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The Early List – April 20, 2011

April 20, 2011

It’s the early list for April 20, 2011.  Today’s list is full of political news, mainly focused on the debt ceiling issue.

But before we head off into that morass, here’s something a little more fun…  PEEPS!  This is a gallery of the winning entries into this year’s Washington Post Peeps diorama contest.  Just when I think I spend too much time on activities that don’t matter much, something like this comes along and I realize that I am pretty much just like the rest of America.

I dont normally like to link to a single blog multiple times in the same list, but Bruce Bartlett’s Capital Gains and Games has been one of my best resources at following this process.  Bartlett was a policy advisor for Reagan and a treasury official under Bush Sr., but holds the view that both Supply and Keynesian economic tools are appropriate  for different situations.  He’s made a lot of conservatives angry at him over the last decade for outspokenly criticizing George W. Bush’s economic strategies, and for taking the view that tax increases may be necessary to balance the budget.  Bartlett reposted a 2010 article he wrote for Forbes titled “When Will America Face Its Fiscal Crisis?”, which is a good summary of what the S&P downgrading means, and what strategies the government has to resolve it.  Another writer on the same blog, Stan Collender, has two articles on the debt ceiling issue.  The first covers the problem that Americans seem to not want to raise the debt ceiling, but also oppose every other method the government would have to deal with the problem.  The second provides some background on the issue.  Finally, last week, Bartlett linked a response to the Ryan budget titled “Ryan Gives The Wealthy A Free Pass”, which is a much nicer way to label it than the way Red Letter Christians did when they said “The Ryan Plan: A Declaration Of War On The Poor”.

In the tech world, Ars Technica reports on Microsofts attempts to convince the Supreme Court to make patents easier to kill.  The great irony is that (it appears) everybody but the Obama administration and the company that is suing Microsoft seems to be on Microsoft’s side here.  Ars sums it up best  as “This is particularly unfair because there is a lower standard—”preponderance of the evidence”—to prove infringement. And a plaintiff can compel the defendant to disclose a project’s current source code as part of the discovery process. The result, the groups said, is a game of “gotcha” in which it’s easier to use a project’s records to prove that it is currently infringing a patent than to use those same records to prove the patent is invalid.”

Also from Ars Technica, unlike the American government, which bows over to the cable duopolies, Europe is apparently adopting a “name and shame” approach in which competition is allowed, but the government will publish a report listing how net-neutral and consumer friendly each provider is.  This would allow consumers to know how their net access is being throttled and choose their provider accordingly.  Competition and more information, what a unique idea!

Finally, Patrol has an opinion article up on the idea of “Christian Art”.  Fitzgerald’s driving point is that much of what we call “art” in history was done with religious purposes, but we don’t call that “Christian Art”.

Thats the list for today.

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