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2010 March 30 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Here We Go Again

The Pensacola News Journal reports that Sneads’ job losses could benefit Santa Rosa:

TALLAHASSEE — Fighting to save the industry that has sustained them for generations, protesters in the tiny North Florida town of Sneads will gather today to rail against a Senate proposal to save $20 million by closing at least one state prison and privatizing others.

Before the state privatizes anything else, I want some proof that it saves money. I want the state to show that it has actually saved tax dollars on anything that has been privatized over a period of five years. They keep doing this and get a small savings the first year or two, but then the costs go up and the quality goes down.

Private companies need to make a profit and the government doesn’t, so I want to see proof that it is cheaper to outsource government functions. I’m getting really tired of hearing that “private industry is more efficient” without any proof to back up the statement.

March 30, 2010   9 Comments

Say What!

McClatchy tells us the un-news that a Republican Senator is a jerk, Mad over health care, North Carolina’s Burr scuttles hearing, but what really ticks me off is this bit:

Senate rules prohibit committees from meeting after 2 p.m. unless there is unanimous consent. Such consent usually occurs with no problem, but around lunchtime today, Burr stepped in.

I have had “Senate rules”. The Senate rules are designed by lazy slugs, for lazy slugs. The rules are designed to prevent useful work from getting done. Until these guys start putting in some 40-hour weeks, stop the months of paid vacations and the unlimited travel budgets, nothing is going to get done. They are contracted for six years and the job is in Washington. They should get Federal holidays and 4 weeks of vacation.

They have been creating rules so they don’t have to work and then complaining that nothing gets done. It’s time they started pulling their weight.

March 30, 2010   Comments Off on Say What!

What A Novel Concept

I am not in favor of the UK libel laws in general, as I think they tilt too far in favor of the plaintiff, but this would certainly alter the op-ed pages in the US.

The CBC notes that the U.K. press watchdog cracks down on blogger

Britain’s Press Complaints Commission has censured a blogger who made claims that most of the violent crime in London is committed by young African-Caribbean men.

It is the first time the press watchdog, which oversees editorial content of newspaper and magazines, has upheld a complaint against a blog.

The Press Complaints Commission requires editorials that make statements of “fact” to back up the claim or print a retraction. This would save the print media a lot of money on columnists as they would have a day of retractions for every day of columns. It apparently doesn’t affect opinion, only claims of fact.

Fact-checking – a whole new concept for the print media.

Oh, the “blogger” was working for a newspaper, and posting on the newspaper’s site.

March 30, 2010   Comments Off on What A Novel Concept

Patent Sanity?

The ABC reports on the US court decision: Landmark ruling deems cancer gene patents invalid

A district court judge in the United States has ruled that patents should not have been awarded over the breast and ovarian cancer genes BRCA1 and 2.

The decision raises serious concerns about whether patents should be awarded on human and other genes and proteins found in nature.

Discovering the genes that are indicative of illnesses might justify a Nobel, but it is not an act of creation. The methods used to discover the genes are certainly candidates for patents, but not the genes themselves.

Intellectual property laws are all about rewarding creativity, not discovery. If you didn’t create it, you shouldn’t be able to patent it. Gene patents have slowed vital research and increased the costs.

March 30, 2010   2 Comments