Saturday, February 28, 2009
Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times
After steep January cuts, more than 1 in 10 Californians is out of work. It's even worse in L.A. County.
By David Pierson
February 28, 2009
Unemployment in California shot up to its highest level in nearly 26 years in January, leaving more than 1 in 10 workers without a job."
Heh! How the Hebrews Invented Blogging | Verum Serum: "In addition to ?LHYM, we find a second, four-letter name for God, the tetragrammaton (which means “four-letters” in Greek). The four letters are yud, heh, vav, heh. Common pronunciations such as “Yahweh” or “Jehovah” miss the point. What really matters here is the remarkable fact that this name consists entirely of the Hebrews’ newly invented vowel letters, each included once, with the particularly special heh repeated.
The tetragrammaton is unique in ancient Hebrew, in that its pronunciation seems divorced from its spelling. It also seems to lack any plausible etymology, and is unattested in similar ancient languages. Now we know why. The Hebrews paid homage to the vowel letters that made it possible to spread the Word of God by using those letters to refer to God."
John on November 14, 2008
Twice as old as the great pyramids and stonehenge. From Fox News:
The elaborate temple at Gobelki Tepe in southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, is staggeringly ancient: 11,500 years old, from a time just before humans learned to farm grains and domesticate animals.
According to the German archaeologist in charge of excavations at the site, it [...]"
Netanyahu tells 'Washington Post' Hamas is 'incompatible with peace;' hopes Gazans change regime; says Syria enables Hizbullah's rearmament."
Wonkette: "There are a bunch of these on craigslist, and who knows how many of them are Democratic operatives setting traps. But! If you find yourself in a situation tonight where, ohhh let’s see, you’re having gay sex in the anus with a closeted Republican politician, then please share with firstname.lastname@example.org and we may write about it on the Internet."
By Ayano Hodouchi
It's no news when another Japanese eatery opens in Moscow - there must be as many of them as there are kiosks."
Friday, February 27, 2009
Ryanair, the Irish airline that has elevated nickeling and diming passengers to an art form, has found another way to suck money out of people's pockets — installing pay toilets on airplanes.
The CEO of the famously cheap company announced, with a straight face, that he's toying with the idea of putting pay toilets in every one of the airline's 168 Boeing 737s. The idea has pilots and passengers freaking out, the airline's flacks scrambling to contain the damage and us wondering what happens to the poor schmuck who can't break a tenner.
'What the president said during the campaign, you'll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we'll be doing here in law enforcement,' he said. 'What he said during the campaign is now American policy.'"
GDP contracted at 6.25% in last three months of 2008, preliminary figures show"
2.25.09 - People who follow a calorie-restricted diet lose weight equally well regardless of the diet’s details"
It felt like a primal whine from rich reporters. Hasn't Barack Obama considered that maybe John McCain's tax policy is the right one? Does Obama not realize that the best way to be a Democrat is preserve conservative Republican tax policy?
Why would Obama raise taxes on people making over $250,000 beginning in two years? If you tamper with trickle-down, the dramatic shift of income toward the wealthy that was the hallmark of George W. Bush's tax policy, don't you know it'll be disaster? It'll be 'class warfare!' (The first questioner: Are you worried that the 'class warfare' argument could sink the budget?)"
Laser scanning was used to plot the exact dimensions of the prints"
The data confirm the picture of economic recovery. During the past year, there was an increase of more than a third in commercial activity, and despite the signs of recession, the rise in the standard of living is continuing. True, the per capita Gross Domestic Product is still less than one-tenth of the Israeli GDP, and the prosperity is misleading since it is based on the flow of donations from abroad, which despite the attempt to direct them to productive channels, encourage wasteful consumption. But the aim of the donors is to provide political support for the Palestinian Authority and to fight Hamas by economic means."
Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Berlin Residents to Get Free Wireless Internet
Residents and visitors to Germany's capital city will soon be able to say 'Auf Wiedersehen' to Internet cafes and DSL connections. A new project by the local government aims to bring free Wi-Fi to the city's central districts. more...
* Privacy Concerns: German Towns Saying 'Nein' to Google 'Street View'"
'Less Noise than a Crab': Serious Sub Collision a 'Nuclear Nightmare'
The collision of two strategic nuclear submarines earlier this month shows that the Cold War is still being fought every day in the Atlantic -- with the world's most powerful weapons. By Clemens Höges"
|US and Syrian envoys to hold talks|
Syria's ambassador to the US is due to hold talks with a state department official in what is seen as the highest level meeting between the two countries since Barack Obama moved into the White House.
Imad Moustapha and Jeffrey Feltman, the acting assistant secretary of state for the Middle East, will discuss concerns including Syria's support for groups that Washington labels as "terrorists", the US state department said.
The two diplomats were expected to meet on Thursday.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
This was a tragic performance, as off key as Golda Meir addressing the KKK.
1. The perp walk. What wedding planner staged Jindal's walk on? Was he following marks on the floor?
2. The Racism Brag. Mr. Jindal does not seem to have gotten the message. Barack ceased being the first black President a while ago. He is the president who looks like US. Jindal seemed to be trying to place himself on an Obama stage that has been replaced with one where images of Lincoln are as or more important than those of ML King. A SAD mistake for a Southerner.
3. Is the Earth still flat? Reprican scientific denialism ain't a good thing anymore. Railing against watching volcanoes while sitting in Katrina's rubble?
4. Self Help for the wealthy? How many Americans feel they should pay for the collapse of Wall Street?
Finally, BOTH Jindal and the President talked from the platform of American Uniqueness. Whose platform was more impressive?
Those who know me also know that I believe we need two parties. The Repricans have, unfortunately, trapped themselves in a radical right wing religious bordello that is not appealing to most Americans and disgusts most people in the world. They can not win from that stage but worse, they can not contribute to OUR future while caught up in the filthy sheets of the bordello's whores.
There is a future for a second party BUT it needs to be a rational party. Schwarznegger, Whitman and Blumberg are the real future, not Jindal.
Is suicide allowed in Buddhism?
By MAIL FOREIGN SERVICE All By This Author - 25/02/2009 14:20:04"
Monday, February 23, 2009
Stephen Turo, 56, of 1138 Maple St., says he weighs about 570 pounds. At noon, the truck he was transported in was backed up to the loading dock ramp at the Old Post Office on Genesee Street."
I had speculated about this before the Richardson and the Reprican nominations.
Gary Locke is a much better choice for this than he was for governor. The guy has leadership skills only eclipsed by those of our current governor ... he really is a technocrat.
That said, Gary is quite smart and more than a bit of a technogeek. His knowledge of Chinese may serve us well in dealing with the corporatist Communist colossal party .. that is the CCCP government of China.
Unlike the previous choices, finally, Locke reminds me a lot of the nodrama Obama crew. He gets things done in a quiet and effective way .. as long as no one expects him to be public ;eader.
And, and ... Mona!!!!!
Imagine THAT TEAM ... Mona and Michelle! Awesome! They could sell drivers licenses in Saudi Arabia and hamantoshin in Iran!
A meeting of that one's cabinet spouses might outshine the cabinet itself. Steve Chu's wife is a physicist, Secty Clinton's hubbi is a former president, VP Biden's SO is a pretty significant in education, etc etc.
SJ suspects an HP-PI would work, except ....for a business model. From what I hear the Huffington Post runs on a budget that would not support the editorial and reporting staffs of the current PI. HP succeeds because it gets vast amount of free content under fair use. BUT, that content needs to be there. The dilemma, as I see it, is that we are living at the bottom of the news well. Who is going report on Ken Griffey, Microsoft? How does one generate the revenue to pay editorial writers and columnists?
It seems to me that Paul has hit the essence of why people read HP and Drudge. These two sites are unique in offering a broad portal to the news.
I read the Huf and Drudge each morning as my newspaper. I also subscribe to the NY times. Obviously the Times is a real newspaper with great reporting .. something the HP and DR lack. However, by the time I get to read the NYT, I have already seen most of what I want for the day ..including important stories in the NYT itself. Put it differently, the NYT can not compete as a news source with and aggregator who the WA Post, the London Times, Granma, Spiegel, AP, Al Jazeera, etc etc.
We could obviously use Yahoo or any other agglomeration site for the same job. What HP and Drudge add is exactly what Paul says .. a dash of personality and bias. Crosscut does not succeed in doing this on a local level for two reasons ... first, it is too effin local. Crosscut reads more like an enlarged version of the Laurelhurst Clarion than anything else. HA is better because of the leadership of David, but it lacks a news agglomeration feature. Second, I am sad to say, Bavid Brewster has chosen a crew of writers who lack the flash on .. well the flash of HA. Put Goldy and Earling, Josh and John and Paul at the head of Crosscutt and it might actually work!
Imagine further that this new PI, offered the local movers and shakers a bully pulpit to write, .. again modeled on the HP. How can Crosscut compete with a site where Greg Nickles, Ron Sims, Dino Rossi, etc know they can vent their ideas to an audience?
An entity l;ike this might be able to support a few writers. The danger would be that the New PI would lack a reporting staff. What does it cost to provide the needed local reportage?
Sunday, February 22, 2009
A Test for Europe's Common Currency: Support for Wobbly Euro Economies
Germany's Finance Ministry is currently looking into ways to help struggling euro zone member states. Its ultimate aim is to save Europe's common currency from collapse. By Christian Reiermann more..."
Saturday, February 21, 2009
FiveThirtyEight.com: Politics Done Right: "A jungle primary -- political scientists prefer the term 'nonpartisan blanket primary' -- is one in which all candidates from all parties appear together on the same primary ballot. The top two finishers, regardless of party, then advance to a run-off election, which is held at the usual date in November. (In some iterations, although not California's, this second step can be circumvented if one candidate receives an outright majority of the vote on her first try)."
I highly recommend Nate Silver's Analysis of the new WASTATE open primary system. The essence of the argument is that the open system encourages diversity among moderates of bnot parties and peripherates the extremists. He feels this may not be good because it leads to more Susan Collins and Mary Landrieus. I disagree. I think the true innovation i9n our system comes from the cross over candidates .. the blue dogs and red libruls.
By Ed Bentley
With the opening of the first liquefied natural gas, or LNG, plant on Sakhalin Island in Russia's Far East, Gazprom is staking a bigger claim to world energy dominance - and signaling a shift toward conquering key Asian markets."
Friday, February 20, 2009
In the rest of the world getting into a top college is much more competitive than its here, Admission by ability and effort is a sort of rationing but it makes a hell of a lot more sense than rationing by how rich is Daddy.
Unlike athletic scholarships, that are plentiful, academic scholarships are rare in our system, Moreover, academic awards are almost always means tested. Even Merit Finalists only get a few hundred dollars if their parents are middle class!
So, WADR to a conservative like David Goldstein, it seems to me that we should address this issue by a much more efficient use of our tiered system of schools. Here is the SJ plan:
1, Nationalize the Merit awards and provide enough funds so we can support the best students. Testing should be improved to allow rating community achievements, background vs achievement, athletic achievement as well as numerical scores. This would help ensure diversity.
2. Make the elite schools “public” unless they are willing to forego federal funding. This would entail their agreeing to accept Merit awards as FULL payment for residential tuition.
3. Focus the top state schools, the “research universities” on serving a smaller set of students who can benefit from this"
Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.
An amazing portion of the American economy has been devoted to capital with no intrinsic ability to produce goods. Capital gains became an end unto itself. Productive companies like Microsoft and Google reached capitalizations that could never be justified by any possible level of real income. Housing prices rose so far beyond any rational ability of most folks to buy homes that leveraged devices .. eg ARMS and mortgaged backed securities were invented to keep the capital accretion going.
This is not merely the old thought that money only makes sense if it is backed by producing hard goods. Productivity could mean movies or books or software or services ... anything but leverage. I would like to see a chart of the investment of different countries in non-monetary production over the last thirty years. I would bet a beer that the USA would come out way below Germany, Sweden, Canada, China, ..even Cuba.
Even if the leveraged economy made sense for some people, there is a challenge to our national existence. A leveraged economy is as portable as the internet itself.What is American about a Wall Street Bank when the world's productive wealth is held by China?
The challenge facing all of us, is whether we can change enough to rebuild the infrastructure needed for Americans to compete with the new, flatter world?
Like Scylla and Charybdis, these two encouraged a storm of leverage and that storm has now imploded. The marjet value of stocks was based on the ever expanding source of virtual capital generated by leverage schemes. If I am correct, the market will now start to level out as we discover the depth of the downturn and then stabilize as tye real value of investments, as oposed to their speculative value, takes hold.
Cross Posted at Sound Politics: Comment on Provocation of the Day
Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
It's too soon to call the economic crisis a depression, but it's not too early to learn an important lesson from the Great Depression: science is more important than ever......................
"The New Deal established a new era in government-science relations," writes Stanford University historian Eric Rauchway in an essay published Wednesday in Nature. "The 1930s brought unparalleled technological progress to the nation."'The New Deal didn't just aim at recovery. It was aimed at reforming the society,' said Rauchway. 'You ended up with a different-looking country, a country better equipped to face the 20th century.'"
Mobile DNA elements help shape human genomes
By Tina Hesman Saey
Web edition : Sunday, February 15th, 2009
font_down font_up Text Size
CHICAGO ─ Mobile pieces of DNA may have given humans a jump-start on evolution, a new study reveals."
Commander in Chief Fidel Castro received the Special Prize awarded by the Cuban National Union of Historians by virtue of his extraordinary merits as the principal protagonist and profound analyst of the events of the first half century of Revolution. A portrait of José Martí, painted by Camagueyan artist Joel Jover was presented to Abel Prieto, member of the Political Bureau and minister of culture, as a token from the historians to the leader of the Revolution. As part of the Havana Book Fair, researchers Jorge Ibarra, Rolando Rodríguez, Francisca López Civera, and Pedro Álvarez Tabío also received the National History Prize."
More and more children are heading to Germany's soup kitchens for a warm meal. But as rising unemployment pushes more families into poverty, charities are struggling to keep up with lengthening queues. By Guido Kleinhubbert more..."
An Obama spokesman said that President Obama is against the move to bring back the fairness doctrine. The fairness doctrine would force broadcasters to give viewers opposing viewpoints to controversial issues.
Many democratic senators have called for this policy to be reinstated. Radio talk show hosts generally are against it."
Obama is wrong on this one. The airwaves are a limited, government controlled resource. Unlike the Web where a true free market of ideas reigns, the air waves are controlled by a relatively few large conglomerates. Even if well intentioned, the profit motive MUST drive these conglomerates to sell whatever works, Right now, you sell more ads by folks who want to go to the Coliseum to see the lions eat the liberals than you do for the other side. The result is stultifying and certainly anything but democratic (small d).
A better answer would be to make a truly free market. Let me put it this way. The cost of this blog is mainly my time. I suspect the cost of Huffington or KOS is far below the cost of operation KOMO or KIRO. Given modern technology, the costs of transmitting radio should be pretty small, perhaps it could even be done by a publicly funded agency or a utility.
Assuming I am right, what other costs are there? Assuming some mix of music and talk, as we hear on most public stations, the cost of staffing such a station would be pretty small ... especially if we also provided some part of the time for volunteer groups. Hell, some folks ... eg restaurant associations .. would likely sponsor their own shows as an inexpensive form of advertising.
The real issue then would be supporting the creative side of broadcasting, the writers and speakers. Our current model, however, is top loaded. Most writers, like3 most actors, are paid very poorly while the few who reach prominence are paid absurdly large sums. An open broadcasting market would change that in one way. The open market would encourage .. like the web .. far more competition. Undoubtedly some stars would arise and they would end up with syndicated, remunerative jobs. Can anyone spell Larry King?
So, instead of the constitutionally dubious fairness approach, I suggest a free market approach. One way to do this is to minimize the value of federal licences and let the licensing be done locally under a law that requires a mix of programming, including local originated content. A similar law has worked in Canada to encourage the Canadian publishing industry. Here in Seattle I suspect that such a law would kill the far right talk shows and encourage a lot more creativity.
45-year-old Debbie Purdy from Bradford has been crippled by the multiple sclerosis she was diagnosed with 14 years ago. Purdy recently announced she wishes to undergo assisted suicide in Switzerland, and asked the courts to clarify the law.
Purdy is looking to protect her husband from prosecution should he come to the clinic in Switzerland and help her commit suicide. However, she found out that her husband could be sentenced to 14 years in prison for fulfilling her wish to die.
There have been 101 known UK citizens who have died at the Dignitas clinic, and no prosecutions have come from those cases. Purdy's husband could be persecuted by doing so much as purchasing train tickets or even just going with her."
This is a far more serious issue than WASTATE's new Deathe with Dignity bill. A humane society needs an rderly mechansoms for those whose suffering is no longer bearable.
TAXES and Puddy ... a challenge!
Put up or shut up my furry friend. You remind me of another elegant feline, that Hilton broad, you know Paris? A vain woman with no real idea of where her wealth comes from.
I am all to willing to agree that our government should be more efficient, yet somehow when Repricans are in power we spend more and do it by borrowing.
Whenever the right goes on one of these petulant tirades, they come up with truly silly ways to save money ... no one on the right ever says .. lets give up on our military (about 2/3 of what we really spend) or default on our debt (a good part of what is left).
Here is a great example. I listened to one of the Reprican no sayers discuss the stimulus bill (I think he called it porkulus). His target? COBRA. The trouble is that leaving folks uninsured MEANS a vast decrease in US productivity and a vast increase in our healthcare costs because we have a stupid healthcare system. Look at it this way. A visit to take a kid to a doc for an earache may cost $50. Leave that ear ache alone and meningitis will cost you a lot more!
Anyone who WANTS to live in AynRandland are, well .. less restrictive on the wealthy. Brazil, before its crash looked like that. If you really do not want to pay taxes, then tell us WHAT you do not want to pay for that will allow a significant decrease in MY taxes.
There is an Obamist, rational alternative. Hidden in the stimulus bill there is an impressive effort by Peter Orszag to force down the costs of health care. This is not an accident or a last minute bright idea. During campaign 08, the Obama side's health care plan presented exactly this option. The option is to use the governments power over Medicare to force down health care costs. This makes a vast amount of sense unless you believe, as I guess some Repricans still do, that we know have a free market in healthcare that will self regulate.
Back at my point .... this Obamist idea is pragmatic, not liberal or conservative. Patriots on the right and the left ought to be able to leave labels aside instead of waving magic anti-tax wands.
February 19, 2009 4:00 AM PST
When Charter Communications announced plans to file for Chapter 11, it was just the latest in a series of blows to the Microsoft co-founder's plan to sink money into a wired world.
By Dawn Kawamoto in News - Microsoft"
Budget to kick off health care rewrite - Ben Smith - Politico.com: "Orszag*, at 40 the youngest member of the Obama cabinet, left a profound mark on the stimulus, which focused heavily on healthcare technology, a major focus of his research. He and his deputy, Rob Nabors brokered a key, late deal on spending on school construction, a Democratic aide said.
And the bill spends more than $1 billion on Orszag’s pet cause, research on the effectiveness of medical practices, which he sees as an opening to reforming American health care through sheer analytical will. ....The push to use changes to Medicare and Medicad reimbursement rates won’t come without a fight. Critics see the call for efficiency as easier said than done, and largely a smokescreen for simply saving money for cutting federal payments to doctors and hospitals.
“Some of it will look kind of reformish,” said James Capretta, an associate director of OMB in President George W. Bush’s first term, “but they’re going to go after the provider community in a big way."
* New head of OMB, previous director of the Congressional Budget Office
Lieberman backs Netanyahu for PM; Labor, Meretz don't endorse anyone; Shas backs Netanyahu. 17:10 Haaretz.com TV
Tags: Israel News, Israel Elections"
This is very worrisome. The ruling alliance will be unstable in bad ways ... Shas and Liberman make very poor allies ... rather like the alliance the Repricans in the US made between bankers and radical religionists.
Where will this lead? It offers an opening to Hamas, the WRONG kind of opening. The people who manufacture suicide vests are quite capable of playing the holocaust card ... that is confronting Israel to force actions against Palestine. The tactic in some ways is like that of pacifists. Ghandi understood that there were real limits to the terror the Brits could endure .. not terror on the Brits but terror on the Indians. He provoked the Brits until they backed down. Hamas's take on Gandhi may be disgusting but it could work.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The Islamist Mindset 'Is Very Comfortable'
Ghaffar Hussain was once a radical Islamist with the group Hizb ut-Tahrir. Now he is part of the Quilliam Foundation, a British think tank seeking to combat extremism. He spoke with SPIEGEL ONLINE about the Islamist world view and the pleasant feeling of omniscience. more..."
Best Supporting Actress: Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (51% chance of victory)
Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler (71% chance of victory)
Best Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader (68% chance of victory)
Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire (99.7% chance of victory)
Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire (99.0% chance of victory)"
It's an ugly little open secret that Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas have constitutions that explicitly forbid atheists from holding state office. These laws are archaic and unenforceable in principle — they were all ruled unconstitutional in 1961 — but of course they're still in effect across all 50 states in practice, since public opinion makes it almost impossible for an atheist to get elected to high office."
Posted by Emily Heffter
Longtime Seattle City Councilmember Richard McIver said he doesn't plan to run for another term in office. He plans to retire, he said.
After serving on the council since 1997, he said, 'I want to go home and sit down.'"
Al Jazeera English - GENERAL - Dining with terrorists: "Dining with terrorists
In a new six part series the author and journalist Phil Rees travelled to South Asia, the Middle East and the Americas to explore the debate and meaning of the word 'terrorism'."
Syria urges better ties with US
Mr Assad says his country is a "player" in the Middle East
President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has urged the US in a newspaper interview to engage in talks with Damascus and restore full diplomatic ties.
He told the UK's Guardian newspaper the signs coming from the Obama administration had been "positive".
But he said there had not yet been a definite change of policy from the US.
Pharyngula: "This is where the 'Science has no opinion on religion' argument leads us: ...there are no activities by a god that matter, where at best people can claim that their god is aloof and unknowable, admitting in their own premises that they have no knowledge at all of him."
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
“You should not get caught up on a word [nationalisation],” he told the Financial Times in an interview. “I would argue that we cannot be ideologically a little bit pregnant. It doesn’t matter what you call it, but we can’t keep on funding these zombie banks [without gaining public control]. That’s what the Japanese did.”
Barack Obama, the president, who has tried to avoid panicking lawmakers and markets by entertaining the idea, has moved more towards what he calls the “Swedish model” – an approach backed strongly by Mr Graham. In the early 1990s Sweden nationalised its banking sector then auctioned banks having cleaned up balance sheets. “In limited circumstances the Swedish model makes sense for the US,” says Mr Graham.
Dow nears 10-year low - International Herald Tribune: "Dow nears 10-year low"
Can someone tell me what this really means?
Back during the glory days of Clinton-Bush, I wrote about inflation in the stock market, what I might have called "investment inflation."
Ordinary inflation happens when there are too many dollars chasing too few goods. These goods, however, are tangibles. If a government prints money, then all prices will and should go up.
Investment inflation is the same thing, except for two differences. The first is that there may not be any tangible goods. Many of the "vehicles" developed by the stock market are intentionally insulated from tangible goods because, supposedly, this minimizes risk. However, minimizing apparent risk results in its own kind of inflation. If I can "safely invest" my money at some reasonable return rate, then it makes sense to leverage that investment. In effect, I would argue that the entire structure of our credit market .. world wide .. was at best an unsecured risk that encouraged an inflationary increase in investment capital.
The second difference between investment inflation and ordinary inflation, is that investment inflation has little effect on day to day purchases. Investment capital can grow hugely and may even decrease the cost of living by encouraging use of capital that makes money more efficient .. eg offshoring labor even when actual labor costs at home may be less. The result is the faux good times where costs remain constant but folks seem to have more money.
So what? If I am correct, then we have seen an implosion in investments but not a decrease in the underlying value of the economy. People still need cars and food, LCD TVs and cell phones.
As we burn of the inflationary investment capital, the value of invested money should come closer to the value of capital measured by its real productivity, if we can manage this descent without harming our underlying ability to produce and consume. In other words, the market will continue to fall until it reaches a level where the direct income from stocks .. that is the combination of dividends and increase in productivity of the investment, comes closer to its unleveraged values.
For most of us this may not be a bad thing. If we avoid ordinary inflation, our wealth will simply come closer to its real value without speculation. What happens if the purchasing power of real dollars starts to fail? We have seen this before, it was called stagflation.
Monday, February 16, 2009
"The Steve project has reached a landmark: 1000 scientists named Steve have signed a testimonial to evolution. Best of all, the latest Steve is also a Darwin!"
First legal admission of country's collaboration in Nazi atrocities
As the economy in the European Union sinks deeper into recession, Brussels has proven itself to be devoid of ideas and solutions. Member states are going it alone -- and often getting in each other's way. By SPIEGEL Staff more...
ÁLVARO Colom Caballeros, president of the Republic of Guatemala, condemned the economic blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba for almost 50 years, after he arrived in Havana on Sunday night in response to an invitation by President Raúl Castro. 'The blockade continues to be unjust; it is anachronistic and it needs to end. The whole of Latin America supports that,' Colom said."
Trump Entertainment may file bankruptcy: report | Reuters: "PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc, Donald Trump's casino group, is expected to file Tuesday for bankruptcy, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Such a filing would mark the third appearance in bankruptcy court for Trump Entertainment, which most recently emerged from bankruptcy proceedings in 2005, the newspaper said."
California lawmakers fail to pass budget deal - Sacramento News - Local and Breaking Sacramento News | Sacramento Bee
By Steve Wiegand and Dan Smith
Published: Monday, Feb. 16, 2009 | Page 1A
California legislators tried and failed for a second day Sunday to close a $40 billion hole in the state's budget, still one Republican vote short of approving a package that contains $14.3 billion in tax increases."
The Republicans seem determined to lead us all into bankruptcy.
* Conyers is apparent ally of measure
As library observers expected, the Fair Copyright in Research Works bill, a controversial measure that would ban public access policies similar to those of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was reintroduced in Congress last night, after being shelved at the end of 2008.
The bill resurfaces as proponents in the Association of American Publishers’ (AAP) Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division ..............................
The only rational for this bad legislation is the "need" of publishers .. from Elsevier (a near monopoly in academic publishing, owns Nature, Cell, etc) to make money reselling government federal work in the form of journal subscriptions or reprint rights. Elsevier aside, many professional societies, like newspapers, are having a hard time making money because of the ability of the web to replace their services. This has a political effect as well, since a major function of organizations like the American Society for Cell Biology or the American Heart Association is to lobby.
The problem is that this use of copyright stifles communication amongst scientists and, perhaps worse, availability of scientific research to the general public. The system even hurts research tools used by molecular biologists to search the literature since not all publishers are willing to put their content on line.
China Allows Research Bodies to Own State-funded Patents
See previous post with letter of text suggested by the public library of science.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Germany's lower house of parliament passed the largest stimulus package in the country's post-war history on Friday. Passage through the upper house, however, is far from a sure thing. more..."
Friday, February 13, 2009
Awkward times for Obama as cabinet choices fall like flies"
The software giant is offering $250,000 to help capture the person behind a nasty computer worm known as Conficker."
Is it just me or is MS marketing becoming a shadow of Apple? Looks at these:
itunes begat zune
Apple store begat MStore
Apple adds begat (failed) MS ads
Jobs and co. are masterful marketers. MS seems better at IBM style corporate organization but does a terrible job of retail.
The issue is not just ads. The issues is products. For the non Apple infested, very few of the claims Apple makes to innovation are true. MS has pioneered many more new products. Look here:
pen computing ... Palm, HP, Compac
direct user to computer interface .. MS with Radio Shack
notebooks .. anybody but apple
Even the iPOD was not invented at Cupertino, just packaged awfully well.
So here is my question ...
Exactly what will these MS stores sell? I do not mean product, I mean image. The Apple Stores sell an experience. They are as clubby as Playboy Clubs .."Hello, I am your Apple Guru" vs, :"Hello, I am Bunnie Judy." same old, same old.
I find it hard to imagine that the MS image is as marketable as the turtle necks Jobs wears. Who wants to be Steve Balmer?
beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.
In the meantime there is another miracle .. the Neanderthaler genome! Isn't this wonderful? A BOOK with the records of who we were 300,000 years ago is at least as wonderful as the Dead Sea Scrolls. One thing worries me? Few apes are "white" and it is likely that our common ancestors were black. Howsit that the artists here chose to make the Neanderthal guy look like a Russian peasant?
Oh well back to Israel's first babe ....
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit unveiled on Tuesday 23-year-old Refaeli as a first-time cover girl, wearing a string bikini by Missoni - and the strings on the bikini bottom are being tugged south.
see the video
Thursday, February 12, 2009
The scientific community is completely committed to public access because we live off of knowing what others are doing. In contrast, megalopolistic publishers, eg Elsevier, claim to be able to copyright what we publish and then restrict who can read it based on subscriptions or sale of copy to the drug companies.
For those here who worry about drug companies, HR801 would protect them from the open scrutiny that has led to so many reforms in recent years. For those who do n to trust folks like me, this bill encourages scientists to keep their work OUT of the public domain.
I have no idea who authored this bad legislation.
The current NIH policy was hard won by Harold Varmus, the former head of the NIH. If ANYTHING we, the folks who spend your money to do research, would all like MORE free access than the current law provides. This si a bad step in the other direction.
Below is a draft of a letter the Public Library of Science (also founded by Varmus) is asking folks to send to their representatives. I recommend also sending this directly to our new President.
UW Professor of Pathology, Bioengineering, and Cardiology
aka Seattle Jew.
On behalf of *YOUR ORGANIZATION*, I strongly urge you to OPPOSE H.R. 801, "the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act," introduced to the House Judiciary Committee on February 3, 2009. This bill would amend the U.S. Copyright Code, prohibiting federal agencies from requiring as a condition of funding agreements public access to the products of the research they fund. This will significantly inhibit our ability to advance scientific discovery and to stimulate innovation in all scientific disciplines.
Most critically, H.R. 801 would reverse the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy, prohibit American taxpayers from accessing the results of the crucial biomedical research funded by their taxpayer dollars, and stifle critical advancements in life-saving research and scientific discovery.
Because of the NIH Public Access Policy, millions of Americans now have access to vital health care information from the NIH's PubMed Central database. Under the current policy, nearly 3,000 new biomedical manuscripts are deposited for public accessibility each month. H.R. 801 would prohibit the deposit of these manuscripts, seriously impeding the ability of researchers, physicians, health care professionals, and families to access and use this critical health-related information in a timely manner.
H.R. 801 affects not only the results of biomedical research produced by the NIH, but also scientific research coming from all other federal agencies. Access to critical information on energy, the environment, climate change, and hundreds of other areas that directly impact the lives and well-being of the public would be unfairly limited by this proposed legislation.
***INSERT WHY YOU SUPPORT THE NIH PUBLIC ACCESS POLICY***
The NIH and other agencies must be allowed to ensure timely, public access to the results of research funded with taxpayer dollars. Please OPPOSE H.R. 801.
Stephen M. Schwartz
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
If you're a criminal in China, you'll want to avoid its new death buses, vehicles that carry out executions while streaming live video of them, then provide some privacy for organ harvesting.
The buses, of which over 40 are currently in use, are replacing firing squads as China's preferred method of execution. The buses provide a setup for lethal injections, and the acts are carried out on streaming video so local authorities can observe and ensure that everything is done legally.
Critics say that the buses help the government secretly harvest organs to sell to the west, as there's already a doctor on hand to administer the injection and they never show the bodies between execution and cremation.
Where is the line between the ordinary American with his two cars, a boat, 2500 sq ft house in Issaquah, 42 inch plasma, and $5 a cup lattes and this greed the media see at Wall street?
How many ordinary folks are upset that the UW almost spent $6mil/ year on a football coach or that we all spent $1,000,000,000 TEAR down a usable stadium and build a two palaces that cater to them what can afford luxury boxes?
Is it greed when the prexy of the Udub clears a mil? How about when an assembly line worker in Detroit needs $60k to lve a normal life?
I fear that the greed at the top is only a symptom of a society where vastly more students choose Law or Business than choose Engineering, Writing, or Agricultural Science?
All you non Udub types out there, are you happy about the erosion of the UW as an intellectual/cultural center? Is it a good idea to replace a place where WA kids can talk with historians and economists with watered down teaching enterprises like UW Tacoma or the proposed Bellevue State CC?
Does anyone actually think the driving force behind Reaganism was altruism?
Greed and unreasonable expectation of what we can all have is as American as … Corvettes."
Here is the beginning of my post. And here is the rest of it.
Posted Fri, Feb 6, 6 a.m.
By Knute Berger
As Puget Sound sprawls, the debate continues over how to reclaim, redeem, or raze the suburbs. To rethink the burbs, you first need to recognize their virtues."
Haaretz Daily Newspaper Israel, Israeli News Source: "Wooed by Kadima and Likud, Lieberman agrees to more talks with Livni
Kadima head: Now is the time for unity; sources: Lieberman won't rule out sitting in coalition with Shas."
leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party. A broad spectrum of mainstream media sources within and without Israel label Lieberman and his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, as extreme right, far right, hard right, or radical right. They also characterize Lieberman and his party as hardline, populist, or ultra nationalist.
In late May 2004, Lieberman proposed a plan in which the populations and territories of Israeli Jews and Arabs, including some Israeli Arabs, would be "separated". According to the plan, Israeli Arab towns adjacent to Palestinian Authority areas would be transferred to Palestinian Authority, and only those Arabs who felt a connection with the State of Israel and were loyal to it would be allowed to remain. On 30 May Prime Minister Ariel Sharon condemned Lieberman's statements, stating "We regard Israeli Arabs as part of the State of Israel." On 4 June 2004, as the disputes over the up-coming disengagement plan grew more intense, Sharon dismissed Lieberman from the cabinet.
Though Lieberman's plan would not uproot Arab residents from their homes, it would revoke their Israeli citizenship and transfer their sovereignty to the Palestinian Authority. The plan has drawn sharp criticism from both Left and Right of Israeli politics; by the former for its discriminatory overtones, and by the latter for the idea of ceding parts of the Land of Israel.
According to Lieberman, "The peace process is based on three false basic assumptions; that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main cause of instability in the Middle East, that the conflict is territorial and not ideological, and that the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders will end the conflict."In November 2006, Lieberman has called for the execution of any Arab Knesset member who meets with the majority elected and terrorist organization Islamist party Hamas, which advocates Israel's destruction, saying, "World War II ended with the Nuremberg trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset]."
As usual, the media do not help much. The idea of seeking peace based on folks, on both sides, choosing the people they wish to live with is not all that bad. Would those of us with deep roots in ancestral soil, not choose to live in a non-Jewish state of Palestine? In reverse, why wouldn't some Arabs choose to live in Israel while accepting the cultural identity of its majority?
Unfortunately, the media do not provide the insight needed to tell us whiter Lieberman is a creative rationalist or a corrupt demagogue.
“In the present scenario of recession, rise in Hindutva Talibanisation and increasing joblessness, the only way out to save the country is the creation of third political alternative,” .......
“Is assaulting the hapless girls in Mangalore pub upholding country’s culture?” ........"
granma.cu -The immediate response: "Thus, sooner rather than later, Obama’s politics are losing their virginity"
Whole theses could be drawn about this cartoon and about Castro's self serving criticisms of the USA.
First and funniest ... this Uncle Sam ... you now the white guy? Funny, he doesn't look very American anymore. (Does Cuba have its own "Sam?).
Then some odd details .. the music staff sans clef. Why do music staffs have a clef? For that matter why is a 747 shown dropping bombs while its landing gear are extended.
But, funniest of all, the self righteousness of Fidel! I am hardly a detractor, but this guy has been chums with some pretty dreadful regimes himself. Why play this game? Why not help shape the clay of the new President in a better way?
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Granma International, English Edition: "Rahm Emanuel
WHAT a strange surname! It appears Spanish, easy to pronounce, but it’s not. Never in my life have I heard or read about any student or compatriot with that name, among tens of thousands. Where does it come from? I wondered. Over and over, the name came to mind of the brilliant German thinker, Immanuel Kant, who together with Aristotle and Plato, formed a trio of philosophers that have most influenced human thinking. Doubtless he was not very far, as I discovered later, from the philosophy of the man closest to the current president of the United States, Barack Obama."
Strange, rambling essay by Fidel. By the way, he uses it to falsely claim that Rahm once joined the Israeli army. Has the old rebel entered dotage?
As car factories resume production after extended New Year’s holidays, workers fear that firms may begin mass layoffs and salary cuts
Clearly the Bush heritage is anything but an American problem. Hasn't the time come for a new Breton Woods?
Any stimulus package that is limited to the US will fail for the same reason that Smoot Hawley failed. Self stimulation, economasturbation, IS a form o9f protectionism and will only result in a race to the bottom among economies.