Monthly Archives: May 2009

Most non-newsworthy post of the day -

Obama Offers Prime Posts to Those Who Helped Bankroll Campaign  - Bloomberg.com News

Not that we don’t need to know, but …

Some thoughts from Alexis de Toqueville

A democratic government is the only one in which those who vote for a tax can escape the obligation to pay it. 

As one digs deeper into the national character of the Americans, one sees that they have sought the value of everything in this world only in the answer to this single question: how much money will it bring in? 

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money. 

The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.

Top Ten Challenges in the Coming 50 Years

Peter Schwartz, futurist, business strategist, alumnus, and author of The Art of the Long View addressed nearly 1,900 graduating students and their families at Rensselaer’s 203rd Commencement on May 16 on the Harkness Field.  He discussed what he considers are the biggest challenges for the next half-century.  They are as follows:

1. Creating long-term solutions to meet our energy demands sustainably.
2. Launching a bio-industrial revolution with sustainable
manufacturing.
3. Understanding and enhancing the human brain to avert age-related
impairments.
4. Improving agriculture to reduce costs and increase its energy and
water efficiency.
5. Building sustainable cities through better urban planning and “smart
architecture.”
6. Stimulating job growth and economic development.
7. Fusing the technological with the spiritual and aesthetic dimensions
of human culture.
8. Advancing technological instruments to drive scientific discovery
forward.
9. Harnessing biological tools to advance human evolution.
10. Discovering new ways to lower the costs and environmental impact of
space flight and development.

Governor’s Cup Winners Announced

Small Business (50 or less employees)

o General Atomics, Shannon – North District winner (nominated by Community Development Foundation) 

o Camgian Microsystems Corporation, Mississippi State University – Central District winner (nominated by Greater Starkville Development Partnership) 

o Metal Tech Inc., Gulfport – South District winner (nominated by Harrison County Development Partnership)

 

Big Business (51 or more employees)

 o BancorpSouth, Tupelo – North District winner (nominated by Community Development Foundation)

 o Entergy Mississippi Inc., Jackson – Central District winner (nominated by Hinds County Economic Development District)

 o United States Marine Inc., Gulfport – South District winner (nominated by Harrison County Development Commission)

Click here for more info and article in Mississippi Business Journal.

Audiobook sales down

Lots of book news this week because of BookExpo America in New York this week.  Audiobooks, in particular, are getting plenty of coverage because sales are down 20 percent and revenue is down about 5 percent.  It’s not difficult to see why.  It costs a lot of money to produce a mass market audiobook – one estimate puts the cost at $50,000.  That translates into a retail price that can be higher than regular books and e-books.  

I spend a lot of time in the car and used to listen to audiobooks quite a bit.  That’s not the case anymore.  A new audiobook would set me back over $20.  That’s not serious competition to free podcasts and XM radio.  The question:  how much longer before audibooks as we know them will become a thing of the past?

New Credit Card Law and Gun Rights

What does the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 have to do with guns and national parks?  The bill, which was signed into law on Friday, May 22, contains the following provision:

(6) Although the Bush administration issued new regulations
relating to the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding
citizens in units of the National Park System and National
Wildlife Refuge System that went into effect on January 9,
2009—
(A) on March 19, 2009, the United States District
Court for the District of Columbia granted a preliminary
injunction with respect to the implementation and enforcement
of the new regulations; and
(B) the new regulations—
(i) are under review by the administration; and
(ii) may be altered.
(7) Congress needs to weigh in on the new regulations
to ensure that unelected bureaucrats and judges cannot again
override the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens
on 83,600,000 acres of National Park System land and
90,790,000 acres of land under the jurisdiction of the United
States Fish and Wildlife Service.
(8) The Federal laws should make it clear that the second
amendment rights of an individual at a unit of the National
Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge System should
not be infringed.
(b) PROTECTING THE RIGHT OF INDIVIDUALS TO BEAR ARMS
IN UNITS OF THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM AND THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE
REFUGE SYSTEM.—The Secretary of the Interior shall not
promulgate or enforce any regulation that prohibits an individual
from possessing a firearm including an assembled or functional
firearm in any unit of the National Park System or the National
Wildlife Refuge System if—
(1) the individual is not otherwise prohibited by law from
possessing the firearm; and
(2) the possession of the firearm is in compliance with
the law of the State in which the unit of the National

Democrat lawmakers said that they didn’t have time to remove the amendment because they did not have time to send it to the House-Senate conference committee, where the amendment could have been removed and still get to the President’s desk to be signed before Memorial Day as requested by The White House.

Who’s getting government stimulus contracts?

If you want to keep tabs on who’s getting government stimulus contracts I suggest you make a regular visit to propublica.org, a nonprofit investigative news Web site led by a former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal.  On that site a viewer can search a list of companies receiving contracts by state, by name or by federal agency.  There is even information on how to run a background check on companies that have received contracts. I highly recommend this Web site.

Friday is Dump Day

The Friday before the Memorial Day holiday weekend is often called “dump day” by those in the media because that’s when politicians usually release news that they do not want to be covered and discussed at length.  Even corporations get into the act because they know of this phonomenon(translation – strategy) as well.

So, if your organization has a story that it does not want a lot of news coverage about, but which neverthless must be released, Friday is the day to do.   In short, tomorrow is a good day to release negative news.

Thomas Jefferson thoughts on government.

Today is runoff day in primary elections for municipal offices in my state. Consequently, the quotes of Thomas Jefferson wherein he mentions government come to mind.

*****

Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.

The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.

The second office in the government is honorable and easy; the first is but a splendid misery.

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

So confident am I in the intentions, as well as wisdom, of the government, that I shall always be satisfied that what is not done, either cannot, or ought not to be done.

Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.

That government is the strongest of which every man feels himself a part.

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.

No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will.

It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

History, in general, only informs us of what bad government is.

I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.

A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.
A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.

Conquest is not in our principles. It is inconsistent with our government.

Source:  http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/thomas_jefferson.html

PhilClip #1: Gas from landfills

There are 469 landfill-to-(methane)gas projects in the Unites States, delivering 310 million cubic meters of gas daily – enough to power 1.6 million homes.

Source:  Fast Company magazine, June 2009, p.22