On Thursday legislation was approved that would force internet service providers to save information on customer usage for twelve months on the chance law enforcement might want to look at it sometime. The bill was mislabeled the “Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011” in a nauseating attempt to cut off debate on its merits.
It eliminates the warrant requirement.
ISPs would be required to store customer names, bank account numbers, IP addresses, credit card numbers and home addresses. In other words, a gigantic database will be created for any snooping purpose. And, let’s be clear, since there is no warrant requirement, law enforcement will end-up simply grabbing all of the information available, whether or not there is an ongoing investigation, and storing it permanently.
Republicans did this.
There’s a point where right meets left. It’s where some in the Republican party would liberally use government power to further their ends…
The drought in the Horn of Africa has created a dramatic humanitarian emergency and the Somali people are its main victims. Hunger and thirst are pushing countless people to a desperate search for help, many fleeing to neighbouring countries, to refugee camps, at a rate of almost two thousand people a day. There are reports of exhausting marches on foot under the threat and attacks of predators, and even of children attacked by packs of hyenas.
In July of 1989 Mgr. Salvatore Colombo, Bishop of Mogadishu, was assassinated in front of the door of the cathedral. Since then, the apostolic administrator of the diocese has resided outside of the country. In 2003, the lay volunteer nurse Annalena Tonelli was shot and killed in Somaliland, was then the turn of Sister Leonella Sgorbati, who died - as the Pope recalled January 7, 2007 - “asking forgiveness for her killers.” These are only three names, to say that the Catholic Church is present and suffers with people of Somalia, but by now the countless innocent victims are countless, even among other Christian denominations, because of fundamentalist hate, and among the civilian population because of the armed struggle between political and ethnic factions. For twenty years the country has been without leadership, rampant piracy pervades its coasts is, many aid workers have had to abandon their commitments because of the violence and threats they are subjected to. . .
… One trick about writing for the Internet is remembering how little most of your readers give a f*ck about anything. At all times, they are a second away from every other site on the Internet, 75 percent of which have boobies. So don’t try entertaining them with one side of a pedantic argument. Make your case, in all your own words, slap on a picture of some twins riding a Slip n’ Slide and get out of the way…
And, yes, I doctored the profanity in there, but check it out.
. . . You’d wait to smile until the customer, also known as the patient, took the lead. If the customer’s expression suggested terror, grief, pain or fury, you would not smile: That would not be understood as an empathic response. In fact, it would be seen as a reaction somewhere between inappropriate and insane.
The photos I’ve posted are of our Secretary of State, who two days ago was in Turkey to discuss, among other things, strategic cooperation on terrorism. This was in the wake of a devastating attack that claimed the lives of 13 Turkish conscripts.
I’m looking at those photos and I know that what our highest public ambassador thinks she’s conveying is, “friendship, unwavering solidarity, support, strength and optimism.”
And I also know that many Turks, looking at this, will feel, even if they can’t quite say why, “Americans are phony and they don’t care about us. I don’t trust them.” They’ll feel this no matter what she actually says, because the facial expression will look so odd to them.
I don’t have a solution or even a recommendation. I’m just noticing.
It was an argument that would result in not only the ratification of the Constitution but also of what that Constitution would become—and the finished document was a testimonial to the contributions of the “victorious” Federalist side and the “losing” Anti-Federalists as well.
Why were the nation’s planners so divided? What were the concerns that caused so many passionate defenders of American independence to take such different views? And why are the answers so important to us today?
In addressing these issues—including fervently presented renditions of the great debate’s most illustrious writings and speeches—Professor Pangle brilliantly revives “the great controversy out of which our Constitution was born, so that we ourselves can begin to re-enact, in some degree, the debates and thus the choices—and, more importantly, the arguments for the choices—that were made by the founding generation.”
In an era when contemporary arguments on the national stage so often mirror the same conflicts debated by the Founders, our own reenactment of that original debate can enrich our ability to be active and participating citizens.
But we’re now over two years into the presidency of Barack Obama and I think it’s time to retire this particular meme.
Of course, the media doesn’t play fair—it never has and it never will. Part of Media Criticism 101 that every schoolchild should be taught is that everyone, and I mean everyone, comes to an event with their own worldview, and that worldview affects how they perceive and react to the event. There is an objective Truth—we just each see a very small part of it at any one time (and some of us miss it completely).
So, how to handle the frustration when you see the mainstream media once again glossing over something President Obama is supporting, something they pilloried former President Bush for? Remember, the meme is the message. Moderates and conservatives should want the message to be forceful, straight-forward, and effective, not whiny, petulant, or weak.
So, no matter how hard it is, resist the urge to compare and contrast. Concentrate on facts, not feelings, and push back as hard as you can against the media machine. With “kinetic military action” if necessary.
A robber breaks into a bank safe and returns home, where he activates a device that conceals his earlier burglary, making it look like he never entered the bank in the first place. Such a “time cloak” is still a long way from reality, but researchers have now made an important first step, demonstrating a cloaking device that can hide for a fraction of a second an event that occurs at a specific point in time.
When governments want to encourage what they believe is beneficial behavior, they subsidize it. Sounds like good public policy. But there can be problems. Behavior that is beneficial for most people may not be so for everybody. And government subsidies can go too far.
Subsidies create incentives for what economists call rent-seeking behavior. Providers of supposedly beneficial goods or services try to sop up as much of the subsidy money as they can by raising prices. After all, their customers are paying with money supplied by the government.
Bubble money, as it turns out. And sooner or later bubbles burst…
“A true bubble is when something is overvalued and intensely believed,” [Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal] has said. “Education may still be the only thing people still believe in in the United States.” But the combination of rising costs and dubious quality may be undermining that belief.
For what have institutions of higher learning accomplished with their vast increases in revenues? The answer in all too many cases is administrative bloat.
Take the California State University system, the second tier in that state’s public higher education. Between 1975 and 2008 the number of faculty rose by 3 percent, to 12,019 positions. During those same years the number of administrators rose 221 percent, to 12,183. That’s right: There are more administrators than teachers at Cal State now.
… Ever since Franklin D. Roosevelt linked “freedom from want” to “freedom of speech” and “freedom of worship,” the left has been talking of everything that it thinks would be nice to have in terms of an utter and absolute right: a right to a job and a right to an income, a right to retire in comfort in Florida, a right to the most advanced health care without paying much for it, and a right to have your children taken care of while you work all day at your job. The problem is that these are all goods and services, though of varying importance, and goods and rights are not the same things. People tend to concur upon rights (except for the speech rights of those who oppose them), and they do not depend upon others to supply and pay for their rights. With goods, there is always a political argument: about the value of the good, who is to get it and who is to pay. And all this comes down to the question of “fairness,” about which there is no end of disputation and grief.
And on nothing does the rights/goods division loom larger than on the issue of health care. Rights come from nature, and cost no one money, but good health in nature is rare…
Even as the whole western world seemed to run out of money, the Obama administration decided it was high time for a massive expansion of government benefits. Then, in early May 2010, just after the American left passed its huge and hugely unpopular health care reform bill, the republic of Greece hit a wall.
From that day on, the world and the country would be given a series of lessons in the dangers inherent in treating a good as a right…
What the fine print reveals beyond disputation is that health care is a good, not a right; that goods involve trade-offs, and that the trade-offs are high: higher costs and less choice for those covered already, rationing inflicted by government bureaucrats, interference by bureaucrats in medical doings, doctors threatening to leave the profession, less incentive (and money) to develop new treatments and drugs. They still want what they wanted before, but not at the cost of the harm it will wreak on the system in general. They vote their concerns, and 1994 and 2010 turned out very badly for Democrats. Stunned, Democrats fall back on their noble intentions, and say their opponents are mean.
They aren’t mean, of course, merely weighing their options, and finding that the costs to be paid by all of the people outweigh the gains made by the few. It would be mean indeed if standards declined, hospitals closed, cancer patients had to wait months for surgery, or if life-saving treatments stopped being developed. It would be mean indeed if the burdens of welfare brought down the economy. And nothing would be meaner than if Medicare remained unreformed and ran out of money, or if Social Security also ran out of money, because trimming benefits, raising the age of retirement, or imposing a means test is “mean.”…
Everywhere you go, people want to talk about your children. Why you shouldn’t have had them, how you could have prevented them, and why they would never do what you have done. They want to make sure you know that you won’t be smiling anymore when they are teenagers. All this at the grocery store, in line, while your children listen.
The truth is that years ago, before this generation of mothers was even born, our society decided where children rank in the list of important things. When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into law…
When we reach the age of two, we start to have a few questions about our bodies. At first they’re simple. ‘Will that toy fit into the wet hole in the middle of my face?’ But as we mature, the questions become more complex and too numerous for any reasonable human being to answer. It’s no coincidence that around this time, your parents ship you off to school where someone is payed [sic] to give you answers…
“We need to come together” goes out the cry from (almost) every side. “We’re too extreme; there’s too much partisanship” continues the lament, on everything from whether or not to increase the debt ceiling to which side to support on same-sex marriage to what is the most appropriate parenting style.
But what did we expect?
In the interest of increasing “productivity,” we have bit by byte reduced our access to extemporaneous and serendipitous discovery and have found ourselves in a state of constant hyper-fragmentation. From the ability to narrowly search for a specific piece of content to apps that direct us towards “like” products (if you like this type of song, you might also like this particular song), we are being constantly channeled into like tunnels of similarity. This channeling fragments us into product groups for marketing purposes and may even make us more efficient at work, but misdirects and suppresses our basic human curiosity…