Wotka World Wide

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Longtime Blackwater critic Alan Grayson, Democratic Congressman from Florida, was rescued by Blackwater operatives (now known as Xe Services) and evacuated from the country during large scale unrest following a coup attempt. He has also made a small fortune pursuing law suits against this company prior to joining Congress. It is funny how life works some times. I wonder if his criticism will become any less vociferous. I would guess not though.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Robert Samuelson on Greece and the fate of other welfare states that dole out more than they take in. This could soon include the U.S. Also considerations on the fate of the Euro.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Despite recent U.S. overtures to Syria, President Bashar Assad recently reaffirmed Syria's strong ties with Iran. So I guess that soft diplomacy approach is really starting to pay dividends now, eh? More:

Assad's strong words Thursday indicate that America does not have the kind of leverage it thought over Syria, said Joshua Landis, an American professor and Syria expert who runs a popular blog called Syria Comment.

"America overplayed its hand," Landis said. "The rest of the world is engaged with Syria - France is doing business, Turkey is doing business. Syria can survive. But it can't survive cutting ties with Iran."

Still, there are signs Assad could be open to a breakthrough with America.

Assad has begun to dismantle his father's socialist legacy since he rose to office in 2000. He has loosened the reins on banking, sought to attract foreign investment, and encouraged tourism and private education.

He also is hoping for U.S. help in boosting the Syrian economy and American mediation in direct peace talks with Israel - a recognition that he needs U.S. help to reach his goal of winning the return of the Golan Heights, seized by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war.

So any action by Syria to accept our engagement attempts are basically just to help them get the Golan Heights back from Israel. Like that is going to happen any time soon.

What we ought to be doing is asking France to lean on Syria more. They are the ones injecting foreign dollars into the country. Obama should be working on his relationship with Sarkozy, not Assad.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

George Will on Climate Science Tantrums:
Global warming alarmists, long cosseted by echoing media, manifest an interesting incongruity — hysteria and name-calling accompanying serene assertions about the "settled science" of climate change. Were it settled, we would be spared the hyperbole that amounts to Ring Lardner's "Shut up, he explained."

The global warming industry, like Alexander in the famous children's story, is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Actually, a bad three months, which began Nov. 19 with the publication of e-mails indicating attempts by scientists to massage data and suppress dissent in order to strengthen "evidence" of global warming.

But there already supposedly was a broad, deep and unassailable consensus. Strange.

And the hits keep coming for climate change science, with studies being discredited almost weekly now. Which makes the believers sound more and more like a cult as the days go by. Their increasingly ostentatious plans for more conferences on global warming, in places like Bali and Mexico later this year, further highlights their own hypocrisy. Of course, I wouldn't want to lose a free vacation via private jet at government expense either...

Now when will the U.S. media actually start giving this story coverage? The European media is actually way ahead here on performing the duties of a reporter and investigating these claims.
Superman's debut comic, Action Comics #1, just sold for $1 million in a private sale. Wow. This was an 8.0/10 copy, making it one of the finest known. The sale also sets a new record for the price of a comic book. The only possible future competitor would the be first appearance of Batman in Detective Comics #27.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Does napping improve cognitive performance? One study seems to indicate that it does...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Feds push for tracking cell phone locations without warrant. With Obama and the DOJ siding against the ACLU and other civil liberties group. What a surprise. Does the 4th Amendment protect a person's location? It seems to me a warrant should be required for the government to access this information. Otherwise, the potential for abuse is simply too great. And then they end up tracking everyone they might have an interest in.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Captain America takes on tea parties? Boo Marvel. Way to push your political agenda. And there is nothing like alienating huge sections of your readership to drive sales.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Joe Biden does it again.
Looks like Governor Christie is off to a big start in New Jersey! Anytime Democrats are screaming from the rooftops about budget cuts, you know someone is serious about actually cutting government waste. Good luck to him. He'll need it.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

According to an independent Treasury Department watchdog, the bailouts have created more risk in the system, adding to its instability. More:
The problems that led to the last crisis have not yet been addressed, and in some cases have grown worse, says Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the trouble asset relief program, or TARP. The quarterly report to Congress was released Sunday.

"Even if TARP saved our financial system from driving off a cliff back in 2008, absent meaningful reform, we are still driving on the same winding mountain road, but this time in a faster car," Barofsky wrote.

Since Congress passed $700 billion financial bailout, the remaining institutions considered "too big to fail" have grown larger and failed to restrain the lavish pay for their executives, Barofsky wrote. He said the banks still have an incentive to take on risk because they know the government will save them rather than bring down the financial system.

Will anyone listen? I doubt it. Read the whole thing.

Police want back door to web users' private data. This is a horrible idea, and the fact that 89% of police support this only underscores my opposition. In addition, the hacking of Google by China was possible because of back doors put in at the request of the U.S. government. When everyones' security is damaged to pursue a few criminals, it is time to scratch the idea. But it is doubtful that anyone in this country is even aware of the danger being perpetuated by our own security forces and politicians. However, you can bet China and Russia are heavily in favor of these workarounds, because it makes hacking so much easier. The U.S. continues to lag in cyber-security because of policies like this that do more harm than good.
End of the Orange Revolution? It looks as if the Ukrainian presidential election will be won handily by the pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych, at least according to exit polls. What a shame that the people of the Ukraine feel their interests are better protected by Russia than the rest of Europe, but maybe if the EU hadn't dawdled on bringing them into the fold, this wouldn't have happened. Will Russia move to consolidate their control again, as in Georgia?
Radley Balko at Slate has a great piece on civil asset forfeiture and the serious abuses that occur on the state level. Many local law enforcement agencies have serious conflicts of interest in this area, and the burden of proof is the opposite of a criminal trial, with the accused having to prove that their seized property was not being used illegally. Some agencies even hire private lawyers to pursue the property, with one third of the value used as a fee. Meanwhile, the accused has to pay thousands just to recover their property.

Another bad outgrowth of our failed Drug War policy. This is so blatantly unconstitutional that it only seems a matter of time until it is addressed at the federal level. But until then the injustices will continue.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Employer in U.K. is told they cannot advertise for 'reliable' workers... because it discriminates against ' unreliable' ones. This would be laughable except that this is apparently government policy in the U.K. And we are rushing headlong to emulate their p.c. nanny-state in America. Hopefully our people will wake up and retake their country before it is too late.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Did you see that Nancy Pelosi uses Air Force charter flights to ferry her children and grandchildren around the country? At a cost of $5000 to $20000 per hour. Oh, but they reimbursed the government for the equivalent of a commercial ticket, ie a few hundred dollars.

This should be a bigger scandal than it is. But only the conservative blogosphere is even talking about it. Why is that? Oh right, because this is the same news media that refuses to report on the rapidly disintegrating climate consensus, with a new hoax in the IPCC coming to light nearly every single day. But not a peep from the mainstream media. It is almost like... they have an agenda.