Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tim Russert dies unexpectedly...Sad loss for us all

It's a sad day for journalism.

Tim Russert, longtime stalwart of Meet the Press, passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack.

Mr. Russert had just returned from Italy where he vacationed with his family.

He died at work. Fitting, since he worked so fervently to report political news.

He will be missed.

I watched his show regularly. It was often part of my Sunday ritual.

I give my deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Friday, June 13, 2008

China getting a taste of its own medicine

China is getting a taste of its own medicine with intellectual property violations.

The Washington Post tells a story of China losing money from Olympic Merchandising due to knock-offs.

How's that for irony?

China's allowed counterfeiting and pirating to go on for years, to the detriment of the U.S. Now, when they stand to make scads of cash from merchandise, they cannot because of the large counterfeit market that flourishes due to their non-enforcement of intellectual property law.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Marine thrown out of Corp for tossing puppy off cliff in video...Good.

The Marines did the right thing by kicking out the marine who threw a puppy off a cliff in Iraq.

CNN reports on the discipline he received.

One sign of an anti-social personality is cruelty to animals. This certainly qualifies.

This sort of behavior is inexplicable to me. How the hell do you take a puppy and throw it off a cliff and laugh about it...on video. So much for standards of decency and intelligence in the Marines.

At least they were swift and certain in their punishment. Kudos for that.


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Guantanamo Detainees have the right of Habeas Corpus.

The Washington Post reports on the ruling.

After reading what Scalia said, I'm reminded of my first boss as a new lawyer. Scalia, like my first boss, has immense knowledge and experience within the field of his chosen expertise, viz., the LAW.

Outside of his field of expertise, Scalia is a complete moron, without any sense of society and the rules by which us normal people operate.

I remain astounded when the conservative justices ignore rights spelled out in the Constitution. Twisting themselves into knots to validate their ideology and to ignore the rights in the Constitution boggles the mind.

Of course, Bush, with his history of favoring a corporativist state, hates the ruling.

Fortunately, the Court ultimately respected the rights enshrined by the founders.

I suppose the "liberal" justices were just following the original intent of the framers....

1st Amendment protects ALL speech...and with good reason.

This article shows how the U.S. differs from the rest of the industrialized world. In some things we are behind the curve, like health care.

In others, we set the standard.

Thomas Jefferson said that the most fundamental right is the right to free speech. Without the right to say what one wishes, no other right could exist.

I agree.

We may find utterly distasteful the words of some. However, to suppress hate speech because it offends our sensibilities is to drive it underground and fuel it.

I believe strongly in sunshine. The First Amendment is the best sunshine for hate speech. Get it out so we know who believes it, then we can deal directly with the issue. It's difficult to hide hate when the haters are encouraged to speak their hate in public.

Suppress speech, and we live in paranoia and ignorance. Both are a festering pathology.

Obama's backdoor plan for universal health care.

After looking at Barack Obama's Health Care plan, I've come to this conclusion:

He's planning on pushing universal coverage. He's just not calling it that.

Here's what he's proposing in a nutshell:

Expanding eligibility for Medicare. This would increase the number of people covered: that reduces the ranks of the uninsured.

Next, he wants to provide financial help for those who don't qualify for Medicare or other government provided health plans. Namely, he will increase the number of insured.

He wants to provide incentives for people to be insured.

Call it what you will, but he's pushing for universal coverage.

I think its a start. Insurance, to be effective at spreading risk, must include everyone. This is the forgotten premise behind effective insurance anyway.

People may not realize this, but when everyone is covered, it will reduce the number of bankruptcy filings dramatically. Such a reduction will be a boon for the economy as a whole.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

U.S. treats its workers the worst in the industrial world

Slate tells a sad tale of the loss of vacations in the American workplace.

The U.S. is one of the few industrial nations that doesn't have mandated vacation time.

Corporations and businesses like the arrangement because it gives them greater productivity out of their employees, but at what cost?

Loss of leisure time increases family stress, increases the rate of divorce, reduces quality time that parents spend with children.

So, when a corporate big-wig talks about supporting "the family" ask them why they don't support mandated vacation time, paid sick leave, paid maternity leave, etc.

If they don't support it, then their alleged support for "the family" is nothing but hypocrisy.

Expectations of prejudice are a self-fulfilling prophecy

Science Daily reports on an interesting study dealing with prejudice.

The results indicate that expectations of prejudice lead to actual perception of prejudice.

Specifically, if you expect others to treat you unfairly, you become more sensitized to prejudice and are thus, more likely to experience prejudice whether you are being treated unfairly or not.

Fascinating. Goes to show that one shouldn't be so quick to allege prejudice in others.

FEMA screws Katrina survivors. Who should be held responsible?

When provided with stories like this one, no one can argue that the Bush administration possesses one of the highest degrees of incompetence the world has ever seen.

When the federal agency responsible for providing help to Hurricane Katrina survivors, admits to giving away supplies meant for the locals of New Orleans to other agencies, one can only scratch the head in wonder.

How in the world can Bush sleep at night knowing that he allowed such a travesty to go on? How can anyone who supported this joke of a president ignore this story without getting angry?

It boggles the mind.

Danes not racially pure...neither is anyone else for that matter

For those of you who harbor illusions of racial purity, I give you the results of a study done in Denmark.

The scientists examined the DNA of Iron Age people buried in Denmark. Surprisingly, they found that some of them carried Arab DNA and some even carried Siberian DNA.

Now, these burials are over 2000 years old.

Apparently, people really got around in the good ole days. It also underscores that no one is really pure in the racial sense.

Race is an out-dated concept and we need to move on from it. Check out Science Daily

Balls of steel...from a liberal

Lest anyone try to get away with claiming liberals are without cojones, look at what Dennis Kucinich has done.

One time presidential contender, Kucinich, proposed articles of impeachment against Bush.

He tried this against Cheney, hoping to force the issue by getting everyone on record as to their position on it. The previous maneuver died in committee.

This one looks likely to die as well. House leaders are taking the position that it's a waste of time.

I disagree. Doing one's job should never be called a waste of time.

Personally, I don't agree with Kucinich on a lot of issues, but I have to give him his props for standing up and at least trying to do the job he was elected to do.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

ADHD adaptive in the right context

Here's a cool study from Science Daily.

Genes that code for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) has a beneficial effect on nomadic populations, but an adverse effect when those populations settle down.

So it appears that ADHD has an adaptive effect when in the appropriate environment and situation.

HUD contributed to mortgage mess

The mortgage crisis cannot be easily blamed on one particular segment. It's all too easy to find a single cause, but the reality paints a highly complex picture of responsibility.

Washington Post brings to light a federal agency's responsibility in the whole mess.

We all agree that the economy is highly complex. Likewise, we should also agree that disruptions in the economy are complex too.

The mortgage crisis probably resulted from a perfect storm: Diminished regulation, greed, homeowners striving for the American dream, etc.

Now, the American Dream will be a dream deferred.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Scooters are getting hard to find--gas prices might be to blame

Gas prices are putting a real crimp in my style of late. I'm seeing the results all around too.

In an effort to reduce my fuel consumption, I go nowhere. Lately, I've searched (in vain) for alternative transportation. The scooter market is heating up because of gas prices.

For the past year I've wanted a scooter. Just in the past month, I've noticed that used ones are hard to come by, unless you're willing to take a Chinese model off of someone's hands. These Chines scooters are nice looking, but lack a bit in the reliability and quality departments.

Scooter prices are on the rise because of greater demand. So, it's kind of a sick cycle (no pun intended...really) where the cost of an alternative to save money is rising to the point where it won't be a cost saver.

The knock-offs are coming in to exploit a demand, but are creating a higher cost in the market in the long run.

What's a boy to do?

Hillary supporters showing their "Me" generation credentials.

CNN reports on the stoking of the political flames of discontent over Clinton losing to Obama.

This is nothing more than sour grapes. Not unlike Hillary, her supporters may be operating under the delusion that their candidate was entitled to the nomination.

Rather than try to change America, they would rather bellyache and be sore losers.

Piece of advice: Get over it. Stop with the whiney-assed crap and grow up.

I didn't vote in the primary, but I've decided to join with the Democratic party in changing the country for the better.

Can Hillary supporters honestly claim to have anything but their own selfish interests involved if they vote to keep Bush policies in force by electing John McCain?

What a bunch of cry-babies.