Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Obamessiah IV - the return!

On the eve of the Advent Season, that which is part of the celebration of Christ's birth, we observe how the Leftists and some Democrats in the new secular religious conception still view the 44th President of the United States:

He is unto a god. He is their savior.

Some have shaken themselves of this modern superstition. Others just want too hard I suppose.

Michigan State very much should get a BCS game this year

On November 29 Adam Rittenberg posted an blog entry that I cannot help but agree with, making a case that the Michigan State Spartans really should play a BCS-class bowl game this year.

We share the Big 10 Championship with the Wisconsin Badgers and the Ohio State Buckeyes and that is indisputable.  One can say that it is unfortunate all three teams played well and the only reason we share is because of our one horrifying defeat to the Iowa Hawkeyes.  That said, I think this stuff should measure up a little differently when it comes to how we play out the NCAA football post-season.

The common speculation is that Wisconsin will go to the Rose Bowl.  We likely will head to the Capital One Bowl.  We will likely be assigned a lesser bowl.  This is wrong because we beat Wisconsin!  To the victor go the spoils!  We should be telling them which bowl game that we get to play; which game they get to play; and then we get to date their girlfriends; and that is if all else is equal.

Here is a a more technical summary.
Michigan State's chances of earning the Big Ten's automatic BCS bowl berth are virtually gone after the latest BCS standings. The Spartans moved up to No. 8 but still trail both No. 5 Wisconsin and No. 6 Ohio State by substantial margins.

All three teams tied atop the Big Ten with identical records (11-1 overall, 7-1 in Big Ten play), and because Michigan State and Ohio State don't play, the team ranked highest in the final BCS standings earns the automatic berth. It's an imperfect tiebreaker in a league without a championship game until 2011, and Dantonio saw the potential drawback when the Big Ten coaches voted on the method two springs ago.
At this point determining what bowl game we attend is dependent on votes and people.
The Spartans... are trying to put themselves in the discussion for a BCS at-large berth, which hasn't been easy.

Dantonio acknowledged he's on a "public awareness" campaign this week.

"No disrespect to the other two teams," Dantonio said. "They're great football teams. They deserve to be in the mix, and they are in the mix. I just feel like we're being left out of the mix, and I don't know why.

"We're an interesting story, and I think people like to watch a storybook team."

Let's get on with the story. Michigan State has a good case for BCS selection, and here's why:
  • The Spartans won a share of the Big Ten title for the first time since 1990 and claimed a team-record 11 victories.
  • Judging by the BCS standings, the Spartans have the best win among the Big Ten leaders, a 34-24 triumph against Wisconsin on Oct. 2.
  • The Spartans are the only team out of the three that hasn't lost to one of the other two.
  • The Spartans have played the nation's 38th toughest schedule based on cumulative opposition. Ohio State's schedule ranks 54th, while Wisconsin's ranks 66th.
  • The Spartans have eight wins against bowl-eligible teams, more than both Ohio State (6) and Wisconsin (4).
  • Michigan State received the highest TV rating among Big Ten teams for games played on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. It's only fair to point out that the Spartans got a major boost from their Sept. 18 double-overtime thriller against Notre Dame, a reliable ratings grabber.
There are also circumstantial factors that add to Michigan State's case... Michigan State also faced a unique challenge after Dantonio suffered a heart attack following the Notre Dame victory. He missed two games, including the Wisconsin victory, and didn't return to the sideline for more than a month.

"When you look.. at coach Dantonio's heart attack, you look at a situation where we've really overcome a lot of adversity both on the field and off the field," Hollis said. "Those are stories that are important to college sports. There are some schools that have had many, many opportunities to participate in BCS games. Michigan State never has.

"Now we're sitting here with an opportunity with the Sugar Bowl, or if it drops to the Orange, for them to select an 11-1 Michigan State with a great story behind it."

Michigan State has come the farthest distance of the three Big Ten champions, which can work both ways.

Ohio State was ranked No. 2 in both preseason polls, while Wisconsin was ranked No. 12 in both polls. Michigan State was unranked, receiving 10 votes in the Coaches' poll and none in the AP.
Then there is the Iowa issue.
Michigan State rose to No. 5 in the BCS standings after beating Northwestern to improve to 8-0. But the next week, the Spartans were crushed 37-6 by Iowa.

"It would have been interesting to see if we would have played Iowa in the fifth week and lost and then played Wisconsin in the ninth week and won, how that would have affected everything," Dantonio said. "If you look at things statistically, Ohio State lost 31-18 to Wisconsin and we beat Wisconsin 34-24. If you were just taking those things into consideration, things ought to weigh more in our favor.

"We didn't play well at Iowa and we lost decisively, I understand that. But Iowa's not in the mix here. It's Wisconsin, Ohio State and us." 
The Iowa defeat destroyed our chances of a clear and away victory and prize: a sole Big Tern Championship and a top-tier Bowl game, the ideal goal is the Rose Bowl.

The biggest issue right now is that despite a possibly superior performance at this point it is no longer about winning games. We never played Ohio State but we can set aside the question of whether or not we played a better season than OSU; we certainly beat Wisconsin. At this stage it is all about branding and brand names.

In the end we need to acknowledge one thing: placements in the BCS and the bowl system is more of a beauty contest then it is about winning football games.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Michigan State battles Penn State in the final game of the 2010 football season

Penn State
Day: Saturday
Date: Nov. 27, 2010
Location: State College, Pa.
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET


Radio:   Spartan Sports Network

the Proper American Reponse to North Korea?

We know from years ago that North Korea is a nuclear-weapon-enabled tyrant nation that outlaws the use of critical electrical energy for its citizens. Despite being a backward country with a starving population North Korea still finds for itself the capability to outsmart the United States national security/foreign policy-makers.
North Korea's artillery bombardment of the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong on Tuesday makes it doubly clear that Pyongyang intends to leverage its new nuclear breakthrough for maximum concessions from the international community.

This nuclear revelation is not an intelligence failure. Over the past decade, intelligence analysts have consistently predicted North Korea's path to nuclear weapons and noted the increasing evidence of its missile and nuclear proliferation. The failure has been that of policy makers and pundits who denigrated the analysis, ignored it, or clung to the fallacy that North Korea would abide by a denuclearization deal.
So what is the proper American response to this new open military aggression? It is not an engagement at the negotiating table to talk. In fact that would play right into the North Koreans' hands.
It should be obvious by now that Pyongyang seeks acknowledgment as a nuclear state and intends to continue leveraging its proliferation threat to enjoy perpetual concessions from the U.S. North Korean officials have told outsiders that if America is concerned about proliferation, we should negotiate an "arms control agreement" with the North as mutual nuclear weapons states.

This would validate Pyongyang's weapons status and leave the door open for repeated escalation of the North's own weapons programs or proliferation, as U.S. credibility and deterrence steadily eroded. The existence of a highly enriched uranium facility makes this dynamic even more dangerous.

The Obama administration has said that the bombardment of Yeonpyeong is not a crisis, which is probably wise if the aim is to avoid granting the North even more leverage. On the other hand, it would be a colossal mistake to return to negotiations as if provocations are merely the price of doing business with Pyongyang. The focus right now should be on containment, interdiction and pressure. The inability to do so on a sustained basis until now was a failure of policy, not intelligence.
On the other hand is the classic solution of Gunboat Diplomacy, which President Obama is apparently not shy in enacting.
the United States is exercising a bit of gunboat diplomacy by sending a remarkably well armed naval task force into the Yellow Sea. The audience here is China, and this move will piss them off big time, thus must be intended to humiliate Chinese leadership. The most likely outcome here is 2 billion pissed off Chinese. That makes our policy an interesting approach, and potentially smarter than it sounds.

In part this is a game of chicken with the childish North Korean leadership that acts out in temper tantrums when they want something - and right now North Korea wants many things. In part though, this is also a game of chicken with daddy. China has repeatedly warned the US of consequences for moving an aircraft carrier into the Yellow sea, and many Generals have made threats including advocacy in editorials that China should strike with military power should the United States move a carrier into the Yellow Sea. It is one thing to play chicken with a spoiled brat, and quite another to play chicken with big daddy.

By making this move, we are changing the issue from one of a skirmish to one of an out of control belligerent state in need of a spanking, and we are focusing the worlds attention towards China demanding they wield the paddle. As a big picture move, which means a policy reaction to the skirmish that also includes the newly disclosed uranium nuclear facility as part of the problem, China is being accused and held accountable for all belligerence activities of North Korea... It is possible the reason the naval exercise were put off until Sunday is to give China time to condemn North Korean aggression, thus take the lead and reduce the need to move the GW into the Yellow Sea. Will China join the international community and condemn North Korea? Unlikely, however I wouldn't rule it out, and I would imagine there must be a block inside Chinese leadership that is advocating this... I tend to think the Obama administration hasn't miscalculated our understanding regarding the size of the Chinese egos involved in this situation, rather I just don't believe President Obama cares anymore if the PRC takes an ego bruise for their position. Said another way, President Obama is thinking China might act responsibly, allowing him to offload some of the worlds concern for responsibility on Chinese leadership. From what I have seen watching China's leadership, I don't see it happening.

Moving the George Washington Carrier Strike Group into the Yellow Sea is bold, and carries a great deal of risk. This move will piss of Chinese leadership, and that will insure plenty of propaganda that enrages China's population. I don't expect China to attack the US Navy, but I do expect China to respond in a serious and potentially harsh way. The US is making a safe bet that nothing will happen and no one will be foolish enough to attack the US and South Korean naval forces. It is a good bet, but it is still a bet - and anyone who bets knows the rule: you can lose any bet.

I also believe we are making a move not unlike March 1996 when then President Clinton ordered the Nimitz and Independence carrier battle groups to sail through the Taiwan Strait. The consequence of that move was a vow by China of "never again," a vow we are actually about to challenge in a different region off China's coast. The unintended consequence of Clinton's policy decision has been the most remarkable modernization in human history of the worlds largest Army, Navy, and Air Force. In less than 14 years, China's military has essentially jumped 2 generations of combat capability. That is a remarkable pace, and highlights how no one can predict what reaction will come from moving the GW into the Yellow Sea... preventing war with an extended show of force is one way Naval power can be used in crisis, and naval power can do many things politically for any nation with a strong Navy.

Most US Presidents have at one point or another found the nation in a situation where the Navy is asked to move well forward, show the flag, and keep the peace. This is a function of naval power that US Navy officers and sailors are trained to do, and a function of military power the US military thinks about all the time, and practices for. Obama has called for a form of gunboat diplomacy to redirect the political focus and walk both sides of the Korean Peninsula back from the brink of war. Gunboat diplomacy takes its form and function unique to its political purpose for the situation. Gunboat diplomacy is always distinct to time and place, and even in the 21st century remains a policy of force intended to deter other nations from exercising the violent use of military power.

Will it work? President Obama is betting it will. The Obama administration policy is to follow South Korea's lead politically but position the US to lead militarily with a show of force. The political signal is to maintain the peace, but respond with strength. That means South Korea will update rules of engagement, reinforce military positions in vulnerable areas, and ask for the US for assistance in pressuring China into reigning in North Korean belligerence.
Naturally a military response is the only appropriate first response. Negotiations can only ensue if the enemy is convinced that we have the advantage and they cannot escape an alternative of sure destruction. On the other hand we cannot be certain if this is the course of action our American policy-makers will pursue. We also have to remember that the course of action is primarily decided by South Korea (and that the last war is technically/legally still in effect). Despite that we have the legal option to obliterate North Korea the question is still in the air as to whether we should pursue full-bore military action considering our heavy presence still in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Although to be fair I wish we would pursue the great lethal force against the Islam Somali Terrorist Pirates

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Of Course the TSA admistrator defends TSA Security Theatre

I regret not fulfilling my intention to blog recently about TSA Security Theatre, that which the United States Transportation Security Authority treats innocent Americans worse than how we treat criminals under our own justice system.... however I can certainly expect the government-appointed leader of this program/organization to defend the existence of his group's ill-considered policies, so Chief Idiot John Pistole defends the groping of Americans and their children because it protects us from foreign-born terrorists.

I want Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart

I like Pie and Google provides this
I wrote this recipe for my entertaining series for O, Oprah’s magazine. It was inspired by a pumpkin mousse that my mother had made for years for Thanksgiving. It’s lighter and much more flavorful than that cloying old pumpkin pie. People really do go nuts for it. Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart
I would expect an Oprah snob to decry Pumpkin Pie.

a Thanksgiving tradition - A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Barack Obama versus George Washington's Thanksgiving

President Obama lives up to the generic accepted revisionist history of Thanksgiving nad Rush Limbaugh attacks him for it with his retelling of what I'll believe is the real history.

where to find the New Yankee Workshop

Here is where you can find the real-life New Yankee Workshop, from the show of the same name, right in the backyard of television producer and This Old House creator Russell Morash.

Despite implications within the program that is near the home of host Norm Abrams it is actually located in place where Russell Morash can make Norm Abrams' projects his own lawn appliances and furniture.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mike Bishop should be Michigan Republican Party Chair

This is going somewhere.

November 22, 2010
Snyder backs developer Schostak to head Mich. GOP

Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing— Gov.-elect Rick Snyder today endorsed developer Robert Schostak to succeed Ron Weiser as chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.
"Bobby Schostak is the right person to lead our party as Republicans assume the mantle of leadership and work to reinvent Michigan," Snyder said in a news release.
"Bobby helped lead Michigan Republicans to their most successful election cycle in more than a generation and he will make sure our elected officials and candidates have the resources they need to succeed in 2012."
Schostak is the state party's finance chairman, and he and Weiser are credited with leading a record fundraising effort.
At least three other candidates have expressed interest in the position: Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop and Grand Rapids businessman and party Vice Chairman Scott Greenlee.
However, all three said they would wait to see what position Snyder took before deciding whether to officially jump into the race.
Weiser, chairman for the last two years, is not seeking another term. The chairman will be chosen at a state party convention in late January or early February.
Bishop today would not rule out a possible candidacy but said, "I have great respect for the governor-elect (and) I think it's incumbent upon all of us to respect his decision to endorse a candidate."
Bishop said he talked to Snyder recently and told him "his decision to endorse a candidate is significant and will play a role in the decision-making process.
"In the end, this is about the grassroots," Bishop said.
He said he didn't want to think about the chairmanship until he has completed his work as Senate majority leader. He said he never put his own name forward but had been encouraged by many others to seek the chairmanship.
Land and Greenlee could not immediately be reached.
Schostak, CEO of the Livonia firm Schostak Bros. & Co., left the firm in the hands of his two brothers so he could raise money for the GOP full-time.
(517) 371-3660

© Copyright 2010 The Detroit News. All rights reserved.
Despite his earlier ambitions I do not believe Scott Greenlee will run and I know Terri Lynn Land will not run for Party Chair. I wish she would run for Congress.

Mister Schostak is incredibly controversial if one were to simply inject facts of his history into the Republican players yet when given in the context of Ron Weiser and Rick Snyder's deliberate narrative he becomes the unity candidate.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Right to Work Legislation can be credible for Michigan

Local Right-to-Work

Yes we can! Well, maybe. If we set it up just right...

State Sen. Nancy Cassis has introduced legislation in Lansing that would allow localities to set up what might be called “right-to-work zones.” The authority of local governments to take this step is dubious — what little legal authority there is on the question is all negative — but while courts have struck down local right-to-work ordinances both times they came up, neither of the two decisions involved a state statute that authorized local right-to-work. This is a question on which legal experts disagree vehemently, but a carefully-written “local option” law passed by the state legislature could work.

Among nearly all private-sector workers, labor relations are governed by federal law: the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRA is fairly exhaustive, and the courts have consistently interpreted it as “occupying the field” of private-sector labor relations, leaving very little room for states to act. But there’s one big exception carved out of federal labor law: States can regulate union membership and agency fees. This is where state right-to-work laws come into play.

“Right-to-work” prohibits unions and employers from signing contracts that force workers to join or financially support a union, leaving union membership and support to the conscience of individual workers.

The federal statute authorizing RTW laws covers "state laws" regulating union membership, but doesn't say those laws have to take any specific form:
29 U.S.C. §164(b) -- Agreements requiring union membership in violation of State law
Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed as authorizing the execution or application of agreements requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment in any State or Territory in which such execution or application is prohibited by State or Territorial law.
The key phrases are "such execution or application" and "State or Territorial Law." Let's tackle the second phrase first. Would a local ordinance qualify as a state law? Probably not; again, both courts that have considered this question have said no. (It should be noted that local ordinances have been treated as “state law” in other contexts, but none of those involved labor relations.) To clarify, "Territory" is a very specific legal term referring to U.S. possessions that are not part of a state. Guam is a territory, Kent County is not. The bottom line is the courts are very unlikely to allow a local government to enforce a right-to-work ordinance on its own.

But the other key phrase, "such execution or application," opens the door for the state to authorize local right-to-work. The implication is that a state does not have to prohibit all agency fee clauses or none at all. It can allow some while permitting others. It can place special conditions. Colorado has a "Labor Peace Act" that requires a union get separate authorization in a secret-ballot vote before negotiating an agency fee. It's been on the books for ages and has never been struck down.
Doing so will require careful drafting, but a state statute authorizing local governments to establish right-to-work zones that are recognized and enforced by the state has a decent chance of passing legal scrutiny.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pro-Life legislation mandating proper disposal of dead fetuses (dead babies) is not anti-abortion enough?

Jeff Conklin of Haslett, MI made this argument, printed in the Lansing State Journal on November 15, 2010.
our lawmakers sponsor legislation requiring proper "fetus disposal." Instead, our representatives and every one of us should be doing everything in our power to halt this atrocity, as well as begging God to have mercy on this nation.
Morally speaking he is correct that we should stop the practice of abortion. Part of this crusade, however, needs to be a culture war where he instill the value of these children into the people, the common citizens, and the abortion workers and this is part of it.

Another part of it is that an all-out legislative assault on the horrible practice would fail in the courts.  Part of winning a war is being patient as we pick our battles.

On the other hand his description of the abortion phenomenon seems apt:
A woman is pregnant with a baby boy. Imagine his name is John. Seven weeks go by, and his heart is beating. After three months, his fingers have formed. John has his own heartbeat, fingerprints, and one-of-a-kind DNA! He's developing steadily - a brand new, distinct, unique person. John is safe and warm in his mother's womb. One day, he will be born and feel her loving embrace but, something's wrong.
There is the sound of a vacuum - some machine. Where there should only be peace and safety, something is intruding. John is violently extracted from his mother's womb. He's literally torn apart. "The procedure" is successful.
John is dead. He is thrown out like common garbage.
The mother's "right" to choose death for her child has been upheld.
John's right to life has not.
Technological progressives and various women's groups will not be taking the side of the baby in that scenario.

Friday, November 19, 2010

So I leave for Denver

Young Republican National Federation Fall Board Meeting.

As the Michigan National Committeeman I am obligated to attend.

And miss my birthday party.

they're called lawmakers, not freedom-makers, and that's for a reason

From a letter published in the Lansing State Journal on November 5, 2010
In the future, where have all our freedoms gone? Will we become a country of freedoms rationed out by the liberals?
Freedom of speech seems to only be for the liberals. When our country finally goes to "pot," which the other countries are waiting for, where do we go to find a place to live?
Where do we find the freedoms that we fought for? Are we going to settle for other countries' so-called freedoms?
Ed Mills

Mel Hull knows the Democrats had more to do with the housing bubble bursting

Read how community organizers busted the economy through its own attempts to block redlining.

Now check out this letter to the Lansing State Journal published on November 5, 2010
I wish the liberals who write in spouting the Democrat talking points would do some research before they blame George Bush and the Republicans for the current economic mess.
It was the liberals led by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd who forced mortgage companies, under threat of prosecution, to make loans to people who couldn't pay them back. Look up the "Housing and Development Act of 1977."
The roots of our present crisis go back to the Carter administration. That was when liberal Democrats, egged on by left-wing activists, began accusing lenders of racism and "redlining" because urban blacks were being denied mortgages at a higher rate the suburban whites.
The Bush administration proposed much tighter regulations on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae over five years ago, but the liberals in Congress resisted.
Hundred of thousands of loans went into default and then the bubble burst. Thank you, Democrats!
Mel Hull
These are memes.  There are a whole mixed bag of causes for our economic horrors of late, but the policies are trending left-wing, and it is sick to declare that "deregulation" is just merely a "Conservative" or "libertarian" thing.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

some Venison Tenderloin Steak recipes

Venison Tenderloin Steak Recipe


Venison tenderloin, sliced 1 inch thick

2 lb. mushrooms, sliced

1/2 lb. butter

2 onion, chopped

1 c. dry white wine

1 c. bouillon

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp. yellow mustard

1 tsp. minced parsley

1 tsp. thyme
How to make Venison Tenderloin Steak
Stage1-Brown venison slices in butter and set meat aside.

Stage2-Saute mushrooms in butter, turning with a wooden spoon.

Stage3-Add onion, wine and salt and pepper to taste.

Stage4-Add bouillon, mustard and herbs.

Stage5-Bring to a boil and add venison slices.

Stage6-Simmer for 40 minutes.

Venison tenderloin, sliced 1 inch thick
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1/4 lb. butter
1 onion, chopped
1/2 c. dry white wine
1/2 c. bouillon
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. minced parsley
1/2 tsp. thyme
Brown venison slices in butter and set meat aside. Saute mushrooms in butter, turning with a wooden spoon. Add onion, wine and salt and pepper to taste. Add bouillon, mustard and herbs. Bring to a boil and add venison slices. Simmer for 30 minutes.

It's Not Bad To Be the 'Party of No'

The Left-Wing Democrat meme is that when Republicans vote "no" on various policies then the good intentions behind what would be a destructive policy are then thwarted along with the policy.  This is obviously not the case, as Jon Hulinek notes in a letter published in the Lansing State Journal on October 19, 210.
Do you remember when a no was a no?

When my boys wanted to date at 14, the answer was "no." I told them they could when they were 16, and no whining would help them. The answer from their mother was also "no."

Time are tough, so the tough get creative. You can have two items from the dollar menu, not three.

Let's get creative together and look for new ways a "no" can spark new ideas. You know, sometimes a "no" is the better way in the long run.

Jon Hulinek
Quite often an end result must be achieved but a method towards that end is found faulty or destructive an alternate means to that end is found. Partisan Democrats eitehr refuse to see that or are lying in regards to the concept of Republican "no" votes.

obviously we need more hunters

My suggestion would simply be to either extend the firearm hunting season or create a whole additional firearm deer-hunting season.  After all the drama about measures in the Michigan Legislature and among parents to preserve hunting traditions and expand the number of hunters (and how the season begins when it does to insure the continuance of the local populations of the deer species) we can remember what the Lansing State Journal published even earlier, an editorial noting that the deer herd in Michigan (and apparently they count it as one whole herd) needs thinning, although their prescription is not at all about freedoms for the people and more about government-made, government-executed solutions.

What the LSJ editors said on November 5th, 2010:
Unless major changes are made to state policy handling the deer herd, these urban interactions - which can quickly turn damaging, even tragic to human and deer alike - also will become an unremarkable matter.
And that's something Michigan cannot afford.
Michigan is high in auto-deer collisions, according to State Farm Insurance, which estimates the average cost of such hits at $3,050. And, sadly, auto-deer collisions cause fatalities for humans, as well as for deer.
The problem for Michigan is that the deer herd is increasingly locating itself where most of the people and cars are.
In 1965, Michigan had fewer than 1 million deer, with the overwhelming majority of them concentrated in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. Since then, the herd in the southern Lower Peninsula has been on a relentless climb, even as the proportions for the other two regions have shrunk.
As of 2008, the state was estimating about 1 million deer lived in southern Michigan alone, with the herds in the other two regions totalling about 900,000. There are more deer in Michigan and far, far more of them live near Lansing, Grand Rapids., Flint, Saginaw, etc.
In fact, the deer density in the tri-county area actually is higher than the relative densities found near Marquette or on the Keweenaw Peninsula on the northern rim of the U.P.
Deer harvests are about five times higher than what they were in mid-1960s. And, as the state's deer management plan says, "Michigan has more hunters than any other state save Texas, and despite our troubling times, nearly 1 million of us go to the woods and fields every fall to hunt and otherwise experience our abundance of wildlife and open lands." Nevertheless, the deer herd is surging right in the part of the state where it can do the most damage to Michiganians and their commerce.
It's increasingly clear that the state cannot rely on volunteer hunters and its traditional methods to control the herd. Publicly financed hunts and other containment measures should be on the agenda for the Snyder administration come January.
They never actually proved that  traditional methods cannot control "the herd", they simply say that because so far the traditional methods have not controlled the herd under the current circumstances, conditions, and constraints.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Purdue visits MSU for the final home game of the 2010 Spartan football season!

Day: Saturday
Date: Nov. 20, 2010
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET

Last Event

vs. Minnesota
W, 31-8
Day: Saturday
Date: Nov. 6, 2010
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
No. 16 Michigan State Defeats Minnesota, 31-8

Related Links


TV:   Big Ten Network
Radio:   Spartan Sports Network

Star Trek Nemesis versus the Search for Spock

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Some letters to the Lansing State Journal Editor for November 16, 2010

Like I care about copyright; I think fair use is important for criticism and archives are important to that!  Here are some selected letters from the Lansing State Journal, published on November 16, 2010.

For instance, I did not know this about wine or wine distribution.
The Oct. 31 "Other Voices" column on wine distribution from the Traverse City Record Eagle misses the mark.

There is legislation being considered which, among other benefits to the hospitality industry, would streamline and modernize how Michigan distributes wine. As a beer distributor in Mid-Michigan, we follow territorial integrity, and it has benefited craft brewers, local retailers, job creation and consumers.
Territorial integrity encourages competition and growth. As a distributor, I am fully committed to selling and marketing Brand X, while another distributor is doing the same for Brand Y.
Applied to wine distribution, this means more competition in the region and greater opportunities for Michigan wineries to get their products marketed.
Without territorial integrity, distributors have less incentive to compete. This system holds distributors accountable and assures that all retailers will be properly serviced.
It helps track products efficiently so consumers don't get tainted products. Territorial integrity helped make Michigan the Great Beer State, with more than 70 terrific craft brewers and brewpubs. It can do the same for wine and help this sector succeed.

Nick Pavona
M&M Distributors, Inc.
I also have no way of confirming if what he says is true.

Now let's celebrate some soft tyranny in action.

On Nov. 18, the American Cancer Society will celebrate the 35th annual Great American Smokeout.
This year, I will celebrate by visiting one of my local bars or restaurants that I didn't want to go to before May 1, but now that the smoke is finally out of Michigan, I will go.

Last year, our legislators gave workers a great gift making Michigan the 38th state to go smokefree.

Now, workers do not have to choose between their health and their paycheck.

This gift came at a great time in my life as well! I have two beautiful little daughters whom I would not take out to the restaurants in my area because they allowed smoking. Now, I don't have to worry about my family being subjected to the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. I feel good about being able to support more of my local establishments, too!

For this year's Great American Smokeout, we really have something to celebrate.

Katie Wilson
Mrs. Wilson does not see the irony that as she celebrates her choice to take her kids to restaurants, as she laments the cause of her earlier choice to not take them to restaurants earlier, she celebrates the loss of freedom of choice of the many private citizens that privately own these private businesses that she chooses to patronize in public.

Now I love the results of the smoking ban and I hate second-hand cigarette smoke almost as much as I hate the first-hand cigarette smoke but what I hate is the obstruction of private property rights so that some busybodies can feel better.

One more letter here as we see that leftism and (I suppose it is tyranny) involves taking people's tax dollars and using it to.... decorate very expensively.
In the Nov. 10 LSJ, there was an article about a plan to spend $194 million to dress up Michigan and Grand River avenues between the Capitol and Meridian Mall.
This sum is about double what it cost to build the five-mile-long Mackinac Bridge.
This exorbitant expense will be borne by "federal, state and local coffers," all of which are presently empty.
So, for the sake of improving the appearance of two area thoroughfares - and adding a few more buses to travel along them - we are foolishly going to borrow many millions of dollars from the Chinese.
Where are angry members of the "tea party" when we really need them?
Americans are living far beyond their means, putting things on the public credit card with no concern about the financial consequences.
When, in the not-too-distant future, the chroniclers of world history write the chapter on why the U.S. went bankrupt, this silly proposed project will be one of many submitted as evidence to explain the national downfall.

Le Roy Barnett
Grand Ledge
Well in theory it is our tax money although by the time we pay it back to the foreign people, if we ever do, it will be our money plus the money of our decedents, although I suppose in a meta sense that is "ours".

Have no doubt that Bastiat would not approve.

Should the hunting age in Michigan be lowered?

From the November 15, 2010 Lansing State Journal

As firearm season arrives, Senate bill aims to nix minimum hunting age in Michigan

Louise Knott Ahern • • November 15, 2010 

Hunting is more than a sport to Haslett resident Andy Kroeger. In his family, it's a longstanding tradition that has helped him bond with his father and develop respect for conservation.

And though his two toddler daughters are far from being old enough to learn to shoot, his 3-year-old already has a set of camouflage clothes that match her dad's.

"She's already been after me to let her go sit in the deer blind with me," said Kroeger, 36.

Kroeger might not have to wait as long to take her with him if a group of hunting advocates have their way.

Just in time for the start of firearm season today, a new bill before the state Senate would eliminate the minimum hunting age in Michigan.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville of Monroe introduced the bill Friday. If passed, it would allow a child of any age to actively hunt with a bow or gun alongside an experienced mentor - someone with at least one previous hunting season under his or her belt and at least 21 years old.

"Having a minimum age in the state is a barrier for parents who may think that their 9-year-old is mature enough to go out with them and hunt," said Dave Nyberg of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, which helped draft the legislation. "This bill is about allowing parents, not the government, to decide when their kids are ready to hunt."

The bill comes just two years after Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed a law that lowered the previous minimum age from 14 to 12 for firearm deer season.

Advocates of the new proposal use the same argument for this bill that they did back then. They say the state's hunting traditions are in danger because fewer young people today choose to join the sport.

"For every 100 people who leave the sport for whatever reason, we're only recruiting 26 more to replace them," Nyberg said.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment hadn't taken an official position on the bill as of Friday afternoon, but a spokeswoman said the agency supports any effort that encourages more kids to get outdoors.

"Our main competition are video games and computers," said Mary Detloff, DNRE spokeswoman. "Getting kids outside is one of our top priorities if we're going to continue to have a state with a long, proud outdoor recreational heritage."

Detloff said the number of kids involved in hunting increased after the state lowered the age limit in 2008 but didn't have exact numbers Friday.

The overall number of hunting licenses sold in Michigan have been declining over the past decade, Detloff said, but have at least flattened out in the past couple of years.

She said the state sold between 1.5 million and 1.6 million licenses last year.

Firearm season ends Nov. 30.
From Senator Richardville's website:
“Michigan currently has some of the most stringent regulations on youth hunting in the nation causing fewer young people to enjoy the outdoor sport,” said Richardville, R-Monroe. “The hunter safety program created by this legislation will stress the importance of learning how to hunt from an experienced adult or mentor. It will be a great way to recruit young hunters by placing their safety and proper hunting techniques at the forefront.”
Senate Bill 1589 would require the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to create a “Mentored Youth Hunting Safety Program” that would give youth younger than 17 the opportunity to hunt with an adult hunting mentor.
Rather than focusing on a minimum hunting age, the NRC would establish specific guidelines for the program to allow young people to hunt with a licensed, experienced mentor at least 21 years old.
“The new hunting program will give parents the ability to decide when their children are mature enough to hunt,” Richardville said. “Some young people may be ready to hunt much sooner than others.”
From 1998-2008, the number of hunters in Michigan declined by 17 percent. For every 100 adult hunters in Michigan today, only 26 youth hunters take their place.
Paula Holmes-Greeley insists that these measures will lead to piles of dead children and injured adults in our woods.
Why are hunting advocates arguing with Michigan’s hunting safety success?

The state’s hunter safety programs — and age limits — are paying off. In 1970, the year before hunter safety education requirements were put into place, there were 18 fatalities and 212 accidents. The 2009 firearm deer season was one of the safest on record with one fatality during muzzleloader deer season and one during spring turkey season, and 17 accidents, according to DNRE records.
To be honest she has a point about outsiders training juveniles is often more effective than parents simply mentoring their own children, but I do not follow her logically that adjustments to the law such as Senator Richardville's would automatically lead to calamity. The fact is that personal responsibility does play into it and statistics mislead wherever they gloss over the details of any individual incident.

While it should always be recommended to any learning would-be hunter that he or she receive the best and most stringent of safety training the first and last arbiter of whether a young one is mature enough to handle a weapon should be the parents, regardless of age.

Betrayal of Liberty and Intellectual Pluralism on American Campuses by Alan C. Kors

The following was reprinted and found in the Spring 2007 LeadershipMemo, circulated by the Leadership Institute to its for Field Representatives and students. I found an online copy, formatted differently, at the Leadership Institute's site here, and reformatted it to fit the Memo. I own no copyright and I do not care.

Betrayal of Liberty and Intellectual Pluralism on American Campuses

By Alan Charles Kors, Professor of History -- University of Pennsylvania.

Adapted from a speech given to the Mont Pelerin Society in Nov. 2006

Click here to watch the speech.

There is, in higher education, my own field of experience and study, the ongoing, well-known threat to liberty posed by its domination by the state. The second meaning, less recognized, is the absence of liberty-in substance and in practice-from private higher education, a system that, with so few exceptions, has become a governmentally subsidized, closed-shop, political fiefdom. Higher education has become, in its current incarnation, the enemy of-and a genuine threat to-a free society.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the radical left controlled and coerced appointments and curriculum at French universities. By the mid-sixties, I would say to French friends that there would be terrible consequences for a nation where no one at a university ever heard a dissident conservative or classical liberal voice. French friends would answer lightly, “No, they’re communists as students, but they’ll vote on the Right after that.”

The Center-Right, in France, of course, is scarcely distinguishable in its statism from the French Left-how unbearable Alain Madelin was for them-and the only choice in France is between various levels of intolerable collectivism and statism. Perhaps my friends should have taken higher education seriously after all.

French academic leftism only sought to control the classroom; American leftists seek to control the whole of student life. The stakes are very high, and I am thrilled that this gathering of individuals who love and understand liberty and the rights of free men and women are determined to think about the sad status of higher education.

My concern for these issues arose on my own campus, in the course of visits to and talks at scores of other campuses around the world, and in the research that led to the writing of The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses. At my own University of Pennsylvania, I saw someone who then was the best economic historian of early-modern France of his generation, Hilton Root, denied tenure and driven from the profession because his brilliant book on seventeenth-century peasant adaptations to markets was denounced as “an apologia for capitalism,” and because someone who believed that Lenin had a superb understanding of agriculture and the peasantry argued that Hilton had no understanding of rural life.

One of the pieces of evidence used against him was that he had assigned an article by Friedrich Hayek to his students, eliciting from dogmatic and politicized theorists the opinion that Hilton had unbearably politicized his syllabus. I also saw John Lott denied tenure at Penn because his criticism of Clinton’s health-care scheme in the Wall Street Journal was against the “mission” of the Public Policy program at Wharton.

At Penn State University, I defended the Young Americans for Freedom, who were denied recognition because their charter declared "rights to be from God and thus beyond the reach of any government” – not free speech or freedom of association in the University's view, but religious discrimination. This occurred in the same week that the president of Penn State, Graham Spanier, was defending a “Sex Fair,” with a “C*** Fest,” before an outraged state legislature, on grounds of the fullness of free speech at his school. I have defended a student they forced into mandatory “homophobia” training for laughing at someone else’s joke.

My own son, on his first day at Colgate University, was part of an “ice-breaking” group asked to separate on the question, “Do the rich pay too much in taxes?” Everyone but my son and one other person went to the side that said the rich paid too few taxes. “Why do you think the rich pay too much in taxes?” the “facilitator” asked sarcastically. “Because it’s their money,” my son replied, “and because everyone pays too much in taxes.” The other students, however, already had learned the official view, before a single reading and before a single debate.

Political litmus tests in hiring have virtually eliminated certain points of view from most departments of the Humanities and soft Social Sciences at most universities. Each year, I teach a course on “Currents of Classical Liberal Thought.” Students, on anonymous questionnaires, uniformly attest to not knowing my own political or ideological views from the course, since our focus is analytic and comparative. They read Mill, Bastiat, Spencer, Mises, Hayek (twice), Peter Bauer, Friedman, McElroy, Rand, and Norberg, among others. At most, they had heard of Mill.

Invariably, year after year, students across the political spectrum ask me the same question at the end of the semester: Why have I have never encountered these extraordinary authors and theories before? I tell them, “That is a good question, and you should try to find the answer.” They have read Foucault in a dozen courses, Gramsci again and again, and they know all about the Haymarket Riots without having a clue as to how the West generated surplus, wealth, and choice beyond prior human dreams. Universities are the last place to learn about freedom or to live it.

American student activists of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s claimed that they wanted freedom of speech, association, and conscience, but, in fact, too many wanted these merely as means to advance their own partisan, political agendas. The students who followed them, however, did not look up to the aging heirs of the ‘60s as gurus or as moral and political leaders. In 1984, a majority of American college and university students voted for Ronald Reagan for president of the United States. You may date coercive, bitter, contemptuous political correctness from that moment. For the heirs of the ‘60s these students had to be saved from themselves and from American society. Freedom and fairness were the first thing to be sacrificed, and then came political litmus tests to make sure that administrators and professors toed the party line.

Campus zealots have changed their motto from “Don’t trust anyone over 30” to “Don’t trust anyone under 30.” Students, it turns out, will not take politicized courses over courses of value, so the ideologues have virtually abolished fields such as diplomatic history, for example, in favor of sexual oppression history, and they seek control of student life, thought, and expression outside of the classroom. It is worse than you think, even if you are pessimists. Even if students avoid them by their choice of major and discipline, the ideological Left controls freshman orientation, conduct and speech codes, judicial systems, and residential programming. It controls coercively the symbolic environment on almost every major campus.

The Left on our campuses believes that most undergraduates are intellectual and political children who enter universities inadequately aware of the effects of capitalism and its caste system of “racism, sexism, heterosexism, and Eurocentrism” on them and on capitalism’s victims. Free riders on the capital, productivity, risk, and daring of others, they are convinced that capitalism and individualism are cruel, inefficient, oppressive systems and ideologies of greed.

They also believe that most Americans who are themselves so-called “minorities,” including women (the majority of students) do not understand their own “oppression” and have internalized the very values by which America oppresses them. They have a special and cruel contempt for blacks and women who think for themselves. They are determined to create a radical leadership among what they see as the victim groups of our society, and to make the heirs of successful families uneasy in the moral right of their possessions and opportunities. That is what really matters to them.

We have moved at campus after campus from their Free Speech movement to their speech codes, from their own struggle against mandatory chapel to their own struggle for mandatory diversity education and sensitivity seminars, from their struggle for racial integration to their efforts for new forms of separate racial programs. American students are victims of a generational swindle of truly epic proportions. Those who love liberty must make an ongoing act of will and intelligence to protect, pass on, and expand liberty, individual rights, legal equality, and the sanctity of conscience at the very places to which we send the brightest of our young.

Universities have a sadly impoverished notion of “diversity”: race, sex, and sexuality, as if each of these had one appropriate worldview and voice, but not religion, class, psychological type, taste, or private passions and commitments, and, above all, not political beliefs or ideologies, where, indeed, it is precisely diversity that they seek to suppress. They also believe that privilege has made whites, Christian men, and heterosexuals arrogant and strong, while victimhood has made ethnic minorities, women, and gays in need of special protections. So, while religious students on our nation's campuses are asked to bear any number of affronts to their beliefs in the name of freedom without feeling vulnerable at all, a woman or so-called minority must be protected from the punch line of a joke, as if women or blacks were too weak to live with freedom or the Bill of Rights. We need to send a different message out: that no one who tells you that you are too weak to live with freedom and individual responsibility is your friend.

The deeper question, though, is why do we not have universities of free individuals who define themselves? Universities do not want that kind of diversity, because their agendas are based entirely upon something that truly threatens the heart of American values: They believe in the rights and responsibilities of groups, not of equal individuals. They believe in and teach group identity, group liberty, and group responsibility.

North American universities obsess on human externalities, the antithesis of individual identity. They conflate those look-alike, think-alike Finns and Sicilians, French atheists and Eastern Orthodox Slavs, Basques and Washingtonians into one identity, “Eurocentric Europeans.” They conflate hidalgos, Peruvian Indians, and the children of Panamanian businessmen into one category of oppressed “Hispanics.” They conflate Indian and Pakistani, Tamil and Sinhalese, Japanese and Koreans into one category of “marginalized Asians.” They identify one and only one official voice of each such congeries. It is only in meritocratic, mobile, dynamic, free-market societies, of course, where the descendants of Serb and Croat, Irish and Scots, Koreans and Japanese, Hutu and Tutsi, can live together in productive peace. To understand why, one would have to understand the liberating and humanizing effects of free enterprise and individualism, but that is an understanding our universities will not teach.

Universities deny the only authentic meaning of liberation: the right to individuate, by one’s own fights, free of external coercion and impositions. It is the right of all free men and women to decide for themselves the meaning and importance (or relative unimportance) of their race, ethnicity, religion, and sex. On almost every campus, however, we have Women's Centers and Multicultural Centers that distinguish in their funding and programming between, on the one hand, “real” women and “real” ethnic groups with appropriate radical consciousness and, on the other hand, somehow fake women and minorities who have “internalized their oppression.”

Group identity and collectivist power on our campuses needs to demonstrate that it controls the symbolic and judicial environment, which has given rise to the astonishing American phenomenon of campus speech codes, a phenomenon about which Europeans laugh, but those Europeans, of course, have hate speech laws that go far beyond the worst of American codes. In most Western European societies, so debased is their understanding of how free individuals respond to intellectual absurdity or error, it is literally a crime to “minimize” the crimes of Hitler. Minimizing the crimes of Stalin, on the other hand, is a fast track to a brilliant academic career.

Of course, a private, voluntary association may adopt whatever rules, within the law, it chooses. It is part of our pluralism and liberty that a nation may have Catholic seminaries or neo-Marxist institutes. Most universities, however, promise academic freedom but deliver selective oppression and censorship; most promise nondiscrimination on the basis of race, sex, and sexuality, but then extend rights and programs differentially precisely on such grounds. We have names for that in civil society: fraudulent inducement, false advertising, and breach of contract.

Liberty also entails a respect for privacy and for the rights of conscience. Increasingly in today’s American universities, however, Offices of Student Life have moved from service providers to intrusive, partisan social workers. Hundreds of universities have ideological litmus tests for student-life positions; and hundreds have transformed their freshmen orientations and residential programming into a combination of intrusive therapy and political boot camps.

Swarthmore lined up its first-year students by skin color, lightest to darkest, and asked them randomly how they “felt” about their place in that spectrum. Welcome to the first day of college. Scores of colleges each year use the film or program “Skin Deep,” the triumphant moment of which is when a student denounces his or her own family’s racism. Chilling. Scores use “Blue Eyed,” in which a sadistic white lady teaches blacks that nothing they do can change their fate in life, so deep is American racism. These programs-indoctrination into one view of oppression, race, and the evils of American and capitalism-are Orwellian intrusions of Big Brother and Big Sister into the private space of conscience, dignity, and decency.

The law, of course, demands truth in advertising and punishes fraudulent inducement. Let colleges and universities have the courage, if they truly believe what they say privately to themselves and to me, to put it on page one of their catalogs, fundraising letters, and appeals to the State assembly:
This University believes that your sons and daughters are the racist, sexist, homophobic, Eurocentric progeny or victims of an oppressive capitalist society from which most of them receive unjust privilege. In return for tuition and massive taxpayer subsidy, we shall assign rights on a compensatory basis and undertake by coercion their moral and political enlightenment.
Let them have the guts to advertise themselves honestly and then let’s see who pays the bills!

Just as classical liberals set out, two generations ago, to reclaim their rightful place in Western intellectual debate, so must we now set out to reclaim a place in the institutions to which our nations send the brightest of their young. The principles of that effort are compelling and winning principles, and they are precisely the views and values that higher education has not only abandoned, but assaulted, for decades now: that all individuals are free to define themselves by their own lights; that every free man and woman possesses individual rights and bears individual responsibility; that legal equality is a foundational right; and that liberty of opinion, speech, and expression is indispensable to a free and, in the deepest sense, decent and dynamic society.

If these truths remain ignored and betrayed on our campuses, they will not long survive in the hearts of our students, our children, or our societies. A nation that educates in contempt for liberty will not long preserve it, and will not even know when it has lost it. Let us change the public debate. Let us end the scandal of closed-shop political fiefdoms on the public or philanthropic dime.

The power of universities comes from their monopoly of credentials.

They are the only institutions allowed to separate young individuals by IQ and by the ability to complete complex tasks. They do not add value to that, except in technical fields. Recruiters do not pay premiums because of what the Ivy League or the flagship state universities teach in English, history, political science, or sociology. They hire there despite, not because of that. Recruiters do not pay premiums because our children have been sent to multicultural centers for sensitivity training. Recruiters pay premiums for the value already there, which universities merely identify. So long as recruiters pay premiums, however, it is rational for parents who wish to gain the most options for their children to send them to the university with the most prestigious degree. That will not change in the current scheme.

In the seventeenth century, when the new, experimental, mathematical sciences were barred from most universities, they found refuge in the early-modem equivalent of think-tanks: academies of science, royal and other learned societies, and influential salons. Our think-tanks, not our academic departments of sociology, political science, and history, serve the same function for thought about privatization and individual liberty. That keeps research alive. Given the passage of our young through the universities that provide them with credentials and professional options, however, such think-tanks today do not keep adequate numbers of bright, young minds in touch with the most rigorous of thought.

The task for the twenty-first century, thus, is difficult, long, complex, politically fraught with peril, and immeasurably worth the effort. We must expose the fraud, end the subsidies, and offer counter-examples and choice. We must make administrators pay a price for the politicized hiring, curriculum, and student life offices they administer. Among the politically correct, sexuality trumps merit; race trumps sexuality; gender trumps race; but-and this is our point of entry and influence-careerism trumps everything. It is time to expose, shame, ridicule, and end respect for institutions that practice not only coercive tyranny, but politically selective coercive tyranny at that. It is time to make it in the economic or careerist interest of one or two administrators at leading universities to offer a different product, to differentiate their major institutions from the dreary uniformity of the political seminaries that now pass for flagship campuses, since no real incentive for niches-including the niche of high quality education, equal treatment, liberty, merit, and teaching human affairs from a genuine diversity of perspectives-now exists.

American conservative philanthropists, eager to maintain some counterweight somewhere on a campus, give fortunes to create centers of the study of the Western tradition, providing universities with the protective coloration of ghettoized programs that should be at the heart of a campus but that get shown off to conservative donors despite not having degrees, faculty lines, graduate students, or courses cross-listed by the normal protocols. If they invested in their business lives as foolishly as they invest in liberty philanthropically, they would be broke.

Among the serious institutions of our society, our campuses are the worst offenders against those values essential to a society of individual rights and choice, and of voluntary association, that is, of personal and economic liberty. Where we stand in need of critical education of the mind and sensibility prior to specialization, they have substituted dreary and uniform political orthodoxies that deaden mind and spirit. The struggle for liberty and dignity on college campuses is one of the defining struggles of the age in which we find ourselves.

One smiles about the tragedy of universities at one’s peril, and there truly are no sidelines. Classical liberals already have done what seemed impossible not so many decades ago: you have ended fatalism, the critical variable; you have changed the intellectual debate in important circles; and you have given hope to those who love voluntary choice and liberty over coerced uniformity and paternalism or tyranny. Your willingness to engage the question of higher education warms my heart. You may not abandon colleges and universities to their current fate. You belong there, and you are the obvious agents of change in creating competition and choice among a diversity of models. I can speak to students. You can speak to power. We are all in this together. Thank you.

Monday, November 15, 2010

don't go here, or don't register with a .vn

Sounds like good advice to me.

Meet the Most Dangerous Domain - .VN

Monday, November 15, 2010
More than half of the domains with the suffex .VN contain malicious code meant to infect surfers and steal sensitive information, according to research released by McAfee.
.VN is the riskiest national domain to visit, exceeded only by the ubiquitous .COM and .INFOR - and it has rocketed from 39th place to 3rd most dangerous overall in the last year.
Obviously concerned about the impact to their blossoming global presence in the marketplace, Vietnamese officials attempted to cast doubt on the report, stating:
“It is nearly impossible to see the number of dangerous websites increasing so dramatically over just one year."
Previously, Kaperski researchers had released a report with findings similar to those in the McAfee report.
Criminal networks, botnets, and hackers are typically attracted to domains with comparatively low registration fees and those which do not undergo as much scrutiny by the host nation, thereby reducing the cost of operations and likelihood of detection.
Internet users should always exercise caution when visiting unfamiliar websites and foreign domains.
If uncertain about the veracity of a website, it is highly recommended that surfers use one of the many free website scanning tools available form reputable companies, such as Symantec's SafeWeb.
So if you register a web domain with a .vn people will probably think you're evil, at least if they read

what I don't know about Auditing Standards could fill a barn

or it could fill Spartan Stadium or three Spartan stadia.

Could someone tell me what all this means?

SAS 70 Is Dead!

Monday, November 15, 2010
Long live SSAE 16 and ISAE 3402!
One of the most misunderstood things about SAS 70 was the fact that it was technically only a valid auditing standard in the United States, even though SAS 70 reports are done for non-US based service providers and are relied upon by businesses and auditors worldwide. 
However, on or before June 15, 2011, that will change.  As of that date, Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) 16 and International Standards on Attestation Engagements (ISAE) 3402 will replace the venerable SAS 70.
SSAE 16 is issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and ISAE 3402 is issued by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).
The good news is that, for the most part, SSAE 16 and ISAE 3402 are essentially the same.  There are a few differences that are important to financial auditors and lawyers, but should not have an impact on people relying on these reports for PCI compliance or other purposes.
What is important is that now, no matter where you are in the world; you can obtain an independent assessment of a service provider’s controls.
The other piece of good news is that an SSAE 16 report, under AICPA Service Organization Control (SOC) 2 and SOC 3, can include controls relevant to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and/or privacy.
Under AICPA SOC 3, which covers trust services such as those defined by ISO, ITIL, PCI, HIPAA or GLBA, controls from these requirements can also be covered in an SSAE 16 report.
The difference between SOC 2 and SOC 3 reports is that a SOC 2 report’s distribution is restricted to only those organizations already contracted with the service organization whereas a SOC 3 report does not have restricted distribution.
According to what we have heard from the AICPA, the SOC 2 and SOC 3 reports have to be separate reports and guidance on how these reports need to be structured is expected by the end of 2010. 
So please do not bug your friendly CPA until after the first of 2011 regarding the new reporting standards.
Unfortunately, financial auditors outside of the United States are, for the most part, unfamiliar with conducting such an assessment of controls.  As a result, they will need time to get up to speed on such attestation engagements. 
So those of you outside of the United States need to be patient while the auditors in your country get up to speed.
The bottom line is that we are expecting to see a lot of SOC 3 type reports that will cover ITIL, HIPAA and PCI requirements as part of their testing. 
So start asking your service providers now for an SSAE 16 or ISAE 3402 report now so that your service provider can start asking their auditor to prepare such a report.
Cross-posted from PCI Guru
I grabbed it from because it looked interesting but I have no illusion that it is effectively informative or even relevant.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

big surprise - stressful jobs increase odds of heart attacks (for women)

This is obvious enough to be stupid as a newspaper article but some people don't understand the obvious until it is articulated to them, in writing, by so-called experts, after an organized study.
Study: Women in stressful jobs more likely to have heart attacks, stroke, clogged arteries
Associated Press
11/14/10 4:20 PM PST

CHICAGO — Working women are equal to men in a way they'll wish they weren't. Female workers with stressful jobs were more likely than women with less job strain to suffer a heart attack or a stroke or to have clogged arteries, a big federally funded study found.

Worrying about losing a job can raise heart risks, too, researchers found.

The results seem sure to resonate in a weak economy with plenty of stress about jobs — or lack of them. The mere fact this study was done is a sign of the times: Past studies focused on men, the traditional breadwinners, and found that higher job stress raised heart risks. This is the longest major one to look at stress in women, who now make up nearly half of the workforce.

"The reality is these women don't have the same kind of jobs as men" and often lack authority or control over their work, said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, director of the Women and Heart Disease program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. "It's not just going to work, it's what happens when you get there."

Steinbaum had no role in the study, which was led by Dr. Michelle Albert, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Results were reported Sunday at an American Heart Association conference in Chicago.

The research involved 17,415 participants in the Women's Health Study, a long-running trial looking at heart disease and cancer prevention. The women were healthy, 57 years old on average, and had worked full or part-time when the study began in 1999.

Most were health professionals, "anything from being a nurse's aide all the way to a Ph.D.," Albert said. They filled out surveys about their jobs, rating statements like "My job requires working very fast," and "I am free from competing demands that others make."

Researchers put them in four groups based on stress they reported and looked 10 years later to see how they fared.

Women with demanding jobs and little control over how to do them were nearly twice as likely to have suffered a heart attack as women with less demanding jobs and more control. The high-stress group had a 40 percent greater overall risk of heart problems, including heart attacks, strokes or clogged arteries needing bypass surgery or an artery-opening angioplasty procedure.

Women worried about losing their jobs had higher blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight.

Stress can harm by releasing "fight or flight" hormones, spurring inflammation and raising blood pressure, Steinbaum said.

It did a number on Jackie Morgan, 46, a suburban Boston woman who is on her second medical leave of absence in two years from a teleconference center, where she managed 16 operators running corporate conference calls.

"Dropped calls? Somebody's line not open? You're running from operator to operator to handle problems that occur during the call," she explained. "It's very stressful. When I tell people about it, they look at me like I have three heads. I feel like I should have Rollerblades on."

Her heart problems started in the summer of 2008, with a crush of calls related to auto company bailouts.

"I just started getting chest pains" and collapsed while out walking one night, she said. Tests found no signs of heart disease, but doctors gave her nitroglycerin pills, which can relieve chest tightness due to constricted heart arteries.

"Sure enough, when the pain came again a few other times I took the nitro and boom, the pain was gone," Morgan said.

Doctors should ask about stress along with traditional heart risk factors like smoking and blood pressure, Albert said. "We need to start taking that seriously."

She has these tips for workers:

  • Exercise. It clears the mind, lifts the mood and curbs other heart risks, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

  • Limit bringing work home.

  • Get a life. Do things with friends, whether they're folks you work with or not.

  • Build "me time" into every day. "It can be as little as 10 or 15 minutes to meditate, pray or take a walk," Albert said.
The less obvious fact is less obvious because we don't talk about it much or confront it much as a society, although it is the easiest conclusion to come to logically: women's typical work, however filled with responsibility, has less authority or control than men's work, the responsibility coupled with a lack of power or control causes greater stress, perhaps disproportionate to the position itself, despite being directly related.

Despite leftists, feminists, and other ideologues carping on about glass ceilings and all that, accurate or not, I won't say that society actually discusses the inequality between men and women professionally in a reasonable, or calm fashion. At least that sort of discussion does not occur often.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Spartan Bye Week (it is an off-week)

After ten weeks of violence and awesomeness Michigan State University has a bye.
The Spartans recovered from a deflating defeat at Iowa with a relatively easy win over Minnesota on Saturday, and now have two weeks to get ready for the stretch run towards a conference title.
"It comes at an opportune time," coach Mark Dantonio said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. "It's always good to go into a bye week with a win under your belt. I thought our guys came out very focused."
MSU will go light during its bye week, Dantonio said. The Spartans practiced briefly Tuesday and will have a normal practice day on Thursday before breaking on Friday and Saturday.
"They have a chance to sit back and work academically a little bit more and they have a chance to maybe see their family," Dantonio said. "I'm hoping many of them can go home this weekend. You need a little bit of time away from the stress."
That also applies to Dantonio, who suffered a heart attack following the Notre Dame game on Sept 18.
Dantonio said he will spend this Saturday watching Purdue and Penn State, the last two opponents on the Spartans' schedule. The Boilermakers host Michigan while Penn State travels to Ohio State.
Rest well, Spartans. Prepare. Then FIGHT!

cliched misrepresentations of George W. Bush

I quote Jacob Witte
Two endless wars, skyrocketing deficits, massive unpaid tax cuts, torture, ignoring natural disasters, suspending habeas corpus, lying to the world about said wars, deregulating banks that caused a once-in-75-year-recession, doing nothing a...bout housing bubble, and a bogus Medicare expansion that added billions upon billions to the deficit.

I can't name too many other Presidents who did that many bad things during their time in office.

Oh and sitting for 7 minutes reading a children's book while thousands of American were dying (on American soil, I might add) doesn't bode to well for him either.

Oh, and joking at a state dinner about "Where'd those WMD's go?" while soldiers were dying due to his complete ignorance doesn't look well on his record.
If anyone in the universe has time for such a thing, each of these clauses represents a discussion topic all its own. These would be good discussion. Accepting each at face value is the height of foolishness.

How else can I smell cliche? The last imperative statement is to
Turn off the Rovian propaganda

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A lot of this rotates around the contrast between truth and perception.

Isaiah 44:18-20 (New International Version)

18 They know nothing, they understand nothing;
   their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see,
   and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
19 No one stops to think,
   no one has the knowledge or understanding to say,
“Half of it I used for fuel;
   I even baked bread over its coals,
   I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left?
   Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”
20 Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
   he cannot save himself, or say,
   “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”