See how little Trump cares about American Families!

The dirty details are over here. Education, social services, healthcare, practically everything built over generations to help the American family find a better life for themselves, their children, their neighbors is dismissed out of hand by the fake president.

Apparently, he counts on military voters and, of course, all the corporations getting a bump in profits from his wartime budget. Except, most of his war is on ordinary Americans.

Canadian senator proposes “the right to suicide” when capital punishment is denied

A Canadian senator has said imprisoned murderers should have the “right to a rope in their cell”.

Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, a Conservative senator, later backtracked from the statement, which came a month after two Canadians charged but not convicted of murder were found dead in jail.

Canada abolished the use of capital punishment in 1976…

Mr Boisvenu made his comments to reporters ahead of a meeting of the Conservative caucus. “Each assassin should have the right to a rope in his cell to make a decision about his or her life,” he said. He serves on the committee currently reviewing Canada’s omnibus crime bill.

Mr Boisvenu said he does not expect Canada to reopen the debate on the death penalty, but said “in horrible cases such as [serial killer Clifford] Olson, can we have a reflection on that issue..?”

Mr Harper’s office confirmed that it will not reopen the death penalty debate, but made no other comment…

Mr Boisvenu’s statements were roundly criticised by fellow Canadian politicians.

Bob Rae, an MP for Toronto and interim Liberal Party leader, told CBC the comments “were obviously completely unacceptable”. “He’s also suggesting that the prison system break the Criminal Code, which is equally ludicrous,” Mr Rae said.

Frankly, I think the idea has merit. Understand, I oppose the death penalty [1] our criminal justice and prosecutorial system teeters perpetually on the edge of corruption and [2] life without parole is cheaper than the time and money consumed in endless appeals against execution.

But, just as I feel the individual has the right to order the end of their own lives – whether because of terminal illness or ennui – I see nothing wrong with someone sentenced to life without parole being able to choose a simple means of doing the state a favor and ending his imprisonment with suicide.

Microsoft proposes using Data Furnaces to heat the home

The U.S. EPA estimated that servers and data centers were responsible for up to 1.5 percent of the total U.S. electricity consumption, or roughly 0.5 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, in 2007. With companies such as Apple and Google strongly pushing the move to cloud computing, that figure is likely to increase significantly in the coming decade. Since a lot of energy is consumed keeping the computer systems cool, colder climates are seen as more favorable sites for data centers. But a new paper from Microsoft Research proposes a different approach that would see servers, dubbed Data Furnaces, distributed to office buildings and homes where they would act as a primary heat source.

The Microsoft Research paper says that at around 40-50°C the temperature of the exhaust air from a computer server is too low to regenerate electricity efficiently. However, this temperature is perfect for heating purposes, such as home/building space heating, clothes dryers and water heaters. So the researchers argue that placing servers used for cloud computing operations directly into homes and/or office buildings would turn heat generation from a problem into an advantage.

The Data Furnaces (DFs) would be micro-datacenters on the order of 40 to 400 CPUs that would be connected to the Internet and integrated into the house/office building’s heating system in the same way as a conventional electrical furnace. By leveraging the home’s existing infrastructure and doing away with the need for dedicated real estate and construction of new facilities, DFs would significantly reduce the cost per server when compared to conventional data centers.

Additionally, such a setup would also provide lower network latency as the storage and computation systems can be located closer to areas of high population density and therefore those using them.

The DFs would be managed remotely and the researchers suggest that cloud computing service operators could provide free heat to host families in return for occasionally replacing air filters or, in extreme circumstances, turning servers off and on…

RTFA. Farfetched? Maybe not. We could certainly benefit from a proposal like this – we have the space in a detached building that still would allow heated air to be ducted into the house in cold weather. The data center owners would have the benefit of one or two resident geeks.

Cripes – I’ll be among the first to volunteer.

Turkey’s prime minister proposes dividing Istanbul in two

Istanbul is renown as the place where east meets west, the only city in the world to straddle Europe and Asia. But it may soon lose this unique status if the Turkish government goes ahead with a plan to divide it in two.

The prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a former Istanbul mayor, has announced what he described as a “wild project” to split the city into European and Asian sides to make it easier to govern. “We will build two new cities in Istanbul due to high population,” Erdogan said, announcing his party’s manifesto for June elections.. “One on the European side and one on the Anatolian side.”

Istanbul’s official population is soon expected to reach 17 million, with thousands more unregistered people living in the city.

Tahire Erman, an urban planning expert at Ankara’s Bilkent University, said this caused significant problems for authorities: “[Istanbul] is already overgrown, and there are already many problems in the provision of infrastructure and municipal services to the city.”

Should the plan go ahead, the two cities would be well connected by transport links promised by the ruling party, including a third bridge over the Bosphorus, the strait that divides the European and Anatolian sides of the city, and two tube tunnels for cars and rail transport under the water. Two bridges and frequent ferries already connect the two sides of the city…

Plans have been announced to build a new financial district in Atasehir, a booming district on the Anatolian side of Istanbul, as part of a government pledge to increase Turkey’s global stature by 2023, the centennial anniversary of the Turkish republic.

The politicians in power think it’s a wonderful idea. The politicians out of power think it’s a silly idea. The concept does make sense. If anyone had their brains switched on after World War Two, the same might have been done with London, Tokyo or Los Angeles.

Bingaman backs nuclear in new clean energy standard

The White House on Monday won a key endorsement for its proposal to boost U.S. electricity generation by clean energy sources as the head of the Senate’s energy panel said he could back the idea of including nuclear power in the fuel mix.

In his State of the Union speech to Congress last week, President Barack Obama proposed the United States produce 80 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources, such as wind, solar, “clean” coal and nuclear, by 2035.

Democratic Senator Jeff Bingaman, who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said he supports including nuclear power in the White House’s clean energy standard as long as renewable energy sources like wind and solar also benefit.

“If we can develop a workable clean energy standard that actually continues to provide an incentive for renewable energy projects to move forward, and provide an additional incentive for some of the other clean energy technologies, nuclear being one, I would like to see that happen,” Senator Jeff Bingaman told reporters…

Bingaman said he has been in discussions with the White House over the last week on how to come up with a legislative proposal that would win bipartisan support in the Senate

Such a bill would have a more difficult time clearing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives…

Analyst Christine Tezak said the best way for a clean energy standard to pass Congress is for the president to address some of the energy concerns of Republican lawmakers, such as expanding oil drilling and speeding up government approval of permits for energy exploration…

Yes, let’s don’t forget the traditional bosses of the Republican Party. Take your history all the way back to Standard Oil, watch the oil barons nudge their buddies from Wall Street finance aside while they exercise royal prerogative and demand opposition to any alternatives to fossil fuel profits.

Library clears its shelves to protest threatened closure

The library at Stony Stratford, on the outskirts of Milton Keynes, looks like the aftermath of a crime, its shell-shocked staff presiding over an expanse of emptied shelves. Only a few days ago they held 16,000 volumes.

Now, after a campaign on Facebook, there are none. Every library user was urged to pick their full entitlement of 15 books, take them away and keep them for a week. The idea was to empty the shelves by closing time on Saturday: in fact with 24 hours to go, the last sad bundle of self-help and practical mechanics books was stamped out. Robert Gifford, chair of Stony Stratford town council, planned to collect his books when he got home from work in London, but left it too late.

The empty shelves, as the library users want to demonstrate, represent the gaping void in their community if Milton Keynes council gets its way. Stony Stratford, an ancient Buckinghamshire market town famous only for its claim that the two pubs, the Cock and the Bull, are the origin of the phrase “a cock and bull story”, was one of the communities incorporated in the new town in 1967. The Liberal Democrat council, made a unitary authority in 1997, now faces budget cuts of £25m and is consulting on closing at least two of 10 outlying branch libraries.

Stony Stratford council got wind in December and wrote to all 6,000 residents – not entirely disinterestedly, as the council meets in the library, like many other groups in the town. “In theory the closure is only out for consultation,” Gifford said, “but if we sit back it will be too late. One man stopped me in the street and said, ‘The library is the one place where you find five-year-olds and 90-year-olds together, and it’s where young people learn to be proper citizens’. It’s crazy even to consider closing it.”

Beancounters never think of the support such services provide to the future of a community. I’ve written a number of times of the value and direction provided to my life by weekly visits to our neighborhood Carnegie Library. It was a regular part of Saturday recreation for my mother and sister and me.

Learning became recreation.

Milton Keynes Council should support libraries and independent learning – not work at spoiling the process for others.

Gates would cut Joint Forces command from defense budget

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has announced some far-reaching proposals for restructuring the massive budget at his agency, including getting rid of the U.S. Joint Forces Command (Usjfcom).

The cuts could mean a loss of up to 3,000 jobs…

The funds could be used for providing 2 or 3 times as many useful, productive jobs.

“We must be mindful of the difficult economic and fiscal situation facing our nation,” Gates told reporters at the Pentagon. “As a matter of principle and political reality, the Department of Defense cannot expect America’s elected representatives to approve budget increases each year unless we are doing a good job, indeed, everything possible to make every dollar count.”

Sounds like Gates is taking advantage of the opportunity to clear out bureaucratic dross. Guaranteed to piss off the pork brigade.

The proposal to eliminate Usjfcom, which is based in Norfolk, Virginia, met with opposition from both the state’s U.S. Democratic senators…

Eliminating Usjfcom is just one of a wide-ranging series of proposals presented by Gates. Others include:

— Eliminating some of the 65 military boards and commissions to cut the budget for them by 25 percent in fiscal year 2011;
— A review of all Defense Department intelligence to eliminate needless duplication;
— Reducing funding for service support contractors by 10 percent a year for each of the next three years;
— Seeking to stop “Brass Creep,” a term former Sen. John Glenn used for situations when higher ranking officers were doing jobs that lower ranking officers could handle…

Gates was adamant that the Pentagon must change its way of thinking about money.

And, uh, that means Congress might have to do the same.

Obama launches plan to boost broadband


Tea Party fears of Internet thought control

U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to free up airways would nearly double the amount of commercial spectrum currently available for wireless devices. The plan would make available 500 megahertz of federal and commercial spectrum over the next 10 years…

Freeing up spectrum would also create jobs by meeting the growing demand for mobile and fixed broadband, spur economic growth and raise funds to build an emergency network for public safety workers, the official said.

Some estimates suggest the next five years will see an increase in wireless data of between 20 to 45 times 2009 levels, reflecting the burgeoning use of smartphones, netbooks and other wireless devices…

“This initiative will catalyze private sector investment, contribute to economic growth, and help to create hundreds of thousands of jobs,” Larry Summers said in excerpts made available in advance of a speech to the New America Foundation.

Under the policy, most of the freed-up spectrum would be auctioned for mobile broadband use…revenues from the auction would provide funding to help build a nationwide mobile broadband network for public safety.

After Hurricane Katrina and other botched government responses, that mobile broadband network was proposed to the Republican-controlled Congress – and got nowhere. Not enough profit guaranteed for the Telco corporate giants – even though Bush would have given it away in lieu of more tax cuts.

The network is overdue. Greater access to broadband is overdue. Anyone think the crew in Congress will back up the memorandum from the White House with anything more than ennui and foot-dragging?

Who was Company C?

Hewlett-Packard landed Palm by raising its bid following interest from other suitors after intellectual property and a potential licensing arrangement for the WebOS…Simply put, HP almost fell short of acquiring Palm. Palm’s outlines the process to sell itself and the role of “Company C,” an unnamed outfit that was in the running until the HP deal was actually announced…

Palm said it received interest from 16 companies including HP. Six including HP entered nondisclosure agreements:

The two companies in addition to HP that presented acquisition proposals are referred to as Company A and Company B. A fourth company, referred to as Company C, had initially been in discussions with Palm regarding an intellectual property transaction and later made a proposal to acquire Palm.

A fifth company, referred to as Company D, contacted Palm on March 18 to discuss an intellectual property transaction but did not make a proposal to acquire Palm. Company D did not enter into a nondisclosure agreement and did not review non-public information about Palm. Discussions with Company D continued intermittently until April 15.

The one common thread with all of these suitors? They wanted intellectual property transactions and many of the potential buyers were as interested in a licensing arrangement for things like the WebOS. However, an IP deal wouldn’t help Palm all that much…

On April 24 Palm’s CEO and advisors communicated to HP and its advisors that, to remain in the process, HP must improve its offer significantly and immediately. Later that day, HP’s financial advisors verbally delivered a proposal to acquire Palm for $5.70 per common share in cash. HP’s financial advisors also requested a five-day exclusivity period. On April 25 HP delivered a letter confirming this proposal with a target announcement date of close of business on April 27 and sent a draft exclusivity agreement covering such period on April 26.

While much has been made about five bidders for Palm, it appears to be a two-horse race between HP and Company C, which could logically be Lenovo and Dell or a few others. When HP matched, Company C declined to go higher, but Palm notes the bidder proposed “an alternative transaction under which it would acquire certain patents and take a nonexclusive license to Palm WebOS in exchange for a one-time cash payment of $800 million.”

The big question revolves around the identity of Company C. Obviously, Company C felt it needed a mobile operating system badly. HP also decided it needed the WebOS too…

Palm couldn’t come with the marketing smarts to rebuild lost opportunities.

HP thinks the WebOS is worthy – and they can make it profitable, a significant addition to their portfolio. But, who was Company C?