Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Saffron Technology moving headquarters to Silicon Valley after raising $7 million | Technology | NewsObserver.com

Monday, March 24th, 2014

As if to prove my earlier point, the N&O reports local startup Saffron Technology is packing up for the West Coast – not for more favorable taxes but for the West Coast’s “wealth of talent.”

Wrong again, governor.

Saffron Technology, a homegrown big data analytics software company, plans to shift its headquarters from Cary to the Silicon Valley after raising $7 million in new funding.

Despite the move, CEO Gayle Sheppard said she expects the company’s 12-person Cary office to double in size by the end of the year. That would keep pace with the growth of the overall company, which she anticipates swelling from 20 to 40 employees in 2014 thanks to the new round of funding.

“We should not think of this as leaving Cary behind by any means,” Sheppard said. “I see that operation as an important part of our future. Terrific talent there.”

Nonetheless, Sheppard said that moving Saffron’s headquarters to Silicon Valley was designed to help it recruit the “wealth of talent” on the West Coast.

via Saffron Technology moving headquarters to Silicon Valley after raising $7 million | Technology | NewsObserver.com.

Frank Street Sidewalk City Council Petition

Monday, March 24th, 2014

FRANK ST. SIDEWALK SAVE THE DATE!

The Raleigh City Council needs to hear from YOU about the Frank Street Sidewalk!

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, April 1st at 7 PM and express your support for a sidewalk along Frank Street from Norris to Brookside!

Don’t know what to say? You don’t have to speak! You can support the sidewalk just by being there!

The meeting will take place in Council Chambers of the Raleigh Municipal Building, 222 W. Hargett Street, Raleigh. Parking is available in the city deck on W. Morgan Street between Dawson Street. and McDowell Street.

Questions? Contact Mark Turner at 919.741.6329

McCrory thinks taxes stifle startups

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Gov. McCrory just came back from Silicon Valley with supposed tips about how to foster startups.

Says the Governor:

“Our tax code is not conducive to the first-round investors for venture capital, for high-risk, first-round investors,” he says. “If they make an investment, they often move (the startup) to a no-tax state, with the profits. That means we lose that money and we lose that sweat equity. We want that money to be reinvested in North Carolina.”

Oh really? Venture capitalists are seriously going to uproot the founders of their investments and risk losing them just so they can save a few bucks on their taxes? I have been deeply involved in startups for over 20 years and I have never heard of this happening to a North Carolina startup.
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Open government study: Secrecy up – Associated Press – POLITICO.com

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Now, let me get this straight. The federal government has warrantless access to every single piece of information on every single American – all in instantly-searchable databases, but when it’s time to provide legally-required documents under the Freedom of Information Act, the government can’t cough them up? What’s wrong with this picture?

Obama’s failure to keep his transparency promise has been a huge disappointment to me.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

The administration cited more legal exceptions it said justified withholding materials and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy. Most agencies also took longer to answer records requests, the analysis found.

The government’s own figures from 99 federal agencies covering six years show that half way through its second term, the administration has made few meaningful improvements in the way it releases records despite its promises from Day 1 to become the most transparent administration in history.

In category after category — except for reducing numbers of old requests and a slight increase in how often it waived copying fees — the government’s efforts to be more open about its activities last year were their worst since President Barack Obama took office.

via Open government study: Secrecy up – Associated Press – POLITICO.com.

Russia and Putin

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

I sure wish America could wag its finger at Russia’s Vladimir Putin and shame him into withdrawing his forces from Crimea (and, perhaps, Ukraine). Sadly, America has squandered any moral authority it once had regarding invading countries on the flimsiest of pretexts thanks to our misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus we are now faced with the biggest foreign affairs crisis in decades with few options.

The European Union is addicted to Russian fossil fuels and will stop short of angering Russia for fear of having these fuel supplies cut. That doesn’t leave the West with many diplomatic tools.

The only way to get Russia’s attention is through the pocketbook. Perhaps Putin’s own pocketbook would be a good place to start. I’ve long suspected the new Russia is owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Russian mafia. I believe Putin is thoroughly corrupt and has long been helping himself to Russian riches. I remember watching an Al Jazeera documentary that hinted at the massive wealth Putin has been quietly amassing during his presidency.
His wealth has been rumored to be in the tens of billions, with some claiming that he may be the world’s richest man. Putin’s massive new Black Sea residence, dubbed “Putin’s Palace,” belies the image Putin has cultivated of being a man of the people.

The world needs to treat Putin as the gangster he is, and target the sources (and locations) of his wealth. Perhaps there is still time to rescue the Russian people from having their country subjugated by mobsters like Putin.

Putin’s real fear

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Russia has occupied the Ukrainian province of Crimea for over two weeks now. So far nothing’s seemingly able to stop Putin from taking over the whole country. Certainly the war-weary U.S. is not up for taking on yet another armed conflict, and the Ukrainian military is barely holding out.

As the sun soared over my head this afternoon, I realized the one thing that could pull the plug on Putin’s military adventures: the spread of renewable energy. Russia’s military, while formidable in comparison to Ukraine’s, is not Russia’s real strength. Russia’s real strength is the country’s economic might. As the largest supplier of oil and natural gas to Europe [PDF], Putin knows he can get away with just about anything. All it takes is for Putin to merely threaten to withhold these energy sales and the European Union will cave.

Don’t believe me? How else can you explain why a secret briefing document spotted in the hands of an advisor on the way into #10 Downing Street states that the UK will oppose economic sanctions on Russia for it’s Ukraine escapades? Not only are we not talking about a military response but even something as tame as economic sanctions are off the table.

But one thing can shift the advantage to the EU: renewable energy. If the EU invests in solar, wind, and hydro energy it could make natural gas an afterthought and sap Russia of much-needed funds. Renewable energy shifts power from giant energy companies like Gazprom to local control.

Energy independence is what keeps Vladimir Putin up at night because the energy card is really the only card he has to play.

CIA Accused Of Spying On Senate Intelligence Committee Staffers | Techdirt

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Wow. Just wow. CIA spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee that provides oversight for it. Outrageous. I’m amazed that no one at CIA seemed to consider that at the very least this was a Phenomenally Bad Idea.

While at times, it’s appeared that the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Dianne Feinstein, serves more to prop up the intelligence community than to handle oversight, it has actually clashed quite a bit with the CIA. We’ve discussed a few times how the Committee has been pushing to release a supposedly devastating 6,000 page report about the CIA’s torture program, which cost taxpayers an equally astounding $40 million to produce. However, the CIA has been fighting hard to block the release of the report, arguing that it misrepresents the CIA’s actions.

However, things are getting even more bizarre, as the NY Times is reporting that the CIA is now accused of spying on the Intelligence Committee and its staffers in its attempt to keep that report from being released.

via CIA Accused Of Spying On Senate Intelligence Committee Staffers | Techdirt.

Update: Here’s the McClatchy story.

Clay is for real

Friday, February 7th, 2014

When I heard Clay Aiken was considering running for Congress I didn’t know what to expect. I warmed to the idea after I first saw Clay Aiken’s announcement that he is running for Congress in the 2nd District? I saw commitment and a seriousness that I didn’t expect. This is clearly no joke.

It’s obvious to me right off the bat that this is no vanity campaign. Clay is fortunate that he can live comfortably and there are plenty of other things he could be doing. I think it was a master stroke of his young campaign to remind people that – long before his American Idol fame – Clay’s heart was in the right place, and still is. He never, ever “went Hollywood” when his career took off and he certainly didn’t forget where he came from.

I admire that a lot. I think it’s a winning message, too. If Clay can keep showing people how down to earth he is and prove that he’s not another pretty face – that he grasps the challenges his prospective constituents are facing – he could make the 2nd District race a very interesting one (he does need to lose the makeup, though, if he wants to avoid the “pretty face” label).

Coca-cola ad causes some heads to explode

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

I didn’t watch the Superbowl yesterday because professional football kind of bores me. Last night’s blowout of Denver by Seattle makes my choice seem justified. Plus, what does it say when all anyone wants to talk about is the Super Bowl TV commercials?

Apparently Coca-cola struck a nerve in some when they had the audacity to air a commercial with brown-skinned people singing America the Beautiful. Yes, even this patriotic song by Katherine Lee Bates and Samuel A. Ward is causing some conservatives to flip out. Why? Who the hell knows?

I’ve been seeing responses on the Desert Storm Veterans Facebook page that just make me want to smack my head.

Here’s one pic from Facebook that’s been making the rounds:
"Hey Coke! No American Solider [sic] has ever served his Country so that we could hear America the Beautiful in another language during our Superbowl! Big Mistake.. big, big Mistake!"
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Obama, Who Evidently Has Not Read the Controlled Substances Act, Denies That He Has the Power to Reclassify Marijuana – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Wow.

Apparently Obama forgot too. Obama often speaks as if he is an outside observer of his own administration—condemning excessively long prison sentences while hardly ever using his clemency power to shorten them, sounding the alarm about his own abuses of executive power in the name of fighting terrorism, worrying about the threat to privacy posed by surveillance programs he authorized. Now here he is, trying to distance himself from his own administration’s refusal to reclassify marijuana.

via Obama, Who Evidently Has Not Read the Controlled Substances Act, Denies That He Has the Power to Reclassify Marijuana – Hit & Run : Reason.com.