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Current Topic: Politics and Law

The Myth of the Efficient Car
Topic: Politics and Law 6:21 pm EST, Feb  6, 2009

The personal automobile must be abandoned, and quickly.

What's the point in writing an article like this? Your base is going to applaud and everyone else is going to ignore you because this is not remotely constructive.

The Myth of the Efficient Car

RE: Biden supported Manditory Goverment Key Escrow and CALEA
Topic: Politics and Law 9:39 pm EDT, Sep  5, 2008

Decius wrote:

Biden was chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and introduced the Comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Act in the 90s, requiring carriers of encrypted communications to turn the keys over to law enforcement, according to McCullagh.

Biden's bill spurred Philip Zimmerman to invent the PGP algorithm and publish it for free, McCullagh notes.

The Comprehensive Counter-Terrroism act was defeated, but Biden followed up with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement (ACT), which became law in 1994, says McCullagh.

In his favor, he did speak out against the Communications Decency Act.

IIRC, the key escrow bill was being co-sponsored by none other than Kerry and McCain, no?

RE: Biden supported Manditory Goverment Key Escrow and CALEA

American Energy Policy, Asleep at the Spigot
Topic: Politics and Law 4:51 pm EDT, Jul 10, 2008

“We can see how you can get to $100,” he says. “At $140, I just don’t know how to explain it. We’re surprised.”

For the rest of the country, the feeling is more like shock. As gasoline prices climb beyond $4 a gallon, Americans are rethinking what they drive and how and where they live. Entire industries are reeling — airlines and automakers most prominent among them — and gas prices have emerged as an important issue in the presidential campaign.

Even as politicians heatedly debate opening new regions to drilling, corralling energy speculators, or starting an Apollo-like effort to find renewable energy supplies, analysts say the real source of the problem is closer to home. In fact, it’s parked in our driveways.

From the archive:

Every now and then I meet someone in Manhattan who has never driven a car. Some confess it sheepishly, and some announce it proudly. For some it is just a practical matter of fact, the equivalent of not keeping a horse on West 87th Street or Avenue A. Still, I used to wonder at such people, but more and more I wonder at myself.

Driving is the cultural anomaly of our moment. Someone from the past, I think, would marvel at how much time we spend in cars and how our geographic consciousness is defined by how far we can get in a few hours’ drive and still feel as if we’re close to home. Someone from the future, I’m sure, will marvel at our blindness and at the hole we have driven ourselves into, for we are completely committed to an unsustainable technology.


In 1947, when Kerouac began his travels, there were three million miles of intercity roads in the United States and thirty-eight million registered vehicles. When “On the Road” came out, there was roughly the same amount of highway, but there were thirty million more cars and trucks. And the construction of the federal highway system, which had been planned since 1944, was under way. The interstates changed the phenomenology of driving. Kerouac’s original plan, in 1947, was to hitchhike across the country on Route 6, which begins at the tip of Cape Cod. Today, although there is a sign in Provincetown that reads “Bishop, CA., 3205 miles,” few people would dream of taking that road even as far as Rhode Island. They would get on the inter-state. And they wouldn’t think of getting there fast, either. For although there are about a million more miles of road in the United States today than there were in 1947 (there are also two more states), two hundred million more vehicles are registered to drive on them.

American Energy Policy, Asleep at the Spigot

Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig Explores A Bid for Congress | Threat Level from
Topic: Politics and Law 6:16 pm EST, Feb 21, 2008

Stanford Law School Professor and former Wired magazine columnist Larry Lessig said Tuesday that he's considering a bid to take over the late Rep. Tom Lantos' D-Calif.'s congressional seat.

He's given himself a March 1 deadline to make the decision.

Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig Explores A Bid for Congress | Threat Level from

CNN to Make Presidential Debate Footage Available without Restrictions
Topic: Politics and Law 6:05 pm EDT, May  7, 2007

Ok, so I’ve never had an all caps title, but this is fantastic news: From CNN:

Media Advisory
For Release: May 5, 2007
CNN to Make Presidential Debate Footage Available without Restrictions

CNN to Make Presidential Debate Footage Available without Restrictions

Patent reform bill may have a chance
Topic: Politics and Law 10:08 pm EDT, Apr 18, 2007

A bipartisan group of senators and House members introduced legislation Wednesday that would make the biggest changes to the U.S. patent system in over 50 years.

I'm not holding my breath but this sounds promising...

Patent reform bill may have a chance

Dems to the Net: Go to hell
Topic: Politics and Law 3:40 pm EST, Jan  5, 2007

“Radical” changes in Washington always have this Charlie Brown/Lucy-like character (remember Lucy holding the football?): it doesn’t take long before you realize how little really ever changes in DC. The latest example is the Dems and IP issues as they affect the Net. Message to the Net from the newly Democratic House? Go to hell.

Dems to the Net: Go to hell

Theater of the Absurd at the TSA
Topic: Politics and Law 4:02 pm EST, Dec 18, 2006

The Sunday NYT features a story on the Christopher Soghoian case [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

For theater on a grand scale, you can’t do better than the audience-participation dramas performed at airports, under the direction of the Transportation Security Administration.

Of course, we never see the actual heart of the security system: the government’s computerized no-fly list, to which our names are compared when we check in for departure. The T.S.A. is much more talented, however, in the theater arts than in the design of secure systems. This becomes all too clear when we see that the agency’s security procedures are unable to withstand the playful testing of a bored computer-science student.

I guess Matt Blaze hasn't had much occasion to be impressed with his charges since he left industry for academia:

"If a grad student can figure it out," he said, "we can assume agents of Al Qaeda can do the same."

Blaze does offer a nod to the FBI, who gave the green light to his paper, Signaling Vulnerabilities in Wiretapping Systems.

Theater of the Absurd at the TSA

Changes Are Expected in Voting by 2008 Election - New York Times
Topic: Politics and Law 2:53 pm EST, Dec  8, 2006

By the 2008 presidential election, voters around the country are likely to see sweeping changes in how they cast their ballots and how those ballots are counted, including an end to the use of most electronic voting machines without a paper trail, federal voting officials and legislators say.

What a mess...

Changes Are Expected in Voting by 2008 Election - New York Times

Supreme Court hearing abstract patents case - Los Angeles Times
Topic: Politics and Law 7:14 pm EST, Nov 28, 2006

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today in an abstract case involving automobile gas pedals that could apply the brakes to the recent dramatic growth in patents issued nationwide.

Supreme Court hearing abstract patents case - Los Angeles Times

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