On Thursday, April 26, 2007, Senator Lautenberg introduced legislation to prohibit terrorist suspects from purchasing firearms, mirroring an Administration plan released yesterday. The bill seeks to close the “terror gap” in federal gun law by giving the Attorney General the power to block gun sales to terror suspects. Under current federal gun law, there is no provision to deny suspected terrorists from purchasing a firearm.
In January 2005, the GAO produced a report to Sens. Lautenberg and Biden (D-DE) that found that from February 3 to June 30, 2004, a total of 44 firearm purchase attempts were made by individuals designated as known or suspected terrorists by the federal government. In 35 cases, the FBI authorized the transactions to proceed because FBI field agents were unable to find any disqualifying information (such as felony convictions or illegal immigrant status) within the federally prescribed three business days.
So what’s a Republican Senator to do?
if they support the bill, they do the following:
1. betray their rabidly pro-gun base in favor of federal power to prevent gun ownership, and
2. give the Democrats a legislative anti-gun victory in the wake of the shootings at Virginia Tech;
If they oppose the bill, they:
1. Deny the Executive authority in an issue of national security; and
2. Put themselves on record as saying that dangerous firearms should be in the hands of known terrorists.
And when you read the press release from the Second Amendment Foundation, the irony is so thick you can taste it:
“This bill,” said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb, “raises serious concerns about how someone becomes a ‘suspected terrorist.’ Nobody has explained how one gets their name on such a list, and worse, nobody knows how to get one’s name off such a list.
“The process by which someone may appeal the Attorney General’s arbitrary denial seems weak at best,” Gottlieb suggested, “and there is a greater concern. When did we decide as a nation that it is a good idea to give a cabinet member the power to deny someone’s constitutional right simply on suspicion, without a trial or anything approaching due process?
“We’re not surprised that General Gonzales has found an agreeable sponsor in Frank Lautenberg,” Gottlieb observed. “The senator from New Jersey has never seen a restrictive gun control scheme he did not immediately embrace, and S. 1237 is loaded with red flags. It would allow an appointed bureaucrat the authority to suspend or cancel someone’s Second Amendment right without even being charged with a crime.
The NRA is so far silent on this…
So, let’s do a checklist…
No Fly List for “terrorists” – no problem
Federal ID card cuz of the “terrorists” – no problem
Your phone calls snooped cuz of “terrorists” – no problem
Sending “terrorists” to Guantanamo – no problem
No Habeas Corpus for “terrorists” – no problem
Raping and torturing “terrorists” – no problem
Bombing “terrorists” and their families – no problem
Collateral Damage around “terrorists” – no problem
Dead Americans chasing “terrorists” – no problem
Generations of debt cuz of “terrorists” – no problem
Saying “terrorists” can’t have guns – AIIIEEEEE!!
Lautenburg hit the Republicans where it hurts…
ident Bush told Congressional leaders Thursday that he would veto any legislation that weakened federal policies or laws on abortion.
In a two-page letter sent to the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Mr. Bush said his veto threat would apply to any measures that “allow taxpayer dollars to be used for the destruction of human life.”
Hmm…. I wonder. Does “War” involve the destruction of human life?
The owner of this tells me a post on this weblog was the inspiration.
(now go buy some!)
Phone bills are notorious for rankling customers with fees, taxes, tariffs and other mystery assessments.
Now some phone companies are adding a new line item to monthly bills: a charge for not making long-distance calls.
The category of customers affected by the new fee is the shrinking subset of people who have no-frills home-phone service and don’t pay for a long-distance-calling plan.
Verizon last month introduced the $2 fee. It is charged to customers who could dial out for long distance, but don’t subscribe to a long-distance service and don’t make long-distance calls.
Durham, N.C., retiree Daniel Bius discovered the $2 charge on his April bill. He says he has no use for Verizon’s long-distance calling plan because he makes long-distance calls on his cell phone.
“Even though I don’t have a plan with them, they say I still have the ability to make a long-distance call if I ever need to, so I have to pay them $2 a month?” Bius said. “What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to pay them $2 for no reason?”
Bill O’Reilly may proclaim at the beginning of his program that viewers are entering the “No Spin Zone,” but a new study by Indiana University media researchers found that the Fox News personality consistently paints certain people and groups as villains and others as victims to present the world, as he sees it, through political rhetoric.
The IU researchers found that O’Reilly called a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute during the editorials that open his program each night.
Using analysis techniques first developed in the 1930s by the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, Conway, Grabe and Grieves found that O’Reilly employed six of the seven propaganda devices nearly 13 times each minute in his editorials. His editorials also are presented on his Web site and in his newspaper columns.
The seven propaganda devices include:
- Name calling — giving something a bad label to make the audience reject it without examining the evidence;
- Glittering generalities — the oppositie of name calling;
- Card stacking — the selective use of facts and half-truths;
- Bandwagon — appeals to the desire, common to most of us, to follow the crowd;
- Plain folks — an attempt to convince an audience that they, and their ideas, are “of the people”;
- Transfer — carries over the authority, sanction and prestige of something we respect or dispute to something the speaker would want us to accept; and
- Testimonials — involving a respected (or disrespected) person endorsing or rejecting an idea or person.
The same techniques were used during the late 1930s to study another prominent voice in a war-era, Father Charles Coughlin. His sermons evolved into a darker message of anti-Semitism and fascism, and he became a defender of Hitler and Mussolini. In this study, O’Reilly is a heavier and less-nuanced user of the propaganda devices than Coughlin.
Among the findings:
* Fear was used in more than half (52.4 percent) of the commentaries, and O’Reilly almost never offered a resolution to the threat.
* According to O’Reilly, victims are those who were unfairly judged (40.5 percent), hurt physically (25.3 percent), undermined when they should be supported (20.3 percent) and hurt by moral violations of others (10.1 percent). Americans, the U.S. military and the Bush administration were the top victims in the data set, accounting for 68.3 percent of all victims.
The full paper is here
Bloggers “crossed the line” when they posted a software key that could break the encryption on some HD-DVDs, the AACS copy protection body has said.
Thousands of websites published the key, which had been uncovered in a bid to circumvent digital rights management (DRM) technology on HD-DVD discs.
Many said they had done this as an exercise in free speech.
An AACS executive said it was looking at “legal and technical tools” to confront those who published the key.
“They can discuss the pros and cons. We know some people are critical of the technology.
“But a line is crossed when we start seeing keys being distributed and tools for circumvention. You step outside of the realm of protected free speech then.”
He said tracking down everyone who had published the keys was a “resource intensive exercise”. A search on Google shows almost 700,000 pages have published the key.
Mr Ayers said that while he could not reveal the specific steps the group would be taking, it would be using both “legal and technical” steps to prevent the circumvention of copy protection.
“We will take whatever action is appropriate,” he said. “We hope the public respects our position and complies with applicable laws.”
There is no applicable dutch law that prevents me from doing this:
4. Participant agrees not to do the following, except with the advanced review and written approval of Google: (a) issue or release any articles, advertising, publicity, or other matter relating to this Agreement (including the fact that a meeting or discussion has taken place between the parties) or mentioning or implying the name of Google.”
So, to do a job interview with Google, you have to agree to never mention their name again, ever.
If I ever start hiring people for my own company, I’ll give them a similar NDA to sign. Anybody stupid enough to actually sign a piece of crap like this will immediately be disqualified from working for me – I want people who stand up to idiocy and bullshit.
This morning, in a lengthy blog-like post to the company’s Hot News page, Apple CEO Steve Jobs takes on Greenpeace and other organizations who claim the computer and consumer electronics company isn’t doing its part to protect the environment. The piece, “A Greener Apple”, says “It is certainly clear that we have failed to communicate the things that we are doing well,” even as others lambasted the company for its environmental track record.
Key phrase is “failed to communicate”. Apple has a habit of only talking about things they accomplish and want you to know about, and it doesn’t talk about things they “promise” or don’t think you want to know about. This is indeed a failure on Apple’s part, but suddenly Greenpeace is now a lot happier with Apple, although nothing has really changed.
In Job’s letter, he spells out one thing over and over again: Greenpeace, we’re ahead of everyone else, the competition is basing their score on promises. If after all the blasting Greenpeace has done to Apple, perhaps it is time they work on their own scorecard.
“If we do not receive acceptable answers, Congress will be forced to act,” said Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee after sending a chiding letter and “survey” to 20 U.S. universities thought to have the “greatest amount of online piracy.”
Lamar’s threats were vague but are definitely not connected to the fact that in the last election cycle, he received $7,500 in campaign contributions from the RIAA Political Action Committee as well as $2,000 from the Warner Music Political Action Committee. A group called “Texans for Lamar Smith”pocketed a cool $1,000 from Andy Lack, the Chairman and CEO of Sony/BMG, as well as another $1,000 from the Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. Political Action Committee.
Howard Berman (D-Calif.), a co-signer of the letter told Variety: “By answering the survey, universities will be required to examine how they address piracy on their campuses.”
Even though Berman is from California, he received $22,700 from 23 individuals living in New York. People like: BMI/Executive Robert L. Ahrold, BMI/Sr. Vice President Marvin L. Berenson, Homemaker Clarissa A. Bronfman (she was good for $4,200!), , Edgar M. Bronfman (another $4,200!), and Robert A. Iger, the CEO of Disney.
The School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California has been under fire all year from film student who are frustrated at having to assign copyright in all their works to the school. That means that student filmmakers can’t even put their stuff online to help them get work when they graduate, or even get feedback from off-campus film-lovers.
My student Cameron Parkins (I’ve just finished a year of teaching at USC on a Fulbright Chair) has written an excellent essay for my class critiquing the film school’s policy and proposing an alternative: students should be free to choose to license their works for redistribution under Creative Commons.
Cameron makes an excellent argument for this case, and has followed it up with an online petition to the film-school to overturn this bad policy.
USC SCA stands at an impasse. Conflicting approaches to copyright present various options for SCA as it reevaluates is IP policy, and it would do well to adopt (and encourage) CC-licensed IP option for its students. SCA’s most glaring fault is in its discordance with the IP policies of other, similar, film programs through out the U.S., especially those in Los Angeles who face the same industrial constraints (LMU, UCLA, CalArts).
SCA’s goals should be to foster creativity and openness. Its IP policy should reflect this by being inline with the sprit of artistic creation and the spirit of academic inquiry. Its current policy represents neither of these, but rather a corporate, non-academic approach to content ownership. This must be remedied if SCA wishes to remain a leader in its field and continue to offer its students a cutting-edge education – both technologically and ideologically.
Only a few days after Corel issued a WinDVD update to close the hole opened by AACS hackers, the folks at the Doom9 forums sent word that they have found yet another way around the copy protection for high definition discs. This time, the method involved the Xbox 360′s HD DVD add-on drive to capture the “Volume Unique Keys” as they were being read by the drive itself. Rather than just point out the crack, we’re going to take a closer look at how this crack was accomplished, because one of the hackers involved in the crack says that it’s more or less unstoppable.
The latest attack vector bypasses the encryption performed by the Device Keys—the same keys that were revoked by the WinDVD update—and the so-called “Host Private Key,” which as yet has not been found. This was accomplished by de-soldering the HD DVD drive’s firmware chip, reading its contents, and then patching it. Once that was done, the firmware was soldered back onto the drive.
Despite the technical difficulty of performing this hack, it does offer some advantages in the race to beat AACS copy protection. “They cannot revoke this hack,” said forum member arnezami, who has been at the center of much of the AACS cracking recently. “No matter how many Private Host Keys they revoke we will still be able to get Volume IDs using patched xbox 360 HD DVD drives.”