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Lenovo Introduces Three New Tablets

Lenovo has introduced three new computer tablets that continue to expand their habit of creating stylish, useful personal technology devices.

The three new tablets are:

  1. The IdeaPad Tablet K1
  2. The IdeaPad Tablet P1, and  
  3. The ThinkPad Tablet

What caught my eye about the latest release is the ThinkPad Tablet, which sports a Tablet Keyboard Folio Case and has digital pen support.

It's technology I'd love to get my hands on for a full - and ideally long-term - test drive.

What kind of new technology has sprung up in the marketplace lately that's caught your eye? Comments are open...

 

Open Thread: Welcome to my Universe

Okay, I gotta admit it was kinda fun (and a little empowering) to list all those scientific terms in the tags box.  The idea of parallel universes fascinates me ... and could explain alot.

A July 19th article by Alexander Vilenkin and Max Tegmarkin in Scientific American makes the scientific case for the existence of parallel universes, multiverse if you will. Make the jump»

Voter ID Laws Suck

They would have us believe that 75% of Americans support Voter ID Laws.

Support remains high for requiring voters to show photo identification before being allowed to cast their ballots.

The RNLA is trashing Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton and other dems on this:

This past Monday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called the South Carolina voter ID law a modern day “poll tax.” [snip]. Last week, Bill Clinton said, “There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today.”  [snip] DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz complained that Republicans "want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws" and announced that “Photo I.D. laws, we think, are very similar to a poll tax.” [snip], Wisconsin State Senator Bob Jauch made the statement, "Jim Crow, move over – the Wisconsin Republicans have taken your place.”  

This argument is not about race, or financial demographic.  It is about disenfranchising American citizens that should have the right to cast a vote. Make the jump»

Random Japan

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  Make the jump»

Monetary Policy and the Problem of Oligarchy

Cross-posted from Real Economics.

During negotiations over the federal government's debt limit this past week, President Obama appears to have achieved a major tactical victory over the Republican ideologues. I use the term "tactical" because in my view, the fundamental economic problem confronting the country remains not only unsolved, but entirely unheeded: after a half century of "neo-liberal" economic reforms, a.k.a., conservative economic deregulation, the economy is now structurally skewed to benefit a new financial and corporatist oligarchy, at the expense of everyone else. What I have striven to do, in posts such asWealth and Income Inequalities are Markers of Oligarchy, is to force the concept of oligarchy back into the national discourse. I cannot claim this as my idea: Simon Johnson's May 2009 article The Quiet Coup was a notable effort at forcing us to face up to the unpleasant fact of a new American oligarchy, and Michael Hudson has been ferocious in a number of recent posts: How Financial Oligarchy Replaces Democracy. So it was gratifying to read Mike Konczal's A Response to Corey Robin on The Political Idea of Monetary Policy:

Corey Robin has a negative response to Matt Yglesias’ argument that setting an inflation target is one of the most important goals progressives and liberals should push for, which lead to an email exchange and a second response.

The economics of monetary policy are one topic. In a balance sheet recession, with a zero-lower bound, a broken financial system and the various commitment problems the Fed faces in these moments, monetary policy is not easy. We discuss many of these economic issues here in an interview with Joe Gagnon, and that’s a debate that has been going on for a while.

Robin notes that fiscal policy is important: “The government hiring people, in other words, is a lot cheaper—and more economically beneficial—than tax cuts or employer tax credits or the stimulus bill.” I agree completely, but let’s say we get a dream infrastructure deal through Congress. If that helps the economy, and the economy starts to pick up, Bernanke and a conservative Fed could use that as an excuse to raise interest rates sooner, which would immediately cancel out that stimulus. Regardless of fiscal policy, monetary policy is never neutral in a moving economy, and thus progressives need an answer.

But Robin, a political theorist (whose book on political fear is fantastic and one of the better arguments for strong unionization that I’ve seen), is more interested in the political theory and ideas surrounding the issue, which I agree needs to be discussed more. Robin:

What both of these reasons [for monetary policy] have in common is that instead of putting money into the hands of people who not only need it but would spend it, thereby stimulating demand and more jobs, they keep (or put more) money into the hands of people who already have it and don’t need to spend it in economically beneficial ways. Presumably because they are, in Yglesias’ eyes, the real movers and shakers of the economy, as opposed to the vast majority of middle- and working-class people or the government that represents them…Share and spread the wealth, in other words, among the wealthy….

If you wanted a purer distillation of the Reaganite temper of our times, you’d be hard pressed to find it in any other notion than this: get more money into the hands of people with money, for they are the truly productive agents in our society, rather than into the hands of the people who might actually spend more money if they had more money to spend….

Open Thread: Bloggergate Documents

Juan Cole and ACLU Sue CIA, FBI 

Juan Cole writes about the lawsuit filed on Wednesday agains the FBI and CIA.  Documents requested in a FOIA were never received. (Sound familiar?). 

I had told the ACLU, “Americans don’t need permission from their government to write and publish their political opinions. If the Bush White House pettily attempted to use the CIA to destroy my reputation by seeking dirt on my private life in order to punish me for speaking out, that would be a profound violation of my Constitutional rights.”

Truthout has a story about it here.

Thoughts, comments, feedback are always welcome. Make the jump»

Teaching, Tenure, and Academic Freedom

In The New York Times a couple of days ago, Stanley Fish offered an article with the title "Vocationalism, Academic Freedom and Tenure."  He is responding to a book, The Faculty Lounges: and Other Reasons Why You Won’t Get the College Education You Paid For  by Naomi Schaefer Riley.  He writes:

What Riley shows is that vocation-oriented teaching, teaching beholden to corporations and politically inflected teaching do not square with the picture of academic labor assumed by the institutions of tenure and academic freedom.

I agree with Fish in part when, in response to Riley's point, he writes:

I say, and have been saying for years, that colleges and universities should stop moving in those directions — toward relevance, bottom-line contributions and social justice — and go back to a future in which academic inquiry is its own justification.

But I do think he views things to narrowly.  Academic inquiry is not simply its own justification, but is a necessary basis for higher-level teaching, which itself is not the "thing" his article (and, I assume, Riley's book) imagine it to be, but is itself a dynamic requiring academic freedom every bit as much as research does. Make the jump»

Michael Collins: Murdoch's Empire on the Brink as BBC Reports Gordon Brown "targeted" for Sleazy Schemes

The Times of London, Sunday Times, stands accused of tapping into former Labour Party Leader Gordon Brown's private medical records. According to the story published today by BBC, Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of the Times parent, News International, called Brown in 2006 when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer and informed him that she knew Brown's son was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Brooks was editor of the Sun at the time of the call. The Sun is a tabloid. She went on to become editor of the News of the World, Murdoch's 2.5 million circulation UK flagship. (Guardian.co.uk image/video)

"The Sunday Times is alleged to have illegally targeted the personal information of Gordon Brown when he was chancellor, the BBC has found.

"Documents and a phone recording suggest "blagging" was used to obtain private financial and property details. Make the jump»

The Politics of Disaster Capitalism, Extreme Edition

In Sunday's Abbreviated Pundit Round-up, Daily Kos editor and front-page contributor Mark Sumner notes via an excerpt from Byron Williams that the problem with our deficit isn't what pundits and politicians are making it out to be - and nobody appears to be listening:

Byron Williams says President Obama isn't standing his ground.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bipartisan federal agency that provides economic data to Congress, more than half the current deficit is attributed to the tax cuts during the presidency of George W. Bush and the two wars that were financed on borrowed dollars during the same time period.

It's not health care legislation, it's not TARP, nor is it the stimulus package -- the troika with which most seem obsessed -- it's the tax cuts and wars that many who sit at the table negotiating with the president supported, but have irresponsibly drawn a line in the sand in opposition to any revenue increases.

Republicans sank the economy and ran up the debt, now they're looking to capitalize from their own destruction. Don't let them.

If you're familiar with the title and premise of Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, then you're familiar with how extreme - and dangerous - the current antics of conservatives and the Republican Party in general are to the well-being of our nation.

Contact your local news media (unless, of course, you're stuck with Fox) and demand that they start pointing out the realities behind the current fiscal issues. Recommend that they read Byron's column. Demand that they stop catering to the dialog that the politicians are refusing to correct. We need EVERYONE who can to work with us to force the media and the politicians (the ones who are still listening) to start driving the debate on getting actual issues addressed, instead of permitting the ongoing smoke-and-mirrors that characterizes what has become the typical game of "kabuki theater in a Potemkin village" that our Congress has engaged in.

Our nation, and our people, can't take much more of this idiocy.

 

Random Japan

[ a bump to the front with a 'welcome back, Mishima'. Hope you're safe and it's all good where you are! - luaptifer]

GOTTA BOUNCE
After winning 10 straight national trampoline championships, 27-year-old Haruka Hirota decided to retire from the sport due to a rule change regarding how much time the athletes spend in the air.

Former Livedoor boss Takafumi Horie decided to go out in style, sporting a Mohawk haircut and wearing a T-shirt bearing the phrase “Go To Jail” as he began his prison sentence for fraud.

Forty-year-old tennis queen Kimiko Date Krumm gave Venus Williams a run for her money at Wimbledon, before finally bowing out 6-7 (6), 6-3, 8-6 in nearly three hours in the second round.
In Sapporo, four “Super Grandmas” aged between 75 and 88 set a world record in the 400-meter medley for swimmers with a combined age between 320 and 359 years. Their combined age was 322 years and they shaved a full 40 seconds off the record.

Doara, the popular mascot of the Chunichi Dragons baseball club, was sent down to the minor leagues to work on his flips after a few mishaps.

Yoshie Soma, a 69-year-old special adviser to the president of Kobe University, was named one of the “most distinguished women in chemistry and chemical engineering in the world” by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. She discovered a copper carbonyl catalyst in the 1960s that has been used in paint for cars and the bottom of ships.

Democrats selling ownership rights to the Koch brothers?

I had a rare morning, today, that didn't require two cups of coffer to fire me up for the day.

Instead, NPR provided the spark for my engines when they reported a piece on the status of hiring and focussed on government jobs.   And as has become routine anymore, NPR set the tone of the report with reference to an 'expert' at one of the Koch Brothers' agenda-laundromats, the policy factory of the Cato Institute.

Unfortunately I'm very short for time this morning and I could not devote the energy needed to ferret out the audio report with appropriate excerpts and analysis, for discussion here.  But it's the familiar talking point that government jobs and bureaucrats are unworthy, inefficient, and take what is rightfully due to the corporate person.

On what used to be the other hand, one of our ePluribusMedia friends added some nitro to my caffeine-free fuel mixture, elsewhere, by pointing me to a short piece @ Politico showing that the Kochs will soon hold a vertical political monopoly in this country, from the ground on up. Make the jump»

Court rebuffs FCC's attempt to weaken media ownership rules

In support of the public interest, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rebuffed an attempt by the FCC to weaken media ownership rules. From freepress:

PHILADELPHIA – On Thursday , the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued its long-awaited verdict on the Federal Communications Commission’s disputed media ownership rules. The court threw out FCC rules that would have allowed one company to own a newspaper and broadcast stations in the same market and upheld the FCC’s decision to retain its other local broadcast ownership restrictions. The court also instructed the FCC to better consider how its rules will affect and can promote ownership by women and people of color.

...Read more...

Score one more small victory for the people.

And speaking of The People, please feel free to use this as an Open Thread.

 

Raging Chicken Launches

Journalists, professional (paid) ones, still like to disparage "citizen journalism," though it has been half a decade since citizen journalists rocketed into American media consciousness, pushing aside some of the moribund aspects of traditional journalism, injecting a new enthusiasm into the fourth estate, providing new means of reaching readers, and making what had once been primarily a one-way conduit into a round-robin of conversation.  There's still a sense, in some quarters, that the professionals are somehow "better" than the "citizens"--or that a distinction between the two is unneeded.  But the professionals have only shown they are "better" in terms of training, not performance, and the distinction allows the dedicated amateur to keep away from the monetary motivation of those who depend on activity in journalism to keep bread on the table.

ePluribus Media, since its founding five years ago, has been an important forum for, and promoter of, citizen journalism.  We speak out loudly on those issues that bring us to our own citizen journalism, provide tools that citizen journalists can use to improve the stories they produce, and promote other sites engaging in citizen journalism.

Another of these, Raging Chicken Press, launched this week, proving that citizen journalism continues to be a strong contributor to our local, state, and national discourses.  The nay-sayers may continue to rage against the amateurs, but it is the amateurs who now provide the dynamic in American journalism--even though the professionals (look at what has happened to Huffington Post) continue to try to horn in. Make the jump»

Michael Collins: The Wisdom of the People - the Populist Rationale

Originally posted 2011-07-04 23:17:58 -0400; bumped across the midnight meridian by GH.

The citizens of the United States have excellent judgment. They have shown it consistently over time. When that judgment shifts briefly allowing a failed policy, it is a result of the vilest forms of propaganda by a small clique of liars. (Image: PS-OV-ART)

The people were right about the invasion of Iraq

We know that the plan to invade Iraq began just days after Inauguration Day, 2001. The opportunity to launch the most disastrous and costly military effort in our history came on 9/11. The destruction of the World Trade Center towers and attack on the Pentagon became the pretext for war. The manipulators launched their fraudulent storyline in earnest with confidence that they would get their war.

But in December of 2002, the public wasn't buying it. The people didn't have access to all of the information. They knew one thing for sure -- the invasion was a very bad idea unless Iraq posed an imminent threat to the country with weapons of mass destruction. An in depth Los Angeles Times public opinion poll asked this question:

  Make the jump»

Sarah Palin and the Ten Commandments

Back in May of 2010 Sarah Palin went on Fox news with Bill O'Reilly and called for U.S. law to be based on the Christian Bible.

Palin is reportedly considering a run for the White House in 2012 and has millions of supporters here in the United States.

During her interview, Palin gushed: “I think we should keep this clean, keep it simple, go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant,” adding, “They’re quite clear that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments."

Wow.

The Constitution was originally written to say,

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Also in the United States Constitution (Article 6, paragraph 3) states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

In addition there was Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 wherein he describes the "wall of separation between church and state," and explains to the Danbury Baptists that the federal government cannot and will not favor one religion over another or declare an official state religion for the United States of America.

So, our founding fathers said that Congress cannot make any laws that are based on any Gods or any religious books or any religious dogma and Sarah Palin turns around and says that our founding fathers intended that all of our laws would be based on the Christian God and the Christian Bible and Christian dogma.

So, glossing over the fact that Sarah Palin is either dishonest enough to lie about America’s founding fathers or stupid enough to actually believe that America’s founding fathers wanted a Christian theocracy, can you imagine how deranged it would be if we did as Sarah Palin says and re-wrote American law so that it was based on the Ten Commandments?

Now, most Christians can’t even tell you what the Ten Commandments are. And I’m certain that Sarah Palin’s millions of sycophantic groupies aren’t any smarter. So as a free educational service I’m going to tell you what all ten of the commandments are and I’m going to explain why it would be disruptive, chaotic and illogical to make them the basis for America’s legal system.

  Make the jump»

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