Monthly Archives: September 2011

Facing possible inquiry, OnStar drops ‘Big Brother’ plans

Facing outraged criticism, General Motors’ OnStar division has dropped its plans to track and record the personal driving information of both former and current subscribers.

Sounds good, but I wouldn’t assume this story is over. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they try again later to sneak this data grab by everyone.

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Loreena McKennitt – The Stolen Child

An evening pause: William Butler Yeats’ poem, The Stolen Child, set to song.

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breat,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal-chest.

For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
From a world more full of weeping
than he can understand.

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Democratic governor suggests the next Congressional election should be suspended

North Carolina Democratic governor Beverly Perdue suggested that the next Congressional election should be suspended.

I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover.

I wonder why she really suggests this? Could it be because the Democrats are unpopular and risk losing more seats in 2012 than they lost in 2010?

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Virtual monkeys typing Shakespeare

A computer programmer has created a legion of virtual monkeys programmed to randomly type until the works of Shakespeare are reproduced.

If the nine-letter sequence appears anywhere in one of Shakespeare’s writings, it is matched against the relevant passage in a copy of the Bard’s complete works, and is checked off the list. The monkeys, which started typing on August 21, have already completed more than five trillion of the 5.5 trillion possible nine-letter combinations, but have so far only finished one whole work.

They appear to be doing better than Congress’s attempt to balance the federal budget.

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No House Democrat will sponsor Obama’s job bill, preventing it from being introduced

Boy, does this tell us how politically weak Obama has become: No House Democrat will sponsor Obama’s job bill, preventing it from being introduced for consideration.

Correction: it turns out that a Democrat did finally introduce Obama’s jobs bill to the House, though it took until September 22, three weeks after the President’s speech first demanding that Congress “pass this bill immediately.”

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Veterans Administration Settles with Veteran’s Groups at Houston National Cemetery

A victory for freedom: The Veterans Administration has settled the lawsuit filed against it by veteran’s groups at Houston National Cemetery over the VA’s attempt to stifle prayer at funerals. The key terms of the settlement:

  • The VA will not interfere with prayers during burial services.
  • The VA will not edit or control the speeches of speakers at ceremonies or events at the cemetery containing religious messages or viewpoints and cannot ban religious words in verbal communications between the volunteers and veteran’s families.
  • The VA will not ban religious speech or words like “God” or “Jesus” in condolence cards or gifts.
  • Payment by the VA of the veterans groups’ $215,000 in legal fees.

That it took a court suit to make the First Amendment clear to the VA is beyond sad.

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Doctors rejecting the AMA over its support of Obamacare

Repeal it! Doctors in large numbers are rejecting the AMA over its support of Obamacare. More significantly,

In February, the National Physicians Survey discovered that more than three times as many doctors believed that the quality of American health care would “deteriorate” rather than “improve” under ObamaCare. Nine of ten physicians think ObamaCare will have a negative impact on their profession.

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Senate agrees to short term budget deal

The Senate has agreed to short term budget deal to fund the government through the end of the week.

Based on the above story, as well as this one, I am honestly not sure what these idiots have agreed to, or whether this Senate deal will pass the House as well. It does appear, however, that they are proposing spending more money that they don’t have.

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Petition to repeal Obamacare on White House website

Want to repeal Obamacare? Well, someone has posted a petition to repeal the law on the White House’s own website.

Essentially, the new White House petition website allows anyone to create a petition. Once it reaches 150 signers it becomes public. Once it reaches 5,000 the administration promises an official response.

What will the White House say if their own website is overwhelmed with signatories to a petition calling for the repeal of Obamacare? To find out I’ve added my name. You should to!

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Obama: “You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change.”

Obama on Sunday at a fundraiser, attacking Rick Perry: “You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change.”

Here is another example of a politician making a fool of himself. The wildfires in Texas have nothing to do with climate change. And if Obama thinks they do, he immediately shows himself to be completely ignorant of the science behind the Earth’s climate.

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EPA admits regulating CO2 is impossible; will go ahead anyway

The EPA — after admitted in court papers submitted September 16 that regulating CO2 is “impossible to administer” and “absurd” — will go ahead anyway.

Note also that the Clean Air Act did not give the EPA the power to regulate carbon dioxide.

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Faster than light?

Can neutrinos travel faster than light? After three years of gathering data, an experiment at CERN says they do, though by only a tiny amount.

[Physicist Antonio] Ereditato says that he is confident enough in the new result to make it public. The researchers claim to have measured the 730-kilometre trip between CERN and its detector to within 20 centimetres. They can measure the time of the trip to within 10 nanoseconds, and they have seen the effect in more than 16,000 events measured over the past two years. Given all this, they believe the result has a significance of six-sigma — the physicists’ way of saying it is certainly correct.

You can download and read a preprint of their paper here.

What I find intriguing about this result, other than its exciting groundbreaking possibilities, is how it illustrates sharply the contrast between normal and healthy science, and the sad and sick state of the field of climate science.
» Read more

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New York Mets – September 24, 1969

An evening pause: In 1969 the lowly New York Mets, doormats in the National League from the moment the team was created in 1962, came out of nowhere to win the pennant and the World Championship of baseball. Forty-two years ago tonight I and my friend Lloyd attended the game in which the Mets clinched first place in the National League Eastern Division. Below is video showing highlights of the game plus the final out, with the crowd pouring onto the field. Though you can’t see me, I am in that crowd, jumping for joy at this most unlikely sports miracle. There was no rioting, only happy fans chanting “We’re number one!” in exuberant disbelief.

And I still have that small piece of turf from Shea Stadium, collected on that night, proof that the unexpected and improbable is always possible.

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Muslim students found guilty of conspiring to disrupt Israeli ambassador meeting

Eleven Muslim students have been found of guilty of conspiring to disrupt a speech of the Israeli ambassador.

The defendants, who are all in their early twenties, were convicted of one count each of conspiracy and disturbing an assembly and could face jail terms of up to a year, probation or community service at sentencing.

As I’ve said previously, I think it a mistake to prosecute these students for their impolite and disgusting behavior. It only makes them martyrs, something they surely don’t deserve.

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