File under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up." Somehow, it actually seems like a farcical April Fools…
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April Fools' Day Four Days Late? Google Objects to OpenAI Using YouTube to Train Its Own Generator

File under "You Can't Make This Stuff Up."

Somehow, it actually seems like a farcical April Fools' Day headline, in fact.  Google, with its deep history of scraping and scanning other sources' substantive content for its own uses, now objects to OpenAI using YouTube content to train its text-to-video generator:

The use of YouTube videos to train OpenAI’s text-to-video generator would be an infraction of the platform's terms of service, YouTube Chief Executive Officer Neal Mohan said."

Optimists might hope that Google is finally recognizing and preparing to correct its wayward course, while realists and cynics will roll their eyes at what they'll label naivete.  As the old adage goes, however, "every saint has a past, every sinner has a future," so we'll maintain hope.…[more]

April 05, 2024 • 05:09 PM

Liberty Update

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The Age of Obama: 2009-2010 Print
By Troy Senik
Thursday, February 18 2010
Make no mistake, Barack Obama is on a trajectory to become a do-nothing president. ... When your hallmark economic initiative polls roughly the same as belief in unicorns, you’ve made a mistake.

A generation from now, when historians chronicle presidential leadership around the turn of the century, it’s likely that they’ll find one unifying theme: wasted potential.  In the case of Bill Clinton, an impressive intellect and sophisticated political skills were undermined by an absolute incapacity for either personal or political self-control.  For George W. Bush, a unifying moment of national tragedy yielded to an agenda that first split the nation and then split his own party.
 
With Barack Obama, the fall is both steeper and faster.  This may owe to the fact that Obama started from a considerably higher altitude.

Clinton entered the White House without the electoral support of a majority of American voters, a quirk of the three-way contest that pitted him against George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot. The latter Bush arrived in office with even less of a mandate, having lost the popular vote and pulled out a win in the Electoral College by a margin of only a few hundred votes in Florida. 

In 2008, Obama received nearly 200 more electoral votes than John McCain – and nearly 10 million more votes in the popular race.
 
It was not just sheer mathematics, however, that seemed to gild Obama’s arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Like Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan before him, Obama entered office in the wake of a president who had fallen into deep disfavor with the public – usually a precondition for a transformational chief executive. 

Obama also brought to bear many of the personal qualities of an idealized president: intellect, youth, eloquence and charisma chief among them. Combine that with an election that saw perennially Republican parts of the country shift towards the Democratic ticket and you can understand why many thought Obama’s election would be the first real paradigm shift in national politics since the Reagan ascendancy nearly 30 years before. 

How curious, then, that with his presidency barely a year old, Obama is beginning to look like one of the most ineffectual executives in recent history. 
 
Make no mistake, Barack Obama is on a trajectory to become a do-nothing president.  The only major legislative accomplishment of his first year was the economic stimulus package, a policy that has fared so poorly that a CBS News/New York Times poll this week found only six percent of the public believes its claims to have created jobs.   When your hallmark economic initiative polls roughly the same as belief in unicorns, you’ve made a mistake.
 
The stimulus was also something of a gimme. With massive majorities in both houses of Congress, a broad public mandate and an informal tradition that a president’s first major legislative initiative is usually a slam dunk, passage of the bill was not exactly cold fusion.
 
What is remarkable is how the subsequent aspects of Obama’s agenda violated the basic tenets of managing a majority coalition: make sure that your policy initiatives unite your own party and divide the opposition … never the converse.  Yet on health care, cap and trade, and national security, Obama has consistently split moderate Democrats from the left and united Republicans in opposition.
 
This was a predictable, though not particularly original, mistake.  The first two years of Bill Clinton’s presidency suffered from much the same strategic shortcoming.  But what should be deeply disquieting for Democrats is that Obama is displaying a vanity that will keep his presidency and his party from the same sort of resuscitation that Clinton was able to achieve after Democrats were routed in the 1994 midterms.
 
There can be no mistaking that Democrats are now in shockingly deep trouble.  Obama’s plummeting approval ratings, Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts, the preemptive retirements of Democratic senators like Chris Dodd, Byron Dorgan, and Evan Bayh, and the rise of the Tea Party movement are all unmistakable signs that the public has rejected the president’s initial agenda.

Having led a center-right country to water, Democrats have found that they can’t make it drink. Gripped by righteous fervor, they’re now attempting to drown it.
 
Despite the fact that health care reform is at the top of the public’s list of grievances, Democrats are attempting to muscle the bill through via reconciliation.  This will only catalyze the public even further – and if successful, it will be precisely the justification that Republicans need to run in favor of outright repeal of Obamacare rather than simply proposing adjustments at the margin. 

Cap and trade, another of the divisive flashpoints, is dead in the Senate, but the Environmental Protection Agency looks poised to impose carbon regulation through administrative fiat rather than accept the will of the public. To the extent that Obama has any space left on the docket for new initiatives, he’s pledged to pursue immigration reform, an issue tailor-made to split a Democratic caucus in which many conservative members ran on their border control bona fides.
 
If Obama can dilute his governing philosophy into something politically expedient (the mark of a statesman), he can survive.  But instead, he has thus far chosen moral preening, openly invoking his own political martyrdom by saying he’d rather be a consequential president than a two-term one.  Unfortunately for him, the political realities of a headstrong country mean that he can either have both or neither.  If he bends to political reality, it will be the former.  If not, “the age of Obama” will have the inglorious accolade of having been shorter-lived than the Obama campaign.

Notable Quote   
 
"Progressives are using legal loopholes and the power of the federal government to maximize Democrat votes in the 2024 election at taxpayers' expense, RealClearInvestigations has found.The methods include voter registration and mobilization campaigns by ostensibly nonpartisan charities that target Democrats using demographic data as proxies, and the Biden administration's unprecedented demand that…[more]
 
 
— Ben Weingarten, Real Clear Investigations
 
Liberty Poll   

Given dramatically escalating premiums for homeowner and vehicle insurance, do you believe that your state insurance officials are conscientiously regulating those inescapable costs?