Friday, January 27, 2012

Obama's 2012 State of the Union repeats demands for spending on education, research, clean energy, and infrastructure

Last year, we wrote an article comparing President Obama's 2011 State of the Union speech to his 2010 State of the Union (Same State of the Union Address in 2011 and 2010 Emphasizes Obama Steps to Reelection).

Since the two were extremely similar in theme, we were sure that his 2012 State of the Union would be a regurgitation of the last two. Needless to say, we were not disappointed as our table below shows the major points in each of the past 3 speeches.

Obama's State of the Union Theme

ResearchResearch / InnovationInnovation
Clean EnergyTechnology & Clean EnergyClean Energy

What was interesting is that this year, he boldly added a new category "Manufacturing" and dropped last year's "Technology" push.

Since the President is now pushing his concept of "fairness" (where everyone plays by the same rules and pays their own fair share), we wonder whether there is any financial connection his use of U.S. taxpayer funds for:
  • his Manufacturing and Research proposals and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt
  • his Education focus and his friend Bill Ayers who also promotes education
  • his Clean Energy drive and the 3 bankrupt clean energy companies that received Department of Energy funding
  • his push to rebuild the country's infrastructure (bridges, roads, railway) and his friend Warren Buffet who owns BNSF Railway (Burlington Northern & Santa Fe railroads)
At least this year, many other professional writers and newsmen have realized the concurrent theme in each of his speeches, and his lack of originality.  For example, Townhall published a post Wow: RNC Video Highlights Obama SOTU Deja Vu which contains the following video:

To be fair to the President however, we must commend him for sticking to the same political platform during his presidential term.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Use Bing's Webmaster Tools to reduce and slow down crawl rates

If you have a website and it is being crawled too often by Bing, Yahoo, or Live, this post describes how to reduce their crawl rate to acceptable levels. 

Last week, we began receiving 500 and 503 errors from one of our affiliate stores. This had the undesirable side effect of placing our local instance of Apache's web server in an error state and thus taking our site offline for several hours each day.

We realized that our site was down, but did not know why. After reading through our servers log files, we discovered the 5xx errors. After researching these http error codes, we found that we could not fix these errors directly. Instead, we had to correct the root cause.

Searching through our affiliate's website, we found that they will return these error codes when their server receives too many requests from a particular IP. So, we returned back to our log files and found that the Bing, Yahoo, and Live crawlers were simultaneously requesting many of our pages at the same time.

In order to fix our problem, we had to slow down these crawlers. Our first action was to add a crawl delay to our robots.txt file. Initially, we set this to 60 seconds.

Next, we discovered Bing Webmaster Tools.

In order to utilize this, we needed to sign in with our Windows LiveID. We did not have one so we created a new one. That was very easy and we were able to Sign In to that site within minutes.

Next,  we had to add our site to the crawler. The Bing Webmaster Home page has two sections. The first is for messages, and the second is for sites. We found the "Add Site" link and submitted our site's URL.

Unfortunately, it takes about 3 days before any statistics are displayed. So, we just waited.

Once we saw that Bing was crawling and indexing our pages, we were then able to reduce the crawl rate.

This was done by:
  • Signing into the Bing Webmaster Tools
  • Clicking on our site's URL listed in the Sites section.
  • That brought us to the Dashboard page.
  • At the top is a "Crawl" link, and we clicked on it.
  • The next page then provided a sub-menu.
  • We clicked on the "Crawl Settings" link and it brought us to a graphical "Crawl Rate" page.
  • We lowered our Crawl rate to Minimum (by highlighting the boxes for each hour of the day)
  • And lastly, we pressed the "Save" link.
Within 2 days, the Bing, Yahoo, and Live crawlers were behaving properly, and all of our HTTP 5xx errors disappeared.

During this process, we learned five important things about crawlers:
  1. The Google bot crawl rate is well behaved, and does not overwhelm your server
  2. The Google crawler ignores the "Crawl-delay" command in the robots.txt
  3. Bing only allows a maximum crawl-delay of 4 seconds
  4. Once your site becomes large enough, the crawling bots can harm your site
  5. Crawlers are tamable.
Note: To set a crawl delay in your robots.txt file, enter the two lines:

User-Agent: *
Crawl-delay: 4

at the top of the file.

Even if you are not experiencing problems with your website, we suggest that you submit your site to  Bing Webmaster Tools. Although the interface is slow, it provides a wide variety of information about your website which is a great complement to the Google Webmaster Tools.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Blogger releases embedded comments feature for all

This week I noticed a new post on my Blogger dashboard from Blogger Buzz. It said they released an "embedded" or "threaded" commenting feature which is available to all Blogger users.

Eager to try it out, I read their post:

While it says that this feature is automatically enabled for all users, I found that it was necessary for me to change my settings for it to take effect. I did this by following their instructions in the blog post.

First, I went to my "Settings" menu and clicked on the "Other" choice. Then, I made sure that the "Allow Blog Feed?" choice was set to "Full".  Since I already had this done, I did not have to changed anything.

Next, I selected the "Posts and comments" choice under "Settings" and looked the "Comment Location" pull-down setting in the Comments section. This I had to change this to "Embedded". Once done, I saved the settings and checked them again.

Note: This has to be done for each of your Blogger Blogs! 

Usually, whenever I make a change to my settings, all of my Blogger blogs are automatically updated. But, this is not the case for embedded comments.  So, if you have more than one blog, make sure you check them all.

Lastly, I found a recent comment that one of my readers left and I responded. Like magic, my reply was embedded as a thread under the original comment (shown above).

Wow! This is one great improvement. Thanks Blogger!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Could Obama be Impeached because of Cordray's appointment?

On Tuesday, January 4, 2012, President Obama knowingly and intentionally violated his Constitutional Oath to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States" by appointing Richard Cordray Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without the required consent of the Senate.

His decision and action is a very serious threat to his career which

Could lead to his Impeachment

for various reasons. At issue is Obama's assertion that the Senate is not in session and he therefore has the authority to make temporary recess appointments. However, as defined by the Constitution, the Senate is indeed in session which means that Obama cannot make a recess appointment. Although the President is frustrated by this constitutional provision, he (nor any other President) has the authority to decide when the Senate is in session.

Using a Washington Post newspaper article titled Call the Senate's bluff on recess appointments as grounds for his authority, Obama defied the Constitution and jeopordized his career by appointing Cordray.

Here are his statements on the White House blog regarding Cordray's appointment along with our comments.

Excerpts from The White House Blog: America's Consumer Watchdog

The President nominated Mr. Cordray last summer. Unfortunately, Republicans in the Senate blocked his confirmation.
Comment: The Constitution grants the Senate sole authority to confirm appointments when it is in session (Art II Sec 2 CL 2)

And we can’t wait for Republicans in the Senate to act.
Comment: The President does not have authority to disregard Republican Senators (Art II Sec 2 CL 2)

Now, you might hear some folks across the aisle criticize this “recess appointment.”
Comment: The Senate is in session (Art I Sec 5 Clauses 1, 2 & 4) and therefore a recess appointment may not be constitutionally made.

Here are the facts:
The Constitution gives the President the authority to make temporary recess appointments to fill vacant positions when the Senate is in recess, a power all recent Presidents have exercised.
Comment: True (Art II Sec 2 CL 2)

The Senate has effectively been in recess for weeks, and is expected to remain in recess for weeks.
Comment: Not True, this false statement misleads the public (Art I Sec 5 Clauses 1, 2 & 4). Senate sessions have been held and a Journal of its Proceedings have been maintained.

In an overt attempt to prevent the President from exercising his authority during this period, Republican Senators insisted on using a gimmick called “pro forma” sessions, which are sessions during which no Senate business is conducted and instead one or two Senators simply gavel in and out of session in a matter of seconds.
Comment: Disgraces the Office of President by labeling Senate sessions as a "gimmick" (Art I Sec 5 Clauses 1, 2 & 4)

But gimmicks do not override the President’s constitutional authority to make appointments to keep the government running. Legal experts agree.
Comment: False. The President does not have constitutional authority to make appointments to keep the government running when the Senate is in session (Art II Sec 2 CL 2). And, this statement again disgraces the Office of President by labeling Senate sessions as a "gimmick" (Art I Sec 5 Clauses 1, 2 & 4)

In fact, the lawyers who advised President Bush on recess appointments wrote that the Senate cannot use sham “pro forma” sessions to prevent the President from exercising a constitutional power.
Comment: The source for this statement is a Washington Post article written by two attorneys that advocate that the President "Call the Senate's bluff on recess appointments". Referring to "pro forma" Senate sessions as a "sham" indicates that Obama has no respect for the Constitution or the Oath he swore to. 

Obama's problem is that the Constitution is "the supreme Law of the Land" (Art VI CL 2).

Like all other Presidents, Obama swore to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution" (Art II Sec 1 CL 8), and he is bound by that oath to support the Constitution (Art VI CL 3). By declaring that the Senate is not in Session, and disregarding its content regarding Appointments, the President committed perjury which is a high crime or misdemeanor as defined by the source quoted below.

This means that if indeed President Obama did commit perjury, then he is subject to Impeachment (Art II Sec 4).

Many news reporters and talk show hosts are claiming that the Supreme Court may be asked to determine if Obama's action violated the Constitution. However, Article I Section 3 Clause 6 states that the Senate has sole Power to try the President.

It will be interesting to see if the Senate follows through with its authority to ensure that the President abides by his Oath and determine whether President Obama did indeed violate his Constitutional limits and Oath. If so, then he must be Impeached.

Excerpts from Meaning of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors"
Perjury is usually defined as "lying under oath". That is not quite right. The original meaning was "violation of one's oath (or affirmation)".

By Art. II Sec. 1 Cl. 8, the president must swear: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." He is bound by this oath in all matters until he leaves office. No additional oath is needed to bind him to tell the truth in anything he says, as telling the truth is pursuant to all matters except perhaps those relating to national security. Any public statement is perjury if it is a lie, and not necessary to deceive an enemy.

When a person takes an oath (or affirmation) before giving testimony, he is assuming the role of an official, that of "witness under oath", for the duration of his testimony. That official position entails a special obligation to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and in that capacity, one is punishable in a way he would not be as an ordinary person not under oath. Therefore, perjury is a high crime.

An official such as the president does not need to take a special oath to become subject to the penalties of perjury. He took an oath, by Art. II Sec. 1 Cl. 8, to "faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States" and to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" to the best of his ability. While he holds that office, he is always under oath, and lying at any time constitutes perjury if it is not justified for national security.

For Constitutional excerpts referenced above, please visit:
Excerpts of The Constitution that pertain to President and Senate

Additional Reading:
The ongoing 'recess' fight

Excerpts of The Constitution that pertain to President and Senate

In writing our next article, we will be referencing portions of the Constitution of the United States. Because these excerpts are rather lengthy, we have decided to publish this information as a separate post.

The relevant excerpts below summarize certain Powers of the President and Senate of the United States regarding duties, oaths, and sessions (see Source 1 below).

Excerpts from The Constitution of the United States
Article. I. Section. 3. Clause 6: The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Clause 7: Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
Section. 5. Clause 1: Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide. 

Clause 3: Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.
Clause 4: Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
Article. II. Section. 1. Clause 1: The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows

Clause 8: Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Section. 2. Clause 2: He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. 

Clause 3: The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
Section. 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Article. VI.
Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. 

Clause 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.


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