Monthly Archives: May 2006

Common Un-sense

Why is it our government feels the need to monitor our communications to protect us from the terrorists being financed by the gasoline we buy – for which our government feels no need to create alternatives?

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Filed under Economies, Government, Uncategorized

Walk faster, pay more

Dana Blankenhorn spots an essay (Sidewalks: Paying by the stroll) by Bob Frankston satirizing efforts by the Bell Companies to charge you for access (by quality of service) to the Internet.  This piece is worth a read.

As a continuation of a theme started by the first post of today — why would you consent to allowing someone else charge you access for infrastructure you paid to have built?

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Filed under Neutral Net, Uncategorized

Citizen, boss, employee?

Here is a classic thinking question for undergraduate political science students.

If you work in a government, and that government is run by officials elected by the public, are you your own boss?  Discuss why and why not.

So, the Supreme Court offers their answer in Garcetti et al vs. Ceballos (pdf).  The press is talking about the decision as one that is "anti-whistle blower".  I would tend to agree with that assesment given the tact the Bush administration took in their briefs on the issue. However, a look at the Court's opinion is persuading me otherwise.  More later.

But, where is the line drawn between you as a public employee and you as a citizen who has a right to critique performances of those you may report to and to discuss with your voting friends what may or may not be right in government?  And, should you expect any protection from retribution by your supervising fellow voters?

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Filed under Government, Uncategorized

Freedom, Justice and Their way or the highway…

After a weekend of stories suggesting that House Speaker Hastert was wrong in decrying the FBI raid of a member's office, and revelations that the Attorney General and some Deputies threatened to quit if the President made the FBI apologize,  the WSJ enters the fray with an editorial suggesting not only was the line crossed, but the Department of Justice may well be guilty of insubordination to the President.

Imagine, a law enforcement agency whose prosecutorial zeal creates a tyrannical threat to Constitutionally protected liberties.

Thank goodness we have President Bush to protect us.

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Filed under Government, Security, Uncategorized

Crowdsourcing — Creating Minute workers in cyberspace

We are all going to be minute workers — some of us may be identified as such already.  Wired has a piece entitled Crowdsourcing describing how this new market for labor will work.  Another piece, entitled 5 rules for the new workforce describes the parameters within which this labor market functions.  Wired then gives you a short list of who is using this market.

So, in order for you to find work — you gotta hang out on the cyber corner, waiting for someone to say they need some help.  Course, RSS and other similar databus technologies will help you avoid spending lots of real time waiting on work — and will help you filter the opportunities.

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Filed under Economies, LMI, Uncategorized

Friedman, Green, Agriculture, Oil

Yes – I can tie all 4 together.  Friedman's column today says the nation who gets to the green technologies first – wins rights to this century.  A friend of mine who helps start-ups succeed told me yesterday that for every $1 in federal subsidies for corn grown to support ethanol production, there are $11 in federal subsidies supporting Big Oil.  (There, I connected all 4 in one paragraph!)

Hence, the appropriateness of this quote from Friedman's column:

When you're talking oil, you can't just say, "Let the free market work," because there is no free market in oil: the producers have a cartel, and governments — like ours — subsidize oil, so we don't pay the full cost.

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Filed under Government, LMI, Uncategorized

Stem Cells and Moral debates

John Leo, in this week's USNEWS, decrys a full page ad by DEFCON in the New York Times which names James Falwell, Pat Robertson, and James Dobson as America's most influential stem cell scientists.  Mr. Leo says the efforts by the Religious Right are about the moral debate on stem cells and not the voracity of the science (hmm.. does voracity and science constitute synonyms?). 

Having been on the front lines of the debate here in Georgia (See Down the Rabbit Hole Part 2) — I have to disagree with Mr. Leo's innocent defense of the trio.  Language placed in the proposed law regarding stem cell research had everything to do with science, or what the Religious Right wished the science to be as they defined life as beginning with a single cell, and denied scientists access to methods that could be used either for embryonic or adult stem cell research.  And, the tactics used by the Georgia Christian Coalition (Ms. Fields, et al), the Georgia Familiy Council, and other allied support groups were exactly what were used in the fights over evolution (which Mr. Leo agrees are attacks on science).

If this were truly a debate about the morals, and the treatment of embryos in general, then why was the debate disguised as a creation of an umbilical cord blood bank (which already existed) versus a complete discussion of how embryos are managed?  Why was discussion not allowed on what happens when embryos (or fertilized eggs) are discarded in fertility clinics?  The US Senate is considering a bill to liberalize the Bush doctrine on stem cell research – discussion of using normally discarded fertilized eggs is center stage in that debate.

Legislating morals is what legislatures do — no problem here.  But, defining science, and scientific methods is not a core competency of any elected (or unelected) legislative body.

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Filed under Religion, stem cell, Uncategorized