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Monthly Archives: October 2013

From Design Taxi:

NY 41×41 is a short film created for Nokia by Paul Trillo, in which the camera appears to zoom infinitely down 41 blocks along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

Using a Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone, which has a 41-megapixel camera, Trillo took 41 photos along Fifth Avenue and digitally stitched and combined them to create a seamless video that shows the city over the course of the day.

Cool idea, and well-executed. You can see the “making of” video over at Design Taxi.

The governor’s race in Virginia is suddenly looking a lot tighter than just a week ago, when one poll had McAuliffe up by 17, and another by 7. I read somewhere that a third party candidate has never garnered more than 2% of the vote in a Virginia gubernatorial election. That means that most of that contingent supporting Sarvis is going to break Republican or Democrat – they could be the key to victory for one of these guys.

The Virginia governor’s race is going down to the wire with Democrat Terry McAuliffe clinging to a slight 45 – 41 percent likely voter lead over Republican State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and 9 percent for Libertarian Party candidate Robert Sarvis, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to the results of an October 23 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, showing McAuliffe up 46 – 39 percent, with Sarvis at 10 percent.

Today’s survey shows that if Sarvis were not in the race, McAuliffe would have 47 percent to 45 percent for Cuccinelli, too close to call.

In the three-way matchup, 4 percent of likely voters remain undecided and 7 percent of those who name a candidate say there’s a “good chance” they will change their mind in the next six days.

McAuliffe leads 91 – 2 percent among Democrats, with 4 percent for Sarvis, while Cuccinelli leads 86 – 5 percent among Republicans, with 7 percent for Sarvis. Independent voters go to McAuliffe 46 – 31 percent, with 16 percent for Sarvis.

Women back the Democrat 50 – 37 percent, with 7 percent for Sarvis. Men go to Cuccinelli 45 – 39 percent with 11 percent for Sarvis.

“State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is nipping at Terry McAuliffe’s heels as the race to be Virginia’s next governor enters the final week of the campaign,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “It goes without saying that turnout is the key to this race and the harshly negative tone of the campaign is the kind that often turns off voters.”

“With the race this close, the final decision by the roughly one in 10 voters who are supporting Libertarian Robert Sarvis has become even more critical. Nationally, third-party candidates often lose support in the end as voters enter the voting booth and back someone they consider the lesser of two evils. Only six in 10 Sarvis supporters say they definitely will vote for him. Almost nine in 10 McAuliffe and Cuccinelli backers are committed.

via Virginia (VA) Poll – October 30, 2013 – Mcauliffe Up By 4 Points In Cl | Quinnipiac University Connecticut.

Liberals would have you believe that bias in academia is just some bogeyman, lurking in the fetid swamps of the conservative’s tiny, incompletely-formed brains.  David Firester shares his experience with the faculty at Queens College in New York, where liberal bias is firmly entrenched, and the faculty are not exactly friendly to opposing viewpoints.

It has often been said that there is no cure for stupid, while ignorance is easily treated through education.  What happens when educators willfully steer their ships in an ignorant direction?  It seems that many academic ships are sailing in this direction.  I happened to board one myself recently.

I began teaching “Introduction to Political Science” PoliSci 101 at Queens College as a Graduate Teaching Fellow this semester. As I am new, I was given a “mentor” whose syllabus I essentially mirrored. After a brief review of the content I got a sense of what textbooks are being used in the practice of college-level teaching. I researched syllabi elsewhere to get some more ideas. It seems that what is being assigned at Queens College is not all that different from what professors assign elsewhere.

When I looked a little deeper into the material I was assigning I began to notice what I could only say is institutionalized liberal bias. As a Ph.D. student who has sat through some of the most virulent professorial liberal rants, I knew it was quite common. In the past I had attended numerous schools, mostly in New York; they include State University of New York Orange, the City University of New York that included study at Brooklyn College, Hunter College, City College and the Graduate Center. I swore that my pedagogical style would be centered on the presentation of opposing viewpoints and not descend into the sort of demagoguery that thrives on sycophant head bobbing.

In reviewing some of the chapters of the “textbook” I was requiring students to read I saw a clear socialist trend.  When I think of a textbook a few adjectives come to mind.  It should be a technical guide on concepts.  It should be dispassionate and devoid of fiery ideology.  Well, that isn’t quite how it works.

The “textbook” pushed the agenda of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, denigrated any conservative viewpoints, assaulted libertarianism, and promoted only Democratic presidents and liberal/progressive interests.  I decided that since the ship was listing to the left I would give it a shove toward the center by assigning two chapters of Mark R. Levin’s book, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto.

That didn’t go over too well.  The department chair called for a submission of all syllabi, which I promptly complied with.  I guess this is the first time they were seeing some conservative heresy being assigned.  I found it odd that shortly thereafter I was informed by my “mentor” that I would be observed in the classroom.  Routine observations do occur.  However, I was informed that they don’t generally take the form that mine had.  It was quite interesting that he chose the specific day that I would be reviewing Levin’s material with the students.

Following the observation, I had a brief discussion with my reviewer/mentor.  He seemed to make some useful critical remarks, which I immediately recognized as helpful.  Then he spoke about Levin’s book (I had sent him two chapters in advance of the observation).  He didn’t like that I used a “polemical radio personality” to teach.  I told him that Levin is an accomplished constitutional attorney and former Chief of Staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese.  He sort of nodded and the conversation ended.

A few days later I got the written version of my observation report.  The same matters discussed were now on paper.  I was told that the observation process requires that I must seek a full-time professor to be a rapporteur.  That person’s job is to simply note my comments in a neutral fashion and convey them to the chairperson.

The rapporteur turned out to be not neutral, and said the viewpoints expressed in Levin’s book were “not legitimate,” as they do not support the accepted liberal agenda. It makes you wonder how many other colleges (and high schools) this sort of thing goes on in, and whether there are many (or any) insurgents like Firester who at least try to balance things out.

Read the rest: Liberal Academia and My Struggle for Survival | FrontPage Magazine.

Nancy Pelosi famously opined on the pending Obamacare legislation: “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.” They did pass the bill, and now millions of Americans are finding out -to their considerable dismay- “what’s in it.”131022-humanity

The title of this LA Times piece was “Some health insurance gets pricier as Obamacare rolls out.” Some? I have not heard any stories featuring excited citizens who will now be paying less for their health insurance. On the contrary, hundreds of thousands of people are having their old policies -the ones they liked, and could afford- summarily canceled because they don’t comply with Obamacare rules. Invariably, the new policies they have to choose from feature shockingly higher premiums and deductibles. Here’s just one more example from California:

Fullerton resident Jennifer Harris thought she had a great deal, paying $98 a month for an individual plan through Health Net Inc. She got a rude surprise this month when the company said it would cancel her policy at the end of this year. Her current plan does not conform with the new federal rules, which require more generous levels of coverage.

Now Harris, a self-employed lawyer, must shop for replacement insurance. The cheapest plan she has found will cost her $238 a month. She and her husband don’t qualify for federal premium subsidies because they earn too much money, about $80,000 a year combined. “It doesn’t seem right to make the middle class pay so much more in order to give health insurance to everybody else,” said Harris, who is three months pregnant. “This increase is simply not affordable.”

On balance, many Americans will benefit from the healthcare expansion. They are guaranteed coverage regardless of their medical history. And lower-income families will gain access to comprehensive coverage at little or no cost.The federal government picks up much of the tab through an expansion of Medicaid and subsidies to people earning up to four times the federal poverty level. That’s up to $46,000 for an individual or $94,000 for a family of four.

But middle-income consumers face an estimated 30% rate increase, on average, in California due to several factors tied to the healthcare law.Some may elect to go without coverage if they feel prices are too high. Penalties for opting out are very small initially. Defections could cause rates to skyrocket if a diverse mix of people don’t sign up for health insurance.

Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law.” She said, I was all for Obamacare until I found out I was paying for it,” Kehaly said.

via LA Times – Some health insurance gets pricier as Obamacare rolls out.

Betty McCollum offends me with her stupidity and grandstanding  on what is, for 99% of the football-watching public, a non-issue. Is there a way that I can ensure that she is banned from speaking in the future on this subject, so I won’t be offended by her stupidity and self-aggrandizing? I’d love to see a poll of the Minnesotans for whom she presumably speaks, to see how they feel about it.

I really love her quote that the Metrodome as a “legal obligation” to ensure no one is offended. Really? When did that become a requirement for sports stadiums?

A Minnesota congresswoman is pleading with her home state to not display any symbol or hint of the Washington Redskins’ name inside the Metrodome when they play the Vikings on Nov. 7.

Rep. Betty McCollum D-Minn. directed her request to Gov. Mark Dayton, Attorney General Lori Swanson, co-chairs of the state Senate Legislative Committee on Minnesota Sports Facilities Bobby Joe Champion and Julie Rosen, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, City Council president Barbara Johnson, and Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen.

“As you are aware, the Washington team is a privately owned business that chooses to use the disparaging and demeaning brand ‘Redskins’ as their mascot,” McCollum wrote. “In my view this NFL team’s mascot is an unacceptable racial slur disparaging to Native Americans and offensive to Minnesotans.

The congresswoman argued that since the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is financed by taxpayers and has “legal obligations” to ensure no one is offended.

“With regard to the NFL game on November 7th, it would be my hope that all state statutes, ordinances of the City of Minneapolis, and policies of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority MSFA regarding civil rights, non-discrimination, and affirmative action would be fully reviewed and applied with regard to displaying, publicly announcing, and promoting the Washington team’s racially disparaging name and logo.”

via The PJ Tatler » Minnesota Congresswoman Asks Governor, Metrodome to Not Display Redskins’ Name, Logo at Vikings Game.