About Sal McCloskey

+Sal McCloskey is a tech blogger in Los Angeles who (sadly) falls into the stereotype associated with nerds. Yes, he's a Star Trek fan and writes about it on Uberly. His glasses are thick and his allergies are thicker. Despite all that, he's (somehow) married to a beautiful woman and has 4 kids. Find him on Twitter or Facebook.

Why Did the Napoleon Harris Story Get No Traction?

Napoleon Harris

Former NFL linebacker and current Illinois state senator Napoleon Harris is like many politicians. He has multiple houses spread across the country. The problem with Harris’ multiple addresses is that only one of them is in the district that he represents and a report from the Chicago Tribune brings into question whether he ever lives at the address at all.

State law states that a representative must reside in the district that he/she represents. It makes sense. The district is considered a poor one with high poverty and crime rates. His nearby address where his wife apparently answers the door is in a much nicer area. Shouldn’t this be a problem? Shouldn’t political activists, his primary competitors, or even local Republicans be fighting to challenge his eligibility to represent the district for a second term?

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The Normalization of Gay Marriage through Common Association

Pumping Gas

In mathematics, normalization means adjusting values between different data sets to bring them to a common scale. It allows for statistics to be viewed together in a way that makes more sense. In essence, it makes them more acceptable.

That’s what’s happening today with gay marriage. Anyone who believes that it’s not the norm to accept gay marriage is missing the trends. It doesn’t matter how hard the opposition fights. This battle has already been lost. One of the biggest reasons is the brilliant methodology of strategies used by proponents of gay marriage. They’re assuming victory and have achieved it as a result. It will not take long for nearly all states to allow gay marriage. In six years, the concept of gay marriage has gone from widely unaccepted (even by our liberal president who was against it in the beginning of his first term) to holding a majority of support.

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As Hard as this is to Say, it’s NOT Obama’s Fault

Barack Obama Disappointment

For the last few years, we’ve been amongst the masses of bloggers who have been blaming President Barack Obama for the reduction of freedoms, the increase in government control over citizens, and the poor policies that are leading the country and the world to the brink of economic collapse. We’re rescinding all of that now. We believe the president is actually just a pawn being moved into place along with so many others around the world.

Simply stated, he’s just not powerful enough to have made things this bad this quickly without help.

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Obamacare is Off to a Good Start with 3% of Enrollment Target

Obamacare Enrollment

It’s a good start… if you’re one of those who is against the program. With over a third of the 2013 enrollment time time behind us, we’re not at a third of the enrollment projections. We’re not at a third of a third of the enrollment projections. We’re not even at a third of a third of a third.

The numbers are in for the 12 states that are having the most success with their healthcare websites and those numbers aren’t exactly thrilling. While it’s good that 49,100 people are signed up for health insurance, that’s tiny compared to the target of 1.4 million. While the numbers were expected to trickle in gradually, they’re downright weak according to Avalere President Dan Mendelson.

“The technical problems of the website and enrollment generally are causing the administration to go much slower on the positive messaging that is necessary to build enthusiasm for the law and that’s an issue,” Mendelson said.

According to Reuters:

The 49,100 enrollments also include Medicaid sign-ups in Hawaii and Rhode Island, which did not provide a break-out, Avalere said. It based its numbers on public and press reports for the above mentioned states as well as Connecticut, the District of Colombia, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New York and Washington.

Read More: Reuters

Is Obama Hurting His Party’s Election Chances?

Our President. Mr. Teleprompter.

They say that the first Presidential term is all about getting a second term and that the second term is where the real action comes into play. That seems to be the case as the first term for President Obama was marked with just enough successes to earn him a second term to an uneducated population, while his second term is quickly becoming a disaster.

How does this play for those in the Democratic party seeking election or re-election in 2014? According to the Washington Post, “they are rightly nervous about the prospect.”

It has been a folly on top of a disaster followed by a debacle with a scandal or two mixed in. Member of his own party are turning against him in much the same way that conservatives turned on George W Bush in his second term. The difference is that the democrats truly like Obama while the conservatives never really cared for Bush.

Things are growing bad enough now that more publications and news outlets are writing about the President in ways that the mainstream media would never have considered just a year ago as he was getting re-elected. In a year, he has turned many of his allies against him. This could spell doom for many of those in his party that are a year away from their own election bids.

According to the Washington Post:

Obama faces two urgent problems. The first is to make the Affordable Care Act work. That begins, but does not end, with fixing the balky Web site HealthCare.gov. He and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have promised the site will be running smoothly by the end of this month.

Read More: Washington Post

Government Shutdown Didn’t Kill Economy

Jobs Report

It was guaranteed. The Republicans destroyed the economy last month with the government shutdown. That’s what we were told would happen. Fortunately, it didn’t kill much. In fact, the numbers are much better than expected.

What effect did the government shutdown really have? It gave us something to gripe about. It pointed to the partisan nature of the way the country is run. It put the democrats in a bad light over decisions they made about what to shut down and what to keep up and running. It put the republicans in a worse light because they were to blame for tanking the economy…

…except it didn’t tank.

According to the LA Times:

Despite forecasts that job growth would be sapped by the budget impasse and government shutdown, employers in the U.S. stepped up their hiring last month by adding 204,000 new jobs across a wide spectrum of industries.

Read More: LA Times

Liberal Media Distorts the Story About Obamacare

Obamacare Success

It’s subtle. It’s probably a “mistake”. Still, it should infuriate those who oppose Obamacare that liberal mainstream media cannot help but distort the sentiment when it come to the Affordable Healthcare Act.

The headline in the Chicago Tribute reads, “Obama takes responsibility for healthcare website problems”.

The reality is that he did not. The story goes on to report that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that she should be held accountable for he debacle. If, by proxy, she represents Obama, then the headline would only be slightly wrong, but at no point did he take responsibility for anything. He didn’t take responsibility for lying to the American people when he said that they would be able to keep their health insurance when they knew before his statements that millions would definitely lose their insurance. For that lie, he blamed the “bad apple” insurance companies, but it does not change the fact that the statement was made knowing that these “bad apples” were going to take away their coverage as a result of Obamacare.

It was a complete lie. The reason that so few Americans actually have any understanding of what Obamacare is going to do to the country in the coming years is because of liberal media cheerleaders like the Chicago Tribune. The numbers do not lie, but unfortunately the numbers that point to an economic collapse as a result of Obamacare will never be reported by the mainstream media. They don’t want you to know. That would go against their support for their hero in whom they’ve given blind obedience.

The hard part for people to understand is that there had to be those who were forced to switch over to Obamacare in order for it to work. Someone needs to fund the service for those who are not able to pay and the only ones who could do that are the ones who are happy with their current insurance the way it is. Most of the people who will take advantage of Obamacare do so because they either chose not to take insurance in the past or could not afford it, so those who have been responsible for their own healthcare insurance needs in the past will have to pay the price.

What the US Government Can Learn from Israel About Budgeting

Netanyahu Face the Nation

This morning on Face the Nation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a lot to say about Iran and the potential for lifting sanctions without a firm agreement in place about nuclear weapons. That was standard an expected, but he did have one sound byte regarding the budget that’s worthy of discussion.

The concept is pretty simple:

“We introduced one change. If you don’t get a budget by the end of the year, an automatic budget goes into place, 1/12th each month of last year’s budget. If you don’t get a budget within six months, you go to elections. Guess what, Bob – we always get a budget.”

When American jobs are at stake, there are roadblocks, leveraging of positions, a mad blitz in the press, and petty bickering. When the politicians’ jobs are at stake, the situation would likely be remedied quickly. If the US government took a cue from our allies in the Middle East, perhaps there wouldn’t be hundreds of thousands of Americans not working, children not getting their clinical trials for cancer, and national parks closed.

Just a thought.

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Bullets and Booze Don’t Mix in Chicago

Concealed Weapons

After a major setback to their attack on gun rights in Chicago, the city council passed an ordinance banning concealed weapons from being carried in places that serve alcohol.

The city has one of the harshest gun laws in the country. Not coincidentally, the clime and murder rates in the city are also high. When an appeals court ruled that the concealed weapons ban in Illinois was unconstitutional, Chicago wasted no time in trying whatever they legally could to prevent citizens from being able to protect themselves. The ordinance passed Wednesday, the same day that the reversal of the concealed weapons ban took effect.

“Bullets and booze don’t mix,” said Alderman Edward Burke, one of the sponsors of the ordinance.

According to the USA Today:

Under the new gun laws, businesses that serve alcohol are required to place a sign in their window banning guns on the premises. The ordinance attempts to prevent booze and firearms in one place, according to Donal Quinlan, a spokesman for the city finance committee.

Drunken murder rages don’t seem to be a problem in most cities, but it will definitely not be an issue with law abiding citizens in Chicago. Then again, it’s rarely the law abiding citizens that are the problem.

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Obama Reversed Bush Administration Ban on NSA Domestic Spying Powers

Yes We Scan

Up is down and down is up if you’re watching closely enough to what has been happening at the NSA and with the Obama administration the last few years. The President that was supposed to make things more transparent, less paranoid, and better for the common American has been caught repeatedly doing things that would normally have been expected from his predecessor.

The most recent example is a big one. In 2008, the Bush administration imposed a ban on the NSA’s ability to intercept phone calls and emails from US citizens. In 2011, the Obama administration had the ban lifted.

According to the Washington Post:

What had not been previously acknowledged is that the court in 2008 imposed an explicit ban — at the government’s request — on those kinds of searches, that officials in 2011 got the court to lift the bar and that the search authority has been used.

This gave the NSA the loophole they needed to be able to read and store emails of US citizens without a warrant and technically without probable cause. Considering that over 250 million internet communications are intercepted yearly by the NSA under Section 702, it’s safe to assume that a good chunk come from law abiding citizens.

All of this was a secret, of course, and only recently came to light after material was declassified. The deliberate search of Americans’ communications and storage of these communications in databases should be concerning across the board.

It stays true to the administration’s unspoken perspective that national security at all costs trumps any concerns of privacy.

The worst part of all this is the way that it came into being. There was no public debate. There was no authorization given by Congress, no oversight other than by the NSA itself watching over its own doings through the lens of a self-watchdog.

“The government says, ‘We’re not targeting U.S. persons,’ ” said Gregory T. Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “But then they never say, ‘We turn around and deliberately search for Americans’ records in what we took from the wire.’ That, to me, is not so different from targeting Americans at the outset.”

Speed is important when terrorist plots are unfolding. Nobody would question the need to maintain a heightened level of security in today’s world. However, there are ways that the government can expedite investigative practices without blanket permission given to an organization that has demonstrated a willingness to overstep their bounds.

This administration is not the transparency administration. The ban imposed by the Bush administration is by no means a sign that they did anything beneficial for the privacy of its citizens. Still, it’s a stark contrast between what we expected and what we actually received when we put Obama into office. He’s not just a continuation of the Bush administration. He’s much worse in many ways.

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