Ban On Tax For Net Access Up For Renewal

Established in 1998, the Federal ban on taxes on Internet access is again up for renewal. Without renewal, it will expire on November 1st, opening up a window for state and local authorities to levy taxes on access to the everything from email to twitter.

Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, Pushes For Gore Presidency

Steve Jobs has gone on record predicting that if Gore, a member of Apple's Board of Directors, were to run, he would be elected.

Ethanol Driving Sharp Rise In Food Prices

The price of food globally rose 10 percent in 2006 as a result of the demand for corn as a source for ethanol according to a study by the International Monetary Fund.

Internet Radio Equality Act

There is a bill moving through Congress called the "Internet Radio Equality Act" which is aimed to save Internet Radio from the dustbin of history. The RIAA has gotten a decision that would required Internet radio stations to pay them a royalty of $.08 per listener per song. The new legislation sets the royalties at 7.5% of revenue (what Satellite stations pay.)

Immigration Bill Contains Another Threat To Civil Liberties

As part of the sweeping immigration bill before Congress, there are provisions to establish a set of databases that employers would need to use to verify work eligibility for both future and current employees.

Headlines (5/22/2007)

Relief for the most needy among us. This past week, Congressman Tim Ryan participated in the Food Stamp Challenge. The Challenge is to live on $3 a day for a week. That amount is what the average food stamp recipient receives.

NYPD surveillance prior to the 2004 GOP convention: a list. In NYC during the GOP convention and wonder whether the police were spying on you. Chances are, they were. Just disclosed documents detail who they where keeping an eye on.

Mental Health Problems Among Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. Casualty statistics should be more than a body count. Consider the lives ruined by mental illness as a result of combat.

Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq.

Headlines (5/21/2007)

Inside the Digital Dump. Poor Chinese are poisoning themselves trying to strike it rich mining discard electronics for copper and gold.

New process generates hydrogen from aluminum alloy to run engines, fuel cells. If I read this right, we could be looking at using water to fuel hydrogen powered vehicles.

For 2008, Who Isn't a Flip-Flopper?. The Washington Post calls the '08 candidates onto the carpet for Flip-Flopping on both sides of the aisle.

Prewar intelligence foretold Iraq upheaval. Still believe Cheney when he says that we could not have foretold the situation that has developed in Iraq. Our own intelligence people did.

Senators to debate immigration policy.

Headlines (5/18/2007)

Today's headlines are a mixed bag of political, business, and environmental news. Some good, some bad, some just more of the same:

Google wins part of nude-photo suit. This is a victory for search engines and fair use. It's not all great news however, as the court is still deciding whether Google can link to a website without permission.

Scientists cast doubt on Kennedy bullet analysis. A new look at old evidence debunks the single-shooter theory of the assassination. Please, please, no one tell Oliver Stone.

Deal May Legalize Millions of Immigrants. Much to the chagrin of the border-control crowd I suspect. If you're wondering whether it's a good plan, consider that people at both ends of the spectrum hate it. That's a victory for the silent majority.

Headlines (5/17/2007)

Big area of Antarctica melted in 2005. It was thought that melting in Antarctica was limited to the peninsula. Now scientists think it could be a lot worse.

For ’08 Resumes, Don’t Ask Them to Fill in Blanks Candidates on both sides are dodging questions about questionable episodes in their past. Can the American people get an attention span long enough to demand answers.

Senators Renew Call for Gonzales' Ouster. Two more Republicans have crossed over to asking him to step down.

Book Excerpt: The Assault on Reason. This is Al Gore's latest book and hopefully his platform to a Presidential bid.

Headlines (5/16/2007)

Crackdown on Indian Outsourcing Firms. H1-B visas are supposed to allow foreign nationals to come to the U.S. to work. So why are a few Indian outsourcing firms ending up with 30% of them?

“Is your PC virus-free? Get it infected here!”. Would you believe anyone would click a Google ad inviting them to have their computer infected with a virus. Believe it.

Toyota cutting hybrid costs, claims every car produced will be hybrid by 2020. As has been speculated many times, Toyota confirms that economy of scale can also apply to alternative vehicles.

Gonzales: Deputy Was Pointman on Firings.

Headlines (5/15/2007)

Bloody Monday. Paul McNulty wasn't the only resignation to hit the Bush Administration Monday: Lanny Davis, the only Democrat on the so-called "civil liberties watchdog board", resigned from the board over allegations of White House tampering with the board's agenda and statements.

Lieberman Helps Collect Cash for Collins. In case you're wondering why this is news, Collins is a Republican.

Tenet Agrees To Cooperate With Congressional Investigation Into Niger Fraud. Of particular interest to the committee is how the "evidence" made it into the State of the Union over CIA protests.

Atomic Agency Concludes Iran Is Stepping Up Nuclear Work.

Afghanistan Moves Toward State Controlled Media

Before the fall of the Taliban in 2001, all media in Afghanistan was under state control. Now, as the fighting with the Taliban resumes, efforts are under way in the Afghan parliament to reign in the media once again.

High School Student Arrested For Modeling School For Game

A senior at Clements High School in Fort Bend, Texas was arrested by police for creating a 3-D model of his school for use in a video game.

China Plans Online Gaming Curfew Of Sorts

Fearing that children are spending too much time playing online games, the Chinese government has given software vendors in China three months to place curbs on gaming by underage players.

For games that allow players to accumulate points, the games would be required to stop giving players points after three hours of play in a given day.

This policy assumes, of course, that these kids play only one game online.

This does remind me a bit of the policies built into World of Warcraft that encourage players to take a break from the game. In WOW, players who rest get a 100% to experience accumulation proportionate to the time spent not playing. I suspect that Blizzard Entertainment, makers of World of Warcraft, are more concerned about server load than the health of their players, but the policy does achieve the same goal.

One has to wonder if such 'nanny state' kind of policies where the state substitutes its judgment for the judgment of the parents are a good idea. Libertarians would argue that such regulation is unnecessary and would point at Blizzard's initiative as a sign that the market can handle the problem on its own.

Democrats Playing With Tax Fire

For a few years now, Congress has been holding the Alternative Minimum Tax at bay with one-year, stop-gap measures. Without some action by Congress, a whopping 23 million Americans will be subject to the tax.

The Alternative Minimum Tax which will target anyone with an income over $50,000, forces people to recalculate their income tax and pay the greater of their normal calculation or the aptly named Alternative Minimum. Democrats, at a cost of $1 trillion dollars over the next 10 years, are seeking to raise the $50,000 figure to $200,000 or even $250,000.

Sounds great, but under rules Democrats have imposed on themselves, any cut in taxes must be offset by either a cut in spending or another tax. This is where 'playing with fire' comes in to play. To erase a hidden tax that most people don't know about, Democrats will need to either dramatically cut spending or create a new and much more visible tax to replace it.

Specifics are still thin as to suggestions to offset the revenue loss. You can be sure that any alternative tax will have a hard time getting through the Senate where Republicans are sore about Democrats allowing Bush's Tax Cuts to lapse.

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