Gongol.com Archives: February 2007
Brian Gongol

February 8, 2007

Graphics Graphic of the day: The Blue House

Socialism Doesn't Work Iowa's going to lose a seat in Congress
Reapportionment is coming, and the state's population hasn't grown in pace with the rest of the country. This makes it all the more ironic that members of the Iowa Legislature actually want to give away our proportional advantage gained through the Electoral College. It's one of the worst ideas being considered by the state Legislature this year: To commit our electoral votes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote. Any state legislator who doesn't realize that doing that gives up the small advantage we gain from the Electoral College should be tossed out on his or her ear. The Electoral College helps small states by giving them a proportionally larger share of the influence over the Presidential election than they would get with a straight popular-vote decision. This same idiotic proposal is being considered in 45 states.

Socialism Doesn't Work Genghis Khan and the North Koreans

Computers and the Internet Retro Google

News Getting on the wrong bus costs woman 25 years

Humor and Good News "Maybe you can make one of those neat videos for your landlord"
A PC partisan fights back against the Mac ad campaign

Threats and Hazards LAX has lost 789 TSA uniforms and badges since 2002
Other airports have also had losses, but LAX has been the worst of all. The official response: "We've had over a million items issued, and less than one percent of those have been reported as lost. We think that is a pretty good number." Preposterous! The possession of any TSA badge or uniform by a potential criminal or terrorist is quite enough to make that an unspeakably bad number. Bad guys use stolen uniforms to break down normal security systems. Would any normal person think to tackle someone running through an airport wearing a TSA uniform? Absolutely not -- we would assume they're the good guys en route to stop something bad from happening and most of us would get right out of the way. And there are HUNDREDS of these uniforms on the loose. The Army makes its officers contractually responsible for the equipment used by their units; why is the TSA asleep at the wheel with its people?

Computers and the Internet Coming Tuesday: A slew of Microsoft patches
Twelve, to be exact, and a bunch of them are "critical", including some for Microsoft Office, which has been under attack lately. So has Apple, which has been defending against the Month of Apple Bugs, proving once again that Macs aren't as perfectly-secure as its partisans sometimes claim. And there are some newly-discovered Firefox security flaws, too, which mainly depend upon people following bad links created by crooks. And don't forget to be vigilant when browsing by cell phone; attacks on mobile web browsing are also on the way.

Humor and Good News In the path of "friendly fire"

Socialism Doesn't Work No private jails?
Iowa SF 96 would prohibit the Department of Corrections from doing business with private companies to house inmates. But the government contracts with the private sector to do things all the time; what if the private sector could provide a more secure, safer penitentiary at lower cost than the public sector? What if they could do a better job providing rehabilitation of felons? Wouldn't that be good for everyone involved? Just because something is done under government auspices doesn't mean it actually has to be carried out by government; and just because something is contracted to the private sector doesn't mean it's exempt from supervision and scrutiny. Related: The full Iowa Legislative scorecard has been updated.

Socialism Doesn't Work Plot to destroy the Electoral College continues
The Iowa House is considering HF 216, which is running through the Iowa Senate as SSB 1103, which would turn the Electoral College into a puppet for a direct election of the President. That's a bad idea. A really bad idea. Unfortunately, it's also one of many bad ideas going through the Iowa Legislature this year.

News Air (Bank of) America
Flights to Iraq deposited $12 billion in cash in one year (following the war) and there's almost no knowing what happened to it all

The American Way A $1-a-pack tax hike on cigarettes
Promised by Iowa SSB 1166. It's a case of good intentions and bad policy: Getting fewer people to smoke would be a good thing. But cigarette taxes and crime have a cozy relationship: Raising them too high has created new sources of funding for terrorists and organized crime. It really has. There are better ways to discourage smoking.

Iowa Making gambling permanent
Iowa SSB 1171 would change Iowa law to allow that once a community approves propositions on gambling twice in a row, they permanently lose the right to vote it out.

Socialism Doesn't Work Let them build their own whitewater parks
Iowa SF 120 would take $300,000 from the state's taxpayers and plow it into a "whitewater park" in Waterloo/Cedar Falls. Blame Senator Dotzler and Senator Danielson for this one. The Waterloo/Cedar Falls area is a beautiful one with one of America's finest business schools, but there's no reason for the state to subsidize a whitewater park there.

Iowa Two $175-a-week hotels to be built in Des Moines metro
That's about $700 a month, or similar to apartment rental rates in a lot of the suburbs

Computers and the Internet Steve Jobs says he's not to blame for trouble transferring music files
Blames the major music labels for DRM (Digital Rights Management) and the mess it makes of moving music files from one place to another

Threats and Hazards At least eight letter-bomb attacks in UK this week

The American Way Reminders about why trade is good for us
Of the declared Presidential candidates, only two of the nine who had the chance to vote for the CAFTA free-trade agreement did so. Free trade helps people in poor countries and lets people in rich countries buy more.

Water News Iowa Senate proposal to shame plants into compliance

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