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  • Forget the Money - Follow the Emissions

    May 31, 2007
    It seems Hillary Clinton is defending herself against charges that she accepted private jet rides she shouldn't have from a campaign contributor. She is maintaining, of course, that she did nothing wrong.
    Sen. Clinton, who complained about corporate America's largesse and skyrocketing executive pay during campaign events Wednesday, said she did not believe her message was undermined by her acceptance of the private flights. In line with Senate rules then in effect, Clinton's campaign has said she reimbursed [InfoUSA Inc. chief executive Vinod] Gupta at the cost of a first-class flight, typically a significant discount off the expense of a private jet. "Those were the rules. You'll have to ask somebody else whether that's good policy," she said.
    What she seems to be forgetting is that...
  • Liberal Journalist Suggests All Women Think Alike

    May 31, 2007
    Linda Greenhouse, the liberal Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, thinks she has the inside story as to why a recent Supreme Court decision came out the way it did: a female Supreme Court justice was replaced by a male. (She's entirely wrong.) On Tuesday, the Supreme Court voted 5-to-4 to enforce the 180-day statute of limitations in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In doing so, it dismissed an untimely pay discrimination claim by Lilly Ledbetter against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. under Title VII, suggesting that she should have brought her suit instead under the Equal Pay Act, which has a longer statute of limitations. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in dissent, suggested that the...
  • Buddy Cianci Pasta Sauce

    May 31, 2007
    Ivan, Yes, Buddy Cianci was courrupt. Very courrupt. That's beyond dispute. I had an encouter with him and several with his legacy. Along with Zell Miller, he may rank as the last truly colorful American politican. When I first visited Providece to learn about its police department, Cianci decided he wanted to meet with me. No other mayor cared to meet with a 20-something researcher from a right-wing think tank in D.C. and I never sought meetings with elected officials. But I figured I had to go. He was just what I expected: larger than life, full of energy, very smart, and very determined. And he loved his city. Despite his own illegal activities, or maybe because of them, he knew a lot about policing--more than any other mayor I've ever met....
  • Time-Delayed TV Popularity

    May 31, 2007
    According to Television Week's Jon Lafayette, broadcasters have begun taking note of the increasing difference between traditional Neilsen ratings vs. traditional ratings + DVR playback. Turns out The Office has one of the biggest ratings differentials, which, given its overall popularity, makes it one of the most frequently recorded shows. People who love The Office love their technology. This change, however, has left advertisers and broadcasters haggling over ad rates. While people with DVRs can fast-forward through the commercials, not all of them do. Thus, DVR playbacks add somewhat to the value of a TV ad, though no one seems to agree on how much.
    As next season's upfront ad market unfolds, some media agencies have already said they plan to buy commercials based on...
  • Look Who's out of Prison

    May 31, 2007
    Vincent "Buddy"' Cianci, the legendary, popular, and corrupt former mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, was released from prison today, after serving time for a 2002 racketeering conviction. Like Washington, D.C. has Marion Barry, Providence had Buddy -- a larger-than-life politician who remained popular even in the face of major corruption allegations. A sign of the decline of American democracy? Hardly. I prefer to think of the benign toleration of guys like this as an unusal manifestation of Americans' healthy suspicion of politics: If politics is something to be regarded with suspicion, then it naturally will attract cheats and rogues to its practice. Welcome back,...
  • Partial Nudity Delays Halo 2 for Vista

    May 31, 2007

    Halo 2 for Vista was found to have a hidden part of the code containing a character which moons the player. Much like GTA's hidden Hot Coffee code, this "Easter egg" is a piece of the code, likely a joke from one programmer to another, is only accessible by someone who is very familiar with programming and has a lot of time on their hands. This should not be confused with unlockable levels or characters, which are common to many games and a completely kosher part of game design.

    That said, after the fallout from the Hot Coffee controversy, the ESRB did change the terms of the contracts that it signs with software makers to mandate disclosure of...

  • Ethanol mandates: The straw the broke the camel's back

    May 30, 2007
    Ethanol mandates already made my steak cost more. Ditto my bacon, my eggs, and my cheese. In fact, the market ramifications of government-imposed demand for ethanol have made virtually all my groceries more expensive. Of course it stinks, but I have persevered, confident that Congress enacted ethanol mandates with the American consumer in mind, and not at the behest of an army of lobbyists employed by some huge multinational corporation, like, say, Archer Daniel Midland. After all, each gallon of ethanol produced by ADM gets us that much closer to energy independence, and...
  • More Problems With Senate Immigration Deal

    May 30, 2007
    Earlier, I wrote about how the Senate immigration deal supported by Ted Kennedy and George Bush has been criticized for doing little to increase the supply of high-skilled immigrant labor, even as it opens the door to 12 million mostly low-skilled illegal immigrants ultimately becoming citizens (and thus receiving retirement and welfare benefits at taxpayer expense). Today, The Wall Street Journal has an editorial on how "the Senate bill is worse than current law for skilled immigrants," who are badly needed in a number of American industries. In a recent column, George Will...
  • Bureaucrats Block Voluntary Mad Cow Testing

    May 30, 2007
    Amazingly enough, the Agriculture Department is fighting a meat packer's plan to voluntarily test all slaughtered cattle for mad cow disease. The government doesn't need to test all slaughtered cattle for mad cow disease, since the danger of mad cow disease from any given cow is extremely, astronomically low, verging on nonexistent. It would be a waste of taxpayer money and limited agency resources. Other food-borne illnesses are more of a reality and thus merit priority in screening. But a small number of Americans won't eat beef because of their mad cow fears, however irrational such fears may be. The market for beef would thus increase slightly if a meatpacker were allowed to cater to such idiosyncratic people by carrying out voluntary mad cow testing. Moreover, the image of the government...
  • Department of Pre-Regulation

    May 30, 2007
    One of the highlights of our big annual dinner last week was our faux public service announcement from a future where nanny-state regulators have taken over. Behold, the terrifying possibilities of the Department of Pre-Regulation:

    Binary Data
    Credits (in no particular order) include: Erin Wildermuth, Cord Blomquist, Ivan Osorio, Brooke...

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