May 27, 2009
Don't the people have a say anymore?
May 23, 2009
May 21, 2009
It seems as if the Obama Administration is incredibly capricious about the evidence it chooses to release, and the evidence it chooses to keep under wraps. This capriciousness is puzzling; by calling for the release of memos detailing how successful enhanced interrogation might have been, Vice President Cheney is, in effect, inviting the Obama Administration to call shenanigans on his arguments. If enhanced interrogation was unsuccessful, the Obama Administration can show it through those memos and prove to the public that Dick Cheney was wrong.
Of course, it is entirely possible that the Obama Administration is refusing to release those memos because Dick Cheney was right. If so, the Administration's refusal to take up the Cheney challenge, while self-righteously claiming that Dick Cheney is wrong, is dishonest in the extreme. And if that dishonesty translates itself into policy, it will be to the detriment of us all.
It's too bad nobody had a debate like this last Fall.
May 20, 2009
The manufacturer of a motor vehicle sold, leased, or otherwise introduced into commerce in the United States must provide to the motor vehicle owner and service providers, using reasonable business means and on a non-discriminatory basis, all information to diagnose, service, maintain, or repair the motor vehicle. This information must include all information of any kind provided directly, indirectly, or wirelessly to new car dealers or any repair facility to diagnose, service, maintain, repair, activate, certify, or install any motor vehicle equipment (including replacement parts and equipment) in a motor vehicle.
The manufacturer of a motor vehicle sold, leased, or otherwise introduced into commerce in the United States must offer for sale to the motor vehicle owner and to all service providers on a reasonable and non-discriminatory basis, any tool for the diagnosis, service, maintenance, or repair of a motor vehicle, and provide all information that enables aftermarket tool companies to manufacture tools with the same functional characteristics as those tools made available by the manufacturers to authorized dealers.
That sound so reasonable, doesn't it. If you buy a car, why shouldn't you be able to take it wherever you want to get it fixed? Well, one reason is that the information is protected and owned by the car manufacturers and Congress is trying to steal from owners and give to voters. Perhaps before passing this, Congress should rescind the Digital Millennium Copyright Act they passed in 1996. DMCA makes it a criminal offense to circumvent digital rights management (DRM) protections like they are proposing here.
Cheer it on, though... next they will circumvent DRM on printer ink cartridges and make that cheaper for the voters too... who could be mad? Just because the car manufacturers and the printer manufacturers employ people at good wages doesn't mean voters shouldn't get their products as cheaply as possible. Where do you work? And why shouldn't Congress give your company's products and services away, too? After all, as this bill (The Motor Vehicle Owners Right to Repair Act of 2009) states, "Owners are entitled to choose which service provider will diagnose, service, maintain, or repair [what they purchased]... and promoting competition in price and quality for the diagnosis of problems, service, maintenance... will benefit consumers."
Got that? If you buy something, you are entitled to choose where you will get it repaired and Congress will force the manufacturer to comply to your wishes.
Where do we live again?
May 19, 2009
In the book "Atlas Shrugged," a railroad and a steel manufacturer were able to put out a product that ran rings around everyone else... super strong rails at a cheap price allowing long, fast trains. Then Congress, in the guise of protecting workers, mandated a 60/60 law: no train could be over 60 cars long and no train could travel over 60 miles per hour... this meant more trains, so more workers; slower trains, more worker hours. Congress continued by dividing up the country into regions and mandated that every railroad had to run the same number of trains in each region (whether the region used the rail fully or not). The end result of this micro management is, of course, that everyone either quit or went bankrupt because their business purpose was no longer to create a profit, but to be a good member of society.
Yes, yes. Atlas Shrugged in fiction... but how is the above any different from our real Congress mandating mileage standards without regard to engineering or customer desires? If Congress wants Americans to use less fuel and be less polluting, then Congress should have the courage to tax fuel until we meet whatever arbitrary standard they're after. Then the voters will have a better understanding of whose actually in charge in America.
May 18, 2009
May 15, 2009
The largest scientific and economic questions are being addressed by others, so I will confine myself to reporting about how all this looks from the receiving end of the taxes, restrictions and mandates Congress is now proposing.
Quite simply, it looks like imperialism. This bill would impose enormous taxes and restrictions on free commerce by wealthy but faltering powers -- California, Massachusetts and New York -- seeking to exploit politically weaker colonies in order to prop up their own decaying economies. Because proceeds from their new taxes, levied mostly on us, will be spent on their social programs while negatively impacting our economy, we Hoosiers decline to submit meekly.
The Waxman-Markey legislation would more than double electricity bills in Indiana. Years of reform in taxation, regulation and infrastructure-building would be largely erased at a stroke. In recent years, Indiana has led the nation in capturing international investment, repatriating dollars spent on foreign goods or oil and employing Americans with them. Waxman-Markey seems designed to reverse that flow. "Closed: Gone to China" signs would cover Indiana's stores and factories.
Read the whole thing... I think he's right, imperialism is the best description for the empires of California, New York and other states who look to suck the wealth out of the midwest to fund their own economies which they've taxed into oblivion.
Nearly ten years into the 21 century it is clear that the UN IPCC computer models have gone badly astray. The IPCC models have predicted a one degree increase in global temperature by 2011 with further large temperature rises to 2100. Yet there has been no warming since 1998 with a one degree cooling this year being the largest global temperature change ever recorded. Nasa satellite imagery from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California has confirmed that the Pacific Ocean has switched from the warm mode it has been in since 1977 to its cool mode, similar to that of the 1945-1977 global cooling period.The evidence that the earth is in a cooling mode rather than a warming mode is there for all to see...
May 14, 2009
Who knows, if the area folks keep dragging their feet on repairing Norwell, perhaps the Feds will step in and pay for that as well... or close it down.
May 13, 2009
"Consumers would be well-advised to watch their phone bill to see if it changes in format or amount," says Martha Buyer, attorney and regulatory counsel for the Society of Telecommunication Consultants. It's entirely possible that customers with bundle discounts might wind up paying a la carte prices for each service. Since any changes will take between three and 12 months to implement, Buyer says, check the inserts in your phone bill in the upcoming months to see what, if any, deals Frontier will offer former Verizon customers.
Lucky for me, we're on FIOS, Verizon's fiber optics line for phone and Internet (not for TV, though).
Update: This article makes me wonder if all Verizon in Indiana is under transition... maybe I'm not so lucky after all.
General Motors Corp. has plans to sell Chinese-made cars in the United States two years from now, making it the first major automaker to import vehicles from China into the U.S., according to a report by Automotive News. The auto industry trade publication cited a document it obtained that GM (NYSE: GM) has been circulating among lawmakers. It said GM would look to sell more than 17,000 vehicles made in China to American consumers in 2011, and boost that to more than 51,000 by 2014. The United Auto Workers have been critical of GM for wanting to sell cars made overseas, particularly at a time when it is taking taxpayer money.
That's not so different from Nike, is it? Headquartered in Oregon, Nike uses cheap overseas labor to make shoes. RCA headquarters is in New York, but they don't make TVs in America anymore... so now goes the American auto industry... where taxes and the cost of labor are low, there jobs flow.
Update: East Chicago, Indiana based ArcelorMittal Steel laying off nearly 1000 workers this summer. ArcelorMittal is the world's largest steel maker and is based in Luxembourg, Belgium.
I'm telling you, reading the news is little different from reading Atlas Shrugged these days.
Update: Intel socked with $1.45Billion fine by European Union... you see, when taxes dry up, the government can just fine successful businesses to make up the difference.
Update: Obama eyes Google as a monopoly. Please, I thought the President was Internet savvy... Google is no a monopoly at all, there are plenty of search engines. What Google has is a good product and like all good products, like Intel, Google has money and the government wants it and the little guys want to knock down the big guys.
May 11, 2009
May 10, 2009
On the other hand, experimenting on human embryos (which have resulted in little but cancer in the recipients while adult stem cells have resulted in actual cures) is just fine and dandy.
Yucca Mountain, which would benefit all parts of America, is a decent project for federal research grants (or tax breaks). Experimentation if hydrogen fuel cells, also, would benefit all. Both efforts would increase our energy independence and both projects are green. Just like states that find themselves short of funds always threaten to cut police, firemen and teachers, Obama cuts the needed projects first, so everyone will understand increased taxes are needed.
May 9, 2009
Daniels said he hoped today's graduating class would be part of a generation that would "live for others, not just yourselves. For fulfillment, not just pleasure and material gain. For tomorrow, and the Americans who will reside there, not just for today.''
We Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. We haven't had "greatness thrust upon us," that's for sure, but on the other hand, here we are (Governor Daniels included) in full control of the United States. Are we voiding our parents' social security or medicare? No, even though most of us realize we will never take out of it what we have put in, were aren't ditching it and kicking "The Greatest Generation" to the side of the street, are we. And what is the root cause of our current financial problems? The government loaned too much to those who didn't have the ability to repay. Is this a self-centered act? No, even though we have learned now, the hard way, that not every American can live the American dream of home ownership.
Perhaps the Governor has forgotten the scenes of the Greatest Generation turning fire hoses on Black protesters who only wanted equal rights under the law as they were guaranteed under the Constitution. Perhaps he has forgotten the riots caused by the desegregation of schools. We, the Boomers, are a far more tolerant generation than the one preceding us don't you think? Isn't tolerance nearly the opposite of self-absorption, Governor Daniels?
How is it that we who are running America, we who give nearly $300 billion annually to charities throughout the world, can be described as self-indulgent and just plain selfish? After the Asian tsunami, individuals in America gave over two billion dollars in relief. As individuals we give seven times more than German citizens do, fourteen times more than Italian citizens do. We volunteer, we pray for the sick, we pay for the poor, we care for our parents and our children... selfish, Governor? Perhaps you're hanging around too many politicians.
For the first time in their 57-year history of professional hockey, the Fort Wayne Komets are back-to-back champions.
The Komets, the regular-season champions in the International Hockey League, added the Turner Cup championship on Friday night with a 4-1 victory over the Muskegon Lumberjacks. The Komets won the best-of-seven series 4-1 and that set off a celebration among the 10,480 spectators at sold-out Memorial Coliseum.
May 8, 2009
May 7, 2009
May 6, 2009
Three years ago, Lugar, who grows corn, soybeans and trees on his family's 604 acres of property in Marion County, Ind., became the first farmer in his state to sign up with the new commodity market called the Chicago Climate Exchange, which is likely to play a major role in President Obama's $650 billion cap-and-trade initiative. In the process, Lugar became what the exchange called an offset producer, entitling him to a financial reward in return for keeping his part of his property untouched.I'm sure he'll click glasses over lunch with all the other of his kind who enrich themselves while in office.
May 5, 2009
In each of the four major pandemics since 1889, a spring wave of relatively mild illness was followed by a second wave, a few months later, of a much more virulent disease. This was true in 1889, 1957, 1968 and in the catastrophic flu outbreak of 1918, which sickened an estimated third of the world's population and killed, conservatively, 50 million people.
Lone Simonsen, an epidemiologist at George Washington University, who has studied the course of prior pandemics in both the United States and her native Denmark, says, "The good news from past pandemics, in several experiences, is that the majority of deaths have happened not in the first wave, but later." Based on this, Simonsen suggests there may be time to develop an effective vaccine before a second, more virulent strain, begins to circulate.
Mayhaps I'll take that shot this time.
And if President Bush had such a slip of the tongue?
May 4, 2009
"We found stations located next to the exhaust fans of air conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering-hot rooftops, and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat. We found 68 stations located at wastewater treatment plants, where the process of waste digestion causes temperatures to be higher than in surrounding areas.
"In fact, we found that 89 percent of the stations--nearly 9 of every 10--fail to meet the National Weather Service's own siting requirements ..."The conclusion is inescapable: The U.S. temperature record is unreliable. And the U.S. record is thought to be "the best in the world."
May 3, 2009
Rio Bravo is on TCM this Wednesday evening... thought I'd post the above performance by Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson since it's mentioned in this wonderful review where Leo Grin explains that Rio Bravo came about as an answer to Gary Cooper's "High Noon"
In his now-famous 1971 Playboy interview, John Wayne recalled his own loathing for the film:Some critics like to nitpick and remind us that Cooper doesn’t actually step on his discarded tin star, but Wayne’s then-twenty-year-old memory is plenty close enough for government work. The conclusion of High Noon (former President Bill Clinton’s favorite movie, natch) has marshal Will Kane casting his badge into the dirt with a sneer, his features oozing contempt for the yellow-bellied townsfolk he defended. “That was like belittling a medal of honor,” Wayne seethed privately to his friends.
Everyone says High Noon was a great picture because [Dmitri] Tiomkin wrote some great music for it and because Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly were in it. In the picture, four guys come in to gun down the sheriff. He goes to church and asks for help and the guys go, “Oh well, oh gee.” And the women stand up and say, “You rats, you rats.” So Cooper goes out alone. It’s the most un-American thing I ever saw in my whole life. The last thing in the picture is ole Coop putting the United States marshal’s badge under his foot and stepping on it.
May 1, 2009
The government issued new guidance for schools with confirmed cases, saying they should close for at least 14 days because children can be contagious for seven to 10 days from when they get sick. That means parents can expect to have children at home for longer than previously thought.
The Education Department said that more than 400 schools had closed, affecting about 245,000 children in 18 states. That was about 100 more schools reported closed than reported on Thursday.
Have we become so afraid of illness that all must stop, everyone must hide at home for fear of the earps?