Archive for July, 2008

Bush Approves a Soldier’s Execution

President Bush has authorized the execution of Ronald A. Gray, a serial killer who was convicted of multiple charges of murder and rape. Gray committed the crimes while serving in the Army as a private and has been on the military’s death row for twenty years.

The last commander-in-chief to approve a military death sentence was President Eisenhower in 1957. With five more men awaiting execution at Fort Leavenworth, I think it needs to happen a little more often.

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Robert Novak Has a Brain Tumor

Robert Novak, a political commentator and columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, has revealed that he has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. He said that he “will be suspending [his] journalistic work for an indefinite but, God willing, not too lengthy period.” Novak, who is seventy-seven, was admitted to a Boston hospital for treatment.

It is not known at this time whether the tumor is benign or malignant. Depending upon its size and location, the tumor may be able to be surgically removed, but it is too early to tell.

I pray that Bob Novak is able to come through this ordeal safely, and “God willing,” he can return to work soon.

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The Minimum Wage: Washington’s Perennial Myth

While I was writing yesterday’s post about the latest increase in the federal minimum wage, I came across this policy analysis piece by the Cato Institute. Written in 1988 when the minimum wage was a mere $3.35, the article by Matthew Kibbe demonstrates that the arguments in favor of a minimum wage were no more valid twenty years ago than they are today.

It is an enlightening analysis of the economic effects of government-mandated wage increases, and Kibbe does a far better job at explaining the negative results of the minimum wage than I ever could.

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Xdrive Is for Sale

Xdrive is an online storage site which has been around for about a decade. Since 2005, it has been owned by former media giant AOL, where its development has stagnated and it has largely been forgotten.

Well, AOL is having hard times these days, and the company is trying to cut costs anyway it can. In addition to shutting down many of its services like AOL Pictures, MyMobile, and Bluestring, AOL is wanting to sell Xdrive for five million dollars.

So, if you have that kind of money lying around and are feeling nostalgic for a late-nineties era web application, give AOL a call.

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Google Opens Knol to Everyone

Today, Google opened its Knol project for all to see. Knol is a service that allows users to write articles on useful tidbits of knowledge. It has been compared to Wikipedia since it was first announced last year, but the topics do not need to be encyclopedia-worthy. Also, a person who creates a knol (a “unit of knowledge,” according to Google) has total control over edits to his page, so vandalism should not be problem like it is on Wikipedia.

Currently, most of the articles deal with health topics; apparently, a lot of medical professionals were involved in the private beta. But I image that the content will quickly branch out into other other areas of knowledge now that the site is available to everyone. My personal favorites so far are the knols on buttermilk pancakes and toilet clogs.

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Bush Lifts Executive Ban on Offshore Drilling

George W. Bush has taken the first step toward making offshore oil drilling a reality. This morning, the President stated his intention to lift the executive order, signed by his father, that prohibited oil exploration off the coasts of the United States.

Now it is time for Congress to act, by repealing the twenty-seven-year-old federal law which also bans offshore drilling.

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The McCain Campaign Reduces Phil Gramm’s Role

Phil Gramm is a perfect example of what happens when a politician dares to speak his own mind. The former Texas senator has been all but ostracized by his friend John McCain for making an unpopular statement about the economy. Jokes about Belarus aside, it is unclear what role, if any, Gramm will have in the McCain campaign from now on, but one thing is certain: he will no longer be advising the Republican Presidential candidate on the economy.

And I think that is a shame, because Gramm appears to have a better grasp on the true state of the economy than any one else in the McCain camp.

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