Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Biggest Flaw in Obama’s Immigration Argument

Illegal Immigration

Since nothing is being done, something needs to be done. That’s pretty much the argument that President Obama is making in regards to his executive order to use prosecutorial discretion. As he said in an interview with George Stephanopolous, “The reason that we, have to do.. uhm prosecutorial discretion in immigration, is that we know, that we – are not even close to being able to deal with the folks who have been here a long time…”

Here’s the thing. This is going to cost America as much if not more money than it would cost to secure the borders. The problem that we face is two-fold. On one hand, we have a leaky border. On the other hand, we have the people who are already here illegally. Unlike many conservative commentators, I do not believe that amnesty is necessarily bad if it’s handled properly. Many of the illegal immigrants are here for good reasons and are contributing to the country. However, any amnesty or prosecutorial discretion must occur after the borders themselves are secure.

This is not a “chicken and egg” situation. This is a very clear cause and effect situation. We have to handle the cause before we go after the effect, which in this case is the mess that Obama is trying to fix. It’s so clear and simple that there’s no need to turn this into a long post with tons of evidence or convincing talking points. This one’s pretty obvious. The President wanted something for his legacy that would stick as well as helping to secure better odds for the Democrats in the 2016 elections.

The worst part is that the move is a political one but will be viewed by the ignorant as socially correct. If it didn’t benefit him, he would not have done it.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

7 Things #Ferguson has Taught Us About Modern America


As this story is being written, Ferguson is burning. Bloggers and journalists are busy giving their opinions about the grand jury’s decision to not indict Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. Discussions and debates are happening in homes across America and being prepared for office discussions the day after.

Prior to watching the coverage of the rioting in Ferguson and other demonstrations across the country, I had no intention of adding to the discussion. There would be plenty and this little blogger wouldn’t have a chance with all the noise, but something happened. It turned out worse than expected and one thing prevailed that I didn’t expect. Cooler heads usually prevail when there is this much build-up. We learned years ago after the Rodney King riots that police, national guard, the various levels of government, and the leaders of the community would have to be prepared for the worst. With all of these warnings, it still got bad.

It could have been worse, but it was bad enough. Stupidity prevailed and will continue to prevail. On the night of the grand jury decision, we learned seven very clear things about the state of affairs in modern America.

Facts Cannot Stop Stupidity

The almost completely undisputed facts that Michael Brown robbed a store and assaulted a police officer do not seem to be part of the discussion for the protesters or rioters. The fact that his blood was found inside of the police car that held the officer that he attacked has been pushed to the wayside. We are somehow supposed to believe that after trying to take a gun from a police officer (presumably to do harm to the officer) and then running away after being shot that Michael Brown suddenly had a complete change of heart. A minute and a half after assaulting the officer, Brown allegedly became docile, put his hands up, and decided to no longer act aggressively.

I don’t need to use common sense to know that the story that protesters are clinging onto didn’t happen that way. We have the grand jury of his peers telling us that after reviewing the evidence, they did not feel the officer should be indicted. That fact alone should hold the most weight, but it didn’t. We were given a compelling series of points during the press conference that made it seem very clear that Michael Brown attacked the officer, tried to take his gun, ran away, and then turned and aggressively approached the officer.

Nobody knows all of the available facts other than the grand jury and the prosecutors. All of the rest of us are only able to draw our own conclusions based upon what is told to us and the decision of the grand jury. Those two things clearly point to severe wrongdoing on Brown’s part. All of those facts are irrelevant to the blind who wanted an indictment regardless of the facts.

Stupidity Spreads Rapidly

Oakland, New York, Los Angeles – reports are coming in from across the country that people are demonstrating against the decision. The sheer size of the protests that started immediately after the decision was announced means that most who are out there are doing so without knowing the facts that are currently available. It would be silly to demonstrate given the facts, but that didn’t stop them.

These people aren’t interested in the truth. Most aren’t even interested in justice. They’re interested in a cause that pits race on race, that pits order against anarchy. Most of these same people would not last very long without the police that they’re protesting.

The President Doesn’t Know How to Act without an Agenda

This was an opportunity for the President to put aside his ego and his place in history in order to restate the facts that we now have available and declare that the decision seems to be a righteous one. Instead, his tone was sharp. He did very little to convey the facts, nor did he seem to support the decision.

As hard as it is for most people to believe, the President benefits from the protests. The riots are a distraction from much of the negative press that has surrounded him for months. I won’t go so far as to say that he wanted things to go this way, but he certainly isn’t acting like a President that wants justice to prevail over controversy.

He should have been there. Even if he didn’t go in person, the administration should have had a presence of some sort in Ferguson to help those who are being harmed by the riots. Instead, he is letting Ferguson burn.

Every Police Action is Considered an Overreaction

Those who know me are aware that I’m not a supporter of the police state trajectory that we seem to be on. The militarization of law enforcement is a terrible thing, especially considering the people who are calling the shots. However, there are certain times when it’s acceptable to be in riot gear. Those certain times are during riots themselves.

Somehow, the media has turned the need for riot control actions into a bad thing. It’s amazing to watch reporters tear into the police in Ferguson for the way that they’re reacting, then condemn them further a few seconds later for not being there to protect private property as rioters burn buildings and loot businesses. Which is it?

Looting Supersedes Ideology

The atmosphere was described as “festive” when the first few stores were broken into and looted. A large portion of the protesters were clearly not there because they wanted to support the family of Michael Brown or condemn the decision of the grand jury. They were there to get something for themselves. They were there to take advantage of the mayhem.

Just before we watched a Fox video camera destroyed on live television, we saw smiling, giddy “protestors” running out of the liquor store (the one Michael Brown had robbed the day that he was killed) with bottles of Bacardi in their arms. They weren’t there for the protests. They were only there for the looting.

The Media Wants to be Part of the Story

As we shifted back and forth between Fox News and CNN, one thing was clear about the reporters on the streets. They weren’t just there to report the story. They wanted to be part of the story. There’s no such thing as a journalist at a scene who can keep completely detached from the events surrounding them, but it was disgustingly clear that the majority of them were doing what they could to be a subject rather than a reporter.

This isn’t isolated to Ferguson. We have seen too many reporters get rewarded for this type of bad journalism in recent years. Ferguson was just a clear example of this happening in modern American journalism.

Many Want War in America

The community of Ferguson has clearly expressed that most of them do not want to be the center of the nation’s attention. That hasn’t stopped others from using Ferguson as a hotspot and rallying point for their own agendas.

It would be easy to call them out by name. They haven’t been shy about their participation and there is plenty of news about their shenanigans already, but what hasn’t been discussed is the motivation. While most Americans do not want to believe it, there are parties within our borders who want Ferguson to explode. There are those who were “supporting” Michael Brown’s family while secretly hoping that the decision would go down as it did so they could agitate the situation and force their agenda onto the pedestal. They go their wish.

Just as many have stood up to protest the decision, there needs to be others who fight equally hard on the side of law and order. It can’t be the police. It won’t be the government. It must be the sane and intelligent people of America who make a fervent call for peace in the face of stupidity.

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For Obama, 4th DefSec Epitomizes Foreign Affairs Failures

Obama and Hagel

Things don’t always work out. Every President will pick the wrong people for jobs, but when it happens two or three times, one has to wonder if there’s a trend. As the Obama administration prepares to pick it’s 4th Defense Secretary in 6 years, the problems are clear. This administration doesn’t quite understand the concept of maintaining a strong defense.

Chuck Hagel was supposed to be the right conservative choice. He was a Republican Senator, a veteran, and one who had experience with and understanding of the volatile Middle East. However, anonymous reports from inside the White House paint a picture of a man who wasn’t empowered to do his job due to the centralized methodology in the administration. They like their own opinions and do not seem to want to listen to those who have opposing views.

It isn’t just defense. The administration has had difficulties with other areas of foreign relations. In fact, the Nobel Peace Prize winning President has failed to achieve any notable foreign relations victories during his tenure other than being the person in office when Osama bin Laden was killed. Iran, North Korea, Russia, China – the list of enemies gaining power continues to increase while our allies are not embracing our lead like they once did.

Even the previous Bush administration, often criticized for hurting America’s place in world opinion, held a much better track record for getting the world follow our lead.

The Obama administration has been hurting America’s standing in the world. Losing yet another Defense Secretary is par for the course.

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At Taco Bell, this will be my exact order every time until prices or taxes change.

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Automotive milestone.

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Big, Bold, and Beautiful 2015 GMC Sierra All-Terrain

2015 GMC Sierra All-Terrain

With almost 100 years of truck building and perfecting experience GM has been evolving their trucks for a long time and has worked to continuously offer as perfect a truck as possible. The GMC version of the truck is the Sierra and for 2015 this truck is makes a huge statement and sets a whole new bar of truck standards for others to follow. Packaged with nearly luxurious interior and newly designed high-tech engines, the GMC Sierra is a strong and gorgeous truck for any truck lover to enjoy and just might gain some new loyalty from followers of the competition.

New for 2015 is an All-Terrain trim package that will match up with the Silverado’s Z71 off-road package. This makes the two offerings from GM a pair to be reckoned with and certainly a difficult choice to make between the two. The All-Terrain package will include Rancho twin-tube shocks, thick coil springs and wide leaf springs to help owners who want to play in the mud or head out on the trails be able to do so with ease and confidence. The All-Terrain model has the choice of the same two engines as the rest of the lineup, a 6.0-liter V8 or the Duramax 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8. The 6.0 is mated to a Hydra-Matic 6L90 six-speed automatic transmission and the Duramax is paired with the Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission.

The All-Terrain model of the Sierra is also fitted with a ton of premium upgrades to help it really stand out in a crowd. Adding a ton of chrome to the outside (how could you ever have too much chrome) including the running boards, 20-inch alloy wheels, door handles, window trims, side mirrors and of course the mean looking grill, this big beast of burden is also a thing of beauty and sure to turn many heads at any ball it attends. Inside there is tech to be enjoyed to include 4G LTE connectivity to create a Wi-Fi hotspot, the GMC IntelliLink infotainment system, and the Siri Eyes Free system for iPhone users.

Add to the outside interest the LED and HID jeweled headlights, a chrome-accented front bumper (yes, more chrome), a body colored rear bumper, integrated bumper steps, under the rail bed lighting, integrated back up lights, and twin LED bed lights to help with backing up, all help to create a truck that is as close to the Denali luxury as it can get without quite stepping completely into luxury and out of the fun and work phase.

Inside the All-Terrain, to go along with all the high-tech gadgetry is a plethora of comfort, control and style to enjoy. Offering a seriously quiet cabin allows owners to fully enjoy the ride by listening to their choice of sounds on the premium Bose sound system rather than a bundle of road noises from outside. The materials throughout this awesome truck are premium, supple, and very comfortable for anyone to ride in. There is plenty of room for all passengers that want to tag along to the lake, out in the wilderness, or just for a ride down the road. Add to the tech with Bluetooth connectivity, five USB ports, a 110-volt standard receptacle, and at least three 12-volt ports for charging and running electronics. The center console is so large it can become a moving office by allowing enough space to hang hanging folders and keep things filed and organized on the road.

Starting with the standard 6.0-liter V8 gasoline powered engine that cranks out 360 horsepower and 397 lb.-ft. of torque this is not a truck for the light hearted. Matched up with the Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission and this truck is able to pull loads, head off road, help another truck out of a sticky situation, or just show off on the highway with ease and confidence.

The brawnier of the two engines, the 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8 engine pushes a massive 397 horsepower and a crazy 765 lb.-ft. of torque. Add to the matching of the Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission and this beast of burden is really ready to get the job done. No doubt any owner with this massive power plant under the hood can build the biggest treehouse, take a larger boat to the lake, or simply handle any rocky incline on the trails to allow maximum fun in this Sierra.

The All-Terrain Sierra comes standard as four-wheel drive which should have been obvious from the name and with the upgraded suspension can tackle just about any obstacle. Aluminum skid plates can be added to help protect the machinery underneath and the 3500 model will get its own set of the dual rear wheels to set it apart from the rest. Ensuring the driver can opt for the right setting, an electronic two-speed transfer case is installed. This allows the driver to choose between 2WD, 4WD high, and 4WD low as well as an Auto mode. This gives the driver the ability to choose based on the road or ground ahead, which setting they need.

The starting price for the All-Terrain is expected to begin around $52,000 and add an extra $7,000 for the Duramax engine setup. Even though that is a fairly large price tag, this is a massive and beautiful beast of a truck for the price that will never let any owner down or leave them stranded. Not to mention, a truck like this will be the envy of the entire neighborhood.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

House passes bill aimed at limiting “secret science” in the EPA

House passes bill aimed at limiting “secret science” in the EPA

The House of Representatives has passed legislation that prevents academic scientists on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Scientific Advisory committee from participating in “activities that directly or indirectly involve review of evaluation of their own work,” as quoted by The Huffington Post.

Bill HR-1422, also known as the Science Advisory Board Reform Act, passed the Republican-led House of Representatives with a vote of 229-191. The bill, sponsored by Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT), makes it so that a scientist cannot advise the EPA on the findings that’re contained within that scientist’s own published, peer-reviewed paper.

“HR-1422 would negatively affect the appointment of experts and would weaken the scientific independence and integrity of the SAB.” Said Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA), on Tuesday, as quoted by Inhabitat. “I get it, you don’t like science. And you don’t like science that interferes with the interests of your corporate clients. But we need science to protect public health and the environment.”

“Instead of an overly broad bill that would tie EPA’s hands, the Administration urges Congress to support the Administration’s efforts to make scientific and technical information more accessible and regulations more transparent,” said White House in a statement, as quoted by The Hill, in which it threatens to veto the legislation.

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This British company wants to crowdfund a mission to the moon

The British company wants to crowdfund a mission to the moon

Described by its creators as “the most inspirational lunar project since the Apollo landings,” a new project on Kickstarter known as Lunar Mission One is looking for £600,000 ($940,000) in crowdfunding to send an unmanned robotic landing module to a completely unexplored area of the moon, according to CNET.

Even more interesting is the fact that the ambitious project also involves drilling down to a depth of at least 20 meters, potentially as far down as 100 meters, where the spacecraft will bury a digital time capsule which should be preserved for roughly a billion years due to the conditions at the South Pole of the moon.

The time capsule isn’t the primary goal of the mission, however, it’s merely one of the ways the company plans to fund the endeavor. The mission’s primary goal is to learn more about the origins of Earth’s closest celestial body. A minimum pledge of £60 ($94) is all that’s needed to get space in the digital time capsule.

“Lunar Mission One will make a huge contribution to our understanding of the origins of our planet and the moon, and will inspire a generation to learn more about space, science and engineering, in the same way that my generation was inspired by the Apollo moon landings,” said David Iron, founder of Lunar Missions, as quoted by Space.

“It is increasingly difficult to fund space science and exploration of the kind aimed at developing understanding and knowledge,” continued Iron, as quoted by The Guardian. “We are introducing a new form of funding, and if it works we’ll have a legacy that shows it’s possible to fund these missions very differently.”

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NYC is turning thousands of payphones into Wi-Fi hotspots

NYC is turning thousands of payphones into Wi-Fi hotspots

A new “communications network” known as LinkNYC has announced plans to turn all of the payphones in New York City, of which there are many, into public Wi-Fi stations, according to The New York Times. The kiosks will be taller and narrower than average phone booths, but will retain the advertising space.

NYC has been trying to figure out what to do with its dilapidated payphones for quite some time. The city did a miniscule rollout of Wi-Fi hotspots at 10 phone booths back in 2012, and in 2013, the Department of Information Technology and Communications made numerous proposals for redesigning and repurposing the booths into something more useful and aesthetically pleasing.

According to Tech Crunch, the LinkNYC network is a public-private partnership between the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation and CityBridge, which is a coalition of companies that includes Qualcomm, Antenna, Comark, and Transit Wireless (the company that has installed Wi-Fi in 47 stations of the city’s subway system).

The LinkNYC kiosks will offer “up to gigabit speeds,” feature charging stations for devices, have touch screens for accessing information about the city, and allow free domestic phone calls. While the consortium hasn’t elaborated about its gigabit capabilities, and it hasn’t mentioned any attempts to secure a contract with any of the ISPs in the area.

However, according to CNET, LinkNYC plans to deploy “the fastest and largest free municipal Wi-Fi deployment in the world” and claims that it will be “more than 20 times fast than the average home Internet service in NYC” with a “seamless roaming experience from Link to Link” and adds that this will all come “at no cost to taxpayers.”

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Friday, November 14, 2014

IBM’s Watson AI will give health advice based on your DNA

IBM’s Watson AI will give health advice based on your DNA

Personal health has become the latest battleground for technology giants, from apps that track your eating habits to wearable gadgets that help you exercise, companies such as Apple and Google are touting the benefits of their health-centric technology. All of that seems gimmicky to IBM, however, as the company wants to use its artificially intelligent supercomputer to analyze your DNA and interpret the results, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The New York-based technology giant is joining forced with a startup called Pathway Genomics in order to create an advanced app that tracks your fitness and diet using DNA sequencing and Watson, IBM’s artificially intelligent machine, to give users custom health recommendations. While it certainly won’t be a replacement for a human doctor, the app will act as a tool for being healthy on a day-to-day basis, according to Market Watch.

“Say you’ve just flown from your house on the coast to a city that’s 10,000 feet above sea level,” said Pathway Genomics’s chief medical officer Michael Nova in a recent blog post, as quoted by Gizmodo. “You might want to ask how far you could safely run on your first day after getting off the plane, and at what pulse rate should you slow your jogging pace. Or say you’re diabetic and you’re in a city you have never visited before. You had a pastry for breakfast and you want to know when you should take your next shot of insulin. In an emergency, you’ll be able to find specialized healthcare providers near where you are who can take care of you.”

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