Tuesday, January 30, 2007

UT and Google Partner Up

From my Alma Mater's press release:

The University of Texas at Austin has become the newest partner in a broad book digitization project with Google.

The partnership between the University of Texas Libraries and Google is part of the Google Books Library Project, a project started in December 2004, initially to digitize books drawn from the libraries of the University of Michigan, Harvard University, Stanford University, Oxford University and the New York Public Library.

In the course of the multi-year project, Google will digitize at least one million volumes from the University of Texas Libraries’ collections....

Monday, January 29, 2007

Reagan's Free Speech Legacy

Was just listening to a podcast of Michael Medved on the effort to bring back the "fairness doctrine." I'm sure it's not an original thought, but Reagan's greatest legacy, after the ruination of Communism, may have been the removal of the "fairness doctrine." I loved the battering of the air traffic controller's union, but what a legacy that was.

Political speech has never been freer than today and in spite of the current state of the Right's political position, I would never want it to change. If we regulate the radio and FoxNews, which is what they are really after here, how long before venues like this or any of those listed on the right side of this webpage are similarly regulated?

Let the marketplace of ideas work itself out. Even Air America found additional funding, even if Mr. Franken is leaving to test the waters in Minnesota. What does Congressman Hinchey fear?


Ok, I’m not sold on the whole North American Union thing (not even close) and cannot abide the New World Order nutters, but this does bug me a bit.

It does appear that an affiliate of Macquarie did acquire a bunch of those Texas and Oklahoma newspapers. It also appears that a Macquarie entity is involved with Cintra, the entity involved in the Trans-Texas toll road/corridor. It just smells bad. What if Wal-Mart were to buy all the entities owning publications spewing bile at them? I’d hate that, too. The fact that they are foreign entities makes it all the more uncomfortable.

In light of Kelo, I'm a bit concerned about where all this is going. 500,00 acres?

The only article I could find today is at WND. Read if you like but watch out for those helicopters.

More on the Unnamed Health Insurance Issue

Jeff Jacoby makes a good start on the teaching needed on the subject in today’s JWR. As in education, we need to let the market back in to the world of medicine. I know it sounds simplistic, but it works every where else. Jacoby mentions the WWII point I made last week but the more interesting discussion involve the common thought that because medicine has become so high tech that the costs must soar:

Why is health insurance so expensive? .... The revolution in cardiac care, the myriad new drugs, the invention of CAT scanners and MRIs, the ability to transplant organs — these and so many other lifesaving medical miracles didn't come cheap. It stands to reason that insurance covering the cost of such miracles doesn't come cheap either.

But wait — [why does] it stand to reason? Information technology has exploded in recent decades too, yet computers have never been as affordable as they are now. Agriculture is far more advanced, and the quality and variety of food available to consumers far greater, than they were 50 years ago, yet the real cost of food has plummeted. The price of a primitive color television in 1954 was equal to three months' wages for an average American worker; today that worker gets a sparkling picture on a 25-inch screen for just three days of work.

"Why is it," asks David Gratzer, a physician and scholar at the Manhattan Institute, "that in every other field where enormous technological strides have been made, total costs have fallen over time, but in health care they have increased?" The answer, he writes in The Cure, a lively and engrossing new book on the American health care mess, is simple: Health care costs so much because most of us pay so little for it. And we pay so little — out-of-pocket expenses amount to just 14 cents of every health dollar spent in this country — because a third party nearly always picks up the tab. For most working Americans, that third party is an insurance company paid by their employers.....

Why does it matter whether Americans pay for medical care directly or let insurers cover their bills? Because thrift and price awareness usually go out the window when we're spending other people's money. Under the present setup, most Americans have little incentive to be economical consumers of health care. As a result, health care expenditures — and insurance premiums — have been racing ahead at three and four times the rate of inflation.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Scooter starting to see black helicopters?

I'm starting to get a bad feeling about the toll roads. An Aussie company partners with the Spanish company (Citra [sp?] building the first of the toll roads) and then the Aussie company buys twenty Texas newspapers along the toll road corridor. Of course, these were papers editorializing against the the toll roads.

I've got to look for some independent articles/sources rather than the scary source from which I learned this; but if true, it's ugly.