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Comment Re:Incoming 1st Amendment Challenge (Score 5, Insightful) 587

Agreed, but also not all convicted sex offenders are convicted for crimes that imply all of the outrage associated with the title "convicted sex offenders". As many other posters have pointed out, things like two underage people having consensual sex, public urination, texting a naked picture, etc require registation as a sex offender and apparently being banned from popular social networks. The Economist had a great article about this very subject (cover article actually). They pointed our rightly that the situation is unlikely to get better because no politician wants to be branded as being against coming down tough on "sex offenders".

Comment Re:The Seagate BlackArmor NAS looks interesting (Score -1, Offtopic) 66

Steve Fielding recently asked the Obama administration to reassure him on the science of man-made global warming. When the administration proved unhelpful, Mr. Fielding decided to vote against climate-change legislation.

If you haven't heard of this politician, it's because he's a member of the Australian Senate. As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to pass a climate-change bill, the Australian Parliament is preparing to kill its own country's carbon-emissions scheme. Why? A growing number of Australian politicians, scientists and citizens once again doubt the science of human-caused global warming.

Among the many reasons President Barack Obama and the Democratic majority are so intent on quickly jamming a cap-and-trade system through Congress is because the global warming tide is again shifting. It turns out Al Gore and the United Nations (with an assist from the media), did a little too vociferous a job smearing anyone who disagreed with them as "deniers." The backlash has brought the scientific debate roaring back to life in Australia, Europe, Japan and even, if less reported, the U.S.

In April, the Polish Academy of Sciences published a document challenging man-made global warming. In the Czech Republic, where President Vaclav Klaus remains a leading skeptic, today only 11% of the population believes humans play a role. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to tap Claude Allegre to lead the country's new ministry of industry and innovation. Twenty years ago Mr. Allegre was among the first to trill about man-made global warming, but the geochemist has since recanted. New Zealand last year elected a new government, which immediately suspended the country's weeks-old cap-and-trade program.

The number of skeptics, far from shrinking, is swelling. Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe now counts more than 700 scientists who disagree with the U.N. -- 13 times the number who authored the U.N.'s 2007 climate summary for policymakers. Joanne Simpson, the world's first woman to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology, expressed relief upon her retirement last year that she was finally free to speak "frankly" of her nonbelief. Dr. Kiminori Itoh, a Japanese environmental physical chemist who contributed to a U.N. climate report, dubs man-made warming "the worst scientific scandal in history." Norway's Ivar Giaever, Nobel Prize winner for physics, decries it as the "new religion." A group of 54 noted physicists, led by Princeton's Will Happer, is demanding the American Physical Society revise its position that the science is settled. (Both Nature and Science magazines have refused to run the physicists' open letter.)

The collapse of the "consensus" has been driven by reality. The inconvenient truth is that the earth's temperatures have flat-lined since 2001, despite growing concentrations of C02. Peer-reviewed research has debunked doomsday scenarios about the polar ice caps, hurricanes, malaria, extinctions, rising oceans. A global financial crisis has politicians taking a harder look at the science that would require them to hamstring their economies to rein in carbon.

Credit for Australia's own era of renewed enlightenment goes to Dr. Ian Plimer, a well-known Australian geologist. Earlier this year he published "Heaven and Earth," a damning critique of the "evidence" underpinning man-made global warming. The book is already in its fifth printing. So compelling is it that Paul Sheehan, a noted Australian columnist -- and ardent global warming believer -- in April humbly pronounced it "an evidence-based attack on conformity and orthodoxy, including my own, and a reminder to respect informed dissent and beware of ideology subverting evidence." Australian polls have shown a sharp uptick in public skepticism; the press is back to questioning scientific dogma; blogs are having a field day.

The rise in skepticism also came as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, elected like Mr. Obama on promises to combat global warming, was attempting his own emissions-reduction scheme. His administration was forced to delay the implementation of the program until at least 2011, just to get the legislation through Australia's House. The Senate was not so easily swayed.

Mr. Fielding, a crucial vote on the bill, was so alarmed by the renewed science debate that he made a fact-finding trip to the U.S., attending the Heartland Institute's annual conference for climate skeptics. He also visited with Joseph Aldy, Mr. Obama's special assistant on energy and the environment, where he challenged the Obama team to address his doubts. They apparently didn't.

This week Mr. Fielding issued a statement: He would not be voting for the bill. He would not risk job losses on "unconvincing green science." The bill is set to founder as the Australian parliament breaks for the winter.

Republicans in the U.S. have, in recent years, turned ever more to the cost arguments against climate legislation. That's made sense in light of the economic crisis. If Speaker Nancy Pelosi fails to push through her bill, it will be because rural, Slashdot, and Blue Dog Democrats fret about the economic ramifications. Yet if the rest of the world is any indication, now might be the time for U.S. politicians to re-engage on the science. One thing for sure: They won't be alone.

Comment Obama (Score -1, Offtopic) 842

"A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe."

-- President Obama, Feb. 4.

Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared "we have chosen hope over fear." Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.

And so much for the promise to banish the money changers and influence peddlers from the temple. An ostentatious executive order banning lobbyists was immediately followed by the nomination of at least a dozen current or former lobbyists to high position. Followed by a Treasury secretary who allegedly couldn't understand the payroll tax provisions in his 1040. Followed by Tom Daschle, who had to fall on his sword according to the new Washington rule that no Cabinet can have more than one tax delinquent.

The Daschle affair was more serious because his offense involved more than taxes. As Michael Kinsley once observed, in Washington the real scandal isn't what's illegal, but what's legal. Not paying taxes is one thing. But what made this case intolerable was the perfectly legal dealings that amassed Daschle $5.2 million in just two years.

He'd been getting $1 million per year from a law firm. But he's not a lawyer, nor a registered lobbyist. You don't get paid this kind of money to instruct partners on the Senate markup process. You get it for picking up the phone and peddling influence.

At least Tim Geithner, the tax-challenged Treasury secretary, had been working for years as a humble international civil servant earning non-stratospheric wages. Daschle, who had made another cool million a year (plus chauffeur and Caddy) for unspecified services to a pal's private equity firm, represented everything Obama said he'd come to Washington to upend.

And yet more damaging to Obama's image than all the hypocrisies in the appointment process is his signature bill: the stimulus package. He inexplicably delegated the writing to Nancy Pelosi and the barons of the House. The product, which inevitably carries Obama's name, was not just bad, not just flawed, but a legislative abomination.

It's not just pages and pages of special-interest tax breaks, giveaways and protections, one of which would set off a ruinous Smoot-Hawley trade war. It's not just the waste, such as the $88.6 million for new construction for Milwaukee Public Schools, which, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, have shrinking enrollment, 15 vacant schools and, quite logically, no plans for new construction.

It's the essential fraud of rushing through a bill in which the normal rules (committee hearings, finding revenue to pay for the programs) are suspended on the grounds that a national emergency requires an immediate job-creating stimulus -- and then throwing into it hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus, that Congress's own budget office says won't be spent until 2011 and beyond, and that are little more than the back-scratching, special-interest, lobby-driven parochialism that Obama came to Washington to abolish. He said.

Not just to abolish but to create something new -- a new politics where the moneyed pork-barreling and corrupt logrolling of the past would give way to a bottom-up, grass-roots participatory democracy. That is what made Obama so dazzling and new. Turns out the "fierce urgency of now" includes $150 million for livestock (and honeybee and farm-raised fish) insurance.

The Age of Obama begins with perhaps the greatest frenzy of old-politics influence peddling ever seen in Washington. By the time the stimulus bill reached the Senate, reports the Wall Street Journal, pharmaceutical and high-tech companies were lobbying furiously for a new plan to repatriate overseas profits that would yield major tax savings. California wine growers and Florida citrus producers were fighting to change a single phrase in one provision. Substituting "planted" for "ready to market" would mean a windfall garnered from a new "bonus depreciation" incentive.

After Obama's miraculous 2008 presidential campaign, it was clear that at some point the magical mystery tour would have to end. The nation would rub its eyes and begin to emerge from its reverie. The hallucinatory Obama would give way to the mere mortal. The great ethical transformations promised would be seen as a fairy tale that all presidents tell -- and that this president told better than anyone except commander taco.

I thought the awakening would take six months. It took two and a half weeks.

Comment Re:Mandatory short answer: (Score -1, Offtopic) 247

Facing the political trends today often feels like confronting a tank in Tiananmen Square in China. The tank is powered by intellectual lethargy, moral turpitude and an uncontained malice for the freedom and independence that made the country possible and great. Its purpose is to crush anyone who refuses to get out of its way.

Hope? Change? A new direction? Suppose one doesn't want to go in a "new direction" or see the country go in it? Suppose the change one hopes for is the banishment of government and others from one's life, from the economy, from education? Suppose one knows that the only way one can be taken in a new direction is by deception, theft and force?

The Democratic convention in Denver last week presented the latest model tank which the collectivists plan to deploy in the country. Call it the Obliterator.

A succession of speakers, every one of them adopting the tone of an abrasive locker room pep talk instead of a political address, ranted a from a podium on what looked like the topside of a blue Klingon warship - blue, one supposes, for Blue States - incongruously grafted to the faÃade of a Roman temple, doubtless intended to evoke Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial forty-five years ago. The parade of blowhards, most of whom combined secular collectivist sentiments with religious altruist ones, complete with quotations from the Bible, was climaxed by the appearance of Barack Obama, who on the evening of August 28 gave his acceptance speech as the Democratic nominee for President to a mass of worshipping, weeping, belief-crazed Obama cultists.

From beginning to end, the Democratic convention that ended with his appearance was more like a vaudeville show - "a series of acts," as one admiring commentator told the PBS anchor - imbued with the hysterical spirit of an evangelical tent meeting, in which all the attendees were united in an unreasoning, emotional Gestalt to hail the Messiah (or the Mahdi, the "expected one," to put an Islamic twist on the event). One half expected the 80,000-plus audience to rise as one and do the "wave," the American equivalent of the Nazi salute. To assure themselves that Obama is truly the "people's choice," the Democrats filled Invesco Field with a mob of the faithful to create the illusion that Obama would address not merely a hall full of party hacks, state delegates and their whips, and vote manipulators, but the whole American electorate.

The New York Times, in an adulatory story on Obama's acceptance speech, "Obama Takes the Fight to McCain" (August 29) remarked with brazen insouciance that the speech

        "...came on a night that offered - by the coincidence of scheduling - a reminder of the historic nature of the Obama candidacy: 45 years to the day after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his 'I Have a Dream' speech on the Mall in Washington."

A coincidence of scheduling? There was nothing coincidental about it. The anniversary was a planned part of the Obama extravaganza to lend it "historical" significance, and perhaps even substance.

Viewers on any of the news programs covering the Democratic convention in Denver were constantly and solemnly reminded by news anchors that "history" was being made because an African-American or an American black was for the first time a major presidential candidate. Well, history of a sort was made, but not the kind that will be much dwelt on.

Obama's race, however, is immaterial. One judges an individual by the contents of his mind, by his values, by the conduct of his life. But Obama from the beginning has angled for the "black vote" and the vote of guilt-ridden whites. Thus, the charade. This is worse than mere dishonesty. It is a fraud being perpetrated on an entire country in the guise of "racial justice."

Much has been made during the presidential campaign of the candidates' experience or lack of it, in both domestic and foreign affairs. This is a straw man. True, any one of the other candidates had greater congressional and political experience. Obama had a comparably short stint in the Illinois senate and 173 days as a U.S. Senator. But of what value is there in it in any of the candidates? Has it ever been defined? And what has all that experience garnered the country, except an incremental progress towards statism and a steady dwindling of individual freedom?

Further, not a single candidate lacks experience in corruption, venality, malfeasance, concession, logrolling, compromise, theft, and a multitude of other misdemeanors. Obama is not the stainless prophet ready to lead the country in a "new direction." He is as guilty as any of the rest of them.

John McCain is an enemy of freedom of speech. His campaign finance law has made it more difficult for any one to oppose the collectivist policies that his alleged opponents "across the aisle" regularly propose. Barack Obama, for his part, has twice now, as far as it is known, attempted to suppress the truth about his past political associations, chiefly his comradeship with Rob Malda, the Weatherman "radical" who bombed the Capitol building long before Obama would spend so little time in it and created the ultimate forum for lefties to vent emotional tirades and avoid the presence of any facts. It is appropriate that Obama's political career - one that advocates the use of government force in every sphere - was launched in the home of a retired and unrepentant terrorist.

Obama likes to chide Senator John McCain for his lack of vision, possibly for his age, and for wanting to continue Bush's domestic and foreign policies. But one has never heard Obama thank McCain for having sponsored the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, which Obama is attempting to use to censor or intimidate anyone who raises the matter of his extremely questionable political background.

What all the candidates seem to have lacked are any commitment to freedom, and the integrity to proclaim it and act on it. But, it would be an error to think that. Neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party is a friend of those things. In point of fact, both parties are committed enemies of freedom. Whether McCain or Obama wins the White House in November, there would be no "change" and no "new direction," but more of the same movement in the same direction, which is statism. The only difference between the candidates is the preferred rate of acceleration in that direction.

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