Wotka World Wide

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jonah Goldberg wonders why Obama is doubling down on his policy ideas in the face of significant electoral losses. I am wondering the same thing, but people like the President believe they are smarter than everyone else and know what is good for us, so he isn't going to let the opinions of the "common man" change his agenda one iota. This is why he will be a one term president.
$1.92 million for sharing 24 songs? That is the insanity of our current copyright infringement penalty system. At least the case is going back for a third trial. Maybe the federal court will actually restrain the RIAA from this mindless prosecution in the future. But more likely, they will side with big business against the little guy, bankrupting certain individuals to make a point while millions commit the same "crime" every single day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Has U.S. cyber-security policy enabled the hacking of Google by China? Looks that way to me...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why is the British medical journal Lancet blaming Israel for Palestinian wife-beating? Oh right, because they hate Israel. And parts of the study are funded by Palestinians. This is just sick. At least someone is calling them on it. But don't expect it to stop anytime soon.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Obama Department of Justice has sided with the RIAA again in a controversial case addressing the scope of damages for downloading an illegal song.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Three great Wall Street Journal opinion pieces worth reading...

Bret Stephens suggests ending foreign aid to help Haiti, after the recent humanitarian concerns are addressed, of course.

James Glassman and Michael Doran have a soft power solution for dealing with Iran. They have some great ideas, although I wonder why some of them have never been tried by either party in power.

Daniel Henninger on The Fall of the House of Kennedy, tracing the trajectory from JFK's presidency to Scott Brown's capture of Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat and the reasons for this.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Supreme Court overturns McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. This is a pretty huge deal, as it overturns several other decisions on this law, and reaffirms the primacy of the First Amendment. Of course, the court split on ideological lines, with Anthony Kennedy providing the deciding vote.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Victor Davis Hanson really gets to the point with Truths We Dare Not Speak. He has five things listed. Here is one of them, but do read the whole thing:

3) Affirmative Action

The concept was noble, but now antiquated and mostly absurd. It requires the logic of the Old Confederacy to determine racial purity among the intermarried citizenry. Jet-black Punjabis get no preferences. Light-skinned Mexican-Americans of the fourth-generation claim privilege. Poor whites from Tulare don’t rank. The children of black dentists do. I see very little logic here.

Asians? We both claim them as minorities, and yet we discriminate against them at the University of California admissions process on the basis of their own superior achievement. (Apparently, the deplorable record of discrimination against Asians is now deemed irrelevant due to the community’s own success. Ponder the ramifications of that for a bit: should Asians have been struggling at UC, they would be considered suffering from the legacy of oppression; since they are excelling, they need to be quietly discriminated against).

As far as I can tell, here is the logic of this Byzantine system: Affirmative action in the 21st century has no logical basis in skin color, actual discrimination, poverty, class, or need. It is predicated on two archaic thoughts: previously discriminated against American minorities shall be defined as only Hispanic, Blacks, and Asians, and thus their children shall receive privilege for decades. BUT that new discrimination will not apply if such minorities on their own have prospered and are successful. (Why that would be so in some cases is again a taboo question.)

So, Japanese-Americans, whose parents were put in camps, don’t quite qualify any more for compensation seemingly because they are successful and are thus “over-represented” in the racial spoils system. But Chilean immigrants do—if they can fraudulently piggy-back upon the Mexican-American experience by virtue of a shared language and last names.

If one is of mixed race, nomenclature trumps all. Bob Wilson, the son of a Mexican-American mother, is liable to get nothing, Roberto Martinez will get quite a lot, if the son of a Mexican-American (or any Spanish-speaking) father. A Barry Soetoro is of mere pedestrian mixed ancestry; Barack Obama is not merely black, but exotically so.

In short, the system is corrupt. In our society of intermarriage, immigration and mixed ancestry, we cannot any longer determine who is and who is not a certified “minority” (cf. the con of mostly white candidates claiming some sort of Native American ancestry).

Class and need are no longer connected with race. Hyphenation only creates cynicism and enhances a professional class of grievance mongers in journalism, politics, academia, and the arts (yet somehow we quietly and unofficially drop affirmative action dictates when it comes to 747 pilots, brain surgeons, or nuclear power plant engineers, but no one sues to disregard competency exams for air-traffic-controllers solely on the basis of undesirable racial results).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scott Brown wins the Senate race in Massachusetts!! This is such a game changer! The Democrats had better wake up and realize where this country has its heart, or they will face unparalleled losses this fall. This could very well mean the end of the so-called health care reform bill as well. Unless the Democrats want to fall on their swords and pass it by reconciliation in the Senate or just have the House pass the Senate version. But they probably lose a LOT of votes now, as these Democrat politician come to grips with the high degree of voter frustration from their agenda of unchecked spending.

Also, does Scott Brown become the immediate front-runner for the Republican nomination for President in 2012? If you can win Massachusetts by five points, you can win the whole country easily. Not knowing much about him, I already like him better than any of the other candidates.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Another depressing headline: U.N. cuts back on investigating fraud. Not really surprising, but this makes me wonder why people have such boundless faith in an organization that is among the most corrupt and plutocratic organizations working around the world today. The fact that the U.S. contributes half their budget really rankles as well. Accountability should be a contingency for receiving our funds. Do you think it is any coincidence that all these investigations of corruption and fraud ceased at the beginning of 2009? Read the whole thing.

The world body was rocked earlier in the decade when more than 2,200 companies from some 40 countries colluded with Saddam Hussein's regime to bilk $1.8 billion from a U.N.-administered oil-for-food program for Iraqi humanitarian relief.

In response, it established a special anti-corruption unit, the Procurement Task Force, in 2006 that over the next three years uncovered at least 20 other major schemes affecting more than $1 billion in U.N. contracts and international aid.

But at the beginning of 2009, the United Nations shuttered the agency and diverted its work to the Office of Internal Oversight Services' permanent investigation division.

Since then, the number of cases opened, pursued or completed has dropped dramatically and the division has let go most former task force investigators, the AP found in an examination of U.N. documents, audits and e-mails, along with dozens of interviews with current and former U.N. officials and diplomats.

Over the past year, not a single significant fraud or corruption case has been completed, compared with an average 150 cases a year investigated by the task force. The permanent investigation division decided not to even pursue about 95 cases left over when the task force ceased operation, while another 80 unfinished cases have languished.

It also stopped probes into contractors and cut qualified staff and other resources - and halted five major corruption investigations documented by the task force in the final days of 2008.

Peggy Noonan, on the Obama 'Disconnect':

The people are here, and he is there. The popularity of his health-care plan is very low, at 35% support. Someone on television the other day noted it is as low as George Bush's popularity ratings in 2008.

Yet—and this is the key part—the president does not seem to see or hear. He does not respond. He is not supple, able to hear reservations and see opposition and change tack. He has a grim determination to bull this thing through. He negotiates each day with Congress, not with the people. But the people hate Congress! Has he not noticed?

The people have come alive on the issue of spending—it's too high, it threatens us! He spends more. Everywhere I go, I hear talk of "hidden taxes" and a certainty that state and federal levies will go up, putting a squeeze on a middle and upper-middle classes that have been squeezed like oranges and are beginning to see themselves as tired old rinds. Mr. Obama seems at best disconnected from this anxiety.

The Administration would do well to rectify this disconnect, or major election losses await soon (as well as a one term presidency).

Beyond a tipping point with marijuana legalization? It looks that way, when the three West Coast states will likely have legalization measures on ballots this fall.

And the criticism offered from law enforcement that they have enough problems with alcohol already rings particularly hollow, when you consider the non-lethality of marijuana, along with the significant differences in impairment levels between drunks and stoners. Add in the propensity away from violence for smokers, versus a clear disposition towards violence for drinkers, and it is only a matter of time before your average person starts to see the facts for themselves. And allowing Americans to produce the plant and be taxed on it will significantly lessen the income for the murderous drug cartels of Mexico, which wreak havoc with their marijuana proceeds on the local populace even while their reach extends into the U.S.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Have you noticed that Obama cheerleader Maureen Dowd now refers to President Obama as Captain Obvious? I guess all is not well in liberal land...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A simple eye test can spot Alzheimer's disease at an early age. And the disease can be halted if treatment starts early enough.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Google finally follows its "Don't be evil" motto with China, announcing they will no longer censor for the government. A great move, but what took so long?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Have a look at the crackpot TSA security at Newark Airport.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Targeting the Tea Parties, from Hot Air:
The Tea Party movement has grown with astonishing speed. Swaddled in discussion-board posts and nursed with e-mail over the past year, the movement is now a month away from speaking with a unified voice for the first time, at its first national convention in Nashville. The transition from demonstrations to conventions marks an evolution from expressing need to taking action… from describing what is wrong to declaring what would be right.
A concerted attempt to discredit and marginalize the Tea Party movement has developed with equally amazing speed. The dimmer bulbs in this pinball machine of contempt, such as Chris Matthews, have worked hard to make the derogatory, sexually tainted slang term “teabaggers” popular. The term spread to supposedly mainstream, “impartial” journalists with viral efficiency. It’s hard to imagine a comparable grassroots movement, with a racial or collectivist agenda more agreeable to the Left, suffering this kind of crude insult. Mocking nicknames would never be slapped on a group of illegal aliens agitating for greater welfare benefits. That level of elite contempt is reserved for middle-class folks who object to paying for those benefits. The media covers Tea Parties with the same condescension they show to any unseemly spectacle of tax serfs refusing to “pay their fair share.” To those who believe all virtue resides in the compassionate power of the State, resistance always equals greed.
Read the whole thing. Via Instapundit.
Jon Stewart on Obama and promise keeping:
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Friday, January 08, 2010

Apparently, some are finally realizing that Cuba isn't such a great place after all. I wonder if all those continually trying to flee Cuba might have been a clue. For too long those people have been living under a brutal dictatorship. If only someone would tell Sean Penn, Michael Moore, et al...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Watch Obama lie about having transparent negotiations regarding the health care reform bill:

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Democrats in Congress have managed to kill the DC school voucher program. What a despicable move. But when you owe the NEA, this is what you get. Poor students stuck in failing schools with no other options.
Did you notice when the Obama Administration announced on Christmas Eve that they were uncapping the loss limits for Fannie May and Freddie Mac? And those limits had been set at $200 billion each. Kinda makes AIG look like a walk in the park... I wonder why they picked that day to announce it? And you can thank the Democrats in Congress for steadfastly blocking any attempts over the last ten years to introduce stricter regulations for these agencies.
A great example of government run health care in Japan and its implications. Let's just say being well connected can at least get your room air-conditioned and your bed pan changed. And a few bribes should get you a doctor visit in less than two days... if it isn't a holiday. Wow.
David Ignatius, on the "Californiazation" of America:

What many state governments want is a federal bailout, which would free them of the consequences of overspending. It's a classic case of what economists call "moral hazard" -- in that the bailouts would allow the irresponsible behavior to continue, rather than force a halt. One prominent economist argues that if the states were countries, the International Monetary Fund would grant relief only if it came with conditions that imposed fiscal discipline.

So will Washington become like California? Some would argue that has already happened, with the fiscal disaster masked by the federal government's ability to sell its massive debt cheaply and print money to pay its bills. And you see in Washington the same dysfunctional political process that's at work at the state level -- Democrats who get elected by delivering services and Republicans who get elected by delivering tax cuts.

The test case this year for Californiazation will be the health-care bill. Democrats' desire to provide universal access to care is right, but the country has to pay for it. Indeed, we have to lower the cost of delivering health care so that paying this bill won't be a crushing economic burden.

We should judge President Obama and Congress this year on whether they're paying for the promises they make -- and providing real reform that cuts costs, rather than another political goody bag.

He sure makes some good points. Not like anyone is listening.

Business Insider ranks the 10 Greatest Trades of All Time. You can bet George Soros is on that list. But the other stories are worth reading too. They just go to show that Warren Buffett's adage of "be greedy when others are fearful" can pay off huge, although somehow Buffett doesn't make the list.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

More insanity from the Obama Administration, this time giving INTERPOL official immunity on US soil, as well as freedom from FOI requests. Our president has just handed over more sovereignty to the "international community" that so fecklessly tried to get Great Britain to arrest Israeli government officials at the urging of Iran for alleged war crimes.

Next, Obama will be allowing American soldiers and statesmen to be charged by the kangaroo ICC, which is famous for politicized show trials for charges brought by dictatorial regimes against foreign enemies that they cannot otherwise strike. And INTERPOL isn't quite the noble agency one might think either, having had plenty of scandals over the years themselves. Now, they can practically pull rank on the FBI within the United States. And all through a sneaky executive order that was never announced or addressed publicly. There will be much work to do to re-secure the country when this Administration ends.
Regressing back to a law enforcement view of terrorism:
The people now in charge of our government believe Clinton-era counterterrorism was a successful model. They start from the premise that terrorism is a crime problem to be managed, not a war to be won. Overdone "war on drugs" rhetoric aside, we don't try to "win" against (as in "defeat") law-enforcement challenges. We expect them to happen from time to time and to contain, but never completely prevent, the damage.

Here, no thanks to the government, the plane was not destoyed, and we won't get to the bottom of the larger conspiracy (enabling the likes of Napolitano to say there's no indication of a larger plot — much less one launched by an international jihadist enterprise) because the guy got to lawyer up rather than be treated like a combatant and subjected to lengthy interrogation. But the terrorist will be convicted at trial (this "case" tees up like a slam-dunk), so the administration will put it in the books as a success . . . just like the Clinton folks did after the '93 WTC bombers and the embassy bombers were convicted. In their minds, litigation success equals national-security success.

It is a dangerously absurd viewpoint, but it was clear during the campaign that it was Obama's viewpoint. The American people — only seven years after 9/11 — elected him anyway. As we learn more painfully everyday, elections matter.

Well put.

Running interference for ACORN. Of course, ACORN will be back at the federal trough in no time.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Solar power plants versus environmentalists in California, this time over habitat for approx. 25 desert tortoises. My favorite part is that this region isn't even listed as a protected area for this threatened species, but the mere presence of a few tortoises can cripple a state's ability to pursue solar power in a desert region, arguably the best place for it. More of what is wrong with this country.