Archive for May, 2013

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Self-determination

May 31, 2013

There are so many aspects to like about this story that I’m not sure where to start. Let’s see:

Cool physical technology? Check.
Cool communications tech? Check.
An accident victim’s never-say-die attitude? Check.
People using available tools to improve their own lives? Check.
That old bottom-up organization thing working its magic to improve other people’s lives? Check.

Does a story get any better than this?

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Memorial Day 2013

May 27, 2013

Memorial-day-2013

Here’s part of a short essay by Alex Horton at a Veterans’ Affairs site.

When Memorial Day Bleeds Across the Calendar

[…] Even as a young kid, I reflected on my distant relative killed at Gettysburg, and the men my grandfather and uncle knew in Korea and Vietnam who came home in flag-draped transfer cases. But a turn down a trash-strewn road fundamentally changed the concept of love and loss for many in the platoon. We were young soldiers and unaccustomed to death. It was no longer something only our grandparents had to worry about. Suddenly we were eulogizing our brother who never had a chance to grow old and live a full life.

Memorial Day is meant to remind folks of the sacrifice borne by those who fell in battle in defense of the country, as well as their families. But once you lose someone in combat, Memorial Day bleeds across the rest of the calendar. […]

I hope civilians find more solace in Memorial Day than I do. Many seem to forget why it exists in the first place, and spend the time looking for good sales or drinking beers on the back porch. It’s a long weekend, not a period of personal reflection. At the same time, many incorrectly thank Vets or active duty folks for their service. While appreciated, it’s misdirected. That’s what Veterans Day is for. Instead, they should take some time and remember the spirit of the country and the dedication of those men and women who chose to pick up arms. They never came home to be thanked, and only their memory remains.

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Damn Obama, you scary (2)

May 25, 2013

I don’t spend a lot of time bashing sitting Presidents. Too many people do that at the drop of a hat and in readers’ eyes it just becomes one partisan’s potshots against another’s. That’s the impression I frequently get, at least.

Those who take President Obama to task for not knowing military protocols (or other minor infractions) and the folks who propagated the canard about President Bush and the upside-down book only damage their own side’s arguments in a serious reader’s eyes. Grow up and get a clue, people: avoid the temptation to score a cheap shot.

The better course in most cases is to praise public figures who do the Right Thing rather than to condemn ones who do the Wrong Thing.

But in some cases the errors are too threatening to let pass. When the current administration acts like a gang of Chicago mobsters, we need to raise hell about it.

Here’s the opening of a recent NYT opinion piece that was by James Goodale. Mr Goodale represented The New York Times in the Pentagon Papers case and he’s a First Amendment lawyer and author of “Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles.”

Only Nixon Harmed a Free Press More

The search warrant filed to investigate the Fox News reporter James Rosen proved as many had suspected: President Obama wants to make it a crime for a reporter to talk to a leaker. It is a further example of how President Obama will surely pass President Richard Nixon as the worst president ever on issues of national security and press freedom.

The government’s subpoena of The Associated Press’s phone records was bad enough. But the disclosure of the search warrant in the Rosen case shows President Obama has delved into territory never before reached by previous presidents.

The Justice Department obtained Rosen’s e-mail by using a search warrant in which it alleged that Rosen was a co-conspirator with a government adviser named Stephen Kim.

This conspiracy, as imagined by the Justice Department, commenced as soon as Rosen started e-mailing or talking with Kim. But reporters have the right to talk to anyone, under the First Amendment. Obama’s theory of conspiracy therefore strikes at the heart of that amendment.

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Rand Paul on a rant

May 23, 2013

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations summoned Apple’s CEO to Washington, basically because Apple minimized its US tax obligations in ways that are legal under the US’ overly complex corporate tax code. It struck me as a fairly transparent bit of grand-standing; or what you should expect from the Congress, in other words.

Senate Subcommittee Accuses Apple of Tax Gimmicks

Apple avoids billions in U.S. taxes through creative, unique tax structures, and even negotiated a special corporate tax rate of less than 2% with the Irish government, according to a report released by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, ahead of its Tuesday hearing featuring CEO Tim Cook.

Rand Paul took his colleagues to task for their investigation and rightly so.


Update: Thomas Sowell chimes in with his usual plain talk.

Federal Government Exercises Its Bullying Pulpit

We have truly entered the world of “Alice in Wonderland” when the CEO of a company that pays $16 million a day in taxes is hauled up before a congressional subcommittee to be denounced on national TV for not paying more.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was denounced for contributing to “a worrisome federal deficit,” according to Sen. Carl Levin — one of the big-spending liberals in Congress who has had a lot more to do with creating that deficit than any private citizen has.


Update 2: A funny cartoon (via Carpe Diem).

Apples-taxes

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Nothing new under the sun

May 16, 2013

Update:Via Carpe Diem, I came across this image which fits here quite well. Leno-on-bad-old-days

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The 50 to 1 project

May 5, 2013

Here’s an interesting project at indiegogo to document "the true cost of ‘action’ on climate change" using the IPCC’s own figures.

Topher has raised about 20% of his $130,000 goal with 23 days left.

This project is being administered by the Lord Monckton Foundation (that web site appears to have been launched very recently). Lord Monckton, of course, is the self-described “high priest” of climate skepticism (PDF).

I think this is a good idea and is way over due. It’s easy to wish for everything when you never count the cost of anything.

Tip o’ the hat to sailor Jeff

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Unpopular people

May 5, 2013

This is another video by the Australian who goes by Topher. It’s from his ‘Forbidden History’ series and talks about the costs and benefits of freedom of speech – particulary in Australia.

Anyone remember Semmelweis?

In February, I posted another clip from that series which was about taxes.

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What he said (2)

May 2, 2013

I lifted this short post from the always-worth-reading Coyote Blog.

Can’t Anyone be Consistent?

I am just floored that Conservatives, who very very recently argued that the act of one bad guy at Newtown should not be used to limit the rights of tens of millions of legal gun owners, are now arguing that the acts of two bad guys (Tsarnaev’s) SHOULD be used to limit the rights of tens of millions of peaceful immigrants.

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