Forest Service 'Misplaced' $215M
The U.S. Forest Service, now battling one of the worst fire seasons in history, "misplaced" about $215 million intended for wildfire management because of an accounting error, a watchdog group contends. The agency says the money is being recovered. Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington-based advocacy group, made public on Friday an internal memo from Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth that said the error nearly two years ago had been discovered as the agency tried to improve its accounting practices.
Satellites Show Overall Increases In Antarctic Sea Ice Cover
... Parkinson examined 21 years (1979-1999) of Antarctic sea ice satellite records and discovered that, on average, the area where southern sea ice seasons have lengthened by at least one day per year is roughly twice as large as the area where sea ice seasons have shortened by at least one day per year. One day per year equals three weeks over the 21-year period. "You can see with this dataset that what is happening in the Antarctic is not what would be expected from a straightforward global warming scenario, but a much more complicated set of events," Parkinson said. ...
MA: Death of state government, or overdue taxpayer relief?
[In the cause of liberty - hopefully both!]
It's not often that voters have the opportunity to weigh in on a ballot question that would shrink the size of their state government by more than a third. Voters on Nov. 5 will be faced with Question 1, which if approved would abolish the state's 5.3 percent tax on income -- the state's principal source of revenue for more than a century. The Libertarian Party, which sponsored Question 1, said its approval will downsize government programs to a proper size. Opponents said it will simply have a crushing impact on state services and the economy.
U.S. to put barriers in border river to deter illegal immigrants
Floridians cry fowl over flooded land
Western property-rights defenders are coming to the aid of thousands of Floridians who say their land is being flooded by the federal government to protect an endangered species in the Everglades. Homeowners say the constant flooding is an effort to force them to sell their homes, and some scientists are questioning whether the rare Cape Sable seaside sparrow is being helped. Led by the Paragon Foundation, dozens f grass-roots groups are organizing the "Sawgrass Rebellion" to bring national attention to the plight of farmers who say their tropical orchards and property values have been destroyed.
Senate Dems Cook Pork for Colleagues up for Re-election
GOP taxpayers are getting stuck with hundreds of millions of dollars in pork projects designed to help Senate Democrats hang on to their razor-thin control, and they're not even trying to disguise their cynical raid on taxpayers' pockets. A huge flood of pork-barrel projects costing hundreds of millions of dollars is inundating eight states that just happen to be reprsented by eight of the Democrats' most vulnerable lawmakers, according to Alexander Bolton of The Hill. The pork comes under the guise of community development block grants, airport grants, water projects and other types of federal assistance. And it is aimed at enhancing the re-election prospects of Democrat senators at risk in the November elections.
Reno and Freeh's Wiretap Fiasco
The media were squawking aplenty today about a court's revelation that the FBI botched more than 75 cases in seeking espionage and terrorism warrants. But they conveniently buried this fun fact: The blunders happened during the Clinton administration, under the non-watch of the bumbling Janet Reno. That tidbit appeared in paragraph eight of an Associated Press story today and in paragraph 10 of a 12-paragraph article by the New York Times.
Airport Security Follies: Search for a knife led to chaos
No weapon found; pepper spray menaced MIA
Airport security screeners feared that a passenger had managed to walk through their checkpoint with a 12-inch knife. They never found a knife, but by searching the bags of everyone who had boarded American Airlines Flight 596 to Boston, they discovered a pilot's pepper spray. It was a canister the Miami-based captain said he had carried for years through countless checkpoints. A full account of Wednesday's incident raises questions about security screenings at Miami International Airport. Screeners were unable to locate what they thought was a knife, the pepper spray had earlier eluded them ... Hanging from a small black key chain in his bag, the pepper spray had never been spotted by metal detectors. The captain -- whom Sproc declined to name -- had already carried it through the same Concourse B checkpoint earlier Wednesday morning.
[Gov't can't trust a airline pilot with pepper spray but trusts him with an aircraft full of people?]
Black box keeps tabs on teenage drivers in US
It beeps when the car speeds and records details of a trip, allowing parents to monitor the driving habits of teenagers
... Now, a maker of black boxes for emergency vehicles will start selling a device that helps parents monitor the driving habits of their teenagers - and a GPS system will be included next year. ... the scaled-down box for teenagers will sell for US$280. ... Parents who buy the device will also not have to guess about their children's driving habits or their whereabouts. The company will introduce the product next year with GPS technology that will allow them to check a website to find out where the car is. ...
[How long will it be before gov't mandates for all new cars it so they can check on YOU?]
Don't store my data, Japanese tell government
The first stop for new residents of a Japanese neighborhood is the local government office, where they dutifully report their presence and give details of their family. Soon after, the police may stop by to politely ask again who is living there. On moving out, they must again notify the local authorities and get a report to take to the ward office of the next place they reside. This official tracking is accepted with equanimity by most Japanese, as is the requirement for an even more detailed "family registry" that lists everything from divorces to births, deaths and domicile. So the government was surprised when a move to put some of this information on a computer network to streamline the process - and to assign an 11-digit identification number to everyone - erupted into a grass-roots revolt.
Crusading to keep kids clueless
The public education monopoly can't stand the thought of "unqualified" parents teaching
their own children. That is why they are cracking down on home schooling, even as a
new study shows that thousands of public school teachers themselves are shamefully unqualified to educate the nation's students. ... The education department's Nanny State view is that parents may be allowed by the government to "supplement" their own children's education with tutoring at home, but "not substitute the education with uncredentialed home instruction." Local districts are following the cue. Sonoma County and San Diego school officials are distributing memos that declare home schooling illegal. As I've said many times before, there's nothing like stiff competition to bring out the worst in government. ... Their [parents] overwhelming success - in academic competition, on national tests, and in college -- poses a mounting threat to the government-run education monopoly and to the public school teachers' unions. ... So now California's educracy has adopted a new motto: If you can't beat 'em, criminalize 'em. ... Our public schools are filled with substandard math teachers who never took math in college, French teachers lecturing about biology, art teachers masquerading as history teachers, and other instructors who have absolutely no expert knowledge or intellectual curiosity about the subjects they've been assigned to teach. This is a system whose first priority is self-preservation of its tax-subsidized employees, not academic enlightenment of its captive charges. And they dare to accuse home schooling parents of educational malpractice?
CA: State ISO chief insists deregulation's the way
Winter: Boss became a fan, despite himself
After the blackouts, after the price spikes, after the bankruptcies, the man who has his finger on California's electric pulse is sure of one thing: Deregulation is still the answer. Well-run markets will cut prices and mend the wounds that shredded the state's electric industry for the past two years, according to Terry Winter. It is a belief that puts Winter, a plain-spoken former utility executive, squarely at odds with California's governor and many of its lawmakers and regulators. Winter's pro-market stance instead aligns him philosophically with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has just sued the ISO in an effort to oust its state-appointed governing board.
Boaters, fishermen asked to help in anti-terror plan
Federal and state agencies are trying to enlist boaters, fishermen and others who spend time on or around the water in anti-terrorism efforts, but some civil libertarians are concerned their efforts could create a network of spies. Led by the U.S. Coast Guard, the multi-agency effort known as Operation On Guard will have its formal kickoff in Miami today. The operation's goal is to have people who are typically on the water keep an eye out for suspicious activity and phone it in to a hot line.
CAN THE SECOND AMENDMENT AND SOCIAL SECURITY COEXIST?
Terrified Politicians Believe One or the Other Has to Go
Why I'll miss the "worst drug warrior in Congress"
The Libertarian Party is celebrating the defeat of U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, whom it calls the "worst Drug Warrior in Congress." Although I spend much of my time criticizing the war on drugs, I do not share the L.P.'s enthusiasm. There's no question that Barr, who recently lost his bid for the Republican nomination to represent Georgia's newly redrawn 7th District, is an enthusiastic prohibitionist. The four-term congressman has bucked public opinion by doggedly opposing the medical use of marijuana. He even supports a ban on hemp products because they sometimes contain trace amounts of THC--too little to get anyone high, but enough to offend Barr's sensibilities. ... As a freshman, Barr led the fight to repeal the federal ban on so-called assault weapons, an arbitrary abridgment of the right to keep and bear arms that targets guns based on their militaristic appearance. He also introduced an amendment limiting the scope of the Gun-Free School Zones Act to conduct that was already illegal under state or local law. Such efforts did not have broad support from the general public or Barr's fellow Republicans. His battles with gun controllers reflected his readiness to criticize the government for overstepping its proper bounds, even when party leaders might have preferred that he keep his mouth shut. ...
Johann Opitz <email@example.com> RKBA!