Thursday, October 27, 2005

What ever happened to free speech on campus?

Sounds like a politically correct Catholic kangeroo court at Duquesne University doesn't like the idea of free speech. Fair enough, the Catholic college is clearly within its bounds to write the obnoxious rules. But does such a stifling attitude extend to a student online and off campus? I don't know the details of any implied contractual arrangements between school and student at Duquesne. Meanwhile, Duquesne should do all of us a favor: don't pass yourself off as a citadel of liberal learning dedicated to free inquiry.

A Duquesne University sophomore who is in trouble for online comments said he's not backing down -- that he'd rather be thrown out of school than take back what he said.

"I'm stubborn. I stand up for what I believe in," said Ryan Miner. Miner, a political science major, wrote against the forming of a gay-straight student alliance at his college.

He posted his thoughts at, a private Web site popular with students from across the country.

A complaint was filed against Miner because he used the word "subhuman" when writing about gay people.

The university's Judicial Affairs panel found that those remarks violated the school's
university code of conduct.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Where have all the issue oriented talk shows gone?

Barbara Anderson laments the passing of the good old days of talk radio.

Hat tip to Boston Radio Watch one of my favorite web sites.

Enough is enough; the fiscal conservative boots on the ground fight back

Tom DeLay who never saw a budget he couldn't coddle should be worried. The fiscal conservatives are fighting back. Good for our side.

A planned conservative agenda of tax cutting, a permanent end to the estate tax, and the first cuts in Medicaid and other entitlement programs in nearly a decade appeared lost. Some Republicans were even suggesting it might be time to raise taxes, joining a chorus of Democrats pressing to roll back some of Bush's tax cuts.

"There was an element of the last straw in this," Pence said.

By Sept. 7, Congress had already enacted a $10.5 billion hurricane-relief measure, with a $52 billion bill pending. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) went to the House Rules Committee with an amendment to pay for the next installment with a one-time, 3 percent cut to all federal programs subject to Congress's annual spending bills, outside of defense, homeland security and veterans affairs.

The move was crushed. Instead, House leaders put the Katrina funding up for a vote under the rules reserved for non-controversial bills -- such as the renaming of a courthouse -- with no amendments

Conservatives were furious, Flake said, but not nearly as furious as they would become Sept. 13. The RSC was created in the early 1970s by conservative gadfly Paul Weyrich and other outside activists to watch over the House GOP leadership, but its power has waxed and waned, largely according to the dictates of the leadership it was supposed to be watching over.

Now, under Pence, the group was flexing its muscles. He had announced a news conference for Sept. 14 to unveil "Operation Offset," a menu of spending cuts that would more than pay for hurricane relief.

On Sept. 13, DeLay suggested that "after 11 years of Republican majority, we've pared [the government] down pretty good." Then he issued what conservatives took as a challenge.

"My answer to those that want to offset the spending is, 'Sure, bring me the offsets,' " he said. "I will be glad to do it, but no one has been able to come up with any yet."

That afternoon, Pence attended a leadership meeting in Hastert's conference room, where he would get an earful, according to several leadership aides. It was one thing to suggest that Republicans consider budget cuts to pay for Katrina relief, but it was quite another to call a news conference, the leaders told Pence. And to suggest that the RSC was reining in a free-spending party was out of bounds. The deficit for 2005 was coming in nearly $100 billion below initial forecasts, they said, and GOP leaders that spring had
muscled through Congress a budget blueprint that ordered up $35 billion in entitlement cuts over five years, the first such effort since 1997.

The appeals appeared only to harden the conservatives' resolve. And DeLay, for so long a symbol of conservative power, found himself an object of ridicule. One member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Republicans joked that one of the cuts could not be the president's proposed mission to Mars, because DeLay was already up

When Republicans start acting like Democrats they deserve to lose. It may prove that the DeLay indictment is the best thing to happen to principled Republicans.

More here.

Monday, October 10, 2005

There's something unsettling about this move by Teradyne

The Boston Business Journal (via MSNBC) is reporting that one of the last high tech bastions in the city of Boston is set to move its headquarters to the suburbs.

Teradyne's long history has led to scattered operations and a high cost structure, said San Francisco-based analyst Bill Ong of Greenwich, Conn.-headquartered American Technology Research Inc.

"It's weird to see a (semiconductor) company have a corporate headquarters in a big metropolitan area," Ong said. "Teradyne is one of the few to have corporate headquarters in an expensive city."

Reached at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, Teradyne founder Alexander d'Arbeloff said the company acquired the Lincoln Street site in the late 1960s. The Harrison Avenue site became part of the company's portfolio in the late 1970s, but the company didn't move there until the late 1980s, he said.

Although Teradyne's Newman said the real estate move is "part of a larger plan to focus the company more on our core test business," he wouldn't say whether the company intends to sell its non-semiconductor test business.

In June, Teradyne sold its printed circuit board manufacturing business in North Reading to a subsidiary of Milpitas, Calif.-based Solectron Corp. (NYSE: SLR).

Teradyne has cut its work force from about 10,200 workers at the end of 2000 to 5,700 last month. For the quarter that ended on July 3, Teradyne's sales plunged to $320.2 million, down from $526.5 million during the comparable 2004 period. Teradyne's second-quarter net loss widened to $45.5 million, compared with its $80.5 million profit during the second quarter of 2004.

It's always sad to see a major high tech firm leave the city. Obviously Teradyne's commitment to the city is over. It spent a lot of time in the heart of Chinatown and the city's Leather District and at great cost. If these valuable properties are converted into residential units, the loss of such commericial/light industrial space will be forever.

The wrong Italian?

In praise of the first explorer to the New World from the Anglosphere, Giovanni Caboto. (a.k.a John Cabot.)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Adam Smith gets flubbed

The fruits of a socialist education in Britain.

STUDENTS at a college where Gordon Brown has been appointed chancellor are refusing to use the name Adam Smith because they claim the Scottish economist is synonymous with “exploitation and greed�.

The students’ association at Adam Smith College in Kirkcaldy, renamed following the merger of Fife and Glenrothes colleges last year, has voted unanimously to drop the title.

Instead it will be known as the Jennie Lee Students’ Association after the Lochgelly-born socialist firebrand MP and wife of Nye Bevan.

“We didn’t feel that Adam Smith represented the values a student association should stand for,� said student leader Paul Muirhead.

“He is associated with socio-economic policies that work against the people, that were synonymous with Thatcherite and Reaganite governments. "

Are the British getting anything useful out of their education system? I guess not.

Stumbing and Mumbling has great commentary on this bunch of jackasses.

(Hat tip to
Knowledge Problem.)

Broadband over Power Lines takes a hit;

I suppose that the utilities are afraid of some serious sunk costs.

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones) - A promising technology to deliver high-speed Internet
access over power lines has suffered its first major outage.

Earlier this week, a major utility in Pennsylvania canceled a pilot program that offers fast
Internet connections to customers. The company, PPL Corp. (
PPL) (PPL) of Allentown, Pa., cited stiff competition and the likelihood that the size of its potential market would not justify the cost.

PPL's decision represents the first major retreat in a technology that has been gathering
momentum over the past year. The end of PPL's project has also fueled further skepticism over whether "broadband over power lines" is a feasible alternative to high-speed service offered by big cable or phone companies.

"Economically, it's very hard for a third provider to break into a market like this," said Bruce Leichtman, whose firm tracks growth in the high-speed market. Phone and cable companies, with around 40 million customers, have gotten a huge head start, he noted.
"Timing is everything."

Creating a third competitor in the high-speed Internet market is exactly what the Federal Communications Commission hoped to accomplish when it passed new rules in October 2004 to make it easier for utilities to develop BPL, or broadband over power lines.

Indeed, then-FCC Chairman Michael Powell touted the technology as a means of reaching millions of consumers who don't have access to fast cable or phone Internet onnections.

So at best we are stuck with a duopoly.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Oh the misery! Red Sox go down

Here comes the return of the fellowship of the miserable.

Recriminations everywhere. The Sox are out of the playoffs; it certainly didn't have to be that way. They ran out of gas bereft of a pitching staff. The White Sox were hot, seriously hot. Final score 5-3. El Duque was fabulous. A very big sixth inning among the finest pitching exhibitions in recent memory.

Now Red Sox Nation will pick the carcass for the ultimate autopsy. Talk radio is our collective couch. We have returned to the equilibrium, a cauldron of second guessing the manager, letting Manny be Manny and cursing the hapless Foulke.

Trust me we won't be talking about the Patriots for weeks. Sox fans need a lot of time to punish the innocent and consider the horrors of horros Johnny Damon as a Yankee.

For my fellow citizens in Red Sox Nation, I leave the following from one of the greatest baseball fans of all time A. Bartlett Giamatti:

"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."

Wait until next year!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Of interest

Here's an iconoclastic view on Rove/Libby/Plame from the libertarian isolationist Independent Institute. Karl Rove must go.

For an administration that accuses critics of the Iraq war of being “unpatriotic,� the cynical exposure of a U.S. covert intelligence officer by administration officials is the pinnacle of hypocrisy. Given my opposition to the war, I am reluctant to impugn anyone’s patriotism. But what Rove and Libby perpetrated was not a mere disagreement on policy. Government officials who were truly patriotic would never undermine the nation’s intelligence efforts and endanger the lives of people who take great risks to help protect this country.

The conventional wisdom is that President Bush never fires anyone. That is not true. Unfortunately, he usually fires truth tellers that stray from official White House spin—for example, Gen. Edward Shinseki, the Chief of Staff of the Army, for saying that hundreds of thousands of troops would be needed to occupy Iraq, and Larry Lindsey, the president’s chief economist, for his estimate that the war in Iraq would cost $200 billion. This time the president should fire some of the liars who have been loyal to the White House but disloyal to the nation.

I'm not sure Lindsey was fired for speaking the "truth" on the cost of the Iraq war. He was cut essentially because the Bush economic team was stagnant. But Eland, accepting Joseph Wilson-Plame's version of the events, is certainly bold. Cracks in the libertarian-conservative coalition are beginning to widen.

Look who's intolerant now

We've been told over and over again by self-conscious, American-hating intellectuals that Canada is far more progressive in its social policy. But when it comes to science they are hardly worthy of the term. Virginia Postrel explains:

U.S. scientists and their supporters tend to assume biomedical research is hreatened by know-nothings on religious crusades. But as the Canadian law illustrates, the long-term threat to genetic research comes less from the religious right than from the secular left. Canada's law forbids all sorts of genetic manipulations, many of them currently theoretical.

It's a crime, for instance, to alter inheritable genes. And the law has provisions the fabled religious right never even talks about. It's a crime to pay a surrogate mother or to make or accept payment for arranging a surrogate. It's a crime to pay egg or sperm donors anything more than "receipted expenses," like taxi fares. Since eggs are used not just in fertility treatments but in research, this prohibition stifles both.

Meanwhile, in backward, intolerant America objections to embryonic stem-cell research and therapeutic cloning are less politically persuasive than they were a few years ago. With the support of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Congress is close to a veto-proof majority to expand federal subsidies for embryonic stem-cell research. Many conservative leaders are uncomfortable opposing potentially lifesaving research.

And a few scientists are beginning to explore ideas for producing embryonic stem cells while respecting religious scruples. It might someday be possible to clone embryonic stem cells without creating and destroying otherwise viable embryos.

That's not an argument for banning embryonic research. But it's a promising route toward a nonpolitical solution to the dispute. As long as religious conservatives object to a specific procedure--destroying embryos--rather than to genetic research or life extension in general, it's possible to treat their concerns as a technical problem. You can't say the same for the antibiotech left. In liberal Canada, in fact, the law defines cloning expansively. Future procedures that might avoid religious objections would still be illegal. The goal is to stop certain research altogether.