So everyone is worked up about this new browser operating system from Google. Drudge apparently has gone off his meds again and calls it a “death blow” to the Borg. No spinning red light, but still, pretty over the top. I guess it’s supposedly going to destroy us too — like we’re some kind of collateral damage. Man oh man. Where to begin?
A great rant…
In spring 2008, Carroll and company headed from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Omaha, by way of (shudder now, frequent fliers) Chicago. Just after landing at O’Hare airport, says Carroll, one of his bandmates and another passenger looked out their windows and saw baggage handlers heaving around guitars with wanton disregard.
Carroll says he complained immediately to three flight attendants, but was met with indifference. Some time after arrival in Nebraska, Carroll says, he discovered that, sure enough, the base of his 710 Taylor acoustic guitar had been smashed.
But he had gigs to play, so he found a way to do that. As Carroll acknowledges, he didn’t attempt to complain again until beginning his return flight a week later.
Over the following days, weeks and months, Carroll made many phone calls to United representatives in Chicago and (who didn’t see this coming?) India, but basically he says United did nothing for him.
Until he made a Youtube video about it that went viral, of course. Now that United is being hit with bad publicity, NOW they want to help.
So, if you’re about to buy an airplane ticket somewhere, and you’re considering United, make sure you have a youtube and facebook account.
As the house will realise, the account I am about to relay comes from several sources. I cannot properly give my sources, given the vindictive attitude of this government, particularly the Foreign Office, to whistleblowers. Indeed, in this case of Rangzieb Ahmed, the authorities were so paranoid that they threatened to arrest a journalist for reporting facts stated in open court. Nevertheless, although I am prevented from naming my sources, I can say that I am confident of these facts beyond reasonable doubt. I will not, of course, disclose any names, or anything that discloses intelligence agency techniques – other than torture – or other issues that threaten national security.
I should say that the individual whose case I am going to describe is not someone for whom I have any natural sympathy. He is a convicted – indeed, self-confessed – terrorist. So what I am talking about today is just as much about defending our own civilised standards as it is about deploring what was done to this man in the name of defending our country.
If you worked for a company that offered insurance, if you carried your family’s insurance, next year your insurer would slap a million dollar surcharge on the company policy for carrying a leukemia patient. The company would get the bill and someone in accounting would question “what is this extra million dollars we are being billed?”
The insurance company would explain to them that the million is for you, and it is yearly, but is, ahem, “fixable.” They will say “as long as she is on your insurance (wink, wink) this charge will be there. So what you have to ask yourself (more wink, wink) is whether this employee is worth a million dollar a year salary on top of what you are already paying her.”
Social worker said she had seen small business owners go almost broke trying to cover this charge, and had even heard of one who defiantly did go broke, throwing all of the employees out of work. But more usually, she said, they just fire you.
“Wait, wait!” say you, “Isn’t it illegal to fire someone for their health history? Suppose I’m all well and working?”
She looks at you with more pity, says yes, so of course they will have to find “cause” to fire you, which any employer can always do.
“But I am a very, very good employee!” you protest.
“Yes,” she says, “but they can always find some cause.” The real problem she goes on to explain, is that you will find a new job, that company’s insurer will slap them with the surcharge, they will take their turn at firing you, until you’ve been through six or seven jobs in a year, fired “for cause” from all of them, which of course looks very, very bad to a prospective employer.
“So in a year or so of this, you will not just be uninsurable, you will also be unemployable.”
The entertainment industries in Spain must be progressively tearing their hair out in recent months as they experience setback after setback. Most recently the ‘Coalition of Creators and Content Industries’ – which includes the likes of Promusicae and SGAE – had demanded a “3-strikes” regime for illicit file-sharers, but after they failed to provide viable and attractive authorized alternatives, ISPs lost patience and called off government-mandated talks.
The Coalition quickly backtracked, suggesting they would accept some type of throttling instead, but that fell largely on deaf ears too. Then new Coalition president Aldo Olcese said that the solution would be to go after the country’s 200 torrent sites instead, but this could also prove problematic. Time and again Spanish courts have ruled that sites that link to infringing content are not illegal, providing profits aren’t made directly from any infringement.
But of course, wealthy operations like SGAE aren’t put off by such rulings and instead go after eDonkey and BitTorrent sites privately, often demanding that they are forced to close via injunction in advance of a full court hearing to assess their legality.
The judge dismissed SGAE’s request for an immediate shutdown of Elrincondejesus.
“P2P networks, as a mere transmission of data between Internet users, do not violate, in principle, any right protected by Intellectual Property Law,” said Raul N. García Orejudo, a judge in Barcelona. Although some activities are barred, those do not concern P2P he said, noting that there has to be a presumption of innocence.
Speaking with Elmundo.es, attorney Carlos Almeida-Sanchez said: “This is the first time a court clearly states that P2P itself does not violate any rights.”
Welcome to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House of Representatives. The “people’s House” is now a place where bills are voted on not only before legislators or the public have read them, but also before parts of the bills even have been written. Such was the case with a 300-page amendment to the cap-and-trade bill the House passed on June 26. The House leadership could not even produce this amendment on paper, in final form, before it was voted on.
In response to that and other recent outrageous infringements of real representative democracy, a group called Let Freedom Ring is pushing all 435 members of Congress and 100 senators to sign a pledge against such shenanigans on any health care reform bill Congress considers.
All 535 of them ought to do so.
The pledge, which can be found at www.pledgetoread.com, reads in part as follows: “I pledge to my constituents and the American people that I will not vote to enact any healthcare reform package that: 1) I have not read, personally, in its entirety; and 2) Has not been available, in its entirety, to the American people on the Internet for at least 72 hours, so that they can read it too.”
Speaking at The Oldie Literary Lunch held at Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, Sir Terry drew gasps from the audience, which included Joanna Lumley and Virginia McKenna, when he described how he would like his own life to end. “Since I was told I had Alzheimer’s my mind has been very concentrated on this,” he said. “My way to end my life will be to sit on my lawn at my home in Wiltshire with a bottle of brandy and Thomas Tallis playing on my iPod. I can’t think of a better way to make my departure. Hopefully the doctor will have been around earlier to give me the appropriate injection.”
When I asked if he was serious he replied: “Yes. Deadly so. We are very good at living in this society but very bad at dying. We could learn a lot from the Victorians in this respect. Of course, if it’s wet, I wouldn’t be able to go on the lawn, I would have to change my plans. Then it would be the same way out but in my library.”
Obama’s considering appointing a former Monsanto vice president, Mike Taylor, to head the Food Safety Working Group at the FDA.
As Jill Richardson writes at LaVidaLocavore at the link above, Taylor thinks the FDA wastes too much time on food safety inspections at meat packing plants. Further, he believes that one of their main problems is that they have to slow down their line speed too much.
Everyone who’s read anything about the horrendous working conditions at US meatpacking plants knows that incomplete kills before slaughter and worker injuries increase dramatically when line speeds increase.
As also noted at the Ethicurean, Taylor is the reason milk from rBGH/rBST cows doesn’t have to be labeled. Bovine growth hormone is perfectly safe, after all. Except for cows, or humans who drink its breakdown products in milk.
Snow also asked Palin whether, if she runs for president, she could avoid the “political blood sport” she cited as among the reasons she wanted to leave office.
“I don’t think it will be the day after day after day of ethics violation charges that are frivolous, that are ridiculous. I think on a national level your department of law there in the White House would look at this, the things we have been charged with, and automatically throw them out, not make somebody hire their own personal attorney to get out there and fight.”
Yes, the “department of law”.
In the White House.
The stupid, it hurts…..