Let’s be honest: We all know you’re not really gonna quit smoking, start exercising, and eat more vegetables as of today. As Emerson wryly remarked: “All promise outruns performance.”
The key to keeping your New Year’s resolutions is to make them more realistic. Rather than try to drastically change the way you live, why not start with the more modest goal of changing the way you speak? And what better place to start for conservatives than with America’s Founding principles?
As conservatives continue to rediscover the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, it is important to use words and embrace ideas that are consistent with our Founding principles.
If you’re fond of the term “states’ rights,” have a soft spot for nullification, are tempted by isolationism or are wary of equality, here are four simple resolutions to begin getting right with America’s principles. Once you have these down, you can start correcting your friends and move on to other core concepts.
1. Speak of Federalism, not “States’ Rights”
States don’t have rights. People do.
States have powers. Nowhere in the Constitution are states said to possess rights. Congress has certain powers, clearly enumerated in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, and the conservative-favorite Tenth Amendment makes clear that all the other powers are reserved to the states.
Not only is it incorrect to speak of states’ rights, but the expression has more baggage than Samsonite and Louis Vuitton combined. In case you didn’t know, “states’ rights” was the rallying cry of segregationists. Since no right-thinking conservative will keep company with such people, let’s just drop the term states’ rights once and for all.
If you’re concerned about federal encroachments on state sovereignty or the erosion of federalism–as you should be–then speak of federal encroachments on state sovereignty or the erosion of federalism. Or of the need to restore limited constitutional government, reinvigorate local self-government, decentralize power or check the growth of out-of-control government. With so many great formulations to choose from, why weaken the case for liberty by relying on “states’” rights?
2. Resist the Nullification Temptation
Are you unhappy with the constitutional abomination called Obamacare? Do you think that Congress has no power to compel you to purchase health insurance?
Good. Now encourage the repeal of the law or wait and see what mood Justice Anthony Kennedy will be in next June when the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of Obamacare.
But please don’t start talking about nullification as the magical silver bullet that other conservatives somehow overlooked in their efforts to repeal Obamacare (or any other unconstitutional law, for that matter).
Nullification is blatantly unconstitutional. As James Madison pointed out in 1798, 1800 and again during the Nullification Crisis of 1832, individual states do not have the power to unilaterally declare federal legislation unconstitutional. They have the power–in fact, the duty–to challenge laws they deem objectionable, but this must be done within the existing constitutional framework. Let us behold a republican remedy, as Madison would say, to this federal overreach.
3. Isolationism is un-American
Unless you’re describing the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan or the hermit kingdom of North Korea, “isolationism” should be eliminated from conservative foreign policy discussions.
As a nation dedicated to the universal truth of human equality, America simply cannot withdraw from the world and be indifferent to the fate of liberty. American exceptionalism is fundamentally incompatible with isolationism. More so than any other country, we have a duty to stand for liberty.
And no, the Founders were not isolationists. The Heritage Foundation’s Marion Smith has written the definitive refutation of this bogus argument in “The Myth of Isolationism.”
So if we’re not isolationists, does that mean we’re interventionists who want to make the world “safe for democracy“? Of course not. There is a middle ground between naive isolationism and crusading interventionism: a distinctively American foreign policy, anchored in the principles of the Founding, that secures our interests all the while upholding our commitment to liberty–a commitment which need not necessarily translate into military interventions.
4. Equality is not a four-letter word
Seeing how the Left blathers on incessantly about inequality and dreams of a Harrison Bergersonesque America, some conservatives are wary of equality. Yet no word is more central to the American tradition which we uphold than equality.
Equality is the first self-evident truth proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and ours is a country “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” By this, of course, we mean equal natural rights and the equal opportunities afforded by free markets and the rule of law.
The real tragedy of inequality in America is not that some earn more than others–class envy is something that afflicts Europeans, not Americans. Rather, it is that big government breeds what Paul Ryan calls “a class of bureaucrats and connected crony capitalists trying to rise above the rest of us, call the shots, rig the rules, and preserve their place atop society.”
Let us therefore reclaim the mantle of equality from those who’ve perverted it in the pursuit of equal outcomes.
For many of us, the cloud has changed the way we work and play. Thanks to well-known services like Gmail, Dropbox, Facebook and Instapaper, practically our whole lives — photos, documents, contacts and more — are online. So isn’t it time to take control?
A little tweaking can turn the cloud into a more powerful and personalized place. All it takes is a few simple browser add-ons and other tools to unlock the full potential of the Web’s most popular services.
Here, in no particular order, are 10 essential tools to help you make the most of your cloud experience. In this story, we’re focusing on tools you would use on your
computer itself, either through a Web browser or with software you download and install, rather than mobile apps you would use on a smartphone or tablet. That said, however, some of these tools do offer a mobile component as well.
One important note before we begin: Keep in mind that the nature of these tools requires them to be granted a certain level of access to your data. Particularly on the corporate IT front, you may need to seek approval before installing any utility that can process sensitive information. Be sure to review the permissions listed for every application and use it only if you and/or your employer are comfortable with the level of access it needs.
When you’re browsing the Web and see something you want to save for later, the cloud is often an extra step away: With many services, you first have to save a file to your local hard drive, then move it to your cloud storage service. That extra step is eliminated with Cloud Save, a free extension of Google’s Chrome browser from developers antimatter15 and KRowland.
Cloud Save integrates a host of cloud-based services into your browser for quick and easy access. All you do is right-click on any link or image, anywhere on the Web, and find the “Cloud Save” option in the contextual menu that pops up. From there, you pick the service of your choice, and — shazam! — your file is floated directly over to your favorite fluffy poof (figuratively speaking).
Cloud Save supports Dropbox, Google Docs, Box.net, Amazon Cloud Drive, Windows Live SkyDrive, SugarSync, Facebook, Picasa, Flickr and several other services.
Cloud Save lets you save links of images directly to an array of cloud services.
If full synchronization between Google Docs and your PC is what you’re after, Syncdocs is the tool you need. Syncdocs natively integrates Google Docs into Windows 7, Vista or XP, keeping your computer’s word processing folder continuously synced with your Google Docs account. More
Before the Crash
Photograph by Rahul Talukder, My Shot
About 15 million people live in the crowded city of Dhaka. (Read about Bangladesh’s population boom in National Geographic magazine.)
Why We Love It
“The eye-catching angle of this picture lays bare the struggles of these boatmen.”—Chris Combs, news photo editor
“The green, graphic watermelons initially distract the viewer from the serious situation at hand. It’s incredible to see this man attempt to physically overcome the two crushing boats surrounding his ship. Without the aerial viewpoint, the man stretched above his fruit, this image would not be as striking.”—Sarah Polger, senior photo editor
By the time HP unveiled its first Ultrabook, the Folio 13, other heavyweights like Acer, ASUS, Lenovo and Toshiba had already gotten a head start of up to several months. But being fashionably late to market may have worked in Hewlett-Packard’s favor: the Folio 13 ($900 and up) is temptingly priced for what it is. Even the base model comes stocked with a 128GB SSD, backlit keyboard, HDMI port and Ethernet jack — specs that undercut the ASUS Zenbook UX31 and 13-inch MacBook Air, and render the $900 Acer Aspire S3 nearly irrelevant. Not to mention, it brings business-friendly features such as TPM circuitry that other Ultrabook makers have omitted from their 1.0 products. But surely HP cut some corners to get here, no? Is this really as sweet a deal as it seems? Funnily enough, the answer is “yes,” on both counts.
Look and feel
Considering how aggressively priced this thing is, HP made surprisingly few design compromises. Okay, the bottom is made of plastic, not aluminum, and the display offers narrow viewing angles, but other than that it’s well-made and yes, tasteful, even. We’ll wait a moment for all those folks who hate 1366 x 768 screens and things that aren’t metal to leave the room. Are they gone? Good. We think the rest of you will agree that that tried-and-true brushed metal lid was a safe design choice and also, a perfectly elegant one. Even better, those smooth metal surfaces continue onto the keyboard deck, stretching down to the palm rest. Particularly after reviewing split-personality machines like the Aspire S3, we appreciate that what’s underneath the lid matches the exterior. More
Fasten Your Seatbelts, It’s Going to Be a Bumpy Year
2011 was a year of surprises. An Arab revolution no one predicted. A downgrade of the U.S.’s formerly pristine debt rating. European debt troubles that threatened the future of the continent’s common currency.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of them all: The ability of the U.S. stock market to all but shrug off that turbulence, even as most foreign markets fell.
Sure, U.S. stocks sank at various parts of the year, including the period after the debt downgrade. But a late-year rally left major averages about where they began, as if the year was placid, not full of panic.
Last week, stocks fell 0.6% leaving the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 5.5% on the year. The Nasdaq Composite closed the year down 1.8%, and the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was flat (actually off 0.003%).
Predicting what 2012′s surprises will be is no easy task. Last year’s Sunday Journal outlook warned of rising interest rates and falling bond prices. But the experts were confounded: U.S. government bonds continued to rally.
We did get some predictions correct, such as anticipating China’s ability to rein in inflation without causing a severe economic downturn. It’s not clear whether Chinese leaders will continue to have such success in 2012, however.
Here are some possible surprises for 2012 and beyond, based on views of some leading investors and analysts:
Most experts predict a slow slog for stocks in 2012, as the U.S. economy struggles and Europe works to avoid a recession.
But just as stocks did better than one might have expected in 2011, given all the turbulence, they again may surprise on the upside this year, argues Tobias Levkovich, Citigroup’s chief U.S. equity strategist.
His rationale: European leaders may do enough to address their nations’ debt issues that “fears subside,” he says. U.S. elections also could spur politicians to address the nation’s own fiscal imbalances.
And U.S. companies, sitting on record amounts of cash and tapping super-low interest rates, could step up their acquisitions, also helping the market. Mr. Levkovich says energy and telecom companies could see the most acquisitions.
Stocks are at their most inexpensive levels in decades, says Mr. Levkovich, who argues investors could be surprised by a stronger stock market than even his firm’s official forecast of 15%. More
US-CERT warns about security flaw affecting millions of wireless routers
The US Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning about a vulnerability that exposes millions of wireless routers to brute force attacks.
A design flaw in the WiFi protected setup (WPS) specification for the PIN authentication used by many wireless routers “significantly” reduces the time required to launch a brute force attack against the PIN because the flaw allows an attacker to know when the first half of the eight digit PIN is correct, warned the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) in a vulnerability note.
The lack of a proper lock out policy after a certain number of failed attempts to guess the PIN on wireless routers makes this brute force attack that much more feasible.
“An attacker within range of the wireless access point may be able to brute force the WPS PIN and retrieve the password for the wireless network, change the configuration of the access point, or cause a denial of service”, US-CERT said.
WPS is a standard developed by the WiFi Alliance to ease the set up of a wireless home network. WPS contains an authentication method called “external registrar” that only requires the router’s PIN, US-CERT said. More