Friday, December 30, 2005

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | U2's Vertigo tops touring chart

Whaaaah? Did I miss the concert?

Apparently, U2 topped the touring charts for 2005, but the year isn't over yet--I'm going on Saturday. I guess Utah doesn't count for much of anything.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | U2's Vertigo tops touring chart

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Chron.com | Simpler guidelines to make CPR 'more effective'

The ratio between recommended chest compressions and breaths in CPR has changed.

"The revised CPR guidelines, issued Monday by the American Heart Association, advise giving 30 chest compressions for every two rescue breaths, up from 15 for every two breaths."

It's time to get re-certified.

"About 9 million Americans are trained in CPR each year. The heart association hopes to increase that number to 20 million in the next five years."

Chron.com | Simpler guidelines to make CPR 'more effective'

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

ASHDOWN OPPOSES HR 4194

ASHDOWN OPPOSES HR 4194

"A prime example of the lack of Congressional technology chops"

SALT LAKE CITY, UT -- Pete Ashdown, US Senate candidate (D-UT), today came out
against HR 4194, the "Internet Anti-Corruption and Free Speech Protection Act
of 2005." While understanding the intent, Ashdown decried the bill as
comparable to Senator Hatch's failed "INDUCE Act" in the way that it
circumscribes all non-blog on line political activity.

"While I support the efforts of Representatives Shays and Meehan to close
soft-money loopholes, this is not the way to do it," Ashdown said. "The
mistake it makes, and this is the same broad clumsy brush that painted Hatch'
s INDUCE act, in that it refers to "web logs" only. INDUCE referred to "P2P"
technology without bothering to define it. P2P can equally cover the
technology behind email, instant messaging, and legal file transfers, all
which would have been made illegal by INDUCE." Senator Hatch introduced the
INDUCE Act after he said the government should be "destroying [illegal
downloaders] machines." (Ted Briddis, Associated Press, June 17, 2003) "HR
4194 seems to think that all political communication on the Internet is done
over "web logs" and therefore only that should be protected speech. Never
mind mailing lists, Usenet, web bulletin boards, audio, video, and other
technologies down the road."

Ashdown lauded Internet users for working to expand democratic discourse
through the net. "For the first time in the history of democracy, the
Internet presents the opportunity for all to have an equal voice in lobbying congress and political action. What disturbs me about the Congressional and FEC actions is that it appears they are attempting to curb that freedom."

For Ashdown, HR 4194 was just another example of a Congress that does not understand today's on line environment. "Some staffer thought the only speech that needed to be free was 'web logs' and therefore we have our amendment to protect 'that Internet thing'."

While condemning the practical effects of HR 4194, Ashdown praised the efforts of campaign finance reformers. "While I do not endorse this bill, I do wholeheartedly endorse the concept of campaign finance reform. However, I feel that reform efforts should be focused on the FEC, making it a competent, responsible agency that gives all Americans the assurance their democracy is not for sale."

When he is elected, Ashdown pledged to bring the ideas and knowledge of the technology community to the Senate. "What remains to be seen is whether the political efforts of on line communities will ever result in the election of a candidate who understands what they\'re talking about. I want to be that candidate, but I need the support of on line and off line communities to do it." What disturbs me about the Congressional and
FEC actions is that it appears they are attempting to curb that freedom."

For Ashdown, HR 4194 was just another example of a Congress that does not
understand today's on line environment. "Some staffer thought the only speech
that needed to be free was 'web logs' and therefore we have our amendment to
protect 'that Internet thing'."

While condemning the practical effects of HR 4194, Ashdown praised the efforts
of campaign finance reformers. "While I do not endorse this bill, I do
wholeheartedly endorse the concept of campaign finance reform. However, I feel
that reform efforts should be focused on the FEC, making it a competent,
responsible agency that gives all Americans the assurance their democracy is
not for sale."

When he is elected, Ashdown pledged to bring the ideas and knowledge of the
technology community to the Senate. "What remains to be seen is whether the
political efforts of on line communities will ever result in the election of a
candidate who understands what they're talking about. I want to be that
candidate, but I need the support of on line and off line communities to do
it."

INDUCE Act: http://www.corante.com/importance/archives/004563.html
Release: http://peteashdown.org/media/releases/20051115-HR4194.html
Blog: http://peteashdown.org/journal/2005/11/10/online-speech

Friday, November 11, 2005

deseretnews.com | Y. professor thinks bombs, not planes, toppled WTC

At first blush, this seems like some real crackpot psuedo-science. Read more, and it presents a solid alternative to the 'official' explanation.

The first footage, I saw, of the collapsing towers amazed me. The collapse of all of the structures was remarkably similar to the many planned demolitions that have been filmed of condemned buildings. I was surprised to hear it explained that the heat from the igniting jet fuel liquified the steel support beams. Who has ever heard of that happening? Jet fuel burns quickly-surely not enough to cause what we saw on 9/11. The power inherent in a bomb is not the size of the bomb itself, but in what surrounds the bomb. That's why bombs that go off in buildings cause more damage than those that are detonated outside. Any explosions happening from the collision were coming from the outside, not inside the buildings. These are the thoughts that I, a layman, had when I heard the explanations surrounding the cause of the destruction.

Then I saw the article below and I imagined a plot from an Oliver Stone movie. I thought this professor is just trying to get published-get famous.

Maybe, I think too much.

Y. professor thinks bombs, not planes, toppled WTC

Utah Policy.com: George Will's Confusion

Utah Policy.com posted this statement culled from Hugh Hewitt's radio program.

"National radio host Hugh Hewitt pointed out yesterday on-air that George Will's latest column on Utah's rebellion against No Child Left Behind contains a few sentences that "would have received an 'F' if they had been written by a 3rd Grader." The sentences in question: "Not all Utahns are Mormons. Almost 11 percent are Hispanics, heading for 20 percent by 2020, and there is a significant population of Pacific islanders. But the state's singular tone is set by the Mormons." Though Hewitt, an evangelical, "disagrees with Mormon's theologically," he knows enough about them to recognize "they're not some kind of ethnic group, segregated and cut off from everybody else in Utah. Doesn't Will know that many Utah Hispanics and Pacific islanders happen to be Mormons, too?""

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Google Maps Mania: A game of RISK on Google Maps

I registered for the game of RISK when I got married. Everything else we asked for was actually practical. When someone actually gave us the game I was excited. After the honeymoon was over, and we got down to some real life, I decided to crack open the game.

My decision to not play RISK with my wife ever again saved my marriage.

Google Maps Mania: A game of RISK on Google Maps

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Wilson-Plame: Who's wearing the pants?

An article in Utah Politics on Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame has this humorous line.

"Former Ambassador Joe Wilson, wife of Valerie Plame..."

Maybe Valerie wears the pants in the family? Who am I to say?

Whiny and Inaccurate Self-Pleading

Thursday, October 27, 2005

White House bares teeth at The Onion | News.blog | CNET News.com

The Whitehouse has sent a cease and desist letter to the satirical newspaper, The Onion, for its use of the Whitehouse seal in it's articles.

"Lawyers for the administration noted that U.S. Code forbids the use of the seal "in connection with commercial ventures or products in any way that suggests presidential support or endorsement." Exceptions are allowed, the Times said, but the Onion had not applied for one."

So, does this apply to only commercial ventures or products alone. Does it apply on the level of a State? Does it apply to bloggers? The Wasatch Front has the Utah State Seal prominently placed. Does that imply to anyone that the State of Utah endorses that blog over others?

White House bares teeth at The Onion | News.blog | CNET News.com

Monday, October 24, 2005

How much is your blog worth? $3,$4?

Technorati has hacked together a nice algorithm that figures what a particular blog may be worth in cash. It is based on the alleged purchase price of a Weblogs, inc. weighed against the popularity of <'insert' your blog here>! My two blogs came in much better than I thought but I'll keep my day-job.

Farrercommons
$3,387.24

Davis County Watch
$1,693.62

Monday, October 03, 2005

CRS: Daylight Saving Time Shift

Starting in March, 2007, DST will begin on the 2nd Sunday in March and finish the 1st Sunday in November. That will amount to four extra weeks of DST each year. Congress has done this because they think it will help people conserve energy. Comments?

Daylight Saving Time

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

FT.com / In depth / Hurricane impact - Fema ex-chief blames 'dysfunctional' Louisiana

"Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leaders, said the hearings were a '“sham'.

"Questioning one Republican crony will not get the truth of the disastrous federal response to Hurricane Katrina and prevent it from happening again,"” she said. A group of Democrat congressmen has introduced a petition calling for a vote on the creation of an independent commission.""

I think that it is fine to hold hearings to address how the disaster response to Katrina was handled, but I have a problem with these 'independent commissions'. What knee-jerk concession led to this concept? Why does Congress create commissions to do the job of Congress? As I see it, Congress is authorized and duty-bound by the Constitution to provide oversight for the other two branches of the Government. The Congress are elected because the citizenry feel that they are qualified to do so. So, I have a hard time comprehending why we would want an extra layer of bureaucracy. We need to return to the days where if Congress wants to hold hearings , they do so, and Congress is answerable to the people.

Hurricane impact

Monday, September 26, 2005

Spaceflight Now | Delta Launch Report | GPS modernization begins with Delta rocket launch

A new modern GPS has been launched-the first of many to replace the older satellites. It is backwards compatible with most older receivers. I'm hoping the accuracy of my GPSr will improve. It should take a while for an entire constellation of new satellites to be put in place, but this is a start.

"The advancements for the military will provide warfighters with a more robust jam-resistant signal and enable better targeting of GPS-guided weapons in hostile environments, while the new civilian signal removes navigation errors caused by the Earth's ionosphere.

"I think this is a pretty huge step. We have essentially been operating on the original-design signals of GPS for over a decade, and this is going to be the first time we are actually adding new signals from space," said Col. Allan Ballenger, GPS system program director at the Space and Missile Systems Center. "

Spaceflight Now|GPS modernization begins with Delta rocket launch

Friday, September 23, 2005

CRS:Terrorism-Riding the wave of illegal immigration

In 2004 1.6 million illegals attempted entry into the U.S. 93% of these aliens were Mexicans. The acronym OTM is used to describe those that are "other than Mexican" aliens. Mexico won't take OTM's back, and we don't have enough beds to detain them here so they are let loose inside the Country with explicit instructions to attend their court hearing. Is it ridiculous to assume that a person entering this country illegally won't volunteer to appear before a judge? It is It only takes a handful of people to execute a terrorist agenda (9 in the case of 9/11).

"...Terrorists and terrorist organizations could leverage these illicit networks to smuggle a person or weapon of mass destruction into the United States, while the large number of aliens attempting to enter the country illegally could potentially provide cover for the terrorists. Additionally, the proceeds from these smuggling networks could potentially be used to finance terrorism. The issue of OTM apprehensions has received publicity recently for many of these reasons, which were highlighted during congressional testimony by DHS then-Deputy Secretary Admiral James Loy when he stated that AlQaeda is considering infiltrating the Southwest border due to a belief that "illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons."

What can be done to fix this problem?

Border Security: Apprehensions of "Other Than Mexican"Aliens

Friday, September 16, 2005

Researcher dispels Myth of Dioxins and Plastic Water Bottles

Here is something to think about as you are updating your 72 hour kits.

"First, people should be more concerned about the quality of the water they are drinking rather than the container it’s coming from. Many people do not feel comfortable drinking tap water, so they buy bottled water instead. The truth is that city water is much more highly regulated and monitored for quality. Bottled water is not. It can legally contain many things we would not tolerate in municipal drinking water."

Point being there are risks associated with drinking bottled water that don't exist for tap water. I have nine gallons of distilled water packed away for my little family. What factors should I take into account when storing this stuff (i.e. keep out of direct sunlight, keep cool, etc...)?

Myth of Dioxins and Plastic Water Bottles.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Celebrity maps

Back in April, CNET reported on a poll done of Americans in which 72% favored censorship of personal information about celebrities. I took that as a challenge to obtain as much information about celebrities as my readers could provide. I received zero response. I did stumble upon this tool today. It lists celebrity addresses and maps them on GoogleMaps.

Celebrity Maps

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

CRS Speaks to Katrina Response: Bloggers blame Bush

Democracy for Utah and The Raw Story are both reporting that President Bush has been blamed by an Congressional Research Service for his response to Katrina. This is patently false.

My comment to Democracy for Utah reads:

"If you read the report in it's entirety, available from CRS(pdf), you would see that President Bush is also absolved from blame in his response.

"...In response to the Governor's requests, it appears that the President did take the steps necessary to trigger the availability of Stafford Act emergency assistance and disaster assistance, by declaring first a state of emergency, and later a major disaster, and authorizing specific Stafford Act assistance to be made available to the State of Louisiana to respond to the effects of the Hurricane..."

Nowhere in the letter does any blame get assigned to anyone. "

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Tax Foundation - Tax Reform and Revenue Neutrality: President's Panel Should Avoid the Redistribution of 1986

The Tax Foundation has weighed in on the idea of committing to a revenue neutral Tax reform.

"A good revenue-neutral tax reform plan would involve no deliberate redistribution between the corporate and individual income tax systems. The tax code should raise sufficient revenue to fund government programs, not act as a tool for social engineering or political patronage. Thus, the goal of tax reform is to make the tax code more simple, fair, and economically efficient by eliminating special tax breaks and applying the lowest possible tax rate on the widest possible tax base—in other words “plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest amount of hissing" as Jean Baptiste Colbert wrote some 250 years ago."

Governor Huntsman has elicited no willingness to consider anything but a revenue neutral reform. Why will he not consider a break when there are clear excesses? Despite this I do think that the Task force is going about 'plucking the goose' all wrong.

The Tax Foundation - Tax Reform and Revenue Neutrality: President's Panel Should Avoid the Redistribution of 1986

Roberts Repeatedly Dodges Roe V. Wade

It seems that Specter isn't much of an apparition.

Did the Senators think that the man that has argued more than any other in front of the Supreme Court would buckle under pressure when faced with the likes of Specter and Kennedy?

Washington Post:Roberts Repeatedly Dodges Roe V. Wade

Friday, September 02, 2005

Citizens Against Government Waste: CAGW Issues "No Pork" Challenge to Congress on Hurricane Relief

What an interesting idea. Create a bill for Emergency relief without any extraneous and unrelated projects included (i.e. pork barrell, swine bucket, etc) .

CAGW:Challenge to Congress

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Hurricane hits Hollywood shoots

It sounds like the hurricane could be on path to put some terrible movies out of their misery. I'm thinking specifically of projects involving Kevin Costner, Ashley Judd, and Lucy Lawless. Maybe our 2006 theater experience won't be as bad as 2005 has been?

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Hurricane hits Hollywood shoots

Lonsberry: Just some Quotes

I hate the sound of Bob Lonsberry's voice. It's high pitched, whiney--very much like Super Dale from "Totally Awesome Computers". (Of course, my 17 month old daughter just loves him!) That being said, Lonsberry's head is squarely fastened on his shoulders. Yesterday, he broke a story about the Deseret News publishing a story- at the behest of Rocky Anderson- in exchange for some early information, turning the editorial reigns over to the Mayor! (I have yet to see this reported anywhere else, least of all, the Deseret News!)

So, here are some fantastic quotes, gathered by Lonsberry, that I find to be true as well.

Just some quotes I collected.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

First Detailed Picture Of Migraine Attack

As a migraine sufferer myself I found this extremely interesting. Every eighth adult Swede has migraines (Does this seem to be a high number to any one else but me?) The researcher tried to develop a highly detailed picture of how the symptoms progress from hour to hour over a 72 hour period leading the researchers to the conclusion that drugs can be taken any time and have reasonable effect.

Later on the article began to state too much of the obvious.

"A majority of those affected report negative impact on the highest ranking factors in life, such as family life and the ability to perform their work and enjoy meaningful leisure time." Translation: Swedes don't like headaches.

First Detailed Picture Of Migraine Attack

Friday, August 19, 2005

MapYourAncestors.com - Bringing Genealogy To Life

I was just getting ready to do something like this on my own (for myself) when somebody beat me to the punch. It sounds like they do a fantastic job. All you need to do is email them your family tree and they will complete a Map of your genealogy.

MapYourAncestors.com - Bringing Genealogy To Life

Monday, August 15, 2005

MAKE: Blog: The Grower bot...

File this under useless but fun. This robots entire job is to hug the walls and draw grass on the wall based on the CO2 levels in the room. I'm tempted to ask why, but it is just too cool. Now they just need a bot that mows the lawn based on the frequency of the nagging that takes place in the room. :)

MAKE: Blog: The Grower bot...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Yahoo! Search Results for define:et al

I know 8 million search results doesn't seem like a lot, but being number one on that list should raise an eyebrow! The majority of the visits to my blogs lately are coming from this search. They are lost souls searching for an answer to the question, "what does 'et al' mean?" It's a shame that nobody has commented on that post yet, because I'd really like to know myself. Are there no Latin authorities in the blogosphere?

Update: Since posting this I have been demoted to the second result.

Yahoo! Search Results for define:et al

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Tax Foundation - White House Effort to Create a "Predatory Bureau"?

Not long ago, I remember watching Alan Greenspan say that all Government programs/jobs ought to considered dispensable. Even Greenspans job would be 'fair game' if he could not justify his own existence. It seems that the Whitehouse is moving in that direction with the creation of a new Bureau. Of course, if the Predatory Bureau whose aim is to ferrett out the wasteful programs, becomes obsolete itself, then it should also be eliminated.

The Tax Foundation - White House Effort to Create a "Predatory Bureau"?

Friday, July 29, 2005

Open CRS Network - CRS Reports for the People:Reelection Rates of House Incumbents: 1790 - 1994

I'm confident that this report has crossed Orrin Hatch's desk since this is the group that reports to Congress. I'm sure this applies to the Senate as well. This statistical analysis from March, 1995 shows the historic trend; the incumbent almost always wins. Is this why Hatch has been so cool when faced with solid challenges from the left and right? The only exception to the rule has been that the death of the incumbent, almost always, results in his losing his seat.

Open CRS Network - CRS Reports for the People:Reelection Rates of House Incumbents: 1790 - 1994

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Salt Lake Tribune - Business:Washington has a firm grip on Utah's rural development, executive says

According to this article, 68 percent of land in Utah is managed by the Federal government. Senators in other States have shown no compunction about seizing more. Is the cause of protecting the environment used as an excuse by those outside our state to strip us of sovereignty and power? What percentage of other States lands are held by the Federal Government?

Salt Lake Tribune - Business:Washington has a firm grip on Utah's rural development, executive says

Open CRS Network - CRS Reports for the People:Congressional Access to Executive Branch Information: Legislative Tools

CRS has released a report given to Congress educating them on tactics that can be used to extract information from the Administrative Branch. With John Roberts confirmation up in the air, and the Democrats demanding records from his time as Solicitor General, this report is a "how-to", on requesting/demanding his records be made available.

Open CRS Network - CRS Reports for the People:Congressional Access to Executive Branch Information: Legislative Tools

Monday, July 25, 2005

Google Maps: Hybrid

Google Maps have made a new hybrid option available that mingles maps with photo views. It is very similar to the Transparencies hack that I talked about earlier.

PATRIOT: Table of Contents

In reviewing what I've covered on PATRIOT, it seems to be quite a lot when compared to other topics. So, I'm making this post into a 'Table of Contents' for all my posts on the topic of PATRIOT. This is my only resurfacing post. You'll see this whenever I post on the PATRIOT Act.

The State of the Beehive:Urquhart Articles

Charley Foster has done a lot of footwork on the upcoming Senate Race. For those who are interested, as I am, in seeing Orrin Hatch unseated, Steve Urquhart says he's the one to do it.

The State of the Beehive

Friday, July 22, 2005

Open CRS Network - CRS Reports for the People:Libraries and the USA PATRIOT Act

"The USA PATRIOT Act, P.L. 107-56, enacted to help track down and punish terrorists and to prevent further terrorism, contains no provisions specifically directed at libraries or their patrons. It has several provisions, however, that might apply in a library context."

Open CRS Network - CRS Reports for the People

CNN.com - House votes to extend Patriot Act - Jul 21, 2005

The House approved the PATRIOT Act by 257-171 yesterday. The legislation would need to be revisited in ten years.

CNN.com - House votes to extend Patriot Act - Jul 21, 2005

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

John Roberts:How the Left may attack

In 2003 when John Roberts was in process to be confirmed to the D.C. Circuit Court, The Alliance for Justice came out in opposition to his appointment. Here is the introduction to the letter. The opposition ultimately proved to be ineffectual.

"Report of the Alliance for Justice:Opposition to the Confirmation of John G. Roberts to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
Introduction

John G. Roberts, nominated by President Bush to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, has a record of hostility to the rights of women and minorities. He has also taken controversial positions in favor of weakening the separation of church and state and limiting the role of federal courts in protecting the environment. The Alliance for Justice opposes his nomination to the D.C. Circuit. Although Mr. Roberts is indisputably a very capable lawyer, that alone does not qualify him for such a prestigious and critical post. As a group of over 300 law professors stated in a 2001 letter to the Senate, a lifetime appointment to the federal bench is a privilege that comes with great responsibility and requires much more. Every nominee bears the burden of showing that he or she respects and pledges to protect the progress made in the areas of civil rights and liberties, the environment, and Congress'’ constitutional role in protecting the health and safety of all Americans. Mr. Roberts' record, particularly his record as a political appointee, argues strongly that he would not do so. While working under Presidents Reagan and Bush, Mr. Roberts supported a hard-line, anti-civil rights policy that opposed affirmative action, would have made it nearly impossible for minorities to prove a violation of the Voting Rights Act and would have resegregated” America's public schools. He also took strongly anti-choice positions in two Supreme Court cases, one that severely restricted the ability of poor women to gain information about abortion services, and another that took away a key means for women and clinics to combat anti-abortion zealots. Finally, Mr. Roberts is being considered for lifetime tenure on a court that is only one step below the U.S. Supreme Court and is acknowledged to be the second most important court in the country. His nomination must be considered in light of the special significance of that court. Moreover, Judiciary Committee Chairman Hatch'’s insistence on scheduling three controversial Circuit Court nominees, including Mr. Roberts, for confirmation hearings on a single day ensured that senators had no meaningful opportunity to question Mr. Roberts about his views on a number of critical issues. The Alliance for Justice urges the Senate to reject his confirmation..."

Here is the Google Cached version in it's entirety.

Google Moon - Lunar Landing Sites

Why do I love google? Because they send me to the moon!

Google Moon - Lunar Landing Sites

Monday, July 18, 2005

Open CRS Network - CRS Reports for the People:Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment

Ever wonder what are considered the exceptions to the First Amendment? Take particular note of the 'time, place, and manner' restrictions. Also, the government can tie conditions to federal funds. Therefore, a university that does not allow the military to recruit on campus would forfeit their monies.

Open CRS Network - CRS Reports for the People:Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment(PDF)

- The Debates:Not a blog

Apparently, the "sourceblog" for the PATRIOT Debate is not a blog after all. I will, therefore, move it over to my links section. It is still a good resource, however infrequently it may be updated.
- The Debates: Not a blog

Friday, July 15, 2005

Stock Market News and Investment Information | Reuters.com

Sharp has announced that it is developing a new technology allowing for a dual-view LCD screen. Depending upon the angle at which the screen is viewed the display would be different. My wife could watch her Soap Opera's, sitting on one end of the couch, and I could secretly watch her Soap Opera on the other end (I'm kidding). Yet another way to promote family togetherness without the added burden of family communication. :)

Seriously, there are useful applications to this technology. In car navigation could display on one side and a movie on the other. ATM's, Cell phones, and PDA's could be equipped with these screens.

"The panel could be used to display two different advertisements on one screen at the same time. Placed next to an escalator, for example, passersby would see one advertisement on the way up and another on the way down."


Stock Market News and Investment Information | Reuters.com

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Extending the PATRIOT Act

Sensenbrenner just introduced a new bill that would make all 16 provisions of PATRIOT permanent and not expand the subpoena power. It should be on the House floor next week.

The Debates

HR3199(PDF)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Debunking 8 Anti-War Myths About The Conflict In Iraq - Right Wing News (Conservative News and Views)

Here are eight myths about Iraq that are busted by John Hawkins . Follow the link for a full explanation. Busted:

1) George Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
2) A study released in March of 2003 by a British medical journal, the Lancet, showed that 100,000 civilians had been killed as a result of the US invasion.
3) The Bush Administration claimed Iraq was responsible for 9/11.
4) The war in Iraq was actually planned by people like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Paul Wolfowitz back in 1998 at a think tank called the Project for the New American Century.
5) The war on terror has nothing to do with Iraq.
6) Saddam Hussein had no ties to terrorism.
7) Saddam Hussein had no ties to Al-Qaeda.
8) The Downing Street Memo proves Bush lied to the American people about the war.

Debunking 8 Anti-War Myths About The Conflict In Iraq - Right Wing News (Conservative News
and Views)

Google Maps Mania

An unofficial Google Maps blog tracking the websites, ideas and tools being influenced by Google Maps.

Google Maps Mania

A Dictionary of Scientific Quotations

A Dictionary of Scientific Quotations

Friday, July 08, 2005

Frobba.com thr33:Track Hurricane on Google Maps

Now Google Maps is being used to pinpoint the location of hurricane Dennis.

Frobba.com thr33

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Wired News: GPS Monopoly: Collect Over $200

Here is the game currently being played in London. Users can 'buy' real properties located in London. The cost of rent on these properties is determined by how often 18 cabs, equiped with GPS devices, frequent that area. One player, taking into account the Wimbledon tennis tournament, has purchase property at that location. Sounds like fun.

Wired News: GPS Monopoly: Collect Over $200

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Hudson Institute :Their Will Be Done

Robert Bork, the one-time Supreme Court nominee, has written a thought-provoking piece on the drift away from the Constitution that has been orchestrated by the Courts and those who influence them.
"Once the justices depart, as most of them have, from the original understanding of the principles of the Constitution, they lack any guidance other than their own attempts at moral philosophy, a task for which they have not even minimal skills. Yet when it rules in the name of the Constitution, whether it rules truly or not, the Court is the most powerful branch of government in domestic policy. The combination of absolute power, disdain for the historic Constitution, and philosophical incompetence is lethal."
He says that a minimum of three nominations will be required in order to restore the courts integrity.

Hudson Institute: Their Will Be Done

Near friction free lube discovered

From time to time I come across stories that sound so 'adult' that I hesitate to post them. I fear who may venture upon this post, but it begs to be told, nonetheless. Japanese scientists have created a lubricant that allows for almost zero friction. Nuff said-now the link.

Near friction free lube discovered

Google Maps Transparencies/Google Pedometer

Overlay Google maps with a satellite image of the area or vice-versa.

Google Maps Transparencies

Plot your walks/marathons.

Gmaps Pedometer

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

PREVIEW: The Bork Precedent

It is clear those who would filibuster a nominee would make themselves unpopular-perhaps enough for the nominee to go through. In the case of John Bolton, though, a filibuster has not been used. The threat of a filibuster, in his case, has led us down an entirely different path of delay and appeasement. Another tactic that has also succeeded in preventing Boltons confirmation has been the endless requests for more information. The Whitehouse has refused to give in to most of these requests and so we wait. When a nomination for the Supreme Court happens the Whitehouse had better be ready for a similar tactics to be employed. What countermeasures will they use?

PREVIEW: The Bork Precedent

Thursday, June 30, 2005

US space shuttle Discovery set to launch July 13: NASA

US space shuttle Discovery set to launch July 13: NASA

Update: Despite an independent panels review saying 3 of 15 criteria have not been met, the Space shuttle will be launched. I like that, NASA Administrator, Michael Griffin is willing to accept the advice of his Engineers regardless of what outsiders may say.

BBC-NASA unveils shuttle launch date

Body of Evidence

A little anecdote before I launch into the subject of this post. A couple of days ago, when the Presidents speech started, my wife turned off the T.V. asking the question, "What can he say that we don't already know?" Her question demonstrated what we all may be feeling. When war is always on our minds we may want to escape, we've heard these words before. Why can't it be finished? It was a, valid, sincere question. I answered that he would probably repeat many themes during his speech but that, much of what was said, would bear repeating-for some. Having read the speech, I have realized, my simple answer doesn't suffice. Nothing he said jumped off the page like the Crispin' day speech from Henry V. Nothing that he said was news to me but, he demonstrated, in saying it, that the Commander-and-Chief stands with our troops. The Armed forces have some core principles- finish the mission, never leave a soldier behind- that guides every action. Our President, despite all that he lacks, keeps these principles. He needs to say it again. We should listen.

Some, in the media, would have us believe that no relationship ever existed between al-Qaida and Iraq. This is untrue. The lie has been repeated often and most notably by CNN. Stephen F. Hayes of the Weekly Standard dissects the components of this lie in his article.
"Conveniently, such analyses ignore statements like this one from Thomas Kean, chairman of the 9/11 Commission. "There was no question in our minds that there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda." Hard to believe reporters just missed it--he made

the comments at the press conference held to release the commission's final report. And that report detailed several "friendly contacts" between Iraq and al Qaeda, and concluded only that there was no proof of Iraqi involvement in al Qaeda terrorist attacks against American interests. Details, details."
Body of Evidence

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Open CRS Network - CRS Reports for the People: Postal Reform

"When you control the mail, you control information."
--Newman (Seinfeld)

Can USPS be saved? A recent Congressional research report stated unequivically, "USPS would be bankrupt but for the fact that it is a government entity, with Treasury borrowing rights." Should the Postal Service compete with private industry? From the report.

"There are several components to the argument. One relates to fairness. USPS has many
advantages stemming from its governmental status. It pays no federal, state, or local taxes
on its income, sales, purchases, or property. Unlike private sector companies, it is immune
from most forms of regulation, such as zoning, land use restrictions, motor vehicle
registration, parking tickets, and antitrust. It is also able to borrow money at the lowest
possible rate because it does so through the U.S. Treasury. Companies facing competition
from USPS argue that these factors put them at a great disadvantage (though they tend to
ignore the statutory constraints and regulation by the PRC that USPS faces)."

Open CRS Network - CRS Reports for the People

Utah Wilderness Via Washington - Hurricane Valley Journal

It seems a couple of Senators, (i.e. Durbin, Boxer, Feinstein, Kennedy, Kerry, Leahy and Clinton), have taken it on themselves to save Utah's wilderness from Utah's residents. They want to have 358,000 acres of land declared as wilderness. No Utah Senators are signatories of the Bill. Bennett’s office said it best. “We will not support wilderness designation in other states, so senators from other states should not support legislation for ours.”

Utah Wilderness Via Washington - Hurricane Valley Journal

ObjectGraph Dictionary

Here is a nice dictionary I found that suggests the word you may be trying to spell as you type. It works like Google Suggest.

ObjectGraph Dictionary

US Census Press Releases

US Census Press Releases

Is it time to change the criteria we use in deciding who enters the U.S.? Below are the standards currently used.

"Exclusion and Removal
All aliens must satisfy State Department consular officers abroad and DHS Bureau
of Customs and Border Protection inspectors upon entry to the U.S. that they are not ineligible for visas or admission under the so-called grounds for inadmissibility of the
INA. These criteria categories are:
  • health-related grounds;
  • criminal history;
  • national security and terrorist concerns;
  • public charge (e.g., indigence);
  • seeking to work without proper labor certification;
  • illegal entrants and immigration law violations;
  • lacking proper documents;
  • ineligible for citizenship; and,
  • aliens previously removed."
If we oppose just the above standard, how would we modify it? It appears to me that the Bush plan would temporarily loosen the 'illegal entrants and immigration law violation' standard as long as the worker could prove they had legal work in the country now. Or is it permanent removal of the standard and/or others?

CRS Web (PDF)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

O'Reilly Network: Top Ten Questions People Ask About Switching to Internet Telephones

I've been thinking about trying VOIP but it won't happen until I get broadband internet. Here is an FYI for those, like me, that are holding out on making the switch.

O'Reilly Network: Top Ten Questions People Ask About Switching to Internet Telephones

Google Earth - Home

I figured this would happen eventually. Keyhole, the subscription service has changed it's name to Google Earth, and is now free. The free download is available here.

Google Earth - Home

CDT: OpenCRS

"American taxpayers spend nearly $100 million a year to fund the Congressional Research Service, a "think tank" that provides reports to members of Congress on a variety of topics relevant to current political events. Yet, these reports are not made available to the public in a way that they can be easily obtained. A project of the Center for Democracy & Technology through the cooperation of several organizations and collectors of CRS Reports, Open CRS provides citizens access to CRS Reports already in the public domain and encourages Congress to provide public access to all CRS Reports."

Open CRS

I'm also providing a link to all available documents on the USA PATRIOT Act.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Hatch: Second letter on PATRIOT

Below is a second letter I received in response to mine that opposed "administrative subpoenas". (Note: I have since changed my mind-I consider the 'subpoena' section to be unnecessary, but harmless.)

Hatch cites in his letter, "...the most important civil liberty: the freedom from future terrorist attacks." Do you agree that our security is our most important value?

"Dear Mr. Farrer

Thank you for your letter expressing your opposition to the expansion of the USA PATRIOT Act. I am always interested in the thoughts and opinions of Utahns and I welcome the opportunity to respond.

As you may know, several sections of the USA PATRIOT Act are set to expire at the end of this year and the Senate is currently debating the reauthorization of these provisions. Please let me reiterate that I share the beliefs underlying your expression of concern. It is critical that Congress respect the limits of government and not attempt to authorize powers that exceed those delegated by our cherished Constitution. Likewise, it is critical that Congress not take action to jeopardize individual civil liberties or other constitutional protections that are the hallmark of our country and its form of government.

I would like to address some misinformation about the USA PATRIOT Act which has led some to call for its repeal. I have studied the implementation of this law at great length. While serving as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the 108th Congress, I held numerous hearings on this Act, including a field hearing in Salt Lake City. So far, no one has advanced any credible evidence that the USA PATRIOT Act has eroded the civil liberties that we hold dear as Americans. To the contrary, the USA PATRIOT ACT has enabled the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Central Intelligence Agency to save American lives and protect what is perhaps the most important civil liberty: the freedom from future terrorist attacks.

It is extremely important to note that all the information gathering activities conducted under the authority of the USA PATRIOT Act are conducted under the careful scrutiny and supervision of the judicial branch, which has the power both to terminate unlawful intrusions and to punish those who violate their court orders. The USA PATRIOT Act does not change the role played by the judiciary in the oversight of Federal law enforcement activities. For example, Federal agents must still have probable cause and then obtain judicial approval before they can search a residence or install a wiretap or pen register to gather information.

Beyond that, courts still have the power to suppress evidence obtained illegally and in violation of the Constitution. Every one of these authorized actions must be done pursuant to specific legal protections and valid court orders which require the government to meet exacting legal standards. Further, in many cases, there is a requirement that any gathering of information be minimized, which requires agents to obtain only information that relates to terrorist or criminal activity. There is no provision for monitoring innocent communications.

I have always been sensitive to the need for protections of our nation's civil liberties against unwarranted government invasions. In drafting the USA PATRIOT Act, I worked to balance carefully legitimate privacy concerns against the rights of our citizens to be free from terrorist attacks. This was a difficult-but mandatory-balance.

The only substantial addition or expansion to the USA PATRIOT Act currently being considered is the inclusion of what has been called an "administrative subpoena" power. You should know that this power is currently used in many various criminal (non-terrorist) investigations and prosecutions and has been found in court to be constitutional in those contexts. Adding these powers to those included in the USA PATRIOT Act would give those fighting terrorism the same tools that have been proven to be effective and appropriate in other cases. However, I believe that before any such provision is adopted, it should be carefully examined to ensure that it adheres to limits set in the Constitution. I remain committed to a thorough and thoughtful debate on this issue.

Thank you, once again, for your letter. Though we may disagree on some of these issues, I hope my comments have been helpful.

Sincerely,

Orrin G. Hatch
United States Senator"

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Barbara Lerner on Iraq and Syria on National Review Online

I get the feeling that since Bush made foreign policy the focus in his first term that he is trying to reinvent himself, second term, as being equally strong on domestic issues. Well, he targeted domestic policy from the start but, 9/11 made a shift inevitable. He has made a strong showing on Social Security, but he needs to refocus the nation back on national security. National Review has similar criticism for Bush for losing courage on the war-front abroad. Lerner says that in framing the war in Iraq as a war on Iraq Bush has let other enemies, like Syria, fortify themselves.

Barbara Lerner on Iraq and Syria on National Review Online

GPS-less geocaching

I got this new GPS unit for my birthday and have had some fun with it. In addition to using it when hiking and climbing I thought I would try geocaching. Apparently anyone, even those without GPS, can go geocaching with the help of a couple of online tools.
  • First, if you have Firefox, get the following greasemonkey script.
  • Go to GoogleMaps and type in your starting address.
  • Click on the geocache icon in the upper-right corner of screen to find nearby geocaches.
  • Now that you have the Lat/Long coordinates you can go to this GPS coordinate converter to view a GoogleMap of the Geocache location.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Monday, June 20, 2005

Newt Gingrich on John Bolton on National Review Online

This is as good a reference as any for John Bolton. It's time for Congress to stop stalling and confirm Bolton.

Newt Gingrich on John Bolton on National Review Online

YubNub

Have you ever wanted to use the commandline on the internet? Give YubNub a try. Let me suggest a list of the first commands you can try.
ls
ge
sb

YubNub

Robert Novak: The Bolton charade

Robert Novak thinks that Bolton won't get enough votes to be confirmed tonight which will force Bush to either put him in or "accepting defeat". The Democrats are blustering that this not about a "...fishing expedition".

Robert Novak: The Bolton charade

Friday, June 17, 2005

SLJPP: Testimony on Tax Reform.

The Sutherland Institute president, Paul T. Mero, has testified before the Tax commission and proposed that any tax reform we have should have the family as it's core value. He proposed that there are five things that can be seen as the center point on which any public policy is built.
"Every public policy has a center point, or core, toward which a policy’s application is
directed by certain underlying assumptions. Historically, competition for this center or core
has been among five institutions: the individual, the family, the corporation, the church,
and the state…These [five] center points are at the heart of all public policies."
Mero says Governor Walkers 'balanced system' is centered in the State. Without saying so explicitly he alluded that Governor Huntsman has chosen to place the corporation at the center. Libertarians will place the individual at the center.

He goes on to say that, by placing the family at the center, all of these other values are benefited. Public policy has a tendency to focus on dysfunction in families, rather than what works. It can suffer from a myopic view that misses the broad scope and the long picture. A public policy centered on families should place it's focus on rewarding the ideal family, not the imperfect family. He suggests that taxes should be taken from income, and moved to tax consumption. Exceptions for food could be made so that a family is not made to go hungry.

He also suggests that we move education funding to sales tax.
"By linking the state income tax to public schools, as we have for nearly sixty years, we have created ugly
and unfortunate policy trade-offs. I believe this well-intended, but short-sighted, legacy has done more
than any other single policy to antiquate our tax code. Moreover, we are forced to choose between
education funding and any incentives that require an income tax credit, deduction, or exemption. It is
unnecessary and avoidable."

SJLPP
Tax reform(PDF)

deseretnews.com | Lawmakers swap barbs over competing tax plans

A bunch of different ideas are surfacing about how to simplify taxes in Utah. Yet all of these plans have one thing in common. Lawmakers want to wipe the slate clean-almost. Nobel laureate Milton Friedman argued that tax reforms may be inacted to insure the happiness of the lawmaker. In other words a fresh start provides for future opportunities to appeal to special interest groups. The tax foundation wrote on this back in May. I've been sitting on the article until I felt it was most relevant. An entire ebook is also available for those eager beavers. (pdf)

deseretnews.com | Lawmakers swap barbs over competing tax plans

Ex-Government Execs Pitch Patriot Act Deal

Several former government officials have suggested an amendment to PATRIOT that would allow for obtaining business records, and would restrict access to disallow libraries and bookstores from being subpoenaed. Among those signatories are Andrew McCarthy, who is responsible for changing my mind on 'administrative subpoenas'; Bradford Berenson, former counsel to Bush and; James Dempsey, "...a former House Judiciary Committee counsel who is now with the Center for Democracy and Technology."

Ex-Government Execs Pitch Patriot Act Deal

Sensenbrenner Floor Statement Regarding Question of Personal Privilege : ArriveNet Press Releases : Politics

Allow me to provide some background on this subject. Last Friday, in a Judiciary Comittee hearing called by the Democrats, witnesses gave testimony unrelated to the subject of the hearing. Questions posed by the Democrats were also unrelated. After all had spoken, Sensenbrenner adjurned the meeting citing the irrelevance of the testimony. I have blogged on this on two, separate, occasions. Yesterday, Representative Nadler introduced a resolution asking for Sensenbrenner to be reprimanded for his conduct. The resolution was quickly tabled but, not until, both sides spoke. Sensenbrenner's statement was bold and to the point. He yielded back his remaining time to the floor which demonstrated, to me, his confidence in his position.

Sensenbrenner Floor Statement Regarding Question of Personal Privilege : ArriveNet Press Releases : Politics

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | New model 'permits time travel'

Let me get this straight. I can travel back in time to kill my father but only if my father was dead when I left to kill him. Yeah...that makes sense.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | New model 'permits time travel'

KUTV: Utah Legislators Move Toward Flat Tax

Is anyone else besides the L.D.S. Church opposed to a true flat tax? Apparently, Utah legislatures are opposed to it. The Church came out with a statement in May supporting exemptions for charitable contributions. The legislature is moving toward exemptions for low-income families, and none for anything else. It's odd to see the Churches view ignored considering that 80 percent of our lawmakers are L.D.S.

KUTV: Utah Legislators Move Toward Flat Tax

pashdown - Slashdot User

Pete Ashdown is also a reader of Slashdot and comments on the same. For a view on this novice politicians, off the cuff, opinions click below.

pashdown - Slashdot User

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Pete Ashdown: My email and his response

Subject: Recent email attack recommending boycott of Xmission

As a registered Republican, myself, I was disappointed to see that
Xmission has become the subject of a boycott due to your bid for
Senate in 2006. I thought you might like to know that I've blogged
about the issue in your favor. The link to the post is below. Please
feel free to reference my post, meager as it is, in any way you would
like. Best of luck in your campaign!

http://farrercommons.blogspot.com/2005/06/ksl-blog-politics-boycott-email-sent.html

Subject: Re:Recent email attack recommending boycott of Xmission

Thank you for your support Tyler and thanks for the mention. I do not in any
sense label the entire Republican party with the actions of one extremist. In
fact, since the email was sent, I've received far more support from
Republicans who are as disappointed as you are, than from anyone supporting
the boycott.

Also, I do not think Mr. Kuchinsky is a co-owner of the City Weekly. He
attempted to start another paper, the "Utah Weekly" if I recall correctly as a
competitor to the City Weekly. I think the "Utah Weekly" folded after about
20 weeks.

Sideblog is back

Sideblog is back for the time being. I think I can forgive the short absense.

TheFeature :: Mind Control Made Simple

Imagine a device that would alert you when driving if you started to fall asleep. The sensor to do this could be attached to your standard hands-free headset and it would read your brainwaves just as EEG's have since 1929.

TheFeature :: Mind Control Made Simple

KSL Blog: Politics!: Boycott email sent

Pete Ashdown has suffered his first political attack of the 2006 Campaign, and the race hasn't yet begun. I'm starting to like Ashdown even more based on the quality of the attacks against him. Rich Kuchinsky has urged in an email that Republicans boycott Xmission.

If this is the same Kuchinsky that is co-owner of 'City Weekly'(Should have been Utah Weekly), then his words should be taken with a grain of salt. "Anyone who is a real conservative should distance themselves from him because his behavior has been less than honorable. … Rich Kuchinsky is the least honorable man I’ve ever had the displeasure of knowing," says a former editor of the publication, Preston McConkie. Are there any Republicans that would be willing to boycott 'City Weekly' with me? I'm providing a link, so you may see the source of the above quote, but I recommend this as the last time you view the website. Please visit 'City Weekly' as often as you wish. Media Beat - March 13, 2003

KSL Blog: Politics!:Boycott email sent

Sustainable Energy Source Could Solve Bermuda Triangle Riddle

An ancient bacteria, able to create large amounts of methane gas, may be the cause of so many mysterious disappearances of craft in the Bermuda Triangle. I'm typing fast 'lest this post disappear!
Sustainable Energy Source Could Solve Bermuda Triangle Riddle

Agenda Utah Daily Newsletter: Group wants to split Utah

I thought this had to be a joke, except the source seems reliable. A grassroots group wants to split up Utah into two states. (Hat-tip Charley Foster)

Agenda Utah Daily Newsletter

Pete Ashdown: Senate 2006

This is not an endorsement, rather, an FYI. Pete Ashdown is running for Senate against Orrin Hatch, and has smartly setup a website to that effect already. He started the ISP Xmission in 1993 which, incidentally, was my first ISP.

House votes to repeal part of Patriot Act | csmonitor.com

I thought I was done talking about PATRIOT--but not so. The House has voted to repeal one controversial measure of the Act, section 215. It is commonly known as the 'library provision', although libraries are not mentioned once. It would have impossed a 'gag order' on institutions to prevent them contacting a lawyer once records had been obtained by investigators. Previously, such records, would have been limited to travel documents. Under the provision, the scope of documents would have been unlimited. It is unclear to me why the scope of documents available for perusal should be limited?

House votes to repeal part of Patriot Act | csmonitor.com

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Guantanamo guards tell of prisoner attack - Nation/Politics - www.washingtontimes.com, America's Newspaper

This story ought to be called, 'Prisoners caught infringing on the human rights of Quantanamo guards.' Any naysayers can request a copy of the videotape of this incident.

Guantanamo guards tell of prisoner attack - Nation/Politics - www.washingtontimes.com, America's Newspaper

KSL NewsRadio 1160:Carp Eradication Project Underway at Utah Lake

The article says that 'Federal Biologists', (whatever that is), are netting as many carp as they can in order to get an idea of what to do to eliminate them from Utah lake.

Carpe Carp (seize the Carp--I've always wanted a good reason to say that)

KSL NewsRadio 1160

Photo in the News: Ultra-Lifelike Robot Debuts in Japan

Leave it to the Japanese to break ground on the first androids. They've built a uber-realistic humanoid machine. What does it do? Look human of course! It's tomorrows trash-today.

Photo in the News: Ultra-Lifelike Robot Debuts in Japan

WinZip goes a Googling | WinZip goes a Googling | News.blog | CNET News.com

It appears that by bundling Google Toolbar with it's compression software that WinZip may have inadvertantly turned google into a spyware company. Utah is one state that has passed anti-spyware legislation. Is Google, or WinZip culpable under this law?

WinZip goes a Googling | WinZip goes a Googling | News.blog | CNET News.com

Google Search: Diane Feinstein "I have no reported"

Farrer Commons turned up yesterday as the sixth result on google for the following search. How interesting?

Google Search: Diane Feinstein "I have no reported"

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Daniel Griswold's Senate Testimony May 26, 2005

I haven't touched the topic of immigration in this blog. Since I seem to have run out of steam on PATRIOT, I think I'll broach the subject now. Daniel Griswold of the CATO Institute has testified before a subcommitee of Congress regarding the problem of illegal immigration as well as some of the cost involved in securing the borders. He also offers reasoning as to why the Bush plan could work of offering legal status to working immigrants. Check back for my own opinions on this topic but, for now, see the complete transcript of his testimony.

Daniel Griswold's Senate Testimony May 26, 2005

Salt Lake Tribune - Utah::Can anyone knock out heavyweight Hatch?

Assuming you primarily vote Republican and wanted Senator Hatch out of office. Would you vote for someone of another party? In a survey of 400 adults in Utah, 42 percent would support Hatch for a sixth term. The odds are stacked in his favor. It seems that nobody is going to challenge Hatch in his own party and since the Democrats have the most to gain from outing him, they would be the best bet to boot him out. Utah seems to be the state where declared liberals can have a similar voting record as avowed conservatives. Is it a cardinal sin to vote for the other side, once, or not?
Salt Lake Tribune - Utah

Monday, June 13, 2005

Hearing on Patriot Act Ends in an Angry Uproar - New York Times

I'm glad that I posted on this event before reading the innaccuracies represented in this article by the New York Times. Allow me to mention a few corrections of this article before you read it.

  • Chip Pitts did not call Gitmo, "the gulag of our time" during the hearing.
  • The Democrats abused parlimentary calls every time they were invoked. Two specific calls were made. First, "Point of Order", which should be followed with a query as to the rules of that body. Second, "Point of Personal Priviledge", which is a way one might ask permission to go to the bathroom. Each of these calls were, in fact, followed with a speech on PATRIOT which took time from the individual currently questioning, or speaking.
  • It should not be surprising that Sensenbrenner would not recognize Nadler's point of order after the gavel had struck, and the hearing was closed.
Sensenbrenner's reasons for closing the hearing were valid. The subject for which the hearing had been called had not been addressed by the witnesses. They needed to testify in front of a different body so that their concerns could be heard.

Hearing on Patriot Act Ends in an Angry Uproar - New York Times

Andrew C. McCarthy on Patriot Act on National Review Online

Thank you Andrew McCarthy for setting me straight on PATRIOT. He contends in his article that 'Administrative subpoenas' aren't the Constitutional wrench, in the works of our liberties, I was led to believe.

I guess I have been trying so hard to see the perspective of those who fear government prosecution, that I have been duped myself.

On the subject of fear, I watched a 'pseudo-hearing', on Friday, held by the Judicial committee of the House in which luminaries like Amnesty international were called to testify on PATRIOT abuses. As it turned out, the testimonies centered on allegations regarding Gitmo detainees and immigration prosecutions, primarily, unrelated to PATRIOT at all. The hearing was summarily closed by the Chair when questions and answers ventured so far outside of the subject matter, for which, the hearing was convened. Oddly enough the Democrats stayed and continued questioning the 'witnesses' after the hearing was gavelled to a close--a kind of protest. The Left were brazen in their abuse of house rules as they, repeatedly, called 'point of order' and 'point of personal priviledge', interrupting their counterparts time, only to make a speech, themselves, rather than requesting a bathroom break, or asking for clarification on the rules as would be allowed under the rules.

So, returning to reason and reality, I refer you to McCarthy on PATRIOT.

Andrew C. McCarthy on Patriot Act on National Review Online

Best of Sideblog

I've kept a record of all of the posts appearing along my sidebar. I thought, since sideblog.com allowed it's domain to expire--and it led such a short life, that I would post all of the links that weren't good enough to justify their own post.

Inflation Calculator
NASA finds spy space suits
A VC: Bagging the Post
Secrets of the A-List Bloggers: Lots of short entries
IT Conversations
Call The Internet
Nelly Pimp Juice - $1.99!
Anonymity complete GUIDE
Where's George? ® 2.0
Science Articles || Science Blog Community
Wired News: Computers No Cure for Dumb Docs
Farrer Commons: URLex: Comment on the Web-literally
AudiOracle - Rare and Valuable CDs
ThinkGeek :: Marshmallow Shooter
USA PATRIOT REGISTRATION - WHITEHOUSE.ORG
Math Says Homeland Security Committee Most Partisan
KSL News: Federal Board Rejects State Appeal on Goshute Nuclear Dump
Asymmetrical Information
Google Content Blocker
Times and Seasons
Dead Pixels Test
Sam's Archive - How to destroy the Earth
Slashdot | Engineers Have More Sons, Nurses More Daughters
doiop.com
Star Wars - Mr Potato Head Darth Tater review
blogpoly
Humans programmed to kill, scientist says
I-Hacked.com Taking Advantage Of Technology - Transmit Audio with a Laser Pen
Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age
Front Page Newspapers
Thought Thieves
MOOX
One of the coolest ads I've ever seen.
Will you find Celebrity addresses for me at ZabaSearch?
This can reduce the price of gas.
I don't see how this lowers the price of gas?
Google Webaccelerator
Ivan Flint has been elected chairman of the Utah Board of Water Resources.
CSPAN 2 Listening to Bob Barr on PATRIOT Sec. 213 He keeps correcting himself, meaning to say "Noticeless", when he says "Warrantless" searches. Counted it 6 times.
Type in your zip and get local news.
You ought to know by now I'm always trying new things. I've put up sideblog for random thoughts, and half-baked ideas.

Science Articles || Science Blog Community

Boy! I really didn't comprehend this at all on Friday when I originally posted this. This event won't actually occur until July 4th.

I'm estimating that in about 16 hours, the first 'hyper-speed' impact with a comet and a manmade craft will occur. 2 hours before impact the craft will enter into autopilot, and drive itself into the comet at 6.3 miles per second.
"The crater produced by the impact could range in size from a large house up to a football stadium from two to 14 stories deep. Ice and dust debris will be ejected from the crater, revealing the material beneath. The flyby spacecraft has approximately 13 minutes to take images and spectra of the collision and its result before it must endure a potential blizzard of particles from the nucleus of the comet."


Science Articles || Science Blog Community

Thursday, June 09, 2005

CNN.com - Bush to Congress: Renew Patriot Act - Jun 9, 2005

I don't usually take my cues from the President on the real substantive issues, since I know he is going to deliver the most watered-down information. Of course, he is given good information himself, but that goes through a filter before it reaches the public. That is not to say that I ignore everything he says, but I understand his role is push his own agenda. I may not always agree with his agenda.

Here is one of the problems I am having in discussing the PATRIOT Act. Due to the sunset provisions of PATRIOT there is a change from day to day in the risks, and protections the bill can offer. Whenever Congress has a hearing, those that testify are only obligated to speak to the provisions that are implemented into law--Not those that could be law. If PAREA, which recently made it through the Intelligence Commitee, is made into law, then PATRIOT becomes an entirely different beast than it is now.

CNN quotes President Bush as follows:

"Sen. Dianne Feinstein worked with civil rights groups to monitor the use of the Patriot Act; here's what she said: 'We've scrubbed the area, and I have no reported abuses,'"

"Remember that the next time you hear someone make an unfair criticism of this important, good law."

A criticism of PATRIOT is a different thing than an admonition on how to proceed in implementing PAREA.

CNN.com - Bush to Congress: Renew Patriot Act - Jun 9, 2005

Sideblog.com: Domain name expired.

I noticed a good portion of my blog's margin was missing this morning. A little research led me to discover that the domain name for the service that I use to post to my margins had expired. It's okay if it is gone permanently since I was considering writing some of my own code to syndicate RSS feeds in my margins. I would have dumped sideblog for that in a heartbeat.

Geek Trivia: Air (and space) mail

It's too bad that so many of our visions of the future never come to pass. It is fortunate , however, that some ideas die early. Take the 1950's idea of launching mail via unarmed cruise missles.

"On June 8, 1959, 46 years ago, the U.S. submarine Barbero conducted the first and last test of so-called "Missile Mail," a concept that involved using a warhead-less Regulus cruise missile to carry—I'm not making this up—postal containers."


Geek Trivia: Air (and space) mail

LiveScience.com - The Z Machine

The Z-Machine is in the category of technologies that just look so cool! If I could just get with the times, and post pictures on my blog you could see it here. But, you'll have to follow the link because I'm old fashioned. LiveScience is reporting an upgrade of the device, capable of simulating a nuclear bomb, will happen soon. So, what would an upgrade of the Z-machine entail, anyway?
"Housed at Sandia National Laboratories, the Z machine attracted a lot of attention eight years ago when its energy output more than quadrupled – raising hopes that the reactions in the Z could provide a new source of clean, abundant power. To help further progress towards this end, the machine is getting a $61.7 million upgrade, officials announced recently."
LiveScience.com - The Z Machine

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Hatch's response on PATRIOT

Below is the text of Senator Hatch's letter given in response to mine that was dated May 25th.

June 1, 2005

"Dear Mr. Farrar: (sic)

Thank you for your letter regarding the USA PATRIOT Act and related issues.

You may be interested to know that we are working hard every day on these issues. We continue to hold hearings on the USA PATRIOT Act re-authorization effort and I continue to listen to both sides in this debate. I appreciate and respect your sentiments and I thank you for taking the time to write. The 'administrative subpoena power' is a powerful tool currently used by law enforcement in the context of criminal (non-terrorist) cases. This has been challenged and found to be constitutional in current use contexts. However, I agree with you that this issue deserves very serious scrutiny and I intend to give law enforcement they (sic) tools they need AND maintain the civil liberties of all Americans (sic)

Again, I thank you for your input on this issue and I appreciate your support.

Sincerely,

Orrin G. Hatch
United States Senator"

Cato Daily Dispatch for June 8, 2005

It appears that the Senate Intelligence Committee went ahead and approved the expanded provisions in PATRIOT, known as PAREA (is it pronounced pariah?). I recieved a response from Senator Orrin Hatch yesterday leading me to assume the provision would pass the commitee. I'll post his response in full later. The CATO institute has released a dispatch with more information.

Cato Daily Dispatch for June 8, 2005

Coming in out of the cold: Cold fusion, for real | csmonitor.com

Could this be real cold fusion? Read the article and you'll realize that it still takes more energy to create fusion, than can be generated by the fusion, so this isn't a pie-in-the-sky claim. It may never break even, and be used as a source of energy, but may be used for very tiny scanning machines. The researchers used a very powerful electric field to slam atoms together. This is a different approach from what has been attempted in the past where scientists have tried to replicate the conditions on the sun by generating intense heat and pressure.

Coming in out of the cold: Cold fusion, for real | csmonitor.com

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

'Secret' Senate meeting on Patriot Act | csmonitor.com

The Christian Science Monitor has a good summary of all of the debate that has transpired over PATRIOT reauthorization or, in other words, PAREA. As noted previously, I've never supported PAREA as long as "administrative subpoena's are included, but I still support the reauthorization of PATRIOT. In my mind, the crux of the matter is this; no judge-no dice. In an odd moment, I agree with Diane Feinstein when she says, "This is a very broad power, with no check on that power. It's carte blanche for a fishing expedition."

'Secret' Senate meeting on Patriot Act | csmonitor.com

Monday, June 06, 2005

IT Conversations: Paul Graham

Although, I'm not much of a hacker, I found this to be an interesting listen. Mr. Graham defines why a creative work environment is crippled by placing people in cubicles, and having strictly defined work schedules, and poorly defined projects.

Great Hackers

Google Search: define:et al

I wish I knew some latin. Type in 'define:et al' in google's search engine and you will see the consensus is that it is an abbreviation that means "and others". You will also see that it could be an abbreviation for a number of things, including:

Google Search: define:et al

Do any authorities on latin grammar want to weigh in on this? This is why legalese can be so confusing? Latin schmatin!

Mind Hacks: IBM to simulate the "entire brain"

IBM is embarking on a 'decade' long effort to simulate the human brain. This sounds far-fetched to me. But, methinks in shooting for the stars, there is a fair chance someone will hit the moon, which is a worthy target.

Mind Hacks: IBM to simulate the "entire brain"

CNN.com - The machine that can copy anything - Jun 2, 2005

Is this one step closer to the Von Neummann Universal Constructor? Or, in layterms, a self-replicating device?

CNN.com - The machine that can copy anything - Jun 2, 2005

Friday, June 03, 2005

CNN.com - John Dean: Deep Throat revelation creates another mystery - Jun 3, 2005

CNN.com - John Dean: Deep Throat revelation creates another mystery - Jun 3, 2005

Jerry Taylor & Peter Van Doren on Gasoline and Oil Prices on NRO Financial

The National Review has an article explaining why subsidizing oil refineries, or providing cheap land to build new ones, does little to drop the price of gas. See also, this story regarding Senator Hatch's sponsorship of a bill that would provide tax breaks to new oil refineries. Also, see this story about a recent discovery in Utah. If Congress can stay clear, as it has, of gasoline production, then the price of gas will likely go down.

Jerry Taylor & Peter Van Doren on Gasoline and Oil Prices on NRO Financial

How Mark Felt Became 'Deep Throat'

There are plenty of links to this story elsewhere, but it bears repeating. I can't help but think that the story was already written, and that Woodward just held onto it until it was 'allowed' to be published. How many revisions have taken place over the years?

How Mark Felt Became 'Deep Throat'

Thursday, June 02, 2005

OpinionJournal - Featured Article

The Wall Street Journal Editorial page has a great article on why activist judges are such a problem, as well as the tactics used, by judges, in legislating from the bench. The article is adapted from a book to be published this fall, and edited by, the controversial judge, Robert Bork. He is controversial in his opinion that judges should judge, and legislatures make laws. The proposal in this article of, "...restoring the 14th Amendment to its original meaning..." as a way to solve the problem of judicial activism is intriguing.

OpinionJournal - Featured Article

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

IsraCast: Technology in Israel

An Israeli inventor says he has invented an underwater breathing device that extracts dissolved oxygen out of water via a centrifuge. No oxygen tanks would be required. It takes advantage of a physical law called the "Henry Law", that speaks to the amount of gas that can be dissolved in a liquid. Patent pending in the U.S., so we may wait a while before we know if this works? My B.S. detector really wants to go off on this one, but I don't understand, fully, the science behind it. Anyone willing to weigh in on this one?

IsraCast: Technology in Israel

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Robot combined with swallowable camera could give docs a better look inside the small intestine

Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University have devised a horse-sized pill robot designed navigate and relay images of the intestine. The 3-legged version can deploy it's legs to stay in place, or retract them to go with the flow. Adding 3 more legs on the other end will allow it to "inchworm" back to a previous position in the intestines to look at a troublesome spot.
"A number of problems remain to be solved. For instance, the small intestine is typically collapsed, so maneuvering through it might be difficult for a legged robot. And power already is limited for the capsule cameras; precious little additional power may be available for locomotion."
Though, the robot is attached to a 'swallowable' pill, when used for the Colon, it appears that the pill will be introduced through the anus. This would be far more pleasant than the current colonoscope.

Intestine Robot

Friday, May 27, 2005

PhysOrg.com: Science, Technology Blog

Yahoo will be testing a new PhotoMail service. Key words here are, free, and BETA.PhysOrg.com: Science, Technology Blog

Thursday, May 26, 2005

URLex: Comment on the Web-literally

URLex is still in it's infancy, but I think it shows promise. A brief description of the site follows.

"With URLex system you are able to leave a comment regarding any internet link on any site. The comments are available either only to you and your friends, or anyone visiting the site. You now have an opportunity of expressing your thoughts regarding any information placed on the internet. The system enables you to leave notes on the pages and sustain the conversation on a selected topic. You can enter communities, or create your own, exchange links there. You can restrict the access to your comments by creating a closed community and providing access to the information by issuing special invitation."

Once you join, leave a comment on this post if you would like to be added to my community. My group is called "Farrercommons". Big surprise, eh? Let's see what evolves from the use of this tool?

A extension for Mozilla Firefox users is below.

Mozilla Update :: Extensions -- More Info:URLex! - All Releases

P.S. I forgot to mention that this is my 100th post. (counting both my posts on Davis County Watch, and Farrer Commons)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Letter to Hatch:Stop PATRIOT Act Expansion

The EFF is spearheading an effort to urge Senators to not expand PATRIOT to authorize an "administrative subpoena" power. A template, very different from my letter below is available on their website. Please feel free to use, or modify, my letter for your use as well. I differ from the EFF in that I don't oppose the entire PATRIOT act, just this one draft provision.

As a constituent who, largely, supports the USA PATRIOT Act in it's present form. I was disheartened to learn that Section 213 may be revised in order to expand executive powers to include an, unconstitutional, "administrative subpoena" power. I urge you to not affect this change. The 'search and seizure' provisions of PATRIOT must include the requirement to obtain a warrant authorized by a court. These checks and balances are sacrosanct, and must not be altered. I also ask that the Senate Intelligence Committee's mark-up session on Thursday, May 26, be opened to the public.

Your committee's current draft bill endangers my civil liberties and those of every other citizen. I strongly urge you to return your commitee to sanity, and remain true to the Constitution. The Constitution forbids "warrantless" searches, for the protection of the people. I have supported 'delayed notification' provision, under the oversight of the courts, and have suffered derision, and ridicule for my views. I stand by these views, but cannot stand with you on the modification of Section 213.

I strongly urge you to leave intact the language of Section 213, and open your session to the public.


Monday, May 23, 2005

GOP Aides Say New Patriot Act Obliges Bush - Yahoo! News

I've said before that I see no reason to oppose the PATRIOT Act in it's current state, and that is still true. That being said, the AP is reporting, according to an anonymous source, that the Senate Intelligence Commitee is trying to change PATRIOT to allow the FBI to issue subpoena's, without the approval of a judge, "for quickly obtaining records, electronic data or other evidence in terrorism investigations, according to aides for the GOP majority on the committee who briefed reporters Wednesday." This action would be forbidden by the Constitution.

The line that cannot be crossed here is the 'warrantless subpoena'. The Constitution requires that a warrant must be issued in order to justify the search, or seizure. Technically, a warrant cannot be called such, unless a Judge, or Grand Jury oversees the process. Otherwise calling for the search or seizure, could not be called "reasonable". If this modification of the PATRIOT Act, occurs, it would negate the safeguards put in place by the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

GOP Aides Say New Patriot Act Obliges Bush - Yahoo! News

Friday, May 20, 2005

Not all Privacy is equal

I'm not sure why I enjoy talking so much about Privacy issues. My first post on this blog was on Privacy. I guess it's because I hold views that are not widely accepted, although I find arguments in support of them. It's a great soap-box topic. The Beckner-Posner Blog has a posted on the different kinds of privacy that concern us, and proposes reasoning behind assigning value to each of these. Rather than employing the word, privacy, as a war cry, as we often do, we ought to consider the it's implications relative to other values. Richard Posner does well in breaking down the this value.

Posner on Privacy

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

And what if it did happen? (idleryet.blog-city.com)

Bill Adams, at Idler Yet, has made an interesting point regarding the Newsweek Scandal. Bumper stickers that read, "Newsweek lied, people died" are already in circulation, and the Whitehouse is brisling that the media would even imply such a thing. But, what if such a thing did happen? Would it be just cause for murder? Let's keep our Media organizations responsible, but our citizenry even more so lest we have to eat our own words.

And what if it did happen? (idleryet.blog-city.com)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Marginal Revolution: My Unconscious is Clear

Marginal Revolution points to a test that is freely available to all regardless of creed, race, or gender, to determine whether one has a unconscious bias. How will I rate on this? Anyone is free to weigh in on how you think I did. Just leave me a comment. Also, if you want to take the test yourself then by all means do. I'll give my results, once I get a few good guesses. (By the way, I haven't yet taken the test, so there are no intentional clues to be had in this post.)

Marginal Revolution: My Unconscious is Clear

Monday, May 16, 2005

- The Debates - Profs Take on "Primary Purpose" Test

In an article, recently published, in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, one provision of PATRIOT, "perhaps the most controversial", is posited to need reform. The section has been so controversial because it was intented to break down a barrier between Foreign Intelligence, and Criminal Law, known as "the wall". Prior to PATRIOT, it was the Justice Departments policy to deal with "the wall" by "limiting contact between foreign intelligence agents in the FBI and federal prosecutors". Ironically, a Court of Review found that "the wall" actually didn't exist in the first place, except by the actual passing of the PATRIOT Act, which assumed it's existence. PATRIOT served to build "the wall", albeit a smaller one, than what was misconstrued to have existed previously. (I know. Wrap your mind around that one.) The Professors cover, in 145 pages( Of which I have read 1/4), how the Justice Department may employ a loophole to get over "the wall" today. The authors justify reforming the legislation in order to render any such maneuvering, on the part of the government, unnecessary, and that contact between the various Agencies may be unfettered.
- The Debates - Profs Take on "Primary Purpose" Test

Friday, May 13, 2005

Quickie Google Search Lays Out "Brothels" - Yahoo! News

Quickie Google Search Lays Out "Brothels" - Yahoo! News: "What do the University of Oregon's history department in Eugene, Ore.;
the Happy Ending bar in Manhattan; and the Abstinence Clearinghouse in
Sioux Falls, S.D. have in common?"

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Water-use cutbacks hurt Salt Lake coffers

The Deseret News has an article proving that the local Government is not fully commited to water conservation. The boon of rain that we are experiencing in Utah, helping us climb out of a decade of drought, has already cost Public Utilities $400,000.

The article also points out that we may dry out this summer, which means we need to continue our water saving practices despite the rainfall we may receive, and despite what the Public Service Ad's may soon say.

Water-use cutbacks hurt Salt Lake coffers