Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Youtube video of the California earthquake

"This was the most video-recorded earthquake ever" reports the commentator in this youtube video:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Barack Obama, citizen of the world.

I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen - a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

- Barack Obama in Berlin, July 24, 2008
More here. Video here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Outsourcing American ingenuity

Are inventive Americans about to become innovation-slaves? The NY Times reports that some companies outsource problem-solving on the Internet:

Dwayne Spradlin, president and chief executive of InnoCentive, said in an interview that the company had solved 250 challenges, for prizes typically in the $10,000 to $25,000 range. According to the Web site (http://www.innocentive.com/), the achievements include a compound for skin tanning, a method of preventing snack chip breakage and a mini-extruder in brick-making.
Defenders of globalization in the US point to the country's lead in innovation. But what if global companies realize they can outsource problem-solving?

On the other hand, more often than not the real challenge is identifying the right problem to solve in the first place. In my experience, few big organizations have a clue as to what problems they really should be solving.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mainstream media video



This video answers to the question posed by the title to the previous post. I have been in the US for a few weeks now, and I can confirm the mainstream media really is that bad (still).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What's wrong with the United States

Today Al Gore gave a major speech on energy.* Meredith thought she would jot down her reactions as Gore speak live on CNN. Meredith blogs:
- borrowing money from china to buy oil from middle east. that has to change.
- [. . .] bold, new strategy to empower America: 100% of energy electricity and renewable and carbon-free sources within 10 years.
- Has he been talking with Boone Pickens? I hope so.
- Wind, solar, etc. getting cheaper and cheaper.

Dammit, CNN cut him off and now I’m watching McCain at a Kansas City Town Hall meeting talking about dependency on foreign oil and alternative energy resources and nuclear power. [ . . . ] Wow, CNN - this is sooooo much more important than a new energy initiative proposed by a former presidential candidate. Morons.
Meredith said it.
___
* Read a transcript of the speech.
Photo by Jotman shows fireworks on the Fourth of July, 2008.

17 July 2008 energy speech by Al Gore

For the full text of the speech click here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Obama New Yorker cover

Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post said Sunday on his CNN media show “Reliable Sources” that the cover is arguably “incendiary.”

“I talked to the editor of The New Yorker, David Remnick, who tells me this is a satire, that they are making fun of all the rumors,” Kurtz added.

Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune defended it as “quite within the normal realms of journalism,” adding that “it's just lampooning all the crazy ignorance out there.”

The panelists agreed it would succeed in its goal of getting attention.
Politico

Exxon Valdez settlement myth debunked

. . . Supreme Court Justice David Souter wrote that Exxon's recklessness was ''profitless'' - so the company shouldn't have to pay punitive damages. Profitless, Mr. Souter? Exxon and its oil shipping partners saved billions - BILLIONS - by operating for sixteen years without the oil spill safety equipment they promised, in writing, under oath and by contract.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Police state watch

"Any citizen of this United States who is not involved in some illegal activity has nothing to fear."

"There is nothing to fear in the [new FISA] bill, unless you have Al Qaeda on your speed dial."*

____
* Marty Lederman blogs, "It's simply not true . . . The new statute permits the NSA to intercept phone calls and e-mails between the U.S. and a foreign location, without making any showing to a court and without judicial oversight, whether or not the communication has anything to do with al Qaeda -- indeed, even if there is no evidence that the communication has anything to do with terrorism, or any threat to national security." (H/t Glenn Greenwald).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The case for tough international sanctions against Iran

Senator John Kerry made the case for sanctions.


More background concerning Kerry's statement here (my other blog).

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Is Obama misleading his supporters?

Obama, a constitutional lawyer, has declared he will not vote against a new FISA bill that grants the US president new unchecked powers to spy on US citizens. Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional law expert, is not persuaded by Obama's reasoning.

Barack Obama:
. . an independent monitor must watch the watchers to prevent abuses and to protect the civil liberties of the American people. This compromise law assures that the FISA court has that responsibility.

Glenn Greenwald (responding to above claim):

This is just false. The new FISA bill that Obama supports vests new categories of warrantless eavesdropping powers in the President (.pdf), and allows the Government, for the first time, to tap physically into U.S. telecommunications networks inside our country with no individual warrant requirement. To claim that this new bill creates "an independent monitor [to] watch the watchers to prevent abuses and to protect the civil liberties of the American people" is truly misleading, since the new FISA bill actually does the opposite -- it frees the Government from exactly that monitoring in all sorts of broad categories.
Daniel Larison, a conservative blogger observes: "Obama supports giving the government and this administration the unchecked power to spy on anyone they choose to spy on. That’s pretty inspiring, isn’t it?"*

*h/t: Greenwald

The Washington Post defends its advertisers

From an editorial published in The Washington Post on Wednesday:
The telecommunications companies complied with a government request after being assured, in writing, that the activities had been authorized by the president and deemed lawful by the attorney general. Punishing them by forcing them to endure the cost and hassle of lawsuits would be counter- productive to securing such cooperation in the future, while offering little prospect of a useful outcome.
Greg Greenwald, who has blogged the FISA controversy extensively, comments:

. . . with this new FISA bill, our political establishment is doing what it now habitually does: namely, ensuring that the political and corporate elite who break our laws on purpose are immune from consequences. . . .

This history of the telecoms -- faring no better in court than the President has -- gives the lie to Fred Hiatt's deeply (and typically) dishonest Washington Post Editorial today -- by way of praising Obama's FISA stance -- that telecom immunity is a good idea because "The likelihood of prevailing -- or even getting very far -- with such lawsuits is low." The exact opposite is true: it's precisely because the telecoms know they are in severe danger of losing in court -- because they broke multiple laws -- that they and the White House are so desperate for amnesty.

Incidentally, the section of the The Washington Post where the editorial defending the telecommunications industry appeared came wrapped in a full page color advertisement for Sprint, and an entire section of the paper was named after AT&T! (above photo) Moreover, the only two-page color advertisement appearing in the front section of the current issue is for T-mobile. At today's Washington Post it certainly appears as if securing advertiser revenue comes before the defense of the public interest.
SPECIAL COVERAGE I live-blogged the spontaneous Obama victory celebration in Washington DC. Experience what it felt like to be among thousands of deliriously happy people gathered outside the White House. Click here.

Previously, I had been blogging about the Obama, McCain and the US election. I wrote about Sarah Palin on this blog even before McCain chose her to be his running mate. The choice was disappointing, and a possibility I had anticipated.

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