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?


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

New Economy: Local jobs, global markets

Brother Blankenhorn posts a piece on a South African Linuxe entrepreneur talking about Open Source and how the nature of that model supports creation of local jobs.

Amen.  Get an education, find a nice place to raise a family, any where, plug in, and go to work.  All you need besides broadband is the willingness to learn, the skill to manage, and the desire to innovate.

Leaming, Managing, Innovating – that is what this century requires. 

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Filed under Economies, LMI, Uncategorized

Millions lost for want of asking

Story in AJC tells how Cobb COunty schools will miss out on $250,000 in lower phone costs because an answer from a company bidding on services got "eaten" by the anti-spam software.

The real story here is how government loses money by not doing the right thing.  The procurement people knew the company, expected an answer and instead of calling the company and asking where the answer was — the bureaucrats just declared the company non-responsive.

Millions, and I mean MILLIONS, are lost by government procurement agents every year because they will not take the extra step needed to insure a good response process.

And, while laziness, no incentives to be pro-active and ignorance may contribute to this ineffectiveness in procurement of services and goods — the taxpayer bears most of the burden for this calamity.  Government employees hide behind rules in order to avoid being fodder for an investigative journalist.  Private sector employees have to do something really awful to merit news attention — public sector employees do not.

Oh yeah — the second story is that e-mail is broken.  But,that's another story

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Filed under Government, Uncategorized

Pontification and Facts – The News Business cheats us

Lots of opinionating going on about the ruling by Judge Constance Russell on the single-sex marriage amendment.  Only one dared to print what the State Constitution says about amending the Constitution – Mr. McKee of Marietta.

Meanwhile, the Augusta Chronicle thinks it is an outrage that a judge should make us follow our own Constitutional rules for amending the Constitution… Of course, the editors in Augusta want you to think that this "activist" judge made up the reasons for her decision (At least Wooten understands), instead of actually doing the job a judge is supposed to do and applying the Constitution.

At least the Augusta Chronicle's sister publication, Savannah Morning News, (both owned by Morris Communications) gets it right:

Lawmakers should have broken it into two different pieces, which is what a few legislators (including State Rep. Tom Bordeaux, D-Savannah) suggested that year. Then Georgia voters who were split on these two issues would have had a choice. But more importantly, the state wouldn't have wound up on the losing end Tuesday in Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance Russell's courtroom.

But, don't literally interpret the word activist — Ms. Fields will define it for you.

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Filed under Government, Religion, Uncategorized