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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Manchin Got Duped, Biden Depleted Our Strategic Oil Reserve Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Wednesday, September 28 2022
If Biden or Manchin really wanted to do something about high gas prices or limited supplies, they’d work to unleash domestic oil and gas production, which made us energy independent and brought down prices following the fracking revolution.

It takes a special talent to get duped by Joe Biden, a man who freezes in confusion while attempting to exit a stage unescorted.  

Joe Manchin, however, proved up to that challenge.  

In late July, Manchin helped raise Biden’s sagging political fortunes by signing onto the “Inflation Reduction Act,” which actually increases inflation through 2023.  

It amounted to a comprehensive Biden Administration wish list.  Despite categorically renouncing tax increases during a recession while running for Senate in 2010, the bill Manchin joined raises taxes by $327 billion.  In addition, the legislation boosts Internal Revenue Service (IRS) funding by $80 billion – that’s six times the IRS’s $13 billion annual budget – while doubling its size by adding an almost inconceivable 87,000 new employees.  It also boosts electric vehicle (EV) subsidies for wealthy Americans, while introducing disastrous new pharmaceutical price controls that will mean hundreds fewer new lifesaving drugs over the next ten years alone.  

To secure Manchin’s support, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D – New York) promised him an energy infrastructure reform bill to be passed at a later date, whose details Manchin suspiciously declined to disclose.  

Now we understand why.  Manchin’s permitting reform provisions would do little to reform our nation’s sclerotic energy permitting regime made worse by Biden’s anti-energy policies, while actually worsening matters by imposing federal “green” energy mandates upon states.  

And now, Manchin suddenly doesn’t even have that fig leaf.  This week, with a potential government shutdown approaching, he acknowledged that he doesn’t have the votes to pass his proposal after dozens of Bernie Sanders-style Democrats objected to it.  

To the extent that Manchin honestly believed that his increasingly radical fellow Democrats would act in good faith in passing his energy infrastructure bill after he’d already joined the Inflation Reduction Act, then he should’ve known better.   And to the extent that Manchin thought that he was pulling a fast one on his constituents or Senate Republicans, then shame on him.  Now he has only himself to blame for going down as one of the few people who makes Biden seem astute by comparison.  

Meanwhile, almost below radar, Biden has dangerously depleted our Strategic Petroleum Reserve just as Hurricane Ian hits our third-most populous state and the Russia-Ukraine war threatens to get even hotter.  

Last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced that the reserve had dwindled to its lowest level since 1984.  Since Biden authorized withdrawals in March in a naked political act to counteract rising gas prices inconvenient to his political fortunes, 155 million barrels have been released.  The purpose of the reserve is to ensure energy security against acute energy shocks, not political maneuvering, and now we possess fewer options in the event of actual supply disruptions like an escalation of the Russia-Ukraine war, a stepped-up international boycott of Russian oil or hurricane disruptions here.  

And for what?  Gas prices never returned to anywhere near the low levels that Biden inherited in January 2021, and now they’re rising again.  

The central problem is that the Biden Administration has waged war against our domestic energy sector since his first day in office, halting pipeline projects and reducing drilling permits to almost zero.  

If Biden or Manchin really wanted to do something about high gas prices or limited supplies, they’d work to unleash domestic oil and gas production, which made us energy independent and brought down prices following the fracking revolution.  They’d also stop diverting precious taxpayer dollars to subsidize EVs, wind, solar from China and other “green” energy boondoggles that only compromise our electric grid, threaten rolling blackouts and raise prices.  See, e.g., California.  

There’s nothing wrong with EVs, wind, solar or renewable energy innovations, but they must succeed on their own merits as every other American technological innovation has done through the decades and centuries, not on the backs of American taxpayers who are told to accept their punishment and enjoy it.  

Until Biden, Manchin and their compatriots accept those straightforward realities, their bumbling will continue and we’ll all be paying the price.  

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?