The Globe and Mail: Ottawa can eavesdrop on Canadians under law

Without a court order or warrant and with little to no oversight. Huh. Bastards. Why do the media is this country act like lapdogs? Why did I only hear about this after a similar disclosure was made in the US about a secret presidential directive? This is a Law for God's sake. Pathetic.

CBC News: Suspected CIA flight landed at Gander: report

Now this is something that Jim Harris (if he were allowed to attend) or Layton could make good mileage out of, if the debates weren't so crippling boring.


Portable stereo's creator got his due, eventually - Americas - International Herald Tribune

I did not know this.

The Chronic-What-cles of Narnia

The stories are good, the video is amusing, but more importantly, it appears that there are now stores that can provide large quantities of freshly baked cupcakes!

Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah!

That is all. Personally, I get more amusement out of saying "Christmahanzakwanukkah" but hey, I'm in a givin' kind of mood. Oh, and if you feel like watching a commercial, here you go. I have a vague recollection of seeing a different one that I liked more. I'll see if I can scare it up.

While you wait, I give you a Lion Documentary

Doonesbury on ID

Yesterday's Doonesbury give an excellent kick in the nards to anti-evolutionists.

$12,000 bill forgiven, Rogers will come to tea

The Globe and Mail is reporting on the story of a woman who's cell phone was stolen and whose next bill was more than $12,000. Her provider, Rogers, refused to do anything about the calls and started adding interest charges and other late fees. Money quote:

Ms. Drummond and Mr. Gefen also learned that Rogers has fraud-detection software that automatically alerts them to dramatic changes in calling patterns, but often "lets the meter run" instead of protecting customers by shutting down phones that have been misappropriated, as Ms. Drummond's was.
Mr. Gefen, a technology journalist, uncovered those secrets by attending a fraud forum in Toronto last September, where he tape-recorded a conversation with Cindy Hopper, a Rogers security official who was apparently unaware that she was speaking with an aggrieved customer.
Long story short, charges removed from bill, CEO will go and have tea with couple.
These are the batards that bought my cell company. How annoying.


Diebold CEO Wally O'Dell cleans out his desk

Dancing in the streets! Major kudos to Brad.

MEPs vote for mandatory data retention | The Register

This directive was pushed through in 3 months from start-to-finish of the process. It is a draconian, expensive, pointless, over-reaching, deeply-flawed, and sure to be abused piece of legislation. The blame can be laid squarely at Tony Blair's feet. Read 'em and weep.

Bush Authorized Domestic Spying

Bush grabbing power is no surprise. The money quote:

The Times said it held off on publishing its story about the NSA program for a year after administration officials said its disclosure would harm national security.

County says electronic voting machines can be hacked

Them votes can be all hacked up? That don't make no nevermind to me.

Sancho criticized the Florida Secretary of State's Office, which approves the voting systems used in the state, for not catching the alleged problems.
A spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office said any faults Sancho found were between him and Diebold.
'If Ion Sancho has security concerns with his system, he needs to discuss them with Diebold,' spokeswoman Jenny Nash said.


Congress Introduces "Don't Buy American" Law. China, Japan Applaud New Measure

Well, according to Public Knowledge, they atually introduced a law to try and close the analog hole, but I say potato, they say "Merry Chrismas! We're Turning Off Your Analog Outs"


A Proposal to American Labor

A good idea that might help combat the decline in organized labour: "During these periods another union formation was also widespread: 'minority' or 'members only' unions, which offered representation to workers without a demonstrated pro-union majority at their worksite."

CBC News: British police may face prosecution in Brazilian man's killing

Just thought you should know that there is a small chance that those responsible for a tragic mistake will be held to account.


IFC Original Documentary by Kirby Dick 'This Film is Not Yet Rated'

MPAA not fond of documentary film about it's rating system, rates documentary NC-17: "An NC-17 rating generally limits a film's avenues of exhibition: many theater chains will not show it, media outlets will not run its advertisements and video store chains will not stock it."

'It's just a goddamned piece of paper'

The trust rating on the source is not high, nor are any of the sources attributed, but it does make for a good sound bite. It seems that Bush doesn't think much of the constitution. Proof yet again that he and I hold diametrically opposed views - their constitution is probably the thing that I most admire about them.


Just a cool flash app that maps the world in terms of travel time and dollars instead of or as well as geographical distance.

France's proposed copyright reforms are more draconian than the DMCA

When the FSF and the BSA both agree that a copyright law sucks, you know that there is something wrong.

Online Rights Canada



Via IP.
The Guardian is reporting on how plane spotting hobbyists are invloved in exposing the CIA extraordinary rendition/secret prisons/torture gulag system. Further delving into the mysterious world of plane spotting brought up the story of the 12 British and 2 Dutch plane spotters arrested in Greece in 2001. Which brought me to this infuriating article vigourously defending the Greek authorities. The tone of the article to me is a typical example of those who believe that national security trumps all other rights and beliefs. Which, obviously, is not a view to which I subscribe. Distilled to a sound-bite, my thoughts on this matter would be If you have passed a PATRIOT ACT, then you have already lost. And make no mistake - there is an ongoing culture war here; it has been ongoing since the first authoritarian figure acted to insure that his genes stood a better chance of propagating by obtaining complete control over his environment, including his fellow cave men. It is hard to imagine a day when the struggle will be over.


The Practical Nomad blog: Appeals Court hearing on airline ID requirement

More on Gilmore's "Papers Please" case:

Second, none of the judges seemed to recognize the distinction between 'asking for ID' and 'requiring the showing of ID', despite the crucial role that distinction played in the Supreme Court's decision on ID demands earlier this year in Hiibel vs. Nevada .
Now as a programmer I would expect those two to be equivalent. Apparently not when you are talking about law.

vote for a bill, get an unrelated one free. GOP Immigration Bill Includes National ID Language

Riders and amendments to bills that have little or nothing to do with the original law are always amusing. As Gene Spafford pointed out on the IP list, the money quote comes at the end:

“Even setting aside concerns of intentional ‘blacklisting’ of innocent Americans, even a small error rate could mean millions of Americans forced out of work by computer mistakes,” said Liberty Coalition Policy Director James Plummer. “Homeland Security has a poor record of putting innocent Americans on secretive “no-fly” lists, and should not be entrusted with determining who is allowed is to make a living in this country.”



Ah Neil, look at what you've started. Thank the merciful deity, things could be much worse.


Ohio Republicans not too fond of that whole "democracy" thing

Following on from a wave of gerrymandering, your friends in the Ohio Republican party have set about removing any need for non-republicans to think of voting in the fair state of Ohio. An injunction was granted and upheld against a recent law in Georgia that was going to require a specific $50 piece of ID because both a federal judge and an appeals court judge thought it likely that the law would be ruled unconstitutional so that may help as a precedent to overturn the Ohio piece, but reading the article, it seems that any challenge will have to be flexible enough to argue against the fact that they aren't asking for a specific piece of ID that costs money to get. Not an insurmountable hurdle, but nevertheless one that will require some thought.

Anyway, go go fighting ACLUans!


Weebls Stuff - Magical Trevor

It occurs to me that I have been remiss in not providing you with a permanent searchable link to Weebls Stuff - Magical Trevor.

Beans, lots of beans, lots of beans, yeah yeah.


Illinois gaming law struck down, provides glimpse of FEPA future?

From the Ars Technica article, reading from the judgement, the money quote:

As Justice Kennedy stated for the Court in Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. 234 (2002), “[t]he government may not prohibit speech because it increases the chance an unlawful act will be committed ‘at some indefinite future time.’” Id. at 253 (quoting Hess v. Indiana, 414 U.S. 105, 108 (1973) (per curiam)). Rather, under Brandenburg, the State may regulate protected expression based on the belief that it will cause violence only if the expression is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action, and is likely to incite or produce such action. Brandenburg, 395 U.S. at 447; see also, Free Speech Coalition, 535 U.S. at 253.

CBC Canada Votes 2006 :: Vote By Issue Quiz

My man Jes point out this online quiz to see how your thinking aligns with the criminals in Ottawa.

Best Rejected Advertising Volume Three

Some of the best ads you've never seen.

MoJo Blog: Abused, Neglected, and Now Used for Testing?

Ummm, wha?:

If the IRB determines that the capability of some or all of the children is so limited that they cannot reasonably be consulted, the assent of the children is not a necessary condition for proceeding with the research.

CBC News: Iraq bars non-Iraqi Arabs from the country

There are two interesting tid-bits in this article. The first:

It's believed most enter illegally through Iraq's thinly-guarded desert borders.
and the second:
An Associated Press correspondent of Egyptian nationality was also barred from boarding a plane Friday for Baghdad. Iraqi officials say there will be no exceptions to the new rule.
The two taken together with this comment
An Interior Ministry official said it was "part of security procedures" reportedly implemented Nov. 29, with no formal announcement. No date for lifting the restriction has been set.
shows that they aren't serious about security and they are serious about reducing the chances of a free and fair election. I wonder if the Bush-Wants-To-Bomb-Al-Jazeera memo prompted any of this. Probably not, but it does make for a lovely paranoid fantasy doesn't it.

French Government Lobbied to Ban Free Software

I believe the title says it all. Article here.

Bad Reporter: Kansas votes 4-1 to allow intelligent design

Included are details of how they will change the lyrics to their famous song Dust In The Wind. I like this comic, I must pay closer attention to it. I wonder if there is an RSS feed. There is, at least, an archive.

Lawyers, Guns and Money: John Derbyshire: One Hell of a Creepy Guy

Luckily, I am not this creepy. The good thing is that quite often these days prospective mates are googling each other. Stuff like that should have helped to insure he stayed out of the gene pool, but apparently we are too late. I do find the poses his wife makes in the photographs intstructional. I wonder what someone trained in the field of relationships would make of the fact that they are never holding hands, in fact she is most often seen clutching her own. As a wild stab in the dark I would say mail-order bride or arranged marriage. Poor woman.


Will Ferrell: Earth to America

On the issue of the so-called global warmings.


ad. Funny. Oh, and here is one for the X-Box 360

World's 10 Tallest Buildings - SkyscraperPage.com

No politics, no IP, just height.
World's 10 Tallest Buildings - SkyscraperPage.com

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Potential Taste Receptor for Fat Identified

So all I need to do is cut off my tongue? Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Potential Taste Receptor for Fat Identified

Shyamalan: Day-and-date 'life or death to me'

Oh well, I guess M. Night can kill himslef.

Patent Baristas: USPTO Issues Double-Patenting Rejection on Genentech's 29-Year Patent

Patent Baristas: USPTO Issues Double-Patenting Rejection on Genentech's 29-Year Patent

Here is some background on the patent.

Mindless Link Propagation

Several things have recently caught my eye:
Copyfight: the politics of IP USC/Berkeley Report: over 30% of DMCA take-down notices are improper.
Bruce Schneier on Security: Australian Minister's Sensible Comments on Airline Security Sparks Outcry
More on habeus corpus Balkinization: Padilla and Hamdi
Boing Boing: Anti-game lawyer loses right to practice law in Alabama - all together now, "poor Jack Thompson!"
MercuryNews.com | 11/29/2005 | Supreme Court to hear eBay patent case plea
Cracking safes with thermal imaging
Well, they have asked. Think Progress » Bush Said He Would Withdraw U.S. Forces If The Iraqis Asked
Another one from Bruce Schneier on attempts by EU media corps to use anti-terrorism data retention to mine for IP infringement (which they want to make a criminal offence)
The Washington Post reports on US domestic military surveillance.
And finally, a little levity. Perhaps Case 3 (Wendy) could use Panexa to help her get over her accident.

Macleans.ca | Canada | You are exposed

Ooops. Turns out it is really easy to get other people's phone records. Even when that other person is the privacy commissioner of Canada.

SBC: ain't no way VoIP uses mah pipes!

A couple more links on the original net neutrality comment. On Ars Technica and Dave Farber's IP List

Executive Wants to Charge for Web Speed, Shoot Self In Foot

Do you remember last month when the CEO of SBC AT&T was showing his bulging manhood to anyone who would look? Well it seems that one of his lackies is continuing to test these waters and word on the street is Executive Wants to Charge for Web Speed. The money quote for me is:

his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.
Which is just asking for trouble. I can see Larry and Eric and Sergey sitting around the table, reviewing AT&T Satan's latest proposal:

Larry: "Says here that they think we should pay them 10 cents for every page."
Eric: "Interesting. I wonder what sort of results we should return ..."
Sergey: "First 10 links for your search for AT&Rape? AT&Nazi-abortion-paedophilia?"

ISPs are so cute when they think that we care who provides our bandwidth.

As an aside, I thought this quote from the article was interesting:
Legislating otherwise "would be the same thing as saying to Google, 'I think we ought to have regulation on Google that says when I enter a search term, the top search result is always a random event,' " Smith said, claiming that Google allows clients to pay to influence the ranking of search results. In fact, Google does not allow payments to influence general search results, although advertisers pay for top billing on the lists that run on the right side of Google's pages.
I don't remember seeing the memo about journalists having some backbone and actually pointing out lies, do you?


This, I believe...

(Just in case - my views are my own, and don’t blame Chris (or anyone else) for them, please).

Thank you Mr. Penn Jillette , for this near perfect elucidation of my own views on the subject of God (and religion, and All That Sort Of Thing), from his NPR “This I believe” contribution.

Believing there’s no God means I can’t really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That’s good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.