URLs du Jour — 2013-07-03

  • Worldwide Vegan Bakesale - Austin
2010 If you are some sort of hippie living in Austin, Texas, your first association to the acronym “WWVB“ might be “WorldWide Vegan Bakesale”. But for us geeks with geeky watches, it’s the radio station in Fort Collins, Colorado that keeps us synchronized down to the second with Actual Time according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

    It is WWVB’s 50th anniversary on July 5, and there’s a nice article on the Wired website about it and the folks that keep it running. The article notes that the NIST’s time service is available on the Internet, and any GPS device can sync that way too. But:

    Despite these challenges, Congress thinks NIST’s time radio broadcasts are still essential to national infrastructure and recently granted $16 million for signal enhancements ([NIST honcho John] Lowe says they only used $100,000 and were proud to return the rest).

    Um, wow. “$16 Mil? Thanks, but we only need 0.625% of that.”

  • Ruben Bolling draws the comic strip Tom the Dancing Bug. It’s sometimes left-wing, but always funny, so it’s a must read. However, a couple of his recent strips caught my attention:

    • On June 27, Bolling’s point seems to be: using a far-fetched scenario to justify a favored policy is ludicrous.

    • But on June 28. Bolling’s point seems to be: far-fetched scenarios are just fine.

    Gosh, it’s almost as if we shouldn’t rely on cartoonists, even funny ones, for principled and sophisticated political commentary.

  • I was occasionally disappointed by Dubya when he was President. But check out this photo essay about his trip to Zambia, and try to tell me that he isn’t a heck of a good person.

  • So, <voice imitation="professor_farnsworth">Good news, everyone!</voice> The Obama Administration has decided to give businesses a one-year delay in the Obamacare mandate requiring many businesses to provide health insurance to many of their employees. Even news sources usually in the President's back pocket point out the obvious: it won't happen until after the 2014 elections.

    The slimy political calculation is to be expected from Obama, of course. Also expected: the Administration's complete contempt for the rule of law. Some choice quotes:

    • Michael F. Cannon:

      […] the IRS’s unilateral decision to delay the employer mandate is the latest indication that we do not live under a Rule of Law, but under a Rule of Rulers who write and rewrite laws at whim, without legitimate authority, and otherwise compel behavior to suit their ends. Congress gave neither the IRS nor the president any authority to delay the imposition of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate.

    • Shannen W. Coffin:

      Once again President Obama demonstrates a stunning disregard for a duly enacted statute. Using what he apparently views as his executive authority to pick and choose which statutes to enforce and which to ignore, he grants a blanket exemption to businesses from compliance with a central feature of his own signature health-care statute. His action is not too dissimilar from his announcement last year that he would unilaterally implement the DREAM Act, which had hitherto languished in Congress, by declining to deport any and all deportation-eligible illegals who met the requirements of the never-enacted statute.

    • Arnold Kling:

      I could make a case that Congress should insist that the President enforce the law, or else face impeachment. The fact that this suggestion seems absurd says something about the state of the health care law. However, it says even more about the state of our Republic.

    • Charles Murray:

      We live in a country where the law has not only become unintelligible, written in thousand-page chunks, but has morphed into a giant mass of silly putty that can be reshaped as our rulers find convenient.

    Thoughts to occupy your mind on Independence Day, 2013. We're commemorating a document that scornfully looked down upon this sort of hanky-panky tyranny, after all.

  • According to the BBC, Germans (including Prime Minister Anglela Merkel) have taken to using the word "shitstorm". Apparently it's more acceptable in polite company than "scheißsturm" or "Obamacare".

Last Modified 2014-12-05 11:35 AM EDT