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Administering Relational Databases on Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Administering reality
Killexams : Microsoft Administering reality - BingNews Search results Killexams : Microsoft Administering reality - BingNews Killexams : Some signs that Meta may be playing nice

Meta had a big news day yesterday, showing off its new Quest Pro headset meant to push virtual reality tech forward to the center of our digital lives.

Meta has also, as you might have noticed, had a big few news weeks — or months even — not all of it positive.

There was the hiring freeze. And the FTC lawsuit. And the pushy memos that seemed to indicate the company is having a hard time getting even its own employees to use the virtual reality products that are supposed to be its future.

A year into its wildly ambitious rebrand and push toward developing the metaverse, how far has Meta come — and what does it all mean for our (potential) virtual future?

It’s an article of faith in the tech world that Meta and the metaverse are not the same thing. A shared 3D internet can develop with or without Mark Zuckerberg. But the ups and downs of the company most associated with the idea are a pretty good indicator of some of the emerging tension points — and possibly a hint at where we’re all heading.

One big question is whether the metaverse will really just be a bunch of corporate bubbles, walled-off Zuckerbergian virtual Walt Disney Worlds built to capture ad money or subscription dollars. The fear that Meta will drive things in that direction is widespread,, but a year into its development project, it’s not clear at all that’s happening — or, if it is, it’s not Zuckerberg pushing in that direction. Meta has enthusiastically joined groups like the Metaverse Standards Forum, meant to smooth out development kinks for VR tech across platforms and companies, and announced a couple of big collaborations with would-be competitors at yesterday’s event.

I spoke yesterday with Matthew Kanterman, formerly a metaverse-focused researcher for Bloomberg and now the director of research for the entrepreneur Matthew Ball’s metaverse-focused ETF.

“Seeing even [an organization] like Meta, which historically has built kind of walled gardens, work with partners like Microsoft or Accenture and talk about interoperability and how they can open up their platform to other developers is really encouraging,” he said.

On the contrary, it’s fellow tech giants Google and Apple that have so far declined to join organizations like the Metaverse Standards Forum and kept their VR-focused cards close to their chest.

Kanterman, a believer in the interoperable vision of the metaverse laid out in Ball’s influential online “primer” and recent book, described how the lines of conflict and competition are being drawn and where they might lead.

“This is the existential and almost theological debate that's going on, and I do think they need to open up,” Kanterman said, invoking the relatively open platform of Roblox as a point of comparison. “If they want to make it a destination not just for people to hang out, but for creators to build stuff, they need to open up, make it open standards-based, and make the technology available to as many people as possible.”

If there’s a more profit-minded incentive for Meta to play nice in a way not traditionally common to American business, it might be because the tech giant needs more gamers to boost its bottom line. Amid the company’s current financial woes, another major announcement the company made yesterday was that it would be bringing Microsoft’s game library to its VR headsets — especially notable given Microsoft’s acquisition of the video game giant Activision Blizzard earlier this year.

“That's a really powerful draw for a lot of people to buy the headsets and come into the ecosystem, and it was unexpected,” Kanterman said.

So as Meta might be leading the pack with its branding and willingness to dump billions of dollars into research for a product it’s not at all certain a large number of people might actually use yet, its success might be contingent on bringing companies that could change that equation along for the ride — not totally subsuming them, like the FTC has accused them of doing with a workout app company.

In this model, Meta spends its vast hoard to build the powerful technology necessary for the metaverse while other companies agree to share the components that will make people actually want to spend time there, everyone becoming very rich in the process.

In that light, Meta’s move to dominate the metaverse is starting to look like something very different from a prime mover seeking out a monopoly, but not altogether unheard of in American business history: A collective action project.

business and ai

The White House’s new “AI Bill of Rights” has a somewhat unexpectedly vocal critic: The Chamber of Commerce.

As POLITICO’s Brendan Bordelon reported first in Morning Tech today for Pro subscribers, the Chamber sent a letter to the Office of Science and Technology Policy yesterday protesting that the voluntary principles the document sets out could lead to a slew of confusing or conflicting state and local regulations — specifically that policymakers are “in danger of recreating the dreaded ‘patchwork’ of state privacy laws,” as Brendan wrote. (They’re also, somewhat more predictably, unhappy with the amount of industry feedback the White House incorporated, saying in the letter that the process “lacked the openness and transparency necessary to receive sufficient stakeholder input about these complex issues.”)

In Friday’s edition of DFD, the AI researcher Oren Etzioni, a member of the Biden Administration’s National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force, emphasized that the principles in the so-called “Bill of Rights” are “neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive” — exactly, it seems, the kind of ambiguity that’s worrying the companies hoping to put AI-powered products on the market.

the world takes on crypto

The Group of 20 meeting in Washington this week is well underway, and there’s been no shortage of the promised crypto recommendations from global finance regulators.

Most notably, the Financial Stability Board — set up in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis — thinks that the massive crypto exchanges like Binance or FTX that offer multiple types of financial products deserve a closer look from regulators, as laid out in a nearly 80-page document the board published yesterday.

Along with a list of eight other recommendations that would bring the crypto market more in line with traditional finance, the FSB recommends “crypto-asset service providers that combine multiple functions and activities… [should be] subject to regulation, supervision and oversight that comprehensively address the risks associated with individual functions as well as the risks arising from the combination of functions.”

Which is a mouthful, but pretty much in line with the recommendations of tough-talking crypto skeptics in Washington — including the Treasury’s Financial Stability Oversight Council, which made similar recommendations in a report earlier this month.

the future in 5 links

Stay in touch with the whole team: Ben Schreckinger ([email protected]); Derek Robertson ([email protected]); Steve Heuser ([email protected]); and Benton Ives ([email protected]). Follow us @DigitalFuture on Twitter.

Ben Schreckinger covers tech, finance and politics for POLITICO; he is an investor in cryptocurrency.

If you’ve had this newsletter forwarded to you, you can sign up and read our mission statement at the links provided.

Wed, 12 Oct 2022 08:00:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : The Biggest Threat To America’s Global Dominance In Software & Services Isn’t China—It’s Washington.

There’s a reason why the U.S. government publishes both a national security strategy and a national defense strategy. The security strategy is a public document that encompasses all the instruments of national power. The defense strategy is largely secret and focuses on the military instrument.

Some politicians and pundits seem to think military might is synonymous with national security, but economic strength is at least as important—in part because it provides the resources for a world-class military. As President Biden stated in his Interim National Security Strategic Guidance last year, “in today’s world, economic security is national security.”

The Biden guidance makes clear that national security depends on staying ahead during an era of unprecedented technological change—a revolution “that poses both peril and promise.” Biden and former President Trump have both tended to equate economic competitiveness with manufacturing, perhaps because the U.S. has lost so many manufacturing jobs to Asia in recent decades.

The good news is that the U.S. seems to be experiencing a renaissance in high-end manufacturing. Semiconductor fabs, electric-vehicle battery factories, and other sources of high-tech manufacturing are sprouting across the nation. More of Apple’s AAPL suppliers are opening sites in the U.S. There is even a new domestic mine for extracting the cobalt used in EV batteries—the first such operation on U.S. soil in decades.

The bad news is that even as bipartisan coalitions in Washington pass laws to bolster investment in high-end manufacturing, they are threatening another front in the technology war—the nation’s hugely innovative complex of enterprises engaged in providing cutting-edge software and digital services.

The biggest companies in that sector are regularly ranked among the world’s most innovative enterprises, in a way that U.S. manufacturers typically are not. The Boston Consulting Group ranks Apple, Alphabet, Amazon AMZN and Microsoft MSFT as the leading global innovators, and each one of them is concentrated mainly on generating software and services.

It isn’t that they don’t market hardware. Apple’s iPhone is a ubiquitous cultural phenomenon, at least in America. But the companies generally don’t make their hardware, they outsource the manufacturing to concentrate on software and services that maximize the utility of the hardware.

That fosters a different competitive dynamic in software and services than prevails in manufacturing, because the development cycles are so compressed. Consider the difference between developing a new turbofan engine and breakthroughs in advanced software and digital services.

It took Raytheon’s Pratt & Whitney unit 20 years and $10 billion to bring its transformational geared turbofan to market. During the same period of time, Alphabet’s Google GOOG unit introduced a search engine that currently claims nine-tenths of global traffic; invented Android, the dominant (75% market share) operating system for smartphones; launched Gmail service; created Google Maps; developed the Chrome web browser; and brought to market Google Video, now part its YouTube business.

All of the aforementioned innovations pioneered by Google unfolded over a period of about ten years. Compare that with the time it takes to develop and market a major manufacturing innovation, whether it be a turbofan engine or an electric vehicle or a new drug.

The point being that the pace of change in high-end software and services is furious, probably the fastest rate of breakthrough innovation in the history of civilization. Success requires scale, agility, receptive capital markets and supportive government policies.

Three out of four isn’t enough, and recently it has become fashionable in Washington for both parties to attack what is probably America’s most dynamic economic sector. The conservative critique is grounded mainly in a complaint about content bias. The progressive complaint is more basic; when you strip away the details, it seems that what Biden administration regulators object to most is simple bigness—what a casual observer might interpret as a reflection of success in the marketplace.

Traditionally, antitrust regulators were concerned with how much money companies charged consumers for their products, on the assumption that high prices reflected a lack of competition. That approach won’t work with a Facebook or Google, because they charge nothing for many of their services. So instead, regulators focus on more nebulous, speculative concerns.

For instance, the Federal Trade Commission is currently seeking to block Facebook’s parent, Meta Platforms FB , from acquiring a provider of virtual-reality fitness games because it fears the company wants to dominate the Metaverse. The company says the agency’s case is based on “ideology, not evidence.”

This is of a piece with federal efforts to force a Meta divestiture of Instagram. At the time then-Facebook acquired the company, it had a grand total of 13 employees. It subsequently became much bigger thanks to Facebook’s skillful marketing of the service, so now regulators think the enterprise needs to be broken up.

Once you decide bigness alone is a criterion for antitrust actions, there’s no limit to where regulators might go. Take Amazon Web Services (a contributor to my think tank). It is the world’s most successful provider of cloud computing, offering 200 services in 190 countries.

You can’t take the company to court for its prices: the company has lowered prices on average once every 97 days for the last four years. But if you think mere bigness is adequate basis for concern, then potentially the market leader would be in your crosshairs.

The question policymakers should be asking themselves is how such an approach to regulation helps America to stay ahead in the global race for technological dominance. The short answer is that it doesn’t. It actively undermines a sector that is critical to national security—especially in an era when, as the president puts it, “economic security is national security.”

Washington, and the Biden administration in particular, need to rethink the relationship between federal regulatory policies and national-security objectives.

Mon, 10 Oct 2022 02:05:00 -0500 Loren Thompson en text/html
Killexams : The Biden administration acknowledges biological reality

To President Joe Biden’s administration , men are men, and women are women — at least in one instance.

While Biden may be a part of the political party that thinks gender is limitless and people are whatever they say they are at any given moment, the administration doesn't allow woke gender ideology to interfere with one thing: the military draft.


The official Selective Service Twitter account reminded the public of its policy via Twitter last week.

"Parents, if your son is an only son and the last male in your family to carry the family name, he is still required to register with SSS,” the account tweeted . “Learn more about who needs to register at .”

The strangeness of the tweet aside, the link said, among other things, that men who say they are women between ages 18 and 25 must register for the draft.

"US citizens or immigrants who are born male and changed their gender to female are still required to register,” the site reads . “Individuals who are born female and changed their gender to male are not required to register."

Whether or not the United States should have Selective Service and whether or not individuals suffering from gender dysphoria should serve in the military are subjects worthy of debate. However, this one policy, at least, is consistent.

The country’s Selective Service policy recognizes biological reality. If someone has XX chromosomes and female genitalia, she is a woman, and if someone has XY chromosomes and male genitalia, he is a man.

If someone calls himself a transgender woman, that doesn’t make him a woman. It makes him a man, likely with gender dysphoria, who wishes he was a woman. Yet a man cannot become a woman, and vice versa. No matter what cosmetic surgeries one undergoes or what hormones one takes, one cannot change biology.

Sometimes, government entities pretend that people can change their gender, and this causes societal problems. It is how men end up using women-only spaces such as locker rooms and dominating women’s sports .

However, Selective Service isn’t one of those instances in which the government ignores biology. For once, the government embraces it.


Tom Joyce ( @TomJoyceSports ) is a political reporter for the New Boston Post in Massachusetts.

Tue, 11 Oct 2022 09:08:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Graphcore value crashes by $1bn after Microsoft deal is axed

Anthony P Adams, emeritus professor of anaesthetics, University of London, 86; William Anders, Apollo 8 astronaut (the first lunar orbit mission) who took the iconic image Earthrise in 1968, 89; Sir David Butler, social scientist, psephologist (co-inventor of the swingometer) and author, 98; Jess Carter, footballer, Chelsea WFC and member of the Euro 2022-winning England national squad, 25; Michael Eavis, founder (1970), Glastonbury Festival, 87; Shaun Edwards, rugby league player, now rugby union coach (France, defence), 56; Ernie Els, golfer, Open champion (2002, 2012), 53; Eminem, rapper and actor, 8 Mile (2002), 50; Alan Garner, children’s author, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960), 88; Mark Gatiss, actor and writer, Doctor Who (2005-17), Sherlock (2010-17), 56; Wyclef Jean, singer, the Fugees, Killing Me Softly (1996), 53; Mae C Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel in space (space shuttle Endeavour, 1992), 66; Felicity Jones, actress, The Theory of Everything (2014), 39; Stephen Kovacevich, pianist, 82; Graeme Le Saux, footballer, Chelsea (1989-93, 1997-2003) and England (1994-2000), 54; Paul Lindley, founder of organic baby food company Ella’s Kitchen, 56; Matthew Macfadyen, actor, Spooks (2002-11), Howards End (2017), Succession (since 2018), 48; Sir Cameron Mackintosh, musical producer, Cats (1981), Les Misérables (2012), 76; Kerry James Marshall, artist, known for his paintings of black figures, 67; Rob Marshall, film director, Chicago (2002), 62; Craig Murray, writer, broadcaster and UK ambassador (Uzbekistan, 2002-04), 64; Patrick Ness, writer, A Monster Calls (2011), 51; Kimi Raikkonen, racing driver, Formula One world champion (2007), 43; Sophy Ridge, broadcaster and writer, The Women Who Shaped Politics (2017), 38; Gawn Rowan Hamilton, lord Lieutenant of Co Down, 54; Philippe Sands KC, professor of laws, University College London, and author, The Last Colony: A Tale of Exile, Justice and Britain’s Colonial Legacy (2022), 62.

Sat, 08 Oct 2022 06:00:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : These 10 Dividend Growing Stocks Are Crushing Social Security’s 8.7% Cost Of Living Adjustment Broadcom's dividend payments have grown almost 30-fold in the last 10 years. Getty Images © Provided by Forbes Broadcom's dividend payments have grown almost 30-fold in the last 10 years. Getty Images

Social security recipients are getting some relief from rising inflation next year with an 8.7% raise to their monthly payments, the Social Security Administration announced Thursday. It’s the largest cost-of-living adjustment since 1981, but if you are an investor looking for stocks whose dividends are growing at an even faster rate than 8.7% per year, Forbes found more than 50 with market capitalizations over $1 billion that fit the bill.

Investors in San Jose-based chipmaker BroadcomAVGO are receiving $16.40 per share in annual dividends, up from just 56 cents per share 10 years ago. That 2,800% cumulative increase represents 40% compounded annual growth during that span. Broadcom’s sterling 1,200% stock returns in the last decade explain a portion of its increasing generosity in paying dividends, though it has hiked its payouts at an even faster rate than its market value’s appreciation. Its 3.8% dividend yield now is more than double its 1.7% yield 10 years ago.

No public company in the U.S. has raised its dividend by nearly as much as Broadcom in the last 10 years, but many have been more generous than Uncle Sam. Including next year’s 8.7% increase, retirees have still only banked a 2.55% annual compounded increase in the last 10 social security cost-of-living adjustments, good for a 28.6% cumulative gain. Imagine your social security COLA wasn’t just 8.7% this year, but every year for the last 10. That means if you were getting $1,000 per month 10 years ago, you’d be getting about $2,300 each month next year, instead of the $1,286 you’ll receive in reality.

You don’t have to be 70 years old to be doing better than that. Big names like MicrosoftMSFT, VisaV, Cisco and Lockheed MartinLMT have all provided double-digit annual growth in dividend payments since 2012. Many of those hikes have just kept pace with gains in their share prices–the S&P 500 Index is still up 157% in the last 10 years, or 9.9% compounded annually–so there’s no ensure the next decade will bring more of the same. Below are 10 stocks with dividend yields higher than 3% and market capitalizations of at least $1 billion. All of them have declined year-to-date, but all have decade-long annual dividend growth rates of more than the 8.7% COLA figure, according to Factset data.

Thu, 13 Oct 2022 08:38:00 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : The US is reportedly preparing to relax sanctions on Venezuela to let Chevron pump oil there, as hostilities with OPEC+ build President Joe Biden. AP Photo/Evan Vucci © Provided by Business Insider President Joe Biden. AP Photo/Evan Vucci
  • The US is looking at easing sanctions on Venezuela so that Chevron can pump more oil there, per the WSJ. 
  • The proposed deal comes after OPEC+ agreed to cut daily oil production by 2 million barrels a day. 
  • One analyst told Insider the deal could bring a "substantial" amount of oil to the market. 

The White House is looking at relaxing some sanctions on Venezuela so that Chevron can pump more oil there, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the proposal.

The news comes after OPEC+ shrugged off US calls for its crude producers not to cut output, prompting a fierce response from the Biden administration.

If the proposed deal becomes reality, Chevron and other US oil companies would be allowed to operate in Venezuela again, the WSJ reported.

OPEC and its allies agreed Wednesday to slash oil production targets by 2 million barrels a day from November, despite a behind-the-scenes push by the Biden administration to persuade them otherwise. Analysts called the decision a political blow against the president.

The White House is concerned the cuts could drive up gasoline prices for American drivers ahead of the midterm elections, and could supply Russia's battered economy a boost. It called the OPEC+ move "shortsighted", and one US official said the administration was "having a spasm and panicking," CNN reported.

"It's clear that OPEC+ is aligning with Russia with today's announcement," White House spokesperson Karin Jean-Pierre said, per media reports. The White House did not immediately respond to an Insider request for comment.

Many analysts say OPEC+ is more focused on bolstering crude prices, which have trended lower in recent months thanks to worries a looming global recession could hit demand for oil.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark price, were down slightly at $93.27 a barrel early Thursday, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures were also edging lower at $87.63 a barrel. 

It's not clear how much oil could enter the market if the deal goes through, as Venezuela's oil industry has been hurt by underinvestment and mismanagement, OANDA analyst Craig Erlam told Insider.

The amount could be substantial, he said, pointing to a US-led effort to limit the price paid for Russian oil and oil products.

"Any deal could provide some relief in the market at a time when a price cap on Russian crude threatens its output levels and OPEC+ is intent on squeezing the market," he said. 

The proposed deal between the US and Venezuela would ease the sanctions in return for political concessions from President Nicolás Maduro's government, the WSJ reported. His regime would need to rekindle suspended talks with its political opposition about free and fair presidential elections, it said.

But US officials warned the deal could still fall through, if Maduro's government doesn't follow through.

In addition, the White House said it has no plans to change its policy on sanctions against Venezuela without "constructive steps" by the country's regime, Reuters reported.

"Our sanctions policy on Venezuela remains unchanged. We will continue to implement and enforce our Venezuela sanctions," Adrienne Watson, a National Security Council spokesperson, said in a statement to Reuters.

Talks between the US and Venezuela on easing sanctions, begun by the Trump administration in 2019, have been in progress since Russia invaded Ukraine as the US looked to secure new sources of energy. Both countries held their first high-level bilateral talks in years on March 5. which involved discussions on a temporary easing.

Wed, 05 Oct 2022 22:27:23 -0500 en-US text/html
Killexams : Meta unveils $1,500 Quest Pro virtual reality headset

Meta unveils its new Quest Pro virtual reality headset at a price of $1,500. Photo courtesy of Meta

Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Meta chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg showed off his company's latest virtual reality headset on Tuesday at the Meta Connect 2022 conference, as he revealed its $1,500 price tag.

The Meta Quest Pro, which contains new technologies to produce better graphics for fine text and virtual reality details, costs $1,100 more than the company's existing Quest 2 headset.

"The VR revolution is underway. We've designed an all-new headset packed with advanced tech and geared for productivity, creative work and collaboration," Meta Quest tweeted Tuesday as it announced Meta Quest Pro's Oct. 25 release date.

Quest produces Meta's line of virtual reality headsets, including the Meta Quest 2, which contains the Snapdragon XR2 chipset made by Qualcomm.

Last month, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, announced it had joined forces with tech giant Qualcomm to develop custom chipsets for its virtual reality products.

The companies said they would "collaborate on a new era of spatial computing" with the help of Qualcomm's "extended reality" technology feature called Snapdragon, which produces 3D immersive experiences through the use of a futuristic headset.

The devices are said to have the effect of completely closing off the outside world by merging physical and digital imagery.

Last year, Facebook rebranded its parent name to Meta to emphasize the company's new future direction toward the meta verse, a term that describes an augmented digital reality where people will work and live alongside their existence in the real world.

During Tuesday's reveal, Meta touted the Quest Pro's improved touch controllers that contain embedded sensors to allow for better hand tracking. New lenses will also Boost reading experiences.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella even teamed up with Zuckerberg at Meta's online event to discuss bringing the company's apps, like the Team's chat app and Microsoft's Xbox cloud gaming service, into virtual reality.

"You will be able to play 2D games with your Xbox controller projected on a massive screen on Quest," Nadella said. "It's early days, but we're excited for what's to come."

Tue, 11 Oct 2022 14:03:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : The Dumb and Dumber Administration

Americans are starting to realize that their country is in serious trouble. After 20+ months of President Joe Biden and his ill-advised policies, multiple crises are impacting the nation. 

When Biden assumed office, the nation’s economy was strong. There was minimal inflation, strong economic growth, a robust stock market, and low-interest rates. Today, we have a 40-year high inflation rate, negative economic growth, a recession, a bearish stock market, and the highest interest rates since 2008. 

Biden inherited a county that was energy independent, but, today, we are once again dependent on foreign nations and depleting our Strategic Petroleum Reserve to keep gasoline prices from spiraling out of control. Biden declared war on our domestic oil and gas industry, putting moratoriums on drilling in this country while begging Saudi Arabia for increased production. 

At the end of the Trump administration, the southern border was secure, and a security wall was being erected. After taking office, Biden immediately ended the construction of the border wall and opened our nation to illegal immigration.

Millions of illegal aliens have crossed the border since January 2021, breaking records. It is such a crisis that former President Bill Clinton noted that the country cannot manage such an influx. In a recent CNN interview, he said, “There is a limit to how many migrants any society can take without severe disruption and assistance.”

When Bill Clinton begins to criticize the Biden administration it is an admission that the country is seriously on the wrong track. It is a reason so many Democratic candidates on the ballot in the midterm election are not interested in campaigning with President Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris. 

The reality is that Americans are scared and angry and want change. Incredibly, Biden continues to insist the economy is strong, claiming that “The great American jobs machine continues to come back. American workers are back to work.”

While a 3.7% unemployment rate is good, wages are not keeping pace with the inflation rate. The increasing interest rates are supposed to tame inflation, but the negative effects include causing both credit card debt and mortgages to skyrocket, thereby making it more difficult to purchase a home. It is little wonder that the real estate industry is suffering, with home sales 20% below last year’s level. 

All this negative economic news is souring the mood of investors and the stock market has turned negative. On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell below 29,000 for the first time since November 2020. This marks an 8.8% decline in just a month of September. 

In contrast to Biden’s misplaced optimism, there is nothing positive on the economic horizon. Inflation will not be tamed soon, especially since the Biden administration refuses to instill any fiscal discipline. The signature bills passed by Congress in the Biden administration have been extremely costly, adding to our national debt, which nears $31 trillion

With massive spending bills passed that require more borrowing, inflation will continue to be a problem. Until there is a change in leadership in Congress and the White House, there will be no appetite for any adjustment in our fiscal policies. 

On Friday, Biden signed another stopgap spending measure that funds the continued operation of the federal government in the short term and includes another $12.3 billion in aid for Ukraine. While the United States sends a steady stream of funding to Ukraine, our borders remain open, our cities have become crime hellholes and over 100,000 Americans are dying each year from drug overdoses, exacerbated by the Chinese fentanyl pouring into our country from Mexico. 

None of these problems seem to matter to Biden and Harris. They are not panic about the economy but seem to be focused on issues such as abortion and “right-wing extremism.” Instead, there is much more violence committed by unhinged liberals. For example, in McHenry, North Dakota, a deranged motorist, Shannon Brandt, was charged with murder after he used his vehicle to kill a young man, Cayler Ellingson, who he believed was a “Republican extremist.” 

Sadly, Biden and Harris are not interested in dealing with the harsh reality that their policies have created. As Americans have noticed for months, Biden does not have a firm grasp on reality at all. On Wednesday, at a White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, he asked “Where’s Jackie? I thought she was going to be here.” 

Of course, U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-IN) could not be there since she died in an automobile accident in August. Supposedly, Biden knew she died and sent a condolence note to her family. He forgot about her death in the span of a few weeks. 

Biden’s mental incompetence is getting worse. Often, he looks lost after finishing speeches and extends his hand to greet a person only he can see. 

Vice President Harris offers her own set of problems. This week, during a visit to the Demilitarized Zone in the Korean peninsula, she mistakenly praised our country’s “alliance with the Republic of North Korea.” On Friday, at a Democratic Party forum, Harris asserted that the federal government should be “giving resources based on equity.” 

This claim, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, was denounced by Florida officials. An assistant to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Christina Pushaw, blasted Harris and noted that “FEMA Individual Assistance is already available to all Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian, regardless of race or background.”

Thus, Biden is mentally incompetent, and Harris is the “word salad” queen. Some are calling for the removal of Biden via the 25th Amendment. Ideally, Republicans should demand that Biden submits to a mental competency test. If he fails and is removed, he will be replaced by Harris, a chilling prospect. 

No matter how embarrassing his behavior, Biden remains in office, for the foolish Vice President is his best insurance policy. Unfortunately, America is stuck between a rock and a hard place as our troubles continue to mount. 

Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award-winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs Saturdays from Noon until 1 p.m. CT nationally on Real America's Voice TV Network & AmericasVoice.News and weekdays from 7-11 a.m. CT on WGSO 990-AM & He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance, and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and For more information, email him at

Sun, 02 Oct 2022 16:06:00 -0500 en text/html
Killexams : Reality Winner finds Trump’s Mar-a-Lago documents case ‘incredibly ironic’

Reality Winner, the intelligence contractor who served more than four years in prison for leaking a report on Russian interference in the 2016 US election, has said she finds accusations that Donald Trump mishandled sensitive documents “incredibly ironic”, given her prosecution under his administration.

An FBI search of the former president’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida last month found more than 300 classified documents.

Speaking to NBC News, Winner, 30, said: “It is incredibly ironic, and I would just let the justice department sort it out.”

Winner added that it “wasn’t hard to believe” Trump held on to classified documents.

Reflecting on her own prison sentence, she said: “What I did when I broke the law was a political act at a very politically charged time.”

Winner also said she did not believe Trump should go to prison. She did not comment further on whether the former president should face charges under the Espionage Act, as she did in 2017.

“This is not a case where I expect to see any prison time,” Winner said, “and I’m just fine with that.”

Winner was released early, on good behavior, in June 2021.

While working as a national security contractor in Fort Gordon, Georgia, in 2017, Winner printed out a document that detailed how Russian military officials hacked into at least one provider of voting software and attempted to breach at least 100 local election systems during the 2016 election.

The document was labeled “Top Secret”.

Winner took the document, which was later reported by the Intercept. An hour after the article was published, Winner was arrested at her Texas home and charged under the Espionage Act, a law created during the first world war.

Under a plea deal, Winner was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison, the longest sentence ever given for leaking government information to the media.

In an earlier interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes, Winner said that her motivation to leak came from deception around Russian interference in US elections.

“The truth wasn’t true any more,” said Winner, who served in the US air force from 2010 to 2016. “The public was being lied to.”

Winner is under probation until November 2024. She is not allowed to leave southern Texas, has a curfew and must note any interaction with the media.

She is working as a CrossFit coach, NBC reported, and advocates for alternatives to prison for those found guilty of committing a crime.

Winner’s interview with NBC came days after the 6 September death of the NSA’s most damaging leaker, Ronald Pelton, who in an unrelated case spent three decades in prison for selling government secrets to the Soviet Union during the cold war.

Thu, 15 Sep 2022 09:10:00 -0500 Gloria Oladipo en text/html
Killexams : The Complicated Popularity of Net-Zero Emissions Climate Targets

Germany Plans 40 New Coal-Fired Power Plants

A loan wind turbine spins as exhaust plumes from cooling towers at the Jaenschwalde lignite coal-fired power station, owned by Vatenfall, April 12, 2007 in Jaenschwalde, Germany. Credit - Sean Gallup—Getty Images

When the Exploratorium science museum in San Francisco announced in 2012 that it planned to reach net-zero at its waterfront home, no one expected that seagull droppings would become part of the equation.

But that’s just what happened after the museum installed enough solar panel arrays to provide 80% of the building’s electricity needs—piles of gull guano reduced energy generation by up to 15%. “A seagull dropping in the wrong spot can turn off a whole panel,” says Shani Krevsky, project director for campus facilities at the Exploratorium. For the museum, seagulls were just one of the many variables involved in the complex accounting problem that is net-zero.

Whether it’s a public learning laboratory, nonprofit organization, small business, corporation, or government doing the math, achieving net-zero involves balancing an equation. On one side of the equation is the amount of greenhouse gas entering the atmosphere from sources such as energy and transportation; on the other is the amount taken out by sinks, such as plants and technological methods like carbon capture and storage. Though CCS is a promising technology, the world’s current capacity for carbon storage (40 million metric tons) is just one-thousandth of annual greenhouse gas emissions (40.8 billion metric gigatons), so pathways to net-zero primarily depend on emitting less.

Some related terms to net-zero include carbon neutral, zero carbon, and carbon negative. Carbon neutral is sometimes used as a synonym for net-zero, but it can exclude other greenhouse gasses like methane; zero carbon means getting rid of all carbon dioxide emissions without the need for sinks; and carbon negative (also called climate positive) is an ambitious goal that involves capturing more carbon than one emits.

‘A Straightforward Proposition’

Net-zero is ideally a global goal. When the equation balances worldwide, global warming will plateau—so the world should aim to reach net-zero before temperatures rise beyond the 1.5 degree Celsius increase from pre-industrial levels set as a target in the 2015 Paris Agreement. To avoid the worst consequences of climate change, the deadline is 2050, according to international scientific consensus highlighted in the 2021 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

Read more: The World’s Top Carbon Emitters Now All Have Net Zero Pledges. Most of Them Are Too Vague

In reality, there is no global authority that can compel the world to meet this deadline, though the United Nations is doing its best to encourage commitments. Net-zero efforts are therefore a patchwork of governments, companies, and organizations of all sizes. The more that sign on (including small businesses and nonprofits), the more feasible the global goal becomes.

When a country announces it wants to reach net-zero, it’s referring to emissions within its borders. More than 70 countries have announced net-zero targets, though only a handful have legally bound themselves to these commitments with legislation, including the European Union, Japan, Canada, and the United Kingdom. (In most cases, it’s unclear how these governments will enforce their own legislation against themselves.) Governments can work toward these goals by spending money on renewable energy and other infrastructure needed to move away from fossil fuels, reinforcing the electric grid, and passing laws that encourage electric vehicles and other low-emission technology, among other legislation.

The United States has not passed a formal net-zero commitment, but the Biden administration has expressed a goal to reach net-zero by 2050. Last year, the Net-Zero America project at Princeton University published a report outlining five possible ways to achieve that goal. Some models depend primarily on switching to renewable energy, while others include nuclear power and a major expansion of carbon capture technology. All are technically feasible but involve expanding infrastructure at an unprecedented rate, especially the electrical grid, which will see a huge increase in demand with a shift to electric cars, heating systems, and other appliances. This will involve up-front costs, but “there’s a lot more jobs in a net-zero future than there are in a sort of business-as-usual,” says Eric Larson, co-author of the study and senior research engineer at Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.

Companies, organizations, and institutions can also announce net-zero targets, usually referring to emissions associated with their operations. Over 5,000 businesses, including major multinationals like Unilever and Maersk, have committed to reaching net-zero by 2050 through the United Nations Race To Zero campaign, along with over 400 large investors. Some Race to Zero participants have also announced more ambitious goals, such as Microsoft’s plan to become carbon negative by 2030 and to remove the equivalent of its historic carbon emissions by 2050.

Read more: The Problem With Corporate Net-Zero Emissions Goals

Investor pressure is one of the main reasons for companies to reduce their carbon emissions, says Kirsten Snow Spalding, senior program director of the Ceres Investor Network, a network of 220 institutional investors managing more than $60 trillion. The investor network is part of the Boston-based sustainability nonprofit Ceres and is a founding partner of the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative.

“For investors, I think this is a straightforward proposition: It’s about risk and return,” Spalding says. Companies may lose money due to carbon taxes and other regulatory risks if they don’t decarbonize, as well as physical and reputational risks. “They’re not climate activists. They’re trying to deal with a global economic problem, one that has real financial consequences.”

Accounting for the Carbon

Carbon taxes, which require companies to pay a predetermined rate based on their emissions, are a form of carbon pricing, a hallmark of some regulatory frameworks for reaching net-zero. Cap-and-trade is another form; it sets a limit on greenhouse gasses and allows companies that don’t meet that limit to sell their extra carbon credits to other companies. There are various regional cap-and-trade systems in place around the world, including three in the U.S. that involve 23 states, as well as the EU Emissions Trading System, and pilot programs in several Chinese cities.

Then there’s the offset market, a market-based form of carbon pricing that can exist either with regulatory oversight (mandatory) or without (voluntary). With offsets, companies can pay for carbon credits that represent a greenhouse gas reduction somewhere else in the world and subtract the amount from their own emissions. Sometimes this means paying for carbon capture and storage. Other times an offset involves efforts like planting trees, protecting a stretch of rainforest, or paying another company to emit less in the future. Companies often use offsets to help achieve their emissions targets, but some offsets, especially in the voluntary market, have been criticized for being difficult to measure or allowing companies to meet their goals without bringing the world closer to net-zero.

“Carbon pricing could actually be a solution to so much,” says Vinay Shandal, who leads the climate and sustainability practice for North America at the big-three firm Boston Consulting Group. “But how do I verify it? How do I measure it? How do I confirm it will stay there forever? … That’s why carbon accounting and reporting matter.”

Read more: Carbon Credits Should Be One of Our Best Tools to Fight Climate Change—If We Use Them Right

Reporting, regulatory frameworks, and corporate commitments will all be key to achieving net-zero by 2050, which the UN says the world is far from achieving, taking into account all the commitments made by countries that signed the Paris Agreement. But it will also involve countless individual commitments and compromises: farmers allowing wind energy providers to use their land, homeowners accepting electric ranges and heat pumps, and facilities managers figuring out how to keep birds from defecating on the solar panels. At the Exploratorium, bird deterrent filaments did the trick.

For Krevsky, working on the edge of the San Francisco Bay, the reasons to care about net-zero are clear. “We are on the waterfront, so we’ll be on the frontlines of sea level rise in the coming years,” she says. “So showing smart development and good design practices that help enable energy efficiency is paramount.”

This article is part of a series on key syllabus in the climate crisis for and, a division of TIME that helps companies reduce their impact on the planet. For more information, go to

Sun, 16 Oct 2022 23:00:00 -0500 en-CA text/html
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