Assorted Links 6/11/10


Battleship Island & Other Ruined Urban High-Density Sites

  • Wi-Fi Classroom – How to Find, Track, and Monitor Congressional Documents: Going Beyond Thomas, June 24, 2010
  • Wi-Fi Classroom – How to Research and Compile Legislative Histories: Searching for Legislative Intent, June 25, 2010
  • Drafting Effective Federal Legislation and Amendments, July 21, 2010
  • Preparing and Delivering Congressional Testimony, July 22, 2010
  • Advanced Federal Budget Process, August 2-3, 2010
  • Advanced Legislative Strategies, August 4-6, 2010
  • Mark Twain on Copyright – “Remarks of Samuel Langhorne Clemens Before the Congressional Joint Committee on Patents, December, 1906 (Mark Twain on Copyright)”
  • Persuading Congress: Candid Advice for Executives – “Persuading Congress, by Joseph Gibson, is a very practical book, packed with wisdom and experience in a deceptively short and simple package.

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

  • Impact of Decennial Census on Unemployment Rate – “My estimate was that the 2010 Census would add 417,000 payroll jobs in May; the actual was 411,000 payroll jobs.

    My preliminary estimate is the Census will subtract 200,000 payroll jobs in June – and most of the remaining temporary Census jobs (564,000 total in May) will be unwound by September.”

  • Baltimore Police Officer Fires 13 Shots, Kills Unarmed Man – “An off-duty Baltimore police officer and a former Marine had a disagreement about the Marine’s advances toward the officer’s girlfriend. The officer ended it with thirteen rounds fired from his service pistol, six hitting the Marine and killing him. Baltimore police have confirmed that the Marine was unarmed. The officer refused a breathalyzer at the scene. (HT Instapundit)

    It gets better. The officer was involved in another shooting five years ago, which was determined to have been justified, but the officer was disciplined… for being intoxicated.
    . . .
    Of course, anyone recording the exchange that led to the shooting could be prosecuted for a felony under Maryland’s wiretapping law. Just ask Anthony Graber.”

  • The education of Peter Beinart – “Perhaps you haven’t paid attention that in the last 25 years, since this older generation has faded, you’ve seen the growth of Islamic extremism on a global scale, much of it aimed at Israel. And they are not so much interested in the territories, as such. They are interested in the very existence of Israel, as they openly state. So I don’t see how you can dismiss the sea of hostility. It’s in front of your face every day. It’s not the professors at the Sorbonne and it’s not The New York Review of Books that we’re talking about. It’s Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran and Syria and Islamic extremists from one end of the globe to the other.

    So you’re talking about a very deeply threatened country. It’s not threatened because of one policy or another or the personality of Bibi Netanyahu or any other single thing. The pro-Israel organizations — I worked for one, AIPAC, for 23 years, I ought to know — see themselves as part of an activist effort to fight against that tidal wave.”

  • U.S. Intelligence Analyst Arrested in Wikileaks Video Probe – “Federal officials have arrested an Army intelligence analyst who boasted of giving classified U.S. combat video and hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records to whistleblower site Wikileaks, Wired.com has learned.

    SPC Bradley Manning, 22, of Potomac, Maryland, was stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer, 40 miles east of Baghdad, where he was arrested nearly two weeks ago by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. A family member says he’s being held in custody in Kuwait, and has not been formally charged.

    Manning was turned in late last month by a former computer hacker with whom he spoke online. In the course of their chats, Manning took credit for leaking a headline-making video of a helicopter attack that Wikileaks posted online in April. The video showed a deadly 2007 U.S. helicopter air strike in Baghdad that claimed the lives of several innocent civilians.

    He said he also leaked three other items to Wikileaks: a separate video showing the notorious 2009 Garani air strike in Afghanistan that Wikileaks has previously acknowledged is in its possession; a classified Army document evaluating Wikileaks as a security threat, which the site posted in March; and a previously unreported breach consisting of 260,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables that Manning described as exposing ‘almost criminal political back dealings.’

    ‘Hillary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public,’ Manning wrote.”

  • Ninja Bureaucrats on the Loose – “Quinn Hillyer has an excellent piece at the Washington Times highlighting the simultaneously farcical and frightening use of armed agents in enforcing suspected regulatory violations.
      ”The government,” wrote 50-year-old Denise Simon, “is too big to fight.” With those words, in a note to her 17-year-old son, Adam, she explained why she was committing suicide (via carbon monoxide) three days after 10 visibly armed IRS agents in bulletproof vests had stormed her home on Nov. 6, 2007, in search of evidence of tax evasion. Her 10-year-old daughter, Rachel, was there with Simon when the agents stormed in.

      “I cannot live in terror of being accused of things I did not do,” she wrote to Adam. To the rest of the world, in a separate suicide note, she wrote: “I am currently a danger to my children. I am bringing armed officers into their home. I am compelled to distance myself from them for their safety.”

    The IRS is not the lone culprit. The EPA, National Park Service, Small Business Administration and even the Railroad Retirement Board have acquired a taste for tactical enforcement of administrative sanctions.”

  • ObamaCare’s Defenders to the Public: Trust Us, You Really Like This Law! – “Before the Affordable Care Act passed, many of its supporters argued that, despite the law’s not-so-great poll numbers, passing it would give the president a popularity boost, and the law would become more popular over time. It was a public policy version of the “try it, you’ll like it” argument that parents use to get finnicky kids to eat weird casseroles. But it didn’t seem likely at the time, and, sure enough, it turns out there was no bounce for Obama. Similarly, most polls since passage show that the law’s popularity has not improved, and slightly more people still dislike it than like it. In fact, Rassmussen (which is an outlier amongst pollsters), says the law has become less popular since passage, though its numbers also show opposition receding slightly in recent weeks.
    . . .
    And at this point, I suspect it will be more difficult to defend the law than before it was passed. Since its passage, bad news has continued to pile up, and many the claims made about it have become increasingly difficult to maintain. We’ve already seen reports that the total cost will be more than expected, that the administration isn’t hitting its deadlines, that it won’t bring overall health care spending down, that some health insurance premiums will probably rise, that Medicare benefits for many seniors are scheduled to go on the chopping block, that it will strain emergency rooms, and that employers expect medical costs to rise and are looking at dropping millions from their health care plans–all of which is to say that what the law’s advocates sold to the public isn’t quite what they delivered. If protecting the public from distortions and misrepresentations is really what these folks hope to do, maybe they ought to start with their own side.”
  • Report: More than 1,400 former lawmakers, Hill staffers are financial lobbyists – “Even for Washington, the revolving door between government and Wall Street spins at a dizzying pace. More than 1,400 former members of Congress, Capitol Hill staffers or federal employees registered as lobbyists on behalf of the financial services sector since the start of 2009, according to an exhaustive new study issued Thursday.

    The analysis by two nonpartisan groups, Public Citizen and the Center for Responsive Politics, found that the “small army” of financial lobbyists included at least 73 former lawmakers and 148 ex-staffers connected to the House or Senate banking committees. More than 40 former Treasury Department employees also ply their trade as lobbyists for Wall Street firms, the study found.”

  • Verizon Strives to Close iPhone Gap – “‘The carrier model is an established model,’ Google Android chief Andy Rubin said in an interview. ‘Consumers can walk in off the street and put their hands on a device and feel it. When you’re choosing among three devices, it’s best to use them side by side, and that’s something you can’t do on the Web.'”

    Doh!

  • California: Appellate Decision Strikes Down Red Light Camera Evidence – “Appellate courts in California are becoming increasingly upset at the conduct of cities and photo enforcement vendors. On May 21, a three-judge panel of the California Superior Court, Appellate Division, in Orange County tossed out a red light camera citation in the city of Santa Ana in a way that calls into question the legitimacy of the way red light camera trials are conducted statewide. Previously, a string of brief, unpublished decisions struck at illegal contracts, insufficient notice and other deficiencies. This time, however, the appellate division produced a ten-page ruling and certified it for publication, setting a precedent that applies to the county’s three million residents.
    . . .
    ‘The photographs contain hearsay evidence concerning the matters depicted in the photograph including the date, time and other information,’ the ruling summarized. ‘The person who entered that relevant information into the camera-computer system did not testify. The person who entered that information was not subject to being cross-examined on the underlying source of that information. The person or persons who maintain the system did not testify. No one with personal knowledge testified about how often the system is maintained. No one with personal knowledge testified about how often the date and time are verified or corrected. The custodian of records for the company that contracts with the city to maintain, monitor, store and disperse these photographs did not testify. The person with direct knowledge of the workings of the camera-computer system did not testify.'”
  • Repeal the 17th Amendment? – “Quick, what’s the 17th Amendment? Good on you if you didn’t need a lifeline: It’s the one that mandated direct election of senators, instead of having them appointed by state legislatures.”

    17th Amendment

  • Taliban hang 7-year-old boy accused of being a spy, suicide bomber kills 40 at Afghanistan wedding – “A 7-year-old boy accused of being a spy was hanged by Taliban militants, according to published reports Thursday.

    The child was allegedly put on trial by the militant group and later found guilty of working for Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s government, reports the Daily Mail.

    Karzai called the act a ‘crime against humanity.’

    ‘I don’t think there’s a crime bigger than that that even the most inhuman forces on earth can commit,’ Karzai said.

    The child was publicly hanged in the Taliban stronghold of Helmand province, a local official told The Associated Press.

    ‘A 7-year-old boy cannot be a spy,’ Karzai added. ‘A 7-year-old boy cannot be anything but a seven-year-old boy, and therefore hanging or shooting to kill a seven-year-old boy… is a crime against humanity.'”

  • Democrats not only party in trough with Blago – “Those foreign correspondents covering the corruption trial of our former Gov. Dead Meat are sending dispatches back East, warning of a big problem for the Democrats.

    According to common wisdom, Republicans are ready to hop on Dead Meat’s back, whomp him with a stick and ride to power just as fast as you can say Rod Blagojevich.

    Except for one thing.

    It was that photograph shown to the jury on Wednesday, during the first day of testimony by Lon Monk, the admittedly corrupt former chief of staff to Blagojevich.

    The photograph was of a large-headed, middle-aged man half smiling through an open mouth. He’s no Democrat.

    ‘That’s Bob Kjellander (pronounced $hell-an-der),’ said Monk from the witness stand. ‘He’s a lobbyist and head of the Illinois Republican Party.’

    Kjellander was a de facto Illinois Republican boss who’d gone national as treasurer of the Republican National Committee. He’s also a buddy of former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove.”


Misconceptions about Israel on the college campus


Jihad on US campuses


16-yr old “Daniel” confronts lion’s den of haters to stand for the honor of Israel

  • Genetic Evidence Shows Common Origins of Jews – “I don’t think that Zionism, etc., depends on whether Jews really have common genetic origins or not, anymore than Palestinian identity is any more or less real depending on whether, as some claim, a large percentage of “Palestinian Arabs” had immigrated rather recently from other countries in the Middle East. But I do think that manipulating history for ideological purposes is bad…”
  • Rabbi Receives Death Threats Over Helen Thomas Video – “The New York rabbi who videotaped veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas telling Jews to ‘get the hell out of Palestine’ says he has received numerous death threats and thousands of pieces of hate mail in the days since Thomas’ abrupt retirement.

    Rabbi David Nesenoff said he is facing an ‘overload’ of threatening e-mails calling for a renewed Holocaust and targeting his family — a barrage of hate he said he planned to report to the police on Wednesday.

    ‘This ticker tape keeps coming in,’ Nesenoff told FoxNews.com. ‘We got one specific one saying, ‘We’re going to kill the Jews; watch your back.”

    Nesenoff said he was shocked not only by Thomas’ original remarks — which he called anti-Semitic — but by the wave of insults and threats he has received since his videotape brought about her public shaming and the end of her 50-year career at the White House.

    ‘This is something that I thought was a couple of people here or there, [but] it’s mainstream and it’s frightening,” the Long Island rabbi said. ‘[Thomas] is just a little cherry on top of this huge, huge sundae of hate in America.'”

    To see a few samples of the email being sent to Rabbi Nesenoff, see his web site at RabbiLive.com. Wonder how many of the death-threat haters are in violation of the terms of service (ToS) of their ISPs and email providers….

  • Hebrew origin of Palestinians theory – “According to [Tsvi] Misinai, unlike the ancestors of the modern day Jews who were city dwellers to a large extent, the Hebrew ancestors of the Palestinians were rural dwellers, and were allowed to remain in the land of Israel to work the land and supply Rome with grain and olive oil. As a result of remaining in the Land of Israel, the Palestinians partially converted to Christianity during the Byzantine era. Later, with the coming of Islam, they were Islamized through a combination of conversions, mostly forced conversions, mainly to avoid dhimmi status and less frequently out of genuine conviction.

    Conversion to Islam occurred both in large numbers and progressively throughout the successive periods of foreign elite minority rule over Palestine, starting with the various dynasties of Arabian Muslim rulers from the initial Muslim conquest of Palestine”

  • Kaifeng Jews – “According to historical records, a Jewish community lived in Kaifeng from at least the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127) until the late nineteenth century and Kaifeng was Northern Song’s capital. It is surmised that the ancestors of the Kaifeng Jews came from Central Asia. It is also reported that in 1163 Ustad Leiwei was given charge of the religion (Ustad means teacher in Persian), and that they built a synagogue surrounded by a study hall, a ritual bath, a communal kitchen, a kosher butchering facility, and a sukkah.

    During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), a Ming emperor conferred seven surnames upon the Jews, by which they are identifiable today: Ai, Shi, Gao, Jin, Li, Zhang, and Zhao. Interestingly, two of these: Jin and Shi are the equivalent of common Jewish names in the west: Gold and Stone.

    The existence of Jews in China was unknown to Europeans until 1605, when Matteo Ricci, then established in Beijing, was visited by a Jew from Kaifeng, who had come to Beijing to take examinations for his jinshi degree.”

  • My favorite things *Modern Principles* (Cowen and Tabarrok) – “Here are a few of my favorite things Modern Principles:

    1. It has the most thorough treatment of the interconnectedness of markets and the importance of the price system; most texts only pay lip service to this.

    2. It is the most Hayekian of the texts on micro theory without in any way ignoring the importance of externalities, public goods and other challenges to markets.
    . . .
    10. The financial crisis was written into the core of the book, rather than being absent or treated as an add-on. This means for instance plenty of coverage of financial intermediation and asset price bubbles.

    11. The book’s blog, a teaching tool with lots of videos, powerpoints and other ideas for keeping teaching exciting, is lots of fun and updated regularly (FYI, this is a great resource for any instructor of economics.)”

  • Peter Suderman on Helen Thomas and the FTC’s Push to Reinvent Journalism – “Helen Thomas wasn’t celebrated as a journalist so much as a monument to journalism’s historical legacy. She kept her front-row seat, her column, and her steady stream of awards for no reason other than she always had. And the reverence she inspired had little to do with her work and far more to do with the political media’s sense of institutional self-importance. Thomas wasn’t a very good writer, but she was a living symbol of a media age past–and the press corps couldn’t let her go.

    These days, journalists have successfully inculcated a similar sense of sentimental reverence for the media in the federal government. As the media transitions into the digital age and old business models look increasingly shaky, both the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission are investigating how the government can prop up journalistic institutions edging past their prime. And, writes Associate Editor Peter Suderman, the spirit that drove Washington’s press corps to endlessly celebrate Helen Thomas despite her thoroughly mediocre output is the same one driving these agencies’ efforts.”

  • Wheat Ridge High School Class of 1970 – “The reonion committee is working away planning the 40th reunion the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. Wheat Ridge, Colorado WRHS1970.com”
  • Common Market Food Co-op – “Common Market Food Co-op was a ‘new wave food co-op’ located at 1329 California Street in Denver, Colorado, from 1975 – 1980. It started as a buying club at the University of Denver in the early 1970s, and for a few years prior to moving to the old Safeway at 13th and California Streets, Common Market operated out of a small storefront on Champa Street.”
  • An 800-Pound Gorilla? Google Gets Into Case Law Search – “Even so, I am lulled into complacency by the simple fact that Google does what it does so well. So it is with Google’s entry into case law research with its recent announcement that Google Scholar, http://scholar.google.com, now allows users to search full-text legal opinions from U.S. federal and state appellate and trial courts.

    Even before the cases were added, Google Scholar was a useful research tool for lawyers. It allows researchers to search a broad selection of scholarly books and articles, including law journals, drawn from the web and from academic and library collections.

    But case law takes Scholar to a whole new level of usefulness. As you would expect from Google, the search interface is simple and familiar. Enter any name, word or phrase and hit ‘search.’ The default search covers all of Scholar’s collection of federal and state cases and law review articles.

    An advanced search page lets you tailor your search more precisely. You can specify words and phrases to include and exclude and set a date range. You can choose to search just federal cases, just a single state’s cases or across multiple states. Searching multiple states requires you to check a box for each state, so if you want to search a significant number of states, you’ll have a lot of checking to do.”


Crazy underwater base jump
In Dean’s Blue Hole

  • Phone 4 vs. the smartphone elite: EVO 4G, N8, Pre Plus, and HD2 – “You might be surprised by some of the results — and sorry, RIM, you don’t get to play until you bring some fresh, media-heavy hardware to the table.”
  • Should I Buy an iPhone 4? – “The one question Apple never answers at keynotes—their opinion is implicit—is always the most pertinent: Should I buy this new thing? Here’s a simple guide:

    Steve Jobs lobbed a few surprises today, but the majority of iPhone 4’s new features were established back when we published it in April, and when Apple showed the world OS 4 (now known as iOS). Now as it was then, it’s an impressive piece of hardware—but is it worth your money?
    . . .
    So, Who Should Buy an iPhone 4?
    The answer is actually pretty simple: If you’re eligible for the advertised prices of $199 and $299, don’t mind signing up for another two years with AT&T, and don’t have any anxiety about Android’s rate of progress leaving your iPhone 4 feeling behind the curve, it’s a recommended buy, especially if you’re currently using a 3G.

    But it’s hard to swallow at higher prices, and compared the the 3GS, the upgrades feel kind of marginal. For the 3GS user trapped in limbo, waiting for his contract to come to an end, take comfort at just how fast the world (read: Android) is moving and that you’re not losing out on too much by waiting.”

  • Five Best Web-Based Conferencing Tools – “Increasingly sophisticated but inexpensive webcams, microphones, and speedier broadband make web-based conferencing more economical and attractive than ever. Here’s a look at five excellent solutions for web-based conferencing.”
  • The Step-by-Step Guide to Digitizing Your Life – “Your increasingly digital lifestyle has left your analog media collecting dust. Save it from obsolescence and digitize your life.

    This guide covers many different kinds of media, so feel free to skip to the section(s) that interest you the most:

      1. Paper

      2. Images

      3. Audio

      4. Video

      5. Storage and Organization

  • Microsoft, Apple Ship Big Security Updates – “In its largest patch push so far this year, Microsoft today released 10 security updates to fix at least 34 security vulnerabilities in its Windows operating system and software designed to run on top of it. Separately, Apple has shipped another version of Safari for both Mac and Windows PCs that plugs some four dozen security holes in the Web browser.

    Microsoft assigned three of the updates covering seven vulnerabilities a ‘critical’ rating, meaning they can be exploited to help attackers break into vulnerable systems with no help from users. At least 14 of the flaws fixed in this month’s patch batch are in Microsoft Excel, and another eight relate to Windows and Internet Explorer.”

  • How Does Office Web Apps Compare to Google Docs? – “Microsoft rolled out its free Office Web Apps earlier this week, introducing a free, basic Office suite for the web. How does it compare to Google’s own Docs offering? Here’s a rundown of each webapp’s strengths and weaknesses.”

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