The Mysterious Alvin Greene Chronicles

July 10, 2010

As it turns out, Alvin Greene, former Senate candidate from South Carolina, actually paid his own candidate filing fee.  Democrats, many of whom though Greene was a Republican plant, should be ashamed of themselves.  Mr. Greene saved his money, and then applied his savings to a pursuit he truly thought worthwhile.  I hope the Democrats refund Mr. Greene’s fee, especially since the state party made him stop his campaign.


He said wha?!

July 2, 2010

The New York Times reported on superlobbyist Tony Podesta.

Remember that presidential campaign? Yeah, the one in 2008 between John McCain and Barack Obama? Right, well you remember when Obama said he was bringing “the politics of change” to Washington?  Remember when Mr. Obama promised that he would end the era of special-interest-dominated politics? Well…keep reading.

NYT writes “Revenue for the more than 11,000 federal lobbyists rose 5 percent last year, to more than $3.5 billion, and fees at the Podesta Group have more than doubled since 2006, to $25.7 million last year, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.”

That 5 percent ain’t inflation my friends.

I find it amusing that the lobbying life is one of a parasite.

President Obama came to Washington promising an era of change, a diminished role for all those “special interests,” but the harder he pushes his legislative agenda, the broader it becomes, the more incentive lobbyists and special interests have to act.

Historically vilified, lobbyist provide a crucial conduit of information between government insiders and those affect by the archane regulations and legislation that flow forth from Washington. Far from the backroom bribery that is generally associated with the trade, lobbying more often provides a service; a two-way door of information. Those outside of government want to know how legislation is going to affect them, for better or worse. Those inside government (generally) want to know how to better craft legislation or whether or not they have good ideas. Lobbyists fill this void.

As surely as the only way to reduce debt is to stop spending, is it possible, that the only way to reduce the power of special interests is to give them fewer bills to influence?


Logic Bombs, Cyberwarfare, and Brent Crude

July 2, 2010

This little snippet comes from NPR, or as we like to call it back East, National Public Radio.

“Perhaps the earliest example of this kind of warfare [Cyber] resulted in a massive explosion at a Siberian oil pipeline in 1982 that was witnessed by U.S. surveillance satellites.

According to former Air Force Secretary Thomas Reed, the Soviets had stolen computer control software for the pipeline from Canada but were unaware that the CIA had encoded a “logic bomb” in the programming that “after a decent interval … reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to pipeline joints and welds.” Ouch.”

I don’t know whats better, the fact that Russia stole something from Canada, or that the CIA had encoded Canadian software with a logic bomb.  Either way, the result was…explosive?

Timely reporting though especially after the Guardian reported a drunk commodities trader managed to trade so many oil futures contracts that he mislead the market about the  supply, demand, and price of crude oil.  Oh the power! Nothing quite like some heavy day drinking followed by heavy night trading.

As the world becomes more interconnected we need to pay closer attention to how we handle cyber security.  These incidents highlight the ease with which a few people can shape global events.

NOTE: American Travisty does not support drinking and trading.  Logic bombing Russia via Canada, well, that is something we can get behind.