Wikipedia and thousands of other websites went black Wednesday to protest two anti-piracy bills in Congress, and the dramatic virtual demonstration quickly seemed to be making an impact.
The protest quickly caught the attention of Net users across America and prompted a frenzy of media coverage, while exacerbating the divide between Silicon Valley and Hollywood over the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate.
At the same time, signs pointed to a possible political shift on Capitol Hill. Arizona Republican Rep. Ben Quayle pulled his support of the House’s anti-piracy measure just a day before websites like Wikipedia, Reddit and others went dark, while a spokesman for GOP Rep. Lee Terry told a local Nebraska newspaper on Wednesday that the congressman will withdraw his backing too.
It all began at midnight, as the English version of Wikipedia went offline. Blogging software WordPress “censored” items on its home page, while Craigslist hit visitors with a call to action. Google stayed open for search, but covered the company logo with a black box. Mozilla and Reddit joined the protest at 8 a.m.
“We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100 percent insurance coverage for all Americans,” Gingrich wrote in 2006.
And, Gingrich wrote, the key to achieving that goal was doing what Romney did in Massachusetts: Requiring everybody who could afford it to buy health insurance. In fact, Gingrich makes an impassioned case for the so-called individual mandate — which is also at the center of President Obama’s health plan — on conservative grounds.
“We also believe strongly that personal responsibility is vital to creating a 21st Century Intelligent Health System,” Gingrich wrote in the memo which was found on an old Gingrich website by the Wall Street Journal’s Brody Mullins and Janet Adamy.
”Individuals who can afford to purchase health insurance and simply choose not to place an unnecessary burden on a system that is on the verge of collapse; these free-riders undermine the entire health system by placing the onus of responsibility on taxpayers.”
How Can Romney Lose? – The conventional wisdom on the Republican nomination race has once again shifted. In the span of just two weeks, Mitt Romney has gone from seeming quite vulnerable to the near-inevitable Republican nominee. The odds attributed to Mr. Romney winning the nomination at the betting market Intrade, which closed at a low of 42 percent on Dec. 13, had shot up to 72 percent as of Monday night.
I don’t know that Mr. Romney’s stock is mispriced — if anything, it might be a little cheap. It’s not that Mr. Romney is all that strong a candidate. But for him to fail to win the nomination, someone else has to, and it’s hard to see who that is.
Job Creation Is Price for New U.S. Health Law – I am not an expert on health-care policy, but I do know something about job creation. So when a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee asked me to testify about the effect on employers of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes known as Obamacare, I thought I could offer some insights.
As I told the committee in a July 28 hearing, it is critical that Congress does a good job of balancing the benefits of new legislation against the costs of that legislation. That process begins with recognizing that laws like Obamacare come at a price.
Our company, CKE Restaurants Inc., employs about 21,000 people (our franchisees employ 49,000 more) in Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants. For months, we have been working with Mercer Health & Benefits LLC, our health-care consultant, to identify Obamacare’s potential financial impact on CKE. Mercer estimated that when the law is fully implemented our health-care costs will increase about $18 million a year. That would put our total health-care costs at $29.8 million, a 150 percent increase from the roughly $12 million we spent last year.
The money to cover our increased expenses will have to come from somewhere. We are a profitable company and, after paying our obligations, we reinvest our earnings in the business. Reinvesting in the business is how we grow, create jobs and opportunity. This is true for most U.S. businesses.
Obama to ask for debt limit hike: Treasury official – The White House plans to ask Congress by the end of the week for an increase in the government’s debt ceiling to allow the United States to pay its bills on time, according to a senior Treasury Department official on Tuesday.
The approval is expected to go through without a challenge, given that Congress is in recess until later in January and the request is in line with an agreement to keep the U.S. government funded into 2013.
The debt is projected to fall within $100 billion of the current cap by December 30, when the United States has $82 billion in interest on its debt and payments such as Social Security coming due. President Barack Obama is expected to ask for authority to increase the borrowing limit by $1.2 trillion, part of the spending authority that was negotiated between Congress and the White House this summer.
How to Ace a Google Interview – Imagine a man named Jim. He’s applying for a job at Google. Jim knows that the odds are stacked against him. Google receives a million job applications a year. It’s estimated that only about 1 in 130 applications results in a job. By comparison, about 1 in 14 high-school students applying to Harvard gets accepted.
Jim’s first interviewer is late and sweaty: He’s biked to work. He starts with some polite questions about Jim’s work history. Jim eagerly explains his short career. The interviewer doesn’t look at him. He’s tapping away at his laptop, taking notes. “The next question I’m going to ask,” he says, “is a little unusual.”
You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and thrown into a blender. Your mass is reduced so that your density is the same as usual. The blades start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?
Congress considers anti-piracy bills that could cripple Internet industries – Imagine a world where YouTube, Flickr, Facebook or Twitter had never been created due to the cost of regulatory compliance. Imagine an Internet where any website where users can upload text, pictures or video is liable for copyrighted material uploaded to it. Imagine a world where the addresses to those websites could not be found using search engines like Google and Bing, even if you typed them in directly.
Imagine an Internet split into many sections, depending upon where you lived, where a user’s request to visit another website was routed through an addressing system that could not be securely authenticated. Imagine a world where a government could require that a website hosting videos of a bloody revolution be taken down because it also hosted clips from a Hollywood movie.
Imagine that it’s 2012, and much of that world has come to pass after President Obama has signed into law an anti-online piracy bill that Congress enacted in a rare show of bipartisan support. In an election year, after all, would Congress and the President risk being seen as “soft on cybercrime?”
Yes, the examples above represent worst-case scenarios, but unfortunately, they’re grounded in reality. In a time when the American economy needs to catalyze innovation to compete in a global marketplace, members of the United States Congress have advanced legislation that could lead to precisely that landscape.