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Assorted Links 1/31/2010

President to Call for Big New Ed. Spending. Here’s a Look at How that’s Worked in the Past

You may be wondering: "What did we get for that huge increase in spending?" The answer is: a lot more public school employees. The next chart adds an extra trend line to the one above: the number of public school employees divided by the number of students enrolled. This ratio of staff to students has gone up by 70 percent since 1970, swelling the ranks of the public school employee unions to about 4.5 million people.

Living Large

Obama Decries Divisive Rhetoric, Says Healing Can Happen if Opponents Stop Being Such Effing D-bags

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Posted January 31, 2010 11:16 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

Assorted Links 1/28/2010

Paying Zero for Public Services

Justice Alito's 'You lie' moment?

We Must Amend the Constitution to Help Donna Edwards Stay in Office

Bring Out Your Dead

Bugatti Owner Vanity Plate Only Bested By Frame

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Posted January 28, 2010 09:37 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 15 (Fifteenth Amendment)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 15 (15th Amendment)

Amendment XV.

Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude--

Section 2.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Fifteenth Amendment - LawWebTV

You Can Vote However You Like

A free download of this Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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Posted January 27, 2010 10:07 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  U.S. Constitution   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Assorted Links 1/26/2010

Che: The Other Side Of An Icon.

The Boom and Bust Rap</font>

  • Friday Fun Link: City Too Busy To Hate Is Too Gay For School - "I hate to second guess here, but I lived for many years in New York and San Francisco and spend a lot of time in West Hollywood, and I gotta tell you: The gayest city in America is Washington, DC. It just doesn't show up on these lists because pleasureless, closeted self-hatred is still a done thing in the nation's capital, where even straight romance comes infused with shame, anxiety and paranoia -- and not in a good way. That's why Advise and Consent, even though it was written in the 1950s before homosexuality was even invented, will always be the great DC novel."
  • Conan's Exit Interview, and a Ken Burns Special... - "Let's never forget...."
  • Homeless Chic - "What does it mean that high fashion is (claiming to be) inspired by the homeless? What is going on when models trying to appear homeless are paraded up and down catwalks and photographed?

    We’ve seen it on America’s Next Top Model, we saw it in W, and now we see it at the Milan Fashion week with Vivienne Westwood’s collection.

    Models were not only dressed to look homeless. Their clothes were deliberately made to appear dusty and mismatched. Their messy hair and dirty faces were made up to look as if they were covered in frost. Some seemed to have been dressed so as to appear crazy.

    They walked, sometimes less than gracefully, a catwalk covered in cardboard boxes. Sometimes they emerged from boxes and pushed shopping carts or carried sleeping bags or bedrolls.

    Here’s what it looked like (comments below):" ht Cheap Talk
  • Wheat Ridge High School Class of 1970 - "The reonion committee is working away planning the 40th reunion the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. Wheat Ridge, Colorado WRHS1970.com"
  • Common Market Food Co-op - "Common Market Food Co-op was a 'new wave food co-op' located at 1329 California Street in Denver, Colorado, from 1975 - 1980. It started as a buying club at the University of Denver in the late 1960s, and for a few years prior to moving to the old Safeway at 13th and California Streets, Common Market operated out of a small storefront on Champa Street."
  • Would You Have Spotted the Fraud? - "Pictured below is what’s known as a skimmer, or a device made to be affixed to the mouth of an ATM and secretly swipe credit and debit card information when bank customers slip their cards into the machines to pull out money. Skimmers have been around for years, of course, but thieves are constantly improving them, and the device pictured below is a perfect example of that evolution."

Killer Chic: Hollywood's Sick Love Affair with Che Guevara

  • Why You Can Yawn Over Monday’s Home Sales ‘Shock’ - "Memo for Monday morning: Don’t get excited.

    The National Association of Realtors is due to release its monthly report on existing home sales at 10 a.m. Monday, and it’s likely to look lousy. (What’s with this 'existing' home sales bit? New homes don’t exist? Let’s call it home resales.) Analysts are predicting a sharp drop from November’s level. The knee-jerk reaction probably will be: Oh, no, the housing market is in free fall again!

    In reality, housing stats tend to bounce around erratically from month to month, and one month’s numbers rarely mean much."
  • LA Times says: No More Room on the Bench! - "This jobs gap is even more problematic given the rising cost of tuition. In 2008, the median tuition at state schools for nonresidents was $26,000 a year, and $34,000 for private schools -- and much higher in some states, such as California. Students racked up an average loan debt in 2007-08 of $59,000 for students from public law schools and $92,000 for those from private schools, according to the ABA, and a recent Law School Survey of Student Engagement found that nearly one-third of respondents said they would owe about $120,000.

    Such debt would be manageable if a world of lucrative jobs awaited the newly minted attorneys, but this is not the case. A recent working paper by Herwig Schlunk of Vanderbilt Law School contends that with the exception of some of those at the best schools, going for a law degree is a bad investment and that most students will be 'unlikely ever to dig themselves out from' under their debt. This problem is exacerbated by the existing law school system.

    Despite the tough job market, new schools continue to sprout like weeds. Today there are 200 ABA-accredited law schools in the U.S., with more on the way, as many have been awarded provisional accreditation. In California alone, there are 21 law schools that are either accredited or provisionally accredited, including the new one at UC Irvine."

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Posted January 26, 2010 10:17 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

"Dhondra" Rib Roast

Standing rib roast will have them shouting, 'Dhondra!'

Here's Mrs. Meisner's delicious Italian rub, enough for a four-bone roast. If your roast is larger, add more stuff.

Remove the leaves from fresh rosemary (a little more than one cup) and chop them with a sharp knife. Add eight fat cloves of roughly chopped garlic, the zest of four lemons, the juice of one lemon, a half cup of kosher salt and a quarter cup of fresh coarsely ground black pepper. Toss into a food processor. Slowly drizzle in about one half cup of extra virgin olive oil.

Spread the paste all over the roast to form a crust. If you need more paste, don't freak -- just make some. Allow the roast to sit in a steel or glass pan until at room temperature, about an hour or two. Don't refrigerate overnight. The salt will draw out the juices.

Delicious! Thank you John Kass.

Complete instructions here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/chi-kass-18-dec18,0,3868996.column

Posted January 24, 2010 02:57 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Cooking & Food Prep   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Assorted Links 1/24/2010

If You Prick a Corporation, Does It Not Bleed?

  • Word Workshop: Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing , January 28, 2010
  • Update on The 111th Congress, 2010, January 29, 2010
  • Congress in a Nutshell: Understanding Congress, February 10, 2010
  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, February 11, 2010
  • Strategies for Working with Congress: Effective Communication and Advocacy on Capitol Hill, February 18, 2010
  • The President's Budget, February 23, 2010
  • The Defense Budget, February 26, 2010
  • Capitol Hill Workshop, March 3-5, 2010
  • A Victory for Fiscal Sovereignty and Human Rights - "This battle is part of a broader effort by uncompetitive nations to persecute 'tax havens.' Creating a tax cartel for the benefit of greedy politicians in France, Germany, and the United States would be a mistake. An 'OPEC for politicians' would pave the way for higher taxes, as explained here, here, and here.

    But this also is a human rights issue. Look at what happened recently in the thugocracy known as Venezuela, where Chavez began a new wave of expropriation. The Venezuelans with money in Cayman, Miami, and Switzerland were safe, but the people with assets inside the country have been ripped off by a criminal government. Or what about people subjected to persecution, such as political dissidents in Russia? Or Jews in North Africa? Or ethnic Chinese in Indonesia? Or homosexuals in Iran? And how about people in places such as Mexico where kidnappings are common and successful people are targeted, often on the basis of information leaked from tax departments. This world needs safe havens, jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands that offer oppressed people the protection of honest courts, financial privacy, and the rule of law. Heck, even the bureaucrat in charge of the OECD’s anti-tax competition campaign admitted to a British paper that 'tax havens are essential for individuals who live in unstable regimes.' With politicians making America less stable with each passing day, let’s hope this essential freedom is available in the future."
  • The Reality of Politics - "Lamenting that Democratic politicians up and down Pennsylvania Avenue have lost their enthusiasm for radical health-care ‘reform,’ Paul Krugman today maintains that 'politics is supposed to be about achieving something more than your own re-election.'"
  • Open Source Democracy: Are bloggers the new legislative watchdogs? - "If Barack Obama wants to save the government a few million dollars and spare himself a headache or two, he’d be wise to hire Jerry Brito. With the help of web developers Peter Snyder and Kevin Dwyer, Brito created and now runs StimulusWatch.org, an interactive website that allows users to track tens of thousands of stimulus projects across the nation."
  • The relative advantage of prediction markets (over conventional means of forecasting, namely polls and statistical models) is remarkably… SMALL. - "In a new study, Daniel Reeves, Duncan Watts, Dave Pennock and I compare the performance of prediction markets to conventional means of forecasting, namely polls and statistical models. Examining thousands of sporting and movie events, we find that the relative advantage of prediction markets is remarkably small."
  • The Next Crisis for Obama? - "Since taking office, Barack Obama has had to deal with an economy in free fall, a self-generated health care 'crisis' and his attempt at 'reform,' and a rising Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. So far, Iraq has been quiet enough that many in the media and public have redirected their attention to the wars du jour of Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The relative peace (punctuated by an occasional violent attack) in Iraq may be about to evaporate and cause yet another crisis for the president.

    The Iraqi Accountability and Justice Commission dispenses neither, operates in secret, and is headed by Ahmed Chalabi, a suspected Iranian agent who duped the overly receptive Bush administration into invading Iraq, and Ali Faisal al-Lami, who was detained for terrorism. The commission has disqualified more than 500 candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections in March. The candidates were mostly Sunni, and the disbarment could very well re-ignite a Sunni insurgency or Shi’ite-Sunni civil war."
  • Unofficial Problem Bank Lists Increases to 584 - "This is an unofficial list of Problem Banks compiled only from public sources. CR NOTE: This was compiled before the 5 bank failures today. There was a 'timely' Prompt Corrective Action issued against Charter Bank, Santa Fe, NM and the bank was seized today!"
  • Words of wisdom - "But then I read that the FHA is about to set much tougher standards for FHA mortgages—they plan to require borrowers with a 590 credit score to put down at least 3.5% downpayments. As Tyler Cowen recently argued, you knew Congress wasn’t serious about global warming when they refused to make Americans pay more for gasoline. And I would add that you can be sure that the populists who want to 're-regulate the banking system' aren’t serious when all they can do is talk about 3.5% downpayments for bad credit risks. It is so much more fun to bash big banks."
  • Andy Kershaw: Stop treating these people like savages - "And they are there again this week, rightly outraged, in huge numbers and, no doubt, mostly well-intentioned. But many of these new arrivals -- aid workers, journalists, diplomats, politicians and soldiers -- are in Haiti for the first time. They cannot be blamed for not having been there before but their inexperience of the country and their unfamiliarity with Haitians seems to be contributing to the catastrophe, rather than easing it.

    The crisis, for more than a week now, has been not about the shortage of donated food, water, fuel and medicines but the distribution of those essentials that are piling up, obscenely, at Port-au-Prince airport. On Monday evening's Channel 4 News, Jon Snow, at that same airport, interviewed the head of Oxfam in Haiti. Snow remarked that he and his team had been to areas around the capital that had not had any NGO visits, never mind material aid. The Oxfam woman spoke authoritatively, but emptily, about how her teams were all over the city conducting 'assessments'.

    I'm certain every thirsty Haitian (water is a far more urgent priority than food) is much-comforted and reassured that armies of clerical teams from a leading NGO are all across town filling in forms."
  • Student: ‘Beating So Bad Thought I Was Going To Die’ - "Police charged Jordan Miles, 18, with assault and resisting arrest Jan. 11 because, they said, he fought with the officers who thought a 'heavy object' in his coat was a gun. It turned out to be a bottle of Mountain Dew.

    Miles said he resisted because he thought the men were trying to abduct him and didn't identify themselves as police.

    Miles' family and attorney said he was hit with a stun gun and hospitalized after the violent Homewood struggle during which a chunk of his hair was yanked out and a tree branch went through his gums."

    Hmm, where was the SWAT Team?

Making the DMV Experience Even Worse

  • The Government Should Have Less Power to Tax and Spend, Not More Power to Regulate Speech - "Money is no more an evil in politics than it is in life generally. Some people may not like mud-slinging attack ads, but some people also don’t like SUVs, the Super Bowl, the Jay Leno Show, and many other things that people spend money on--including donations to Cato, the ACLU, the NRA, etc. The problem with money in politics isn’t the money, but rather the politics. So long as the government is powerful enough to dole out tax breaks, subsidies, stimulus funds, regulations, earmarks, and a whole host of other goodies (and baddies), those that stand to benefit (and lose) will spend money on the political process. The way to get rid of this behavior and spending--which is constitutionally protected in a whole host of ways: freedom of speech, freedom of association, the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, etc.--is to reduce the government’s power to affect so many people’s lives and transform economic incentives for businesses big and small. Reduce the size of government and K Street will melt away."
  • What Do "Kojak" And "NCIS" Have In Common? - "But regardless of the reason, and even though I started watching only recently, whenever I have watched 'NCIS' there has always been something almost eerily familiar and deja vu-like about the show.

    It finally hit me last night: 'NCIS' is the same show as 'Kojak,' the police drama that aired on CBS in the 1970s with Telly Savalas as the lead character."
  • The Self-Help Psychologist Is In - "Many of us who try to live an examined life find something lacking, though usually nothing so serious that it requires professional help. This has given rise to an entire genre of books aimed at indulging our urge to open up our own psyches and tinker with the wiring. But the genre’s lack of scientific rigor drives University of Hertfordshire psychologist Richard Wiseman to distraction.

    'If you apply [the standards of self-help publishing] to the drug store,' Wiseman says, 'you go in and say ‘Oh, I’ve got a headache, and ah well, none of this stuff is tested, but what the hell, I’ll just try the green one and see if that works,’ people would think that’s utterly absurd and unacceptable.'

    So Wiseman has written a self-help book of his own, a collection of techniques built on findings from academic research in psychology."
  • Wheat Ridge High School Class of 1970 - "The reonion committee is working away planning the 40th reunion the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. Wheat Ridge, Colorado WRHS1970.com"
  • Common Market Food Co-op - "Common Market Food Co-op was a 'new wave food co-op' located at 1329 California Street in Denver, Colorado, from 1975 - 1980. It started as a buying club at the University of Denver in the late 1960s, and for a few years prior to moving to the old Safeway at 13th and California Streets, Common Market operated out of a small storefront on Champa Street."
  • Rich Men Swindled on Millionaire Site - "Millionaire match-making sites seem custom-made for scamsters. Just ask the site owners themselves.

    Mr. Smith was speaking in response to the latest online millionaire swindle, where a man posing as model Bree Condon is alleged to have swindled tens of thousands of dollars (and maybe much more) from members of SeekingMillionaire.Com."
  • Nikkei: Toyota Recall Ruins Reputation - "Note: Audi’s 'unintended acceleration' set the brand back by nearly a decade in the USA, never mind that the NHTSA concluded that the majority of unintended acceleration cases were caused by driver error. A truly sticky accelerator can have more serious consequences, especially in the current environment, in which everybody fights for his own survival."

Join in the great shirt debate!

  • Top Baseball Prospect Retires to Enter Priesthood - " As a top prospect for the Oakland Athletics, outfielder Grant Desme might've gotten the call every minor leaguer wants this spring.
    . . .
    A lifelong Catholic, Desme thought about becoming a priest for about a year and a half. He kept his path quiet within the sports world, and his plan to enter a seminary this summer startled the A's when he told them Thursday night."
  • White House nightmare persists - "By leaving the scripting of the details of the healthcare bill to Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, the White House openly courted the risk of chaos. Tellingly, in his victory speech in Boston on Tuesday, Scott Brown, the new Republican senator, cited voter disdain for the sight of lots of 'old men' on Capitol Hill bickering over healthcare reform at a time when their priority was jobs."
  • Farewell Jeeves, Hello Alice - "Even though the wealthy are cutting back, there are some things they simply can’t live without: like household staff.

    Yet rather than employing the high-price armies of the boom times--the chef, maids, chauffeurs, gardeners, security guard. household managers, estate managers--the wealthy are combining the jobs. Jeeves and Mr. Belvedere are out. 'Alice,' from the Brady Bunch is in."

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Posted January 24, 2010 12:07 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 14 (Fourteenth Amendment)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 14 (14th Amendment)

Amendment XIV.

Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.

Note: Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the 14th amendment.

Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

* Changed by section 1 of the 26th amendment.


14th Amendment: Cases in Controversy

Banned in Boston: Erroll Tyler's Fight for Economic Liberty

Thomas Woods: Fourteenth Amendment

Religion, Early America and the 14th Amendment

A free download of this Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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Posted January 23, 2010 12:17 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  U.S. Constitution   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Assorted Links 1/22/2010

"No, leave it on" - Two videos: compare and contrast.

If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government

The First Anti-Ted Kennedy Tea Party: Boston's Anti-Busing Brigades, 1974

  • Word Workshop: Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing , January 28, 2010
  • Update on The 111th Congress, 2010, January 29, 2010
  • Congress in a Nutshell: Understanding Congress, February 10, 2010
  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, February 11, 2010
  • Strategies for Working with Congress: Effective Communication and Advocacy on Capitol Hill, February 18, 2010
  • The President's Budget, February 23, 2010
  • The Defense Budget, February 26, 2010
  • Capitol Hill Workshop, March 3-5, 2010
  • Five Reasons Why Libertarians Shouldn't Hate Government - "When we tell our limited-government friends that we have written a book titled If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government, about how government can better accomplish what it sets out to do, the reaction is often horror.

    'I don’t want to make government work better, I want it to go away' is the typical response. Government, in their view, is the enemy.

    This way of thinking is deeply misguided, a troubling blind spot that keeps libertarians on the fringe of many policy debates. If you reflect only scorn for government, it’s hard to get anyone who hasn’t already drunk the Kool-Aid to take your opinions on the topic seriously.

    This is not to disparage the argument that government is too large, for which the case is strong. But holding government in sneering contempt is a misinformed corruption of that sentiment.

    Our Founding Fathers, fondly quoted by limited-government advocates, didn’t view government as evil, but as a flawed institution with some important jobs to do. They studied how government worked and they served in office, not because they viewed government with disdain, but because they knew the importance of good government."
  • Who will take the lead in Haiti? - "Max Boot asks the question: will the United States take the lead in reconstructing (constructing?) Haiti? The prospects are daunting, as Boot explains. He leans toward giving the lead role to Minustah, the French acronym for the Brazil-led United Nations stabilization. In effect this means having Brazil take the lead."
  • Double Down - "The Politico reports its sources indicate that President Obama will up the ante if Scott Brown wins the Massachusetts Senate seat. There will be no retreat, no watering down of the agenda.
    . . .
    Governance will probably be a low priority in the coming year. The fundamental theme of 2010 will be a struggle for power. If it is already evident that unemployment numbers are not going to decrease and that the New Year will be more challenging than 2009 then the strategy of pushing the Promised Land into a future where Republicans have been eliminated from the scene is a viable one. It is also a semi-revolutionary one."
  • Specter tells Bachmann to "act like a lady" - "The deeply odd couple of Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Penn.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) appeared together on a Philly radio station yesterday -- and things got ugly in short order." (hint: that's what Senators think of Representatives.)
  • Musical Predictions - "There's an interesting new paper on how the brain makes sense of music by constructing detailed models in real time. The act of listening, it turns out, is really an act of neural prediction. Here are the scientists, from the University of London:" ht The Browser
  • Why we started growing grain: "Did a thirst for beer spark civilization?" - "Drunkenness, hangovers, and debauchery tend to come to mind when one thinks about alcohol and its effects. But could alcohol also have been a catalyst for human civilization?

    According to archaeologist Patrick McGovern this may have been the case when early man decided to start farming. Why humans turned from hunting and gathering to agriculture could be the result of our ancestors’ simple urge for alcoholic beverages." (See "All Grain Home Brewing" video below.)
  • How the court's campaign finance ruling hurts Wall Street favorite Chuck Schumer - "Now, set free of from Congress's speech regulations, non-profits and corporations might not rely so much on these indirect means of political influence. That means less campaign cash coming into [Sen. Charles] Schumer, fewer corporations courting Schumer's staff, and less sucking up to Schumer by lobbyists."
  • The Harder They Fall - "think about what was known long ago in the days of Greek theatrical tragedies and surely long, long before that. Namely, success reinforced by adulation can make the almost inevitable fall harder than it might have been otherwise.
    . . .
    Media coddling helped make golf star Tiger Woods' recent windshield splat an 80 miles-per-hour affair rather than a 10 MPH matter. I haven't paid much attention to Woods, but from snippets I've read, he was a far rougher character than his media image suggested. Moreover, this was known in the professional golf fraternity for a long while. Woods' name is Mud for the short run. His golf skills probably will not harm his career on the links, but his 'clean' image is destroyed and income from endorsements will probably be diminished for years. Perhaps Woods would be better off today if his public image had been more in synch with reality."
  • Democracy Will Survive Citizens United - "Relax. Half of our states, states like Virginia, have minimal campaign finance laws, and there’s no more corruption in those states than in states that strictly regulate. And that’s because the real reason we have this campaign finance law is not, and never has been, to prevent corruption. The dirty little secret -- the real impetus for this law -- [is] incumbency protection. "
  • Corporate Rights and Property Rights are Human Rights: Why it’s a Mistake to Conflate a Right with the Means Used to Exercise it - "It’s true, of course, that a corporation is not a person. But the people who own and operate it are. 'Corporate speech' is really just speech by people using the corporate form."
  • Antonin Scalia vs. John Paul Stevens - "This section of [Stevens'] dissent purports to show that today’s decision is not supported by the original understanding of the First Amendment. The dissent attempts this demonstration, however, in splendid isolation from the text of the First Amendment. It never shows why 'the freedom of speech' that was the right of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form. To be sure, in 1791 (as now) corporations could pursue only the objectives set forth in their charters; but the dissent provides no evidence that their speech in the pursuit of those objectives could be censored....

    The [First] Amendment is written in terms of 'speech,' not speakers. Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker, from single individuals to partnerships of individuals, to unincorporated associations of individuals, to incorporated associations of individuals--and the dissent offers no evidence about the original meaning of the text to support any such exclusion. We are therefore simply left with the question whether the speech at issue in this case is 'speech' covered by the First Amendment. No one says otherwise."
  • Goldman Expects to Keep Cake, Eat Same, Stick Public with Tab - "Dick Bove says that Obama's proposal will be good for Goldman Sachs because it will take away the prop trading from banks that have deposits, but will not affect Goldman Sachs who will once again eliminate more competition.

    So buy the stock. Hard to imagine anything short of Armageddon that would cause the word 'sell' to emanate from his bloviateness when he is talking his book.

    And Goldman Sachs says that it is 'unrealistic' to take away their place at the Fed's teats as a subsidy sucking bank holding company."
  • This is Too Easy - "Given the sudden change in the winds, observers might even be tempted to point out that between Edward, Joseph II and John Jr., Kennedy bucks operating heavy machinery have managed to kill three woman and paralyze a fourth in just three short decades. (That's three easy installments of one fatality and .33 spinal injuries every ten years, but Marilyn doesn't count, obviously). But then, recollections that tend to upset the reality distortion field that surrounds and protects the Kennedys are not generally spoken of in polite company.

    Notice how even reading these facts about the Kennedys in print on this very blog tends to make you uncomfortable with respect to a topic that normally glides easily under the eye and out of mind when found instead in the daily crime blotter. The brain has been conditioned somehow to reject the co-existence of the two spheres [Kennedy|Negligent Homicide] in the same paragraph. This is an absolutely astounding bit of marketing. This is an amazing bit of politics. This may actually go a long way to explaining the habit Massachusetts voters seem to have adopted for repeatedly and mindlessly checking boxes next to Kennedy names over the last several decades.

    In fact, when wading through the lionizing even deifying miasma of Edward's ongoing and seemingly never ending eulogy, it is easy to forget that Massachusetts elected to office nine times, and thereby granted a forty six year tenure in the United States Senate, a reckless driving, alcoholic, womanizing, Harvard expellee who couldn't muster the energy to best the dauntless political juggernaut that was Jimmy Carter's campaign in a 1980 primary challenge.
    . . .
    What faces the Legislature, the Executive (and perhaps even the Judiciary) in the months and years to come is going to be anything but easy. The days of pouring deficit spending into housing, public employees, defined benefit plans, state subsidies and any other problem that manages to show its head above water for a sufficient interval are numbered. Someone is going to have to face the sorry task of explaining to the American people that, when you actually add it all up, the debt comes to almost $550,000 for each and every household in the United States, and that successive Comptroller Generals of the United States have been trying to get people to pay attention for five or ten years.

    In an environment where even discussing shifting social security age eligibility by a few months can bring down the angry fist of voter wrath with such violence that even the CBO looks for cover, how are leaders today going to break the news that there is simply no water-boarding procedure severe enough to torture Social Security math past the point where it gives up enough money to pay for even a substantial fraction baby boomers? When something as trivial as a $1 trillion dollar health plan results in the forfeiture of god-given progressive birthrights like 'The Kennedy Seat,' what sort of effect might $30+ trillion in unfunded Medicare have when the bill comes due and remains unpaid?

    Sure, it is nice to fantasize that the latest 'republican revolution' means something in the grand scheme of things, but if American politics are "played inside of the 40 yard lines," then neither party is anywhere close to possessing the testicular fortitude to handle real fiscal reform. Balancing the budget today (which does nothing except stop the hemorrhaging for a while) would require no less than 35% across-the-board cuts in government spending- and this totally ignores the massive off-budget items that have become so fashionable to spin off. To say that Obama, who despite his Chicago machine pedigree couldn't seem to fix the Olympics RFP even with Oprah batting clean-up, isn't up to the task is stating the matter mildly."
  • Recent Graduates, Teens Hit Hard In Miserable Jobs Market - "The downturn in jobs is miserable nearly everywhere you look but things are especially hard on teens and recent college graduate.
    . . .
    While education is a good thing, the cost of education certainly is not. Kids are graduating college hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, with no job and no way to pay it back. Moreover, student debt is a never ending albatross in that student debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

    I do not advise students going hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to get an education. Most will be trapped for decades attempting to pay that back.
    . . .
    Indeed students have been screwed by "student aid". So called "aid" to nearly anyone, helped drive up the cost of college education. Students are now reaping the "benefits" of that aid: no job but hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt.

    Government needs to get out of the aid business. It screwed up housing with 'affordable housing' programs and it screwed up education with student 'aid'."
  • Down, but Not Out, in Brooklyn: a Daughter's Story - "When our then-22-year-old daughter told us in the fall of 2008 that she intended to move out of our house and live in New York City on her own, we told her it would be tough.

    She didn't believe us.

    Mariana proved us wrong. She not only lived in New York on a salary of less than $30,000 from a publishing-industry job, she managed to save $5,000 over the course of a year. On top of that, she stashed about $1,000 in her 401(k) account.

    How was that possible in one of the most expensive cities in the world?
    . . .
    While I'm proud of Mariana's thrift, I'm not trying to hold her up as a model for the masses. She came out of college with no debt, thanks to some big scholarships and help from Mom and Dad. Many youths can only get through by borrowing money, and it means they have to earn more money when they graduate."

"President Obama gave Republicans Their Marching Orders"

  • Do You Have Any Legal Right To Privacy For Information Stored Online? - "The paper does a good job separating out the thinking here, and explaining why the Fourth Amendment absolutely should apply to information you store online. As it notes, while the Smith case said that phone numbers dialed might not be private, that did not extend to the contents of the phone call itself. And that's key. The reason that the phone company gets the phone numbers dialed is because that information is key to it delivering its service of connecting the phone call. So you can make a reasonable argument that while such information (the information needed to initiate a service) might not be subject to privacy protection, everything else communicated or stored via that service still deserves those protections."
  • Digital File Cabinet You Can Bring With You Anywhere - "What if you could collect, in one well-organized, searchable, private digital repository, all the notes you create, clips from Web pages and emails you want to recall, dictated audio memos, photos, key documents, and more? And what if that repository was constantly synchronized, so it was accessible through a Web browser and through apps on your various computers and smart phones?

    Well, such a service exists. And it's free. It's called Evernote."
  • The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures - "In looking closely at the astonishingly wide variety of ways our users have chosen to represent themselves, we discovered much of the collective wisdom about profile pictures was wrong.
    . . .
    All of the above subjects get far more messages than average, and yet none of them have outstanding profiles. The pictures do all the work: in different ways, they pique the viewer’s curiosity and say a lot about who the subject is (or wants to be)."
  • Wheat Ridge High School Class of 1970 - "The reonion committee is working away planning the 40th reunion the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. Wheat Ridge, Colorado WRHS1970.com"
  • Common Market Food Co-op - "Common Market Food Co-op was a 'new wave food co-op' located at 1329 California Street in Denver, Colorado, from 1975 - 1980. It started as a buying club at the University of Denver in the late 1960s, and for a few years prior to moving to the old Safeway at 13th and California Streets, Common Market operated out of a small storefront on Champa Street."
  • "Why is there so little money in U.S. politics?" - "The bottom line is that today's Supreme Court decision probably matters less than you think."

All Grain Home Brewing (1 of 8)

  • Air America declaring bankruptcy - "The station, best known as the home of Rachel Maddow and Al Franken, never really found its financial footing, but had struggled through with the help of left-leaning financiers."
  • Media Wars: FNC Keeps Rising, Air America Crashes - "On the same day Neilsen reported competition-dwarfing numbers for Fox News's coverage of the special election in Massachusetts on Tuesday night, Air America radio declared bankruptcy and will cease live broadcasts immediately."
  • Special 2-Credit Class about Party Polarization, Spring 2010 - "This course is a unique opportunity for W&M undergraduates to be directly exposed to the views of leading scholars on perhaps the most central feature of contemporary American politics – the striking polarization that exists between the two political parties. The course will be structured around six recent scholarly books about the causes and consequences of party polarization."
  • From A Sow’s Ear? - "A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that consuming saturated fat is not associated with cardiovascular disease. Never mind the usual problem of noticing an association and then confusing it with cause and effect … these researchers say there’s not even an association:
    . . .
    The once high-flying theory that fatty diets cause heart attacks and low-fat diets prevent them has been shot down over and over by the evidence."

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Posted January 22, 2010 09:47 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 13 (Thirteenth Amendment)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 13 (13th Amendment)

Amendment XIII.

Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.

Note: A portion of Article IV, section 2, of the Constitution was superseded by the 13th amendment.

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


Slavery and the Constitution

A short history of black America, including the 13th amendment.

A free download of this Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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Posted January 21, 2010 06:07 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  U.S. Constitution   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Assorted Links 1/18/10

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Clusterf#@k to the Poor House - Wall Street Bonuses
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

  • Word Workshop: Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing , January 28, 2010
  • Update on The 111th Congress, 2010, January 29, 2010
  • Congress in a Nutshell: Understanding Congress, February 10, 2010
  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, February 11, 2010
  • Strategies for Working with Congress: Effective Communication and Advocacy on Capitol Hill, February 18, 2010
  • The President's Budget, February 23, 2010
  • The Defense Budget, February 26, 2010
  • Capitol Hill Workshop, March 3-5, 2010
  • How to guarantee your luggage won't be lost or stolen next time you fly: - "Most of the time travelers are on the short-end of TSA regulations. In this instance, however, you can use travel rules to your advantage. If you're traveling with equipment you would prefer it locked up and watched more closely than your run of the mill luggage, you can pack a firearm with the equipment or luggage."
  • Why Many Investors Keep Fooling Themselves - "What are we smoking, and when will we stop?

    A nationwide survey last year found that investors expect the U.S. stock market to return an annual average of 13.7% over the next 10 years.

    Robert Veres, editor of the Inside Information financial-planning newsletter, recently asked his subscribers to estimate long-term future stock returns after inflation, expenses and taxes, what I call a "net-net-net" return. Several dozen leading financial advisers responded. Although some didn't subtract taxes, the average answer was 6%. A few went as high as 9%.

    We all should be so lucky. Historically, inflation has eaten away three percentage points of return a year. Investment expenses and taxes each have cut returns by roughly one to two percentage points a year. All told, those costs reduce annual returns by five to seven points.

    So, in order to earn 6% for clients after inflation, fees and taxes, these financial planners will somehow have to pick investments that generate 11% or 13% a year before costs. Where will they find such huge gains? Since 1926, according to Ibbotson Associates, U.S. stocks have earned an annual average of 9.8%. Their long-term, net-net-net return is under 4%."
  • Mike Rustigan Has His Head on Straight - "Mike Rustigan has an excellent op-ed in the LA Times hammering away at American society's ill-conceived obsession with academic education, something that I am dismayed at daily. There are many people whose skill sets are just not cut out for academics, but have skills that would prove very valuable in a number of vocational trades. Yet, the 'intellectuals' of society have stigmatized those who make a living in such professions as inferior beings, creating the notion that college is the only path to success. We need to alter this public perception and encourage our youth to pursue careers that will help them improve their standard of living and make needed contributions to society - we all need car repairs, plumbers and electricians on occasion."
  • Obama’s Other Massachusetts Problem - "When Obama campaigns for Martha Coakley, he is really campaigning for his health plan, which means he is really campaigning for the Massachusetts health plan.

    He and Coakley should explain why they’re pursuing a health plan that’s not only increasingly unpopular, but also appears to have a rather high cost-benefit ratio."
  • Health Reform: A Political Mistake? - "Premier political analyst Charlie Cook argues today that Obama made a serious error in plunging into health reform until the economy had fully recovered. He says that Obama should have focused like a laser beam on the economy pretty much to the exclusion of all else. If unemployment is still high in November, as it probably will be, Democrats will be very vulnerable to the charge that they took their eye off the ball to pursue a longheld ideological goal that may have been worthwhile but was not by any means time-sensitive."
  • “No Trial By Jewry” - "Oddly enough, Siddiqui was quite willing to get a Ph.D. from Brandeis."
  • interview with a Chicago school economist - "Q: But Fannie and Freddie’s purchases of subprime mortgages were pretty small compared to the market as a whole, perhaps twenty or thirty per cent.

    A: (Laughs)

    Italics mine."
  • Interview with Eugene Fama - "I don’t know if these are even the big issues of the time. I think that what is going on in health care could end up being more important. I don’t think we are going down the right road there. Insurance is not the solution: it’s the problem. Making the problem more widespread is not going to solve it."
  • Look like Jimmy Stewart - "'This diet works great," Don declared. "But I think I've lost too much weight.'

    At 67 years old and 5 ft. 11 inches, Don began the program weighing 228 lbs (BMI 31.9). Because of high triglycerides, high blood sugar, high c-reactive protein, and excessive small LDL, I instructed Don to eliminate all wheat products from his diet, along with cornstarch and sweets. His intake of lean meats, eggs, vegetables, oils, raw nuts, etc. was unlimited.

    Don now weighed 194 lbs, down 34 lbs over 6 months (BMI 27.1). Triglycerides, blood sugar, blood pressure, and well-being had improved dramatically; small LDL, however, had dropped only 30%--still room for improvement.

    ''My friends say I'm too skinny. They ask if I have cancer!'"
  • No time for crushing despair as soccer will soon fill the air - "I'm just a soccer newbie, having been brought to the game by watching my sons play youth soccer. The boys begged me not to ask de los Cobos anything, just to sit at the Fire news conference and keep my mouth shut, lest I embarrass the family name with my lack of futbol knowledge.

    They figure my practical knowledge of the game comes from playing FIFA Soccer 2010 on their Xbox, and they may be right. But I'm trying to learn, which is like attempting to solve a puzzle of passionate human geometry. On a soccer field, I think I'm beginning to see fascinating triangles forming and reforming, the angles of the triangles constantly changing, the ball flowing to the points, forward and back."
  • Straining to Defend Martha Coakley - "Broadly speaking, LeBlanc's also right that 'hardly anyone ever fails to be elected becasue they were too hard on criminals.' But I don't know of a single incident in which a prosecutor suffered bad publicity or was attacked politically for failing to fight the release of an innocent person. 'Tough on crime' positions on parole, sentencing, the death penalty, and so on are policy positions on which reasonable people can disagree. Obstinacy in the face of overwhelming evidence of someone's innocence is a moral failing, regardless of motivation.

    Moreover, Coakley's also being criticized for failing to bring charges against a man who sexually assaulted his young niece with a curling iron. Coakley's successor put him away for two life terms. Why would Coakley--so aware of the political pressure to be tough on crime, so protective of her own ambition for higher office, and who carefully cultivated an image for herself as a defender of children--not throw the book at a man accused of raping a toddler with a curling iron? I'm just guessing here, but it may have something to do with the fact that Keith Winfield was also a police officer. That suggests a blind allegiance to law enforcement that we should find troubling in a U.S. Senator who will be making and voting on criminal justice policy.

    There's a broader point here, too. Even the left--even the far left--seems to find it difficult to hold bad prosecutors accountable, at least when they happen to be Democrats. So long as prosecutors are rewarded for aggressiveness and never punished when they overstep, we'll continue to see the very sort of behavior LeBlanc claims to find troubling."
  • As the Economy Recovers, State Budgets Continue to Worsen - "Present state budget crises will likely seem mild compared to what they will face in F Y2011. In order to comply with their constitutionally mandated balanced budgets, many states relied on one-time gimmicks to pass their FY 2010 budgets and must now turn to even more drastic measures."
  • Part 1: Answers on Fafsa and Financial Aid - "To help readers of The Choice navigate this maze, we’ve enlisted Mark Kantrowitz of the Web sites Finaid.org and FastWeb.Com (a scholarship search site). You can submit questions about the Fafsa to Mr. Kantrowitz by using the comment box on our original post, or the box below. His answers are scheduled to continue through Friday, Jan. 22."
  • It's Not about Interest Rates Yet - "Incoming data continue to support expectations that the Federal Reserve will hold rates at rock bottom levels for the foreseeable future - likely into 2011. But interest rates should not be the focus of policy analysts. The Fed will manipulate policy via the balance sheet long before they fall back to the interest rate tool. The question is whether or not the slow growth environment is sufficient to persuade the Fed to hold the balance sheet steady or even expand the balance sheet beyond current expectations. And there always remains the third option, favored by a minority of policymakers - withdraw the stimulus now that growth has reemerged. At this point, I suspect the Fed will stick with the hold steady option."
  • Compare and Contrast - "It's likely that I will watch the latest day of 24, although after recently observing Sherlock Holmes take down a somewhat more plausible cabal than the one Jack Bauer's late brother and father were involved in, I'm compiling a list of reasons Sherlock Holmes would be a better counter-terrorism agent than Jack Bauer."
  • Prison Escape Artist - "Clever ruse"
  • "Obama's policy on the war he once opposed is not similar to Bush's: It is identical" - "Reacting to my current column, plenty of Obama-loving liberals are angry at me for pointing out the obvious--that on the one issue that most defined Obama's candidacy and the Bush presidency—the two men are indistinguishable."

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Honor Bound
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

  • What Questions Do You Ask Before Signing a New Lease? - "It's easy to get excited when you've found the perfect place to rent, but you don't want to lose your head before signing the lease. Home blog Apartment Therapy suggests 10 questions to ask before signing, and we want to know yours."
  • How many ancestors do we have? - "If we double the number of ancestors in each generation, 2 parents, 4 grandparents, and so on, we can see that by the time we are back 10 generations, we have the potential for 1024 ancestors. But is this true? If we were to go back to the time of Charlemagne, we would find we had the potential for 281 trillion (YES!) ancestors all living at that one moment in history. This is statistically impossible! So where did our ancestors go?

    It is estimated that 80% of the marriages in history were between second cousins. Why? Because the population base was smaller, people lived in small communities and migrated within those same small communities. The theory in genealogical research is that our family trees are actually shaped like a diamond, not a pyramid as shown below. Tracing back a few generations gives a wider shape. Keep going and you find the shape narrowing, eventually, the theory holds, converging to only a few ancestors."
  • Why Do We Have Taxpayer Subsidized State Universities? - "What is the rationale of state government subsidized universities? One is that allegedly universities provide some positive spillover effects to society, a somewhat dubious proposition in our view after researching the issue for many years. The second goal is the egalitarian goal ---rich kids can afford private schools, so state schools are designed to provide a low cost option (that is a laugh these days!) for those otherwise unable to attend college. Increasingly, the flagships are emulating the prestigious private schools. They restrict supply, turning decent if not spectacular students away. They say, 'go to lesser, inferior schools.' This rather haughty attitude is inconsistent with the egalitarian ideal, which is one reason why the prestige-seeking state universities are losing state support (Jim Duderstadt, former U of Michigan prez, told me last week that only about 5 percent of U of M funding now comes from the state)."
  • Wheat Ridge High School Class of 1970 - "The reonion committee is working away planning the 40th reunion the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. Wheat Ridge, Colorado WRHS1970.com"
  • Common Market Food Co-op - "Common Market Food Co-op was a 'new wave food co-op' located at 1329 California Street in Denver, Colorado, from 1975 - 1980. It started as a buying club at the University of Denver in the late 1960s, and for a few years prior to moving to the old Safeway at 13th and California Streets, Common Market operated out of a small storefront on Champa Street."
  • Catholic scholars who aren't Catholic - "In an editorial eulogizing the late Mary Daly, the Boston Globe lets the cat out of the bag. Daly 'came to describe herself as a ‘radical lesbian feminist’ and a ‘post-Christian,’' the Globe notes. How, then, did she justify her position in the theology department at Boston College: a nominally Catholic school?
    . . .
    Like all too many of her colleagues in Catholic theological circles, Daly used her academic post not to build up the faith but to tear it down--or, to be more accurate, to exploit it for other purposes."
  • Marines Embark For Haiti - "The Marines are sending the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, along with three large amphibious assault ships loaded with heavy lift helicopters, trucks and earth movers to support relief efforts. Despite having just returned from a six month deployment as theater reserve for Central Command, the 22nd MEU out of Camp Lajeune, NC., is packing up and will tomorrow for Haiti and expects to arrive early next week. Marines were recalled from post-​​deployment leave two days ago and immediately began crisis planning, said Marine Capt. Clark Carpenter, speaking to reporters by telephone."
  • Candy-ass vice-principal calls the bomb squad over an 11-year-old's science project, recommends counselling for the student - "A San Diego school vice-principal saw an 11-year-old's home science project (a motion detector made out of an empty Gatorade bottle and some electronics), decided it was a bomb, wet himself, put the school on lockdown, had the bomb-squad come out to X-ray the student's invention and search his parents' home, and then magnanimously decided not to discipline the kid (though he did recommend that the child and his parents get counselling to help them overcome their anti-social science behavior)."
  • Doctors, Targeting Prostate, Mistakenly Remove Man's Prostrate - "Doctors, performing prostate surgery on a man in Minneapolis, mistakenly removed his prostrate, leaving the man with his diseased prostate and, now, without a perfectly healthy prostrate.

    The patient, Leonard Gold, 67, was outraged and expressed as much when, from his hospital bed, told of the medical error, he shouted, 'What!? Are you f**king kidding!!?'

    Wikopedia is reporting this as the first documented case of surgeons confusing the prostate with the prostrate (although anecdotal reports of the surgical mistake exist)."
  • Vitamin D And Calcium Reduce Bone Fractures - "Across a wide range of ages both vitamin D and calcium supplements cut the incidence of bone breaks."

The U.S. is headed for a major debt crisis--within 5 to 10 years.

  • "The 32 Most Commonly Misused Words and Phrases - "My wife, a high school teacher, sees kids confuse 'it's' and 'its' a lot. In college, I see fair amounts of the 'affect/effect' and 'imply/infer' confusions. "
  • Ask The Best And Brightest: What Price Tata Nano? - "A one liter, three cylinder engine making a reported 60 hp. Five speed manual transmission. Two airbags, ABS, traction control, and electric power steering. 14 inch wheels. [via Autocar] Would you bite for $8k? Everything sells at the right price. Where is the Nano’s magic number?"
  • Obama Approval Under 50 Percent Among Massachusetts Likely Voters? - "The National Review's Jim Gergahty tweets: 'Can Obama really save Coakley if PPP puts his approval/disapproval split at 44/43?'

    If the electorate which turns out tomorrow is this indifferent about Obama, I have little doubt that Coakley is headed for defeat. But I think we have to place into context just how lopsided turnout would be if indeed we see an electorate that is split 44/43 on Obama."
  • How to defy the aging process - "How? Be Sophia Loren.

    The lady is 75 years old, and she’d be looking good even for fifty. Actually, she’d be looking good even for forty. There’s no super-taut, fake, worked-on look, either."
  • Cornucopia Personal Food Factory Concept - "In the future, all of our food will come in tubes. Why? Because that’s just how things work in the future (the pre-replicator future, obviously). And I know you’re thinking, 'wow! That’s convenient!' But only uncultured heathens would eat food straight out of the tube. I mean, spluh! This is why you need a food printer, and MIT is getting way ahead of the future by starting to work on one in the present."
  • Android Phones - Video Comparison - "So, you've decided that you want an Android phone; but don't know which one? This video runs about 10 minutes, and compares phones from T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint."

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Posted January 18, 2010 11:47 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 12 (Twelfth Amendment)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 12 (12th Amendment)

Amendment XII.

Passed by Congress December 9, 1803. Ratified June 15, 1804.

Note: A portion of Article II, section 1 of the Constitution was superseded by the 12th amendment.

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; -- the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; -- The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. --]* The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

* Superseded by section 3 of the 20th amendment.


Twelfth Amendment - LawWebTV

A free download of this Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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Posted January 17, 2010 05:37 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  U.S. Constitution   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Assorted Links 1/14/10

The Goldberg Variations - Glenn Gould 1/6 (ht Cheap Talk)

  • Word Workshop: Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing , January 28, 2010
  • Update on The 111th Congress, 2010, January 29, 2010
  • Congress in a Nutshell: Understanding Congress, February 10, 2010
  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, February 11, 2010
  • Strategies for Working with Congress: Effective Communication and Advocacy on Capitol Hill, February 18, 2010
  • The President's Budget, February 23, 2010
  • The Defense Budget, February 26, 2010
  • Capitol Hill Workshop, March 3-5, 2010
  • The Chait-Manzi debate - "2. If you see the United States compared with Europe, ask if he same analysis also compares the United States to the highly successful Singapore or for that matter Brazil. If not, be wary.
    . . .
    5. There has never, ever been a well-functioning social democracy -- in the European sense -- with the size, population, and diversity of the United States or if you wish make that any two of those three. How about any one of those three, noting that Canada isn't really such a large country? That doesn't mean it's impossible, but keep that in mind the next time you hear talk about evidence-based reasoning.
    . . .
    I'd like everyone to have a sign, which they would hold up when appropriate: 'My policies seek to revise the internal culture of my country.' That's OK, but you're raising the bar for your own ideas and don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise."
  • A Tale of Two Governor’s Addresses - "New York and California are arguably in the worst budgetary condition of all the states. Yesterday, the governors of each gave very different State of the State Addresses on how they intend to deal with the coming months. Governor Schwarzenegger reiterated his request that Washington, D.C. send back what is owed to California. In his words, 'the federal government is part of our budget problem.'

    In his analysis, this means more federal money will help fix California’s budget. However, more federal money to California will accomplish exactly what it has accomplished to date. It will delay real reform of California’s fiscal tailspin (e.g. CalPERS).

    By contrast, Governor Paterson of New York gave a somber assessment of New York’s 'winter of reckoning,' placing blame squarely on the state legislature for excessive spending and deal making with unions, feeding an 'addiction to spending, power, and approval,' that has left the state in economic catastrophe."
  • Classic - "Writing for the Wilson Quarterly, Thomas Rid says that the global jihad can be broken down roughly into three ideological divisions:"
  • Roger Lowenstein Advises Homeowners To Just Walk Away - "An interesting opinion piece in today's New York Times Magazine says that it's okay for a homeowner to walk away from a mortgage if his or her home is underwater. His reasoning is that it's okay for homeowners to walk away from their financial obligations because financial institutions routinely walk away from theirs.

    Putting aside the obviously infantile excuse that it's okay to do something because everyone else is doing it, I have some real problems with the idea that a mortgage is a disposable legal and financial obligation that ceases to exist whenever a homeowner deems it to be in their personal interest to leave it behind."
  • North Korea: Communist Oppression Even Worse than the USSR - "Barbara Demick’s recent book Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, is an excellent account of daily life in for ordinary people in one of the world’s two remaining unreformed communist states. It’s based on extensive interviews with North Koreans who were fortunate enough to escape to South Korea through China.

    As described by Demick, life in North Korea is similar to that in other communist dictatorships. There is the same type of secret police, censorship, gulag-style concentration camps, massive personality cults glorifying the dictator, poverty, and starvation. But each of these miseries is noticeably worse than even in the USSR. For example, the North Korean government has rigid family categorizations that hold people responsible for the supposed 'class origins' of their family far more comprehensively than even in the Soviet Union under Stalin. In the USSR, dissidents were often sent to prison or Gulags, or incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals; but, at least after Stalin, some of them could survive long enough to attract attention in the West. Not so in North Korea, where the squelching of any sign of dissent is even swifter and more thorough. And even Stalin didn’t have a personality cult that went as far as that of “Great Leader” Kim Il Sung and his son and successor, 'Dear Leader' Kim Jong Il."
  • Our New Power Elite - "we have the new alpha male: übernerd Peter Orszag. This guy probably experienced his share of weggies in junior high, but as Henry Kissinger noted, power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, so it seems Orszag left his earlier wife (all for 'change'), had an out-of-wedlock child with an attractive heiress, and has a future wedding to 31-year-old journalist Bianna Golodryga."
  • Wanderlust - "I used to have a lazy view of European dominance that was based on technological superiority. I’m sure I don’t need to tell my readers (many of whom know much more about these things than I do) how silly that view is. Our modern technological world did not really get underway until about 1800, but the Europeans had already been spreading all over the world for nearly 350 years. Technology doesn’t explain how a handful of men were able to conquer Mexico and Peru, or how a few thousand European men in wooden sailboats (smaller than Chinese ships of the 1400s) were able to increasingly dominate trade with sophisticated Asian countries containing hundreds of millions of people."
  • The Secret History of Silicon Valley Part 13: Lockheed-the Startup with Nuclear Missiles - "By 1965 Hewlett Packard, the test and instrumentation company, had grown ten-fold. From 900 people in 1956 it now employed 9,000. Clearly it must have been the dominant company in the valley? Or perhaps it was Fairchild, the direct descendant of Shockley Semiconductor, now the dominant semiconductor supplier in the valley (80% of its first years business coming from military systems) with ~10,000 people?

    Nope, it was the Lockheed Missiles Division, which had zero employees in 1956, now in 1965 had 28,000 employees in Sunnyvale. The best and the brightest were coming from across the country to the valley south of San Francisco.

    And they were not only building Polaris missiles.

    By 1965 Lockheed factories in Sunnyvale, Stanford and East Palo Alto were building the most secret spy satellites and rockets you never heard of. While the 1950’s had made us 'Microwave Valley,' the growth of Lockheed, Westinghouse and their suppliers had turned us into 'Defense Valley.'"
  • Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival - "In frigid northeastern China, in the city of Harbin is hosting its 26th annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Massive buildings built of ice from the frozen surface of the nearby Songhua River, large scale snow sculptures, ice slides, festival food and drinks can be found in several parks in the city. At night, visitors who endure the bitter cold will see the lights switched on, illuminating the sculptures from both inside and outside. This year's festival opened yesterday, January 5th, and will remain open until some time in February. Collected here are several photos from just before the festival, and of the opening night. (31 photos total)"
  • FTC's Disclosure Rules Apply To Bloggers... But Not Celebrities? - "The FTC's highly questionable disclosure rules have been in effect for a bit over a month now, and it appears that even the FTC doesn't understand who they apply to or how they apply. And that's the problem. Apparently, someone noticed that actress Gwyneth Paltrow lavished praise on a resort in Marrakech, Morocco, and wondered if Paltrow had paid for her stay there -- noting that it was the grand opening of the place, with lots of stars -- and Hollywood publicists asked about this said there was 'not a chance in hell' that someone like Paltrow paid to attend."
  • Hospital Taxes and Medicaid Con Jobs - "Beware the Hospital tax. And the same goes for taxes on nursing homes. It is likely if your state legislature is looking at increasing these taxes, it is in the service of Medicaid money laundering.

    The Government Accountability Office explains how it works. Medicaid is a federal matching program. States can tailor their own program by electing to cover optional services (beyond the basic Medicaid program), or by expanding eligibility to arrive at a total cost for operating Medicaid. The federal government pays for at least half of the total program, and the state pays for the remainder. In an effort to extract more matching funds from the federal government, states play around with the total cost portion."
  • How Ukrainian Soccer Explains Planned Economies - "From Franklin Foer's How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization comes this description of the Ukrainian approach to soccer:"
  • Hate-America Sociology - "Recently, a colleague forwarded to me a copy of an exam from an introductory sociology class found lying in a room at a public college in the east. It was graded 100%. The exam deserves to be quoted at length, as parts of it are virtually indistinguishable from the old Soviet agitprop of the Fifties:
    . . .
    China encourages its brightest students to study mathematics and engineering. India has become known as a hotbed of tech-savvy computer programmers. Meanwhile, the U.S. spends billions to teach postmodern, left-wing misinformation as objective 'fact.'"
  • Homebuyer Tips - "To summarize the article - when buying a home, you should consider:

    Location – #1
    . . .
    Sex-offenders - http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/
    . . .
    One big 'must' for every buyer, says Klinge, is to check local sex-offender lists. 'It’s a bummer when you find out later that the guy across the street is a peeper.'"
  • Obama Administration Wants to Annuitize 401k's and IRA's - Mandatory "R Bonds" - "As a rule of thumb, the worst possible time to convert lump sum savings into a fixed income annuity would be when interest rates are historically low.

    Although products may vary, this is roughly equivalent to buying long term bonds at a time when interest rates are likely to increase, substantially reducing your principal in real terms, and eroding your fixed returns through inflation.

    For some reason the Obama Administration is promoting the idea now that there should be some encouragement for Americans to start converting their 401K's and IRA's into annuities, to provide themselves with lifetime income.

    The effort is being spear-headed by Mark Iwry of the Treasury and Phyllis Borzi of the Department of Labor. Here is a paper written on the subject by Mark Iwry when he was at the Brookings Institution.

    The essence of this paper is that distributions from IRA's and 401K's would automatically be rolled into an annuity providing a monthly income by default.

    This concept is known on the Street as the handling fees for meager returns pork barrel pigfest. The Fed likes it because they will undoubtedly get a two year rolling chunk of the people's retirement cash to play with.

    Perhaps just rolling those 401K's and IRA's into Social Security or the Long Bond would be what they have in mind. Somehow the panacea of TIPS with inflation defined by the government sounds probable. The drawback perhaps is that this would not generate the highest recurring fees for Wall Street and the FIRE sector, which have to be eyeing that 'cash on the sidelines' hungrily."
  • Option ARM Recast Update - "The two key problems for option ARMs are negative equity and the coming recasts (with payment shock). 'Across all categories, option ARMs have more negative equity than other products.' and 'most of subprime pay shocks have already occurred, while most of the options ARM pay shocks are yet to come.'"
  • Administration Bank Tax Plan: An Empty Populist Gesture by Design? - "With its talk of new taxes on banks, is Team Obama reverting to its now well established pattern of crony capitalist giveaways with the occasional phony populist reform as an increasingly ineffective disguise? The extraordinarily unenthusiastic, perhaps inept by design, discussion of its plans to tax banks in some yet undetermined manner certainly says so.

    First, let’s consider Exhibit 1: the truly piss poor job the Obama Administration did of selling its health care reform plan. Recall the remarkable disconnect of people saying they did not want 'socialized' health care, yet they also did not want Medicare touched. It does not take Madison Avenue credentials to see the sales pitch: 'We already have successful, popular, government funded health care in the US. It’s called Medicare. We want to build and improve on that. Here’s how.' Did we see anything like this from the Administration message-meisters? And where were the President’s famed communication skills? Funny how he seems unable to articulate a vision that will actually shift public opinion.

    If you believe in neuro-linguistic programming, Obama’s formal presentation often uses what I believe NLP calls hypnotic speech. It sounds wonderfully uplifting while you are listening, but when you get done, you scratch your head, because there was so much abstraction and imagery relative to content that very little of substance is said. Despite its creepy sounding name in the NLP lexicon, it’s common in political speeches.
    . . .
    Yves here. This 'we need to appease the peasants' logic tells all. It says the Administration is so profoundly captured by the banksters that it sees nothing wrong with what is happening, save the political fallout. It’s perfectly OK for banks to go right back to status quo ante, looting their firms by paying themselves too much in bonuses and not retaining enough in the way of risk buffers. And why should they change behavior, now that it has been conclusively demonstrated that if they screw up in a big way, the government will run in, and they make even more money as a result?"
  • “Contact info” - "Ben Yagoda looks at the joys and perils of the thin, electronic veil that now separates most authors from their readers. Time was, you got a form letter back from Robert Heinlein with a checkmark beside 'Please do fuck off'. Nowadays, though, we hacks are not only expected to be whores, but also unpaid resource staff to the book buying public and pals."
  • Why Is the Media So Much Smarter About Legislation After it is Passed - "I have decided there is something that is very predictable about the media: they usually are very sympathetic to legislation expanding government powers or spending when the legislation is being discussed in Congress. Then, after the legislation is passed, and there is nothing that can be done to get rid of it, the media gets really insightful all of a sudden, running thoughtful pieces about the hidden problems and unintended consequences of the legislation."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Moment of Zen - Calvin Trillin's Prediction
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Daily Show: Moment of Zen

  • Don’t Trust Economists - "Sometimes a picture really does tell a thousand words. Here’s a chart, based on data from the Philadelphia Fed, showing actual economic results compared to the predictions of professional economists. As you can see, my profession does a wretched job. Comparisons based on predictions from the IMF, OECD, CBO, and OMB doubtlessly would generate equally embarrassing results."
  • Girls on film - "anyone who judges art based on genitalia is an absolute twit."
  • Boston Consulting Group On Electric Car Battery Costs - "Boston Consulting Group says car battery costs will not fall far enough in the next 10 years to allow a massive shift toward electric vehicles."
  • Wheat Ridge High School Class of 1970 - "The reonion committee is working away planning the 40th reunion the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. Wheat Ridge, Colorado WRHS1970.com"
  • The Vegetarian Myth - "If you’ve spent any time debating vegetarians, you know the supposed superiority of a meat-free existence boils down to three main beliefs: it’s immoral to kill in order to eat, we must all give up meat to save the planet, and giving up animal products will improve your health. Keith refers to these as the Vegetarian Myths, and during her decades as a dedicated vegan, she believed them. But in this book, she destroys them one by one -- by offering what she calls adult knowledge. Knowledge, after all, is the reason adults don’t believe in the Easter Bunny. As Keith puts it: 'What separates me from vegetarians isn’t ethics or commitment. It’s information.'"
  • The Right Kind of Nothing - "Every minute of every day, ask yourself, and those around you, "Could this be done better? Are we doing this the right way, and getting the most done for our expenditures of time and money?" Whether you are designing a new science quad or picking up trash in an old quad, try to look at everything around you as if it were new. Forget things you know, and learn something.

    And then, let it go. If it turns out that you don't need to take action, and that things are moving in the right direction, move to something else. Sure, it will be hard for you to take personal credit for the improvement. Worse, things may not turn out the way you would have done them. But letting go of the need for control acts as an enormous force multiplier: You can be in many places at once because others have taken ownership through your leadership."
  • things that I have learned (the hard way) - "Steve Blank’s book should be required reading for every new entrepreneur."
  • Risky Bets: Prepaid College Tuition - "My Money Blog noticed a disturbing trend in some state-run prepaid college tuition funds. These plans initially sound like a great investment, but perhaps deserve a second look:"
  • The Age of Media Agnosticism - "According to Nielsen, the average American visited 87 domains and 2,600 Web pages in September. Outside the U.S., those numbers tend to be smaller, and fresh data indicates that just a few sites dominate the mix. Many rely on the news to find them rather than seeking it out - and those who do hunt for news are likely to do so via a single outlet of their choosing and/or via a search engine or even YouTube. It seems that, curiously, the diversity of the sites Americans frequent remains small even though their choices have grown infinitely."
  • Google charges its own ETF for Nexus One in addition to T-Mobile’s ETF - "Here’s a bit of interesting news on the purchasing and cancellation process for the Nexus One. If you buy the device subsidized, and you decide to cancel your contract after the 14-day period (30 days for California) but before 120 days into your contract, Google can charge a termination fee of its own -- on top of the carrier ETF."
  • Barriers to Career Entry: Law Edition - "Faced with this glut of law school graduates that are unable to find work, the American Bar Association has proposed that Schools of Law develop measurements of what students actually learn in law school that would provide prospective employers with additional information to base their hiring decisions, as opposed to the prevalent mechanism currently in place of ranking candidates by the reputation of their school, which is based on input measures such as faculty size and library holdings. It seems that this proposal stems from law practitioners themselves, who are increasingly dismayed by law school grads that do not possess the core competencies needed to be effective employees.
    . . .
    If the law schools themselves do not want to serve the needs of the end users (hiring firms)of their product (graduates) via not providing them with the core competencies necessary to be an effective employee, then I suspect that the customers will soon find an alternative supplier."
  • Federal Job Creation - "The board game Monopoly first took off during the Great Depression. A different game has become popular during today’s Great Recession. In this game, politicians race against high unemployment to create jobs in order to save their own. The players (politicians) have unlimited tax and borrowing authority, and can call upon friendly economists to help them maneuver. The players even get to keep score, although the media can penalize shoddy scorekeeping. Ultimately, voters will decide which players win and lose in the fall elections.

    Okay, I’m being facetious. But as politicians continue to throw trillions of dollars at the economy in a vain effort to create jobs, and the media continues to go along with it by obsessing over meaningless job counts, the entire spectacle has become surreal. If government job creation is a game, the losers have been the taxpayers underwriting it, as well as the employers (and their employees) who are closing shop, laying off workers, or not hiring because of uncertainty over what big government schemes will be next."

A Creative Tribute to John Williams

  • Solar Rickshaws Ready for Delhi - "In addition to giving rickshaw drivers a hand in climbing steep hills, the electric motor could help stop the spread of disease in crowded Indian cities. CSIR director Samir Brahmachari told India Today that the average rickshaw driver is malnourished, getting only 1,600 calories a day when more than 4,000 are necessary to pedal customers around cities. Currently, 'a quarter of the rickshaw pullers could get TB because of malnutrition,' Brahmachari said."
  • NSFW: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crunchies - "I’ve never understood the attraction of CES.

    Why in January -- a month set aside for recovering from the excesses of the holiday season -- thousands of people would fly to Las Vegas for a gigantic tradeshow. Why they’d even consider spending four days wandering around an aircraft hanger filled with vastly oversized television sets, or sitting through endless product launches that are being simulcast online anyway.

    Why they’d subject themselves to three nights of well drinks at a succession of disappointing after-parties before passing out in overpriced, soulless hotel rooms that charge $10 a day for wifi. Frankly why they’d willingly submit themselves to any of those horrors when they could simulate the entire experience from home simply by wiring a thousand dollars to Steve Wynn, dropping a tab of acid and then heading to Best Buy with a hooker."
  • The Switch From iPhone To Android, And Why Your First Impression Is Wrong - "Which brings me to the things that have turned me into a full-time Android user. Gmail on Android kicks the pants off of the iPhone’s Email client -- something that I’m not the only person to notice. As someone who does a lot of Emailing, that makes a huge difference to me. Google Voice integration is fantastic. The ability to run multiple applications at the same time is a breath of fresh air. Those three things were enough to seal the deal.

    Had I only used an Android device for a few days, these aforementioned pros may have been overshadowed by the fact that the phone felt so unfamiliar. Or I may have been turned off by one of the things Android gets wrong, like that there’s no way to update multiple applications at the same time and the default music player is remarkably ugly. But when it comes to using the phone in real life on a day-to-day basis, those problems aren’t enough to outweigh the productivity benefits Android offers me.

    And, really, that’s my point. Many of these iPhone users who are testing out Android for the first time tend to get hung up on things that feel unfamiliar, or are griping about issues that will only affect them once in a blue moon. No, Android isn’t as pretty as the iPhone, and there are plenty of things it doesn’t do as well as it could. But until you’ve taken the plunge to see what lies beneath its less-polished exterior, you haven’t really seen what it has to offer."
  • Getting vitamin D right - "Vitamin D is, without a doubt, the most incredible 'vitamin'/prohormone/neurosteroid I have ever encountered. Frankly, I don't know how we got anything accomplished in health pre-D.

    Unfortunately, people I meet rarely take their vitamin D in a way that accomplishes full restoration of vitamin D blood levels. It really isn't that tough."
  • Overloaded trucks in Saharan Africa...you haven't seen the half of it - "I'm not certain that these trucks are 'mogs' but I could be wrong? Well they're not mogs Ian they're bonneted (L or LP? I never can remember which) Mercedes of classic and considerable vintage, not to say carrying capacity!" (see pic)
  • YouLaw: Truck Accident Reenactment Jumps the Shark - "We literally become friends, not just your lawyers."
    . . .
    "This was an excellent YouTube video. It really pitches the firm and gives you a warm feeling that lawyers can be your friends, even in an ambulance-chasing environment."

    O yeah, we got a very warm feeling. Sheesh.
  • Common Market Food Co-op - "Common Market Food Co-op was a 'new wave food co-op' located at 1329 California Street in Denver, Colorado, from 1975 - 1980. It started as a buying club at the University of Denver in the late 1960s, and for a few years prior to moving to the old Safeway at 13th and California Streets, Common Market operated out of a small storefront on Champa Street."

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Posted January 14, 2010 10:07 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 11 (Eleventh Amendment)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 11 (11th Amendment)

Amendment XI.

Passed by Congress March 4, 1794. Ratified February 7, 1795.

Note: Article III, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 11.

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.


A free download of this Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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Posted January 12, 2010 09:37 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  U.S. Constitution   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Assorted Links 1/11/10

Dear News Organizations: Stop giving large numbers without context or proper comparison.
The difference between a million and a billion is the difference between me having a sip of wine and 30 seconds with your daughter, and a bottle of gin and a night with her.

  • Word Workshop: Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing , January 28, 2010
  • Update on The 111th Congress, 2010, January 29, 2010
  • Congress in a Nutshell: Understanding Congress, February 10, 2010
  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, February 11, 2010
  • Strategies for Working with Congress: Effective Communication and Advocacy on Capitol Hill, February 18, 2010
  • The President's Budget, February 23, 2010
  • The Defense Budget, February 26, 2010
  • Capitol Hill Workshop, March 3-5, 2010
  • Do We Need Government Intervention to Reduce the Number of Lawyers? - "[Mark] Greenbaum contends that the ABA has a “conflict of interest” that leads it to accredit too many law schools. The truth is the exact opposite. The ABA is an interest group representing lawyers. Like members of other professions, lawyers have an incentive to limit entry into their field in order restrict competition and increase their own pay. To say that the ABA has an interest in increasing the number of lawyers is much like saying that UAW workers at GM and Ford have an interest in increasing the number of imported Japanese cars. And indeed, the ABA imposes dubious accreditation requirements that make it very hard to start new law schools. At the state level, bar associations restrict entry into the profession by forcing would-be lawyers to pass bar exams that test enormous amounts of information that most lawyers don’t actually need to know to do their jobs.
    . . .
    Far from accrediting too many law schools, the ABA and state bar associations are running a cartel system that has the effect of driving up the cost of legal services. The poor especially often find it difficult to pay for basic legal services."
  • Nexus One Enterprise Version Could Have a Physical Keyboard, Bigger Battery - "On stage with Walt Mossberg, Google Engineering VP mentioned that an enterprise version of the Nexus One could have a physical keyboard and longer battery life--and there could be more Google devices, including a budget model."
  • Who Burst Our Beautiful Bubble? - "Was it beauty killed the beast or was it readjustments? If you have not passed out during our review of the respective roles of adjustable rates and subprime lending in the housing debt bust, here's some detail from Edward Pinto.

    Pinto, president of Smartlender, the Independent Community Bankers of America's settlement service provider, explains that default risk on an original loan increases geometrically the closer you get to no money down. A default propensity of 1 on a property bought with 80 percent financing increases to 2 at 90 percent financing, 4 at 95 percent, and 8 at 100 percent."
  • Twenty’s Plenty - "About now is where someone usually complains that putting up 20 mph signs is ineffective and won’t change driver behavior. But we’re not talking about mere signage here, we’re talking 'self-enforcing roads,' with a variety of engineering and design measures, and as the authors write, some evidence 'suggests that the self enforcing 20 mph zones are effective in reducing traffic speeds to an average of 17 mph, an average reduction of 9 mph.'"
  • Rahm in the mayor's race would be quite a fish tale - "On my first day back at work after vacation, the political news from Washington hit me like a cold dead fish in the face:

    Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago?

    That's enough to freeze the bowels of every voter in the land.
    . . .
    Naturally, the national media marveled that Obama selected a Clinton guy, Emanuel, to run things.

    But Rahm is no Clinton guy. He's a Daley guy.

    And if folks in Washington weren't so besotted with all that primo Hopium they've been smoking, they'd have understood this.
    . . .
    The Washington establishment also ignores how Rahm got elected to Congress in 2002 from Illinois' 5th District. The district's Democratic state central committeeman, DeLeo, had something to do with it. So did all those illegal City Hall patronage workers swarming the precincts, led by Donny Drama, currently in federal stir for the nasty habit of taking bribes."

YikeBike: The World’s First Super Light Electric Powered Folding Bike

  • Judge Personally Ordered a Violation of the Fourth Amendment - "Here’s the Tennessee Court of the Judiciary’s public censure in the case (paragraph breaks added):"
  • Undead Tech: The Modern Subway - "This installment will poke around in one colossally important everyday technology--one that buys us geographical freedom for the price of a hot dog. It's winter, in a crippling economic recession. Lets talk about the lowly subway train, which, like this beloved Internet of ours, is a series of tubes."
  • Snow hampers Amtrak trains to and from Chicago - "Passengers on a Chicago-bound Amtrak train got extra time to get to know one another this week when their train came face-to-face with the first big snowstorm of 2010 to hit the upper Midwest.

    The food from the dining car was long gone, and the conductor had gotten chips and snacks from the train's storage, one passenger told WGN AM-720 this morning. Many passengers hadn't expected to be on a train so long, and didn't have a change of clothes. And the hours, like the snow outside, seemed to refuse to melt away.

    In the end, the No. 6 California Zephyr train arrived at Union Station 17 hours, 56 minutes late, according to an Amtrak spokesman."
  • Amtrak "Train From Hell" Delayed Almost 24 Hours - "It was 'the train from hell,' said one passenger.

    Arriving almost 24 hours behind schedule, Amtrak's California Zephyr arrived in Chicago with a trainload of passengers who described themselves as 'tired, hungry and stinky.'

    The train, which left Sacramento five days ago, was delayed by severe weather and numerous mishaps on route and pulled into Union Station more than 19 hours late."
  • Wheat Ridge High School Class of 1970 - "The reonion committee is working away planning the 40th reunion the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. Wheat Ridge, Colorado WRHS1970.com"
  • On behalf of the two spaces between sentences I would like to say I think they are beautiful.And that it must be lonely to be one space.And I know this is wrong.

The Real World DC (Health Care Remix)
The true story... of 535 politicians...picked to live in two houses...work together and their lives taped...to find out what happens...when Congress stops being polite...and starts secret, detailed negotiations on a sweeping, transformative health care reform bill...

  • Will Verizon’s LTE Pricing Look Like a Utility Bill - "Verizon’s pricing for its next-generation Long Term Evolution Network will likely involve a base subscriber fee plus usage charges for the bandwidth consumed on devices that need a cellular connection, Verizon CTO Dick Lynch told the Washington Post. So the question now is whether the pricing model will resemble that of cable services, with a high base rate and then smaller charges for premium channels, or that of a utility bill, which see users pay a tiny charge each month and then a set rate for each kilowatt consumed. Or will it be closer to that of existing cellular pricing plans, complete with high base rates and punitive overage fees?"
  • Standing rib roast will have them shouting, 'Dhondra!' - "Do I look like Tiny Tim to you?

    So if you're hosting a dinner for Christmas or New Year's or any other holiday -- and you want to offer your guests something that truly says "special occasion" -- I'll tell you what to cook.

    It never had a beak. Never had feathers or ate seeds. But I guarantee it will knock the itchy woolen socks from Martha Stewart's feet."

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Posted January 11, 2010 08:37 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Assorted Links 1/9/10

Sylvia Browne: One Cool Cucumber

  • Word Workshop: Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing , January 28, 2010
  • Update on The 111th Congress, 2010, January 29, 2010
  • Congress in a Nutshell: Understanding Congress, February 10, 2010
  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, February 11, 2010
  • Strategies for Working with Congress: Effective Communication and Advocacy on Capitol Hill, February 18, 2010
  • The President's Budget, February 23, 2010
  • The Defense Budget, February 26, 2010
  • Capitol Hill Workshop, March 3-5, 2010
  • Obama as Greek Tragedy--Part One - "The blueprint of a Sophoclean or even Euripidean tragedy is pretty straightforward. A confident, cocky tragic hero for about the first 600 lines of the play exhibits unconstrained exuberance as he takes on the world.
    . . .
    The early Oedipus basks in his great wisdom and reason that had solved the riddle of the murderous Sphinx and saved the city. Creon in the Antigone assumes he is the personification of law, order, and stability, a savior regent after the prior mess.

    Even in Euripides’ Bacchae, young King Pentheus boasts about his kingly powers and youthful determination to corral the Bacchants--as he sets himself up for a gruesome fall. Early Hippolytus is a sanctimonious puritan, a sort of insufferable prude (who of course will be falsely accused of fornication). Jason in the Medea prances around as if his dumped wife will agree that it was a wise idea for him to have married a younger, wealthier, and Greek princess. With all these personalities, the first person pronoun 'ego' is commonly employed. They know at first no self-doubt. They have no clue that what brought them to such heights are the same characteristics, at the right occasion, and with a tad more hubris, that will ensure their fall.

    During these displays of hubris, the flawed characters are warned by various seers, by close associates, and by the sometimes fawning/sometimes anxious chorus that something is not quite right. They are supposed to check their excesses in time. They are advised to seek the golden mean, calm down, and avoid nemesis. But how can they really, when it is all such fun, this being full of oneself that heretofore has brought them so easily so far?"
  • Further Limitations on Civil Liberties… - "Many of us said during the days of the Bush administration that restrictions on civil liberties motivated by the conflict with Al Qaeda would be maintained during any subsequent administration, whether Democratic or Republican, as long as the terrorist threat remained. This prediction has been amply confirmed. The most recent example is the implementation of an explicit profiling program for airline passengers. The ACLU aside, there has not been much criticism of this initiative. (Maybe because some of the most prominent critics of the Bush administration’s counter terror policies are now members of the Obama administration.)"
  • The Meaning of al Qaeda's Double Agent: The jihadists are showing impressive counterintelligence ability that the CIA seems to have underestimated. - "But the president is likely to compensate for systemic weakness in American intelligence in substantial, effective ways. Mr. Obama has been much more aggressive than President George W. Bush was in the use of drone attacks and risky paramilitary operations. One can easily envision him expanding such attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. Visa issuances, airport security, and perhaps even FBI surveillance of American Muslim militants are likely to become much tougher under Mr. Obama than under Mr. Bush. President Obama will, no doubt, continue to say empirically bizarre things about Guantanamo's imprisonment system creating jihadists, but his administration will now likely find another location to jail militants indefinitely. Too many of President Bush's released detainees have returned to terrorism."
  • California’s Economic Decline - "This article, prompted by Northrop Grumman’s moving its headquarters out of California to the Washington, D.C. area, says that California is on its way toward becoming a third-world economy. Once the center of the aerospace industry, Southern California now has no major aerospace firms headquartered there. Once a financial center, California has also lost Bank of America, Security Pacific Bank, Countrywide, and First Interstate, and is now home to no major financial institutions. Once a major center of automobile manufacturing, California recently lost its last auto plant. Meanwhile, there is no inflow of economic activity to offset this exodus.

    The corporate exodus brings with it shrinking tax bases, reductions in philanthropy, and of course fewer economic opportunities for Californians."
  • Child support, through age 23? - "A bill introduced into the Virginia legislature would put payers of child support on the hook for older kids and indeed young adults so long as they are attending college."
  • Reis: U.S. Office Vacancy Rate Hits 15 Year High at 17 Percent - "The vacancy rate isn't a record, but there was a record decline in effective rents. Add that to the records announced earlier this week..."
  • Faux Disclosure At The Times - "Jonathon Gruber, a prominent and well-respected health care economist, is so well respected that he was hired by Health and Human Services to crunch numbers for the same health plans he is routinely lauding in the press. Is that a conflict of interest? Well, let's think of it as a an overlap of interest - he was hired because he was already symparico to the Administration and has remained so throughout. The money may bot have changed his views or analysis bit it certainly ought to have been disclosed.

    And now that this has become public we know the NY Times will leap to correct its own reporting! No peeking - do you think the Times will (a) stonewall this; (b) run a cryptic correction correcting nothing; (c) regale us with another Public Editor apologia; or (d) note the many times they have quoted Gruber and assure us that They Will Do Beter Next Time (if the Administration is Republican)."
  • 100 things we didn't know last year - "23. The average number of friends is 150.
    . . .
    41. Many mosques in Mecca point the wrong way for prayers.
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    84. Banana skins can take two years to biodegrade.
    . . .
    99. Travelling in a 'road train' can cut fuel consumption by 20%."

Obama Has Declared Open Season on Golden Geese. Good Idea or Not?

  • Cell Phones Protect Against Alzheimer's Disease? - "After years of reports aimed at looking for a causal relationship between cell phone use and brain cancer a new report finds that in mice genetically engineered to get Alzheimer's exposure to electromagnetic waves is protective."
  • Stupidity Bowl - "You could go pick some dude out of any LA barbershop or Pilates studio to coach Texas and they wouldn't send McCoy plunging into the line in a million years."
  • Final edition - "Twilight of the American newspaper tells the story of San Francisco and its newspapers. And in that tale, a glimpse that we might be losing our sense of place along with the newspaper."
  • Wheat Ridge High School Class of 1970 - "The reonion committee is working away planning the 40th reunion the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. Wheat Ridge, Colorado WRHS1970.com"
  • Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus Exclusive to Verizon - "I attended the Palm press event at the CES today and as expected Palm is set to roll out the refreshed versions of the Pre and the Pixi. It wasn’t that much a surprise that Verizon will be getting the Palm phones, but Palm has granted Big Red the two new models under exclusive contract. I’ll bet the folks at Sprint aren’t too happy after this announcement.
    . . .
    The Pixi Plus remains largely the same, with the welcome addition of Wi-Fi bringing it more in line with the Pre Plus. Both new models will be available through Verizon on January 25th. Consumers who pick up one of the new Palm phones better pick up the monthly tethering option from Verizon, as Palm is including the new “Mobile Hotspot” feature on them. This option will let the phones tether to other devices to share the 3G connection, and like the MiFi with up to 5 devices at once."
  • Six bullet points on why people go to graduate school in the humanities - "These reasons are ugly, but a lot of it rings true. Note the behavioral economics implicit in the explanations:
    . . .
    With the prospect of an unappealing, entry-level job on the horizon, life in college becomes increasingly idealized. They think graduate school will continue that romantic experience and enable them to stay in college forever as teacher-scholars."
  • The costs and benefits of grad school - "I’m a great believer in the benefits of an undergraduate education when it’s done right (which is rarely). But grad school is a different matter entirely: the opportunity costs are much higher, the amount of debt involved rises substantially, and the range of jobs you can do at the end of it in many ways goes down rather than up.

    Thomas Benton has a great column about grad school in the humanities: no one should do it, he says, unless they’re independently wealthy or otherwise being paid for somehow.

    But what about more vocational graduate degrees, like law school? Anybody thinking about it should read not only Elie Mystal’s post at Above the Law but also the long comment stream attached, filled with people like Elie who graduated from law school with six-figure debts and found themselves either stuck in Biglaw jobs they hated, or else just simply overwhelmed by impossible finances."

What’s behind the Cafferty tirade on CNN?

  • The $220,000 Nano - "The world’s supposedly cheapest car ($2,500 apiece) will cost $220,000 when Mumbai-based D.C. Design is through with it. They will keep the car’s snub-nosed shape, everything else has to go.

    The standard two-cylinder 624cc, 33-horsepower engine will be replaced by a 1600cc engine. To make room for the motor, the back seats will be removed. The car will get new brakes, new suspension, and bigger 20-inch wheels to allow for the top speed of 200 kilometers per hour (124 mph)."
  • Nexus One vs iPhone 3GS vs Droid vs Pre: The Definitive Comparison - "If you're looking for the definitive comparison table between the Google Nexus One, Apple iPhone 3GS, Motorola Droid, and Palm Pre, here you have it. From storage capacity to price to plans. Guess who wins (you'll probably be wrong)." Read the comments
  • And a Partridge in a Pear Tree - "As I've mentioned before, I have a bone to pick with the Wise Men. Let's visit them for a moment.
    . . .
    The Wise Men also have no names in the New Testament. Of course, they do now. I chalk this up to actors. I imagine that the three actors balked at being called 'Wise Man 1' and 'Wise Man 2', and that some smart director appeased them by giving them each a name. Then the actors took it from there. 'Hmmmm, if my name is Caspar, maybe I'm a black man from Egypt!' They probably fought over who got to bring the myrrh. It's so important and symbolic.
    . . .
    What we do know about them, however is very important. We know that they were wealthy, educated men who 'bowed down' to this child. That's the really important part, that the first people to worship were the lowliest of the low, but that the wealthy and educated were also on board to see the Light."
  • Digital Art Frame turns your photos into oil masterpieces - "Casio has launched a Digital Art Frame that transforms your super snaps into virtual oil paintings, pastels or water colours."
  • A Few Thoughts on the Nexus One - "Gmail is so good on the phone that I can, for the first time, imagine being totally without my laptop."

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Posted January 9, 2010 02:47 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 10 (Tenth Amendment)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 10 (Amendments 1-10 are known as the Bill Of Rights) (10th Amendment)

Amendment X.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Video: Rick Perry asserts Texas’s Tenth Amendment rights

10th Amendment - Michael Badnarik Bill of Rights Class

Tenth Amendment - LawWebTV


A free download of this Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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Posted January 8, 2010 10:27 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  U.S. Constitution   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Assorted Links 1/4/10

Gene Kelly tap dancing on roller skates

  • Word Workshop: Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing , January 28, 2010
  • Update on The 111th Congress, 2010, January 29, 2010
  • Congress in a Nutshell: Understanding Congress, February 10, 2010
  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, February 11, 2010
  • Strategies for Working with Congress: Effective Communication and Advocacy on Capitol Hill, February 18, 2010
  • The President's Budget, February 23, 2010
  • The Defense Budget, February 26, 2010
  • Capitol Hill Workshop, March 3-5, 2010
  • Al Qaeda’s Yemen Connection, America and the Global Islamic Jihad - "The attack on the Amsterdam-Detroit flight also shows that al Qaeda remains obsessed with striking the American airline industry, a target it has gone after repeatedly since 1999. If AQAP has now been told by the al Qaeda core leadership to take on the job, we can probably assume that other al Qaeda franchises in North Africa, Iraq, Southeast Asia and elsewhere have also been pressed to attack."
  • Me and the Christmas Underwear Bomber - "I've started to call the bizarre new TSA rules 'magical thinking': if we somehow protect against the specific tactic of the previous terrorist, we make ourselves safe from the next terrorist."
  • Mayo Clinic in Arizona to Stop Treating Some Medicare Patients - "The Mayo Clinic, praised by President Barack Obama as a national model for efficient health care, will stop accepting Medicare patients as of [January 1, 2010] at one of its primary-care clinics in Arizona, saying the U.S. government pays too little."
  • Why the Health-Care Bills Are Unconstitutional - "President Obama's health-care bill is now moving toward final passage. The policy issues may be coming to an end, but the legal issues are certain to continue because key provisions of this dangerous legislation are unconstitutional. Legally speaking, this legislation creates a target-rich environment. We will focus on three of its more glaring constitutional defects.
    . . .
    America's founders intended the federal government to have limited powers and that the states have an independent sovereign place in our system of government. The Obama/Reid/Pelosi legislation to take control of the American health-care system is the most sweeping and intrusive federal program ever devised. If the federal government can do this, then it can do anything, and the limits on government power that our liberty requires will be more myth than reality."
  • Cisco Realizes It's A Waste Of Time To Focus On Patent Quantity - "johnjac points us to an article where folks at Cisco suggests that it might just be tech companies realizing that patenting everything is a waste of time and money. In fact, the story states that Cisco recently changed its patent strategy from trying to patent everything to trying to focus on things that it believes is really innovative, rather than everything it can possibly get a patent on."
  • One Blogger Complies with TSA Agent, One Doesn't. Guess Who's Smarter. - "There's lots of web chatter about the two travel bloggers who got home visits from Transportation Security Administration agents. Following last week's attempted underwear bombing, the bloggers had posted a leaked TSA memo with instructions to airlines. The most familiar and ridiculed requirement blocks passengers' access to bathrooms, blankets, video entertainment, and carry-on bags during the last hour of flight.

    So in an attempt to plug their own administrative leak, the new law enforcement agency did what law enforcement agencies do: they sent agents to investigate. While it's terrifying to imagine TSA agents harassing us at our homes beyond the confines of airport security, this should surprise no one."

Wafa Sultan Debating Islamic Cleric

  • Techno-utopian fail - "If there were an award for the most embarrassing e-mail of the year, the June 15 missive to the executives of Twitter from Jared Cohen, the 28-year social-media guru at the US State Department, would surely trump any competition. What could be more emblematic of the wild techno-utopianism that has hijacked American foreign policy than this Washington insider pleading with Twitter -- once known as the best place to share what you had for breakfast -- to delay their planned maintenance downtime so that Iran’s Revolution could proceed undisturbed?

    It seemed like a neoconservative dream come true: hordes of brave green-clad young Iranians breaking through the firewalls of the deranged ayatollahs, all with the help of an American start-up, run by thirtysomething Californians on generous handouts from venture capitalists. Who needs diplomacy when we’ve got Twitter? That it was mostly foreigners tweet-touting the revolution, that popular Iranian sites such as Balatarin played a much more important role locally, that the Iranian authorities were trolling Twitter to gather intelligence about the protesters -- all of that was lost on western commentators who took the events in Iran to be the ultimate proof that the digital revolution was upon us ('This is it. The big one,' the web guru Clay Shirky proclaimed in an interview with TED.com). It wasn’t long before Gordon Brown suggested that 'another Rwanda' would be impossible in the age of Twitter." ht The Browser
  • Hammer Time: Cheap, Cheap and Cheap - "In fact, for many years I’ve been sampling three types of ‘cheap cars’ that pay off surprisingly well. They are…

    1) The very high mileage, late model vehicle.

    2) The very low mileage, older vehicle.

    3) The unknown mileage (True Miles Unknown) / or ‘Branded Title’ vehicle."
  • 25kg of cocaine hits Spanish supermarket shelves - "Drug smugglers in Spain are at least 25 kilos of cocaine short after boxes of bananas in which they'd hidden the Bolivian marching powder ended up on supermarket shelves.

    The alarm was raised on Saturday morning when several one kilo packets were found in a box of 'enormous green tropical bananas' in a Madrid branch of supermarket chain Lidl."
  • Wheat Ridge High School Class of 1970 - "The reonion committee is working away planning the 40th reunion the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. Wheat Ridge, Colorado WRHS1970.com"
  • NSFW: Hey! Look behind you! It’s the tablet of the future! - "The job of a futurologist is not to predict the future based on practicalities, but rather to write fantasy fiction about what they hope the future will hold. A futurologist would never advise Steve Jobs to temper his vision, or to fret about what moms will carry with them in their bags. A futurologist would simply assume that Apple will be able to invent with some kind of magical screen capable of displaying high definition movies one minute and print-sharp ebooks the next. Or perhaps a new type of device that makes the very idea of books redundant.

    As a cynical non-futurologist -- a pessimologist if you like -- I sit somewhere between MG and Joe Wilcox. I passionately hope that the Apple Tablet will become the only portable media device I need to carry, but at the same time -- because of the Kindle -- I just can’t imagine a possible universe in which it will succeed."
  • The world doesn't need an Apple tablet, or any other - "That brings me back to my assertion that iPhone is functional enough, more portable and better connected than could be any 7-inch or 10-inch tablet. Would you buy an iPhone and iPod touch? I expect that for most people the answer will be 'No.' There is too much overlap in features and functionality and few additional benefits. If Apple's rumored tablet runs iPhone OS (or something close to it) and offers App Store applications, what will really distinguish it from iPhone -- other than better hardware, larger sizer and perhaps flashier UI? Are these features real benefits that would justify buying an iPhone (or other smartphone) and a tablet? You know my answer. Please offer yours in comments."
  • iSlate? I spy more control from Cupertino - "The iSlate will take the iPhone concept into a decent-sized package, but more importantly for Apple it takes the security and control model into the realm of laptop computing. From there it's a small jump to the desktop and Cupertino control over everything you do on your computer.

    Microsoft once suggested that Windows applications should be digitally signed, by Redmond, and that this would remove Trojans, viruses and all manner of nastiness, but the company was swiftly shouted down by customers who feared ceding control to the beast."
  • Apple Predictions for 2010: iPhone on Multiple Carriers, iSlate, Beatles - "Apple experienced a strong 2009 despite the recession but may make substantial changes to its product lines and strategy in 2010 in order to counter direct competition from Google, Microsoft and other players. Those strategies could include opening the iPhone to multiple carriers, introducing an iPod Touch with a camera, expanding its retail footprint, releasing the long-rumored tablet PC, imposing increased regulation on the App Store, and even introducing the Beatles catalog to iTunes."
  • Ziotek Battery Checker - "the Ziotek ZT1153195 Digital Battery Checker looks like a handy device. It’s a single-AAA powered tester that can check a variety of 1.5V batteries: D, C, AA, AAA, N, and button cells."

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Posted January 4, 2010 10:27 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 9 (Ninth Amendment)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 9 (Amendments 1-10 are known as the Bill Of Rights) (9th Amendment)

Amendment IX.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


A free download of this Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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Posted January 3, 2010 12:47 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  U.S. Constitution   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Assorted Links 1/1/10

Some Holiday Music

  • Word Workshop: Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing , January 28, 2010
  • Update on The 111th Congress, 2010, January 29, 2010
  • Congress in a Nutshell: Understanding Congress, February 10, 2010
  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, February 11, 2010
  • Strategies for Working with Congress: Effective Communication and Advocacy on Capitol Hill, February 18, 2010
  • The President's Budget, February 23, 2010
  • The Defense Budget, February 26, 2010
  • Capitol Hill Workshop, March 3-5, 2010
  • NY Times: Recession Cases Flooding Courts - "And this is apparently happening all across the country."
  • Top Ten Pro-Liberty Books of the Decade - "As 2009 draws to a close we (gladly) wave goodbye to a decade of government decadence where respect for the principles of liberty, free exchange, and limited government was scarce. For those who hold Adam Smith’s maxim of “peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice” dear to their hearts, the 2000s could not have ended soon enough.

    To the chagrin of the statists, their crafty work in the Aughts gave writers more than enough material to produce fresh intellectual firepower that will help promote the free society for decades to come. Diogo Costa, editor of Ordem Livre (Atlas’s Portuguese platform) asked 22 classical liberal thinkers which were the most important books published this past decade that advance the cause of liberty. Each participant ranked their top 5 and the results are in.

    #10 The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists’ Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics (2001) by William Easterly
    #7 From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State (2000) by David T. Beito
    #6 In Defense of Global Capitalism (2003) by Johan Norberg
    #3 The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies (2008) by Bryan Caplan
    #2 Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement by (2008) by Brian Doherty
    #1 Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else (2001) by Hernando de Soto"
  • The Filibuster, Now More Than Ever? - "I’m of several minds on this issue. On the one hand, Cost is right that the major consequence of increased filibustering to date has been legislation tailored to the concerns of centrist Senators, rather than no legislation at all. The Bush tax cuts, No Child Left Behind, and Medicare Part D all passed with Senate supermajorities, and the Bush-era legislative pushes that failed -- Social Security reform and immigration reform chief among them -- did so because lots of Senators decided they weren’t interested in voting for them, not because the bills got 58 votes but couldn’t get 60. In the Obama era, meanwhile, the Senate has already voted to pass the most expensive stimulus package in history, a sweeping reorganization of the American health care system, and a host of more modest legislative initiatives. In this environment, there’s something a little strange about the stridency of liberal complaints about the filibuster, given what they’ve accomplished -- and are on the cusp of accomplishing -- even with it as an impediment."
  • H1B spat unites activists, xenophobes against common enemy - "To venture into the world of online anti-H1B activism is to enter a world of legitimate grievance mixed with outright xenophobia and racism. On the one hand, these sites do great work in bringing to light the ongoing abuses of the H1B program by American tech companies, but on the other hand, it takes a pretty twisted individual to openly gloat that the mass-fatality-causing collapse of an New Delhi bridge is evidence that Indian engineers are inferior to American engineers. Nonetheless, in the midst of all the rancor--rancor that's made worse by high unemployment--south Asian IT contractors and their American opponents have joined forces against an alleged IT sweatshop's attempt to silence its anonymous online critics. The unlikely allies are also united in opposing a New Jersey court's ruling that the critics' sites be taken offline and their identities disclosed."
  • Is the Financial Crisis Really a Crisis of Capitalism? - "
      And, as Sorkin relates, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the rhetoric regarding our supposedly free markets without government intervention just masks the reality -- that there is a revolving door between Wall Street and Washington, and powerful people bend the rules to help each other out. In an illustration of Wall Street clubbiness, Sorkin documents a meeting in Moscow between Hank Paulson, secretary of the treasury (and former head of Goldman Sachs), and the board of Goldman Sachs. As the storm clouds gathered at the end of June 2008, Paulson spent an evening talking substance with the board -- while agreeing not to record this "social" meeting in his official calendar. We do not know the content of the conversation, but the appearance of this kind of exclusive interaction shows how little our top officials care about public perceptions of favoritism. In saner times, this would constitute a major scandal.

    Johnson has historically offered more government regulation as a solution to this problem, mostly in the form of breaking up banks. Allowing banks to fail and permitting markets to self-regulate is to me a better solution. But given the explicit relationships discussed in all three of these books, of which Sorkin's is the only one I've read, I wouldn't count on much changing either way to fix the problems. Unfortunately, and contrary to the work of the founders of this country, we've moved much too far in the direction of a centralized and powerful federal government for it to serve general interests rather than special interests."
  • Terrorism and Security Systems - "underwear bomber" - "Terrorists are weak actors, unable to muster conventional forces that threaten a state directly. So they try to use the power of the states they attack to achieve their aims. Provocation is an example--getting a state to overreact and undercut its own legitimacy. Polarization is another: Most often in domestic contexts, terror attacks can drive wedges among different ethnic, religious, or cultural groups, destabilizing the state and society.

    Mobilization is the strategy of leverage most likely at play here--seeking to recruit and rally the masses to a cause. There’s no argument that this alienated loner is an articulate strategist, of course, but his attack could signal the importance of terrorism to a worldwide audience, making terrorism more attractive to opponents of U.S. power.
    . . .
    Next, I hope to see communications that subtly and appropriately portray the underwear bomb plotter as the loser that he is. I have declined to use his name, because this wretch should go namelessly to oblivion. And I am pleased to see that U.S. authorities have released an image of his underwear, half-suspecting that this was done to help make his legacy the indignity of being beaten by Americans and having his underwear displayed to the world."
  • Paterson vows to fight school-aid suit - "Declaring 'you can't spend money that don't have,' Gov. Paterson this morning announced plans to fight a lawsuit seeking to restore nearly $600 million in education aid he withheld earlier this month.

    'We're operating really under a fundamental precept that's really beyond the law,' Paterson said in a Manhattan news conference. 'You can't spend money that you don't have. So, I look forward to our day in court.'

    Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who serves as the governor's lawyer in such cases, will file court papers this afternoon in Albany to answer claims by a coalition of education groups that the aid freeze was illegal and unconstitutional."
  • Tu Quoque - "The times have changed as much as the men that seek to change them. The toxic combination of 'it’s Bush’s fault' and 'I’m just doing what Bush did' may not last President Obama much longer."
  • California Pushes for Federal Help - "Facing a $21 billion shortfall through June 2011, California leaders want billions of dollars in budget relief from Washington that could head off deep cuts expected to state programs.

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will ask the White House to waive rules that require the state to spend its own money on certain programs to receive federal funds, according to California officials briefed on the Republican's coming budget proposal."
  • A Rodney Dangerfield America? - "Pew's numbers touched the heart of the past decade's sense of sadness. Asked to identify the decade's singular event, 53% said the attacks of September 11, 2001. Nothing else was close.

    It is debated often whether 9/11's sense of urgency about the threat of Islamic terror has faded. Apparently not for the American people. We'll catch a break if the past week wakes up Washington.

    If at its end the decade was looking for a silver lining, this one got the shaft--another gray September. In September 2008, the U.S. financial system for all intents and purposes blew up. Years of imprudently low interest rates and Congress's political protection of bargain-basement mortgages decked the world in moral hazard. Cheap money was (is) crack for bankers. When the subprime mortgage mania blew, it took down much of Wall Street and a decade's worth of 401(k) gains.

    Let's toss in the decade's last straw just for the fun of it: The politicians running California, New York, New Jersey and arguably Congress were shown to be fiscally deranged. If America is in decline, its political class is leading it over the cliff.
    . . .
    America isn't dead. It's just dead in the water.
    . . .
    We are in the anti-1980s. But I don't care how flat the earth is; with competitors like China, India and the others, the belief that our big fat national government can somehow subsidize, much less identify, the U.S.'s next creative edge is straight from the dusty book of the original flat-earth society."
  • New York State Has First Deficit in General Fund - "The deficit, analysts said, was a barometer not only of the New York’s fiscal peril, but of the political stalemate in Albany that has left the state spending more money than it can afford for months."


  • The economics of dog food - "How does the environmental impact of a dog compare to that of an SUV? Via Robert Nagle in the MR comments section, here is one article defending the dog. It makes many good points but right now I am especially interested in this passage:"
  • How to Start Freelancing (Without Quitting Your Job) - "A common misconception about successful independent workers is that one day, in dramatic fashion, they quit their dayjob, hung a shingle, and lived happily ever after. The truth is, most freelancers start off moonlighting, volunteering, interning, and doing client work at night and on weekends in addition to a nine-to-five gig. If you fantasize about living the freelancer life, you can do the same--even in a recession, starting now. Let's turn some of your free time into a new career without giving up the steady paycheck."
  • Las Vegas High-Rising - "One feature of CityCenter is that a group of starchitects was hired to do design duties, presumably in the high hope that the result would be a triumphal jewel in the crown of American artistic civilization. Unfortunately, I found CenterCity (or what I could see of it from outside construction barriers) to be a resounding modernist/postmodern banality, hardly in keeping with the wild, showy Las Vegas spirit."
  • Wheat Ridge High School Class of 1970 - "The reonion committee is working away planning the 40th reunion the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. Wheat Ridge, Colorado WRHS1970.com"
  • Movie Studios Pissed Off At Netflix, Don't Want To Allow More Streaming Movies - "We already knew that the big movie studios were annoyed with Netflix and trying to get Netflix to delay movie rentals until at least a month after the DVD comes out. Now we have an explanation why. As JJ was the first (of a few) to send in, the studios apparently are quite annoyed that, in order to jumpstart its movie streaming offering, Netflix routed around the movie studios, and signed a deal with Starz that allowed it to stream the same movies without a direct deal with the studios."
  • Google: Never Mind the Nexus One, How About a Cheaper Cell Plan? - "The Nexus One is business as usual, if the reports are true. Where's Google the Disruptive Force we've come to expect? The Nexus One comes across as a fairly conventional consumer product--not unlike the Apple iPhone, Motorola Droid, and other high-end handsets. It's a me-too smart phone, not one that's going to turn the cell industry on its ear.
    . . .
    Now, I'm not expecting an earth-shaking announcement of, say, free cell service when Google launches the Nexus One. But an innovation that brings together Google's growing stable of telephony components would be welcome."

White House Reveals Obama Is Bipolar, Has Entered Depressive Phase

  • The unlikely origin of fish and chips - "Like Morecambe and Wise or Wallace and Gromit, fish and chips are a classic double act - and yet they started life as solo performers. And their roots are not as British as you might think.

    The story of the humble chip goes back to the 17th Century to either Belgium or France, depending who you believe.

    Oddly enough, the chip may have been invented as a substitute for fish, rather than an accompaniment. When the rivers froze over and nothing could be caught, resourceful housewives began cutting potatoes into fishy shapes and frying them as an alternative.

    Around the same time, fried fish was introduced into Britain by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain."
  • Small Cars Are King at the New Delhi Auto Show - "Small car competition is heating up at the tenth annual Delhi Auto Expo, as three major automakers are premiering new subcompacts.

    Toyota and Honda are both planning to debut new small cars specifically for India and other emerging automotive markets, while Maruti Suzuki is going to unveil a homegrown sub-$8500 minivan. Called the Eeco, it comes with a 1.2L engine and seating for seven -- and is proof of automakers’ hopes for the Indian market."
  • New Year's Resolutions for Washington - "As for me, I resolve to speak well of Mr. Obama more frequently, curry favor with liberals by being more critical of my fellow conservatives, and be guided by the words of Mark Twain, who said that the start of a New Year 'is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.'"

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Posted January 1, 2010 11:57 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)