Wednesday, April 30, 2003
New prison break computer game in Australia. Also an intersing exercise in government funding. See, the arts side of the government is granting money to this project. A project which exists, seemingly, only to criticize the prisons system, another side of the government. Ain't beaurocracy grand?
Tuesday, April 29, 2003
CNN.com Article. Publik edukashin iz gud.
Bush beats Howard Dean for Pres. Sizable margin, but nowhere near a landslide. Roosevelt he ain't. Then in 2008 the Dems put up Hillary. She either wins or comes very close. Sadly, I think she'll make it. But 04 is not the year for the dems. They will lose the pres and a few more house seats. Probably just 1 or 2. There ya go. That's my preliminary look. We'll see how it pans out.
Monday, April 28, 2003
Saturday, April 26, 2003
I feel it necessary to chime in now about this Tim Robbins thing. For those of you who may not know, Robbins has been very public about his anti-war stance and his criticisms of the current administration and the right wing in general. Several right-wingers have labeled him a traitor, Benedict Arnold, etc. I am tired of all the fuss about this. Tim Robbins is, and continues to be, one of my favorite actors. But I don’t care a whit about what he has to say about public policy. And yet all the right wing commentators can’t shut up about him. What’s the big deal? He has the right to say whatever he wants, and we have the right to ignore it. Now, I will say he went a little far on one point, and that is his labeling of anyone who disagrees with him to be picking on him or blacklisting him or some such nonsense. A tad hypocritical isn’t it Tim? But hey, it’s Hollywood. And while I’m on the subject of famous people talking politics….
The Dixie Chicks ruckus, one more thing I am sick of hearing about. First, I don’t think what Ms. Maines said is so terrible. Hey, if Kirk Fordice (a past governor of Mississippi) were president, I’d be ashamed that he’s from my state as well. Of course, I’m already ashamed of that. Is that so bad to say? So she doesn’t like GW. So what? And yet all Limbaugh and Hannity and their ilk can seem to do is criticize the girls, calling them the “Ditzy Chicks” and other such names. Obviously, this practice does much to make these two men seem more legitimate, as you can see. And then yesterday we had the “apology” on ABC. Very, very sad. A useless waste of time which only created more fodder for the radio hosts. They seemed insincere, and not highly intelligent. I say, stick by your guns Natalie. If you don’t like the president, say so. If I remember correctly, this is still a free country. Or am I wrong Mr. Ashcroft?
Here's a case any of you "file swappers" should be watching. Getting scary out here...
Verizon gets 14 days to ID file-swapper | CNET News.com
Tuesday, April 22, 2003
My friend Brett over at the the New Republic Blog has posted a classic article. I encourage you all to go read it.
Thursday, April 17, 2003
I got this from a mailing list I'm on. I think it's a great idea, i'll probably steal it :)
From Matt Middleton, Georgetown University
Seeing as its tax day, my idea that I've had for a bit might be a little late, maybe not. I think it would be cool to make a series of commercials paralleling the "drugs fund terrorists" but instead making it "taxes fund terrorists". Actually, my idea isn't limited to the terrorist bit but really all of the commercials. Whose taxes paid for bin Laden and Manuel Noriega back in the 80's? Whose taxes went to support Saddam's regime and to give him support with chemical weapons? Whose taxes also went to support the Iranian regime? Whose taxes currently go to pay for foreign aid to Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia where numerous human rights abuses are constantly committed, sometimes against Americans? Whose taxes went to purchase the Humvee that ran over the two little girls in Korea?? Whose taxes paid for the LSD experiments on the black communities in the 60's. I'm sure the taxes we pay fund much more bad things in the world than someone who purchases a bit of marijuana. Should we feel responsible and refuse to pay taxes?
Seems to me...
Monday, April 14, 2003
And I think they may have a logical point here. To an extent...India Mulls 'Pre-Emptive' Pakistan Strike, Cites U.S. Iraq War Precedent
Saturday, April 12, 2003
Another great article from Declan McCullagh.
COMMENTARY--Attorney General John Ashcroft wants even more power to snoop on the Internet, spy on private conversations, and install secret microphones, spyware and keystroke loggers.
Ashcroft's Justice Department has quietly crafted a whopping 120-page proposal that represents the boldest attack yet on our electronic privacy in the name of thwarting future terrorist attacks. The nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity posted the draft legislation, which reads like J. Edgar Hoover's wish list, on its Web site Friday.
Called the Domestic Security Enhancement Act (DSEA), the legislation has not been formally introduced in Congress, and a spokeswoman for Ashcroft indicated Friday that it's a work in progress. But the fact that it's under consideration already, before we know the effects of its USA Patriot Act predecessor, should make us realize that the Bush administration thinks "homeland security" is the root password to the Constitution.
Don't believe me? Keep reading and check out some of DSEA's highlights:
• The FBI and state police would be able to eavesdrop on what Web sites you visit, what you search for with Google, and with whom you chat through e-mail and instant messaging--all without a court order for up to 48 hours. That's if you're suspected of what would become a new offense of "activities threatening the national security interest."
• Currently police can seek a warrant to "require the disclosure by a provider of electronic communication service of the contents of an electronic communication." Under existing law, police must notify the target of an investigation except in rare cases such as when witnesses would be intimidated or a prospective defendant might flee. DSEA allows police to delay notification for three months simply by citing "national security."
• When investigating a computer crime or other serious felonies, prosecutors would be able to serve secret subpoenas on people ordering them to hand over evidence and testify in person. If served with a secret subpoena, you'd go to jail if you "disclosed" to anyone but your lawyer that you received it.
• Police would be able to ask a judge to issue search warrants valid for anywhere in the United States if someone is suspected of computer hacking. Previously that law applied only to "violent acts or acts dangerous to human life."
Other portions of DSEA are devoted to unshackling the mighty Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a post-Watergate law that was intended to be used against foreign spies.
FISA isn't limited to traditional phone wiretapping. There's an entire section devoted to electronic surveillance, permitting "the installation or use of an electronic, mechanical or other surveillance device." That's a flexible definition that stretches to include the FBI's Carnivore Net-surveillance system, keystroke loggers and remotely installed spyware like the FBI's Magic Lantern spyware.
"I think the Department of Justice has concluded that it wants the ability to use these techniques in virtually every situation," says Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "This is breathtakingly bad. Apart from the dramatic expansion of government surveillance authority and government secrecy, (DSEA) transfers enormous power from the Congress and the judiciary to the executive branch and gives the attorney general absolutely unprecedented authority. This is more than an assault on constitutional liberty--it is an attack on the constitutional system of checks and balances."
Another worrying part of DSEA is a section that targets encryption. It would create a new federal felony of willfully using encryption during the commission of a felony, punishable by "no more than five years" in prison plus a hefty fine.
When encryption eventually becomes glued into just about every technology we use, from secure Web browsing to encrypted hard drives, DSEA would have the effect of boosting maximum prison terms for every serious crime by five years. It'll be no different--and no more logical--than a law that says "breathing air while committing a crime" is its own offense.
A leaked Justice Department document suggests that Ashcroft already forwarded a copy of DSEA to House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Vice President Dick Cheney last month. Unfortunately, with a Congress as supine as ours happens to be, Ashcroft will likely get what he wants. After all, the USA Patriot Act passed the House by a 6-to-1 margin and ran into only one dissenting vote in the Senate.
Many of DSEA's new powers will go--surprise!--to agents in FBI field offices. That possibility should worry anyone with an appreciation of history, which reveals that time and again, the FBI and other law enforcement organizations have ignored the law and spied on Americans illegally, without court authorization.
In the past, government agencies have subjected hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Americans to unlawful surveillance, illegal wiretaps and warrantless searches. Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., feminists, gay rights leaders and Catholic priests were spied on. The FBI used secret files and hidden microphones to blackmail the Kennedy brothers, sway the Supreme Court and influence presidential elections.
It's true that our current FBI appears to be more trustworthy than the bureau during its dark years of the 1950s and 1960s. But the possibility that future FBI directors may misuse DSEA's vast powers--and transform America into a tech-enabled surveillance state--means that we should be extraordinarily cautious about acquiescing to Ashcroft's demands.
As I have long said, never give the government power, unless you wish it always to have that power. The Income Tax was supposed to be temporary too.....
politechbot.com: Republicans vie to make USA Patriot Act permanent
The RAVE act was passed yesterday. 98% voted yes. It was slipped into the PROTECT Act at the last moment, by Joseph Biden (D-DE). Your right to dance, sing, DJ, listen to good music, and run your own business is under attack. The federal government may soon have the power to shut down dance clubs, rock, country, and Hip Hop concerts, gay and lesbian bars, and anything else federal officials don't like.
As you may know, Congress is considering three bills that could land many event promoters, bar and nightclub owners, and stadium owners in jail if even one person uses drugs at their events. If enacted, these bills could prevent you from hearing your favorite band or DJ live. Every musical style would be affected.
The three dangerous bills are the RAVE Act (H.R. 718), the CLEAN-UP Act (H.R. 834), and the Illicit Drugs Anti-Proliferation Act (S. 226). While aimed at the very real problem of substance abuse, the bills go too far by punishing business owners for the drug offenses of their customers and threatening to shut down concerts, circuit parties, dance clubs, and other forms of entertainment. Business owners could be jailed for enacting health measures that save lives - such as teaching their staff first-aid. You could even go to jail for 20 years for throwing a party in your own home.
Senator Biden stuck the text of the RAVE Act into the PROTECT Act at the last minute and the bill was passed. This makes the aforementioned problems LAW!!!!. I urge you to follow the links to the above bills so you too can know what is really going on. Now, the PROTECT Act is a great peice of legislation by itself. It's sole aim WAS to protect children from exploitation. A very laudable goal. And as such, it was passed. However, when Biden threw in the RAVE Act's extensions of the "Crack House Laws", he made the bill into something that should be unsignable by our president. Of course, I fear that the fascist-esque Ascroft/Bush/Cheney regime will sign this into law as soon as possible.
It is VERY IMPORTANT that we contact our representatives and tell them how disgusted we are at their actions.
TOLL FREE NUMBER FOR THE U.S. CAPITOL:
(877) 762. 8762
Just ask for your senator's office when they answer.
Direct phone numbers, etc can be found at the below web address.
Being a pseudo-libertarian, I can't say I agree with everything in this article. But the examples of more irresponsible government spending is something you should read. And sneaking this into a war bill....disgracefull. Of course, I know this is no new thing. This is often how things are done in Congress. But that doesn't mean we have to put up with it. Brackets indicate any edits I made to the article.
Congress is profiteering on the war
by funding special interests, Libertarians say
WASHINGTON, DC -- The bill funding the war in Iraq has become jam-packed with so many special-interest favors -- such as a $250 million grant for Southern catfish farmers -- that Congress should be ashamed to vote for it, the Libertarian Party says.
"Unfortunately, wartime looting isn't confined to Iraq," said Geoffrey Neale, the party's national chairman. "Politicians in Washington, DC, are using the fog of late-night legislating to cover their tracks as they funnel money to their political supporters."
As a House-Senate conference committee negotiates the final details of legislation funding the Iraq war, Democrats and Republicans are scrambling to insert dozens of special-interest riders. Though the $80 billion package was stalled by disagreements on Wednesday, it is expected to be completed within days and presented to President Bush.
According to an estimate by Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX, the bill contains $20 billion in "wartime pork," or spending that has no connection with the war in Iraq or the battle against terrorism.
"By turning the bill into a spigot for special interests, Congress is profiteering on the war -- and that should anger every American," Neale said.
One especially egregious example: Republican Sen. Thad Cochran [yes, OUR Thad Cochran] inserted language that would funnel $250 million to Southern catfish farmers, many of them in his home state of Mississippi, under the guise of providing drought relief for livestock producers.
Other "war-time pork" includes:
* $69 million to fund a "Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust," named after the former Missouri Congressman.
* A measure intended to prevent a German company, DHL Worldwide Express, from competing with Federal Express and United Parcel Service in the delivery of military cargo. During the 2002 election cycle, UPS gave $1.5 million to Democratic and Republican candidates and $300,000 to the Republican National Committee, Neale noted.
* $98 million for an agricultural research lab in Iowa, and $250 million in other Agriculture Department grants.
* $3.2 billion to extend unemployment benefits for airline employees.
* $11 million for Congressional salaries and expenses.
* A total of $12.4 million for the Library of Congress, the Congressional Research Service, the General Accounting Office and the U.S. Court of International Trade.
* $8 billion in foreign aid for nations that are supposedly helping the fight against terrorism, including Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and Djibouti.
"It's disgraceful that politicians who publicly brag about supporting our troops are privately using this war as a device to enrich special interests and benefit their own re-election campaigns," Neale said.
"The Libertarian Party is challenging Mr. Bush to veto this bill. Maybe that will send a message to the politicians who insist on conducting business as usual in Washington, DC -- while their fellow Americans are dying in Iraq."
Thursday, April 03, 2003
Here is a great little article on how (not?) to argue and piss people off. Very nice, covers most of the types of deft, and not so deft, verbal acrobats used by sarcastic and manipulative types, like your's truly :)
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
Alright, I am not a flag waving, Rush Limbaugh-loving war cheerleader. But this goes far beyond any stomachable protest. Defacing a war memorial with suggestions that the bodies of soldiers who died to liberate France should be dug up because they are "fouling" the soil, that is despicable.