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Current Topic: Current Events

RE: Telling the Truth hurts...
Topic: Current Events 4:27 pm EDT, May 13, 2006

Dc0de has joined what we have started referring to as "the club." People we know who have received legal threats for saying true things in a public place. This seems to happen a lot to computer security people.

In the United States, you're supposed to have a right to freedom of speech. This isn't just a matter of what the law technically says or means. As Rattle has pointed out before, freedom of speech is a core value in our society. It is a value that transcends what the law merely requires, providing a model for how a mature society addresses all sorts of conflicts: The appropriate way to respond to critics is within the realm of ideas and not within the realm of coersion.

People who use the legal system to squash critics instead of appropriately addressing their criticism in print are operating in a manner that is out of sync with the core values of this nation. I hold this sort of behavior in very poor esteem.

However, this happens all the time, so a more fundamental fix is required. The legal system should not allow itself to be used by wealthy parties as a weapon to coerce people who do not have the resources to defend themselves. This is fundamentally unjust. The legal system must be reformed.

For a smart analysis of these issues see this paper about two other members of "the club," Billy and Virgil.

dc0de wrote:
Part of the presentation includes a slide that shows the Insider Attack Variables, including, Corporate environment and culture. Since the IDR's previous incident was caused by someone not performing their due diligence on 50 fraudulent companies, thereby allowing these companies to freely PURCHASE data from the IDR and commit fraud, I used their loss as an example...

The company that I work for now is terminating me, and claiming that I have to sign the IDR's document, (that they negotiated as part of their settlement), and of course, another document, forbidding me to speak about this issue.

RE: Telling the Truth hurts...

RE: | D.C. Sniper Introduces Himself to Jurors
Topic: Current Events 11:01 am EDT, May  5, 2006

Rattle wrote:
"quantum physics, immaterial evidence and material evidence" to prove his case.

Quantum Physics? That's a brilliant defense... He's really from another reality where time moves backwards... To us he was killing people, but to him he was sucking bullets out of poor souls and bringing them to life.

RE: | D.C. Sniper Introduces Himself to Jurors

UN Broadcasting Treaty seen as severely limiting essential freedoms
Topic: Current Events 3:37 pm EDT, May  4, 2006

A remarkably unacceptable treaty proposal is currently being pushed through the U.N. World Intellectual Property Organization's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, seemingly concieved by the RIAA and MPAA and backed by traditional old-line media businesses. The Broadcasting Treaty, currently undergoing review at a UN convention in Geneva, Switzerland, contains passages that would severely restrict the concepts of fair use and freedom of speech—on a global level. IP Watch has an excellent overview of the issues:

UN Broadcasting Treaty seen as severely limiting essential freedoms

RE: Why Gas Prices Are Too Low (
Topic: Current Events 8:39 am EDT, Apr 20, 2006

Jello wrote:

Now Verleger favors what he calls a "prospective gasoline tax," which would allow the country four years to get ready to do the right thing. Congress would enact a stiff tax of $2 per gallon, to take effect in January 2009, with further increases of another dollar in each of the following three years. To cushion the blow, the Treasury would borrow against the expected tax revenue to buy back the public's gas guzzlers (defined as vehicles getting fewer than 25 miles a gallon) at their 2004 value.

Verleger estimates that this program could reduce U.S. oil consumption by almost 2 million barrels per day in the program's first year and as much as 10 million barrels per day by 2020. At a stroke, that would reduce the power of the OPEC cartel and America's vulnerability to turmoil in the Middle East. As a bonus, it would also reduce emissions that contribute to global warming and increase employment in the auto industry as all those gas guzzlers are replaced.

There's one big problem with Verleger's idea. It's too sane. America likes roaring down Thunder Road, playing chicken with the oil cartel.

I still think it would be better to tax owners of SUV's and other high gas using cars based on mileage once a year. This would encourage people not to drive these types of things if they don't need to, and put the pressure on where the demand REALLY is. Offering a tax cut for owners of hybrid cars would create yet another incentive to use them.

RE: Why Gas Prices Are Too Low (

RE: No green light for driver with traffic signal gadget - Apr 18, 2006 -
Topic: Current Events 3:38 pm EDT, Apr 18, 2006

Jello wrote:

LONGMONT, Colorado (AP) -- A man who said he bought a device that allowed him to change stop lights from red to green received a $50 ticket for suspicion of interfering with a traffic signal.

Fifty bucks?
Great deal.

RE: No green light for driver with traffic signal gadget - Apr 18, 2006 - - DHS spokesman arrested in child sex sting - Apr 4, 2006
Topic: Current Events 11:20 am EDT, Apr  5, 2006

Brian J. Doyle, 55, is charged with seven counts of use of a computer to seduce a child and 16 counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor, according to a sheriff's office statement.

On March 12, according to a police statement, Doyle contacted a Polk County computer crimes detective posing online as a 14-year-old girl "and initiated a sexually explicit conversation with her ... Doyle knew that the 'girl' was 14 years old, and he told her who he was and that he worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

"Judd said that Doyle, in the first conversation, told the detective his position with DHS and "started immediately into pretty vulgar language. He explained in graphic detail the sexual acts he wanted to perform with this 14-year-old."

As the two continued chatting online, police said, Doyle gave her his home and office phone numbers, and the number to his government-issue cell phone. He also had explicit telephone conversations with a detective posing as the girl, authorities said.

In addition, he used the Internet to send "hard-core pornographic movie clips" to her, and also used an America Online instant-messaging service to have explicit online conversations with her.

Doyle also sent photos of himself that were not sexually explicit, but said he would send nude photos if the "girl" would buy a Web camera and send him nude photos of herself. In one photo, Judd said, Doyle's DHS security tag is clearly visible.

"I read the transcripts," Judd said. "I wanted to see if this was just as outrageous as the detectives depicted it ... It shocked all of us who have worked vice, narcotics, organized crime, homicides."

This is sure to be all over the news today...

While not directly related to this, I've asked this question around lately: "what the hell is DHS doing?" Answers have varied. No one seems to know exactly. Mostly stuff about establishing little fiefdoms and sharing email servers. My favorite comment so far has been "creating new ways to fuck up." Their press center is simply the "Remarks from Michael Chertoff" page. DHS appears to be a black hole. - DHS spokesman arrested in child sex sting - Apr 4, 2006

US debt clock running out of time, space - Yahoo! News
Topic: Current Events 11:31 pm EST, Mar 27, 2006

NEW YORK (AFP) - Tick, 20,000 dollars, tock, another 20,000 dollars.

So rapid is the rise of the US national debt, that the last four digits of a giant digital signboard counting the moving total near New York's Times Square move in seemingly random increments as they struggle to keep pace.

The national debt clock, as it is known, is a big clock. A spot-check last week showed a readout of 8.3 trillion -- or more precisely 8,310,200,545,702 -- dollars ... and counting.

But it's not big enough.

US debt clock running out of time, space - Yahoo! News

Cheney's Got a Gun
Topic: Current Events 3:33 pm EST, Feb 27, 2006

Cheney dressed like elmer fudd...

Cheney's Got a Gun

Why I Published Those Cartoons
Topic: Current Events 11:46 am EST, Feb 24, 2006

Has Jyllands-Posten insulted and disrespected Islam? It certainly didn't intend to. But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy.

This is a good explanation of the context around the cartoon war.

Why I Published Those Cartoons

IRS tracked taxpayers’ political affiliation | | Tacoma, WA
Topic: Current Events 2:11 pm EST, Jan  6, 2006

WASHINGTON – As it hunted down tax scofflaws, the Internal Revenue Service collected information on the political party affiliations of taxpayers in 20 states.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a member of an appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the IRS, said the practice was an “outrageous violation of the public trust” that could undermine the agency’s credibility.

IRS tracked taxpayers’ political affiliation | | Tacoma, WA

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