Thursday, April 30, 2009

Obama's Budget Cut... to Scale

This video describes the Obama budget cuts and provides an understandable scale. Remember, the large Federal budget is being driven by programs President Obama wants.

There is definitely a way to cut more from this budget.

Hat Tip Hot Air.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How Government Funding is Stifling Science

This article about research funding is like a snowball. It starts small, and with little energy. However, as it rolls along, it picks up more momentum. By the end, most right thinking people can easily agree that the funding system outlined by Dr. Miller is indeed flawed and in need of redirection.

Dr. Miller's point throughout the article is the current funding system will not fund scientists who do truly groundbreaking work. Miller states, "Peer review replaces true scientific research by only funding those projects that follow the established path." This the problem is this truly damns real scientific research. Miller backs up his assertation with real examples and includes enough evidence to show the need for a different system.

"In 21st century America, consensus and computer models masquerade as science. They supplant experimental data." I agree with this statement.  The current system "develops established lines of knowledge to perfection." However, major advances in science are not accomplished this way. Instead, we need more research where "long-cherished ideas are replaced wholesale by new ones that lead science in a different direction." These new-thinking projects, however, are not funded because of the orthodoxy of the reviewers, not because the new ideas are not sound science.

Read the whole article and judge for yourself.

Hat Tip Crossfit

Monday, April 27, 2009

This is Going to Cause Trouble

So, I read this CNN story over a couple of times and had more questions than answers. However, the bare facts about the raid, as given by the reporter are that US forces entered a house/compound in the city of Kut. Six people were arrested, and a man and woman were killed. Apparently the home/compound was owned by a tribal leader and the individuals arrested, as well as those killed, were family members to the tribal leader.

The US stated they had support and approval from the proper Iraqi authorities. Apparently this is the truth, since the last line in the story states "Iraqi State TV reported that Iraq's defense ministry ordered the arrest of two Iraqi commanders in Kut who apparently allowed the U.S. military to carry out the raid."

Now the Iraqi authorities want to accuse the US of violating the security pact in place. Al-Maliki has asked for the release of the suspects from the raid and to "hand over those who committed the crime" to the Iraqi judiciary. However, if the Iraqi representatives gave consent, as the story indicates, then the US troops did nothing wrong. Of course, facts may not be as important in this case as who you're related to.

Now for the questions:

1) The reason for the raid. According to US intelligence, those detained were affiliated with Iran as a "special group" operating inside Iraq. I assume the US will produce evidence about this (and must have done so in the past to get the permission from Iraqi representatives in Kut).

2) Who was the "Tribal Leader" and how much pull does he have with the Iraqi national government? This is huge because, from my inklings about human nature, it seems like the leader might have cried to the right people in the national government about the raid to have these actions taken. Of course, this is totally against the rule of law, but there it is.

3) Did the US receive approval from the proper authorities? Again, my knowledge of how the US Army operates is that the order would come down from someone high enough in the US forces to allow the planning and execution of the order. The big issue is where the approval came from on the Iraqi side. Was the issue addressed at the proper level? Again, gut instinct says, "Yes, enough to cover the Americans who ordered the raid and executed the orders."

4) How serious is Al-Maliki about prosecuting the US troops? Is this an honest attempt to prosecute people who have actually committed "grave premeditated felonies" or is this more of a move on the Iraqi government's part to flex their muscles and show some nationalist tendencies? If Al-Maliki really pushes this, it can cause trouble between the US and the nascent Iraqi government.

Again, the last line in the news article acknowledges there was some sort of approval from Iraqi authorities. This covers the US this time in a true court of law. However, I believe this action will definitely chill the possible approval for raids in the future.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What We Need to Do

If Obama was smart, he would latch hold of this guy and use his ideas.

Barnett's ideas are incredibly simple when you first look at it, but the devil is in the details. His point is that we have no real transition plan for the work that the Army does. If we had a plan like this during the initial invasion of Iraq, we would have our troops out by now, with a victory in-tact.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Stop Giving Away My Money!!!

This article perfectly illustrates my frustration with my government giving away my money to corporations.

The whole idea of the capitalist system is, "You reap what you sow." This means if a company makes bad decisions, the company goes under. Period.

This also means that no company is "too big to fail," contrary to what some in the Obama administration would have you believe. This also means, stop giving them more money when they are failing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What the Tea Parties are all About

Unless you've been living in a cave with no TV or internet access, you've hear about the recent collection of "Tea Parties" happening all across the country. But what are all of these people saying? What are these protests about? 

This video addresses the root issue, although it comes at the topic from a non-tea party way.

The reason we have so much unrest is because we have such a powerful government that is redistributing our money. People are becoming more and more upset about government intrusion in our lives, both through intrusive laws and high taxation. There is a strong movement against more government.

Call your Senators and Congressman. Tell them that Washington's excessive interferance in our lives is what people are upset about. We want LESS intervention and more reliance on local and individual authority. After all, Amendment IX states, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." 

This means we, the people hold all of the rights. Our government should work to ensure we can exercise our rights to the utmost.