A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 38 of Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to private detectives and security agencies, so as to revise a definition;
HB 1259 is back, and if anything it is worse. If this bill becomes law it will be a felony for CompUSA to remove virsuses from infected computers without a PI licence and a law enforcement professional on staff. If you are computer consultant and you respond a computer breakin you could face a year in prison under this statute.
This matter requires national attention from the IT Industry. Now.
At this point, both the IT and Internet content industries need to give serious attention to the Georgia state legislature as a whole right now. We are facing serious threats to our ability to function in Georgia on several fronts.
xkcd » Blog Archive » Washington’s Farewell Address Translated into Everyday Speech
Topic: Politics and Law
9:44 am EST, Jan 30, 2007
I’ve often heard that Washington’s ‘Farewell Address’ — the speech he sent out (in written form) to a bunch of papers at the end of his second term — is important. Apparently he lays down a lot of good ideas for America. But the common style of writing and vocabulary has changed since then. Maybe people have gotten dumber, too. Either way, the result is that it’s kind of a pain to read sometimes. Particularly tricky are the odd compound sentence structures, where it’s hard to keep track of what the subject is.
Having never read the whole thing, I thought it would be interesting to go through and try to transcribe it into some sort of casual modern speech. I wouldn’t try to recreate the prose and would probably miss out on subtleties and shades of meaning (and no doubt occasionally miss the point completely), but at least I’d get the idea of what he was talking about.
This is great! I'm only about a third into it, and I've already compelled to meme this. Here are some snips:
Government’s important, and it’s not always easy to stay together. You’ve figured this out, and that’s why you ditched the last idea and came up with this Constitution. We went over it all carefully, big and small, and it’s definitely something we can trust (we can even amend it if necessary!). Give it some credit, and if you disagree, change it — don’t just disobey. Otherwise it just screws things up.
Getting in the way of the law for the sake of power plays similarly screws things up. Playing that game creates groups just looking out for themselves, turning crazy splinter groups into a powerful force. Let this get too bad and you’ll probably have the country tossed back and forth wildly as the various parties with their pet issues fight for power, rather than nice, consensual, unified government.
Parties are probably gonna look like they’re helping with one popular issue or another, so you’re gonna want support them, but I bet the guys in charge of them will just turn out to be power-hungry assholes who want to run everything.
I just said that parties are no good, particularly regional ones. But lemme go a step further and say ALL parties are a bad idea.
Unfortunately, it’s pretty much human nature to gather into little factions like this. It’s worst in the freeest countries, and they suffer because of it.
Control goes back and forth between one party and another, and they just get more and more pissed, and we’ve seen that get really bad in the past. But it also leads to terrible, controlling government and general suckage. This gets the people more angry, they get behind one party leader or another, and that guy just takes that support and does whatever he wants, screwing up the country.
I like you all. We’re friends. I’m not gonna hope that you’ll actually remember all this for long, but I can hope that every now and then people will look back on what I said and use it to calm down a crazy political party, remind us not to get tied up with other countries, or to try to expose phoney patriots. That’s the only payment I need — the hope that in return for my looking after you, you’ll look after yourselves.
Senator wants restrictions on social networking sites | Capitol Updates
Topic: Politics and Law
9:00 am EST, Jan 30, 2007
A Georgia senator worried about the safety of young teenagers who log on to Internet social networking sites such as MySpace.com and FaceBook.com has proposed a bill that would force such companies to tighten up their access to minors.
The measure would make it illegal for the owner or operator of a social networking Web site to allow minors to create or maintain a Web page without parental permission. Senate Bill 59 also would force MySpace.com and FaceBook.com to allow parents or guardians to have access to their children’s Web pages at all times.
Here we go again...
If owners or operators of a company failed to comply with the proposed law, they would be guilty of a misdemeanor on the first offense. A second offense would be a felony and could lead to imprisonment for between one and five years and a fine up to $50,000 or both.
Staton said the bill does not tell the companies exactly how to ensure that minors don’t log on without parental permission. The companies can figure that out on their own, he said.
“They can find a way to do this,” Staton said. “That’s my challenge to them.”
Ok, so let me get this straight. We would be breaking the law, until which point some method was devised to guarantee the age of our users. Currently, all we can do is ask users their age, and we do that.
This is no different from COPPA, only the age is higher, and there is no way to not wind up committing a felony.
What kind of challenge is this? Another challenge to see if we can get a badly thought out bill killed?
Madam Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:
This rite of custom brings us together at a defining hour – when decisions are hard and courage is tested. We enter the year 2007 with large endeavors underway, and others that are ours to begin. In all of this, much is asked of us. We must have the will to face difficult challenges and determined enemies – and the wisdom to face them together.
Some in this Chamber are new to the House and Senate – and I congratulate the Democratic majority. Congress has changed, but our responsibilities have not. Each of us is guided by our own convictions – and to these we must stay faithful. Yet we are all held to the same standards, and called to serve the same good purposes: To extend this Nation’s prosperity ... to spend the people’s money wisely ... to solve problems, not leave them to future generations ... to guard America against all evil, and to keep faith with those we have sent forth to defend us.
We are not the first to come here with government divided and uncertainty in the air. Like many before us, we can work through our differences, and achieve big things for the American people. Our citizens don’t much care which side of the aisle we sit on – as long as we are willing to cross that aisle when there is work to be done. Our job is to make life better for our fellow Americans, and help them to build a future of hope and opportunity – and this is the business before us tonight.
A future of hope and opportunity begins with a growing economy – and that is what we have. We are now in the 41st month of uninterrupted job growth – in a recovery that has created 7.2 million new jobs ... so far. Unemployment is low, inflation is low, and wages are rising. This economy is on the move – and our job is to keep it that way, not with more government but with more enterprise.
Next week, I will deliver a full report on the state of our economy. Tonight, I want to discuss three economic reforms that deserve to be priorities for this Congress.
First, we must balance the federal budget. We can do so without raising taxes. What we need to do is impose spending discipline in Washington, D.C. We set a goal of cutting the deficit in half by 2009 – and met that goal three years ahead of schedule. Now let us take the next step. In the coming weeks, I will submit a budget that eliminates the federal deficit within the next five years. I ask you to make the same commitment. Together, we can restrain the spending appetite of the federal government, and balance the federal budget.
Next, there is the matter of earmarks. These special interest items are often slipped into bills at the last hour – when not even C-SPAN is watching. In 2005 alone, the num... [ Read More (3.6k in body) ]
"He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." -- U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section III
It's that time again...
The general rules of this game are no different from any other drinking game. A drink is either a shot or a good gulp from a beer (or cider). Different events call for different numbers of drinks and all you do is watch the speech and play along. If all goes well, you'll be unconscious by the time they show the other party's response.
Remember to pass out on your side so you don't choke on your vomit.
Leahy: "We knew damn well if he went to Canada he wouldn't be tortured. He'd be held and he'd be investigated. We also knew damn well if he went to Syria, he'd be tortured. And it's beneath the dignity of this country, a country that has always been a beacon of human rights, to send somebody to another country to be tortured."
First Muslim in U.S. Congress to use Jefferson's Koran - washingtonpost.com
Topic: Politics and Law
7:53 am EST, Jan 4, 2007
The first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, attacked for planning to use the Koran at his swearing-in instead of a Bible, will use a copy of the Muslim holy book once owned by Thomas Jefferson, an official said on Wednesday.
Representative-elect Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, requested the 18th century copy of the Koran for the unofficial part of his swearing in on Thursday, according to Mark Dimunation, chief of rare books and special collections at the Library of Congress in Washington.
Ellison, a Muslim convert who traces his U.S. ancestry to 1741, wanted a special copy of the book to use, Dimunation said, and approached the library for one.
The third U.S. president, serving from 1801 to 1809, Jefferson was a collector with wide-ranging interests. His 6,000-volume library, the largest in North America at the time, became the basis for the Library of Congress.
I've been ignoring all the silly bickering about Ellison getting sworn in using a Koran, because frankly, it's too damn stupid for me to take seriously. As far as I'm concerned, the item used in any oath should have significance to the individual taking the oath. What is the use of taking an oath on something you don't find personally significant? He could use a picture of his mother for all I'd care.. However, I do think it's really neat that he is using Thomas Jefferson's copy of the Koran.
The Volokh Conspiracy - Ten Years in Prison for 17-Year-Old Who Had Consensual Oral Sex with 15-Year-Old:
Topic: Politics and Law
6:34 pm EST, Dec 18, 2006
If you are wondering who these criminal sex offenders that legislators are jumping up and down to defend you from are, you might look no further than this case:
Accordingly, while I am very sympathetic to Wilson's argument regarding the injustice of sentencing this promising young man with good grades and no criminal history to ten years in prison without parole and a lifetime registration as a sexual offender because he engaged in consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old victim only two years his junior, this Court is bound by the Legislature's determination that young persons in Wilson's situation are not entitled to the misdemeanor treatment now accorded to identical behavior under OCGA � 16-6-4 (d) (2).
Yes, thats Georgia. And, God forbid this person might use a website when finally released from prison! Won't somebody please save us from these people!!@
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."
FTC Moves to Unmask Word-of-Mouth Marketing - washingtonpost.com
Topic: Politics and Law
8:57 am EST, Dec 13, 2006
The Federal Trade Commission yesterday said that companies engaging in word-of-mouth marketing, in which people are compensated to promote products to their peers, must disclose those relationships.
In a staff opinion issued yesterday, the consumer protection agency weighed in for the first time on the practice. Though no accurate figures exist on how much money advertisers spend on such marketing, it is quickly becoming a preferred method for reaching consumers who are skeptical of other forms of advertising.
They want to put a stop to this kind of thing:
The group cited a 2002 Wall Street Journal article on a marketing campaign by Sony Ericsson Mobile for its T68i mobile phone and digital camera. The initiative, called "Fake Tourist," involved placing 60 actors posing as tourists at attractions in New York and Seattle to demonstrate the camera phone. The actors asked passersby to take their photo, which demonstrated the camera phone's capabilities, but the actors did not identify themselves as representatives for Sony Ericsson.
None of this will be necessary anyway once Industrial Memetics finishes development of it's Top Secret MemeRay. For the right price, we will make targeted demographics in a given DMA have an uncontrollable need for your product. In it's current state, all we can do is create distortions of logic that result in polarizing political views... But we will get past that hurdle!