Conservatives [sic] deal blow to McCarthy with second failure to advance Pentagon funding

Source: The Hill

“House conservatives on Thursday defeated a procedural vote on a Pentagon funding bill, preventing the legislation from moving forward in the chamber for the second time this week and dealing an embarrassing blow to Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Six Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the rule for the Pentagon appropriations bill, which was enough to defeat the effort. The final vote was 212-216. The failed vote marks another disappointment for McCarthy, who has tried to advance the appropriations process — and appease the conference’s right flank — as the end-of-the-month government funding deadline inches closer.” (09/21/23)

The Visa Processing Improvement Act has the solutions we’ve been waiting for

Source: Niskanen Center
by Cecilia Esterline

“This summer, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced the bipartisan Visa Processing Improvement Act. The bill aims to create long-lasting solutions to the egregious wait times that visitors and immigrants to the United States often face at American consulates abroad. The bill includes provisions to increase consular capacity by expanding the availability and use of English-language interviews and recruiting new consular fellows from foreign service applicant pools. It will also establish wait time standards and accountability metrics, extend interview waiver eligibility, create a new expedited processing option, and direct the Department of State to revalidate B-1 and B-2 visas domestically for eligible applicants.” (09/21/23)

Donald Trump is his own worst enemy

Source: Orange County Register
by Andrew P Napolitano

“On ‘Meet the Press’ last week, former President Donald Trump made a compelling case highlighting the differences between his years in office and President Joe Biden’s. He also substantially and irretrievably undercut his principal defense in the four criminal cases in which he is a defendant. … Trump revealed that his legal team in the White House told him that he lost the election and there was insufficient evidence to challenge or overturn it. Then he said that he opted to ignore their advice ‘because I didn’t respect them.’ ‘It was my decision,’ to do what I did, not theirs. Ouch. If he was not taking the advice of his lawyers, then he cannot invoke the advice of counsel defense. Either he relied on the advice of his legal team or he didn’t.” (09/21/23)

University Science Research Is Under Threat

Source: Pioneer Institute
by William Smith

“Earlier this year, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and the Commerce Department made an announcement that should have sent shock waves through Boston’s university community. The federal government announced the formation of a working group to ‘develop a framework for the implementation of the march-in provision of the Bayh-Dole Act.’ This doesn’t sound too threatening, but ‘implementation of the march-in provision’ would have serious adverse consequences for university research. … the Biden administration’s working group is considering utilizing the march-in provision to force lower drug prices on any product developed with federal funds. For example, a Cambridge biotech company that licensed a patent on a molecule from an NIH-funded Harvard lab could be stripped of its patent if the government did not like their drug price. In all likelihood, the government would then allow a generic company to manufacture the product and sell it more cheaply.” (09/21/23)

Game of Thrones creator, other authors file frivolous lawsuit against ChatGPT maker

Source: Al Jazeera [Qatar state media]

“John Grisham, Jodi Picoult and Game of Thrones novelist George R R Martin are among 17 authors who have sued OpenAI, the latest in a wave of legal action by writers concerned that artificial intelligence programs are using their copyrighted works without permission. The proposed class-action lawsuit filed late on Tuesday by the Authors Guild joins several others from writers, source code owners and visual artists against generative AI providers. In addition to Microsoft-backed OpenAI, similar lawsuits are pending against Meta Platforms and Stability AI over the data used to train their AI systems. Other authors involved in the latest lawsuit include The Lincoln Lawyer writer Michael Connelly and lawyer-novelists David Baldacci and Scott Turow. OpenAI and other AI defendants have [pointed out that] their use of training data scraped from the internet qualifies as fair use under US copyright law.” (09/21/23)

Rocket Failure Marks Rare Setback for China’s Satellite Network Plans

Source: South China Morning Post

“Beijing-based Galactic Energy’s winning record of nine successful launch missions for its Ceres-1 rocket ended on Thursday, potentially delaying the expansion of China’s Jilin-1, the world’s largest Earth observation satellite network. Its latest rocket failed to send a high-resolution imaging satellite into orbit. The company made the announcement six hours after the 12.59pm Beijing time lift-off from the Jiuquan satellite launch centre in the Gobi Desert. … A rocket engineer in Beijing, who asked not to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media, said it appeared to be second- or third-stage engine breakdown. … The failed mission is the first major setback for the 20 metre (65ft 7 ins) long, four-stage, solid-fuel rocket, which has become one of the best-performing commercial rockets in China since its maiden flight in November 2020.” (09/22/23)