Monday, October 12, 2009


The Slaughter amendment of the Defense Authorization Act passed. No real news here, I just think that every Defense Authorization should have a slaughter amendment attached for good measure.

Like it or not, America, we've claimed country music

Even in these days of strife, the House has managed to agree on one thing unanimously: country music is a "uniquely American art form" that "has made a tremendous contribution to American life".

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R, Fl) thought that this would be a valuable use of the House's time and nobody disagreed. If anybody ever asks you what Congress does, show them this post.

Time for a vote in Puerto Rico?

Buried somewhere near the bottom of the daily Congressional Record is a note regarding HR 2499, short title the ‘Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2009’. The bill would give Puerto Ricans the authority to vote for statehood, independance, or the status quo. In the latter case, there would be similar votes every 8 years.

What do to with Puerto Rico is a topic as fitting with the title of this blog as any other intracable political debate. There are passionately held opinions on all sides of the issue. I doubt that there will be a vote on this bill until after some version of the all-consuming healthcare bill finishes eeking its way through the House, but already the "United States Council for Puerto Rican Statehood" is celebrating the bill's survival through committee.
Below is a paragraph from a bill that is currently being considered by Congress. I was reading this bill and the end of the paragraph caught my attention. It would essentially require credit card companies to give away some of the copyright benefits for their operating rules. This could represent a new approach to government regulation and the dissemination of knowledge.

This is an excerpt from the text of the bill (status: Introduced in House). Jump to this paragraph in the full text. .

‘(a) Disclosure of Contract Terms- An electronic payment system network, and any agent, processor, or licensed member of the network, may not establish or maintain, directly or indirectly by contract or through a licensing arrangement, any agreement with a merchant, unless the network, agent, processor, or licensed member has made available to the merchant all of the rules, terms, and conditions to which such merchant will be bound under such agreement, including the complete operating rules of the relevant payment system using payment cards bearing any logo of such network, without restrictions on the merchant’s use of any such information.
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I think I'm going to like it here

So I've decided to start blogging again. Any posts before this one are from 2007. I hope that you like what I have to say but even if you don't, please comment let me know what you think!

The Horseless Carriage

It is a forgone conclusion that the United States was the world's foremost player in the automotive industry. It is worth remembering that we were once followers, too, just like Japan in the 1960s. In 1898 the New York Times published a special supplement that decried the sorry state of the lack of an American auto industry:
On almost every invention or improvement in machinery America, even if the idea has not originated here, has been pretty sure to develop it in the most beautiful and practical manner. Examples of this forwardness are too numerous to mention. The horseless carriage, however, which was invented in Europe, seems likely to prove an exception to the rule by being developed to its greatest perfection over there. Of course certain American cities now have their automobile cabs, which seem to come in for a fair share of patronage, but most of these, if not of foreign manufacture, are said to have been built on ideas originated and pushed to perfection by the French of the English, with one exception, perhaps, to be explained later. The automobile as a private vehicle is as yet comparatively unknown here, while London and Paris have their automobile clubs, which are as popular among certain classes of the very wealthy as bicycle clubs in America, are among all classes.
No matter how far ahead or behind a country is, it is important to remember that it is not a guarantee that things will stay that way in the future. After all, B. Altman is no longer America's best car manufacturer, as the article goes on to say.