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February 11, 2013

Sorry Conclusions, Solutions that are worse than the problem...

I couldn't disagree more with Cal Thomas's conclusion:

"Given the way some criminal lawyers have "gamed" the U.S. court system to free hardened criminals, the president might be justified in this approach, but the larger question of how much authority he should be allowed to have in these circumstances and whether U.S. citizenship alone should be enough to guarantee due process when there is substantial evidence someone is involved in plots to kill other Americans, is a subject worthy of congressional consideration." (Cal Thomas: A Double Standard on Drones) Read more »

February 10, 2013

Evisceration of Rove a la Mark Levin

This is the best evisceration of Rove I've heard so far. I cannot believe Rove continues to maintain any respect or support within the Republican party. Both he and Morris need to be excommunicated. Their constant undermining of the little guy and love of cronyism says enough about their character. 

Go Levin! http://goo.gl/HuQE8

February 8, 2013

Briggs Commentary on Ebooks

Good thoughts from Matt Briggs on eBooks. Because of traveling and my penchant for taking every owned book with me - for fear that I'll have forgotten the one I wanted - has made the Kindle and eBook apps a close friend. But, there are problems:

"A used e-book suffers no shelf wear, so who would prefer to buy the new and more expensive license when a discounted used license exists? In the case of used e-book licenses, the customer receives the identical product. Publishers and e-book sellers thought these very thoughts, which is why no used e-books exist. But their conclusion is flawed. They should still allow used licenses." (E-books Will Lead to A Decrease in Reading http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=7239) Read more »

The Island Dispute Between China and Japan: The Other Side of the Story « naked capitalism

January 27, 2013

You pay (all) taxes

Wash, rinse repeat: you pay all taxes. Not the rich. Not the poor. You, the consumer. No matter what, taxes are followed by an increase in prices. Another example is in the news today:

"Some medical-device companies faced with a new tax meant to help finance the health law are hoping someone else will pick up the tab: their hospital customers."  Read more »

January 23, 2013

Painting different pictures of the same person - Media, Culture and Attitude - Leo Apotheker

I'm always fascinated by the difference in attitudes and reporting on events across the pond. When Leo Apotheker was hired by HP as CEO, I was thoroughly confused by the decision. Apotheker had little or no experience in the hardware world and HP was one of the 3 largest computer hardware manufacturers in the world. Why would a board of directors place someone so at odds with hardware (as software guys tend to be - unless you're Apple or even Samsung) as the head of a hardware company? The WSJ has a review of the ridiculous Autonomy deal and a few days later, the Frankfurt Allgemeine had a short bio/interview with Apotheker of what he's up to these days. One paints a picture of [Apotheker's] incompetence - WSJ - and the other paints a picture of [his] innocence - FAZ. Is this a PR move by HP and the WSJ to defend its actions after a relatively positive review of Apotheker in the FAZ?

WSJ link: http://goo.gl/iNYx9
FAZ link (behind paywall): http://goo.gl/emRar (sorry, I can't find a way around it and because I subscribe to the FAZ, I can read it)

January 22, 2013

January 16, 2013

How to define "takings" from the 5th Amendment - Scalia's Odd Comment

I don't post this link because I think it is a clear case of uncompensated takings by the government - Amendment V of the US Constitution: "...nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." (I don't know if it is or isn't because the details of the situation are not stated in the article.)

I am surprised, however, by Justice Scalia's quoted remarks that “The permit’s been denied. I can’t see where there’s a taking here. Nothing’s been taken.” What? His freedom and liberty to do with his property as he pleases. This basic liberty and right we were afforded over the tangible things we own are slowly eroded away by our dismissive attitude towards that fundamental right. "For the greater good..." jeez. How can such a "squishy" phrase like that not be bastardized. I wish I knew the context of Scalia's statement. A right and someone's freedom over use of an object can clearly be taken and if there is not just compensation for said takings, the government has wronged you. Read more »

January 14, 2013

Psychosis or Stupidity

Is it a psychosis or are academics getting dumber? 

Matt and his analysis strikes again. I was commenting to another friend of mine that I'm starting to wonder if we enjoy being lied to as the info-age advances (in the form of a deep seated psychosis) or if it is because people who penned or signed their name to a document used to have credibility - i.e. because you could believe something that someone actually signed their name to. Even though I encounter it time and time again, I am still surprised when I see how ideology trumps reality (i.e. truth) when people have an agenda. I would have hoped the ease at which we can show someone is lying would have led to more truth in articles and essays. Sadly, I believe it has not. Read more »

January 13, 2013

RIP Aaron Swartz

I've thought long and hard about making any commentary on the death of Aaron Swartz. There are far more famous and eloquent people to make a public commentary. I knew Aaron from his internet community recognition, but primarily from his blogging at aaronsw.com. I sparred with him a few times over political and ideological commentary and always enjoyed the fact that he responded - even if he didn't agree. He was clearly intelligent and thoughtful and he deserves to be admired for his idealism and hard work.

The opportunity I wanted to take is twofold. First, his death is a loss to the technology and activist community. Anyone who takes as stand on an issue should be so interested as Aaron in educating themselves. I stand at polar opposites to him on many issues (Keynesianism for one), but he took an intellectual approach to his beliefs and I applaud him for that. I wish more activists were willing to read and learn the way he was. Read more »

January 12, 2013

Woefully Missing the Context

In a recent group of comments I've posted to Google+ and Twitter, the common theme is context. It seems that despite a constant stream of facts to help us understand the world around us, we appear to be less and less capable of putting those facts in context of what they describe. Because of the encroachment of politics and government on every aspect of our lives, one of my favorite themes is political equality. Because I am part of a larger mechanism running businesses that employ hundreds of people, I am keenly interested in how our prosperity (as owners) effects and augments the prosperity of the people who contribute to our business (i.e. employees, contractors, vendors, middlemen, etc.). I am also disillusioned at how quickly we are want of government involvement in our lives the moment a "problem" pops up. As if the government is the best tool for solving problems. (I believe and will argue that it is the worst.) 

Since first studying economics, one fact that has always made me optimistic about free markets and their ability to help the poorest among us is this: Read more »

December 9, 2012

November 28, 2012

Defining the Middle Class - Roberts and Burkhauser

This is a very interesting commentary on the definition of prosperity and the middle class in the US. Roberts and Burkhauser discuss the way income (and the various definitions of income) is determined. After listening, it is clear that left and right tweak the rhetoric to support policies that are simply not supported by the data. The average American lives better today than he or she did in the 70s and it is clear that all groups (minorities, women, aliens) have all been positively impacted by the liberal growth in markets in the US. Some of the conversation is tedious, but very informative:

"Richard Burkhauser of Cornell University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the state of the middle class. Drawing on recently published papers, Burkhauser shows that changes in the standard of living of the middle class and other parts of the income distribution are extremely sensitive to various assumptions about how income is defined as well as whether you look at tax units or households. He shows that under one set of assumptions, there has been no change in median income, but under a different and equally reasonable set of assumptions, median income has grown 36%. Burkhauser explains how different assumptions can lead to such different results and argues that the assumptions that lead to the larger growth figure are more appropriate for capturing what has happened over the last 40 years than those that suggest stagnation." Read more »

Winners make the rules

I wonder why anyone is ever surprised when political maneuvering like this takes place:

"Then there's the so-called 'nuclear option,' which would call for just a simple majority, or 51 votes, to change Senate rules. Changing the rules usually requires two-thirds of the chamber, or 67 votes. It's something Reid vehemently opposed in 2005, when Senate Republicans ruled the roost." (IBD http://goo.gl/Ol6N6) Read more »

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