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Archive for March, 2013

FIFA Rejects Costa Rican Protest in “Snow Storm Game”

Guess what?

You can legally play a game of soccer in a full-blown snow storm after all.

FIFA has dismissed Costa Rica’s protest against losing 1-0 to the United States in a World Cup qualifying match played in a snowstorm because it was not filed correctly.

“Therefore, the result of the match played on March 22 stands and is considered as valid,” FIFA said Tuesday in a statement.

FIFA referred to a clause in its 2014 World Cup Regulations, which Costa Rica had to fulfill to force a replay of last Friday’s match in Commerce City, Colorado.

The Costa Rica delegation could have complained about the field in writing to match referee Joel Aguilar of El Salvador before kickoff.

Team captain Bryan Ruiz was required to “immediately lodge a protest” with the referee if he believed the field became unplayable during the match. Opposing captain Clint Dempsey also needed to be present for the protest.

Protests must also be filed in writing to FIFA’s administration “no later than two hours after the match,” the regulations state.

“FIFA received a letter via email and fax from the Costa Rica FA on March 24 with regards to the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier played on March 22 between USA and Costa Rica,” FIFA said. “The conditions established in the regulations for an official protest have not been met by the Costa Rica FA.”

Costa Rican officials issued a statement Sunday saying the match “went against the sporting spectacle (and) the physical integrity of the officials and players.”

Let’s be real here.  A protest is also pointless because the United States team was playing in the same conditions — something in which they had no control over — and didn’t bother to complain about it.  Having watched the game myself on Friday (the novelty effect amused me) and Costa Rica had more than a few scoring chances but didn’t convert.

Frankly, they’re whining.  It’s gotten old.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Hey, It Worked in “Star Trek”

No seriously, if you ever watch episodes of the “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” spin-off — the last series to actually take place in the neighboring star systems near Earth — you will actually see various security measures and payments dealt with by thumbprint.

A team of enterprising young technologists want to give this to us now.

As a mechanism for payment, the credit card remains just as hardy as ever. It has so far defied the threat of mobile phones, and less plausibly, QR codes, among many other forms of payment.

One YC-backed startup is betting that fingerprints and other forms of biometric identification may be the payment method of the future though. Called PayTango, they’re partnering with local universities to offer a quick and easy way for students to use their fingerprints to pay instead of credit cards.

The four-person team is basically almost fresh out of Carnegie Mellon University. The co-founders, Brian Groudan, Kelly Lau-Kee, Umang Patel and Christian Reyes, graduating later this summer and have experience in human-computer interaction and information systems.

They built an initial prototype with a fingerprint scanner and credit card reader with off-the-shelf parts for between $1,500 and $1,700. They’re bringing the costs down after iterating on it for 10 weeks and they have a working version of it at three locations on the Carnegie Mellon campus.

“The very earliest product was just basic,” said CEO Umang Patel. “But it was a great product to get out there and users responded to it very early on.”

The on-boarding process for users is really easy. They touch the fingerpad with their index and middle fingers and if they’re not in the system already, PayTango automatically detects that. It will ask them to swipe a card to associate with their fingerprints and then enter in their cell phone number. That sign-up process made it fast enough for 100 students to sign-up within four hours on campus.

“YC-Backed” is short for Y-Combinator, an angel investment firm which helps finance about 40 to 50 companies a year.  The teams they help must then move to Silicon Valley for three months and finish their ideas where it gets pitched to further investors.  Some of there past success stories have been Reddit and Discus, which is the commenting system this blog uses.

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Walker to Begin Work on Book

Oh, the Left is already having a field day on this news, but it was expected.  Many thought after surviving the recall last year that a Walker book was coming.

Any politician who is able to go through all that Scott Walker has gone through in his first two years as governor, is a story many people would want to read.   Early money will probably have this out-selling Russ Feingold’s book and the Wisconsin Recall book by Journal Sentinel reporters Patrick Marley and Jason Stein combined.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a potential contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, is collaborating on a book with Marc Thiessen, a former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

“I think Scott wants to do more to tell his story,” says a Wisconsin Republican familiar with the project. “Everybody knows about what he’s done, but not everybody knows about him. This book will be something that colors in the picture.”

Sentinel, an imprint of the Penguin Group, will publish the book, which doesn’t yet have a title. It’s expected to focus on Walker’s gubernatorial experience. Sources say the book will also be autobiographical, with stories about his family, his values, and his rise to power.

Friends say Walker tapped Thiessen, a former Bush and Donald Rumsfeld adviser, due to Thiessen’s understanding of the political and fiscal aspects of Walker’s efforts. Over the past few years, Thiessen has written several columns about Walker’s reforms.

For those shocked at their being a ghost-writer for the book, then you clearly have no idea how most political books are written.  The reality is that politicians are rather busy in their day jobs being either a governor, senator, etc. to actually have the time to sit in front of a computer, typewriter or whatever their favorite way to write is and do it themselves.

Oh, they’ll have input and help in the thought process, but they won’t be the one penning most of the book.  The ghost-writer will do most of the heavy-lifting there.

Thiessen is a great choice in my opinion to have as ghost-writer.  I met him once or twice during my Heritage days — he might have been just at the Post then — or in one of his earlier stints at the American Enterprise Institute, where he is a visiting fellow.

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Image of the Day

Saw this at a few pro-life blogs this morning.  It was taken by a Greek doctor over the weekend, posted on his Facebook page and has since gone globally viral.

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Taken during a routine C-section, it shows an infant still in the amniotic sac and removed by the surgeon.  Normally, during a C-Section, the sac is ruptured or lanced during the extraction.  This time, it didn’t.  Obviously, in the past, when the sac breaks that’s known as when a woman’s “water breaks.”

Medically speaking, the child is fine and being nourished by the placenta.  Once the sac is broken, the amniotic fluid will pour out and the child will be able to breath on its own.  Science’s little miracle right there.

Which brings us to the obvious question for the extreme pro-abortion crowd…is the baby a fetus until the sac pops or is it still fair game?

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Cartoon of the Day

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Cartoon of the Day

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EPA Gives S.S. Badger Two Years to Get its Act Together

This makes sense.  Lake Michigan Carferry has been seen as stalling for so long by environmentalists that the EPA has pretty much given them their final warning.

Also, it pretty much shows that attempts to make the boat a historical landmark aren’t going to make a hill of beans to a bunch of DC bureaucrats who think the company should have made the switch from coal to natural gas (or diesel) years ago.

In its 60th anniversary year, the SS Badger car ferry will set sail again, according to a news release from Lake Michigan Carferry.

The owner of the Badger has signed a consent decree agreement with the Department of Justice and EPA that will require the SS Badger to end the ash discharge within two years.

“Manitowoc’s long maritime history has been an important part of our identity for many years, and the Badger is a very visible reminder that the tradition continues,” said Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels. “The car ferry is a big part of our tourism industry and is a valuable transportation alternative for our local manufactures. We congratulate Lake Michigan Carferry and the EPA for working together to ensure the continuation of this important transportation asset for Wisconsin and Michigan.”

The agreement is the product of a lengthy process of working with the EPA to find the best solution, and includes the installation of a sophisticated ash retention system. The consent decree will be lodged in federal court in Grand Rapids by the Department of Justice. The process includes a 30-day written public comment period prior to final approval by the court.

“The resolution of this issue has taken far longer than we had hoped, but the end result has been worth the effort,” said Bob Manglitz, president and CEO of Lake Michigan Carferry, in a news release. “This agreement will save the jobs of our 200 plus employees as well as many other jobs in the states of Michigan and Wisconsin. We appreciate the support we have received from our elected representatives in Michigan and Wisconsin and the encouragement of the thousands of people who have supported our efforts to keep the Badger sailing.”

The Badger takes close to 200 trips across the lake annually, adding close to or surpassing $35 million to the Manitowoc and Ludington economies.  The loss of the carferry would have been a major blow to the Lakeshore economy.

Now here’s hoping they use the extra time they’ve been given to accomplish what they need to and ensure the boat operates every Summer on schedule.

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Press Release of the Day

From California Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) on the Senate finally passing a budget.   It’s short and to the point.

Washington D.C. – House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released the following statement on floor consideration of the first Senate Democratic budget in four years:

“It’s about time.”

(No kidding.)

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Senate Celebrates 3rd Anniversary of ObamaCare by Repealing Medical Device Tax

Oh, it will never make it past the president’s desk and veto pen.  But, this is going to come back and haunt some Democrats up for re-election in 2014.

The Senate overwhelmingly passed a largely symbolic resolution calling for repeal of a 2.3 percent tax on medical device companies on Thursday, as more than 30 Democrats joined Republicans in approving it.

The tax helps to fund President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare law. It applies to a range of medical products – from bedpans to expensive heart devices – many manufactured in the home states of the senators backing the repeal.

The Senate voted 79-20 to call for repeal of the tax, but the resolution is non-binding and will not change the levy. The symbolic measure will be attached to a non-binding budget measure drafted by Senate Democrats that is expected to pass on Friday.

Full repeal of the tax may be difficult to achieve, given its $30 billion price tag and the opposition of key Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Mind you, this is only a “sense of the Senate” resolution and has no real standing.  It was in essence, a “free vote.”  Christ, even Tammy Baldwin was “Yea,” which tells you how meaningless a vote it was.

Question of course is — and there will be more votes — how do those roll calls end up?  Having tasted blood, the GOP is going to keep coming at this one.   For as hated as he is by some in the base, Mitch McConnell knows the rules of the Senate and will use them to his advantage.

This is going to nag at a number of Democrats up for re-election next year, especially in states where their constituents work in the medical device industry…as it should.

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