February 26, 2009

Weekly Summary: Week Eight

Letter from the Editor
Morality and law, the public would like the Christian religion to stay out of both, but this always has negative results.

News Clips, February 24
Compiled by Tobias Davis

Reaching across the aisle with empty hands
Benjamin Kantack

Taxpayers revolt against spendulus
Andrew Lacy

Internet Failure tied to DNS software
Tobias Davis

Can America afford another FDR?
Austin Hatfield

Gun laws tied to stimulus bill?
Nathan Davis

News Clips: February 24

WND.com - Scott Easterling, a U.S. soldier on active duty in Iraq, has called President Obama an "impostor", stating that "As an active duty officer in the United States Army, I have grave concerns about the constitutional eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama to hold the office of the president of the United States." The statement was publicized by California attorney Orly Taitz who had advised Easterling to obtain additional legal counsel before making any statements regarding the commander-in-chief, but Easterling insisted on moving forward. His contention is that, as an active member of the U.S. military, he is required to follow orders from a sitting president, and he needs -- on pain of court-martial -- to know that Obama is eligible. Taitz said that, although many other legal cases have been filed, courts several times have ruled that they do not have standing to issue their challenge.

CNA - In a story sounding similar to one portrayed in the movie Hotel Rwanda, the UN is once again ignoring the pleas of it's African countries. This time the massacre is just over 900 people: In the northeastern Deomcratic Republic of Congo, troops of the guerilla group LRA have massacred over 900 people in the last two months. No attention has been given to the situation from Europe, America, or the United Nations. The LRA is a Ugandan group mainly composed of child soldiers kidnapped and forced into service. The group is active in Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. A recent failed military operation against the guerilla group has been responed to by the LRA with violence against civilians, sacking and destroying entire villages and killing entire families.

TSD - Devin P. Brown, Jeffrey and Lydia Morrison, Richard Brewer, Jim and Steve Waid, Michael Schulze, Jessica Lee, Gary and Troy Green, and Zachary Hastings all have one thing in common: They are all under arrest following meth lab busts. In six independent investigations across the U.S., police officers found and arrested at least eleven people who were manufacturing meth. The total amount each group had the capability to produce several pounds each. Not surprisingly, several of the arrested had previously been charged with criminal conduct. 1 2 3 4 5

Compiled by Tobias Davis
UNL Mechanical Engineer

Letter from the Editor

Why is anyone surprised when events occur such as a fifteen year old shooting a neighborhood man "for fun", or an eleven year old killing his dad's girlfriend?

In every public school across the nation, all morals and ethics are taught as entirely relative and situational: Can you really say that Josef Fritzl, the man who imprisoned and raped his own daughter for 24 years, was absolutely wrong? Where does morality come from? Does it only come from the human mind? If so, can anything truly be absolutely wrong?

If you deny the existence of any divinely authorized morality, the only thing remaining is humanly authorized morality which is the voice of the people. But the voice of the people allow cannibalism. The voice of the people allowed Nazi-ism to flourish. In ancient Rome, the voice of the people cheered for sports where people were eaten alive by lions. The voice of the people tends to be the voice of the mob and the voice of madness.

I'll take the Christians Biblical morality any time, thanks.

-----Tobias Davis
UNL Mech. Eng. Major
Editor and Manager for the Student Newspaper

Internet failure tied to DNS software

Tobias Davis
UNL Mechanical Engineer Major

On February 23, Monday night around 9:30 pm, while browsing the Internet, multiple users in the Lincoln area experienced severe slowdown of major name web-sites: Yahoo!, Google, and Blogger were entirely inaccessible, and, of over eighty bookmarked main-stream news sites, the only two that managed to display took several minutes to load basic text. All advertising images would not display, the only good thing about this problem, and since search functions are outsourced on many sites, searching was practically impossible across the entire web.

After some research, the temporary failure of the Internet was found to be more widespread than the local city area. The cause of this Internet failure has been traced to a specialized Denial of Service (DoS) attack called DNS amplification.

In a normal DoS attack, a black-hat hacker floods a server with requests for data, this overloads the server and slows it down so much that other users cannot retrieve data. Most servers are able to handle DoS attacks, however, the DNS amplification attack is a more recent development.

The DNS server is, in a practical way, the phone book of the Internet. When you type in "google.com", that address is turned into an IP address analogous to a phone number. The DNS amplification attack makes a request for the entire "phone book" list to get sent to another server. This book is a very large list, and the transfer rate can eat up over 5 GB per second of bandwidth.

Information does not indicate that the DNS attack which slowed down the Lincoln area Internet service was from a Lincoln server. In fact, information on this issue is typically hard to acquire, since information on the failure of a DNS server against such an attack is held pretty tightly due to business investor concerns.

While DNS amplification attacks can be stopped with newly updated DNS server software, the new software requires more administration to run and has not been highly utilized. Since the software bug has not been fixed on many DNS servers, and the technique is becoming more widely used, you can expect significant delays in Internet browsing to occur more frequently.

Gun laws tied into stimulus bill?

Nathan Davis
UNL Mechanical Engineer Major

While attention has been focused on the recently passed stimulus bill H.R. 1, another bill, S. 22, has already passed the senate and is waiting for a vote from the house. The so-called “Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009” is a composition of over 150 pieces of legislation which never passed congress on their own merit. In January Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid packaged all of the bills into 1248 whole pages, twice the length of the stimulus bill, and forced it through the Senate with a vote of 73-21. 21 out of 41 Republican Senators voted against the bill, including Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE), and 19 voted for the bill. 52 out of 54 Democrat Senators voted for the bill, including Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), and none voted against the bill. A vote from the house is expected sometime this week before being signed by president Barack Obama.

While the bill looks like simply a land conservation effort, it has unneeded consequences for gun-owners. S. 22 would greatly expand the amount of land controlled by the National Park Service (NPS). NPS land is currently under a strict gun ban applying to persons who carry a concealed firearm with a permit. Non-permit holders and open carry are not explicitly addressed.

If passed, the bill would authorize the federal government to purchase land next to national parks and trails. It would also federalize the Washington-Rochambeau Trail, an approximately 600 mile trail from Rhode Island to Virginia. Both the adjacent land and the trail, which passes through sections of major highways and through cities like Boston and Philadelphia, would fall under the NPS and the gun ban. In other words, someone innocently driving down the highway next to the trail would be subject to the NPS gun ban.

Also, the bill would allow for the National Landscape Conservation System to place millions of acres of new land under one new umbrella agency. Much of this land is currently under the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service, which allow for hunting and recreational shooting, but it is unclear what regulations this new umbrella agency would set forth.

The Democrat leadership has ensured that the measure cannot be amended or altered in any way. That means that if it passes the House, it goes right to President Obama’s desk, where it will be signed into law.

This bill comes on the verge of another more overt anti-gun bill, H.R. 45, which explicitly increases regulation of gun licensing. This bill won't be finalized for a while since it has only recently been introduced and referred to the committee.

With the new administration dominated by an anti-gun Democrat majority, gun-owners have been “up in arms.” According to a press release from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), data from FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) shows that background checks for the sale of firearms had increased 42% in November, 24% in December, and 28.8% in January compared to respective months the previous year. NSSF president Steve Sanetti said in response to the surge in gun sales, “Americans are clearly concerned about their ability to be able to purchase these products in an uncertain future." And rightly so.

Can America Afford Another‭ ‬FDR‭?

Austin Hatfield
UNL Business Administration and Political Science Major

I know what you’re thinking right now. ‭ “‬Can’t afford another FDR‭?‬ ‭ ‬I thought everyone loved FDR‭!” ‬My high school history book showered him with praise. ‭ ‬The media claims Obama is the next FDR,‭ ‬isn’t that good‭?‬ ‭ ‬Didn’t he get us out of the depression‭?”‬ ‭ ‬This sort of complacency is a great danger to the minds of a democratic people‭; ‬that is why I offer an opinion of FDR based on facts.

‏One of the greatest myths that has been fed to the American people is the idea that FDR ended The Great Depression,‭ ‬but there was only one true end,‭ ‬World War II. ‭ ‬Even with the Tennessee Valley Authority and other interior improvement groups‭ (‬which did great things for our country’s infrastructure‭)‬,‭ ‬the unemployment rate never went below‭ ‬20%‭ ‬and the second phase of the New Deal actually increased unemployment‭ (‬source:‭ ‬The Heritage Foundation‭)‬.

‏The greatest threat to a democratic people is a government that uses hard times as an excuse to exercise greater control over its people. ‭ ‬This is exactly what FDR did:‭ ‬all of his socialist programs did nothing to stop the Depression and may very well be the reason for its continuance. ‭ ‬They greatly increased government’s control over its people,‭ ‬creating a sense of need among the public that lingers to this day:‭ “‬The government will solve all your problems if you let them‭!”

‏The average length of a recession in the United States in the last century has been‭ ‬10-15‭ ‬months,‭ ‬yet FDR managed to make it last‭ ‬8‭ ‬years.‭ ‬ Instead of letting the depression run its course while lowering taxes,‭ ‬FDR gave us a wonderful assortment of social programs that encourage inactivity and government dependence,‭ ‬all promoted by fear.

‏What does Obama have to offer us in these trying times‭?‬ ‭ ‬Change you can believe in or politics as usual‭?‬ ‭ ‬Obama has been very clear on how he plans to manage the next‭ ‬4‭ ‬years of his presidency. ‭ ‬After zero Republicans voted for the‭ “‬stimulus‭” ‬bill in the house and a couple of the more wishy-washy‭ “‬Republicans‭” ‬in the Senate supported it,‭ ‬the most expensive act of legislation in U.S.‭ ‬history passed‭; ‬a‭ ‬$787‭ ‬billion dollar monster that makes the New Deal look like a cheap dinner. ‭ ‬The bill is overwhelmingly spending with a depressingly low amount of tax cuts‭ ‬-‭ ‬cuts that Obama promised throughout his campaign.

‏The bill includes expensive Frisbee golf courses,‭ ‬more money for the worthless Amtrak system that wastes billions each year,‭ ‬and even a new‭ “‬eco-friendly‭” ‬club house for a Lincoln golf course. ‭ ‬Plans similar to Obama’s have been tried before in many different countries,‭ ‬and they have never been very successful. ‭ ‬They simply encourage the public to think that the government is‭ “‬doing something‭” ‬about the problem. ‭ ‬The construction projects this plan will‭ create are just about the only benefit to be seen. ‭ ‬Unfortunately,‭ ‬these projects create work,‭ ‬not long lasting jobs. ‭ ‬We need long term solutions,‭ ‬but how can we get them‭?

‏The only way to solve the current economic troubles is actually quite simple:‭ ‬TAX CUTS‭!‬ ‭ ‬According to The Heritage Foundation,‭ ‬the‭ ‬2003‭ ‬tax cuts increased GDP by‭ ‬2.4%‭ ‬and created‭ ‬307,000‭ ‬jobs in just six economic quarters. ‭ ‬We need to encourage consumers to consume and spenders to spend instead of scaring buyers into stuffing their money in their mattresses. ‭ ‬I was amazed to see a supposed‭ “‬economic expert‭” ‬on CNN telling people to save their money and not spend. ‭ ‬What do you think would happen if everyone took her advice‭?‬ ‭ ‬Selling and buying is the key to capitalism’s survival,‭ ‬and the survival of our nation. ‭ ‬Tax cuts are the best way to encourage families and individuals to spend their cash. ‭ ‬Instead Obama has chosen to bury us in debt that our great-grandchildren will be paying off. ‭ ‬This bill is the greatest financial gamble of our nation’s history‭ – ‬and it seems that,‭ ‬once again,‭ ‬history has been ignored.

Reaching Across the Aisle with Empty Hands

Benjamin Kantack
UNL Political Science and Spanish Major


It was a rallying cry for Senator Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. But slightly more than a month after Inauguration Day, according to Brookings Institution scholar Stephen Hess, “He has learned one big, first lesson for a new president: we are not in a post-partisan world in Washington.”

The stimulus plan passed without a single Republican vote in the House and the blessing of only three Republican senators – who are, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune on February 22, “generally considered the most liberal in their party.” The new cabinet, which ideally would have included an unprecedented three members from the opposing party, derailed when Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire withdrew from his commerce secretary post. And Republican congresspersons have decried the President’s actions constantly through many news outlets.

Yet, according to a February 23 ABC News poll, 73% of the country believes that the new President has been “trying to compromise with Republican leaders in Congress,” while only 34% believes Republicans have been trying to compromise with him. It would seem that the blame for President Obama’s failed bipartisan rhetoric falls squarely on the shoulder of congressional Republicans. Is this blame deserved, or is it misplaced?

Let’s examine Senator Gregg’s appointment as commerce secretary. Since Gregg left the post of his own will – not because of any scandal – many assumed he was simply unwilling to work with political rivals. But Gregg’s move only came after the President had taken the Commerce Department’s most important duty – the 2010 census – out of Gregg’s jurisdiction, as per the Union-Tribune. This sent a message that, while the President is willing to put Republicans in his cabinet in a spirit of “unity,” he isn’t willing to trust them with actually doing the jobs they are given.

More publicly, though, the stimulus package has been an egregious example of failed bipartisanship. According to the Boston Globe on February 18, President Obama visited Republican senators and representatives, courting supporters for his party’s legislation – but only three senators and zero representatives supported the stimulus. Many blamed the bitterness of the GOP at their dismal election results. But while the Democrats courted Republicans votes, they “never consulted them in drafting the economic stimulus package,” the New York Times reported on January 27. Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reed wanted bipartisanship when it came down to voting for a Democrat-forged stimulus, but rejected it when it was offered in the formation process.

Not everyone is fooled by such empty gestures. Representative Spencer Bachus of Alabama stated that “The House Democrats have failed at bipartisanship, I think that’s clear.” And Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told CNN unequivocally that “If this is going to be bipartisanship, the country’s screwed.”

Let this evidence not be construed to indicate that the President and congressional Democrats ought to reach out more to Republicans; in fact, many experts agree that bipartisanship, in the words of Claremont McKenna College political science professor Dr. Jack Pitney, “has about as much of a future as squirrel-flavored ice cream.”

President Obama and his party are fully entitled to spend the political capital they earned in the 2008 election. But it will be nothing short of hypocrisy if they continue to claim the mantle of bipartisanship while offering only a cheap imitation of it. Yes, Democrats have reached across the aisle, but they have had nothing of substance to offer Republicans, and deserve no praise for said efforts until they extend something other than an empty hand.

Taxpayers revolt against spendulus

Andrew Lacy
UNL Broadcasting Major

CNBC host Rick Santelli began a backlash against the White House last week as he spoke from the floor of the Chicago board of trade about the outrage of taxpayers who are being forced to pay for irresponsible and unsuccessful businesses and individuals.

Americans are responding to Santelli’s call for a‭ “‬Chicago Tea Party‭” ‬in a big way by organizing Feb.‭ ‬27‭ ‬protests in cities across the country.‭ ‬More protests are being organized for ensuing weeks including one in Omaha currently in the works.

If taxpayers are able to sustain their anger at the exorbitant spending being put forth by President Obama and his friends in Congress,‭ ‬we could be seeing the beginning of a populist movement toward fiscal responsibility.‭

It’s too soon to tell how much support such a movement would garner,‭ ‬but it could potentially revive conservatism in a way we haven’t seen since the tax protests of the‭ ‬1970s,‭ ‬which helped fuel the Reagan Revolution.

This is the outcry of those who‭ “‬have skin in the game‭” ‬to borrow a line from the President,‭ ‬and they are furious.‭ ‬They see the prescience of Ronald Reagan’s statement that‭ “‬the most frightening words in the English language are‭ ‘‬I’m from the government and I’m here to help.‭’”

Anyone interested in joining one of the protests can find times and locations for events across the country,‭ ‬including the TBD event in Omaha,‭ ‬at‭ this link.