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November 2009 Archives

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 2 (Second Amendment)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 2 (Amendments 1-10 are known as the Bill Of Rights) (2nd Amendment)

Amendment II.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Penn & Teller on the 2nd Amendment

Second Amendment - The most popular videos are here
History of the Second Amendment


A free download of our Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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November 30, 2009 10:07 AM   Link    U.S. Constitution    Comments (0)

Advanced Federal Budget Process, 2-day course in Washington, DC, from TheCapitol.Net

Advanced Federal Budget Process

In this 2-day course, learn how the federal budget process really works from faculty members with years of subject-matter expertise. Study important terminology and get tips to protect your budgetary interests.

We provide a comprehensive overview of current budget politics and the federal budgeting process. So you gain the awareness and guidance necessary to increase your chance of boosting funds and minimizing cuts. Understand the budget resolution process as well as the differences between authorizations and appropriations.

Learn how to recognize various budget documents so you can use them most effectively. We will also review and discuss transparency and accountability in the budget process and OMB's tools for program performance assessment. Finally, we explore professional online budget research resources.

When: December 7-8, 2009

Where: DC Bar Conference Center, 1101 K Street NW, Suite 200 (12th and K Streets NW) in Washington, DC

For more information, including agenda and secure online registration, see

November 30, 2009 09:47 AM   Link    Training    Comments (0)

Assorted Links 11/29/09

The World - Dubai
We interrupt your regularly scheduled Thanksgiving - "Dubai World won't repay its debt on time and the government of Dubai won't pick up the bag, raising doubts about its credibility. Who would bail out Dubai itself?"

SNL Parody of Obama & Jintao Press Conference in Beijing
"You are not allowed to pay us back in clunkers."

Charlie Brown Was A Blockhead

  • A Defense of the Lecture - "A lively discussion of a book by a small, engaged group is an ideal to be aspired to. At the same time, it seems to me that such discussions are pretty rare, even among professional academics (note how often people will express surprise that a conference session had good discussion). Such skills need to be cultivated, and of course you can only learn by doing. Yet there are some base-level confidence issues that need to be addressed as well, and unless we want to cultivate students who believe that their every utterance is intrinsically worthwhile due to their precious snowflake-hood, it would probably be good to get them to a point where their confidence is earned, where it’s based in actual knowledge."
  • Shocked, Shocked to Find That Fraud is Going on in Here - "Shock and surprise at the conduct of particular individuals within the CRU seem the order of the day. I'm not quite sure why. If, indeed, the disclosures are genuine (and it certainly appears on first blush that they are) how is it news that 'scientists' embroiled in what long ago ceased to be scientific research and now amounts to a political campaign would cut corners, sabotage critics, conceal or even destroy data and analysis, massage results and graphics and otherwise act exactly like politicians, particularly where their careers, the body of their life's work and their continuing income stream were at risk?

    It isn't of course. They are politicians."
  • Cree: Shining on the LED Lighting Market - "The lighting market that is expected to be completely transformed years from now is currently worth $119 billion. There are many players in this industry who are fully aware that the penetration rate of a potential full scale LED lighting transformation is only 1%. Leading the way is Cree Inc. (CREE) and below is an excerpt of my interview with them."
  • I Challenge Any of These Guys to Open A Business In Ventura County - "It has been fascinating to watch George McGovern change his tune about much of the regulatory state over the last 10 years as he has actually tried to run a business."
  • Yikes! Already-tedious gatecrashers met POTUS at state dinner - "Ugh. There is so much wrong with this story.

    First, these grasping, ridiculous, wanna-be reality TV stars breached security at the White House to crash the state dinner. They embarrassed the Secret Service, who are some of the hardest-working individuals in Washington -- and now it turns out that yeah, they got close enough to President Obama to cause some trouble if they wanted to. They met him in the receiving line!
    . . .
    But doing it all for the cameras as part of an audition for a Bravo reality series? Tacky, vulgar, really offensive. Honest people are probably going to lose their jobs over this. And why? So that polo-playing socialites can expose themselves on cable?"
  • Justice Served - "A realtor had listed this house in June, noting that it was a short-sale flip in progress. They had arranged (conspired) with the seller to submit to the existing lender a short sale package at a lower price, and then listed it on the MLS for $598,321 before the short sale was approved -- intending to pocket the difference. Instead, the bank foreclosed on them" (video)
  • Video Professor Tries To Bully Washington Post, Fails - "Video Professor was a side note in our original Scamville post, just one of a bunch of scams that were making their way into social games on Facebook and MySpace. But now we’re focused on them like a laser.

    Video Professor is unlike mobile scams which look to get a relatively small $10 - $20/month subscription on your mobile bill and hope you never notice. They go for the big kill: $190 - $290 charged to your credit card on time.
    . . .
    What you see when you first hit the site depends on how you got there – directly or via an advertising partner. The least scammy version is what you see if you go to directly. On the home page in very small font is a statement that you are going to be charged $290 if you engage in a transaction with them. But that’s the only on-screen disclosure you’ll see. Click on a product and go to the next page and you are told you get lots of stuff for free, all you have to do is pay up to a $10 shipping charge. You choose your product and you’re on to the checkout page. Nothing is stated about the $290 charge. After that you are on the final checkout page, showing a total price of $4.56. There’s no fine print, just two links on the page to pages with hugely long agreements with text hidden in the middle of it all that you are actually being sent tons of products and you’ll be charged $290 for them all if you don’t cancel in ten days.

    Needless to say, people who get this stuff either don’t read fine print and are charged, or try to return it. There are hundreds of user complaints about refunds not being paid. 271 complaints to be exact, on RipoffReport alone."
  • Webloyalty Scam - "WLIReservations"
  • Free Legal Research by Google & What It Means - "In short, I've been around the block long enough to put Google's new tool in perspective -- a welcome step worth celebrating, but far from the game changer that many are predicting. At least yet. Here are my quick thoughts:"

A Very Special Thanksgiving Message--Why we're so much more happy this year than last!

  • Drobo S: Simply Overpriced? - "Do you think that the new Drobo S is overpriced? So do I."
  • Helpful advice from your friends at KPC - "(2) Ladies, when your husband leaves your kid stashed in his truck while he hits the strip club and then calls you in the middle of the night to come get them at the police station, it is A-OK to only pick up the kid and leave the husband in the hoosegow!"
  • My Early Black Friday Deal Arrived -- Panasonic HDC-SD10 - "So is this the best handheld camcorder out there? Of course not, but at this price, I simply couldn’t pass it up. As you can see by the photo gallery, the HDC-SD10 has roughly the same footprint as my iPhone 3GS, so it’s pretty small. And it doesn’t weigh all that much either -- the body only weighs 85 grams more than my iPhone and the battery doesn’t add much more heft. I can easily see myself throwing this in a gear bag"
  • 8 Ways to Keep in Shape After You Get Married - "If you think that just because you’re married now you no longer have to care about your weight, think again! Remaining slim and trim is more than just a question of being attractive to a potential partner, it’s also a question of remaining healthy for the rest of your life."
  • The Paleo approach to meal frequency - "In other words, the notion of 'grazing,' or eating small meals or snacks throughout the day, is an unnatural situation. It is directly contrary to the evolutionarily more appropriate large meal followed by periods of no eating or small occasional meals."
  • Dear Hampton Inns: No Wi-Fi? No Excuse - "Dear Hampton Inns management: As you well know, a reliable Internet connection is crucial to many guests, especially your business-traveler clientele. As I well know, it is a brand standard for Hampton, which both my wife and I regard generally as the best mid-priced hotel brand in the country.

    Having to spend an hour and a quarter to get online because a hotel owner hasn't put out the money to ensure that the Wi-Fi works throughout the building is not acceptable.

    So Hampton Inns, please note. If you cannot guarantee me a reliable, easily accessible Wi-Fi connection, everywhere in your system, please tell your franchisee to advise me before check-in, and I will go somewhere else"
  • Product Review: Monroe Shock Absorbers (Sensa-Trac and Max-Air) - "Bottom line: If you’re not a Bilstein-level load hauler or a Koni-loving corner-carver, and you own a fairly conventional ride that serves as basic, daily transportation (but you like it and don’t plan on trading), you would be hard-pressed to find a product more capable of providing such immediately-tangible ride and handling improvements while simultaneously doing the right thing for your vehicle’s suspension."

Neti Pot

  • Steve Jobs Tells Startup Startup To Change Names, Saying 'It's No Big Deal' - "Of course, at this point it seems worth pointing out that years long battle Jobs fought with the Beatles' Apple Corp. over the "Apple" name. Would Jobs have been okay if John, Paul, Ringo and George had simply told him "Change your company name. Not that big of a deal"? Now, yes, it is true that a company needs to enforce its trademark, lest it become generic, but in this case it certainly seems like the name was descriptive in a way that certainly didn't imply endorsement from Apple. But, of course, when you've got lawyers who can bully on your behalf, the details apparently aren't that important."
  • Evernote - "Evernote is a like great digital filing cabinet or scrapbook--and it's easy to use, cheap and powerful. It acts like a good archive should, too: It organizes the information, preserves sources and presents it well.

    Fabulously, Evernote reaches off the computer and into the paper world. If you upload a picture or scan a piece of paper, Evernote will process the file to extract the text and make whatever text it finds readable."
  • Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009 - "Here is a presentation of the Top 100 Tools. Below you can see the full list with links to pages with more information about each of the tools."
  • Hemostatic "Shaving Cream" Wins Award - "Remedium Technologies won first prize in the Most Promising Security Idea category of the Global Security Challenge 2009 for their shaving cream-like foam that can stop bleeding."

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November 29, 2009 10:57 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 1 (The First Amendment)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendment 1 (Amendments 1-10 are known as the Bill Of Rights)

Amendment I.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Penn & Teller, 1st Amendment

Penn & Teller on Freedom of Speech

1st Amendment (pt.1) - Michael Badnarik Bill of Rights Class

1st Amendment (pt.2) - Michael Badnarik Bill of Rights Class


A free download of our Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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November 29, 2009 09:17 AM   Link    U.S. Constitution    Comments (0)

Glossary of Legislative Terms: "Enrolled Measure"

Enrolled Measure: Final official copy of a measure as passed in identical form by both chambers and then printed on parchment. Measure is certified by the house of origin and signed by the Speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate before it is sent to the president.

Congressional Deskbook

This definition is from the Glossary in our Congressional Deskbook.

Perfect reference tool of Congressional jargon and procedural terms.

Congressional Deskbook: The Practical and Comprehensive Guide to Congress, by Michael Koempel and Judy Schneider.

TheCapitol.Net offers training and a Certificate in Congressional Operations and Federal Budgeting. We show you how Washington and Congress work. TM

November 28, 2009 07:17 PM   Link    Tips and Terms    Comments (0)

The Constitution of the United States: Amendments 1-10, the Bill of Rights, Preamble

The Constitution of the United States: Amendments 1-10 are known as the Bill Of Rights

The Preamble to The Bill of Rights

Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Note: The first ten amendments to the Constitution were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the "Bill of Rights."


Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights Photostory

bill of rights rap with lyrics!

A free download of our Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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November 27, 2009 10:37 AM   Link    U.S. Constitution    Comments (0)

Understanding Congressional Budgeting and Appropriations

Understanding Congressional Budgeting and Appropriations

This 1-day course explores basic congressional budget process concepts along with key players, their roles and relationships. Learn about discretionary and mandatory spending, the budget resolution and reconciliation process. Students also learn about the relationship of authorization and appropriations legislation. Hear real, modern-day examples that illustrate the process, and gain ample time to discuss concerns and roadblocks encountered with the budget process.

When: December 1, 2009, 8:30 am - 4:10 pm

Where: DC Bar Conference Center, 1101 K Street NW, Suite 200 (12th and K Streets NW), Washington, DC (McPherson Square station)

To see agenda and for secure online registration, see

November 25, 2009 06:07 PM   Link    Training    Comments (0)

December 2009 Legislative, Communication, and Media Training from TheCapitol.Net

December 2009 Legislative, Communication, and Media Training from TheCapitol.Net

Our latest email update:

If you don't have time to attend our live training, see our Capitol Learning Audio Courses.

TheCapitol.Net, Inc.
>> We help you understand Washington and Congress TM
>> Non-partisan training and publications that show how Washington works. TM

November 24, 2009 10:27 AM   Link    Training    Comments (0)

Assorted Links 11/24/09

Jimmie Rodgers - Years Ago (The last recording of Jimmie Rodgers)
Also see Hobo Bill's Last Ride

Scott Sumner's title for this video: "The right time to shoplift."

  • Best Books About Etiquette: No offense to other etiquette guides, but Laura Claridge says these are impeccable - "The great classical scholar of the Northern Renaissance, Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, also had some thoughts about proper behavior. Teach manners early, Erasmus believed. To that end, he produced this small book addressed to children. It admirably commanded the attention of his young audience and remained popular for three centuries. 'To lick greasy fingers or to wipe them on your coat is impolite. It is better to use the table cloth,' he counsels. Also: 'It is not seemly, after wiping your nose, to spread out your handkerchief and peer into it as if pearls and rubies might have fallen out of your head.'"
  • Against Congressional Briefs - "I have occasionally criticized judges and Justices who use their official positions to try to influence the legislative process. In this post I want to criticize the mirror image: Legislators who sign on to 'congressional briefs' in the Supreme Court, such as the one David Kopel links to below, designed to influence the outcome of cases.

    Amicus briefs written on behalf of sitting legislators strike me as inappropriate. Of course, legislators can influence the judicial process in many ways. They write the legislation that the courts interpret; they control the rules that govern judicial hearings; they can control much of the Court’s docket; and they even control how many Justices are on the Supreme Court. Further, legislators take an oath to uphold the Constitution, and they have an independent (albeit sporadically exercised) duty to ensure that legislation they enact passes constitutional muster."

Who are the world's top intellectuals?

  • My Politicals Enemies are Idiots! - "It reminds me of when Hyman Minsky would go off on John F. Kennedy, noting that he was often presented as genius because he went to Harvard. Kennedy was a below average student at a time when Harvard had a lot of dopey legacies, and Minsky the Liberal was too independent to pretend he was some sort of genius.

    I consider politicians mostly narcissistic, smarmy, and unthinking. Those accidentally glommed onto my general disposition towards Friedmanism, I'm for. Ronald Reagan was often called an idiot while in office, but was a good politician because he changed the trend through his steadfast defense of smaller government. He wasn't a Richard Feynman, but he was consistent, and a good communicator.
    . . .
    Most pundits, professional and amateur, consider a genius as someone who can articulate one's platform more effectively than themself. An idiot is someone who effectively articulates the other side."
  • Another Broken Myth: Foreclosures and Crime Rates - " Prince William County, Virginia, which has the highest rate of foreclosures in Old Dominion, nevertheless saw its violent crime rate fall by 36.8 percent between 2008 and 2009. Foreclosure-plagued Oakland, California has seen a 3 percent annual drop.

    Still, the perception that foreclosures are linked to the deterioration of law-abiding areas is not necessarily susceptible to statistics. Many intelligent people say they have a sense that crime is getting worse as more residences end up unoccupied. Again, my own experience contradicts this: I live in a not-so-nice part of Los Angeles County and spend plenty of time in less-nice areas (in California nothing ever goes below nice), yet I am absolutely certain I hear less gunfire and fewer police helicopters this year than I did in 2006. "
  • The Cost Of Additional Porsche (Li-ion) Lightness: $132/lb. - "Never one to shy away from expensive options, Porsche has announced that beginning in January 2010, a lithium-ion starter battery will be optional in the 911 GT3, GT 3 RS, and Boxster Spyder. Porsche is the first automaker to offer a li-ion SLI (starting, lighting ignition) battery, and given its cost, €1,904 (US$2,900), it may stay that way for a while. The new pack weighs 6 kg (13 lb), which is 10 kg or 22 (lb) lighter than a conventional 60 Ah lead battery. That works out to $132 per pound saved, based on European pricing. US pricing has not yet been announced. That sounds like a bargain compared to some of Porsche’s other pricing shenanigans. Ask the fellas in the paint booth to leave off the masking tape on a certain number of exterior and interior pieces to make them body colored, and they’ll ask you a mighty $13,545 for their (non)effort. Only a company that has the cojones to do that would to try to take over VW. I digress."
  • How worried should we be about the deficit? - "When water regularly overflows from your toilet, you want the toilet fixed, whether or not the water is doing harm."

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November 24, 2009 09:47 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

The Constitution of the United States, Article. VII.

The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription

Article. VII.

Article. VII.

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

The Word, "the," being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page, the Word "Thirty" being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words "is tried" being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first Page and the Word "the" being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of the second Page.

Attest William Jackson Secretary

done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independance of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

G°. Washington
Presidt and deputy from Virginia

Geo: Read
Gunning Bedford jun
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jaco: Broom

James McHenry
Dan of St Thos. Jenifer
Danl. Carroll

John Blair
James Madison Jr.

North Carolina
Wm. Blount
Richd. Dobbs Spaight
Hu Williamson

South Carolina
J. Rutledge
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler

William Few
Abr Baldwin

New Hampshire
John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman

Nathaniel Gorham
Rufus King

Wm. Saml. Johnson
Roger Sherman

New York
Alexander Hamilton

New Jersey
Wil: Livingston
David Brearley
Wm. Paterson
Jona: Dayton

B Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
Robt. Morris
Geo. Clymer
Thos. FitzSimons
Jared Ingersoll
James Wilson
Gouv Morris


A free download of our Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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November 23, 2009 10:07 AM   Link    U.S. Constitution    Comments (0)

Glossary of Legislative Terms: "Concur"

Concur: Agree to an amendment of the other chamber, either as is or with an amendment.

Congressional Deskbook

This definition is from the Glossary in our Congressional Deskbook.

Perfect reference tool of Congressional jargon and procedural terms.

Congressional Deskbook: The Practical and Comprehensive Guide to Congress, by Michael Koempel and Judy Schneider.

TheCapitol.Net offers training and a Certificate in Congressional Operations and Federal Budgeting. We show you how Washington and Congress work. TM

November 21, 2009 05:57 PM   Link    Tips and Terms    Comments (0)

Assorted Links 11/19/09

Video: Rick Perry asserts Texas’s Tenth Amendment rights

How do you convince someone to stay away?

  • New GM’s Projected Cash Burn is . . . Unspecified - "Taxpayer money given to GM (not including the Department of Energy’s $10 billion, 25-year, no-to-low interest “retooling’ loan): $52 billion. Current cash pile: $42.6 billion. Cash flow (according to Automotive News source): was $3 billion. And what of future cash flow? On this key issue--the only key issue--GM’s non-standard accounting of its accounts is, by no account, clear."
  • Obama’s swelling ego - "At this rate, it won’t be long before the president’s ego is so inflated that it will require a ZIP code of its own."
  • Tanks on the borders of....Colombia? - "Everyone's favorite autocrat, Hugo F. Chavez, is mobilizing his military to the Colombian border to heroically repel the expected US invasion."
  • Less Fearful Babies More Likely To Become Criminals - "Babies less prone to feel fear are more likely to commit crimes."
  • New Google Book Settlement Tries To Appease Worries - "I still stand by my original feeling towards the settlement, which is that I'm upset anyone felt it was necessary at all. Google had a strong fair use claim that I would have liked to have seen taken all the way through the courts. And, of course, this settlement really has nothing at all to do with the main issue of the lawsuit (that fair use question) and is really a debate over a separate issue: how to take the books Google scans and trying to turn them into a 'book store' rather than more of a 'library.' And, in doing so, the important fair use question gets completely buried -- which I find unfortunate."
  • Where Is an Hour Not an Hour? - "In the new fairy-land of New York City parking, where drivers, who tend to act like children to begin with, will be treated thusly and indulgently, in an act of colossal political cowardice (the car is, if nothing else, the great vehicle for political pandering -- remember the 'gas tax' holiday?). Why a five-minute 'grace period'? Why not ten minutes? Why enforce any law at all?"

My nomination for Law Enforcement Officer of the Year!

  • Has Anyone Seen the Tenth Amendment? - "I hate to be old fashioned and think that constitutional constraints limiting the size and scope of government are essential to sound government, but still, has anyone seen the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? It seems to be missing."
  • Asus Eee PC 1201N -- Perfect Blend of Netbook and Notebook? - "The debate between netbook and notebook might have found some middle ground with the ASUS Eee PC 1201N. I just caught the LAPTOP Magazine hands on with this device and that’s the impression I came away with. Why is that? Mainly because the 1201N offers specs closer to a notebook, but has the price and size near to a netbook. The $499 price tag competes well with many high-end netbooks and offers"

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November 19, 2009 09:57 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

The Constitution of the United States, Article. VI.

The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription

Article. VI.

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article VI: Faith, Politics, America


A free download of our Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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November 18, 2009 09:47 AM   Link    U.S. Constitution    Comments (0)

Assorted Links 11/16/09

A scene from Mr. Hulot's Holiday

  • Capitol Hill Workshop, November 18-20, 2009
  • Understanding Congressional Budgeting and Appropriations, December 1, 2009
  • Congress in a Nutshell: Understanding Congress, December 2, 2009
  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, December 3, 2009
  • How to Find, Track, and Monitor Congressional Documents: Going Beyond Thomas, with WiFi Classroom, December 4, 2009
  • Advanced Federal Budget Process, December 7-8, 2009
  • Advanced Legislative Strategies, December 9-11, 2009
  • Research Tools and Techniques: Refining Your Online and Offline Searches, with WiFi Classroom, December 15, 2009
  • Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Deficit Increases - "The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is the federal agency that guarantees pensions for 44 million Americans. The PBGC deficit doubled over the last six months to $22 billion ... but this is only just the beginning as the agency's potential exposure to future losses increased sharply."
  • State Finance Directors Warn of More Trouble Ahead - "Michigan and California are likely to face a fresh round of budget woes when federal stimulus funds used as a fiscal crutch dry up, finance directors for the states said Friday.

    Short-term budget gaps have battered states as revenues plummeted during the recession. Aided by about $250 billion in funds from the stimulus package expected through the end of next year, states managed to close the gaps this year. But both finance directors, speaking at a Pew Center on the States event in Washington, were pessimistic about their states' futures beyond fiscal 2011.
    . . .
    'I looked as hard as I could at how states could declare bankruptcy,' said Michael Genest, director of the California Department of Finance who is stepping down at the end of the year. 'I literally looked at the federal constitution to see if there was a way for states to return to territory status.'

    There were no bankruptcy options, and the legislature chose to cut back sharply on education and health care to fill the gap. Mr. Genest already predicts the 2011 shortfall will outpace the projected $7 billion gap. It is a smaller deficit than this year's gap, but the choices will be more difficult because so many cuts have already been made.
    . . .
    'Citizens don't quite understand yet the implications of some of the cuts that we've made,' Mr. Bean said. 'A lot of it has fallen on local governments. I am very concerned that we're going to have a lot of insolvencies in local governments.'"
  • Report: 10 states face looming budget disasters - "Drastic financial remedies are no longer limited to California, where a historic budget crisis earlier this year grew so bad that state agencies issued IOUs to pay bills.

    A study released Wednesday warned that at least nine other big states are also barreling toward economic disaster, raising the likelihood of higher taxes, more government layoffs and deep cuts in services.

    The report by the Pew Center on the States found that Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wisconsin are also at grave risk, although Wisconsin officials disputed the findings. Double-digit budget gaps, rising unemployment, high foreclosure rates and built-in budget constraints are the key reasons. "
  • GM Admits it Lied About Federal Stimulus Package’s Job Creation - "As TTAC reported back in June, one-third of the 17,600 vehicles ordered from Chrysler, Ford and GM were/are/will be assembled outside the United States. Any article about the order’s effects on American jobs should begin with that fact, which this one has. Surprise! The federal fleet sailing to The Big Three’s rescue did no such thing for American autoworkers."
  • Using Two iPods On One Computer - "First, install all of your desired iPods."
  • If You Think The Problems We Create Are Bad, Just Wait Until You See Our Solutions. - "Despair, Inc. gets with the program"
  • Political vs economic competition, or why a two-party system can be OK - "Political competition is better than autocracy, but its benefits are not well understood by a comparison with economic competition."
  • Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be - "Spurred by an administration he believes to be guilty of numerous transgressions, self-described American patriot Kyle Mortensen, 47, is a vehement defender of ideas he seems to think are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and principles that brave men have fought and died for solely in his head.
    . . .
    Mortensen's passion for safeguarding the elaborate fantasy world in which his conception of the Constitution resides is greatly respected by his likeminded friends and relatives, many of whom have been known to repeat his unfounded assertions verbatim when angered. Still, some friends and family members remain critical.

    'Dad's great, but listening to all that talk radio has put some weird ideas into his head,' said daughter Samantha, a freshman at Reed College in Portland, OR. 'He believes the Constitution allows the government to torture people and ban gay marriage, yet he doesn't even know that it guarantees universal health care.'"
  • The Latin American blame game - "If you have problems in Peru, blame Chile.

    If you have problems in the United States, blame Latin American immigrants."

Replace battery in Nike+ sensor for under $5
Or just take it back to an Apple store for replacement....

  • Texas Leads For 2009- - "No part of America is entirely recession-proof, but it is clearly hitting some areas harder than others. The recession came later to states like Texas, and it looks to be a more shallow recession in Texas, as well:"
  • American Muslims To Fort Hood Shooter: 'Thanks A Lot, Asshole' - "Following Army psychologist Nidal Malik Hasan's shooting rampage on the Fort Hood military base last week that left 13 people dead and 30 others injured, fellow Muslims across the nation sent him a message today, . . . 'Hey, great, eight years of progress right down the shitter,' St. Cloud, MN resident Zahida Naseem said at one of dozens of impromptu rallies held nationwide."
  • What should you do if you are entering the job market for the first time in this unemployment climate? - "If you don't desperately need the money, wait a bit longer. The real cost of doing a PhD or taking a year off to travel the world is not just what you have to pay for it, but also the income you forego by not working. With so few jobs to go round, investing in your future or pursuing that crazy dream of yours has never been cheaper - so go for it!

    If you don't have a college degree at all, this is an absolute no-brainer. College graduates earn so much more over the course of their careers that getting a degree is wise even in a booming economy. In times when finding a job is so hard, it's an offer you can't refuse.

    Now, if delaying getting a job is not an option, there's a few tricks that can help you get there:"
  • What kind of scum is Proinsias de Rossa? - "So, when de Rossa drools over the Goldstone report like a rabid dog, with puffery about human rights, remember this is the scum who defended Soviet oppression of the Jews."
  • RECLAIMING THE CULTURE, ONE PROFESSOR AT A TIME. - "Those surreptitious checks are opportunities for a quick 'What do you think?' If the metaphor is war, the quick question to the texter is the quickest way into his or her O-O-D-A loop."

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November 16, 2009 09:57 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

The Constitution of the United States, Article. V.

The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription

Article. V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.


A free download of our Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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November 15, 2009 01:37 PM   Link    U.S. Constitution    Comments (0)

Glossary of Legislative Terms: "Act"

Act: Legislation that has been passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president or passed over his veto, thus becoming law. Also, parliamentary term for a measure that has been passed by one chamber and engrossed.

Congressional Deskbook

This definition is from the Glossary in our Congressional Deskbook.

Perfect reference tool of Congressional jargon and procedural terms.

Congressional Deskbook: The Practical and Comprehensive Guide to Congress, by Michael Koempel and Judy Schneider.

TheCapitol.Net offers training and a Certificate in Congressional Operations and Federal Budgeting. We show you how Washington and Congress work. TM

November 13, 2009 08:47 AM   Link    Tips and Terms    Comments (0)

Assorted Links 11/12/09

John Primer, Bluesman

John Primer, Bluesman

More On Vitamin D

  • After Fort Hood, another example of how ‘citizen journalists’ can’t handle the truth - "I’d probably feel slightly smug, if I didn’t feel so sick.

    Smug that after two weeks of me suggesting that social media might not be an unequivocally Good Thing in terms of privacy and human decency, the news has delivered the perfect example to support my view.

    Unfortunately it’s hard to feel smug -- hard to feel anything but sadness and nausea -- when thirteen innocent people are dead.

    I’m talking, of course, about Thursday’s Fort Hood shootings. Better informed and more sensitive commentators than I have written about the massacre itself and what it means for the US army, and in particular for the thousands of Muslim soldiers currently fighting -- and dying -- for this country. How do you even begin to process the idea of an American soldier shouting the takbir, before mowing down his comrades in arms? On American soil? At the home base of the Combat Warrior Stress Reset program? Yes, that’s definitely one for the experts to parse.

    And yet, the first news and analysis out of the base didn’t come from the experts. Nor did it come from the 24-hour news media, or even from dedicated military blogs -- but rather from the Twitter account of one Tearah Moore, a soldier from Linden, Michigan who is based at Fort Hood, having recently returned from Iraq.
    . . .
    Two weeks ago, I wrote here about how the ‘real time web’ is turning all of us into inhuman egotists. How we’re increasingly seeing people at the scene of major accidents grabbing their cellphones to capture the dramatic events and share them with their friends, rather than calling 911. Last week I went even further with my doom-mongering, suggesting that the trend of adding people’s homes to Foursquare without permission was indicative of a generation that prioritised their own fun over the privacy of their friends.

    In the actions of Tearah Moore at Fort Hood, we have the perfect example of both kinds of selfishness.

    There surely can’t be a human being left in the civilised world who doesn’t know that cellphones must be switched off in hospitals, and yet not only did Moore leave hers on but she actually used it to photograph patients, and broadcast the images to the world. Just think about that for a second. Rather than offering to help the wounded, or getting the hell out of the way of those trying to do their jobs, Moore actually pointed a cell-phone at a wounded soldier, uploaded it to twitpic and added a caption saying that the victim 'got shot in the balls'.

    Her behaviour had nothing to do with getting the word out; it wasn’t about preventing harm to others, but rather a simple case of -- as I said two weeks ago -- 'look at me looking at this.' (I don’t know about you, but if I spotted someone taking a picture of one of my friends or relatives in a hospital then they would probably need a hospital bed of their own. 'Tell me, Ms Moore, exactly how did the iPhone end up in your lower intestine?')"
  • “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” - "ABC News reports that US Intelligence had been aware for months that Major Nidal Hasan was attempting to get in touch with al-Qaeda. It is not known what role the 'Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Great Falls, Virginia' played in subsequent events. But the circumstances are suggestive. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the mosque once had prayer leader Anwar al-Awlaki. Anwar al-Awlaki had been the spiritual adviser of two September 11 attackers. He is now in Yemen and is certainly pleased at Hasan’s actions:
    . . .
    Barry Rubin recently spoofed the 'jumping to conclusions' phrase by writing a satirical piece retelling historical incidents in modern politically correct style. Why he asked, should John Wilkes Booth have been suspected of Confederate sympathies simply because he expressed them? Was the fact that a bombing suspect had attended IRA meetings any reason to think that it might be a factor in attacks against the British? By emphasizing the ludicrousness of it, Rubin argued that the media was going out of its way to distort the facts and suppressing what ought to be natural avenues of public inquiry.

    The phrase 'dissent is the highest form of patriotism' can lead to sloppy thinking which incorrectly assumes that it is always best to give a man exhibiting dangerous tendencies the benefit of the doubt."
  • The Dead Zone: The Implicit Marginal Tax Rate - "To say that antipoverty programs in the United States are perverted may be an understatement. When you take into account the loss of means-tested benefits (e.g., cash assistance, food stamps, housing subsidies, and health insurance), and the taxes that people pay on earned income, the return to working is essentially zero for those in the lower two quintiles of the income distribution."
  • Life on Severance: Comfort, Then Crisis - "Mr. Joegriner is a member of what might be called the severance economy -- unemployed Americans who use severance pay and savings to maintain their lifestyles. Many lost their jobs in 2007 and 2008, and thought they'd soon find work. Now, they're getting desperate. Last week, lawmakers passed a bill extending unemployment benefits up to 20 weeks. Unemployment benefits, which typically last about 26 weeks, were expected to run out for 1.3 million people by the end of the year, according to the National Employment Law Project.
    . . .
    Those affected often have trouble accepting their diminished prospects. Hefty severance packages, while intended as a safety net, can lull the unemployed into a false sense of security. Some people continue spending as before."
  • The Empire’s last stand: Real interest rates - "I am still left with 4 reasons for dismissing the view that real interest rates provide a useful indicator of the stance of monetary policy. Furthermore, I think that any one of these four arguments would be sufficient to prove my point:"
  • Freedom to Confuse: Thanks to the abortion amendment, liberals suddenly care about "choice" in our health care system. - " If liberals are so disturbed by Congress' dictating whether abortion is a legitimate health care issue or not, it only makes sense that they should be equally troubled by government management of other health care decisions.

    Undoubtedly, this is zealously naive thinking on my part. Reaching such a conclusion demands a modicum of consistency. And as we've seen, health care 'reform' is an ideological crusade immune from logic.
    . . .
    Yet even though no one would be stripped of her right to have an abortion under this legislation, the vast majority of citizens would have to deal with a cluster of new mandates and more than 100 new government bureaucracies to enforce them.

    Citizens would be ordered to buy insurance or face jail time. Americans would answer to a 'commissioner of health choices' and pay extra taxes for having the gall to buy top-of-the-line insurance plans. They no longer would have the right to choose health savings accounts or high-deductible plans or, in most cases, flexible spending accounts.
    . . .
    So abortion not only is essential care but also was at 'the heart' of what the president had in mind for reform. (A courageous reporter might ask the president where he stands on reproductive care today. Is it essential? If not, why should federal funding be banned?)"

Group Think and "Journalism"

  • Does The White House Have Any Legal Right To Demand No Modifications To Its Photos? - "The problem is the White House has no right to say that you can't manipulate the photo, since the photo is public domain. It's really unfortunate that, once again, we're seeing how little people seem to understand (or value) the public domain."
  • The Big-Spending, High-Taxing, Lousy-Services Paradigm: California taxpayers don’t get much bang for their bucks. - "One out of every five Americans is either a Californian or a Texan. California became the nation’s most populous state in 1962; Texas climbed into second place in 1994. They are broadly similar: populous Sunbelt states with large metropolitan areas, diverse economies, and borders with Mexico producing comparable demographic mixes. Both are 'majority-minority' states, where non-Hispanic whites make up just under half of the population and Latinos just over a third.

    According to the most recent data available from the Census Bureau, for the fiscal year ending in 2006, Americans paid an average of $4,001 per person in state and local taxes. But Californians paid $4,517 per person, well above that national average, while Texans paid $3,235. It’s worth noting, by the way, that while state and local governments in both California and Texas get most of their revenue from taxes, the revenue is augmented by subsidies from the federal government and by fees charged for governmental services and facilities, such as trash collection, airports, public university tuition, and mass transit. California had total revenues of $11,160 per capita, more than every state but Alaska, Wyoming, and New York, while Texas placed a distant 44th on this scale, with revenues of all governmental entities totaling $7,558 per person.
    . . .
    The biggest contrast between the two states shows up in 'net internal migration,' the demographer’s term for the difference between the number of Americans who move into a state from another and the number who move out of it to another. Between April 1, 2000, and June 30, 2007, an average of 3,247 more Americans moved out of California than into it every week, according to the Census Bureau. Over the same period, Texas saw a net gain, in an average week, of 1,544 people. Aside from Louisiana and Mississippi, which lost population to other states because of Hurricane Katrina, California is the only Sunbelt state that had negative net internal migration after 2000. All the other states that lost population to internal migration were Rust Belt basket cases, including New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Michigan, and Ohio."
  • Unemployment, 2004 to Present -- The Country is Bleeding - "While the recession is 'over' the unemployment rate rose to 9.8% in September from 9.7% in August. That's 214,000 more people who are jobless in the United States. The last time unemployment was this high was back in June 1983 when it was 10.1%."
  • Electoral Politics in Colleges - "As I have said, students from the left should sue colleges for nonperformance on the contract."

WikiReader from Openmoko

  • Picture Show: Inside a Colombian Prison - "As the home of the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar, the city of Medellín, Colombia, used to be one of the most violent places in the world. Today, the cells and grounds of its Bellavista prison are largely populated with people who grew up in and around the city. It’s an intimidating place, to say the least, yet as is evident in the images of Vance Jacobs’s photographic series 'Colombian Prison: A View from the Inside,' even within the confines of prison walls can the beauty of the human spirit be observed. On the invitation of the Centro Colombo Americano, an English language school for Colombians in Medellín, Jacobs ventured to the Bellavista prison with an inspired assignment: to teach documentary photography to eight inmates in one week." ht Marginal Revolution
  • Medal Of Honor, Medal Of Freedom - How Soon They Forget - "This is one for the 'Are you kidding me' file, and probably merits supplemental expletives - in the course of his utterly inappropriate 'shout-out' to Joe Medicine Crow prior to addressing the nation about the Fort Hood shootings, Obama flubbed the medal won by Dr. Medicine Crow."
  • Bush transparency requirements lead to union revolt - "The Denver United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 union voted out its longstanding president, Ernie Duran. The election that led to Duran's ouster was largely about accusations of corruption:"
  • How to avoid an untimely death - "Number one on the list is 'drive the biggest vehicle you can afford to drive'."
  • Will Amazon’s Kindle Software Kill the Kindle Hardware? - "Yesterday, I took a look at Amazon’s Kindle for PC software on my netbook. The beta software is missing a few features just yet -- search, note-taking and highlighting passages -- but for reading Kindle content, it’s quite good. You gain the benefit of a color screen and the ability to tweak fonts and line spacing to a greater degree. All in all, the experience is enjoyable. But will it be so good that it actually kills off Amazon’s Kindle hardware products? I don’t think so."

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November 12, 2009 10:17 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

The Constitution of the United States, Article. IV. Section. 4.

The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription

Article. IV.
Section. 4.

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.


A free download of our Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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November 10, 2009 08:47 AM   Link    U.S. Constitution    Comments (0)

Assorted Links 11/08/09

Warren Pollock: Game Change for Zombie Banks

  • Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing, November 12, 2009
  • Writing to Persuade: Hone Your Persuasive Writing Skills, November 13, 2009
  • Capitol Hill Workshop, November 18-20, 2009
  • Understanding Congressional Budgeting and Appropriations, December 1, 2009
  • Congress in a Nutshell: Understanding Congress, December 2, 2009
  • Congressional Dynamics and the Legislative Process, December 3, 2009
  • How to Find, Track, and Monitor Congressional Documents: Going Beyond Thomas, with WiFi Classroom, December 4, 2009
  • Advanced Federal Budget Process, December 7-8, 2009
  • Advanced Legislative Strategies, December 9-11, 2009
  • Research Tools and Techniques: Refining Your Online and Offline Searches, with WiFi Classroom, December 15, 2009
  • Fifty Years of Economic History in one Figure - "A few thoughts: I wish Arnold Kling were correct that inflation is around the corner. We could use some inflation to get back on track. Nominal wages are simply not flexible enough to get the job done in short order and there is much to fear from populist backlash."
  • ChiliPunk'd? - "Is is just me, or did Mr. Karzai totally chilipunk Obama? He loads up his government with bad guys as part of his re-election strategy, engages in sufficient electoral fraud that the US "forces" him to recant his majority win and agree to a runoff, then his opponent in the runoff drops out, Karzai is President again anyway, and our political masters now seem A-OK with this outcome.

    Do y'all think Barack even got the license plate of that bus?"
  • Mo’ money for schools - "The school funding crisis is 'phony,' writes James Guthrie, a professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt, in Education Next. Chicken Little reporters highlight 'budgetary shortfalls, school district bankruptcies, teacher and administrator layoffs, hiring and salary freezes, pension system defaults, shorter school years, ever-larger classes, faculty furloughs, fewer course electives, reduced field trips, foregone or curtailed athletics, outdated textbooks, teachers having to make do with fewer supplies, cuts in school maintenance,' etc. But real spending on education keeps going up, even in recessions, while the number of students stays about the same."
  • Debate on the Free Access to Law - "Well, the free access to the law movement is thriving in Oklahoma. Years ago, our Oklahoma Supreme Court decided that the law should be free and available in Oklahoma. The court's website,, has available to anyone all of the court opinions in a searchable format, back to statehood and even before. The online law library there includes the statutes as well as the case opinions, links to the administrative code, fee and bond schedules and many other resources. The largest counties already have their case files online and work is underway on the other counties."
  • CRE Report: "Gloomy Times" - "For the other CRE sectors the outlook is very grim. From the Urban Land Institute:
      Among property sectors, the survey finds declines or near low record lows in investment sentiment for almost every property type. Only rental apartments register fair prospects and all other categories sink into the fair to poor range. Hotel and retail record the most precipitous falls. Development prospects are “largely dead” and drop to new depths and practically to “abysmal” levels for office, retail and hotels. Warehouse and apartments score only marginally better at “modestly poor.”
  • Memo to press secretaries for prelates: Don't assume, Ask. - "I'd like to see us someday reach the point where arch/diocesan staffers learn to avoid speculating (at least in public) on canonical matters. These well-intentioned people rarely know anything about canon law, yet they frequently say things that muddy the waters for the rest of us, or are simply wrong. The recent comments on the Donna Quinn case made by Colleen Dolan, press secretary to Chicago's Cdl. George, are a good example."
  • More on Tax Credit - "Buyers who have owned their current homes at least five years would be eligible for tax credits of up to $6,500. First-time homebuyers -- or anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last three years -- would still get up to $8,000. To qualify, buyers in both groups have to sign a purchase agreement by April 30, 2010, and close by June 30.

    “This is probably the last extension,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson, D-Ga., a former real estate executive who championed the credits.

    The homebuyers tax credit is one of two tax breaks totaling more than $21 billion that the Senate included in a bill extending unemployment benefits for those without a job for more than a year. The other would let companies now losing money recoup taxes they paid on profits earned in the previous five years."
  • Report: 11 states emerging from recession - "Alaska, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Washington, D.C., are in recovery, according to Moody’s, an economic forecasting firm. It determines where a state is in the recession based on employment rates, home prices, residential construction and manufacturing production figures. Some or all of these indicators were stable or improving in these states.

    The firm also reported that, as of September 2009, Nevada remains firmly gripped by the worst recession because these indicators are still dropping significantly due to the plunging tourism, gambling and construction industries. The rest of the states, while still in recession, have seen the pace of their decline slow down, or moderate."
  • PR Pros on Press Releases - Meh - "MarketingCharts uncovers some fresh data on how PR people feel about press releases. It's ugly."
  • CELEBRITY GOSSIP. - "Members of the Italian Sausage Society of Bloomfield were flabbergasted to learn that puckish pranksters in their own staff had slipped kielbasa into their spaghetti dinner. Mrs. de Facto is said to be laid up in bed recovering from the shock.

    Miss Diana Smoulder, the ravishing heartthrob of the hurdy-gurdy, has pulled out of the monthly Lemming Aid concerts after a heated dispute with the promoters. Sources say the board of directors was unhappy with her recent public statements on the sensitive vole issue."
  • Nominal Nonsense - "Sometimes it seems like waving MV=PY in front of a Keynesian is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. It so enrages them that they lose sight of economic logic. Keynes’s entire General Theory is basically a theory of PY, and hence necessarily a theory of MV. (In fact V doesn’t have any independent meaning; it’s just PY/M.) Sure Keynes often assumes fixed prices in the GT, but not always. And what happens when he relaxes the fixed price assumption, which variable does he see AD affecting, RGDP or NGDP? The answer is obvious. Keynes relaxes the assumption at full employment, or what he calls 'bottlenecks' in the economy. If the economy has reached capacity then any further increases in AD continue to cause increases in NGDP, but RGDP no longer rises. So the General Theory is first and foremost a theory of nominal income determination. The impact of AD on RGDP is entirely contingent on the slope of the SRAS curve. For the millionth time, the equation MV=PY has zero monetarist implications, and that’s doubly true for the concept of nominal GDP. "
  • British Muslim Gangs and the “Chemical Jihad” - "A Taliban fighter killed this spring by NATO troops in southern Afghanistan was found to have a tattoo from the Aston Villa Football Club, indicating he may have grown up in Britain's West Midlands. It was the latest evidence that British Muslims of South Asian origin have joined the fight in Afghanistan.

    For some time, Royal Air Force spy planes have picked up radio communication between Taliban fighters who speak with thick accents from Manchester, Birmingham, West Bromwich and Bradford, all cities with large populations of British Muslims of South Asian origin.

    "But it was a shock to hear that the guys we were fighting against supported the same football clubs as us, and maybe even grew up on the same streets as us," the Telegraph newspaper quoted an unnamed British military official as saying.

    Some law enforcement officials believe the British Taliban fighters may have links to criminal gangs in Britain whose members are Muslim and who have been connected to selling heroin on British streets. At least one other captured Taliban fighter was found to have British gang tattoos on his arms, according to a western law enforcement advisor to the U.S. military, and there is evidence that various British Muslim gangs have sent fighters to Afghanistan, or sell Afghan heroin on British streets. Roughly 90 percent of the heroin sold in Britain comes from Afghanistan.

    The Gambinos, gangsters of Pakistani origin who take their name from the New York crime family, have been linked to selling Afghan heroin in north London and Luton. So have the South Man Syndicate (SMS) and the Muslim Boys (who are also known as the PDC, or Poverty Driven Children).

    "The big bosses have Taliban and al Qaeda connections and we're often told only to deal it to non-Muslims. They call it chemical jihad and hope to ruin lives while getting massive payouts at the same time," said a street dealer quoted in this British tabloid."
  • Weak Dick - "The picture that emerges is not one of a persecuted minority, but a man with a severe case of narcissistic personality disorder. If you can’t win the argument of your self-proclaimed superiority on merits, gun some people down. Unarmed people, of a preference.

    That’ll show ‘em."

33 Questions About American History You're Not Supposed to Ask

  • Little-Known Strategies to Maximize Your Social Security Benefits - "Now for a strategy that only a fraction of a fraction of Social Security beneficiaries have ever heard of! We already told you that it's smart for many people to wait until their full retirement age to start taking Social Security benefits. But what if you didn't? What if you start your benefits and change your mind? Well, most retirement decisions are hard to reverse, but this is one time you get a 'do over.' Here how it works: The Social Security Administration allows seniors who have started taking their monthly benefit to stop their benefits and start again later."
  • Major Airlines Crank Up Another Fare Hike - "Major airlines have installed the third significant fare increase in as many weeks, according to Rick Seaney, the CEO of"
  • Report: Pre-Retirees in Denial on Savings - "I expect many of these pre-retirees will start saving more soon, and this is part of the reason I expect the saving rate to increase to 8% or so over the next couple of years."
  • ACORN hard drives to be returned after data is copied by state investigators - "David Caldwell said state investigators will copy the hard drives from ACORN's computers and return them next week. The computers contain payroll information for the national organization. Caldwell noted that some computers were not taken Friday because they would have affected the agency's immediate payroll, and forced some to go without paychecks. Caldwell said investigators worked with ACORN members and will pick up those items in the near future.

    People inside and close to ACORN were angered by news last spring that Dale Rathke had taken close to $1 million from the organization, which is billed as an advocate for poor and working-class people.

    But in the subpoenas, the state attorney general's office suggested that the embezzlement may have been on the order of $5 million, and that ACORN's current CEO, Bertha Lewis, acknowledged as much at an Oct. 17, 2008 board meeting, soon after she assumed the position."
  • Needle Free Insulin Delivery from PICOSULIN - "Amy Tenderich from DiabetesMine spoke with Thierry Navarro, co-founder of PICOSULIN, a Geneva, Switzerland company developing a patch and an insulin pump with an unusually open R&D process."
  • My Thoughts on the Skype Settlement: Winners & Losers Scorecard - "The final results are in: eBay and private investors led by Silver Lake Partners have struck a deal with Skype founders and JoltID, the technology company controlled by Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. They are also transferring the ownership of intellectual property needed to make sure that Skype works as an Internet telephony service. More than 500 million Skype subscribers can breathe a sigh of relief."
  • Frank Veneroso: Employment Losses Probably Continue at a 300,000 a Month Rate - "1. According to BLS, payrolls fell at a 188,000 a month rate over the last three months. But their own household survey says employment fell at a 589,000 a month rate.

    2. Why the discrepancy?"

SoundRacer -- Make The Family Sedan Sound Like A Supercar

  • LogMeIn Central Makes Good Remote Support Products Better - "LogMeIn Central provides me with a customizable view of all of the machines that are associated with my account (currently approaching 50) and easy access to many setup and configuration options. Central is an interesting product, in that it really only exists to complement and enhance the LogMeIn tools I am already using. The distinction in functionality between Free and Pro2 accounts still exists, Central just works with these services (along with VPN product Hamachi) to make them much more functional."
  • Miracle or Child Abuse? - "However -- and perhaps this is just me here -- it seems far more likely that instead of an actual miracle, someone is maybe, y'know, writing the verses on the baby. The mother says the baby is cranky when the words appear, which (if she's being truthful) you might expect if someone is scraping or otherwise irritating the baby's skin to make the words appear. I'll note that the words fade with time, too, just as expected if this is a fraud."
  • Kindle Case Lights up for Reading in the Dark - "After reading so many books on PDAs and phones over the past years, the lack of any lighting on my Kindle2 is a bit of drag. It’s not stopping me from reading one or two novels a week, but there are times I’d like to read without the lights on. That’s were Case-Mate’s Enlighten product comes in."
  • Bloggers' Right to Free Speech and Use Anonymous Sources Questioned in New Hampshire Supreme Court - "I believe the court ruled improperly in forcing the documents to be removed from Implode-O-Meter. Moreover, I believe Aaron should be able to post all of the relevant documentation he has on The Mortgage Specialists.

    While some may consider a $725,000 fine substantial. I do not believe it was substantial enough. The sad irony in this case is that The Mortgage Specialists is fighting to shut down Implode-O-Meter, when it is The Mortgage Specialists who should be shut down.

    This case has profound implications on the right of online journal and blogs to state their case. This is both a freedom of speech case and a journalist right to protect sources case."
  • What MP3 player should I buy? - "I'm in the market for a new MP3 player -- my second-gen iPod Nano is finally dead, and I don't want to buy another iPod, or any other player with DRM built in. I figure that any company that wants to devote its engineers to figuring out how to frustrate my desires doesn't really want my business."
  • The Oregon School Bill, 1922 - "The 1920’s saw the last great wave of organized anti-Catholicism. One of the most powerful expressions of this bias was the passage of the Oregon Compulsory Education Act on this day in 1922. Known as the Oregon School Bill, on a single day in June 1922 volunteers from the Klan (seen here in a 1925 Oregon rally) and the Masonic Lodges collected enough votes to put the proposition on the ballot."
  • The Changing Selectivity of American Colleges - "In other words, students used to attend a local college regardless of their abilities and its characteristics. Now, their choices are driven far less by distance and far more by a college's resources and student body. It is the consequent re-sorting of students among colleges that has, at once, caused selectivity to rise in a small number of colleges while simultaneously causing it to fall in other colleges. I show that the integration of the market for college education has had profound implications on the peers whom college students experience, the resources invested in their education, the tuition they pay, and the subsidies they enjoy. An important finding is that, even though tuition has been rising rapidly at the most selective schools, the deal students get there has arguably improved greatly. The result is that the 'stakes' associated with admission to these colleges are much higher now than in the past." ht Marginal Revolution
  • 80 Min Exercise Per Week Prevents Visceral Weight Gain - "80 minutes per week of either aerobic or resistance training prevents any fat weight gain around the internal organs. This is good news."
  • Projects: Rebirth Of A Dresser - "This old dresser has been handed down through two generations of my family before I had it. It’s close to 50 years old and has been reworked more than once. It has no particular value save its clothes-holding properties. It has been in my bedroom for close to 30 years and it’s time for a change -- preferably to something a little less Sgt. Pepper. It was time to overhaul this piece again.
    . . .
    All that remains is to finish the trim pieces out and add a footer band, and then it’s on to hardware and stain. It’s not a bad start for a day’s worth of work but hopefully the effort and resulting bit of furniture will help ease my transgression against the furniture gods in my younger years."

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November 8, 2009 10:47 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

The Constitution of the United States, Article. IV. Section. 3.

The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription

Article. IV.
Section. 3.

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.


Hawaii, The Island State, 1959

CNN: Ron Paul on Texas Secession NEW Video
Ron Paul On Texas Secession

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tip/Wag - Texas Secession & MACA
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

Stephen Colbert

A free download of our Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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November 7, 2009 10:27 AM   Link    U.S. Constitution    Comments (0)

Glossary of Legislative Terms: "Suspend the Rules"

Suspend the Rules: Expeditious procedure for passing noncontroversial measures in the House. Requires a two-thirds vote of those present and voting, after forty minutes of debate, and does not allow floor amendments.

Congressional Deskbook

This definition is from the Glossary in our Congressional Deskbook.

Perfect reference tool of Congressional jargon and procedural terms.

Congressional Deskbook: The Practical and Comprehensive Guide to Congress, by Michael Koempel and Judy Schneider.

TheCapitol.Net offers training and a Certificate in Congressional Operations and Federal Budgeting. We show you how Washington and Congress work. TM

November 6, 2009 10:37 AM   Link    Tips and Terms    Comments (0)

Assorted Links 11/05/09

How to sell a dollar for more than a dollar

Prediction with game theory

  • Limbaugh on Third Parties - "I too get frustrated with existing parties. As long-time readers know, I transitioned from voting Democrat during the 1970s. I wasn't happy with everything the Republicans did during the Bush 41 or 43 eras and supported McCain with reluctance. Nevertheless, as things stand now politically, I side with Limbaugh on the issue of third parties."
  • What Kind of People Affiliate with Human Rights Watch’s Middle East Division? - "So there you have it. Among other Jews, Robert Bernstein, the founder, longtime president, and now critic of Human Rights Watch is not merely mistaken when he accuses HRW of anti-Israel bias, he is mistaken because he thinks Jews should be held to different, lower standards than everyone else because he thinks Jews are 'so "special."' Damn Jews just think they are better than everyone else, and should be exempt from the moral standards that the civilized Christian (Cobban is a Quaker) world adheres to. We’ve heard such sentiments before, but not generally from “human rights activists.” [And as for her bizarre reference to the 'allegedly "Jewish" state, Israel,' Noah Pollak notes that 'her writing is so sloppy that it’s impossible to discern what specific slander she has in mind.']"
  • MA Gov. Patrick: Lower State Deficit with Red Light Camera Revenue - "National Motorists Association researcher John Carr said that introduction of the legislation as part of the budget process was a sign that Patrick’s primary concern is monetary."
  • Mother of all Carry Trades Faces an Inevitable Bust - "Since March there has been a massive rally in all sorts of risky assets -- equities, oil, energy and commodity prices -- a narrowing of high-yield and high-grade credit spreads, and an even bigger rally in emerging market asset classes (their stocks, bonds and currencies). At the same time, the dollar has weakened sharply, while government bond yields have gently increased but stayed low and stable.
    . . .
    So what is behind this massive rally? Certainly it has been helped by a wave of liquidity from near-zero interest rates and quantitative easing. But a more important factor fuelling this asset bubble is the weakness of the US dollar, driven by the mother of all carry trades. The US dollar has become the major funding currency of carry trades as the Fed has kept interest rates on hold and is expected to do so for a long time. Investors who are shorting the US dollar to buy on a highly leveraged basis higher-yielding assets and other global assets are not just borrowing at zero interest rates in dollar terms; they are borrowing at very negative interest rates -- as low as negative 10 or 20 per cent annualised -- as the fall in the US dollar leads to massive capital gains on short dollar positions."
  • Curious Meeting at Treasury Department - "Four of us had a drink afterward and none of us felt that we learned anything (not that we expected to per se; if the ground rules are “not for attribution” in an official setting, we are certainly not going to be told anything new or juicy). But my feeling, and it seemed to be shared, was that we bloggers and the government officials kept talking past each other, in that one of us would ask a question, the reply would leave the questioner or someone in the audience unsatisfied, there might be a follow up question (either same person or someone interested), get another responsive-sounding but not really answer, and then another person would get the floor. The fact that the social convention of no individual hogging air time meant that no one could follow a particular line of inquiry very far.

    My bottom line is that the people we met are very cognitively captured, assuming one can take their remarks at face value. Although they kept stressing all the things that had changed or they were planning to change, the polite pushback from pretty all the attendees was that what Treasury thought of as major progress was insufficient. It was instructive to observe that Tyler Cowen, who is on the other side of the ideological page from yours truly, had pretty much the same concerns as your humble blogger does."
  • The Coming Collapse of the Municipal Bond Market - "A money manager friend showed me an interesting research report by Frederick J. Sheehan titled “Dark Vision: The Coming Collapse of the Municipal Bond Market. This is a product of and available only to subscribers, but I will summarize it here.

    Sheehan starts off by noting that a lack of panic by the ratings and government agencies does not indicate health for a financial market. He cites the fact that the Fed did not anticipate how bad the subprime collapse was likely to be and obviously the Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s ratings were ridiculous.

    Sheehan notes that “spending is rising and revenue is collapsing” for all levels of government. Pension fund losses will require governments to double their contributions to pension plans (see my blog posting on public employee pensions). Spending is rising, e.g., in New York City from an average of $65,401 in compensation per public employee in 2000 to $106,743 in 2009. The number of full-time employees in NYC grew as well, despite falling school enrollment. The number of state and local government workers grew from 4 million in 1955 to 20 million in 2008 (5x growth, against less than 2X growth in U.S. population). Those workers receive an average of 43 percent more pay and benefits than a private sector worker.
    . . .
    Barring some sort of miraculous boom in the economy and pension fund investment returns, state and local governments are headed for insolvency and default. This means that valuing a municipal bond becomes a matter for a legal expert rather than an accountant."
  • The creeping power grab by the executive branch and Federal Reserve - "The power grab at the Federal Reserve is a topic I first broached back in February when the Federal Reserve was creating its alphabet soup of liquidity programs to pull us back from the brink of financial disaster. I was troubled about Fed policy then and I am still troubled today.

    I am equally disturbed by what is happening in shift in the balance of power to the executive branch. The Obama Administration seems to be following in the footsteps of the Bush Administration and making its own power grab and Congress has only just begun to wake up to this and start to push back.

    At the risk of making this post overly broad, I want to make a few general comments about how executive power in government operates before I take on the specifics of the cases at hand. Everyone who has studied political science is aware that dictators and oligarchies use crises to invoke fear that allows them to usurp power using the cloak of ‘national security’ as a Trojan horse to consolidate power."
  • The Periodic Table of Finance Bloggers - "Everyone listed on The Periodic Table of Finance Bloggers has either inspired, educated or entertained me in some way, so I figured I’d return the favor. I should note that the numbering of these blogs is no way a ranking system (if it was, I’d have to decide whether or not my site goes on the top or bottom!)"

Palindromic Video

  • Top 15 Franchise Failures - "One third are pizza restaurants. Hence, this wise advice:"
  • Q&A: Thinking About Opening a Restaurant? Think Twice. - "I had somebody approach me who had a very good job with a major company and an MBA from a prestigious university. I looked at him and asked, 'Is your career in danger?' He said, 'No, but I’ve always loved food. I love to cook. I love to have parties.' I told him to invite 20 friends over, throw a great dinner party, and then take a stack of $100 bills and burn them one by one. It will be fun--and cheaper than opening a restaurant."
  • 14 Ways a Notebook in Your Pocket Can Save You Money - "Aside from the fact that I’m able to use the notebook to write down my ideas -- my career’s bread and butter -- a pocket notebook constantly comes in handy for many other financial reasons as well. (FYI, I usually just keep a simple small Mead reporter’s notebook in my pocket, along with a good pen that doesn’t run out of ink.) Here are fourteen ways I use that notebook to directly save money."
  • Dolphin markets in everything, Gresham's Law edition - "So how would dolphin bimetallism work?"
  • Anniversary Celebration - "Anti-regime activists in Tehran chose the 30th anniversary of the US embassy seizure there to take to the streets:
    . . .
    Hope ≠ Strategy."

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Bob

Raving grace

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November 5, 2009 10:27 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

The Constitution of the United States, Article. IV. Section. 2.

The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription

Article. IV.
Section. 2.

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.


News story about extradition of Andrew Anthony Guerrero, charged In Kansas City, Kansas

A free download of our Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

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November 4, 2009 08:07 AM   Link    U.S. Constitution    Comments (0)

FREE Pocket Constitution and FREE pocket version of Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"

In addition to the Pocket Constitution, we also now have a pocket version of Thomas Paine's "Common Sense."

While supplies last, single copies are free and bulk orders are reasonably priced. Please see the web pages for details.

Pocket Constitution
A free download of our Pocket Constitution is available on Scribd.

Common Sense by Thomas Paine
A free download of our Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" is available on Scribd.

November 3, 2009 06:07 PM   Link    Publications ~   U.S. Constitution    Comments (0)

November - December 2009 Legislative, Communication, and Media Training from TheCapitol.Net

November - December 2009 Legislative, Communication, and Media Training from TheCapitol.Net

Our latest email update:

If you don't have time to attend our live training, see our Capitol Learning Audio Courses.

TheCapitol.Net, Inc.
>> We help you understand Washington and Congress TM
>> Non-partisan training and publications that show how Washington works. TM

November 3, 2009 12:37 PM   Link    Training    Comments (0)

Persuasive Writing course in Washington, DC, November 13, 2009

Writing to Persuade

Hone Your Persuasive Writing Skills

Designed for attorneys, advocates, lobbyists, and anyone who must persuade others using the written word.

Do you suffer from "writer's block" when you are asked to draft a one-page document, such as a position paper, in a clear, cogent, yet persuasive manner? If your answer is "yes", this one-day program is for you. Our instructors will give you a practical framework for persuasive writing and specific strategies for writing persuasive documents through instruction and hands-on exercises.

This program will help you better write any document where you must persuade others.

When: November 13, 2009, 9 am to 4 pm

Where: DC Bar Conference Center, 1101 K Street NW, Suite 200 (12th and K Streets NW), Washington, DC (McPherson Square Metro station)

For more information, including secure online registration, see

November 3, 2009 08:07 AM   Link    Training    Comments (0)

Assorted Links 11/02/09

Rubber Bands
"The world is a jiggling mess."

Paranormal Legislative Activity?

  • Dollar Suicide - "It wasn't Colonel Mustard in the library with the candelabra. And contrary to recent press reports, it wasn't Prince Alwaleed in the desert with a cartel. It was, in fact, Dr. Bernanke in the temple with the printing press. And since Dr. Bernanke is, in effect, the dollar incarnate -- the walking embodiment of the soundness of our currency -- if the dollar does die, it will not have been murder. It will have been suicide."
  • Oregon Tries Claiming Copyright Over Gov't Materials Again - "Yes. A government official claiming copyright over a document on the public record. Wonderful. Carl Malamud is trying to get the Attorney General to issue an opinion that such things will not be covered by copyright. But, again, can anyone provide any good reason why any government document should be covered by copyright?"
  • Escape from New York (and California, Illinois, NJ, and Michigan) - "High taxes and housing costs, regulations and the growth of government at all levels in New York, California, and New Jersey have bankrupted these states not only of their revenues, but of their most valuable asset -- their people."
  • A Graphic History of Newspaper Circulation Over the Last Two Decades - "we've taken chunks of data for the major newspapers, going back to 1990, and graphed it, so you can see what's actually happened to newspaper circulation."
  • Cartoon: "Trying to Reinflate the Bounce House"
  • Why Are Swedish Meatballs So Much Smaller Than Their American Counterparts? - "The Hansonian take is that meatballs are an important cultural symbol and the size of the American meatball is a signal. To understand Swedish meatballs, think ABBA with pork."
  • "Cultural Values" - "Another attempted 'honor' killing, this time in Arizona. Two women in hospital, one with life-threatening injuries. Their crime? According to the younger girl's father, she was becoming too 'westernized'.
    . . .
    This would be a less ludicrous argument if Mr Almaleki hadn't run down his daughter in a Jeep Grand Cherokee. It's all a bit culture à la carte, isn't it? Infidel motor vehicles, fine. Infidel guarantees on individual rights, no way."
  • All Falling Down . . . - "Integral to public debt are two eternal truths: a public demands of the state ever more subsidies, and those who pay for them shrink in number as they seek to avoid the increased burden."
  • Cracks Appearing in Law Firm Associate Model: - "Or, as the headline in the Philadelphia Business Journal has it: 'Reed Smith’s New Personnel Policy Allows it to Ditch Automatic Pay Raises.' Now that’s getting to the heart of the matter!"
  • Firebowls, Copyright And Crowdfunding (Oh My) - "So, without copyright, what can Unger do? Well, he's actually already doing it. He put up a site that points out that Wittrig copies him, get lots of attention for it, and a lot more people now know about these kinds of decorative firebowls. My guess is that Unger is suddenly selling a lot more than he was before -- and that'll be true whether or not Wittrig gets the copyrights tossed out. And, in the meantime, having Wittrig around as competition should be good for Unger, pushing him to continue innovating and coming up with new designs."
  • The Lordlings - "The bipartisan urge to tax and spend has become an addiction. And amazingly enough, the addicted think the music will never stop."
  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Gmail Inbox - "With the Iranian nuclear scandal hitting the world press, we decided to take a look into Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Gmail inbox. And this is what we found."

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
William Kamkwamba
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

William Kamkwamba

  • Friday's tax-funded presentation - "You might be interested to hear what happened at yesterday's Capitol Hill presentation of the political science study you paid for -- the one promoted as a way of helping your congressman boost his approval rating by up to 18 points using Internet town halls.

    The study, funded in part by the National Science Founation and conducted by a non-profit called the Congressional Management Foundation, drew mostly unremarkable conclusions. It found that Internet town halls are easy to hold and increase political participation. Most importantly, it found that they make voters more likely to agree with, like, and vote for their members after they participate in one.
    . . .
    I was not allowed to attend yesterday's presentation. When I tried, I was informed that it was for staff and members only. But a staffer who was there tells me over the phone that it was entertaining. For example, when asked whether his study had diverted National Science Foundation grant money away from the study of a cure for cancer, the presenter choked up and talked about his friend's daughter who has leukemia.

    When he was asked whether Internet town halls had any impact on politicians’ understanding of constituents’ points of view, the presenter admitted that the study had not even considered that question."
  • Rotator cuff injury - "Rotator cuff injury symptoms may include:

    * Pain and tenderness in your shoulder, especially when reaching overhead, reaching behind your back, lifting, pulling or sleeping on the affected side

    * Shoulder weakness

    * Loss of shoulder range of motion

    * Inclination to keep your shoulder inactive"
  • Quote of the Day: In The Long Run We’re All Dead Edition - "New GM’s October sales numbers are about to hit the screens, and it ain’t gonna be pretty. GM’s first full financial report will emerge thereafter; the hard numbers on the company’s cash burn will trigger major mainstream media alarms and raise fresh (stale?) questions about GM’s viability."
  • Guest Post: Chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University Says Politicians Are NOT Prostitutes … They Are Pimps - "Specifically, as the chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University (Donald J. Boudreaux) points out:

    Real whores, after all, personally supply the services their customers seek. Prostitutes do not steal; their customers pay them voluntarily. And their customers pay only with money belonging to these customers.

    In contrast, members of Congress routinely truck and barter with other people’s property…

    Members of Congress are less like whores than they are like pimps for persons unwillingly conscripted to perform unpleasant services."
  • "Strategic Defaults" a Mortgage Broker Comments on Fear and Shame Tactics - "I also tell them the consequences of walking away. Like the article said, a foreclosure will stay on your credit report for 10 years. However, if you walk away it will only be 3 years before you can buy a home again. (It used to be 2 years but Fannie, Freddie, and the FHA made it longer to discourage people from walking away.)

    I tell them if they choose to walk away they need to make sure they have a decent car, and at least one credit card. The reason for the car is that it may be hard to get a decent rate on a car loan for a while if they have a recent foreclosure, and the credit card is needed to help you re-establish your credit after the foreclosure. One of the biggest mistakes people make after a bankruptcy or foreclosure is not re-establishing their credit."
  • SAPPHIC SAUDIS: A review of "Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia," by Rovert Lacey - "On many levels Robert Lacey has written a highly accomplished book which should go into the bags of anyone who has to travel to the kingdom. It still did not make me want to go there."

Camorra assassin escapes as Naples looks the other way

  • How to improve basketball - "fans seem to prefer basketball seasons with a dominant player (Jordan) or perhaps a dominant match-up (the old Lakers vs. Celtics rivalries). For the season as a whole, we don't seem to want too much suspense. Does suspense distract us?"
  • Little X-Plane Pushes Bottom Edge of the Envelope - "Flight test programs at Edwards Air Force Base and NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center usually are off-limits to outsiders, but we got a peek at one of its coolest programs, the X-48B, when the Air Force recently threw open the gates for an open house.

    The X-48B is the latest in a long line of experimental X-planes, and the joint venture between NASA and Boeing’s Phantom Works is unlike most that came before. The blended wing-body aircraft isn’t some sort of sierra hotel fighter jet, it doesn’t have a pilot on board and it’s not even full-size. Despite being an unmanned scale model, the test pilots who fly it say all the challenges of experimental flight are still there."
  • How to Carry Your Office on a Stick (USB Flash Drive) - "As USB flash drives continue to get faster and provide increasing amounts of storage capacity, you can use them for more than just backing up files and documents. You can actually run a ton of applications right from your flash drive, which can come in handy when you’re on the road outside your office or home. There are some popular suites of flash drive apps, such as PortableApps, which we’ve covered before. There recently announced freeware portable apps for popular packages such as Google Chrome, Skype and even uTorrent. However, PortableApps is not the only game in town these days."
  • Policy Lessons from the Great Depression - "I had wondered whether Keynes had had much influence on administration policies during the depression since The General Theory came too late. Even though he had earlier influential books, I gather not. My favorite part of Amity’s book was when she describes a meeting that Keynes had with President Roosevelt on May 28, 1934, lasting fifty-eight minutes, about the time of a class-room lecture. Both Keynes and Roosevelt indicated that the meeting did not go well."
  • How you too can be a computer expert! - "Please print this flowchart out and tape it near your screen. Congratulations; you're now the local computer expert!"
  • Anti-vaccine fear versus science - "Amy Wallace's Wired feature, 'An Epidemic of Fear: How Panicked Parents Skipping Shots Endangers Us All' looks at the life and times of Paul Offit, vaccine inventor and advocate, and the anti-vaccine pseudo-science he battles as he attempts to convince parents not to give in to fear and disinformation, and to follow the science that will keep their kids safe.
      This isn’t a religious dispute, like the debate over creationism and intelligent design. It’s a challenge to traditional science that crosses party, class, and religious lines.
  • One of the many reasons I couldn't have been a fashion designer - "'The 2009 International Best-Dressed List'. With an exception or two I think most of these get-ups are at best unattactive and at worse downright hideous. Mme. Sarkozy looks good."
  • The Ph.D. Problem: On the professionalization of faculty life, doctoral training, and the academy’s self-renewal - "Since it is the system that ratifies the product--ipso facto, no one outside the community of experts is qualified to rate the value of the work produced within it--the most important function of the system is not the production of knowledge. It is the reproduction of the system. To put it another way, the most important function of the system, both for purposes of its continued survival and for purposes of controlling the market for its products, is the production of the producers. The academic disciplines effectively monopolize (or attempt to monopolize) the production of knowledge in their fields, and they monopolize the production of knowledge producers as well. This is why, for example, you cannot take a course in the law (apart from legal history) outside a law school. In fact, law schools urge applicants to major in areas outside the law. They say that this makes lawyers well-rounded, but it also helps to ensure that future lawyers will be trained only by other lawyers. It helps lawyers retain a monopoly on knowledge of the law.
    . . .
    In order to raise the prominence of research in their institutional profile, schools began adding doctoral programs. Between 1945 and 1975, the number of American undergraduates increased 500 percent, but the number of graduate students increased by nearly 900 percent. On the one hand, a doctorate was harder to get; on the other, it became less valuable because the market began to be flooded with Ph.D.s.

    This fact registered after 1970, when the rapid expansion of American higher education abruptly slowed to a crawl, depositing on generational shores a huge tenured faculty and too many doctoral programs churning out Ph.D.s.
    . . .
    It is unlikely that the opinions of the professoriate will ever be a true reflection of the opinions of the public; and, in any case, that would be in itself an unworthy goal. Fostering a greater diversity of views within the professoriate is a worthy goal, however. The evidence suggests that American higher education is going in the opposite direction. Professors tend increasingly to think alike because the profession is increasingly self-selected. The university may not explicitly require conformity on more than scholarly matters, but the existing system implicitly demands and constructs it."

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November 2, 2009 08:07 AM   Link    Comments (0)

Local Commercials

I Love Local Commercials

Cullman Liquidation Center

TDM Auto Sales

Bobby Denning Furniture, Appliance, Auction, Realty & Auction, Lawn Equipment, Scooters, Community Building Rental, General Contracting, Mini Storage, and Auto Sales
The do not own the Chinese Restaurant , or, amazingly, the Coin Laundry
Markets in Everything....

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November 1, 2009 07:47 PM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)

Arlington vs. Fairfax vs Tyson - "I have a bad feeling about this"

Arlington - The Rap

Fairfax Rap (Response to the Arlington Rap)

Tyson Rap
"Everyone's got a plan til they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson

I have a bad feeling about this

Here is the latest on Tysons redevelopment:
    Remaking Tysons Corner into the second city of Washington will take a lot more than a new Metro line and a downtown of tightly clustered buildings designed for walking. It will take almost $15 billion in new roads and public transportation.

Rein's "OMG $15 billion" Tysons costs include transportation far from Tysons
(from the comments)

Journalists and math often don't go well together.

November 1, 2009 11:27 AM   Link    Caught Our Eye    Comments (0)