Assorted Links 9/22/09


Parkour on a bicycle

  • Capitol Hill Workshop, September 23-25, 2009
  • Speechwriting: Preparing Speeches and Oral Presentations, October 16, 2009
  • Understanding The Regulatory Process: Working with Federal Regulatory Agencies, October 20, 2009
  • Effective Executive Briefings, October 23, 2009
  • Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing, November 12, 2009
  • Writing to Persuade: Hone Your Persuasive Writing Skills, November 13, 2009
  • Socialism v. Capitalism – From an article by Svetlana Kunin: “In the USSR, economic equality was achieved by redistributing wealth, ensuring that everyone remained poor, with the exception of those doing the redistributing. Only the ruling class of communist leaders had access to special stores, medicine and accommodations that could compare to those in the West.
    . . .
    There is no perfect society. There are no perfect people. Critics say that greed is the driving force of capitalism. My answer is that envy is the driving force of socialism. Change to socialism is not an improvement on the imperfections of the current system.”
  • Museum of Communism – “It would be a great tragedy if Communism disappeared from the earth without leaving behind an indelible memory of its horrors. Communism was not essentially about espionage, or power politics, or irreligion. Rather it was a grand theoretical synthesis of totalitarianism… a theory which millions of people experienced as the practice of murder and slavery.”
  • Why Stimulus Spending Lags – “Stimulus projects are likely to come with a thick string of transparency and accountability requirements, along with potentially severe financial penalties and, in some cases, possible prison time. These conditions may be extended not only to U.S. government contractors, but to companies undertaking federally funded projects for state and local governments.”
  • It All Depends on What Your Definition of Tax Is – “As Katherine Mangu-Ward noted this morning, the president’s attempts to narrow his pledge so that it does not include the taxes he ends up raising (such as the federal cigarette tax, raised a few weeks after he took office, or the proposed levies on Americans who fail to buy health insurance) recently prompted a testy exchange with George Stephanopoulos in which the ABC interviewer cited the dictionary definition of tax, which Obama saw as evidence that Stephanopoulos was ‘stretching a little bit.'”
  • The baked bean index and other economic indicators – “A bunch of odd economic indicators that I have read about recently.”
  • Clunk Confirmed: – “A new paper in The Economists’ Voice concludes that the costs of the ‘cash for clunkers’ program exceed the benefits by approximately $2000 per vehicle. ”
  • CPSIA chronicles, September 20 – “At the Wall Street Journal, a letter to the editor regarding my op-ed of last week generally agrees with its thrust but claims that I ‘[err] when assigning blame to consumer groups’ among others for the enactment. I find this charge baffling, since groups like Public Citizen, PIRG and the Consumer Federation of America 1) were routinely cited in the press during the bill’s run-up to enactment as key advocates of its more extreme provisions, 2) have loudly claimed credit for enacting those provisions and the overall bill ever since, 3) have been routinely cited this year in the press as key opponents of any effort to revisit the law in Congress. Why strive to excuse them from a responsibility that they gladly shoulder?”
  • Maryland governor OKs ACORN investigation – “O’Malley’s announcement came in response to a request from Attorney General Doug Gansler to conduct an investigation into criminal allegations. Baltimore employees with the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) were caught on video tape telling undercover investigators posing as a pimp and prostitute how they could sidestep tax laws and obtain illegal loans.”
  • Obama energy secretary to Americans: Stop acting like teenagers! – “When Secretary of Energy Steven Chu thinks of the American people, he apparently sees a bunch of unruly teenagers who need to be told how to act.
    Asked at a seminar on reconstructing America’s electrical grid about the Obama administration’s efforts to persuade people to conserve energy, Chu said ‘the American public…just like your teenage kids, aren’t acting in a way that they should act. The American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue is,’ according to The Wall Street Journal.”


Tennis scene from Mr. Hulot’s Holiday

  • NFL player bankruptcy – “The 78 percent number (i.e., 78% of NFL players go bankrupt within two years of retirement) is buoyed by the fact that the average NFL career lasts just three years. So, figure a player gets drafted in 2009, signs for the minimum and lasts three years in the league: He will have earned about $1.2 million in salary.”
  • How (and Why) Athletes Go Broke – “Recession or no recession, many NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball players have a penchant for losing most or all of their money. It doesn’t matter how much they make. And the ways they blow it are strikingly similar”
  • Professional Athletes and the Prevalence of Bankruptcy – “Doing the math, and discounting $400,000 per year for three years, beginning at age 17 and entering the big leagues at age 21 (not likely), the expected value of a career in baseball is about $86. Who’s likely to pursue that?
    . . .
    Making [it] to the pros for many athletes is like the person who lives in a trailer winning the lottery – they’ve never learned how to handle the wealth.”
  • 8 lottery winners who lost their millions – “Having piles of cash only compounds problems for some people. Here are sad tales of foolishness, hit men, greedy relatives and dreams dashed.”
  • 10 Ways Sports Stars Go From Riches To Rags – “Too much money in real estate; investments in Ponzi schemes; and poor financial advising have been exposed with the down economy. … More than anything else, players appear to put too much money into real estate.”
  • American Efforts at Weisse Bier – “Surprisingly good, in fact excellent: Sierra Nevada ‘Kellerweis’ Hefeweizen. Much, much better than I expected. Looks and tastes just like wiessbier, in fact. Well done. My new favorite, #1 American beer.”
  • Unexpected effects of a wheat-free diet – “Wheat elimination continues to yield explosive and unexpected health benefits.”
  • An amazing note-taking tool for lawyers (and others) – “Hey, you know what’d be cool? What if you could use a pen that was (1) a recording device, but (2) also captured your writing, and (3) when you tapped it on an area in your written notes it would play the recording of what was being said at that time. That would be cool, but also totally impossible. Except it’s not. If you go to Amazon you can get this ‘smart pen’ for $129.”
  • Mobile Tech Minutes — Evernote – “Evernote is a true platform agnostic, note taker / collector supreme. It runs on just about every mobile device out there and makes grabbing information a snap. I show the basic operation of the program and demonstrate how it makes it easy to find nuggets of information.”
  • Your Google docs: Soon in search results? – “Web 2.0 is great for interactive discovery of information. I have been reticent, however, to advise lawyers to put mission critical or client confidential information in the websphere, no matter the protestations of vendors about security. Users are not always going to make fine distinctions between ‘Publish to Web’ and other web terminology if they are creating documents and sharing them online. It is risky enough to send documents attached to emails. Mis-directed emails have gotten more than one lawyer or firm in trouble.”
  • “A new, hard test of our wisdom” – “Back in August, Terry Teachout suggested in the Wall Street Journal that those of us grappling with new media take a few lessons from the history of TV. Television succeeded for a number of reasons, he says, including its unanimous, unquestioning acceptance by the people. … In a remarkable essay ‘A Forecast of Television’ (1935), Rudolf Arnheim wrote:”
  • Parked Truck Gets 45 Automated Speeding Tickets – “Netherlands — Dutch lumber merchant Martin Robben no longer believes the camera never lies. As reported by De Telegraaf, the man was falsely accused of speeding forty-five times on August 25 while his vehicle, a commercial truck, was parked on the side of the road in Oldeberkoop village. ‘Sometimes there were only three seconds between the tickets,’ Robben told the Dutch paper. ‘That’s impossible . . . Nobody can be flashed dozens of times in an afternoon.'”
  • Vandalised Gatsos – “To my knowledge this is the largest collection of wrecked Gatsos [speed cameras in England] on the internet, and its growing rapidly. So long as these cameras are robbing motorists of their cash they will continue to be destroyed.”

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Posted in: Caught Our Eye

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