on Radical Tech to Save Economy | Magazine

Thiel: People take it for granted that their retirement funds can earn 8.5 percent a year. That’s what their financial planners tell them. And sure, you look back over the past 100 years, the stock market has generally gone up 6 to 8 percent a year. But in a larger historical perspective, that kind of growth is exceptional. If you had done the equivalent of investing in the stock market from, say, 1000 to 1100 AD, you would not have made 8 percent a year. During the fall of the Roman Empire, you’d have been lucky to get zero. We’ve been living in a unique period of accelerating technological progress. We’ve gone from horses to cars to planes to rockets to computers to the Internet in a very short time. It’s not automatic that that continues.

Fannie Seeks $15.3 Billion in Aid After 10th Loss (Update1) -

Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance company under federal conservatorship, said it will seek $15.3 billion in aid from the U.S. Treasury after posting a 10th straight quarterly loss.

A fourth-quarter net loss of $16.3 billion, or $2.87 a share, pushed the company to request its fifth draw on an unlimited lifeline from the government, Washington-based Fannie Mae said in a filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

YouTube - Why You've Never Heard of the Great Depression of 1920

This bears a re-watch...

The Wall Street Journal: Defining ObamaCare Down -

In the end, after all the bipartisan cooing, the President's 20-minute closing argument explained where the debate really is. Democrats won the election and they are going to do what they want to do, starting next week and on a partisan vote if they can shanghai enough Members.

The point of yesterday's session was to give a soothing, moderate political gloss to a government health-care takeover that will raise costs, greatly expand the entitlement state, and reduce choice and competition—the opposite of everything Mr. Obama claims.

Charles Krauthammer - Toyota and the price of modernity -

And don't imagine that we do not coldly calculate the price of a human life. In 1974, the speed limit was lowered to 55 mph to conserve oil. That also led to a dramatic drop in traffic fatalities -- approximately 3,000 lives every year. This didn't stop us, after the oil crisis, from raising the speed limit back to 65 and beyond -- knowing that thousands of Americans would die as a result.

The calculation was never explicit but it was nevertheless real. We were quite prepared to trade away a finite number of human lives for speed, and for the efficiency and convenience that come with it.

Dept. of Homeland Security Loses over 1,000 Computers in One Year - Big Government

New documents show that component agencies of DHS, specifically Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) combined to lose no less than 985 computers in fiscal year 2008. Along with other component agencies in DHS, well over 1,000 computers were lost.

2008, hmm, I may have even posted on it back then, back before watching expensive hardware flow through government hands like water through a kitchen strainer got boring. Nobody seems to be paying attention or care.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

‘Sicko’ — About That Free and Fabulous Cuban Health-Care System - Big Journalism

Ninety-nine percent of Cubans have no more experience with hospitals like the one Michael Moore featured in Sicko and CNN’s Morgan Neill visited, than Moore has with a Soloflex machine. Most Cubans view these hospitals the way teenage boys used to view Playboy magazine and husbands view a “Victoria’s Secret” catalog: “Wow! If only. . .”

The Castroite propaganda in Sicko so outraged people cursed by fate to live in Castro’s fiefdom that they risked their lives by using hidden cameras to film conditions in genuine Cuban hospitals, hoping they could alert the world to Moore’s swinishness as a propaganda operative for a Stalinist regime.

At enormous risk, two hours of shocking, often revolting, footage was obtained with tiny hidden cameras and smuggled out of Cuba to Cuban-exile George Utset, who runs the superb and revelatory website The Real Cuba. The man who assumed most of the risk during the filming and smuggling was Cuban dissident — a medical doctor himself — Dr Darsi Ferrer, who was also willing to talk on camera, narrating much of the video’s revelations. Dr Ferrer worked in these genuinely Cuban hospitals daily, witnessing the truth. More importantly, he wasn’t cowed from revealing this truth to America and the world. (A recent samizdat reports that the black Dr Ferrer is currently languishing in a Cuban prison cell –not far from Gitmo, btw– undergoing frequent beatings.

Originally, ABC’s John Stossel planned to show the shocking smuggled videos in their entirety, during a 20/20 show. Alas, on Sept. 12th 2007, the show ran only a tiny segment on Cuba’s “real” healthcare, barely five minutes long and with almost none of the smuggled video footage. What happened?
Well, the Castro regime got wind of these videos and called in ABC’s Havana bureau for a little talking-to, stressing that ABC’s “bureau permit” might face “closer scrutiny” if they showed the blockbuster videos. ABC wimped out.

Enter Fox News, and Sean Hannity in particular. Your humble servant here contacted Hannity’s producers regarding the smuggled videos and they immediately requested a look. Within hours they jumped on them and produced a blockbuster of a show:

Go to title link for videos. Also another tidbit:

And indeed, according to UN figures, Cuba’s current infant mortality rate places her 44th from the top in worldwide ranking, right next to Canada. (The lower the rate the higher the ranking.) What CNN left out is that according to those same UN figures, in 1958 (the year prior to the glorious revolution), Cuba ranked 13th from the top, worldwide.


And even plummeting from 13th (capitalist) to 44th (communist), Cuba’s “impressive” infant mortality rate is kept artificially low by Communist chicanery with statistics and by a truly appalling abortion rate of 0.71 abortions per live birth. This is the hemisphere’s highest, by far. Any Cuban pregnancy that even hints at trouble gets “terminated.”

Disgusting pictures from a Cuban refugee site.

Slashdot Your Rights Online Story | Microsoft Says It Never Meant To Knock Cryptome Offline

"Microsoft withdrew on Thursday its demand that yank the 'Microsoft Global Criminal Spy Guide' document from the site, and said it had never intended for the whistleblower's domain to be knocked off the Web. 'In this case, we did not ask that this site be taken down, only that Microsoft copyrighted content be removed,' said a Microsoft spokeswoman. 'We are requesting to have the site restored and are no longer seeking the document's removal.' The document, a 17-page guide to law enforcement on how to obtain information about users of Microsoft's online services, including its Windows Live Hotmail, the Xbox Live gaming network and its Windows Live SkyDrive storage service, was published by John Young, who runs, on Feb. 20. Earlier this week, Microsoft demanded that Young remove the document from his site, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. When Young refused, his Internet provider shut down the site, and Network Solutions, the registrar of Young's domain, put a 'legal lock' on the domain name. The last prevented him from transferring the URL to another ISP. Computerworld blogger Preston Gralla dug into the document today in his 'Leaked Microsoft intelligence document: Here's what Microsoft will reveal to police about you' post."


But, objective reality--you know, that thing that exists outside our heads and which it behooves us to attempt to understand to the best of our ability in order to survive--is not subject to wishes, whims, prayers, or miracles. On the contrary, our consciousness is entirely dependent on reality and not vice versa. If you want to change the world, you must act according to reality.

I see many patients every day who have this completely backwards because they believe that their wishes and whims are primary, and reality must conform to them. The consequences of this fundamental metaphysical error is that their lives are a living hell.

What planet are we living on? We are living on a postmodern planet, where, "Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see. It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out..."

Hidden Healthcare Reform Objective: Feds Want to Know Your Number - Big Government

Not since the aftermath of WWII — when the ends of the scientific-progressive state were revealed to the world in vivid pictures of the Nazi death camps — have progressives dared to raise their heads in America to such a degree as they are now, under the leadership of Obama’s science guru, John Holdren. Holdren, early in his career, declared himself a Malthusian scientist and has, regretfully, never recanted, nor substantially altered his worldview. In Holdren’s mind, as revealed in confirmation testimony, only his numbers have been off in the past, not his conclusions on the necessity of scientific control as a societal good.

Unfortunately, some of the groundwork for Holdren’s scientist-controlled America was lain in the 1996 passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Part of HIPAA legislation was the requirement for the development of the Unique Health Identifier (UHI) for individuals. As detailed by this White Paper by Department of Health and Human Services:

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) outlines a process to achieve uniform national health data standards and health information privacy in the United States. Enacted with the widespread support of the industry and bipartisan support in the Congress, the law requires that the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) adopt standards to support the electronic exchange of a variety of administrative and financial health care transactions.

Is Disillusionment with Media-Created Obama Causing People to Snap? - Big Journalism

Now that the MSM has done its best to ignore the Amy Bishop Obama obsession and is going all out to pin the right-wing-nut-job tail on Joseph Stack, it would seem that leftist-radical myopia is once again controlling the establishment media narrative.

It is, after all, difficult to see clearly when your legs are tingling and your passions are in willing-thrall mode.

So, here’s the pertinent question, the question our drowning Obama groupies in the MSM do not dare to ask: Is disillusionment with Obama causing people to snap and commit acts of violence?

The John Batchelor Show :: Disgrace - De-Brief

What is specially creepy about the appearance of the Youngs on Oprah is that it was the Edwards campaign that blocked Hillary Clinton in Iowa and made room for the boom of Barrack Obama. Young made it possible the phony John Edwards and the shrew Mrs. Edwards could fake their electability.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Think Your iPhone Internet Is Flaky Now? It's Only Going To Get Worse

If anything will solve data congestion, increase speed, and enhance user experience, it is cloud computing. The mobile industry needs to realize the potential of server-side rendering to ease the data burden on already-strained networks. Cloud servers can respond to mobile phone requests by analyzing the content and the device instantly, and compress web video by over 70%, speed video start times, improve user experience, protect battery life by offloading the strain of rendering, and protect wireless networks from meltdown.

LEAKED: Security Document Microsoft Doesn't Want You To Read

Zero Intelligence Agents - What’s Wrong with the Obama Job Loss Graphic?

My Kid’s an Honor Student at iPad University: Apple on the Rebound in Edu | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD

I HOPE that Apple doesn't get a lock on education. I can understand why they want to, just as Microsoft wants to get all kids trained up on Windows at an early age so that they can throw the "cost of re-training" into every ROI calculation involving technology.

Time for education to start teaching kids to be comfortable with a variety of technologies and get over the notion that once they learn that the menus are attached to each app window instead of at the top of the screen they can never cope with the alternative (or the other way around).

I can fairly easily switch from a Linux machine to an Apple machine to a Windows machine and I'm almost at retirement age. Ten year olds probably understand these concept far better than their instructors at this point.

As for formats, web sites like Feedbooks demonstrate that content can be stored in any editable full-features format and converted on-the-fly to whatever format the user needs. The notion that it HAS to be in Java or C# or some unique Apple scripting language for the vast majority of these materials (which are text, pictures, audio, video) is vendor propaganda.

Hopefully school administrators will see through it.

FDIC Opens A Massive New Office Near Chicago Just To Handle The Coming Tidal Wave Of Midwest Bank Closings They Are Expecting

So what is going to cause such a massive wave of bank failures that the FDIC will need hundreds of new employees just to deal with it?

Well, as we have reported previously, the financial powers in the U.S. are now moving to reduce the money supply, hoard cash and tighten credit. All of those things cause a slowdown in economic growth.

At the same time, a gigantic "second wave" of adjustable mortgages is scheduled to reset starting this year. This could push the U.S. economy into "part 2" of the housing crisis. Just check out the chart below....

Follow the title link.

Note, many blogs like these are selling something in this case (I think) gold. Nothing wrong with that. I don't think anybody has to cook the books too much to make the case for alternate investments.

I'm not selling anything, all I have are apocryphal examples:

Here in "Fun City" they are auctioning off a dozen condos this weekend. Original purchase prices were $800K, minimum bids on some of these are $95,000 for others there is no minimum. That doesn't mean that nothing is selling, a unit recently sold where I live, and not at a fire-sale price as far as anyone knows.

We deal with vendors for replacement windows, paint and concrete repair, air conditioning, other odds and ends. They all show signs of desperation. A paint job is being stretched out so that they can keep key employees active, doing something, but what was a team of six is now a team of four. Window contractor says they've laid off six, and he is delaying his retirement. He also verified something that I've read and that is that office rental space is getting funky. Lots of new vacancies, and no prospects for replacements, thus no build-out jobs for them.

After the recent blizzards our paint contractor used some of their heavy lift equipment (which is actually rented I think) to do snow removal in a far reaching arc. Apparently a lot of hurting companies swooped in to clear shopping center parking lots to earn some much needed extra money. Free enterprise at work, something the countries leadership doesn't understand. No doubt laws were broken, forms not filled out in triplicate and submitted at the appropriate offices.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

VDH's Private Papers: Bidenism (and Obamaism)

Despite his earlier criticism of Bush for terrorizing Afghans through Predator missile launches, now a President Obama has vastly increased the number of Predator drone attacks along the Afghan-Pakistani border. But note the silence of the hard Left that went after Bush on everything from waterboarding to Guantanamo.

One can only draw the following conclusion that the last eight years of acrimony were always just about politics and power, never principles.

Why? Consider — the liberal critic of Bush was angrier about a conservative president ordering the waterboarding of three known terrorists in a relatively comfortable facility in Guantanamo than a liberal president ordering the execution of dozens of suspected terrorists in mud brick compounds abroad.


The neo-marxist fascists--the people who claim to know what is best for you and how to make you happy--will tell you that it is capitalism, materialism, wealth, money, affluence that is the root of all evil; but affluence is only a product of the human mind. But, their utopia cannot be achieved without the imposition of tyranny. When you try to control affluence--no matter how "good" your intentions might be--you must first enslave the human mind.

And that is the road to economic ruin.

INTERVIEW: ‘Shooting Michael Moore’ Promoter Larry Post

The film’s creator, Kevin Leffler, is a CPA and professor by trade. That gives the film’s tax sequences an added dose of gravitas. But it’s Leffler’s connection to the subject which may draw viewers in.

He grew up with Moore in Davison, Mich., attended the same Catholic Church and worked side by side at a hotline to help people in need. Leffler isn’t a conservative by any stretch, but he didn’t appreciate how the media built up Moore’s image on what he saw as false pretenses.

Monday, February 22, 2010

YouTube - Net Neutrality for Dummies: Will the FCC control the Internet?

Dummies. Hear that Al?

U.S. Economy Grinds To Halt As Nation Realizes Money Just A Symbolic, Mutually Shared Illusion | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

"Though raising interest rates is unlikely at the moment, the Fed will of course act appropriately if we…if we…" said Bernanke, who then paused for a moment, looked down at his prepared statement, and shook his head in utter disbelief. "You know what? It doesn't matter. None of this—this so-called 'money'—really matters at all."

"It's just an illusion," a wide-eyed Bernanke added as he removed bills from his wallet and slowly spread them out before him. "Just look at it: Meaningless pieces of paper with numbers printed on them. Worthless."

Not too far from reality.

Obama tops Bush at ducking reporters - Washington Times

The president has seemingly shunned formal, prime-time sessions since his last disastrous presser, when he said police in Cambridge, Mass., "acted stupidly" by arresting a Harvard professor who broke into a home that turned out to be his own. The off-the-cuff comment took over the news cycle for a week, overshadowing his push for health care reform, and culminated in a White House "Beer Summit," where the president hosted white police officer James Crowley and the black Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr.

"He does seem a little snakebit on the whole presser thing," said Julie Mason, a longtime White House reporter and board member of the White House Correspondents' Association.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Will: Government's Only 'Broken' When Left Can't Enact Its Agenda |

Beyond this, for months as the President and the Democrats have had difficulties passing healthcare and cap and trade legislation, the Republicans have been depicted by media members as being the obstructionist "Party of No."

Yet, as Will pointed out, when the Democrats stopped George W. Bush from enacting Social Security reform in 2005, the same press saw this as good governance.

As such, when Will stated that all this talk about government being broken must mean the Left is having a hard time enacting its agenda, he was 100 percent correct.

Toyota: Dems 'not industry friendly' - Jake Sherman -

Internal Toyota documents derided the Obama administration and Democratic Congress as “activist” and “not industry friendly," a revelation that comes days before the giant automaker's top executives testify on Capitol Hill amid a giant recall.

Other documents expressed Toyota's belief that gravity tends to pull objects toward Earth rather than pushing them away. This has raised the ire of gravity deniers.

Google Buzz Plays Catch-Up -

Whoa there Kattie!

I heard you on the John Batchelor show last night and commented over there that you left some things out. Your article here provides better detail but doesn't go far enough in my opinion:

Just to clarify... Google didn't start this practice. It may have been started by Facebook, (first place I observed it) or someone before that.

If you were a late-comer to Facebook (as I was when I joined it for the 3rd or 4th time) it would ask for your password to your e-mail account (whether it was a Gmail, Yahoo, MSN or any other popular service). Facebook would then sign on to your e-mail account AS YOU and harvest your address book. It then did pretty much the same thing as was done with Buzz and would pre-populate your social network. You could of course override any of these choices, as you can with Buzz. (And would also daisy chain down their harvested address books for people you "might" know).

There were some protests about this, and in fact Google and others started giving you and your potential other vendors a better way to have this information shared without you having to disclose your e-mail password to a third party.

Google by being so cooperative, giving its (your) information out to other vendors (with your permission) in a convenient way, but never asking for similar credentials from other companies has for a good while taken itself out of the social networking race. The race is halfway over and Google is just leaving the starting gate, except in Brazil and India where Orkut has a diminishing following. Instead of being congratulated for holding back on privacy concerns, once again they are targeted as the meanie, when in fact they are just following the leaders (and at quite a distance).

As far as the statement from Facebook: Total BS. Google is far more open in both getting data into and out of their system (at user request). IF ONLY Facebook and others would follow their lead rather than constructing more walled gardens.

Facebook has gotten such a lead in this regard that on many sites your options are to invent a new usersid, or use your Facebook ID. This in spite of the fact that the Open ID consortium has options to solve this multiple ID problem on the table for several years and is being thwarted by yet another lock-in proprietary solution. It's Microsoft and IBM all over again, and it would seem the less ethical player has the advantage this time too.

There are several things I don't like about the new Buzz service, but it compares favorably with comparative services such as Twitter, and Freindfeed (which Facebook took over and anesthetized). All of these services need work, and all of them need to allow the user to control how much information is shared and with who. None of them do it perfectly. I'm glad to see Google at least making a go of it, and of course they now allow anyone to opt out if they really hate the idea. For those who do that I advise you to double check the ever-changing sharing policies at the other socials (particularly Facebook) to see if some of your earlier changes have been overridden to pump up their user base.

The John Batchelor Show :: Wax Speaks - De-Brief

I like Newt, but like so many others, he is damaged goods. If his goal is to rally the troops, fine, if he aspired to high office, not so much.

There is room at all levels for the debate to take place, but I hope those who are going to lead us back to fiscal sanity are younger, fresher, and still waiting in the wings.

We may yet have to let the lunatics wreck the place a bit more before sanity prevails. The world is looking more and more like an Ayn Rand novel. All we are missing is a true John Galt.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

WaPo columnist: That insane pilot sounds kind of like a tea partier, huh?

Follow the link and note the parts of the manifesto quoted by Capehart. Yes, of course the anti-Bush rhetoric and screeching about health care is omitted, but something even more revealing is omitted too. Here’s how Stack’s manifesto actually ended:

Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.

Joe Stack (1956-2010)


YouTube - Bloodhounds

Serious subject. I laughed anyway.

Do We Need a National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform? - Big Government

Raising taxes to sustain government transfer programs is not going to solve our budget crisis. Indeed, this is how we got into the problem in the first place. In 1850, Bastiat wrote in The Law that a just government is based upon our natural right to self-defense. An unjust law is one which violates this natural right, by taking the property of one person to give to another. He also argued that once a government engages in what he termed “legalized plunder” several things will happen, one of which is that people will fail to recognize an unjust law when they see it. The government will become, in his words, “that great fiction by everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.” We have arrived at that time.

Freedom to Censor - Big Government

I wonder how many realize that the first amendment protections on free speech were at stake in Citizens United? And I’m not talking in a rhetorical sense either. The actual case was based on whether a corporation had the right to distribute a motion picture. The US district Court of DC had decided that “Hillary; the Movie” could not be distributed as a Pay-Per-View” movie, because it said unkind things about a US Senator and was produced by a Corporation.

All movies today are produced by corporations. Why even the Anti-Corporate propaganda film “The Corporation’ was produced by the Big Picture Media Corporation. (Who says “Irony is dead?’) Allowing the Federal Government the power to decide whether or not a movie can be viewed is something the entire nation should rally against. Arguments in front of the Court actually suggested that if this ruling were to stand, that corporations would not even be allowed to print newspapers or books if the FEC determined them to be “electioneering communication”

Tiger Woods Announces Return To Sex | The Onion

Not at all quotable, but the fiction created by the Onion is about as meaningful as the fiction that is the man himself, created by the mainstream media.

Breitbart to NYT’s Zernike: "You’re a despicable human being"

The Hockey Stick: A New Low in Climate Science

At the time he published his `Hockey Stick' paper, Michael Mann held an adjunct faculty position at the University of Massachusetts, in the Department of Geosciences. He received his PhD in 1998, and a year later was promoted to Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia, in the Department of Environmental Sciences, at the age of 34.

He is now the Lead Author of the `Observed Climate Variability and Change' chapter of the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR-2000), and a contributing author on several other chapters of that report. The Technical Summary of the report, echoing Mann's paper, said: "The 1990s are likely to have been the warmest decade of the millennium, and 1998 is likely to have been the warmest year."

Mann is also now on the editorial board of the `Journal of Climate' and was a guest editor for a special issue of `Climatic Change'. He is also a `referee' for the journals Nature, Science, Climatic Change, Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Climate, JGR-Oceans, JGR-Atmospheres, Paleo oceanography, Eos, International Journal of Climatology, and NSF, NOAA, and DOE grant programs. (In the `peer review' system of science, the role of anonymous referee confers the power to reject papers that are deemed, in the opinion of the referee, not to meet scientific standards).

He was appointed as a `Scientific Adviser' to the U.S. Government (White House OSTP) on climate change issues.

Mann lists his `popular media exposure' as including - "CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, CNN headline news, BBC, NPR, PBS (NOVA/FRONTLINE), WCBS, Time, Newsweek, Life, US News & World Report, Economist, Scientific American, Science News, Science, Rolling Stone, Popular Science, USA Today, New York Times, New York Times (Science Times), Washington Post, Boston Globe, London Times, Irish Times, AP, UPI, Reuters, and numerous other television/print media" [17].

Mann's career highlights a serious problem with the modern climate sciences, namely the `star' system where high-profile scientists are promoted swiftly to influential positions in the industry. Such a star system reduces a science to the level of Hollywood.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tim Pawlenty: Let's Get the 9-Iron, Like Tiger Woods' Wife - Political Hotsheet - CBS News

Conservatives could learn a lot from Tiger Woods' wife Elin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said at the Conservative Political Action Conference today.

"She said, I've had enough," Pawlenty said. "We should take a page out of her playbook and take a 9-iron and smash the window out of big government."

Countdown until libs brand this as an incitement to terror: 3... 2... 1...

Have Assassins Will Travel

An operation of this exactitude could easily have been outsourced to a team that just takes assignments. The coolness of the players suggest that this is a routine caper. Chilling to consider that the team is for hire. The Russians are this good. So are the Germans. Why use nationals when you can use internationals? I enjoy the ceremonial protest of the British, Irish and French dignitaries. Round up the usual suspects. Blame the Jews. Condemn this act of terrorism. Scold and bloviate and blame-shift and deceive.

Note: If you are interested in such things, John Batchelor has the entire video at the title link, sorry here.

In D.C., more evidence that commercial real estate headed for foreclosure crisis -

A mortgage crisis like the one that has devastated homeowners is enveloping the nation's office and retail buildings, and few places are likely to be hit as hard as Washington.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jobless Claims, Inflation Jump as Economy Wobbles - CNBC

The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment insurance unexpectedly surged last week, while producer prices increased sharply in January, raising potential hurdles for the economic recovery.

Ah, the MSM, ever "born yesterday" every new development takes them by surprise. The Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. To that we should add the modern journalists blessing: May you have the sensibilities not to notice.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ahmadinejad: 'Yep, I'm Nuclear' - HUMAN EVENTS

Despite Obama's personal magnetism, the Iranian president persists in moving like gangbusters to build nuclear weapons, leading to Ahmadinejad's announcement last week that Iran is now a "nuclear state."

Gee, that's weird -- because I remember being told in December 2007 that all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies had concluded that Iran had ceased nuclear weapons development as of 2003.

Proposal to stop hate speech | Firearms Lawyer - Federal Way Mirror

Cass Sunstein is the Obama administration’s administrator of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Sunstein, in a groundbreaking book “Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech,” has called for a “New Deal” for public speech. In the face of America’s traditional “marketplace of ideas,” Sunstein has courageously redefined the First Amendment.

In Sunstein’s conception of democracy, society would mandate free media time for political candidates, federal guidelines for the coverage of public issues, and curtailment of the ability of the wealthy to buy access to the media. Such proposals “would bring about significant changes in the legal treatment currently given to many free speech issues.”

Really worth a read.

Stimulus funds going to slashed programs -

WASHINGTON — More than $3.5 billion in economic stimulus funds are going to programs that President Obama wants to eliminate or trim in his new budget.

The president's budget released this month recommends getting rid of Army Corps of Engineers' drinking-water projects, which got $200 million in stimulus funds, and a U.S. Department of Agriculture flood-prevention program, which received $290 million from the stimulus, a USA TODAY review of stimulus spending reports show.


Product overload: Stores are threatening to dump brands - Feb. 15, 2010

As a consumer, she asked, "Do I really need to decide between 15 different types of toothpaste when I go to a store?"

Especially when they are all made by three companies.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Now Obama Discovers GOP Health Care Proposals? - Big Government

You’ll have to excuse us for questioning the sincerity of the President’s newfound desire to work together. As Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, virtually every week in 2009, we requested to meet with the President to discuss health care and other central issues. Each time, a polite “thank you” email from the White House was the extent of our bipartisan discussions. It’s interesting that only now – once his big-government dream is on political life support – does the President see a use for Republicans. And it appears that use may be more political than rooted in policy goals.

In fact, the President’s invite to Republicans has come pre-packaged with some pretty audacious spin. For starters, this week the President has aggressively tried to frame Republicans as the obstructers to health care passage, unwilling to participate in the process. That’s a pretty tough sell for a President with a 77-seat majority in the House and 59 Democrat Senators in the other chamber. And before taking that line, the President might want to check with his partisan partner, Speaker Pelosi, who famously told House Democrats they would be shut out themselves if they attempted to work with Republicans on health care.

That brings us to the second, more laughable, new claim from the White House: that the bill already contains Republican ideas and concessions from Democrats. Right.

That should be spelled "Riiiiiiiiight".

YouTube - Economics 101: School Choice Example Shows Why Government Monopolies Are Bad

Slumburbia - Opinionator Blog -

Dirty flags advertise rock-bottom discounts on empty starter mansions. On the ground, foreclosure signs are tagged with gang graffiti. Empty lots are untended, cratered with mud puddles from the winter storms that have hammered California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Nobody is home in the cities of the future.

Although I don't agree with the piece's conclusion:

Come see: this is what happens when money and market, alone, guide the way we live.

(Not surprising from this source.) This bubble had it's origin in government action, not inaction. It all started with pie in the sky housing programs started by the government with the premiss that all a poor family needed was home ownership (of course I don't consider that I own a home until I've finished paying the mortgage on it) to start this roulette wheel spinning. Turns out too many people put their chips on red, and it came up black, this time.

If you think there were no winners in this game you would be wrong. Construction companies made payroll, gave raises and probably hired people during the building phase. People who owned (or partially owned via a mortgage) suddenly found their houses worth a lot more than they should be as people played musical chairs. People sold their old homes and bought new ones, and if they were wise, kept the monthly payments within their means. People sold in high priced areas and moved to lower priced areas, paid cash for a new house and still had money left over. People RETIRED on the backs of this ponzi scheme.

But there were many losers, and most of them the people the government claimed it wanted to help. Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice shame on you? What's the government going to do "for" you next?

Place blame however you wish, and your vote costs nothing (or does it?). But how will you place your bets next time?

Barack Obama, Deficit Peacock | Personal Liberty Digest

Deficit hawks are sick and tired of the way deals are done in our nation’s capitol (and far too many state capitols). We get angry knowing that our representatives use our money to bribe other voters so they can play “Big Spender” in Washington. We’re seriously afraid that our leaders will destroy our currency and bankrupt our country.

That’s what the phrase “deficit hawk” means. What does that make our president? I know President Barack Obama, and I can assure you he’s no deficit hawk. Despite all of his talk about cutting spending, trimming needless programs and being as frugal as possible with our money, he’s more like a deficit peacock.

The John Batchelor Show :: February 15, 2010: Hour 2 - Podcasts

I love this show!

I do a lot of reading and still missed this. So Greece, one of the members of "PIIGS" used the same CDS (Credit Default Swap) schemes used by Goldman Sachs here in the US to hid bad debt? Did I get that right? Now Germany will own their asses again (peacefully this time). Oh the irony.

Hard to tell the players without a program. Are we adopting the European model or are they adopting ours? Maybe a bit of both, going down the tubes together.

Richard Cohen - Press can't dig stick out of ass for Palin

OK, I changed their headline to be more accurate.

Here is the rest of what I had to say:

"Alaska is close to Russia"

By my measure in Google Earth about 50 miles, mainland to mainland, not counting little islands scattered about that are owned by both countries.

Not necessarily a big Palin fan myself I get a little tired of hearing about this supposed gaff in geography.

When I search on "Cohen Palin" it would seem that you have made a career off of obsessing about this woman (as has much of the media). Did she pee on your snow cone?

"Alas, for both the right and the left, Palin is not a leader. She neither founded nor leads a movement and, as far as anyone can tell, has no ideas of her own. She's a validator, satisfying her audience's narcissistic urge to be told they are correct in their thinking. They look at her and see themselves. Ah, love."

Plug Obama in for Palin and the formula still works. A man who (with teleprompter) delivers a good speech and we know nothing about his grades and he has no track record in anything but activism. He's made far worse gaffs in geography and International protocol already and in such a short time.

Seriously, you are out of touch with reality.

There were half a dozen anti Hillary books written in the run-up to the election which probably did more to help her than hurt her. Headlines are good no matter what they say.

So much name calling so little real analysis. The mainstream media becomes more pathetic by the day. Good thing Kaplan is doing so well eh?

The Euro's Greek Moment of Truth -

It's hard to imagine a country less deserving of solidarity than Greece. Its debt-to-GDP ratio is nearly double that of would-be savior Germany, and the previous government in Athens was actively concealing a 13% budget deficit. Some European leaders are also beginning to understand that there is an even bigger threat to the euro than Greece's public finances. The single currency itself could be dragged down by the consequences of a bailout for one small profligate country.

YouTube -

One more reason to like Underworld:

More Underworld vids HERE.

YouTube - Sue Al Gore for fraud part 2/2

Just stumbled on this, note the date, December 2008.

YouTube - CubeStormer

Monday, February 15, 2010

The John Batchelor Show

Great (approximate) quote tonight revolving around recent Democratic defections (from office):

"The Democratic party is a spending machine, service public employee labor unions..."

Basically, it is centrist Dems leaving because they have no voice either in the White House or with current congressional leadership.

What Second Life can teach your datacenter about scaling Web apps

Over the past decade, building large-scale online applications has become a pretty well-understood science with numerous books, papers, periodicals, forums, and conferences devoted to the subject. The Web overflows with advice and prescriptions for achieving high reliability at massive scale.

Garry Kasparov: The U.S. Goes Wobbly on Russia -

Here is an even better quote from the article linked below. Is this a new word he has coined, "Ponzian"?

The similarities are striking. So who are the oligarchs in the US economy? It's clear there are some, but maybe they are not so easily classified. Definitely included would be most of our permanently entrenched elected officials, perennial appointees, PAC founders, labor union leaders, Wall Street middlemen. How about union members themselves, government employees? What other groups don't have to play by the same rules as the rest of us?

Massive U.S. borrowing, and the false sense of liquidity it produces, is currently all that is supporting large swaths of the debt-ridden Russian economy by providing cheap credit to the overextended oligarchs. Mr. Putin's cronies and other leaders sitting on failed economies benefit as America continues to move from Keynesian to Ponzian economics, desperate to postpone the inevitable reckoning. Runaway inflation in the U.S. is being put off because dollars are making their way out of the country—not by creating jobs or industry, but by boosting gains in the speculative stock and currency markets.

Garry Kasparov: The U.S. Goes Wobbly on Russia -

Mr. Obama's speech in Russia last July raised expectations that his administration would look at the Kremlin's record of brutality at home and transgressions abroad and attempt to ally itself with the beleaguered Russian people. He said, "governments which serve their own people survive and thrive; governments which serve only their own power do not." Instead of lines in the sand we have had words in the air, with dozens of these commissions established on the American president's initiative, each more pathetic than the last. This one on civil society is simply insulting.

Evan Bayh will not seek reelection | | The Indianapolis Star

“But running for the sake of winning an election, just to remain in public office, is not good enough,” Bayh said. “And it has never been what motivates me. At this time I simply believe I can best contribute to society in another way: creating jobs by helping grow a business, helping guide an institution of higher learning or helping run a worthy charitable endeavor.”


“But running for the sake of winning an election, just to remain in public office, is not good enough, [even though it was good enough for my father, the Bushes, several generations of Kennedys, the Gores, Cuomos, Bidens, I'm sure I'm leaving many out]” Bayh said. “And it has never been what motivates me. At this time I simply believe I can best contribute to society in another way: creating jobs by helping grow a business, helping guide an institution of higher learning or helping run a worthy charitable endeavor.” [I'm going to become a lobbyist, the pay is better.]

NY Times probes reporter's lifting from other news sources

"A subsequent search by The Times found other cases of extensive overlap between passages in Mr. Kouwe?s articles and other news organizations,'" the Times said.

"Copying language directly from other news organizations without providing attribution -- even if the facts are independently verified -- is a serious violation of Post Times policy and basic journalistic standards," the newspaper said.

Climategate U-turn: Astonishment as scientist at centre of global warming email row admits data not well organised | Mail Online

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Police: Did UAH shooting suspect Amy Bishop mean to kill her brother? | Breaking News from The Huntsville Times -

Braintree Police Chief Paul Frazier is now offering a different account of the shooting to The Globe: "Bishop had shot her brother during an argument and was being booked by police when the police chief at the time ordered the booking process stopped and Bishop released to her mother," the paper reports on its Web site. Records from the case have been missing since 1987.

"I don't want to use the word 'coverup,' but this does not look good," Frazier said.

Nut jobs find their way into academia, who woulda thunk it?

From the New York Times:

Some students also had problems with Dr. Bishop’s teaching style, saying she simply read from the book in class but then tested them on material that she had not covered. Nursing students repeatedly complained to Dr. Podila, the department chairman, as well as to the dean, and even sent a petition, said Caitlin Phillips, a junior in the nursing program, who took two courses with Dr. Bishop in her sophomore year

She was “very socially awkward with students” and never made eye contact during personal conversations, Ms. Phillips said. “We all had kind of a problem with her. She never really taught much. She just read straight from the book.”
Way to make sure you never get tenure.

George F. Will - Progressives and the growing dependency agenda -

Only two things are infinite -- the expanding universe and Democrats' hostility to the District of Columbia's school choice program. Killing this small program, which benefits 1,300 mostly poor and minority children, is odious and indicative. It is a small piece of something large -- the Democrats' dependency agenda, which aims to multiply the ways Americans are dependent on government.

Democrats, in their canine devotion to teachers unions, oppose empowering poor children to escape dependency on even terrible government schools. Unions and their poodles say school choice siphons money from public schools. But federal money funds the D.C. program, so killing it denies education money to the District while increasing the number of pupils the District must support.

Great piece, my quote doesn't do it justice.

Peggy Noonan: The Off-Center President -

But there's something else that has led Mr. Obama to his falling poll numbers. When FDR followed the disaster that was Herbert Hoover, he took a new and different path. The government would now hold a new place in the daily American reality. When Ronald Reagan followed the disaster that was Jimmy Carter, he took a new and different path. The federal government would be pushed back from its intrusions on Americans. But when Barack Obama took over after the disaster that was George W. Bush, he did not, in terms of the most pressing domestic issue after unemployment, take a new and different path. He spent, just like Mr. Bush, only even more. It was as if he were saying, "You think Bush broke the bank? I'll show you what a broken bank looks like." This isn't a departure, it's a doubling down.

Census 2010: Up to 800 Canvassers With Criminal Records - Big Government

According to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office Oct. 7, approximately 785 employees with disqualifying criminal records could still end up working for the Census Bureau this year. Excerpts (below) show the exact wording of the agency’s frightening information about the people who go door to door conducting interviews and collecting information for the 2010 Census:

The Bureau’s efforts to fingerprint employees, which was required as part of a criminal background check, did not proceed smoothly, in part because of training issues. As a result, over 35,000 temporary census workers — over a fifth of the address canvassing workforce — were hired despite the fact that their fingerprints could not be processed and they were not fully screened for employment eligibility.

Update: (note comment below)

From here:

SRM: Where did you get the figure that you reported to Congress that 200 criminals could have been hired by the 2010 Census? And can you clarify what “could have been hired” means?

RG: It’s strictly based on the percentages. There were 162,000 people in total hired for address canvassing. 1,800 passed the name background check but their fingerprints revealed that they had criminal records. Of those, 750 were disqualified for census employment, because their criminal records were such that they were ineligible for census employment. All we did was project those same ratios for the 35,700 people who went through the name background check but whose fingerprints could not be read. So it’s strictly a projection. It’s unfortunate that the reporting of this was not always accurate or perhaps sensationalized it. We’re not saying that 200 criminals did work on the census, but we’re saying that based on that projection it’s possible.

Here is the WAPost article on the same subject.

Another article.

Most of these use the Goldenkoff estimate of 200, looks like someone along the way took the 750 number out of context.

AH! Here it is:

From The Hill, who have apparently kept a copy of the correct file:

The Census Bureau typically takes fingerprints and performs background checks on workers hired to interact with the public. But a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that tens of thousands of workers were improperly fingerprinted by bureau employees.

The GAO fears that the name-checks performed on those employees were not sufficient without fingerprints.

And from the GAO Report (direct from the source!):

The Bureau’s efforts to fingerprint employees, which was required as part of a criminal background check, did not proceed smoothly, in part because of training issues. As a result, over 35,000 temporary census workers--over a fifth of the address canvassing workforce--were hired despite the fact that their fingerprints could not be processed and they were not fully screened for employment eligibility. The Bureau is refining instruction manuals and taking other steps to improve the fingerprinting process for future operations.

Not unusual for someone within government or a hired hand to point out problems, whereupon the agency testifies that they will take corrective action. Does "future operations" mean for the 2020 census? The problem here is followup, which in both big companies and big government, often fails to happen.

Thanks to the commenter for raising the issue.

Friday, February 12, 2010

iPhone Users Get Bored With Apps Quickly

After one month with an iPhone or Android application, only 15% of people remain interested in it. After six months, it's only 5%, according to Flurry analytics.

Obama's Eastern Front -

America can take satisfaction in the progress of this maturing democracy. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush championed Ukraine's difficult but steady path from independence to genuine freedom. The policy grew out of a bipartisan consensus that the West should help the Soviet Union's captive nations to forge their own political paths and choose their allies freely.

The current Administration has other ideas. In a sign of disinterest, the White House took nine months last year to put a new U.S. Ambassador in Kiev. The Administration has also given a cold shoulder to Georgia, which even now remains under partial Russian occupation; we hear President Mikheil Saakashvili can't get his phone calls to the White House returned. On the other hand, Mr. Obama has given a lot of face time to Russia's leaders in the name of "pressing the reset button."

Climate Change: A Canadian Newspaper Prints the Obituary of a Man-Made Hoax - Big Journalism

Now the Hoax is fully exposed, buck naked, picked clean. Clean as the wind-driven snow.

Yet, although its premise is dead, the carcass of thought that brought it this far will continue to walk. But it’ll be the walk of the zombie. Stiff, staggering, with flat eyes and muffled voice.

Its false prophets, led by Al Gore — a modern day P.T. Barnum — will continue to push their premise. But their disciples will melt away as the snow will eventually melt in D.C.

YouTube - Rodney Dangerfield's First Economics Class

The parallels are obvious.

Too Easy: How a Simple Hack Can Turn Your Numeric Google Profile URL Back into a Gmail Address

Over the last few days, there has been a lot of buzz about how much private information your public Google profile contains if you don't choose the right settings. The URL of your profile alone can already give away your Gmail address. To hide this address from public view, you can switch your profile URL away from showing your name to using an address that features a 21-digit number instead of your username. However, as it turns out, this isn't a foolproof method either. By using a very simple trick, anybody can quickly figure out your Gmail address from these numbers.
Google is no more (or less) guilty of this sort of oversight than the other players. What they all have in common is the need to get new "products" out the door quickly, without a whole lot of peer review (project to project).

In our modern world, such oversight (when practiced) does little god, as the participants for the most part have not been "indoctrinated" to the benefits. They see these high level meetings as a waste of time, they eschew lengthy design processes that might avoid such risks.

If our Facebook or Google info gets out, maybe not such a big deal, but you can bet the same atmosphere prevails where software is written for banks, hospitals, and other systems for which security might actually matter. It's a cultural thing, and there is no inner sanctum of developers who are not allowed to have their attention spans eroded by MTV, video games, or even new Internet "tools" such as Buzz.

The Bankrupt PIGS of Europe - HUMAN EVENTS

Where Greece is at today, however, we shall all arrive tomorrow.

In every Western nation, government is growing beyond the capacity of taxpayers to bear. Deficits and debt are surging. Not enough children are being born to replace parents. The immigrant poor who consume more than they contribute are coming to take the empty places. Seniors and elderly are growing as a share of the population. Companies are saying goodbye to the West and moving offshore to low-wage lands.

The West begins to look like yesterday, while the East begins to look like tomorrow.

Secession in the Air - HUMAN EVENTS

What called the Tea Party into existence?

Some are angry over unchecked immigration and the failure to control our borders and send the illegals back. Some are angry over the loss of manufacturing jobs. Some are angry over winless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some are angry over ethnic preferences they see as favoring minorities over them.

What they agree upon, however, is that they have been treading water for a decade, working harder and harder with little or no improvement in their family standard of living. They see the government as taking more of their income in taxes, seeking more control over their institutions, creating entitlements for others not them, plunging the nation into unpayable debt, and inviting inflation or a default that can wipe out what they have saved.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

MySpace Now Likely Worth Less Than Murdoch Paid For It (If It's Worth Anything At All)

A glance at the financials--shrinking revenue, losses, declining market share, loss of mojo and market leadership--would suggest that the company might be worth 1X-2X revenue--on the assumption that MySpace could cut costs radically and make a bit of money in the next few years. That would put the valuation at about $500 million to $1.2 billion--with the lower end being LESS than Rupert paid for it, and the upper end being twice what he paid for it (hardly the steal of the century).

Facebook Sent Cease And Desists To Companies That Help People Quit Facebook

Seppukoo -- tag line, "Assisting your virtual suicide" -- has helped 20,000 people erase themselves from Facebook and other social networking sites; Web 2.0 Suicide Machine has been used by 2,600 people in its two-month history.

Facebook, however, is not a fan. It has not only blocked the servers of both sites but also sent cease and desist letters informing the companies that they are violating Facebook's policies by collecting log in data, the article said.

Microsoft Making It Easier To Ditch Windows For A Mac

Specifically, Microsoft announced today that it will allow buyers of the all-new Outlook for Mac to import old messages and calendar events from Outlook for Windows, in the form of .PST files.

MS should just save everyone a lot of headaches and ease out of the desktop OS business. Make Office run everywhere. Keep the server stuff if it floats their boat. Note desktop OS profitability is declining while the other two are increasing.


USA Today Makes Employees Take A Payless Week, Freezes Wages

Things just keep getting worse for USA Today.

Publisher Dave Hunke just sent the following memo to his 1,000-plus employees, in which he announced that they must take an unpaid leave of absence for a week sometime during the four months between Feb. 28 through July 3.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Google to Test Ultra-Fast Broadband -

Under the plan, Google will build an experimental fiber network that will target several cities and between 50,000 and 500,000 people, the company announced Wednesday.

Chance I'll get this = 1/googolplex

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Formula for Real Economic Growth: Cut Public Employee Pay by 20% - Big Government

Drillgate: Internal Emails Shows Obama Team Lying to Public - Big Government

In April of 2009, during a discussion about offshore exploration in San Francisco, Salazar said that President Obama directed him to “to make sure that we have an open and transparent government” and that “these are not decisions that are going to be made behind closed doors.” Salazar went on to say that President Obama wanted to make sure that DOI was “maximizing the opportunity for the public to give us guidance on what it is that they want to do.”

Yet, more than four months after the comment period ended, the Department of the Interior has failed to make any public announcement about the results, even though sources have told American Solutions for months the comments show a 2-1 advantage in support of offshore drilling.

It took American Solutions almost four months and the power of the Freedom of Information Act to finally uncover indirect confirmation that, out of over 530,000 comments submitted, pro-drilling comments outnumbered anti-drilling comments by a 2-1 margin.

President Obama's Antiterror Policies -

As long as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were responsible for keeping Americans safe, Democrats could pander to the U.S. and European left's anti-antiterror views at little political cost. But now that they are responsible, American voters are able to see what the left really has in mind, and they are saying loud and clear that they prefer the Cheney method.

Mr. Holder has nonetheless begun a campaign to defend his decisions on Abdulmutallab and KSM, telling the New Yorker last week that "I don't apologize for what I've done" and that trying KSM in a civilian court will be "the defining event of my time as Attorney General."

Hopefully, defining the end of it.

The tautology at the center of this most recent bungling is that we went through many years of having "suspects" that were obviously guilty set free simply because the officers involved in the apprehension neglected to immediately Mirandize the detainee. Simply put, if it was valid to Mirandize the underwear bomber, then it should have been done immediately, else our brilliant AG needs to let him walk. If it wasn't valid to Mirandize the underwear bomber, then why did they do it?

As other statements from this dysfunctional administration indicate, what they want to conduct is a "show trial", yes, just like we used to accuse Communist countries and other dictatorships of doing. Is this the sort of thing the people who voted for Obama had in mind? Somehow I doubt it. But good luck getting them to admit the discrepancy between the change they voted for and the change they got.

Monday, February 08, 2010

YouTube - Murtha's ABSCAM video - the BEST of Murtha ABSCAM

Before he laid the groundwork for a "slow bleed" of U.S. troops in Iraq, Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) agreed to do business with a fictitious Arab sheik whom Murtha thought was trying to bribe him. Murtha avoided prosecution for his role in the ABSCAM scandal by testifying against other Democrat Congressmen who'd taken the bribes.

Andrew Cuomo v. Bank of America: Prosecutor, Charge Thyself -

HUD's Web visitors learn that in 1999 "Secretary Cuomo established new Affordable Housing Goals requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—two government sponsored enterprises involved in housing finance—to buy $2.4 trillion in mortgages in the next 10 years. This will mean new affordable housing for about 28.1 million low- and moderate-income families. The historic action raised the required percentage of mortgage loans for low- and moderate-income families that the companies must buy from the current 42 percent of their total purchases to a new high of 50 percent—a 19 percent increase—in the year 2001."

It's a sign of Washington's continuing failure to examine its own failures that HUD still views such a policy as an "accomplishment." It's as if the Pentagon described Pearl Harbor as a victory.

American Thinker: The Lawyers' Party

The Lawyers' Party sees these sorts of people, who provide goods and services that people want, as the enemies of America. And so we have seen the procession of official enemies in the eyes of the Lawyers' Party grow. Against whom do Hillary and Obama rail? Pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, hospitals, manufacturers, fast food restaurant chains, large retail businesses, bankers and anyone producing anything of value in our nation.

This is the natural consequence of viewing everything through the eyes of lawyers. Lawyers solve problems by successfully representing their clients, in this case the American people. Lawyers seek to have new laws passed, they seek to win lawsuits, they press appellate courts to overturn precedent, and lawyers always parse language to favor their side.

Confined to the narrow practice of law, that is fine. But it is an awful way to govern a great nation. When politicians as lawyers begin to view some Americans as clients and other Americans as opposing parties, then the role of the legal system in our life becomes all consuming. Some Americans become "adverse parties" of our very government. We are not all litigants in some vast social class action suit. We are citizens of a republic which promises us a great deal of freedom from laws, from courts, and from lawyers.

Recession chugs on, except in government | Washington Examiner

Third, among the few sectors of the economy showing net employment growth over the past year is the federal government. The federal civil service is rapidly expanding as Obama increases the size of government, with 33,000 new positions being added in January alone. Only 9,000 of those new slots were for temporary census jobs. In other words, what we are seeing is good times for the public sector and the growing prospect of a continuing and perhaps even deepening recession for everybody else.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Who is this guy and why haven't I heard of him?

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried” – G. K. Chesterton

Another good one from here:

The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected. Even when the revolutionist might himself repent of his revolution, the traditionalist is already defending it as part of his tradition. Thus we have two great types -- the advanced person who rushes us into ruin, and the retrospective person who admires the ruins. He admires them especially by moonlight, not to say moonshine. Each new blunder of the progressive or prig becomes instantly a legend of immemorial antiquity for the snob. This is called the balance, or mutual check, in our Constitution.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Census Bureau Obscured Personal Data—Too Well, Some Say -

Feds: DUH. Again.
Flawed software programming appears to be at fault. Laura Zayatz, chair of the Census Bureau's disclosure-review board, says code designed to add the statistical noise to the subset of older respondents should have offset those changes with opposite adjustments made elsewhere in the data sample. This didn't happen as it should have, so that ages and other attributes were skewed.

Before the data were released in 2003, the Census Bureau's diagnostic tools flagged the problem, but it "didn't seem large enough in the judgment of our analysts to stop the release," says Dr. Groves, the Census Bureau director.

American Thinker Blog: Lech Walesa stumps for conservative IL candidate for governor

While at the fundraising luncheon, Walesa spoke about the U.S. in relationship to the world.

"The U.S. is a superpower. Nobody doubts that. Today they lead the world-militarily. They also lead economically, but they are weak.

They don't lead morally and politically any more. The world has no leadership. The U.S. was the last resort and hope for all the nations. Today we have lost the hope."

TelePrompter lets Commander-in-Chief Down as He Mispronounces ‘Corpsman,’ Mangles French - Big Journalism

Isn’t this the same man who said that more Americans should learn a foreign language — even though he doesn’t speak any himself?

Washington vs. Common Sense -

Americans know what's wrong: Government has taken on a life of its own, dragging our country down to some horrible pit of quicksand where, increasingly, no one can make sensible choices.

Washington is broken. So are most state governments. The reason is the same. Government is out of control, schools are out of control, health-care costs are out of control, lawsuits are out of control—because law has supplanted the responsibility of people needed to keep them in control.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

YouTube - Eye (Don't) Witness News

Canadian Premier Comes to U.S. For Health Care - Big Government

The Obama Economy - Conrad Black - National Review Online

Adam Smith was absolutely correct that there should be an efficient division of work, and that production should be aimed to please the consumer rather than to express the whim of the producer. He recognized that mercantilism was essentially a command economy that was certain to be much less productive, less satisfying to consumers, and less likely to grow and flourish and generate wealth, jobs, and incomes, than a free-market economy. He recognized the need for alleviation of the conditions of the indigent, and, as someone who was more a moral philosopher than an economist, he expected that economic restraint, frugality, and altruistic desires would be stronger than, in practice, they are.

Smith could not have foreseen that the U.S. in particular, which was just grasping for its independence in his time, would become such a center of Babylonian decadence and philistine vulgarity as it has, in addition to having many more admirable traits. No one could have foreseen that in advanced countries such as the U.S., cultural factors and not economic policies would be the chief cause of poverty and that obesity would be the greatest public-health problem.

S&P 500 Map Heatmap

Justice Thomas Defends Campaign Finance Ruling -

Justice Thomas said the First Amendment’s protections applied regardless of how people chose to assemble to participate in the political process.

“If 10 of you got together and decided to speak, just as a group, you’d say you have First Amendment rights to speak and the First Amendment right of association,” he said. “If you all then formed a partnership to speak, you’d say we still have that First Amendment right to speak and of association.”

“But what if you put yourself in a corporate form?” Justice Thomas asked, suggesting that the answer must be the same.

ESA Portal - Live long and prosper, Xanthoria elegans

The fact that living organisms do survive in open space seems to support the idea of panspermia – life spreading from planet to another, or even between solar systems. “The loose end in this theory is now arrival at a planet, because no living thing can survive the fiery entry through an atmosphere,” Demets says. “But possibly deep inside a space rock the conditions are better. Therefore we’re now thinking of an astrobiology experiment involving a return to Earth”.

Image Searchers Snared By Malware

It's uncertain how Arnold's site got infected in the first place, but Sinegubko had earlier said that almost 90% of breakins in 2009 that occurred on Linux-hosted sites, were caused by malware installed surreptitiously on people's Windows PCs and stealing the passwords that people used to administer their sites. Or the site could have been compromised via a WordPress exploit such as this one. As I always tell anyone who will listen, if you want to keep your Linux-hosted website from being broken into, one of the most frequently overlooked precautions that you need to take is to keep your Windows PC free of spyware.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Kenneth, What Is the Frequency: How CBS and Dan Rather Set Up Elian Gonzalez - Big Journalism

On April 16, 2000, viewers of CBS’ 60 Minutes saw Dan Rather interviewing Elian Gonzalez’s father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez. America saw a bewildered and heartsick father simply pleading to be allowed to have his motherless son accompany him back to Cuba, his cherished homeland. How could anyone oppose this? How could simple decency and common sense possibly allow for anything else?
“Did you cry?” the pained and frowning Dan Rather asked the “bereaved” father during the 60 Minutes drama.“A father never runs out of tears,” Juan (actually, the voice of Juan’s drama school-trained translator) sniffled back to Dan. And the 60 Minutes prime-time audience could hardly contain their own sniffles.

Here’s what America didn’t see...

Vulnerable Dems seek distance from Obama -

As Congress begins picking through President Obama's vast election year budget, many Democratic incumbents and candidates seem to be finding something they love — to campaign against.

A Democratic Senate candidate in Missouri denounced the budget's sky-high deficit. A Florida Democrat whose district includes the Kennedy Space Center hit the roof over NASA budget cuts. And an endangered Senate Democrat denounced proposed cuts in farm subsidies.

Twitter Expediting The Death Of Hugo Chavez's 11-Year Old Economic Experiment

Venezuela's 11-year economic experiment with Hugo Chavez's 'Bolivarian Revolution' is on its death bed these days given the horrendous economic results that are increasingly hard to deny.

But that hasn't stopped many over here from wanting to re-try the same experiments: Nationalize everything NOW!

Russia Must Become a Western Democracy, Medvedev Institute Says - BusinessWeek

Russia’s economic modernization depends on political reforms that will transform the country into a western-style democracy and U.S. ally, said a research institute headed by President Dmitry Medvedev.


"She makes enough to pay 200 news reporters $75,000 a year!" demands a veteran producer. "It's complete insanity."

The angry source continues: "We report with great enthusiasm how much bankers are making, how it is out of step with reality during a recession. Well, look at Katie!"

Ajami: The Obama Spell Is Broken -

He was a blank slate, and devotees projected onto him what they wanted or wished. In the manner of political redeemers who have marked—and wrecked—the politics of the Arab world and Latin America, Mr. Obama left the crowd to its most precious and volatile asset—its imagination. There was no internal coherence to the coalition that swept him to power. There was cultural "cool" and racial absolution for the white professional classes who were the first to embrace him. There was understandable racial pride on the part of the African-American community that came around to his banners after it ditched the Clinton dynasty.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

How The New York Times Lost An Entire Generation Of Readers

I don't think a paper that loses millions of dollars a year and funds itself by taking extortionary loans from plutocratic Mexican billionaires can be said to be competing in anything, Metro or otherwise. My feeling is you only get to congratulate yourself if you produce a great product and make money doing it— you don't get any points for doing just the first half. And that doesn't just go for you guys— I don't think any magazine or newspaper that supports itself by sucking on the teat of some old rich guy (or his heirs!) should be giving anyone else advice.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Daily Gut: When Climate Change Experts Are Not Experts

We Are So Screwed

The point is that complacency almost always ends suddenly. You just don't slide gradually into a crisis, over years. It happens! All of a sudden there is a trigger event, and it is August of 2008. And the evidence in the book is that things go along fine until there is that crisis of confidence. There is no way to know when it will happen. There is no magic debt level, no magic drop in currencies, no percentage level of fiscal deficits, no single point where we can say "This is it." It is different in different crises.

Moonset - Cringely on technology

Later today the Obama Administration will reportedly announce major changes in the U. S. space program that may amount to the effective end of manned space flight after this decade. As a guy who has been trying to mount his own mission to the Moon I’m not yet sure how I feel about this. Maybe it is a great opportunity, but probably not.

Obama Proposes $3.8 Trillion Budget -

A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon you've got a, uh, quadrillion.

Exchange rate between the US Dollar and Monopoly money is looking more favorable to the latter.

Google’s ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Mantra is ‘Bullshit,’ Adobe Is Lazy: Apple’s Steve Jobs (Update 2) | Epicenter |

About Adobe: They are lazy, Jobs says. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it. They don’t do anything with the approaches that Apple is taking, like Carbon. Apple does not support Flash because it is so buggy, he says. Whenever a Mac crashes more often than not it’s because of Flash. No one will be using Flash, he says. The world is moving to HTML5.

He's right about that. When we get to the time that they are shuttering what is left of Adobe they will have no one to blame but themselves.