Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I don't care what my electric bill is. I haven't worked my entire life so that my living room can look like a Soviet Bloc stairwell during a James Bond fight scene

I've been hording the incandescent bulbs any chance I get.

Will The Light Bulb Ban Inspire a Conversion?

By Luminus Maximus
Why is the incandescent light bulb ban such a lightning rod for Tea Party-inspired remorse from big government Republicans? Simple: it's a liberty-stealing assault on our privacy and common sense, outrageously expensive, and doesn't solve any of the problems it's intended to fix. That's only for starters. The most egregious feature is that the ban makes fools of the American people who willingly succumb to such nonsense from Washington, D.C.

Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), campaigning to advance his chances in ascending the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, now says he'd open hearings to reconsider the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs.

His first witness should be Dennis Miller, who quipped on his radio show about dreaded CFLs, the most ballyhooed replacement for incandescents: "I don't care what my electric bill is. I haven't worked my entire life so that my living room can look like a Soviet Bloc stairwell during a James Bond fight scene." A good line for Miller to express humorously what most people are thinking.

And it would be a good move for Upton to seek some conservative creds, given the testosterone of by his rival Joe Barton (R-TX). Maneuvering to keep his top spot for the Republicans on Energy &Commerce, it was Barton, knowing how to push all of the red buttons, who in October introduced a bill to repeal the light bulb ban in its entirety. 

Barton, vilified for sympathizing with BP during the Gulf oil spill fiasco and too much the smoke bomb launcher for the likes of the wine-and-brie cocktail circuit Republicans, knows that the silly light bulb ban is Exhibit A for government crotch-sniffing stupidity of the TSA airport screening variety. The nanny state runneth over, making light bulbs a ripe target for Tea Partiers.

Upton, a favorite with so-called bipartisan moderates showing too many sympathies with the global warming crowd, having been an outspoken friend of CFLs and an enthusiastic co-sponsor of the incandescent phase out in 2007, has been badly torched by right-sided true believers.

But Upton is no dummy  He and the other Republicans-who-too-often-behave-like-Democrats now know that they are on probation, realizing that those who remain co-conspirators in government overreach will be driven into the political wilderness in 2012.

While late to the party, Upton finally figured out that the incandescent ban is the perfect symbol  for the Tea Party victors on Nov. 2, showing how government busybodies and central planners have imposed another idiotic, costly, and unwarranted strip-mining of consumer choice. This time, it's justified by dubious energy savings while ignoring economic hardships to be borne by incandescent factory workers and fixed-income seniors. And shall I mention once again the environmental hazards of those dreaded CFL alternatives?

The ban's defenders still insist that it would reduce the need for up to thirty coal-fired electric power plants, according to Noah Horowitz, spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council in a recent letter to the Wall Street Journal. This might be true if household lighting were used during peak hours. But it's not. Household lighting is used primarily in the early morning and evening hours, when electric power demand is nearly at its lowest. While energy-efficient lighting may reduce homeowners' operating costs, falling  kwh demand in off-peak hours will simply depress electric utility revenues, leaving  power plant operations and costs unchanged, provoking the utilities to file for rate increases to keep their revenues even and profits whole. How's that for unintended consequences? Who will win the Nobel prize  in economics for that?

How many coal fired power plants have been shut down due to energy efficiency demand reductions from CFLs that have already captured 25% of the incandescent market? Can you name one? How many proposed shutdowns due to additional energy efficiency from a billion more CFLs have been filed for PUC approvals? Can you name one? I didn't think so. Neither could Joe Barton, and now Fred Upton is scratching his head.

Should we wonder why electric utilities have been silent about the incandescent ban but now actually favor power-hogging electric vehicles? Electric utility operators aren't dopes, either.

Apart from the headache-inducing lousy color and slow warm-up and poor dimming options, CFLs are hand-held toxic mercury bombs -- and now a billion of them have infiltrated sockets all across the country. Would you rather have mercury trapped in  power plant scrubbers or tossed in the household curbside trash barrels when the CFLs burn out -- usually long before the end of their advertised lifespans? Where are the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Sierra Club when we really need them?

While LEDs don't share the same hazmat component as CFLs, who can afford these luxury candles anyhow? For brightness levels far less than a 60-watt incandescent, consumers are expected to pay not 29 cents, but 29 dollars for an LED light bulb. Whoa! For 30 million unemployed Americans and 75 million seniors on fixed incomes, this is just another economic kneecapping delivered by the geniuses inside the Beltway.

The light bulb ban, for all of its absurdities -- including the job creation and economic boon to China, where all of the incandescent replacements are produced -- is almost as witless as the low-flow flush toilet mandates. The last time I flew from the Upper Midwest to the East Coast, the Great Lakes still looked full. And while the rising sea levels and more abundant tropical rainstorms from global warming give us more water than a trillion flushes, tell me again the purpose of low flow-toilets that don't work. Maybe Upton can reopen hearings on why multiple flushes are more of a necessity than a courtesy.

Unlike members of Congress who may have passed the bar exam but flunked Econ 101 and forgot how to read, regular everyday Americans know that the light bulb ban doesn't pass the Everyman uncommon sense test.

Fred Upton has yet to prove he's undergoing a born-again religious conversion towards more limited government, restoring private property rights, and supporting free-market choices for the people. At least he's purporting to begin his own journey of redemption. That journey just might be accompanied by a revival in uncommon sense. If just another political pander, though, it will be lights out for Upton and the remaining unrepentant big-government Republicans.

Luminus Maximus is the pen name of a longtime lighting industry observer.
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Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled Iran's Nuclear Weapons Ambitions

You might find this interesting...

Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled Iran's Nuclear Weapons Ambitions

By Ed Barnes

Published November 26, 2010


In the 20th century, this would have been a job for James Bond.

The mission: Infiltrate the highly advanced, securely guarded enemy headquarters where scientists in the clutches of an evil master are secretly building a weapon that can destroy the world. Then render that weapon harmless and escape undetected.

But in the 21st century, Bond doesn't get the call. Instead, the job is handled by a suave and very sophisticated secret computer worm, a jumble of code called Stuxnet, which in the last year has not only crippled Iran's nuclear program but has caused a major rethinking of computer security around the globe.

Intelligence agencies, computer security companies and the nuclear industry have been trying to analyze the worm since it was discovered in June by a Belarus-based company that was doing business in Iran. And what they've all found, says Sean McGurk, the Homeland Security Department's acting director of national cyber security and communications integration, is a "game changer."

The construction of the worm was so advanced, it was "like the arrival of an F-35 into a World War I battlefield," says Ralph Langner, the computer expert who was the first to sound the alarm about Stuxnet. Others have called it the first "weaponized" computer virus.

Simply put, Stuxnet is an incredibly advanced, undetectable computer worm that took years to construct and was designed to jump from computer to computer until it found the specific, protected control system that it aimed to destroy: Iran's nuclear enrichment program.

The target was seemingly impenetrable; for security reasons, it lay several stories underground and was not connected to the World Wide Web. And that meant Stuxnet had to act as sort of a computer cruise missile: As it made its passage through a set of unconnected computers, it had to grow and adapt to security measures and other changes until it reached one that could bring it into the nuclear facility.

When it ultimately found its target, it would have to secretly manipulate it until it was so compromised it ceased normal functions.

And finally, after the job was done, the worm would have to destroy itself without leaving a trace.

That is what we are learning happened at Iran's nuclear facilities -- both at Natanz, which houses the centrifuge arrays used for processing uranium into nuclear fuel, and, to a lesser extent, at Bushehr, Iran's nuclear power plant.

At Natanz, for almost 17 months, Stuxnet quietly worked its way into the system and targeted a specific component -- the frequency converters made by the German equipment manufacturer Siemens that regulated the speed of the spinning centrifuges used to create nuclear fuel. The worm then took control of the speed at which the centrifuges spun, making them turn so fast in a quick burst that they would be damaged but not destroyed. And at the same time, the worm masked that change in speed from being discovered at the centrifuges' control panel.

At Bushehr, meanwhile, a second secret set of codes, which Langner called "digital warheads," targeted the Russian-built power plant's massive steam turbine.

Here's how it worked, according to experts who have examined the worm:

--The nuclear facility in Iran runs an "air gap" security system, meaning it has no connections to the Web, making it secure from outside penetration. Stuxnet was designed and sent into the area around Iran's Natanz nuclear power plant -- just how may never be known -- to infect a number of computers on the assumption that someone working in the plant would take work home on a flash drive, acquire the worm and then bring it back to the plant.

--Once the worm was inside the plant, the next step was to get the computer system there to trust it and allow it into the system. That was accomplished because the worm contained a "digital certificate" stolen from JMicron, a large company in an industrial park in Taiwan. (When the worm was later discovered it quickly replaced the original digital certificate with another certificate, also stolen from another company, Realtek, a few doors down in the same industrial park in Taiwan.)

--Once allowed entry, the worm contained four "Zero Day" elements in its first target, the Windows 7 operating system that controlled the overall operation of the plant. Zero Day elements are rare and extremely valuable vulnerabilities in a computer system that can be exploited only once. Two of the vulnerabilities were known, but the other two had never been discovered. Experts say no hacker would waste Zero Days in that manner.

--After penetrating the Windows 7 operating system, the code then targeted the "frequency converters" that ran the centrifuges. To do that it used specifications from the manufacturers of the converters. One was Vacon, a Finnish Company, and the other Fararo Paya, an Iranian company. What surprises experts at this step is that the Iranian company was so secret that not even the IAEA knew about it.

--The worm also knew that the complex control system that ran the centrifuges was built by Siemens, the German manufacturer, and -- remarkably -- how that system worked as well and how to mask its activities from it.

--Masking itself from the plant's security and other systems, the worm then ordered the centrifuges to rotate extremely fast, and then to slow down precipitously. This damaged the converter, the centrifuges and the bearings, and it corrupted the uranium in the tubes. It also left Iranian nuclear engineers wondering what was wrong, as computer checks showed no malfunctions in the operating system.

Estimates are that this went on for more than a year, leaving the Iranian program in chaos. And as it did, the worm grew and adapted throughout the system. As new worms entered the system, they would meet and adapt and become increasingly sophisticated.

During this time the worms reported back to two servers that had to be run by intelligence agencies, one in Denmark and one in Malaysia. The servers monitored the worms and were shut down once the worm had infiltrated Natanz. Efforts to find those servers since then have yielded no results.

This went on until June of last year, when a Belarusan company working on the Iranian power plant in Beshehr discovered it in one of its machines. It quickly put out a notice on a Web network monitored by computer security experts around the world. Ordinarily these experts would immediately begin tracing the worm and dissecting it, looking for clues about its origin and other details.

But that didn't happen, because within minutes all the alert sites came under attack and were inoperative for 24 hours.

"I had to use e-mail to send notices but I couldn't reach everyone. Whoever made the worm had a full day to eliminate all traces of the worm that might lead us them," Eric Byres, a computer security expert who has examined the Stuxnet. "No hacker could have done that."

Experts, including inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, say that, despite Iran's claims to the contrary, the worm was successful in its goal: causing confusion among Iran's nuclear engineers and disabling their nuclear program.

Because of the secrecy surrounding the Iranian program, no one can be certain of the full extent of the damage. But sources inside Iran and elsewhere say that the Iranian centrifuge program has been operating far below its capacity and that the uranium enrichment program had "stagnated" during the time the worm penetrated the underground facility. Only 4,000 of the 9,000 centrifuges Iran was known to have were put into use. Some suspect that is because of the critical need to replace ones that were damaged.

And the limited number of those in use dwindled to an estimated 3,700 as problems engulfed their operation. IAEA inspectors say the sabotage better explains the slowness of the program, which they had earlier attributed to poor equipment manufacturing and management problems. As Iranians struggled with the setbacks, they began searching for signs of sabotage. From inside Iran there have been unconfirmed reports that the head of the plant was fired shortly after the worm wended its way into the system and began creating technical problems, and that some scientists who were suspected of espionage disappeared or were executed. And counter intelligence agents began monitoring all communications between scientists at the site, creating a climate of fear and paranoia.

Iran has adamantly stated that its nuclear program has not been hit by the bug. But in doing so it has backhandedly confirmed that its nuclear facilities were compromised. When Hamid Alipour, head of the nation's Information Technology Company, announced in September that 30,000 Iranian computers had been hit by the worm but the nuclear facilities were safe, he added that among those hit were the personal computers of the scientists at the nuclear facilities. Experts say that Natanz and Bushehr could not have escaped the worm if it was in their engineers' computers.

"We brought it into our lab to study it and even with precautions it spread everywhere at incredible speed," Byres said.

"The worm was designed not to destroy the plants but to make them ineffective. By changing the rotation speeds, the bearings quickly wear out and the equipment has to be replaced and repaired. The speed changes also impact the quality of the uranium processed in the centrifuges creating technical problems that make the plant ineffective," he explained.

In other words the worm was designed to allow the Iranian program to continue but never succeed, and never to know why.

One additional impact that can be attributed to the worm, according to David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Studies, is that "the lives of the scientists working in the facility have become a living hell because of counter-intelligence agents brought into the plant" to battle the breach. Ironically, even after its discovery, the worm has succeeded in slowing down Iran's reputed effort to build an atomic weapon. And Langer says that the efforts by the Iranians to cleanse Stuxnet from their system "will probably take another year to complete," and during that time the plant will not be able to function anywhere normally.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/11/26/secret-agent-crippled-irans-nuclear-ambitions/#ixzz16mg2gcnO

Fictional NYT headline: Shock, Outrage as State Department outed by WikiLeaks

Doug Ross gets it right. He calls it ironic, but I say it's total hypocrisy.
The media, like the N.Y. Times, are not outraged by this WikiLeaks, like they were with the outing of Valerie Plame.
Please, leftist media, spare me. Really, who the heck is Valerie Plame, and who the heck cares.
But these leaks are monumental when compared to that.

I guess I won't hold my breath until I see a headline like this:

Shock, Outrage as State Department outed by WikiLeaks

Where's Scooter Libby When You Need Him?

Runner-up headline: Shock, Outrage as Analyst Valerie Plame Outed by WikiLeaks

Does anyone else find it hysterically ironic that the "progressive" left vilified Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and finally Scooter Libby for years even after it was discovered they didn't actually out super-spy Valerie Plame?

And yet when it comes to the most massive disclosure of truly sensitive, classified information in history -- which endangers America in an infinite variety of ways (such as: which allies will be so foolish as to trust the Clinton State Department again?) -- the Statists can't seem to find much to criticize the despicable crackpot leaker and Julian Asshatter for (my spelling could be off).

The instrument has not been invented that is sensitive enough to measure the Left's intellectual honesty.

By the way, did they ever make that Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame movie? I was so looking forward to seeing it.

Rumor Confirmed: Obama Traded Missile Shield for Russian Help With Iran That Never Appeared

Rumor Confirmed: Obama Traded Missile Shield for Russian Help With Iran That Never Appeared

I can't wait until we get a Republican back in the White House so that we'll star the Missile Shield program back up again - Star Wars!

It's funny about that WikiLeaks thing. Why hasn't the White House shut down that domain name (web page)?
They can you know. They shut down a whole bunch of sites yesterday, purportedly because of sales fraud.
I suspect that Obama wants these leaks to happen, it doesn't hurt him, and does embarrass Hillary.

On the Hypocrisy front, why did the N.Y Times publish the WikiLeaks info, but not the Climate Gate scandal?

After the Freeze: Real Reforms Toward Fair Federal Pay

I agree with the Heritage Foundation. Performance based pay is the way to go, that's the way it's done in the private sector, and that's the only way to 'afford' the high cost of big government. When we all realize that 'Federal employees earn between 30 percent and 40 percent more than equivalently skilled private-sector workers', we see why most people in this country are fed up with big government -- it's not government itself, but it's inability to work they way the private sector works - efficiently.

This is key: 'If Congress reduced this federal pay to market rates this would save taxpayers about $47 Billion a year'

After the Freeze: Real Reforms Toward Fair Federal Pay

President Barack Obama announced today that he will ask Congress to freeze federal worker pay for the next two years saving $5 billion through 2012. Good for him. This is a welcome acknowledgment on two fronts: 1) that, as Heritage research has definitively shown, federal workers are paid more than their private sector counterparts even after accounting for skills and education; and 2) that our federal budget deficits are driven by a spending, not a revenue, problem.

But while President Obama should be congratulated for this small step toward fiscal sanity, a federal pay freeze is not enough and far more than $5 billion could be saved be reforming federal worker pay. Heritage Foundation Senior Labor Analyst James Sherk writes:

Federal employees earn between 30 percent and 40 percent more than equivalently skilled private-sector workers. This represents costly forced sacrifices by lower-earning American taxpayers. … [M]ost federal compensation is not a contractual obligation and Congress can reduce it in those positions which are overcompensated. If Congress reduced this federal pay to market rates this would save taxpayers about $47 billion a year— more than eliminating the entire Department of Commerce, Department of the Interior, or Department of Energy. It would be enough to fully offset the cost of patching the alternative minimum tax in 2012.

Instead of just a pay freeze, Sherk recommends:

  • Abolish the General Schedule and implement performance-based pay. Congress should replace the General Schedule with pay-for-performance systems tied to market compensation. The Office of Personnel Management should set broad pay bands for each occupation and region of the country with managerial discretion to award raises for good performance, subject to budget limitations. OPM should adjust these pay bands up or down based on qualified applicant-to-position ratios and quit rates. This would align federal pay with market rates while allowing high-performing federal workers to earn what their skills merit.
  • Hire More Private Contractors. Many jobs performed by federal employees are not inherently governmental tasks and can be performed by private-sector workers. However, federal regulations deter government agencies from hiring private contractors for this work. Congress should eliminate these regulations and instead require the federal bureaucracy to compete on cost and quality with private-sector workers to perform non-inherently governmental tasks. This would expose federal employees to the same market competition that private-sector workers face each day. This competitive pressure would force federal agencies to reduce compensation to market rates in order to keep work in-house. To the extent that more work was contracted out, it would also create more jobs for private-sector workers.
  • Reduce Federal Benefits. Congress should reduce the generosity of its benefits to market rates. Paid leave should be reduced to comparable levels at private corporations. Congress should re-examine the utility of the existing defined-benefit plans and consider moving federal workers to a fully portable and funded 401(k)-style system instead.
  • End Dismissal Restrictions. Federal workers who have passed their probationary period can only be fired with great difficulty. As a result, some federal workers slack off knowing they will not lose their jobs. Congress should allow government managers the same discretion to remove poor performers as that of private managers.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

My fellow Americans in all 57 states, the time has changed for come. With our country founded more than 20 centuries ago, we have much to celebrate – from the FBI's 100 days to the reforms that bring greater inefficiencies to our health care system. We know that countries like Europe are willing to stand with us in our fight to halt the rise of privacy, and Israel is a strong friend of Israel's. And let's face it, everybody knows that it makes no sense that you send a kid to the emergency room for a treatable illness like asthma and they end up taking up a hospital bed. It costs, when, if you, they just gave, you gave them treatment early, and they got some treatment, and ah, a breathalyzer, or an inhalator. I mean, not a breathalyzer, ah, I don't know what the term is in Austrian for that…

Of course, the paragraph above is based on a series of misstatements and verbal gaffes made by Barack Obama (I didn't have enough time to do one for Joe Biden). YouTube links are provided just in case you doubt the accuracy of these all too human slips-of-the-tongue. If you can't remember hearing about them, that's because for the most part the media didn't consider them newsworthy. I have no complaint about that. Everybody makes the occasional verbal gaffe – even news anchors.

Obviously, I would have been even more impressed if the media showed some consistency on this issue. Unfortunately, it seems they couldn't resist the temptation to turn a simple one word slip-of-the-tongue of mine into a major political headline. The one word slip occurred yesterday during one of my seven back-to-back interviews wherein I was privileged to speak to the American public about the important, world-changing issues before us.

If the media had bothered to actually listen to all of my remarks on Glenn Beck's radio show, they would have noticed that I refer to South Korea as our ally throughout, that I corrected myself seconds after my slip-of-the-tongue, and that I made it abundantly clear that pressure should be put on China to restrict energy exports to the North Korean regime. The media could even have done due diligence and checked my previous statements on the subject, which have always been consistent, and in fact even ahead of the curve. But why let the facts get in the way of a good story? (And for that matter, why not just make up stories out of thin air – like the totally false hard news story which has run for three days now reporting that I lobbied the producers of "Dancing with the Stars" to cast a former Senate candidate on their show. That lie is further clear proof that the media completely makes things up without doing even rudimentary fact-checking.)

"Hope springs eternal" as the poet says. Let's hope that perhaps, just maybe, they might get it right next time. When we the people are effective in holding America's free press accountable for responsible and truthful reporting, then we shall all have even more to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

- Sarah Palin

The Democrat Party Is So Stupid that It Doesn't Understand Governor Palin Was Mocking Obama's Many Gaffes

Germany cut spending and is now doing better

Germany took the opposite approach to the economic crisis, cutting spending rather than implementing government stimulus programs.  Here's how Germany is doing now.

Portland saved from Islamist terror plot in spite of itself

Portland saved from Islamist terror plot in spite of itself

So while the TSA screens old ladies, 4 year olds, and nuns, amongst the entire population,
the FBI did its job the right way, by profiling.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Real Story of Thanksgiving - in Bradford's own words

'"The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years...that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God,'"   - Bradford

"For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without [being paid] that was thought injustice.'" - Bradford

When they switched to property ownership...
"This had very good success," wrote Bradford, "for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been."

The Real Story of Thanksgiving

On August 1, 1620, the Mayflower set sail. It carried a total of 102 passengers, including forty Pilgrims led by William Bradford. On the journey, Bradford set up an agreement, a contract, that established just and equal laws for all members of the new community, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Where did the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact come from? From the Bible. The Pilgrims were a people completely steeped in the lessons of the Old and New Testaments. They looked to the ancient Israelites for their example. And, because of the biblical precedents set forth in Scripture, they never doubted that their experiment would work.

Now, you know the usual story of Thanksgiving: They landed. They had no clue where they were, no idea how to feed themselves. The Indians came out, showed 'em how to pop popcorn, fed 'em turkey, saved 'em basically -- and then white European settlers after that basically wiped out the Indian population. It's a horrible example. Not only is that not true, here is the part that's been omitted from what is still today taught as the traditional Thanksgiving story in many schools.

The original contract the Pilgrims had entered into with their merchant-sponsors in London called for everything they produced to go into a common store, when they got here, and each member of the community was entitled to one common share. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belong to the community as well.

They were going to distribute it equally. All of the land they cleared and the houses they built belonged to the community as well. ... [William] Bradford, who had become the new governor of the colony, recognized that this form of collectivism was as costly and destructive to the Pilgrims as that first harsh winter, which had taken so many lives. He decided to take bold action. Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family to work and manage, thus turning loose the power of the marketplace. ... Long before Karl Marx was even born, the Pilgrims had discovered and experimented with what could only be described as socialism, and it had failed miserably because when everyone put things in the common store, some people didn't have to put things in. People that didn't produce anything were taking things out, and it caused resentment just as it does today. So Bradford had to change it.

What Bradford and his community found was that the most creative and industrious people had no incentive to work any harder than anyone else, unless they could utilize the power of personal motivation! But while most of the rest of the world has been experimenting with socialism for well over a hundred years – trying to refine it, perfect it, and re-invent it – the Pilgrims decided early on to scrap it permanently. What Bradford wrote about this social experiment should be in every schoolchild's history lesson. If it were, we might prevent much needless suffering, that happens today and will happen in the future.

'"The experience that we had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years...that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God,'" - Bradford wrote.

"For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without [being paid] that was thought injustice.'"... The Pilgrims found that people could not be expected to do their best work without incentive. So what did Bradford's community try next? They unharnessed the power of good old free enterprise by invoking the undergirding capitalistic principle of private property. Every family was assigned its own plot of land to work and permitted to market its own crops and products. And what was the result?

Here's what Bradford wrote, the governor of the Massachusetts colony. "This had very good success,"wrote Bradford, "for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been."  Bradford doesn't sound like much of a Clintonite, does he? or an Obamaite, if I can update it.   Is it possible that supply-side economics could have existed before the 1980s? ... Anyway, the pilgrims found  In no time, the Pilgrims found they had more food than they could eat themselves. ... So they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians. The profits allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London. And the success and prosperity of the Plymouth settlement attracted more Europeans and began what came to be known as the 'Great Puritan Migration.'

Very few people have heard this story or have had it taught to them -- and the "thanks" was to God for showing them the way. In later parts of the chapter, I quote John Adams and George Washington on their reminisces and their thoughts on the first Thanksgiving and the notion it was thanks to God. It was an entirely different story than is being taught in the schools. It's been muddied down, watered down all these years -- and now it's been hijacked by the multicultural community -- to the point that the story of Thanksgiving is the Pilgrims were a bunch of incompetents and were saved only by the goodness of the Indians, who then were wiped out. And that's what kids are being taught today -- cause, of course, you can't mention the Bible in school, and that's fundamental to the real story of Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Senate panel approves domain name seizure bill

This is really bad news for free speech.
Anyone who knows anything about how TCP/IP and DNS work, knows this can be abused by the executive branch.

The sentiment is not universal: Since its introduction in September, COICA has alarmed engineers and civil liberties groups, who say that it could balkanize the Internet, jeopardize free speech rights, and endanger even some legitimate Web sites. Its wording says that any domain name "dedicated to infringing activities" could find itself in the U.S. Department of Justice's prosecutorial crosshairs.

Update 11:30 a.m. PT: I received an e-mail from Gigi Sohn of Public Knowledge, which the RIAA said was "protecting online thieves" by opposing the bill. Sohn said: "And they are willing to throw free speech, International cooperation, due process, and the proper functioning of the Internet in the trash in the hope of shutting down a few bad actors. Their goal could be accomplished in a way that doesn't have those consequences, but the media conglomerates aren't interested."

Senate panel approves domain name seizure bill

A controversial proposal allowing the government to pull the plug on Web sites accused of aiding piracy is closer to becoming a federal law.

After a flurry of last-minute lobbying from representatives of content providers including the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a Senate committee approved the measure today by a unanimous vote.

In the last week, support for the bill known as COICA, for Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, broadened beyond groups traditionally active in online copyright disputes to include the Newspaper Association of America, which said the legislation was needed because online piracy "undermines the investments that newspapers make in journalism." Labor unions, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, argued that American workers "have suffered significant harm due to theft of copyrighted and trademarked goods."

An ad appeared in a newspaper targeting Capitol Hill yesterday signed by groups including Major League Baseball, the NFL, Nintendo, and Viacom. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce pressed Congress to move quickly, and even Rob McKenna, Washington state attorney general, signed on to the effort.

"Those seeking to thwart this bipartisan bill are protecting online thieves and those who gain pleasure and profit from de-valuing American property," Mitch Bainwol, RIAA chairman, said after today's vote. "We congratulate Chairman Leahy and Senator Hatch for their leadership on this bill and to the Senate Judiciary Committee for its action today." (Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, and Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, are cosponsors of COICA.)

The sentiment is not universal: Since its introduction in September, COICA has alarmed engineers and civil liberties groups, who say that it could balkanize the Internet, jeopardize free speech rights, and endanger even some legitimate Web sites. Its wording says that any domain name "dedicated to infringing activities" could find itself in the U.S. Department of Justice's prosecutorial crosshairs.

Peter Eckersley, a technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote earlier this week that the bill will create a 1950-style Hollywood blacklist with the government deciding which Web sites are legitimate or not. The federal government will be forced "into the swamp of trying to decide which websites should be blacklisted and which ones shouldn't," Eckersley said. "And they're going to discover that the line between copyright infringement and free political speech can be awfully murky."

At the same time, a group of law professors wrote an open letter (PDF) to the Senate saying the law is unconstitutional under the First Amendment and "would set a dangerous precedent with potentially serious consequences for free expression and global Internet freedom."

Someone who knows the Internet Protocol address--the IP address for cnet.com, for instance, is currently still be able to connect to the Web site even if the computer that normally translates a domain name into its numeric address pretends not to know it.

If all copyright- and trademark-infringing Web sites were hosted in the United States with their Webmasters living on U.S. soil, Leahy's COICA would be mostly unnecessary. A straightforward copyright lawsuit of the sort that the RIAA and the software industry have spent years perfecting would suffice.

But that's not the case. Sites like the Russia-hosted MP3Sparks.com are accessible around the world, even though they almost certainly violate U.S. copyright law. ThePirateBay.org in Sweden has not only survived what seem like innumerable attempts to shut it down, but its operators take special pains to mock copyright lawyers who write cease-and-desist letters meant to be both earnest and threatening.

A Web site is in danger of having its domain seized (or having U.S. Internet providers encounter a sudden case of amnesia when their customers try to visit it) if it is "primarily designed" and "has no demonstrable, commercially significant purpose or use other than" offering or providing access to unauthorized copies of copyrighted works. Counterfeit trademarks--that's why Chanel, Nike, Tiffany, and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton also signed the letter--are also included.

The wording is significant. Because the phrase "providing access" appears, that would include specialty search engines including The Pirate Bay that provide links to copyrighted works, even if the actual files are available through BitTorrent elsewhere.

If COICA becomes law, domain name registries such as Verisign, which owns the rights to .com, .net, .tv, .cc, and others would find themselves under new and uncomfortable legal pressure. The .org registry has been run by the Public Interest Registry since 2003. (The law professors' letter says: "For the first time, the United States would be requiring Internet Service Providers to block speech because of its content.")

But registries for top-level domains in other countries would remain unaffected, and The Pirate Bay, perhaps as a precautionary measure, already owns thepiratebay.se. Americans interested in free (if illegal) downloads could switch to an offshore domain name service or visit The Pirate Bay's IP address at, which means that this congressional effort might accomplish less than its backers would like.

One open question: whether the lame duck Congress currently in session has time to enact COICA, which would mean votes in the House of Representatives as well. Even with this breadth of support, the odds are against it.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20023238-38.html#ixzz168XpGGsC

Naked Body Scanner’s CEO Was Obama’s Special Guest on His Trip to India


Reason enough to impeach Obama

Figures… Naked Body Scanner's CEO Was Obama's Special Guest on His Trip to India: GWP

Damn the Torpedoes: North Korea Shells South Korean Island

Damn the Torpedoes: North Korea Shells South Korean Island

Perhaps Obama can 'talk' to them...

Outrageous: Teachers union boss rakes in $428K, demands sacrifice: WashExam

Teachers union boss rakes in $428K, demands sacrifice:WashExam

It's a crime to play chess in some public places in Manhattan

Remind me never to go to New York City. Another of those bastions of human idiocy where common sense and logic never see the light of day.

Apparently there is zero crime in Manhattan .. they have to invent crimes .. seven men have been charged with the "crime" of playing chess in an area off-limits to adults unaccompanied by kids -- even though no children were there.

I can cut!

The federal government spent about three and a half trillion dollars last year.  It is the official position of the Democrat Party that not a single dime of that spending can be cut. Oh yeah?

NYT: The Pilgrims Were ... Socialists

The real story of Thanksgiving.
The pilgrims started out as socialists.
That didn't work out, many starved.

When they switched to property ownership and individual 'go it alone' enterprise, they flourished!

Why do you think the U.S. is more predisposed toward individual merit and less toward trust of government than Europe?
Because it's worked here. We know better than Europe that everyone needs incentive to work to keep a society moving.
99 weeks of unemployment is the antithesis of incentive.

NYT: The Pilgrims Were ... Socialists?

NY Jury Acquits Gitmo Terrorist -- Attorney General Eric Holder calls this a victory for the United States.

He should have been shot!

NY Jury Acquits Gitmo Terrorist -- Attorney General Eric Holder calls this a victory for the United States.