Mar 02

Missouri State Auditor ‘Allegedly’ Commits Suicide

newsOn Thursday morning, at around 9:41, Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich, 54, called selected media to request a sudden press conference, but just the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Associated Press.Schweich called Tom Messenger of the Post Dispatch at 9:41am and left a message on his phone machine, requesting a 2:30pm press conference.Schweich also made a very specific request of the Post Dispatch when he asked, “This is only for you two, and I hope you will not make it known that I am doing this.”Minutes later, Schweich was found dead of an “apparent” suicide. At least, that’s the official story so far.AUDIO: Tom Schweich’s call to St. Louis Post Dispatch NewspaperAccording to the official report, Clayton police responded at 9:48am, just seven minutes after Schweich made his calls to the AP and the Post Dispatch.After investigating the scene, their immediate call was an “apparent” suicide, despite the lack of any suicide note.In his press conference, Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy opened by telling reporters that his department had examined the scene, but when asked if there was a suicide note left behind, Murphy strangely replied, “I don’t have that information at this time?”That’s somewhat odd for a police department that had already investigated the scene. That would be something you look right away, when you make such a quick determination of suicide for a high profile state government figure.The first question from the press was from a Channel 5 reporter who asked,”Do you… does it look like a suicide?”Police Chief Murphy stated in reply,”There is nothing to suggest anything else other than that at this point…  everything at this point suggests an apparent suicide.”

via News Focus.

Feb 19

Billionaire Mark Cuban Says Net Neutrality Will ‘Fck Everything Up’ (Video) | Re/code

Plato_250Billionaire investor and ABC “Shark Tank” star Mark Cuban unloaded on the Federal Communications Commission’s plan to fundamentally change how it oversees the open Internet.

“That will fck everything up,” said the voluble Cuban in remarks Wednesday at the Code/Media conference at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, Calif.

In early February, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed tough new rules for Internet lines that would prohibit wired and wireless broadband providers from collecting payment to cut to the front of the line, or blocking and throttling lawful content and services.

Cuban said this bid to significantly expand the agency’s authority to regulate broadband providers is nothing more than an attack on giant media companies like Comcast*.

“Net neutrality is just a demonization of big companies,” Cuban said.

Cuban, who parlayed his windfall from the 1999 sale of Broadcast.com to Yahoo into an array of ventures that include the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, AXS TV and the Landmark Theatres chain, said there is no evidence (beyond an isolated 2008 case) that Internet providers have throttled access to certain websites.

The executive dismissed Netflix’s claims that subscribers endured slower speeds until the company paid Comcast for direct access to the Internet provider’s broadband network. Comcast claimed that Netflix had used an inferior middleman to deliver video to Comcast’s network.

via Billionaire Mark Cuban Says Net Neutrality Will ‘Fuck Everything Up’ (Video) | Re/code.

Feb 19

Why Can’t the Public See Obama’s Proposed Internet Regulations? | The Weekly Standard

1984-Big Brother ObamaRepublican senators Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, and Rand Paul have all been high profile opponents of the Obama administrations current plan to regulate the internet — in particular, Lee has called the regulation a government “takeover” of the internet and says it amounts to a “a massive tax increase on the middle class, being passed in the dead of night without the American public really being made aware of what is going on.”

And when Lee says that the American public isn’t aware of what’s going on, that is in no way hyperbole. FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has emerged as a hero for those opposed to the regulation because Pai has been taking to the airwaves decrying the fact that the public is not allowed to see 332 pages of proposed internet regulation before they are potentially passed. Pai’s crusade to make the proposed regulations public is the theme of the the latest ad from Protect Internet Freedom:

via Why Can’t the Public See Obama’s Proposed Internet Regulations? | The Weekly Standard.

Feb 19

The Internet isn’t broken. Obama doesn’t need to ‘fix’ it. – Chicago Tribune

Barack-ObamaIf you like your wireless plan, you should be able to keep it. But new federal regulations may take away your freedom to choose the best broadband plan for you. It’s all part of the federal government’s 332-page plan to regulate the Internet like a public utility — a plan President Barack Obama asked the Federal Communications Commission to implement in November and that is coming up for a vote Feb. 26.’Net neutrality’ ruling could be costly for consumers, advocates sayWhile the plan contains no shortage of regulations, the most problematic may be the new “Internet conduct” rule. It’s a vague rule that gives the FCC almost unfettered discretion to micromanage virtually every aspect of the Internet, including the choices that consumers have for accessing it. If a company doesn’t want to offer an expensive, unlimited data plan, it could find itself in the FCC’s cross hairs.But restricting service plan options is inherently anti-competitive and anti-consumer. The inevitable results will be higher prices and less service for consumers along with an especially adverse impact on small providers and upstart competitors trying to differentiate themselves in a crowded market.lRelated TECHNOLOGYFCC proposes compromise on ‘net neutrality’, real fight still pendingSEE ALL RELATED 8Consider that activists promoting this rule had previously targeted neither AT&T nor Verizon with their first net-neutrality complaint but MetroPCS — an upstart competitor with a single-digit market share and not an ounce of market power. Its crime? Unlimited YouTube. MetroPCS offered a $40-per-month plan with unlimited talk, text, Web browsing and YouTube streaming. The company’s strategy was to entice customers to switch from the four national carriers or to upgrade to its newly built 4G Long Term Evolution network.

via The Internet isn’t broken. Obama doesn’t need to ‘fix’ it. – Chicago Tribune.

Feb 14

A Presidential Blunder: My Response to Obama’s Address at the National Prayer Breakfast | Illinois Family Institute

Obama at Podium MuslimPresident Barack Obama’s address at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, 2015 has reverberated through the corridors of the world and provoked shock and dismay in numerous quarters. Even a professor at the University of London commented on his shallow understanding of the Crusades. I hesitated to write anything on the subject because it would drag me into politics or into a sobering critique of Islam. I am not sure that at a time like this either distraction would be wise, so let me keep it to the minimum.For those who did not hear the talk, it is sufficient to say that it was the most ill-advised and poorly chosen reprimand ever given at a National Prayer Breakfast. I have been to several and have never, ever heard such absence of wisdom in a setting such as this. ‎I wasn’t at this one but have heard the speech often enough to marvel at the motivation for such thoughts. President Obama basically lectured Christians not to get on a moral high horse in their castigation of the ISIS atrocities by reminding them that the Crusades and slavery were also justified in the name of Christ.Citing the Crusades, he used the single most inflammatory word he could have with which to feed the insatiable rage of the extremists. That is exactly what they want to hear to feed their lunacy.  ‎In the Middle East, history never dies and words carry the weight of revenge.There is so much I would love to say in response but shall refrain. The President obviously does not understand the primary sources of either faith for him to make such a tendentious parallel. The predominant delight in his remarks would be in the Muslim world and the irreligious. The next day Geraldo Rivera, opining favorably, made the oft repeated lie that more people have been killed in the name of God than in any other cause.

via A Presidential Blunder: My Response to Obama’s Address at the National Prayer Breakfast | Illinois Family Institute.

Feb 12

Lawmaker wants e-cigarette ban without knowing health effects « Watchdog.org

Picture 20MADISON, Wis. — Christian Berkey could almost feel his jaw hit the ground when, almost two years ago, he was speaking with a health commissioner in New York about electronic cigarettes.Berkey, founder and CEO of Johnson Creek Enterprises, the second-largest producer of e-liquid in the world, couldn’t believe the public official thought users lit the electronic devices and inhaled smoke just like traditional cigarettes.That conversation took place, Berkey says, just an hour before the commissioner was supposed to vote on guidelines for e-cigarettes.“It scared the hell out of me,” Berkey told Wisconsin Reporter. “Unfortunately, that kind of thing is not an isolated incident. There are staggering numbers of legislators who are perfectly willing to vote on measures concerning electronic cigarettes, when, in fact, they know next to nothing about them.”Because the e-cigarette industry is still relatively new, scientific evidence regarding human health effects is limited. But that hasn’t stopped government officials from passing more than 450 state and local laws restricting the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems.Now one of Berkey’s worst fears, something he calls sheer irresponsible lunacy, has come to his home state.

via Lawmaker wants e-cigarette ban without knowing health effects « Watchdog.org.

Feb 12

The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever – Telegraph

global_warming_hoaxWhen future generations look back on the global-warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records – on which the entire panic ultimately rested – were systematically “adjusted” to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.Two weeks ago, under the headline “How we are being tricked by flawed data on global warming”, I wrote about Paul Homewood, who, on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat blog, had checked the published temperature graphs for three weather stations in Paraguay against the temperatures that had originally been recorded. In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming.This was only the latest of many examples of a practice long recognised by expert observers around the world – one that raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface-temperature record.

via The fiddling with temperature data is the biggest science scandal ever – Telegraph.

Feb 08

Maine Lawmakers Consider New Regulations on E-Cigarettes | Maine Public Broadcasting

thumbs-downAUGUSTA, Maine – Do you know someone who is a “vaper?” Or maybe someone who belongs to a “vaping club?” An electronic cigarette – or e-cigarette.CREDIT WIKIMEDIA COMMONSVaping is the practice of using electronic cigarettes – or e-cigarettes, which are smokeless but deliver the user a vaporized blend of chemicals, including nicotine.   The Maine Legislature is preparing to consider proposed new regulations for e-cigarettes – or “personal vaporizers” – governing where they can be used to how they are taxed. And the effort is drawing bipartisan support in Augusta.Tobacco shops across the state have embraced the relatively new battery-powered technology. And because nicotine is delivered, House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, a Democrat from Skowhegan, decided to file legislation to regulate the sale and use of e-cigarettes.”You know, I think if we are talking about a product that has similar makeup of cigarettes and includes nicotine, and could be harmful to health,  we should be treating it as a tobacco product,” McCabe says.McCabe says that includes restrictions of where they can be used, in restaurants and other public places.Others, including Attorney General Janet Mills, say they’re concerned about marketing messages to young Mainers. While current law bans sales of e-cigarettes, Mills says there are clearly products and ad campaigns aimed at attracting young users.

via Maine Lawmakers Consider New Regulations on E-Cigarettes | Maine Public Broadcasting.

Feb 08

States Dash to Regulate E-Cigarettes – WSJ

Picture 20As the Food and Drug Administration continues to figure out how to regulate the rapidly accelerating use of electronic cigarettes, states are taking matters into their own hands.California on Wednesday declared e-cigarettes a health threat and issued a 21-page report warning young people could become nicotine addicts if lawmakers don’t step in to regulate the fast-growing industry soon.A record 60-plus bills designed to rein in the fast-growing “vape” industry are being considered in 21 state legislatures stretching from Oregon to Virginia. This is a major increase from a year ago when 11 bills related to e-cigarettes were under consideration across 10 states, according to the Consumer Advocates for Smokefree Alternatives Association, an e-cigarette advocacy group.E-cigarette legislative challenges include Oregon bills banning flavors and online sales, an Indiana bill that would require pricey permits for retailers selling liquid nicotine, and a California bill banning e-cigarettes in public places. Gubernatorial proposals include New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ’s budget, which would ban flavors, restrict advertising and prohibit indoor e-cigarette use.Last April, the FDA issued preliminary rules that would prohibit sales to minors and require e-cig manufacturers to submit products for approval. The FDA said it expects to publish a final rule in June. Meanwhile, U.S. e-cigarette sales topped $2.5 billion at retail last year and are expected to surpass $3.5 billion this year, according to Wells Fargo. The bank’s analysts predict $1.5 billion in sales this year will come from e-cigarettes and $2 billion will come from liquid nicotine and customizable, high-powered vaporizers,

via States Dash to Regulate E-Cigarettes – WSJ.

Jan 27

Illinois Family Action » Why You are Being Misled on Global Temperatures

global_warming_hoaxI’ve been inundated with requests this past week to comment on the NOAA and NASA reports that 2014 was the “hottest” year on record. Since I was busy with a Japan space agency meeting in Tokyo, it has been difficult for me to formulate a quick response.Of course, I’ve addressed the “hottest year” claim before it ever came out, both here on October 21, and here on Dec. 4.In the three decades I’ve been in the climate research business, it’s been clear that politics have been driving the global warming movement. I knew this from the politically-savvy scientists who helped organize the U.N.’s process for determining what to do about human-caused climate change. (The IPCC wasn’t formed to determine whether it exists or whether is was even a threat, that was a given.)I will admit the science has always supported the view that slowly increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere from burning of fossil fuels should cause some warming, but the view that this would is any way be a bad thing for humans or for Nature has been a politically (and even religiously) driven urban legend.I am embarrassed by the scientific community’s behavior on the subject. I went into science with the misguided belief that science provides answers. Too often, it doesn’t. Some physical problems are simply too difficult. Two scientists can examine the same data and come to exactly opposite conclusions about causation.We still don’t understand what causes natural climate change to occur, so we simply assume it doesn’t exist. This despite abundant evidence that it was just as warm 1,000 and 2,000 years ago as it is today. Forty years ago, “climate change” necessarily implied natural causation; now it only implies human causation.What changed? Not the science…our estimates of climate sensitivity are about the same as they were 40 years ago.What changed is the politics. And not just among the politicians. At AMS or AGU scientific conferences, political correctness and advocacy are now just as pervasive as as they have become in journalism school. Many (mostly older) scientists no longer participate and many have even resigned in protest.

via Illinois Family Action » Why You are Being Misled on Global Temperatures.

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