Monday, February 28, 2011
"In response to the President’s comments, the Governor’s Press Secretary Cullen Werwie issued the following statement:
I'm sure the President knows that most federal employees do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits while our plan allows it for base pay. And I'm sure the President knows that the average federal worker pays twice as much for health insurance as what we are asking for in Wisconsin. At least I would hope he knows these facts.
Furthermore, I’m sure the President knows that we have repeatedly praised the more than 300,000 government workers who come to work every day in Wisconsin.
I’m sure that President Obama simply misunderstands the issues in Wisconsin, and isn’t acting like the union bosses in saying one thing and doing another."
"Frank W. Buckles died Sunday, sadly yet not unexpectedly at age 110, having achieved a singular feat of longevity that left him proud and a bit bemused.
In 1917 and 1918, close to 5 million Americans served in World War I, and Mr. Buckles, a cordial fellow of gentle humor, was the last known survivor. "I knew there'd be only one someday," he said a few years back. "I didn't think it would be me."
Mr. Buckles, a widower, died on his West Virginia farm, said his daughter, Susannah Buckles Flanagan, who had been caring for him there."
Sunday, February 27, 2011
"Promoters, such as David Dayen at Firedoglake, were predicting a million-person turnout nationwide. But reports as of 7:00 E.S.T. today make clear that other than in Madison, Wisconsin, the crowds were sparse.
The turnout in Madison was sizable, with estimates ranging over from 50-70,000, which included protesters bused in from other states. (Dayen is trying to pump the crowd estimate to over 100,000.) But elsewhere, the crowds numbered only in the hundreds or low thousands.
In Washington, D.C., only about 500 people showed up (go to link for good photos of crazy signs). (Note, WaPo says 1000.)
Other head counts, based on news reports, include: Boston (1000), Portsmouth, N.H. (few hundred), Augusta, ME (small crowd), New York City ("several thousand"), Chicago (1000), Miami (100), Austin (several hundred), Chicago (1000); Lansing, MI (2000), Nashville (hundreds), Los Angeles (2000), Richmond, VA (300), Denver (1000); Frankfurt, KY (several hundred), Jefferson City, MO (several hundred), Harrisburg, PA (several hundred).
While I don't have a complete count, based on these numbers from some major cities and labor states, total protesters nationwide (excluding Madison) likely totaled under 100,000 combined."
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Picture embedded below.
"Hop into this Ego Compact Semi Submarine, and without any extensive training you can be on your way to exploring the deep blue sea in no time.
Why is this called a semi-submarine? The entire boat is not submerged, but it’s more like a pontoon boat with a transparent waterproof compartment hanging from its middle."
Picture embedded below.
"Tiny-fingered researchers at the University of Michigan have created this computer, the world's first complete millimeter-scale computing system. It is a prototype designed to be implanted in a human eye, to monitor internal pressure there for signs of glaucoma."
Video embedded below.
Friday, February 25, 2011
"Seriously. The State Department has chartered a ferry to take the hundreds of waiting Americans to Malta. But rough seas have delayed the ferry’s departure until Friday.
So where is our military and why aren’t they involved in the evacuation of Americans threatened by the violence in Libya?
Well there’s actually a simple answer to that:
So far the State Department has not requested the U.S. military to assist in the evacuation of civilians from Libya, something it would specifically have to request. Several U.S. officials have confirmed to CNN there is a vigorous debate inside the administration about whether to involve the military because of concern it could cause further provocations by the Libyan regime.
Ah … fear and intimidation. Assume the worst and … do nothing. And when I say nothing, I mean “nothing”."
"The Democratic National Committee wanted to honor Nancy Pelosi Thursday -- but its praise wasn't good enough for the House minority leader.
When the DNC's Resolutions Committee brought up a resolution commemorating Pelosi's years as speaker of the House, Pelosi's daughter sought to alter the proposal at her mother's behest, adding some of the accomplishments that the elder Pelosi felt the committee had overlooked.
"I have some friendly amendments," said Christine Pelosi, a political strategist, at the committee's session during the DNC Winter Meeting at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel Thursday afternoon. She is a member of the committee.
"You think I'm kidding," Christine Pelosi added, to surprised laughter from the room. The proposed changes, she indicated, came out of a discussion with her mother."
Thursday, February 24, 2011
"That seems to be the import of the ruling by federal Judge Gladys Kessler in upholding the Obamacare mandate in a suit brought by a group of private plaintiffs in Mead v. Holder (pg. 45, emphasis mine):
As previous Commerce Clause cases have all involved physical activity, as opposed to mental activity, i.e. decision-making, there is little judicial guidance on whether the latter falls within Congress’s power....However, this Court finds the distinction, which Plaintiffs rely on heavily, to be of little significance. It is pure semantics to argue that an individual who makes a choice to forgo health insurance is not “acting,” especially given the serious economic and health-related consequences to every individual of that choice. Making a choice is an affirmative action, whether one decides to do something or not do something. They are two sides of the same coin. To pretend otherwise is to ignore reality.Our thoughts are now actions. There literally is nothing the federal government cannot regulate provided there is even a hypothetical connection to the economy, even if the connection at most is in the future."
"President Obama, in a striking legal and political shift, has determined that the Defense of Marriage Act — the 1996 law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages — is unconstitutional, and has directed the Justice Department to stop defending the law in court, the administration said Wednesday.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced the decision in a letter to members of Congress. In it, he said the administration was taking the extraordinary step of refusing to defend the law, despite having done so during Mr. Obama’s first two years in the White House.
“The president and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation” should be subjected to a strict legal test intended to block unfair discrimination, Mr. Holder wrote. As a result, he said, a crucial provision of the Defense of Marriage Act “is unconstitutional.”"
Meanwhile Obama is 'grappling with the issue'.
Video embedded below.
Is he really trying to play both sides of this issue? What is even more astonishing then that, he will probobly get away with it for most of the 'Main Stream Media'.
Over in Ace's corner;
"Remember when Bush signing statements were grounds for impeachment or something? Now Presidents get to declare laws unconstitutional and ignore them? That's the rule? Ok, the first GOP candidate who says if elected they will not enforce any ObamaCare, Davis-Bacon or other liberal legislation gets my vote.
Just a reminder you bitter clingers who voted for Obama...he doesn't support same sex marriage (wink, wink, nudge, nudge liberals)."
To be fair; he was only doing what was suggested by Congressman Mike Capuano (D) to "get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary"
They were also called bad Jews; very civil.
"What’s the most amazing thing about this episode? That Walker’s staff sent the call through to the governor without confirming that it was Koch? That the impostor managed to keep Walker talking for 20 minutes? Or that the most damning admission made during a supposed mindmeld between two giants of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy is Walker trying to trick the fugitive Democrats back to the Capitol with the promise of a meeting in order to create a quorum for a floor vote? So underwhelming was the resulting conversation that his staff actually issued a statement this morning acknowledging that it’s him on the recording and citing the audio as proof that he says the same things in private as in public. Even the choice of villain is a letdown: The Koch brothers are enjoying a vogue among lefty political activists as the billionaire Root Of All Evil, filling the same sort of niche that Soros fills on the right, but I’d guess maybe five percent of the general public knows who they are. And given that they’re supposed to be Walker’s sugar daddies yet he apparently can’t even recognize one of them over the phone, I’m not sure he has a real firm grasp on who they are either."
Video embedded below.
This protest was in Boston.
Color me unimpressed; did I miss it or did he not even both to mention Muammar Gaddafi?
This is what we waited over a week for because of scheduling difficulties?
Video embedded below.
Also, it is important to spell the country's name correctly if you are operating the Presidents Twitter feed.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Video embedded below.
"It’s probably best not to even try making sense of Beijing’s pronouncements on the 14th Dalai Lama and other Tibetan spiritual leaders: you’ll only make your head hurt. Last week the officially atheist Chinese government’s State Administration for Religious Affairs disclosed plans to enact a new law forbidding the 75-year-old Buddhist deity to be reborn anywhere but on Chinese-controlled soil, and giving final say to Chinese authorities when the time comes to identify his 15th incarnation.
That might seem to pose a dilemma, given the exiled leader’s earlier promise that he will never again be reincarnated in Tibet as long as his homeland remains under China’s heel. Still, no one seems too concerned just now about the Dalai Lama’s next life. Instead, attention has focused on an all-too-worldly fracas over the finances of the 25-year-old Tibetan-born holy man who seems most likely to assume leadership of the exile community after the current Dalai Lama’s death: the 17th Karmapa Lama.
It began in late January when a random police check found a car in northern India hauling roughly $200,000 in Indian currency. Investigators followed the trail to the Karmapa’s monastery in the Indian town of Dharamsala, where they confiscated trunkloads of cash, reportedly amounting to $1.6 million, including more than $100,000 in Chinese currency—a discovery that immediately revived old suspicions in India’s intelligence community that the Karmapa is a Chinese spy. Beijing didn’t help calm the situation when it quickly issued a denial that the Karmapa was any such thing."
The problem is that the same logic could be applied to a wide variety of fields; the logic being that you can not really guarantee you will opt out of or never participate in the health care system. How many things can you guarantee you will never participate in; not transportation, not housing/rent, not food purchasing, not garment buying... . The question that needs to be answered here is if the government can force you to purchase a product just as a condition of living here. I do not see that power given to the Federal Government in the Constitution, and safe money would be that if the courts find that power the government would extend it beyond health care.
"The perfect partisan streak in health care rulings continues, with D.C. federal district judge Gladys Kessler, a Clinton appointee, ruling the Affordable Care Act constitutional. She's the third Democratic judge to do so; two Republicans have found it unconstitutional."
"The committee vote on that was 3-2, three Republicans in the majority and two Democrats in the minority. But wait — how can Democrats vote when they’re not there? Well, apparently, telephone votes are permissible and common practice for committee sessions, just not for floor sessions. Although not every GOP committee chairman was understanding about that this time around:
And thus it came to be that a guy who fled the state to stop Republicans from voting is warning about bad headlines for the GOP if it fails to honor democracy. Perfect."
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
"Seats on one side of the Indiana House were nearly empty today as House Democrats departed the the state rather than vote on anti-union legislation.
A source tells The Indianapolis Star that Democrats are headed to Illinois, though it was possible some also might go to Kentucky. They need to go to a state with a Democratic governor to avoid being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana.
The House came into session twice this morning, with only three of the 40 Democrats present. Those were needed to make a motion, and a seconding motion, for any procedural steps Democrats would want to take to ensure Republicans don’t do anything official without quorum.
With only 58 legislators present, there was no quorum present to do business. The House needs 67 of its members to be present."
"Less than a year after it was first suggested, the world’s first antilaser is here. A team of physicists have built a contraption that, instead of flashing bright beams, utterly extinguishes specific wavelengths of light.
Conventional lasers create intense beams of light by stimulating atoms to spit out a coherent beam of light in which all the light waves march in lockstep. The crests of one wave match the crests of all the others, and troughs match up with troughs.
The antilaser does the reverse: Two perfect beams of laser light go in, and are completely absorbed.
“There will be nothing coming out again,” said experimental physicist Hui Cao of Yale University, whose research group built the new device.
The device can only absorb one wavelength of light at a time, but that wavelength can be adjusted by changing the thickness of the wafer.
Surprisingly, the antilaser switched from absorbent to reflective when the researchers changed the way the waves met in the wafer. Under certain conditions, the silicon crystal actually helped light escape.
“That is a little surprising,” Cao said. “We can turn it on and off.”
Theoretically, 99.999 percent of the light can be extinguished. Because of the physical limitations of the laser and the silicon wafer, the antilaser only absorbed 99.4 percent of the light."
Video embedded below.
Yeah, was not really that suspenseful was it...
Picture embedded below.
"Wires soldered onto coils inside the machine determine what you end up drinking. The wired coils magnetically turn the rotors within three spinning wheels, and a computer detects the resulting combination. The team programmed the machine to stop only on mixes you’d find in a bartender’s manual; just for fun, it also pays out tokens, but it yields a drink or a re-spin for a drink every time. The computer receives the result and sends ingredients and proportions for the winning drink to a microcontroller, which directs the bar unit, where pressurized containers store alcohol and mixers. The microcontroller uses solenoid valves to flow the ingredients in timed increments through a group of nozzles. An LED screen displays what’s just been served, along with witty lines inspired by Fear and Loathing. Our favorite: “As your attorney, I advise you to spin!”
Time: 320 hours
"Leaked diplomatic cables vividly show China's willingness to translate its massive holdings of US debt into political influence on issues ranging from Taiwan's sovereignty to Washington's financial policy.
China's clout -- gleaned from its nearly $900 billion stack of US debt -- has been widely commented on in the United States, but sensitive cables show just how much influence Beijing has and how keen Washington is to address its rival's concerns.
An October 2008 cable, released by WikiLeaks, showed a senior Chinese official linking questions about much-needed Chinese investment to sensitive military sales to Taiwan.
Amid the panic of Lehman Brothers' collapse and the ensuing liquidity crunch, Liu Jiahua, an official who then helped manage China's foreign reserves, was "non-committal on the possible resumption of lending."
Instead, "Liu -- citing an Internet discussion forum -- said that as in the United States, the Chinese leadership must pay close attention to public opinion in forming policies," according to the memo.
"In that regard, the recent announcement that the United States intends to sell another arms package to Taiwan increases the difficulty the Chinese government faces in explaining any supporting policies to the Chinese public."
His comments came days after the Pentagon notified Congress it was poised to sell $6.5 billion worth of arms to China's arch rival Taiwan.
The much-delayed package was eventually sold, but did not include requested F-16 jets."
Here is another clip with Walker.
Video embedded below.
"Columbia University students heckled a war hero during a town-hall meeting on whether ROTC should be allowed back on campus.
"Racist!" some students yelled at Anthony Maschek, a Columbia freshman and former Army staff sergeant awarded the Purple Heart after being shot 11 times in a firefight in northern Iraq in February 2008. Others hissed and booed the veteran.
Maschek, 28, had bravely stepped up to the mike Tuesday at the meeting to issue an impassioned challenge to fellow students on their perceptions of the military.
"It doesn't matter how you feel about the war. It doesn't matter how you feel about fighting," said Maschek. "There are bad men out there plotting to kill you."
Several students laughed and jeered the Idaho native, a 10th Mountain Division infantryman who spent two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington recovering from grievous wounds.
Maschek, who is studying economics, miraculously survived the insurgent attack in Kirkuk. In the hail of gunfire, he broke both legs and suffered wounds to his abdomen, arm and chest."
Monday, February 21, 2011
This misconception appears to be shared by both Google and Bing. Google says (bold mine); "We’ve created a U.S. Presidents Showcase to map the birthplaces of all 44 presidents". Bing says they (bold mine); "created a Visual Search Gallery highlighting the past 44 US leaders". Both either plainly say, or strongly insinuate, that the United States has had 44 Presidents. Some may say that it is only a minor error, but to get wrong the number of Presidents on a day and with a posts meant to celebrating the Presidents is pretty glaring.
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/explore-our-us-presidents-on-map.html (and, and)
"We’ve created a U.S. Presidents Showcase to map the birthplaces of all 44 presidents, and provide details about their presidential terms, using the Google Earth plug-in. You can also see the states that voted during each president’s election by clicking on the tours in the left column of the showcase.
Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious to learn more about U.S. presidents, we hope you enjoy exploring a little further using Google Earth. In addition to the U.S. Presidents map, educators can use some of our other resources in their classroom to explore more aspects of history. Here are a few ideas:"
"In celebration of President’s Day, Bing has created a Visual
Search Gallery highlighting the past 44 US leaders.
Who was the youngest president in office? Which presidents are depicted on US
currency? What were their professions prior to holding office?
Discover all of this and more in a matter of clicks. Use the left rail to
refine your search or simply click one of the tabs to sort by category.
Happy President’s Day!"
Planned Parenthood may provide other important services, but that does not mean it should get money to pay for abortions. Even if they say the funds will not be used for that purpose, money is fungible. Here is a very simple solution for them; split into two companies (or spin a company off). One company can exclusively provide abortions and have people pay for it themselves or raise money from pro-choice donors. The other company can provide all the other services and can request funds. They may still face opposition form people that feel the government can not afford to give money to the company or just on principle should not be getting involved, but the fear of tax payer money being used for abortions would be extinguished.
Video embedded below.
"Libyan warplanes were bombing indiscriminately across Tripoli on Monday, a resident of the Libyan capital told al Jazeera television in a live broadcast.
"What we are witnessing today is unimaginable. Warplanes and helicopters are indiscriminately bombing one area after another. There are many, many dead," Adel Mohamed Saleh said.
Saleh, who called himself a political activist, said the bombings had initially targeted a funeral procession.
"Our people are dying. It is the policy of scorched earth." he said. "Every 20 minutes they are bombing."
Asked if the attacks were still happening he said: "It is continuing, it is continuing. Anyone who moves, even if they are in their car they will hit you.""
"Police have opened fire on demonstrators in Djibouti, the Horn of Africa nation that hosts the only U.S. military base on the continent, according to the leader of an opposition party.
“The police are confronting demonstrators,” Mohamed Daoud Chehem, head of the Djibouti Party for Development, said by phone from the protest in the capital, Djibouti. “They have opened fire,” he said, without being able to specify if anyone was injured or what type of ammunition was used.
Chehem earlier said that as many as 20,000 people had joined the protest against President Ismail Guelleh, and that he expected numbers to swell to 50,000.
Anti-government protests across North Africa since January ousted the presidents of Egypt and Tunisia, while similar demonstrations have occurred in Algeria and Libya. In Djibouti, Guelleh’s People’s Rally for Progress party has ruled the country since independence in 1977. The 63-year-old leader, who was elected in 1999, amended the constitution in March to allow him to extend his rule by two more six-year terms."
"New details have emerged about Lara Logan’s brutal attack in Egypt, including that she was stripped, repeatedly punched and slapped and pinched so hard that sensitive parts of her body were covered in red marks, according to a new report.
Wounds on her body were consistent with being hit by the poles that demonstrators were using to fly flags, London's Sunday Times reported.
Logan, a CBS foreign correspondent, was taken to the Four Seasons hotel, treated and sedated and then flown out of the country. She's still recovering at her Washington home."
"For a second time in a week, Iran's opposition drew tens of thousands of supporters to the streets across the nation on Sunday calling for the end to the Islamic Republic's rule.
In response, the government unleashed what witnesses said was an extraordinary number of security forces to violently battle the crowds. Witnesses said mobs of anti-riot police and plainclothes Basij militia lined the streets and on several occasions fired directly into the crowd and beat protesters with steel batons. In one neighborhood, the Basij took over a commercial building and dropped tear gas canisters from the roof onto the protesters, witnesses said.
Basij militia dressed in black shot and killed two young men in Tehran's Vanak and Vali Asr squares, according to witness accounts posted on opposition websites. The victims haven't been identified. Dozens have been injured and arrested, according to witnesses.
"This was the most violent protest we've had by far, and people were also really angry and fearless," said one witness from Tehran, adding that the public seemed resolved to stay on the street.
Opposition called for a mass demonstration on Sunday to commemorate the seventh day of mourning for two slain students, Sanah Jaleh, 26 years old, and Mohamad Mokhtari, 22, who were shot dead on Monday when security forces attacked a crowd.
The opposition movement is banking on momentum created by a wave of antigovernment uprisings across the Middle East, as well as public uproar at the killing of the two students and the government's attempt to exploit their deaths by claiming falsely they supported the regime."
Video embedded below.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
"Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said he decided to adjourn the Assembly this evening because Gov. Scott Walker called minutes before lawmakers took the floor to tell him to get his caucus members and staff out of the building because their safety could no longer be assured.
There have been reports of threats against lawmakers throughout the week, and Fitzgerald was escorted out of the building by sheriff deputies."
It was violent enough that in the news reports you heard passing mentions that the Republican state senators refused to confirm if they were headed to their home or not (the addresses of which were published) fearing for their families safety.
There are tweets calling for Walker's death;
Video embedded below.
There have been arrests from what may have been attempted attacks;
"Nine people have been arrested in the third day of widespread protests at the state Capitol.
The arrests come after two days of incident-free rallies and demonstrations, as protesters have remained mostly peaceful. State officials did not immediately return calls asking for details on the nine arrests.
Police hand-cuffed one protester after he apparently tried to charge into the state Assembly.
Moments before a roll call began in the Assembly on Thursday, reporters heard a crash outside the chamber. They rushed out and saw a man on the ground. Police officers were on top of him. They handcuffed him and led him away.
A legislative aide said he saw the man rush from the line of protesters and try to charge into the chamber. The man tripped and the police captured him."
They are even going after Walker's son;
Picture embedded below.
For more be sure to check out the Top 15 Photos From the Wisconsin Hate Rallies You'll Never See in Legacy Media.
There is more violence, vitriol, hate, or just 'general unpleasantness' here then in all the Tea Party Rallies combined. The coverage however, is decidedly more positive about this.
Video embedded below.
"Chinese authorities moved quickly and with force to quash a pro-democracy 'Jasmine Revolution', believed to have been inspired by the recent uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.
More police than usual were scrambled to line the streets today, and there were a number of activists detained after online sites had organised staged protests in Beijing, Shanghai and 11 other major cities.
Citizens were urged to shout: 'We want food, we want work, we want housing, we want fairness' - a slogan that highlights common complaints among ordinary Chinese.
In Beijing and Shanghai, hundreds of people gathered today but were dispersed by police in both places.
In Beijing, people gathered in front of a restaurant in Wangfujing Street, but were ordered to leave by officers.
In Shanghai, crowds gathered around the People's Square at the same time - around 2.00 p.m."
"Security forces loyal to Libya's Moammar Gadhafi unleashed heavy gunfire Sunday on thousands marching in a rebellious eastern city, cutting down mourners trying to bury victims in a bloody cycle of violence that has killed more than 200 people in the fiercest crackdown on the uprisings in the Arab world.
Protests were even reported to have spread to downtown Tripoli and a coastal city only about 45 miles (about 70 kilometers) to the west of the capital. In Benghazi, site of the funeral clashes, pro-Gadhafi forces were chased from a presidential compound by other troops sympathetic to the anti-government demonstrators, a witness said.
Protesters throwing firebombs and stones, got on bulldozers and tried to storm a presidential compound from which troops had fired on the marchers, who included those carrying coffins of the dead from Saturday's unrest in the eastern city, a witness said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of fears of reprisal. The attempt was repulsed by armed forces in the compound, according to the witness and the official JANA news agency, which said a number of attackers and solders were killed."
"Like a stripped-down Segway, Inventist's new Solowheel is geared for the mobile urbanite. The "self-balancing electric unicycle" operates through gyroscopic technology, which a 1000-watt rechargeable lithium-ion battery powers. On a full charge (which takes about 45 minutes), the Solowheel lasts two hours—but the battery actually recaptures energy when going downhill.
Weighing only 20 pounds and consisting of little more than a simple wheel with a fold-up foot platform on either side, you can easily throw it in your backpack or briefcase once you reach your destination, or carry it by its convenient handle."
"At least 2,000 protesters gathered in a square in Morocco's capital on Sunday to demand that King Mohammed give up some of his powers and clamp down on government corruption.
Some people in the crowd were waving Tunisian and Egyptian flags, a recognition of the popular uprisings there.
Uniformed police kept their distance from the protest, in Rabat's Bab El Ahad area, though there were plain-clothes officers mingling in the crowd with notebooks.
Analysts say Morocco, with a reformist monarch who is widely respected, and a growing economy, is one of the Arab countries least likely to succumb to the wave of protests sweeping the region."
Saturday, February 19, 2011
"The House voted Thursday to dethrone nine White House “czars.”
Republicans successfully added an amendment to the continuing resolution that would leave President Barack Obama’s senior advisers on policy issues including health care, energy and others out of a job.
The vote was 249-179.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) offered the amendment that blocks funding for various policy advisers to combat what he called “a very disturbing proliferation of czars” under Obama.
“These unappointed, unaccountable people who are literally running a shadow government, heading up these little fiefdoms that nobody can really seem to identify where they are or what they’re doing,” Scalise said Thursday. “But we do know that they’re wielding vast amounts of power.”
The jobs on the chopping block: White House-appointed advisers on health care, energy and climate, green jobs, urban affairs, the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center, oversight of TARP executive compensation, diversity at the Federal Communications Commission and the auto industry manufacturing policy."
"As protests continue in Bahrain, data suggests that access to many websites has been restricted there.
Arbor Networks, a security research company that tracks Internet traffic, told The New York Times on Friday that traffic into and out of Bahrain has dropped between 10% and 20% below expected levels. Traffic normally only drops that low during natural disasters or global sporting events.
The graph below shows Bahrain’s Internet traffic levels this week compared to average traffic levels during the previous three weeks. The traffic this week has been significantly lower than usual. Arbor Networks told The Times that it couldn’t absolutely rule out technical difficulties as a cause for the drop, though the most likely cause was blocked websites."
"According to numerous reports around the web tonight, Internet access in Libya has been shut down.
Facebook, Twitter and other sites, including Al Jazeera’s website, have been reported as blocked for several hours already; however, in a brief bulletin in The Los Angeles Times, we read that the entire Internet has been cut off in a situation similar to that seen in Egypt just weeks ago.
UPDATE: This statement seems to be confirmed by a complete drop-off in Google search traffic originating in Libya. Thanks to Google search exec Matt Cutts for pointing out this data:"
"The Google Docs Viewer is used by millions of people every day to quickly view PDFs, Microsoft Word documents and PowerPoint presentations online. Not only is viewing files in your browser far more secure than downloading and opening them locally, but it also saves time and doesn’t clutter up your hard-drive with unwanted files.
Today we’re excited to launch support for 12 new file types:
* Microsoft Excel (.XLS and .XLSX)
* Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 / 2010 (.PPTX)
* Apple Pages (.PAGES)
* Adobe Illustrator (.AI)
* Adobe Photoshop (.PSD)
* Autodesk AutoCad (.DXF)
* Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
* PostScript (.EPS, .PS)
* TrueType (.TTF)
* XML Paper Specification (.XPS)
Not only does this round out support for the major Microsoft Office file types (we now support DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS and XLSX), but it also adds quick viewing capabilities for many of the most popular and highly-requested document and image types.
In Gmail, these types of attachments will now show a “View” link, and clicking on this link will bring up the Google Docs Viewer."
Video embedded below.
See also http://www.bermanpost.com/2011/02/us-vetoes-un-settlements-resolution.html.
Friday, February 18, 2011
"The Obama administration issued its first UN Security Council veto Friday, when U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice voted alone against a resolution declaring Israeli settlement activity to be illegal.
The 14-1 vote failed after Rice raised her hand alone to vote in opposition to the resolution, which had several dozen co-sponsors, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, Serbia, China, etc.
Rice said the U.S. vote against the resolution should not be misunderstood as U.S. support for Israeli settlement activity.
"On the contrary, we reject in the strongest possible terms the legitimacy of continued settlement activity," Rice told the Security Council after the vote. "For more than four decades, [Israeli settlement activity] has undermined security ...corroded hopes for peace and security ... it violates international commitments and threatens prospects for peace."
But, Rice said, "this resolution risks hardening the positions of both sides.""
Video embedded below.
"To this day, I have yet to hear a coherent explanation of why “ObamaCare” is any more or less derogatory than “Bush tax cuts” or “Reaganomics.” Yes, granted, the term’s typically used by the law’s critics, but so what? “Reaganomics” has been used by liberals to try to draw a distinction between Reagan’s policies and sound economic theory, but the term itself is perfectly polite. “CrapCare” or “BoondoggleCare” or “We’llNeverPayForThisCare” would qualify as disparaging (and true!), but “ObamaCare”? If Debbie Wasserman-Schultz seriously finds that derogatory, it’s only because the law is now such a heavy albatross politically for the left that the mere act of reminding voters of its provenance feels like a low blow."
Video embedded below.
Video embedded below.
Video embedded below. (Warning Extremely Graphic)
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Video embedded below.
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"In Wisconsin, where unions are lashing out at Gov. Scott Walker’s push to eliminate most collective bargaining, nearly 800 Madison East High School students protested at the state capitol yesterday. Turns out some of them may have been a little foggy on just what exactly they were trying to achieve."
"Libya is bracing itself for a “day of anger” as the wave of popular unrest that swept away the Tunisian and Egyptian presidents spreads to the oil-exporting north African country ruled by Muammer Gaddafi since 1969.
Inspired by the revolts in the region, Libyan activists have been calling on Facebook for mass rallies on Thursday to mark the deaths in February 2006 of a dozen demonstrators during a protest against the Danish illustrator who drew images of the prophet Mohamed.
But it provoked an immediate reaction from the families late on Tuesday. They held a demonstration that turned into clashes with pro-Gaddafi supporters and, according to local media, left 14 people injured.
The unrest in Libya, which has Africa’s largest proved oil reserves, comes as protesters in Bahrain stepped up demands for constitutional change after occupying the Pearl roundabout in Manama, the capital."
"CBS and other sources said Tuesday that the network’s chief foreign correspondent, Lara Logan was repeatedly sexually assaulted by thugs yelling, “Jew! Jew!” in Egypt, according to the New York Post.
Logan sustained beatings and sexual assaults as she covered the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from Cairo’s main square Friday."
"In case you missed it, Watson won again tonight. He even got the Final Jeopardy question correct this time, a multi-layered reference to Bram Stroker that he bet $10k on. His final score over the two rounds ended up at $77,147 (Watson has this thing for betting strange amounts that usually end in a 7), while Ken Jennings got $24,000 and Brad Rutter did $21,600 -- both humans saving a bit of face after last round's stunning defeat. Watson will be giving his $1,000,000 winnings to charity.
So, a few things:
1. We're totally surprised, in a larger theoretical sense, that a computer could win at Jeopardy.
2. We're totally not surprised that Watson, the system built by IBM over the past few years at the expense of millions of dollars, actually succeeded at winning at Jeopardy.
3. Computers have better reflexes than humans, as it turns out.
4. Deal with it.
If you can't tell, we're having a little trouble processing all the emotions brought on by a Jeopardy win from IBM's Watson supercomputer. It's obvious that IBM's DeepQA research program has developed some of the most sophisticated natural language AI known to man. At the same time, Jeopardy questions aren't really that hard. As evidenced by watching these Watson-dominated matches, all three contestants knew the answer most of the time, but Watson was just quicker on the draw. Of course, it's no surprise that computers have quicker reflexes (even with the "handicap" of having to mechanically press the same style of clicker as Meatbag 001 and Meatbag 002), so why shouldn't Watson get to use his inbuilt advantage to the utmost? It seems like a fair fight to us."
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
"On Friday, Feb. 11, the day Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, CBS chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan was covering the jubilation in Tahrir Square for a "60 Minutes" story when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration. It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy.
In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers. She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently in the hospital recovering."
"Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed on Tuesday to invest $25 million for developers to build tools that will let online dissidents get around “thugs, hackers and censors.” It’s her attempt at giving teeth to the so-called “Internet Freedom Agenda” that she unveiled last year.
In a speech at D.C.’s George Washington University — one full of glowing references to the Egyptian revolution — Clinton pledged to take a “venture capital approach” to funding tools that allow online activists, dissidents and ordinary citizens to circumvent internet censorship in repressive countries. If that means setting up proxy sites for online dissidents or employing tools like those of the U.S. military to get bandwidth into denied areas, Clinton declined to say, arguing that there’s “no silver bullet” against internet repression.
Since “there’s no app for that,” Clinton said the U.S. would instead work with technical and policy experts to develop a “portfolio of technology, tools and training” for getting around firewalls. As repressive governments adapt their techniques at blocking connectivity, so too will U.S. measures to help “digital activists… adapt to the challenges they face.” Whether $25 million — a pittance, really, in the massive federal budget — will really help is another matter.
Before the year’s end, Clinton said, the Obama administration will release an “international strategy for cyberspace,” outlining in greater detail the rules of the online road that the U.S. wants to see in place."
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
"Thousands of protesters took over a main square in Bahrain's capital Tuesday — carting in tents and raising banners — in a bold attempt to copy Egypt's uprising and force high-level changes in one of Washington's key allies in the Gulf.
The move by demonstrators capped two days of clashes across the tiny island kingdom that left at least two people dead, parliament in limbo by an opposition boycott and the king making a rare address on national television to offer condolences for the bloodshed.
Security forces — apparently under orders to hold back — watched from the sidelines as protesters chanted slogans mocking the nation's ruling sheiks and called for sweeping political reforms and an end to monarchy's grip on key decisions and government posts."
"Thousands of people marching for the ouster of Yemen's U.S.-allied president clashed Tuesday with police and government supporters, and at least three demonstrators were injured in a fifth straight day of Egypt-inspired protests.
Police tried to disperse the demonstrators using tear gas and batons, but about 3,000 protesters defiantly continued their march from Sanaa University toward the city center, chanting slogans against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, including "Down with the president's thugs!"
The procession gained momentum with hundreds of students and rights activists joining along the way."
"President Obama‘s budget, released Monday, was conceived as a blueprint for future spending, but it also paints the bleakest picture yet of the current fiscal year, which is on track for a record federal deficit and will see the government’s overall debt surpass the size of the total U.S. economy.
Mr. Obama‘s budget projects that 2011 will see the biggest one-year debt jump in history, or nearly $2 trillion, to reach $15.476 trillion by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. That would be 102.6 percent of GDP - the first time since World War II that dubious figure has been reached.
And the budget projects the government will run a deficit of $1.645 trillion this year, topping 2009’s previous record by more than $230 billion. By contrast, 2007’s deficit was just $160 billion altogether."
Monday, February 14, 2011
Video embedded below.
"The Obama administration published its budget for Fiscal Year 2012 today, and headlines are full of references to the "cuts" it contains. But memories tend to be short, and I thought it would be interesting to compare the administration's 2012 budget to the first one it prepared, for FY 2010. The 2010 budget had projections for the following ten years, including, of course, a projected budget for FY 2012. So how does the administration's actual 2012 budget compare to the 2012 budget that it forecasted when it first took office?
In its 2010 budget, the Obama administration projected that in FY 2012, total federal outlays would add up to $3,662,000,000,000. In its actual FY 2012 budget, the administration is asking for total outlays of $3,729,000,000,000. That's right: the Obama administration has responded to skyrocketing deficits and heightened concern about federal debt by increasing the amount it is requesting for next year, compared to its projections of just two years ago, by $67 billion. Only in Washington is this a "cut."
Moreover, in its 2010 budget, the Obama administration projected that in FY 2012, it would run a deficit of $581 billion, or 3.5% of GDP. Now, the administration tells us that its FY 2012 budget will run a deficit of $1.1 trillion, or 7% of GDP, nearly double what it had projected. The press expects us to take seriously the claim that Obama's budget "would cut deficits by $1.1 trillion over the next decade." But it doubles the FY 2012 deficit, compared to its own projection of just two years ago. Why on earth should we take seriously the administration's new, revised projections for the next decade, grim as they are?"
Here is the Press Briefing.
Video embedded below.
"Crowds of demonstrators battled security forces armed with tear gas and batons during a surprisingly large anti-government protest in the Iranian capital Monday that drew inspiration from the recent popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
Dodging clouds of tear gas fired by police and pro-government militiamen, the protesters marched down a central boulevard and shouted slogans such as "Death to the dictator," "We are all together" and "Down with Taliban, in Cairo and Tehran."
Witnesses at several positions along the route said vast throngs of people could be seen marching from Enghelab (Revolution) Square toward Azadi (Freedom) Square, overwhelming police efforts to stop them.
Dozens of protesters were arrested for participating in the banned rally, an opposition Web site reported. A similar demonstration, clashes and arrests were reported in the central Iranian city of Isfahan."
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/more-i-dos-less-to-dos-wedding-planning.html (and) (and)
"For many, your wedding day is one of the biggest, most momentous days of your life. The perfect dress, the right tuxedo, the proper shade of blue, the three-tier cake with chocolate fondant, and all of your closest family and friends—these are just a few of the many things you might think about for your special day. Although there’s much to consider and a lot of work to do, the payoff is great: it’s one of the happiest days of your life.
To help you plan this important day we’ve created wedding-specific templates in Google Sites, Google Docs and Picnik, and gathered tips and tricks for using these and other Google products at google.com/weddings. From wedding websites to save-the-date cards, these tools simplify wedding planning, letting you focus your time on the fun things—like tasting cakes!"