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Dany's RaaD Roundup

US State of the Union and the Republican Response 2011

Last night President Obama took to the airways and gave his State of the Union speech in front of Congress to the US. If you missed it, I have posted it below.

After the State of the Union, Rep Paul Ryan gave the Republican Response to the President’s speech, you can see that video below if you did not get a chance to see that as well.

After watching both speeches, it is clear that the two men have different views of what makes America strong, but I have to hope that with all the areas that they agree, in the end, good laws and reforms will come from it. I do not believe that in the end, the entire 2010 health care reform bill will be repealed, but the most egregious sections of it will get changed. Reducing our deficit will not be easy, but cuts to research will only handicap our future and any reform to seriously cut spending will have to deal with both military spending and entitlement spending like Medicare, Medicaid Social Security and other healthcare related programs, since those programs alone already account for over 80% of our federal spending(image below) which come from this federal spending breakdown (image below).

Enjoy

Dany

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January 26, 2011 2:19 pm Posted by | Arizona, China, clips, college, DC, economy, education, health, Law, medicine, military, politics, science, technology, tv, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment

The Daily Show and Colbert Report for December 19th, 2010

It is rather amazing that the Republicans can still balk at the idea of passing the 9/11 first responder health bill especially after all the negative health effects facing those first responders. Well, here is just some of the outrage and video montages put together this week on this issue:
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Former Governor and Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, promotes his book, Can’t Wait Till Christmas.
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Former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, promotes his new book Beyond the Crash. He talks about global demand or current lack thereof and financial markets.
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Ricky Gervais is just insanely funny and he has a new HBO standup special, Out of England 2.
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Hmm, what would you do with a Goldman Sachs MasterCard? Thanks Buckley T. Ratchford for losing your credit card for the Colbert staff to find on the street.
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Stephen tackles gay marriage so you don’t have to by interviewing lawyer David Boies.
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All I can say is that Colbert won Twitter for 2010. He won the first Golden Tweet from Biz Stone.
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Stephen Sondheim promotes his book Finishing the Hat and explains how his first musical was edited.
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Pancakes are going to be the terrorist scourge of of 2011 since they are invisible to TSA x-ray scanners.
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Enjoy

Dany

December 21, 2010 2:33 am Posted by | books, clips, DC, health, Law, London, medicine, New York, NYC, politics, technology, travel, tv, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment

President Barak Obama Takes Over The Daily Show the week of October 29th

President Obama spends the entire episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. You don’t need my comments on it, so all I will say is if you are eligible to vote in this year’s election just go out and vote.
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Austan Goolsbee, the Obama chief economic adviser tries to explain what’s going on with the economy.
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From 1989-2010 John McCain has been deriding the broken Washington system. I could do without the bit of ageism from Stewart, but other than that, it is another example of the great video archive search work they do on the show.
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NPR may be a lot of things for firing Juan Williams, but I doubt they’re an agent of a jihadi inquisition! Fox News doesn’t just fight back, they always bring the big guns with them. I think some of these “scandals” are just ways to fill time in the 24 hour news cycle. If you read the press from NPR as to why they fired Mr. Williams, it has just as much to do with Mr. Williams’ constantly appearing on Fox News in a manner that NPR did not like.
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Senator Ted Kaufman explains why the system may be broken… it was created that way by our founder Thomas Jefferson.
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On the eve of the rally to restore sanity, all the negative campaign ads are on display for all to glory at… it’s too bad the end of the clip is sort of ruined with the unfunny skit after the ads segment.
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I had no idea that being gay and being short were similar, who knew?
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Here is a nice summary of the last 5 years of The Colbert Report:
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Nicholas Negroponte promotes his One Laptop Per Child program to support education around the world, with each computer costing only about $180.
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An interesting look at corporate money in politics… who needs MORE information anyway?
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Historian Garry Wills promoting his new book Outside Looking In.
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Here are some more campaign ads for 2010, this time Democrats running away from the Democratic party, unlike Tom Perriello of Virginia who Colbert talks to and is actually running on Democratic achievements.
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Enjoy

Dany

October 30, 2010 12:03 am Posted by | books, clips, DC, economy, gay, guns, Islam, politics, Religion, technology, tv, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, West Virginia | Leave a comment

Google Launches 2010 US Election Tracker

It looks like in Google‘s attempt to organize all knowledge, has teamed up with many different political tracking sites to create their 2010 US Election Tracker which is laid on top of Google Maps.

It has an easy to use interface, where you can see all the different projections for the likely outcome of different House, Senate and Gubernatorial races across the entire country in every district, along with all the different candidates in each race, I did notice (and was very disappointed) though that it only seems to list the Republican and Democratic candidates while excluding the independent and 3rd party candidates. I hope that between now and the November 2nd election, they fix this oversight.

Enjoy

Dany

September 30, 2010 8:58 pm Posted by | DC, politics, technology, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment

Apple’s New Toys for the 2010 Holliday Season

Steve Jobs made quite a few announcements about newer smaller  iPod shuffles, iPod nanos, iPod touches, a new iTunes and a new Apple TV along with many more updates on September 1st. You can watch the whole 90min conference here (subscribe to their keynote podcast here) including a performance at the end from the lead of Coldplay, Chris Martin. You can watch the musical performance here:

Of all the announcements, I thought the most interesting were the new social network Ping that is built into the new iTunes store, also accessible on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. They made a big deal about having over 160 million customers already with access to the store itself who now have access to this music social network. Considering that you’ll now be able to follow your favorite artists and friends, get local concert information, post videos, music and photos and get customized music suggestions based on who you follow, the facebooks, myspaces and twitters of the world should be wary, especially since Apple has a clear business model already tied into this network since it’s another way to open up people to new songs, albums and artists. It’s only a matter of time before this expands to include TV shows and movies. Facebook’s 500+ million worldwide active users still seems to top the charts, but I’m guessing Mark Zuckerberg‘s ears perked up when he heard this news.

The other interesting story from the conference I felt was the new Apple TV. Jobs admitted that since 2006, when the original Apple TV launched it wasn’t the biggest hit, but now they have added a lot of new features to integrate it with all the other products, with the ability to stream content (movies, TV shows and photos) from their computers, iPads, iPhones and iPod touches.  They added Netflix streaming support for Netflix subscribers along with TV show and movie rentals ranging from 99cents up to $4.99 for new movies being released on the same date as their dvd, there is also the ability to listen to and watch all the podcasts you subscribe to, which brings online content almost onto an equal playing field as movies and TV shows for access to your HD TV. The new Apple TV box is a lot smaller than before (the box almost fits in the palm of Steve Jobs’ hand),  probably because there’s no storage space on the device (everything works via streaming internet), the menu system seems easy to use. You’ll need a TV with an HDMI port since that’s the only output port, but it has built in WiFi and an Ethernet port for faster connections. I think with the new $99 price point for the Apple TV, they will basically put Roku‘s streaming box and anyone else like them right out of the market.

The photographer in me was very impressed with the demo of the new camera feature that was added to the iPod touch camera, high dynamic range (HDR) option. Using this, you can take a picture in bright light and the camera will take 3 quick pictures in succession, one at normal exposure, another underexposed one to bring out the colors from a bright sky and a third picture that is overexposed to bring out the dark sections of the picture and then blending the three pictures together to have a final photo with an enormous dynamic range of color and detail in the shot. Here is one example Apple has up on their site:

and here is an example that the great folks at AppleInsider created with their iPod touch with the original on the left and the HDR image on the right:

Thanks to Apple and AppleInsider for the above pictures. Also, if you want to see some professional HDR images from higher-end cameras check out this Flickr page and SmashingMagazine.

Enjoy

Dany

September 2, 2010 9:26 pm Posted by | apple, art, clips, HD, movies, music, music videos, photography, podcasts, software, technology, tv | 2 Comments

Vaccination as a Tool for Cancer Prevention

I was sifting through the Medscape articles I subscribe to and came across this article on cancer causing infections and the vaccines that have the potential to cut these cancers almost in half called Vaccination as a Tool for Cancer Prevention (read it here) written by Eric H. Raabe, MD, PhD; Julia M. Kim, MD, MPH and Miriam Alexander, MD, MPH. The full article is a very concise summary of the most common cancers that are caused by infections. I am posting the abstract to this article at the bottom of this post so you can get a preview.

Thanks to the Politico for the above image

Enjoy

Dany

Abstract: Infectious agents, such as viruses and bacteria, are the causes of several common cancers. Infection with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori predisposes to gastric cancer. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are associated with liver cancer, and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with lymphoma and nasopharyngeal cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a major cause of cervical, anal, penile, and oropharyngeal cancer. Together, infection-associated tumors make up nearly 20% of all cases of cancer worldwide, causing more than 2 million malignancies per year. Most of these cases occur in developing countries. Under normal circumstances, immune surveillance helps to keep many of these virus-associated cancers in check, but in immunocompromised persons, such as those with late-stage HIV infection, the incidence and aggressiveness of these cancers increase. HBV and HPV vaccines are effective and in use, and vaccines against other cancer-causing agents are in development. Because many virus-associated cancers occur in the developing world (such as EBV-associated Burkitt’s lymphoma in Africa and HBV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma [HCC] in Asia), the development and deployment of vaccines to prevent infection with HPV, HBV, HCV, and EBV can serve as effective preventative tools to reduce the burden of cancer morbidity and mortality worldwide.

August 31, 2010 8:58 pm Posted by | health, medicine, science, technology | Leave a comment

Honda Will Make Us Fatter

I know it is not Honda‘s intent to make us an even fatter world than we already are and are becoming, but it’s hard to not see this as an unintended consequence of a device that looks like it could do so much help for those who are physically disabled.

Just wait a few years, those thin women on the Honda U3-X Personal Mobility Prototype, if they won’t even walk around even for the simplest of activities like an art exhibit will just balloon up in weight over the years. Hopefully this will get marketed to those that physically can’t move around on their own as a means of mobile freedom and not just a mobile La-Z-Boy. This may be the first step on the road towards a Wall-E type future of human laziness. THANKS ASIMO!

If I am off the mark, let me know.

Enjoy

Dany

U3-X  wPersonal Mobility Prototype

June 16, 2010 11:01 am Posted by | clips, health, Japan, movies, robots, technology | Leave a comment

Verizon Customer Support

I usually end up complaining about or making fun of things when I write here, but today is a bit different. I always hear stories of bad customer support when calling big companies. Well, today I called up Verizon to cancel a phone line that we no longer used anymore. I must say, I was happily surprised, from dialing the number to hanging up, the whole thing only took 15 minutes and it was no hassle, the support tech was polite and didn’t try and hound me about keeping a service I didn’t need.

We still use Verizon for a single standard phone line, internet and cell phone service, so I am extremely happy with Verizon, we just didn’t need to maintain one of the old phone lines we had. It might seem silly to highlight this experience, but if I’m going to complain when companies mess up, I might as well put a spotlight on companies that are doing things right that I hope they will continue and other companies will emulate.

Thanks to DVDGuy for the above pic and good job Verizon!

Enjoy

Dany

May 22, 2010 6:14 pm Posted by | technology, Verizon | Leave a comment

This Week in The Daily Show for May 15th, 2010

I used to think that the term “a perfect storm” was only used for rare, unexpected, horrific occasions, not for what seems like almost commonplace bad days.
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I’m glad that President Obama named his new Supreme Court nominee, I don’t know much about Elena Kagan, but at least I haven’t heard anything yet that I don’t like about her. What’s interesting is looking at her Wikipedia page from just before her nomination (here) and then compare it to the current version (here) to see how it has changed upon being placed on the national scene. The media on the other hand is just hankering for a controversy, even if they have to create it themselves, so why not compare everything to recent fuck ups from the past? Well, there seems to be a President Bush fuck up for that… for every President Obama problem there seems to be an analogous but worse comparison to the Bush administration.
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I never thought I would hear the term “Nazi tourettes” or see a comparison to Nazism that Glenn Beck didn’t wholeheartedly embrace, but with this and his recent opinion supporting Mirandizing the NYC Time Square car bomber, Mr. Beck has really been surprising me lately, thanks for the clips Louis Black!
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It is nice to know that BP, Transocean, Halliburton and the US gov’t all decided to not take the blame for the Gulf oil spill.
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We, the American people,  are going to have to accept that everything has trade offs, if we decide want to mine for coal (which the US rules the world in supply of), there will be the occasional mining disaster (like we had earlier this year in West Virginia) or if we want to drill our own oil, that has risks and if we don’t feel that’s worth it, we can always pay more to other countries for their oil and accept things like the Exxon Valdez disaster possibility, or even pay more money for expensive nacent cleaner fuel technologies like wind/solar power or even go for nuclear power and just accept that we need to dump the spent fuel somewhere. None of our options are both cheap and easy, there’s a potential downside to all our power options.

Enjoy

Dany

May 15, 2010 7:39 pm Posted by | clips, DC, economy, Law, Louisiana, Middle East, New Orleans, New York, NYC, politics, technology, Washington, Washington DC, West Virginia | Leave a comment

The USA Unveils a New $100 Bill

American money has been transforming its look for years towards a Monopoly money appearance. Check out the new $100 bill and the rest of the new American bills at NewMoney.gov, judge for yourself.

Thanks to No Agenda episode 193 (subscribe here) for reporting on this.

Enjoy

Dany

April 25, 2010 1:43 pm Posted by | DC, economy, technology, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment