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”
  • 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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