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Archive for May 2008

Spelling Bee: Numb Nuts

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There was a little humor at the Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.:


Written by walonline

May 31, 2008 at 12:30 pm

Posted in The Web

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Haha: Why Don’t Broadcasters Pay Taxes?

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First Franken (or his accountant, who he blames), now Keith Olberman, from the highly unbiased blog “Olbermann Watch“:

New York State has issued a tax warrant against Keith Olbermann for failure to pay taxes on his humbly named personal corporation, Olbermann Broadcasting Empire, Inc. Olbermann is listed in legal records as the President of Olbermann Broadcasting Empire, Inc.

The amount appears to be fairly trivial for a man who recently closed on a $4.2m condo ($2,269.50). Must be the damn accountant’s error again. Of course, in the accounting trade, we’re all negligent like that.

Its laughable that someone who is so well off had a warrant issued for such a trivial amount. Why not just avoid paying all of your tax bill? States require your Federal 1040 numbers to determine theirs, so maybe he just couldn’t bear to take advantage of W’s tax cuts. Its painful, I know.

Written by walonline

May 31, 2008 at 12:20 pm

Free Broadband for the Masses

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Wired magazine’s Epicenter blog reports that the FCC may be considering a free broadband spectrum that would be made available to providers under the stipulation of “free” access. Here’s the quote:

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has proposed the commission auction off a portion of the 25 megahertz spectrum with a free provision — meaning that whoever licenses the spectrum must provide internet access to people for free. We won’t know whether the FCC will proceed with the idea (the commissioners vote on June 12) […]

This would be extremely good to foster information, the marketplace of ideas in the United States and broadband access to the masses. There wouldn’t be anything better than freely available information via mass broadband in the country of the first amendment. It could become the library of the 21st century.

Written by walonline

May 31, 2008 at 9:42 am

Posted in Regulation

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Steve Carell Playing Hockey?

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In honor of game four Saturday, how bad could it be?

Written by walonline

May 30, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Sports

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Carbon-Neutral Oil? Its Renewable too!

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Google’s Autopia blog has an interesting post on a San Diego start-up that plans to use algae to make oil that can be refined into gasolines. In addition to that, it will be carbon neutral, renewable and they’ll roll out 10,000 barrels a day within five years. Even though 10,000 barrels isn’t much (the US consumes about 20 million every day), a movement towards technologies such as these sound very interesting. Here’s the meat of it, from the CEO:

Company CEO Jason Pyle says the algal oil is chemically identical to light sweet crude and compatible with America’s $1.5 trillion petroleum infrastructure, making it a direct replacement for oil. Although the algal fuels refined from it emit as much carbon dioxide as conventional fuels, the company says the emissions are offset by the photosynthetic process that uses sunlight, water and C02 to create algal crude.

Critics say they want to see what it can really do after the production and burn processes are perfected. “Even if it is carbon neutral, the algal fuels will emit pollutants that contribute to smog and ozone, says Don Anair of the Union of Concerned Scientists.”

It would be very interesting to see the government or big oil get behind some technological frontiers in the way the Kennedy Administration spearheaded the race to the moon through NASA. When the best and brightest are pulled together, this country has come up with some pretty spectacular stuff.

Written by walonline

May 30, 2008 at 7:10 am

Posted in Energy

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Friday Photo of the Day: From the Photo Vault

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Here’s an oldie from a trip I took to Portugal a while back.

Its looking north of Cabo Da Roca, the western-most point on the European continent.

Written by walonline

May 30, 2008 at 12:01 am

Collectivist Presidential Candidates

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The Volokh Conspiracy has a very interesting post on how both parties’ presidential front runners are both collectivist and the meaning behind the collectivist idea should concern us. They quote the Cato Institutes’s David Boaz, who (as summarized by Volokh writer Jonathan Adler):

notes, both candidates discourage the individual pursuit of happiness, particularly if it has anything to do with money. They disparage success in business or economic pursuits, implicitly denigrating those who have done the most to ensure this nation’s prosperity and wealth.

Boaz goes on to say,

They’re wrong. Every human life counts. Your life counts. You have a right to live it as you choose, to follow your bliss. You have a right to seek satisfaction in accomplishment. And if you chase after the almighty dollar, you just might find that you are led, as if by an invisible hand, to do things that improve the lives of others.

Boaz is spot-on. One of the many, many things that is great about this country is that we are able to work for our own (and our families) betterment. The Declaration of Independence was written initially borrowing the concept from John Locke saying “life, liberty, and estate (or property).” Jefferson’s change to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” opened up a set of important human rights to not just property, but other rights such as those included in the Bill of Rights (free speech, etc.). These candidates believe that working personal gain is something that should be frowned upon. The founders would have frowned upon this.

Obama and McCain are two-faced on this front. They themselves are seeking personal gain, as the vast majority of politicians do, by seeking a higher office and more power. The founders were the same way. Politics was a second career for aristocrats, who had enough wealth in their estates to sustain them as they sought power and prestige elsewhere. This makes the collectivist rhetoric used by the candidates needless.

Being a recent college graduate, I am not the least impressed by these comments. Once I get established in my career, I can become more heavily involved in local charities where the community, career and employer will all benefit from my work.

But it will be my choice which charities I serve, not some communal government.

UPDATE May 29 @ 12:25p: Megan McArdle links to Boaz as well, but adds another perspective on Obama’s collectivism. Is he the most hypocritical of the two candidates on the collectivism front? I’d have to see the data as well, but it would make sense.

Written by walonline

May 29, 2008 at 8:24 am