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

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ObamaCare Implosion May Cement Obama’s Status among the Worst Presidents in History Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, October 31 2013
Obama’s collapse coincides with the debut of ObamaCare, his signature act as president.

This week, we passed a new presidential milestone. 

According to the periodic NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, Barack Obama plummeted to an all-time low of 42% in public approval.  While that alone constitutes a notable event, it’s actually not the most important aspect of the survey, since peaks and troughs are cyclical realities of any presidency. 

Rather, four additional aspects add particular significance. 

First, as highlighted by the Journal, “more Americans now view Mr. Obama negatively than positively, for the first time since he emerged as a national political candidate.”  For a man whose entire public existence flowed from his personal likeability and celebrity aura, that is a terribly ominous development. 

Second, optimism toward America’s system of government has fallen to a record low of just 30% in its polling.  To put that in perspective, in August 1974 as Watergate brought Nixon’s resignation, 55% of respondents said that they were “generally optimistic” about our system of government, with just 15% “generally pessimistic.”  In the dark malaise of Jimmy Carter in February 1979, 49% of Americans were optimistic while only 22% were pessimistic.  That alarming descent during the tenure of the man who promised “hope” and “change?” 

Third, the swiftness of Obama’s decline suggests a tectonic moment in his presidency.  Just two weeks ago, his job approval stood at 47%, so to fall that dramatically while the mainstream media relentlessly focused on Republican divisions and the government shutdown is remarkable.  According to the media’s preferred theme, Obama should be flying high following his alleged shutdown triumph. 

Fourth, and intertwined with the third dynamic, Obama’s collapse coincides with the debut of ObamaCare, his signature act as president.  Not only was the law the core of Obama’s presidency, it was the culmination of decades of liberal activism and self-assurance.  For it to implode this visibly, this swiftly, this completely, this clatteringly, it instantly becomes a metaphor for the inherent oppressiveness and futility of big government and liberalism generally.  ObamaCare was not a remotely bipartisan creation, it was an act of sheer state coercion that rightfully symbolizes liberalism itself. 

As a consequence, the ObamaCare debacle triggers consideration of Obama’s congealing place among American presidents.  Specifically, whether unfolding events are cementing his place at the bottom in historical rankings. 

Although such rankings are obviously subjective, and the evaluation criteria vary, a broad consensus is often possible.  In no notable ranking, whether academic or popular, does George Washington, Andrew Jackson or Abraham Lincoln occupy the bottom realms, and in no ranking does James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson or Warren Harding occupy the top.  Most academic surveys compare the presidents in terms of achievements, leadership qualities, appointments, personal character and failures. 

So why do this month’s events impact Obama’s historical standing so significantly? 

Because ObamaCare is the essence of his presidency, indeed it is his entire raison d’être.  It symbolizes liberals’ faith in more government compulsion, more collective oversight of our lives, more bureaucratic redistribution of finite resources, more mandates.  It defied rudimentary economic and social truths, yet he managed to ram it through anyway.  It became his sole and exhausting focus, even while the economy has sputtered and the electorate worried more about job security than a reordering of their health care choices. 

And now it is collapsing upon debut.  Four years of acrimony, false promises, legislative chicanery, Constitutional defectiveness and government compulsion are igniting in pyrotechnic splendor. 

Apart from this debacle, Obama and his tenacious defenders can point to no significant achievement to date.  Across the globe, we have for four years alienated allies like Israel, Poland, Britain and recently even Saudi Arabia, while emboldening adversaries from Russia to China to Iran to North Korea to Syria to al Qaeda.  Domestically, his policies have caused the weakest cyclical economic recovery in recorded U.S. history, he has nearly doubled our national debt in just five years, he has brought unfathomable trillion-dollar deficits, his IRS has persecuted groups on the basis of political viewpoint, his Justice Department has spied on reporters, he has fueled racial antagonism and he has driven partisan polarization to new highs. 

He has also habitually and deliberately broken solemn promises to the American people, from keeping their preferred health insurance to cutting the deficit to not raising taxes on the middle class to getting to the bottom of the IRS scandal, the Benghazi scandal and the NSA scandals. 

Obama has, almost without exception, weakened America both domestically and abroad.  And now the collapse of his central initiative not only illustrates the defective nature of his entire progressive agenda, it may permanently cement his inferior historical legacy among presidents. 

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?