Assorted Links 3/20/10


More on Big Pharma’s Bill

  • Word Workshop: Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing, April 15, 2010
  • Word Workshop: Writing to Persuade: Hone Your Persuasive Writing Skills, April 16, 2010
  • Media Relations for Public Affairs Professionals, May 4, 2010
  • Advanced Media Relations, May 5, 2010
  • Public Affairs and the Internet: Advanced Techniques and Strategies, May 6, 2010
  • Crisis Communications Training, May 7, 2010
  • Persuading Congress: Candid Advice for Executives – “Persuading Congress, by Joseph Gibson, is a very practical book, packed with wisdom and experience in a deceptively short and simple package.

    This book will help you understand Congress. Written from the perspective of one who has helped put a lot of bills on the president’s desk and helped stop a lot more, this book explains in everyday terms why Congress behaves as it does. Then it shows you how you can best deploy whatever resources you have to move Congress in your direction.”

  • Glengarry Glen (Cong)Ress – “Bart, let me ask you something, man to man. Are you going to spend the rest of your term getting bossed around by the old ball and chain? Or are you going to man up, and for the first time in your life let your constituency know who wears the pants in your district? Believe me Bart, once they see this beautiful new surprise entitlement, you are going to get treated to the re-election of your life.”
  • Lehman: where were the watchdogs? – “Well, it was worse than that, as Andrew Ross Sorkin writes:

    Almost two years ago to the day, a team of officials from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York quietly moved into the headquarters of Lehman Brothers. They were provided desks, phones, computers — and access to all of Lehman’s books and records. At any given moment, there were as many as a dozen government officials buzzing around Lehman’s offices.

    These officials, whose work was kept under wraps at the time, were assigned by Timothy Geithner, then president of the New York Fed, and Christopher Cox, then the S.E.C. chairman, to monitor Lehman in light of the near collapse of Bear Stearns. Similar teams from the S.E.C. and the Fed moved into the offices of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and others.

  • Scott and Scurvy – “Now, I had been taught in school that scurvy had been conquered in 1747, when the Scottish physician James Lind proved in one of the first controlled medical experiments that citrus fruits were an effective cure for the disease. From that point on, we were told, the Royal Navy had required a daily dose of lime juice to be mixed in with sailors’ grog, and scurvy ceased to be a problem on long ocean voyages.

    But here was a Royal Navy surgeon in 1911 apparently ignorant of what caused the disease, or how to cure it. Somehow a highly-trained group of scientists at the start of the 20th century knew less about scurvy than the average sea captain in Napoleonic times. Scott left a base abundantly stocked with fresh meat, fruits, apples, and lime juice, and headed out on the ice for five months with no protection against scurvy, all the while confident he was not at risk. What happened?
    . . .
    But the villain here is just good old human ignorance, that master of disguise. We tend to think that knowledge, once acquired, is something permanent. Instead, even holding on to it requires constant, careful effort.”

  • 27% of Americans haven’t saved anything for retirement – “And more than half have less than $25,000 saved up. Only a third have $50,000 or more in savings — retirement or otherwise. Considering that a nest egg of almost a million dollars is what’s really required to retire comfortably and with confidence that it won’t run out, we have a nation in serious savings trouble.”
  • 4 Child Vloggers Who Make Us Fear For Their Future
  • After 13 years, police still hunting for the East Coast Rapist – “He lurks at gas stations and pay phones and bus stops, blending in so well that people don’t notice him at first. He has a smooth, deep voice. He is black, he smokes and he is right-handed. He is in his early to mid-30s, is fit, stands about 6 feet tall, likes wearing camouflage clothes and black hats, and once had a badly chipped tooth.”
  • eBanking Victim? Take a Number. – “I am now hearing from multiple companies each week that have suffered tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollar losses from a single virus infection (last week I spoke with people from four different companies that had been victimized over the past two months alone). In each of these dramas, the plot line is roughly the same: Attackers planted malicious software on the victim’s PC to steal the company’s online banking credentials, and then used those credentials to siphon massive amounts of money from the targeted accounts. The twists to the stories come in how the crooks evade security technologies, how the banks react, and whether the customers are left holding the (empty) bag.

    In most cases I’ve followed, the banks will do what they can to reverse the fraudulent transactions. But beyond that, the bank’s liability generally ends, because — unlike consumers — businesses do not have the same protection against fraud that consumers enjoy. Indeed, most companies that get hit with this type of fraud quickly figure out that their banks are under no legal obligation to reimburse them.”

  • Health care reform in Washington meets the Chicago Way – “Not even three or four pipes full of Hopium could have convinced me that the Congress of the United States would ever start looking like the Chicago City Council.

    But now, with the Chicago Way White House twisting arms for its federal health care legislation, Democrats in Congress and Chicago aldermen are beginning to share a remarkable resemblance.

    They’re starting to look like fall guys.
    . . .
    Things are looking more Chicago in Washington all the time.

    In Chicago, the mayor gets what he wants, and the mayor’s friends get what they want. And the aldermen? They get the ridicule and the blame.

    If the president gets what he desires — a health care victory — then Congress will pay for it in the midterm elections in November, and they know it.

    The proof is in that latest congressional trick announced on Tuesday, a ploy so weaselly that it could have been hatched by Chicago politicians.

    House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland is now talking about allowing his members to pass the president’s health care package — whatever’s in it exactly, no one really knows — without a direct up-or-down vote on the current bill.

    ‘It’s consistent with the rules,’ Hoyer was quoted as saying on Tuesday. ‘It’s consistent with former practice.’

    Consistent with the rules? Perhaps, but it sure isn’t what President Barack Obama promised when he was talking like a reformer.
    . . .
    So get those Hopium pipes ready. It might look like Washington. But after a few puffs, it’ll start looking more Chicago every day.”

  • Would “Deem & Pass” Survive Judicial Review? – “Politico reports that quite a few constitutional experts, in addition to Stanford’s Michael McConnell and Yale’s Jack Balkin, believe the so-called ‘Slaughter Solution’ (aka ‘Deem and Pass’) could present a thorny constitutional question. McConnell thinks it’s clearly unconstitutional; Balkin believes its constitutionality depends on its final form. To McConnell and Balkin, Politico adds GW’s Alan Morrison and Public Citizen’s Alison Zieve:”
  • States’ Rights Is Rallying Cry for Lawmakers – “Alabama, Tennessee and Washington are considering bills or constitutional amendments that would assert local police powers to be supreme over the federal authority, according to the Tenth Amendment Center, a research and advocacy group based in Los Angeles. And Utah, again not to be outdone, passed a bill last week that says federal law enforcement authority, even on federal lands, can be limited by the state.

    ‘There’s a tsunami of interest in states’ rights and resistance to an overbearing federal government; that’s what all these measures indicate,’ said Gary Marbut, the president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, which led the drive last year for one of the first ‘firearms freedoms,’ laws like the ones signed last week in South Dakota and Wyoming.
    . . .
    ‘Everything we’ve tried to keep the federal government confined to rational limits has been a failure, an utter, unrelenting failure — so why not try something else?’ said Thomas E. Woods Jr., a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a nonprofit group in Auburn, Ala., that researches what it calls ‘the scholarship of liberty.’

    Mr. Woods, who has a Ph.D. in history, and has written widely on states’ rights and nullification — the argument that says states can sometimes trump or disregard federal law — said he was not sure where the dots between states’ rights and politics connected. But he and others say that whatever it is, something politically powerful is brewing under the statehouse domes. ”

  • Capitol Hill cops decry bullying staff members – “U.S. Capitol Police officers say they need more backing from their leaders to stop congressional staffers who insist on bypassing metal detectors when entering the Capitol with lawmakers.

    Several officers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Hill that without a written directive of the policy, they’re left to face bullying staffers and intimidating lawmakers who have been known to file complaints against the officers. The staffers have accused them of discourteous treatment after being stopped and directed to the magnetometers.”

  • See the Tragedy of the Commons – “In 2000 Zimbabwe began to redistribute land from private but predominantly white-owned commercial farms to much poorer black farmers who toiled on communal lands. Stunning pictures from Google Earth collected by Craig Richardson show the result.

    Take a look at the Before picture. The communal land on the left is dry, dusty and unproductive compared to the private farmland on the right which is green and dotted with blue ponds and lakes. Why? There were two theories to explain this difference.”

  • Why Coffee Trashed Harry – “Light this man a cigar! Bravo to Harry for correctly pointing out the major problem with most attorneys: they simply aren’t very bright.

    Law, after all, is a degree of last resort: a dumping ground for obnoxious, insecure also-rans who lacked the creativity for art and the brainpower for higher mathematics and science. Long an academic ‘lifeboat’ for drowning liberal-arts losers, it’s one today peppered with holes and sinking by the head. Harry’s spot-on about the bar’s total lack of math ability: most lawyers remove their underpants when required to count higher than twenty. Law was always a ‘short bus’ industry, but now the Cooleys of the world are quickly reducing it to straitjacket status.

    Any mouth-breather can drool on the LSAT, sleep through 3 years of Socratic time-wasting bullshit, and scribble some passable gibberish on the ole’ barzam. It’s essentially a standardless ‘profession.’ As the old saw goes, the MCAT determines if one goes to med school, while the LSAT merely determines where one goes to law school.”

  • Walkaway Explosion? – “Stuck with properties whose negative equity won’t recover for years, and feeling betrayed by financial institutions that bankrolled the frenzy, some homeowners are concluding it’s smarter to walk away than to stick it out.

    ‘There is a growing sense of anger, a growing recognition that there is a double standard if it’s OK for financial institutions to look after themselves but not OK for homeowners,’ said Brent T. White, a law professor at the University of Arizona who wrote a paper on the subject.

    Just how many are walking away isn’t clear. But some researchers are convinced that the numbers are growing. So-called strategic defaults accounted for about 35% of defaults by U.S. homeowners in December 2009, up from 23% in March of 2009, according to Luigi Zingales, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

    He and colleagues at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management reached that conclusion by surveying homeowners about their attitudes and experiences with loan defaults.

    They found that borrowers were more willing to walk away if someone they knew had done it, and that the greater a homeowner’s negative equity the more likely he or she was to default, even if the monthly payment was affordable.”

  • ‘Jihad Jane’ and the politics of fear – “Far from ‘keeping America safe’, the elite’s depiction of the US as fragile and at-risk makes even lonely weirdos seem like a deadly threat.
    . . .
    From maintaining the Guantanamo facility to continuing the use of military commissions to try terror suspects, Obama has conceded national security positions associated with Bush and Cheney. When questioned about reading so-called ‘Miranda rights’ to the Christmas Day ‘underpants bomber’, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Obama argued that this was Bush’s approach to would-be shoe-bomber Richard Reid – thus endorsing the prior administration as the prime authority on the subject. As Glenn Greenwald rightly notes, Obama ‘can’t stand on his own two feet and forcefully justify civilian trials or Mirandising terrorist suspects; he has to take refuge in the fact that Bush also did it — as though that proves it’s the right thing to do, because Bush/Cheney is the standard-bearer of Toughness on Terrorism.’
    . . .
    But this ‘Republicans strong, Democrats weak’ discussion obscures a more fundamental consensus between the two parties. Both establish anti-terror polices on the premise that the country is vulnerable and at risk. And both therefore overplay the threat posed by possible terror attacks.

    The common assumption is that the American people are afraid, worried about the next explosion, and therefore in need of heavy state protection. And since, therefore, all it takes to traumatise the masses is an isolated bomb, it is taken as a given that any party in office at the time of an attack would be severely damaged in political terms. In this, both parties have agreed to allow the terrorists to define success, and have collaborated in reorganising US life around tiny groups.

    When American politicians talk about getting ‘tough’ on terrorism, about pursuing a ‘war’ on it, they are actually using code-words for saying ‘we are scared shitless’. And in that respect, both parties are wimps; in fact, if anything, the noisier Republicans are the biggest wimps of all.”

  • The Second Correction — 6 SoCal Homes from 6 SoCal Counties Showing the Continued California Housing Correction. – “Today we are going to look at 6 homes from 6 Southern California counties. We’ll pick a mix of homes from an area that cover over 50% of California in terms of population. What we find is a breath taking array of toxic mortgages and major price discrepancies.
    . . .
    Repeat the above 6 cases thousands of times over and tell me if we have a healthy housing market?”
  • The Dead Hand – “The oxygen most special interests needs to survive is money; and the health care ‘reform’ bill is above all about delivering it to keep the vital signs ticking over. Take the Congressional Hispanics. Paul Kane’s Washington Post blog says that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus announced its unanimous support for his bill, which is remarkable because they were against it. ‘Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and several other CHC members had been threatening to withhold their support because of provisions the Senate added restricting illegal immigrants from using their own money to access the insurance exchanges that would be established by the proposed legislation.’ Something appears to have changed their minds; but then again the therapeutic effect of money is nothing short of miraculous.

    Diana Furchtgott-Roth of Real Clear Markets notes the pivotal role that health care ‘reform’ will play in keeping SEIU pensions alive. Without the bill’s passage — by the ‘deeming’ process or otherwise — the union can’t keep expanding membership, which is the key to keep their faltering pension plans going. With health care ‘reform’ it will cling to life a little longer.
    . . .
    …health care reform itself is a gigantic sugar fix. It provides one more trillion dollar jolt to keep unsustainable political zombies going for just a little longer. How long dying agencies or unimpeded immigration or bad pension management can keep going is anybody’s guess. How much money do you have?”


Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Fails to Save D.C. Schoolkids from D.C. Schools


  • Queyras and Tharaud at the LoC
    – “When you hear and evaluate many concerts, the excellent ones stand out from the fair, good, and even very good ones in an almost self-evident way. Not much more needs to be said about Friday night’s recital by cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras and pianist Alexandre Tharaud at the Library of Congress, other than that it rises to the top of concerts heard by these ears so far this year.”

  • JOURNAL: Resilient Communities and Darknets Featured in Time Magazine – “Imagine a future in which millions of families live off the grid, powering their homes and vehicles with dirt-cheap portable fuel cells. As industrial agriculture sputters under the strain of the spiraling costs of water, gasoline and fertilizer, networks of farmers using sophisticated techniques that combine cutting-edge green technologies with ancient Mayan know-how build an alternative food-distribution system. Faced with the burden of financing the decades-long retirement of aging boomers, many of the young embrace a new underground economy, a largely untaxed archipelago of communes, co-ops, and kibbutzim that passively resist the power of the granny state while building their own little utopias.

    Rather than warehouse their children in factory schools invented to instill obedience in the future mill workers of America, bourgeois rebels will educate their kids in virtual schools tailored to different learning styles. Whereas only 1.5 million children were homeschooled in 2007, we can expect the number to explode in future years as distance education blows past the traditional variety in cost and quality. The cultural battle lines of our time, with red America pitted against blue, will be scrambled as Buddhist vegan militia members and evangelical anarchist squatters trade tips on how to build self-sufficient vertical farms from scrap-heap materials. To avoid the tax man, dozens if not hundreds of strongly encrypted digital currencies and barter schemes will crop up, leaving an underresourced IRS to play whack-a-mole with savvy libertarian ‘hacktivists.'”

  • C-Span Puts Full Archives on the Web – “Researchers, political satirists and partisan mudslingers, take note: C-Span has uploaded virtually every minute of its video archives to the Internet.
    . . .
    One of the Web site’s features, the Congressional Chronicle, shows which members of Congress have spoken on the House and Senate floors the most, and the least. Each senator and representative has a profile page. Using the data already available, some newspapers have written about particularly loquacious local lawmakers.

    C-Span was established in 1979, but there are few recordings of its earliest years. Those ‘sort of went down the drain,’ Mr. Browning said. But he does have about 10,000 hours of tapes from before 1987, and he will begin reformatting them for the Web soon. Those tapes include Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign speeches and the Iran-Contra hearings.

    In a tour of the site last week, Mr. Browning said the various uses of the archives were hard to predict. He found that a newly uploaded 1990 United Nations address by the Romanian president Ion Iliescu was quickly discovered and published by several Romanian bloggers.”

  • Wheat Ridge High School Class of 1970 – “The reonion committee is working away planning the 40th reunion the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. Wheat Ridge, Colorado WRHS1970.com”
  • Common Market Food Co-op – “Common Market Food Co-op was a ‘new wave food co-op’ located at 1329 California Street in Denver, Colorado, from 1975 – 1980. It started as a buying club at the University of Denver in the early 1970s, and for a few years prior to moving to the old Safeway at 13th and California Streets, Common Market operated out of a small storefront on Champa Street.”
  • Relax, Legal Scholars: Bobbleheads Are Safe at Yale – “The bobblehead of Justice David H. Souter, for instance, wears heavy gold jewelry and sits on a lifeguard stand, reminders of his opinions in a copyright case involving the rap group 2 Live Crew and a sexual harassment case brought by a female lifeguard. In a second copyright case, Justice Souter referred to ‘the latest release by Modest Mouse’; his bobblehead plays a snippet of a song by the band.

    These new acquisitions present challenges. ‘I don’t know if anyone has cataloged bobbleheads before,’ Mr. Shapiro said. ‘This might be breaking new ground.'”

  • Harrison Police Chief: Pilot Error Possible In Prius Case – “Last week, Harrison Police Capt. Anthony Marraccini said he had no indication of driver error, after a 56 year old house keeper had driven her employer’s Prius into a wall. Wall and car were totaled. Airbags deployed, housekeeper was unharmed. Now, Marracini isn’t so sure anymore.”
  • Toxic Togs? – “In a reversal of reports regarding the toxicity of Chinese products from toys to toothpaste, which in recent years caused consumer concern but drew protests from the Chinese government, the province of Zhejiang has impounded European-made clothing that reportedly failed quality and safety tests.”
  • Stress Relieving Vending Machine – “The ‘Passive Aggressive Anger Release Machine’ is a machine that allows you break a dish or two until you feel better. All you have to do is insert a dollar, and a piece of china will slowly move towards you until it falls to the bottom and breaks into a million pieces.”


How to Survive a Zombie Attack
stay away from zombies….

  • Best of the Past: Trainer Tells All — What I Have Learned About Health and Fitness – “Pushups are the best upper body workout designed….no machine can replace that…you don’t need any equipment and you can do them anywhere.

    Diet is 85% of where results come from…..for muscle and fat loss. Many don’t focus here enough.

    Working out too much doesn’t lead to good results….hence most people are still struggling after years of hard effort and little return.

    If you eat whole foods that have been around for 1000s of years, you probably don’t have to worry about counting calories

    Sugar is not our friend

    High Fructose Corn Syrup is making people fat and sick

    The biggest 2 threats to our health are inflammation (silent and chronic) and insulin resistance

    Our dependence on gyms to workout may be keeping people fat….as walking down a street and pushups in your home are free everyday…but people are not seeing it that way.

    If I had to pick one sport for a child to start with it would be gymnastics, the strength/speed/balance/body control they will learn can be applied to any sport down the road.

    Meat and Fat are my friends

    Apple Cider Vinegar is the only medicine I take if I feel sick

    All diets fail over the long run….but lifestyle changes last

    Fads are created to sell more specialized equipment/gear, lifting/throwing something heavy and running fast has been around for 100s of years and still works”

  • Crocodile Embossed Rainboots – “We have to admit that we have a bit of a crush on Jimmy Choo’s crocodile embossed rainboots from renowned British bootmaker Hunter. So decadent, and yet so wearable. But the $395 price tag has always felt a bit steep.”

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Posted in: Caught Our Eye

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