The Cliff’s Notes version: David Ruttenberg hires a guy named Tom Kifer to head up security for his bar. Kifer is specifically charged with keeping drug activity out of Rack n’ Roll. Ruttenberg later finds out that Kifer is working for the police, who have instructed him to set up drug deals in the bar, which they then plan use against Ruttenberg, who would later lose his license for — wait for it — failing to stop drug activity in his pool hall.
A deeply insightful article by Steve Wozniak and Ben Edwards.
Here at BoingBoing, we’ve been following the ongoing saga of so-called “serial griefer” Michael Crook for some time now. When he began sending out bogus DMCA takedown notices all over the internet, in an attempt to force websites to remove the image above — well, we ended up on his Christmas card list.
Last week, service providers associated with this blog received formal notices from Mr. Crook that basically amounted to, “Nevermind, I take it back, I never had any right to try to bully you into taking down that image.” A number of other websites have received similar notices. This is welcome news, and I thank Mr. Crook for his apparent change of heart.
That change likely has something to do with the fact that the EFF sued him for abusing copyright law in an attempt to silence online speech. I understand that they’ve negotiated a settlement which will be announced soon.
I received the following a few days back:
February 10, 2007
To Whom it May Concern:
This is in regards to a DMCA complaint that was issued to you as the webmaster, OSP, or administrator, in reference to the following URL(s):
which links to:
At this time, I would like to withdraw the DMCA complaint, strictly as pertains to the above URL(s), which regard a 2005 appearance on the Fox News Channel.
I request that the content therefore be restored, and the DMCA complaint withdrawn, and would like to at this time apologize for any extra work or problems that this complaint has caused.
I certify that the above information is true and correct to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief, and may be reached via telephone at (201) 633-7820, or via postal mail at 8417 Oswego Road #179, Baldwinsville, NY 13027. E-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
What a pity it takes a lawsuit to stop this kind of abuse..
Ahmed Saffar, 7, has been forced to beg on the streets of Baghdad in order to eat. An orphan with two brothers and one sister, Ahmed hangs around all day near a traffic light, asking for money from each driver who stops.
‚Ä?Uncle, uncle, give me money to eat,‚Ä? is his most common opening line. ‚ÄúSometimes they give me some money; sometimes, when I insist, they hit me. Women never help and the windows of their cars are always closed but old people are the best ones,‚Ä? Ahmed said.
‚Ä?I have no option. I and my brothers work in the streets, begging in different places. I am the youngest but usually the one who makes more money. My sister is always with me and together we can make enough to eat by the end of the day,‚Ä? he added.
Ahmed said he would rather beg than steal and that he had started begging before his parents died because they were a poor family. He said his mother died in Fallujah in August 2004. She was visiting her parents when their house was bombed by US-led coalition forces.
His father fell ill and could not work so he sent his children out to beg. If they did not come home with enough money, he would beat them, Ahmed said. His father died of kidney failure in April 2005.
‚Ä?Now they are dead but my brothers treat us well. We are happy even though we sleep in the open, in a garden with only two blankets. I hope one day I will help all child beggars in Iraq,‚Ä? Ahmed said, grinning from ear to ear before excusing himself and running after an expensive-looking car.
Ahmed is one of thousands of homeless children throughout Iraq who survive by begging, stealing or scavenging in garbage for food. Only four years ago, the vast majority of these children were living at home with their families.
As the Bush administration ratchets up pressure on Iran, Vice President Cheney‚Äôs top national security aide has been sourced by the Washington Post ‚ÄĒ in the 10th paragraph on page A18 ‚ÄĒ saying that war with Iran is ‚Äúa real possibility‚Ä? this year:
Some senior administration officials still relish the notion of a direct confrontation. One ambassador in Washington said he was taken aback when John Hannah, Vice President Cheney‚Äôs national security adviser, said during a recent meeting that the administration considers 2007 ‚Äúthe year of Iran‚Ä? and indicated that a U.S. attack was a real possibility. Hannah declined to be interviewed for this article.
Those with knowledge of the build-up to war in Iraq will recognize John Hannah‚Äôs name. In Bush‚Äôs second term, he replaced Scooter Libby as the head of Cheney‚Äôs national security staff. During Bush‚Äôs first term, he personally wrote the first draft of the infamous speech that Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered to the United Nations, according to Powell‚Äôs former aide Lawrence Wilkerson.
Moreover, Hannah was a top source for false pre-war intelligence from Iraqi exiles that was ‚Äústovepiped‚Ä? past the intelligence agencies and sent directly to the White House:
For months, Cheney‚Äôs office has denied that the veep bypassed U.S. intelligence agencies to get intel reports from [Ahmad Chalabi‚Äôs Iraqi National Congress]. But a June 2002 memo written by INC lobbyist Entifadh Qunbar to a U.S. Senate committee lists John Hannah, a senior national-security aide on Cheney‚Äôs staff, as one of two ‚ÄúU.S. governmental recipients‚Ä? for reports generated by an intelligence program being run by the INC and which was then being funded by the State Department. Under the program, ‚Äúdefectors, reports and raw intelligence are cultivated and analyzed‚Ä?; the info was then reported to, among others, ‚Äúappropriate governmental, non-governmental and international agencies.‚Ä? The memo not only describes Cheney aide Hannah as a ‚Äúprincipal point of contact‚Ä? for the program, it even provides his direct White House telephone number.
John Hannah‚Äôs comments about Iran should be taken seriously. He knows how to mislead a nation into war.
At a farewell reception at Blair House for the retiring chief of protocol, Don Ensenat, who was President Bush’s Yale roommate, the president shook hands with Washington Life Magazine’s Soroush Shehabi. “I’m the grandson of one of the late Shah’s ministers,” said Soroush, “and I simply want to say one U.S. bomb on Iran and the regime we all despise will remain in power for another 20 or 30 years and 70 million Iranians will become radicalized.”
“I know,” President Bush answered.
“But does Vice President Cheney know?” asked Soroush.
President Bush chuckled and walked away.
You just stole $6.9 million from your boss. Do you:
A) Lay low and spend little, thereby keeping your new found wealth a secret?
Britain‚Äôs children are the unhappiest in the West, according to a Unicef study of 21 industrialised countries.
Not only do they drink the most, smoke more and have more sex than their peers, they rate their health as the poorest, dislike school more and are among the least satisfied with life. Their relative poverty, the lack of time spent eating meals with their parents and mistrust of classmates mean that Britain languishes at the bottom of the wellbeing league table. As a result, says Jonathan Bradshaw, one of the authors of Report Card 7: an Overview of Child Wellbeing in Rich Countries, Britain is a ‚Äúpicture of neglect‚Ä?.
The report, which is the first of its kind by the international children‚Äôs organisation, was designed to show how countries compare internationally, rather than to explain the differences. But Professor Bradshaw, a leading authority on child poverty, believes that it is also in part a reflection of past failings.
Forty indicators of child wellbeing ‚Äď including relative poverty, child safety, educational achievement, relationships with parents and drug misuse ‚Äď are brought together in the Unicef study‚Äôs overview to present a picture of the lives of children. Northern European countries dominate the top half of the table, with child wellbeing at its highest in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Britain and the US find themselves in the bottom of most rankings.
The report shows that there is no strong relationship between per capita GDP and child wellbeing. The Czech Republic, for example, achieves a higher overall rank for child wellbeing than several more wealthy European countries.
Professor Bradshaw said that Britain could learn lessons, particularly in lowering teenage pregnancy rates. He cited the Netherlands, where sex education in schools is more open.
The Hartford-based company’s stock dipped $1.07, or 2.4 percent, in brisk trading Thursday, closing at $42.93 a share.
The stock had climbed 7.4 percent between Jan. 26 and Wednesday’s close.
“People had expected sort of more robust earnings,” Dave Shove, health care analyst at the Prudential Equity Group LLC, said in an interview. “Earnings were in line, but the share count was lower and the medical loss ratio did not improve.”
The closely watched ratio – how much of premiums is spent on claims – was 79.2 percent in the fourth quarter for commercial health plans.
In Wall Street speak an “improved medical-loss ratio” means cutting the amount of premium revenues spent on patient care for you. Every dollar that is spent on your health care goes against the bottom line. It is bad for Aetna and bad for Wall Street when money is spent on your health care.
To the for-profit insurance industry, you are not a human being. You are a loss. You are not an American. You are not a patient. You are not sick. Your life is a loss.
This week, the Article 29 group ¬Ė a panel of European Commissioners for Freedom, Security, and Justice ¬Ė ruled that the interbank money transfer service SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) has failed to respect the provisions of the EU Data Protection directive by transferring personal financial data to the US in a manner the press release describes as “hidden, systematic, massive, and long-term.”
It doesn’t sound like much when you say that a few people brought a complaint about an obscure organisation to an equally obscure branch of the EU government and won. It sounds like a lot more when you say that a few people brought a complaint that, upheld, means that the European financial world will have to change their behaviour.
The transfers are part of anti-terrorist programs put in place after the September 11, 2001 attacks to allow American intelligence agency analysts to spot funds being sent to finance terrorists. The problem is that, under EU law, the Data Protection Directive forbids the transfer of personal data to countries that do not have the same level of protection in place; the US is most certainly in that category. Simon Davies, executive director of Privacy International, says the goal in making the complaint that led to the Article 29 group’s decision was not to stop all data transfers. “The data should be transferred when there’s some level of evidence,” he says. What PI objected to was the lack of oversight from anyone outside the cooperative, which is owned by the many private companies ¬Ė banks, brokers, investment managers, and corporations.
“Now that we know SWIFT was acting illegally,” says Davies, “the aim is to bring SWIFT and the banks to account, first by establishing a meaningful oversight mechanism, and second by bringing some transparency to the whole arrangement.” Part of Privacy International’s involvement was, together with the American Civil Liberties Union, to prepare a report on the involvement of consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, which is SWIFT’s supposedly independent auditor but which, according to the report, has been deeply involved with American surveillance programs for the last ten years. Booz Allen told the New York Times that it rejected PI’s charges.
Rutkowska, a hacker with a track record of defeating Vista’s security mechanisms, believes UAC has a major flaw in the way it automatically assumes that all setup programs (application installers) should be run with administrator privileges.
“[When] you try to run such a program, you get a UAC prompt and you have only two choices: either to agree to run this application as administrator or to disallow running it at all. That means that if you downloaded some freeware Tetris game, you will have to run its installer as administrator, giving it not only full access to all your file system and registry, but also allowing it to load kernel drivers! Why should a Tetris installer be allowed to load kernel drivers?,”
You’re coming to a sad realization. Cancel or allow?