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 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”
  • 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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