Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashback: Disney Copyright, Alaa Freed, Kelo Repealed 260

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the more-bad-news dept.
Slashback tonight brings some clarifications and updates to previous Slashdot stories including: Egyptian blogger Alaa freed from jail, Executive order repeals Kelo decision, Disney's trouble with Pooh bear, NASA engineer fired for opposing shuttle launch, Swedish pirates provide RIAA insurance, open source Java months away, and the net neutrality amendment defeated in committee -- Read on for details.

Egyptian blogger Alaa freed from jail. FleaPlus writes "Egyptian blogger, open source advocate, and Slashdot interviewee Alaa Abd El-Fatah has been released from jail. He had been imprisoned for 45 days after being arrested (along with several others) for taking part in a pro-democracy election reform rally, on charges which included "insulting the Egyptian president." In a blog post Alaa describes the conditions he was subjected to in the jail, as well as his worry about the hundreds of other activists who are still in prison."

Executive order defuses Kelo decision. physicsphairy writes "President Bush has issued an executive order whose effect is to undo the previous Kelo decision of the Supreme Court. From the article: 'It is the policy of the United States to protect the rights of Americans to their private property, including by limiting the taking of private property by the Federal Government to situations in which the taking is for public use, with just compensation, and for the purpose of benefiting the general public and not merely for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties to be given ownership or use of the property taken.' The downside is that what was once affirmed consitutionally is now affirmed only in federal law."

Disney's trouble with Pooh bear. bbernard writes "It seems that the same laws that allow the Mouse to continue generating money for Disney have prevented Disney from taking control of Winny the Pooh. The Supreme Court has denied Clare Milne's bid to get the rights back for Pooh and his buddies. Clare is A.A. Milne's granddaughter, and her court battle was funded by Disney, as she was going to reassign the rights to them. Interesting to see a company foiled by the laws they insisted on in the first place, isn't it?"

NASA engineer fired for opposing shuttle launch. quad4b writes to tell us The New York Daily News reports that Charlie Camarda was has been removed from his post at NASA for questioning the safety of this Saturday's launch. From the article: "Camarda's removal heightened the turmoil over NASA Administrator Michael Griffin's decision to take the 'acceptable risk' of launching the Discovery orbiter despite warnings of potentially fatal blastoff debris. Camarda, who flew aboard the troubled flight of Discovery last July, told colleagues in an e-mail that he was fired from his post as chief engineer at Houston's Johnson Space Center and given another NASA engineering job."

Swedish pirates provide RIAA insurance. An anonymous reader writes "A new insurance company in Sweden is offering a new policy to protect you from the RIAA [Swedish]. For a mere 140 SEK ($19 USD) per year, they will pay all your fines and give you a t-shirt if you get convicted for file sharing. Interesting development in Sweden indeed."

Open source Java months away? bl8n8r writes "A Sun Microsystems Inc. executive said Tuesday said the company is "months" away from releasing its trademark Java programming language under an open-source license. Simon Phipps, chief open-source officer for Sun, said the company is ruminating over two major issues: how to keep Java compatible and ensure no particular company uses market forces as muscle for its own implementation, a move that would threaten Java's "write once, run anywhere" mantra."

Net neutrality amendment defeated in committee. DeathPooky writes "While not the end of the road for net neutrality, the latest vote isn't a good sign. From the article: 'The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday rejected a network neutrality amendment, handing cable and phone broadband access providers yet another victory over a coalition that has demanded the application of strict nondiscrimination standards against entities that control access to millions of Internet users. The panel voted 11 to 11 to defeat an amendment sponsored by Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who had backing from Google, Yahoo!, eBay, Amazon, Microsoft and other firms that deliver voice, video, and information services and applications.' All 10 Democrats on the committee, as well as Republican co-sponsor Sen. Snowe, voted for the amendment. The other 11 Republicans voted against."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Disney Copyright, Alaa Freed, Kelo Repealed

Comments Filter:
  • by Freaky Spook (811861) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @07:03PM (#15624977)
    Why does this remind me of Volcano Insurance from family guy?
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @07:06PM (#15624989) Homepage Journal
    the infallibility of karma. It is not so forgiving...
    • Really? I get modded down every rare once in a while and I'm still at Karma: Excellent.

      Problem is Disney hasn't built much positive karma in the last many years. But it would take a massive amount of mod points for us to silence them.
  • Kelo Untouched (Score:5, Informative)

    by blamanj (253811) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @07:07PM (#15624994)
    While the executive order makes for nice PR, it has no effect on Kelo or any other action taken by local governments. Bush's order only applies to Federal emiment domain. Furthermore, it's probably really only good as "advice" to the Attorney General. If you want to get a law passed, you actually have to go through Congress, not that the Bush administration cares to bother with respectin separation of powers.
    • Re:Kelo Untouched (Score:3, Interesting)

      by alshithead (981606) *
      And of course Federal eminent domain isn't being used like state eminent domain. It is used much less frequently and affects a much smaller group of people. Many states are rightly revising their eminent domain laws because of a couple of well publicized cases. It has been far too easy for local/state governments to take people's property away and this is one area where you might be able to say that the local/state electoriate is actually affecting policy in a big way. Of course, it doesn't hurt that ri
      • Re:Kelo Untouched (Score:5, Insightful)

        by M0b1u5 (569472) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @08:26PM (#15625261) Homepage
        "Eminent Domain" - LOL - what bullshit. It sounds like a boy band.

        What you really mean is "Compulsory Purchase".

        Never trust lawyers to name ANYTHING!
        • Re:Kelo Untouched (Score:3, Interesting)

          by alshithead (981606) *
          Yup. I absolutely mean "Compulsory Purchase". Hell, even that's way too polite for what it is. Don't show up on my property and say you want it for your town, county, state or federal project because it will help SOMEONE ELSE make money. I might have to go Rambo or Charles Bronson on someone if I don't have a really, really good reason to persuade me that giving up my property is the best thing for a whole lotta people and ME.
        • What you really mean is "Compulsory Purchase".

          Yeah. And we may as well rename the police to the "Ass-Beating Brigade."

          My point is that both powers - police and eminent domain - are forceful powers that can be outrageously abused, but that also can be (and usually are) exercised for the public good. If you break a law, even for a damn good reason, then you're probably going to be arrested (and perhaps roughed up in the ordinary course of police work.) And if your house is in the way of a new and much-ne

        • Actually, the word you're looking for is 'theft.'
    • It means that some random US agency like HUD is unable to go grabbing property for random unjustified purposes without violating instructions from the big boss.

      A law would not be much better. I suppose a law could cover congress itself (but they always exempt themselves) or the court system. Nearly everything is in the administrative branch of the government, which this takes care of.

    • That's exactly right. The executive order is an order to every member of the executive branch. Certain acts of congress give the president discretionary powers, making some executive orders effectively law, but not in this case AFAIK.
    • Re:Kelo Untouched (Score:5, Informative)

      by anaesthetica (596507) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @07:20PM (#15625062) Homepage Journal
      Executive Orders function as law until repealed by the President, overruled by subsequent Congressional legislation, or perhaps overturned by the Supreme Court (although I'm unaware of the Supreme Court ever hearing a case to decide the constitutionality of a specific Executive Order). They are most certainly legally-binding on the actions of the federal government and not just "good advice."
      • Re:Kelo Untouched (Score:4, Informative)

        by Tx (96709) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @07:31PM (#15625092) Journal
        Well, wikipedia disagrees with you, FWIW.

        Presidents of the United States have issued executive orders since 1789. There is no United States Constitution provision or statute that explicitly permits this, aside from the vague grant of "executive power" given in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution and the statement "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" in Article II, Section 3.

        Most executive orders are orders issued by the President to United States executive officers to help direct their operation, the result of failing to comply being removal from office. Some orders do have the force of law when made in pursuance of certain Acts of Congress due to those acts giving the President discretionary powers.


        If wikipedia is accurate, then an executive order only has force of law if made with the backing of a congressional act. Also sounds like you couldn't be jailed or fined for ignoring it.
        • Re:Kelo Untouched (Score:4, Informative)

          by Dachannien (617929) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @08:31PM (#15625273)
          The Executive Branch is unilaterally responsible for engaging in executive functions (including those which invoke the Eminent Domain clause of the Constitution), pursuant to the powers granted to it by the Constitution and those granted in statute by the Legislature. Therefore, if the head of the Executive Branch says in an executive order that his government shall not do X, and X is not otherwise required by legislation, then X will not happen (under penalty of being fired - and possibly civil or criminal penalty if an agent of the government does not comply with the executive order, depending on the circumstances). (Obviously, this ignores cases where the executive branch doesn't follow up on violations of the order, in particular when X might be something done in secret.)

          In this case, since the federal government, per executive order, is not to take property via eminent domain when the property won't be used specifically for the public good, the federal government simply won't do it. No other part of the federal government has the capability to exercise such power, so the order is as good as law until a subsequent president revokes the policy, even though it's not statute.

          It's essentially the same thing as a federal regulation [wikipedia.org] - these are things defined not in statute, but rather by the Executive Branch of the government. Some things in the CFR are there because the legislature specifically requires them, while others are regulations crafted under the broad discretion that Congress sometimes gives. In the case of the anti-Kelo executive order, (fairly) broad discretion is granted by the Constitution, and the executive order sets a specific procedure under which that power is exercised. The entirety of the federal Executive Branch must abide by that order (under penalty of at least getting fired, and possibly incurring substantial civil damages against oneself if one attempts to bypass the order), and so it's as good as law as long as it's not revoked.
          • The Executive Branch is unilaterally responsible for engaging in executive functions (including those which invoke the Eminent Domain clause of the Constitution), pursuant to the powers granted to it by the Constitution and those granted in statute by the Legislature. Therefore, if the head of the Executive Branch says in an executive order that his government shall not do X, and X is not otherwise required by legislation, then X will not happen

            This is why the executive parliamentary model is so much superi
            • Re:Kelo Untouched (Score:3, Interesting)

              by makomk (752139)
              In a parliamentary model, power rests with the prime minister, and he can only pass legislation my a majority vote in the parliament. What's more, if he does something outrageous like spy on the states own citizens, he has to go into parilment the next day and be bawled at by the opposition, something executive presidents never have to do.

              In theory, possibly. In practice, the UK at least doesn't work that way anymore [independent.co.uk], no thanks to Tony Blair. Besides, with a suitably well-whipped majority, it has to be
      • The Constitution (Article I, Section 1) states that only congress has the power to make laws. The executive branch and the judicial branch have no legislative powers, whatsoever. And Congress does not have the constitutional authority to delegate its legislative power to institutions that are beyond electoral accountability to the American people.

        So why is there never a word said about the fourth branch of the federal government: the unconstitutional and entirely illegal regulatory branch?

        What are the alpha
        • by tambo (310170) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:57PM (#15625715)
          So why is there never a word said about the fourth branch of the federal government: the unconstitutional and entirely illegal regulatory branch?

          There's plenty said about them. The CIA has been in the news an awful lot recently, as I recall. Even the dingy old U.S. Patent & Trademark Office is getting a suprising amount of ink these days.

          The reason they're not discussed more is because their functions are pretty mundane. The public doesn't care how the NIH decides to award federal grants, or how the SEC polices the stock market. Just printing the letters "IRS" in an article headline will guarantee that the public ignores it.

          This is an extremely deleterious consequence of America's love of drama - the undramatic goes unmonitored. Meanwhile, our politicians keep us amused (and distracted from their actions) by waving flags and conjuring images of terr'ists.

          What are the alphabet agencies -- FDA, EPA, OSHA, and so on -- doing when they pass laws? And, while these laws are called regulations, so as not to upset anyone who might actually read the Constitution, the Webster's dictionary defines regulation as a rule, ordinance or law.

          :shrug: Webster's is for colloquial English; I recommend trying Black's Law Dictionary. Unfortunately, my copy isn't here, but I'd bet my eye teeth that it does more than merely suggest that "law" and "regulation" are synonyms.

          Agency regulations are not laws. Laws are rules that apply to your actions: things that you may do, or must do, or must not do. Agency regulations are rules that apply to the actions of an agency: how it can utilize a power (that has already been given to it by the Executive or Legislative), how it cannot utilize a power, etc.

          It's true that an agency sometimes relies on its own regulations to determine how to treat you. But the agency's power to deal with you in such a way was given to it by a law. And if the agency oversteps its legal authority, then a regulation won't save it.

          Example: The IRS has many regulations that dictate how you must pay your federal taxes. Yet, these regulations aren't laws - the law passed by Congress is that:

          1. You must submit an annual federal income tax payment; and
          2. The IRS is responsible for creating a tax formula that adheres to the dictates of the legislature; and
          3. You must use the IRS formula, and follow the IRS submission procedures, to prove that you're paying the correct amount.
          Now, what happens if the IRS believes that you've failed your legal duties under #1 or #3? It can't do anything to you! It has no such power. It merely tells the executive branch that you've violated the tax laws, and the executive prosecutes you for evasion - under the general tax laws passed by Congress.

          - David Stein

        • Wow, you really have no understanding of the US Government do you? Most those agencies you named are part of the Executive Branch, not some mystery fourth branch like you say. These are all "policing" agencies, which technically fall under the Executive Branch, if you read the Constitution. Now, I cannot speak for all the groups, but most of them were assigned their powers through...get this...Congress!

          The FCC, for example, was created as part of the Federal Communications Act of 1934. Their powers ar
    • While the executive order makes for nice PR, it has no effect on Kelo or any other action taken by local governments. Bush's order only applies to Federal emiment domain.

      And, of course, it can be reversed at the stroke of a pen by Bush or any future president.

      Federal legislation would be a bit harder to undo, and has the further advantage of possibly having a strong influence on state/local governments (if it includes a "don't do this if you like the idea of ever getting federal funds again" clause).

      • And, of course, it can be reversed at the stroke of a pen by Bush or any future president.

        Yeah, but imagine the political backlash. Kelo stands apart from almost every other recent SCOTUS decision by engendering bipartisan, across-the-board irritation. If the majority justices could've been voted out of office, they would have been. (This is one instance where the constitutional checks-and-balances system works admirably well: even though I disagree with the justices, I support their right to rule in the

    • Re:Kelo Untouched (Score:3, Informative)

      by tambo (310170)
      While the executive order makes for nice PR, it has no effect on Kelo or any other action taken by local governments.

      As well it shouldn't - such an order would be an unjustified intrusion into the powers reserved to the states, and hence unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment.

      Furthermore, it's probably really only good as "advice" to the Attorney General.

      Not just the AG, but the entire executive branch - which is almost always the branch that invokes eminent domain on behalf of the federal gover

  • by John Courtland (585609) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @07:08PM (#15625002)
    ... so that I can personally add the 'unsigned' keyword.
  • If the company does well in Sweden, the service will likely be available in the US soon after. Insurance companies are always looking for more ways to make money.
    • Its really not a good thing, the deals the RIAA offer you for breach of copyright are only small compared to what they are entitled to sue you for, this will only encourage the RIAA to more vigourously prosecute and increase fines.

      Thats really bad for anyone who isn't paying insurance.

      It may seem like a good idea, but the only people who are going to profit from this is the RIAA and the pirates. It may save you once when you get prosecuted, but when the pirates jack the insurance from $19US to $99US because
    • No insurance company would do this in the US under current laws. It simply wouldn't be worth the risk.

      First, the US has significantly different copyright protection laws than Sweden, including the so-called contributory infringement (IANAL, my memory may be off) which allows sites that distribute torrent-like material (files that link to infringing works) to be considered guilty of copyright infringement as well. By defending people who infringe copyright, it would seem to me that the insurance company th
    • This would be akin to getting insurance for speeding tickets. If it is an illegal act you can't have someone just have someone pay the supposed settlement for you. Since PB isn't "technically" doing anything illegal in Sweden I suppose you can technically get insurance for it, although IANAL and definetly not well versed in Sweden law. This kind of thing will unfortunatly never fly in the US due to file sharing of copyrighted material being illegal.

      Actually, now that I think about it, this kind of thing m
    • Being insured against lawsuits is the single quickest way to get sued.

      That said, I'm-a thinkin' about sending these fellers $19 for merely the piece of paper. I doubt a Sweedish firm would be a lot of help for Americans sent to Guantanamo and summarily tortured for their file sharing offenses, but I'd certainly like to see such a business model be proven worth-while.

      This kind of protection boils down to "We'll insure you against racketeering." Right now, I'd love to have that here in the U.S.. I try to keep
  • by Alaren (682568) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @07:13PM (#15625026)

    Lesson #1 on why politics is a completely different thing than ideology: Network Neutrality failing slowly, but the Broadcast Flag gradually gaining steam.

    Are Republicans for or against regulation? The answer is "yes." Regulation is a bad thing, if their current "donors" say so. It's also a good thing, for the very same reasons. We need look no further than these two similar issues to see that what congress is really about is doing good for big business, and failing to protect the consumer. Any "ideology" they spout while debating this stuff is a means to an end, nothing more.

    I know none of this comes as a shock to anyone reading /. but when will it escape being a truism and start being a concern for voters!? This isn't limited to technology, either. Think about Federalism... Federalism is the flag flown by the minority party. It used to be a Republican mantra, until they managed to win power, now suddenly old "tax-and-spend" liberals are thinking federalism isn't such a bad idea.

    I don't want to be the old codger leaning back and saying how "ideology used to mean something, now it's all just politics" when in fact politicians are about as beholden to money as ever they were... but I know that we've had some bright spots in our 200+ years of history. I sure would like to see those come along more often. Or indeed, ever again...

    • >we've had some bright spots in our 200+ years of history. I sure would like to see those come along more often. Or indeed, ever again...

      I wouldn't hold my breath, if I were you.
    • Where they differ is over who ought to be protected.

      Republicans believe that Business should be protected from Competition.

      Democrats believe People should be protected from Business.

      This isn't a new thing, this has been the way the Republican party has been for the past century or more.
    • I know none of this comes as a shock to anyone reading /. but when will it escape being a truism and start being a concern for voters!?

      When there's a qualifying exam for voting, like there should be for parenting.

      Yes, I realize there's a whole other can of worms there. But, I just learned that two companies (Diebold [ecotalk.org] and ESS [yuricareport.com]) count 80% of all votes in the US. The punch line? The owners of both companies are brothers. (Actually, one is president, the other is a VP.)

      Democracy is dead.

      Oh, and do

  • by -benjy (142508) <benjyNO@SPAMalum.mit.edu> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @07:14PM (#15625030)
    The source of the Java release estimate, Simon Phipps, indicated that he was misinterpreted: [sun.com]

    I replied as I usually do, indicating it's "months rather than years", making it clear that the way to interpret that comment is that it's double-digit months and not September!"
  • What an opportunity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @07:19PM (#15625056)
    All 10 Democrats on the committee, as well as Republican co-sponsor Sen. Snowe, voted for the amendment. The other 11 Republicans voted against."

    It is clear here that the Democrats are on the side of the average person on a straightforward issue which is easy to explain and easy to get people excited about-- and the issue is framed in a way which makes it clear that a slight change in the partisan balance of power would have a direct effect on how Congress treats the issue.

    With the upcoming Congressional elections, this represents a wonderful opportunity for the Democrats to completely fail at either communicating a message to the American people or presenting a credible alternative to the Republicans. I am sure that Democratic strategists are as we speak working around the clock trying to find some way to fumble this opportunity which has been dropped into their laps.
    • "We will put network neutrality in a lockbox for future generations, and use it to give our seniors a perscription drug discount plan. I will put all uses of the network to a 'global test', so that our alies will be with us, not against us when we immanetize the eschaton. We will make sure there is no controlling legal authority on the information superhighway of the future, depending on what the definiton of the word 'is' is. Keep hope alive!"
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @07:47PM (#15625154)
    Interesting to see a company foiled by the laws they insisted on in the first place, isn't it?

    Well it would be, but the Disney case is all about Milne selling the merchandising rights back in the 30's and the daughter basically wanting to back out of that contract. What does that have to do with copyright again?

    I don't think it's right of Milne (or Disney) to try and break this contract either but you have to feel a little sorry for Milne who had her grandfather basically give away a vast fortune in return for some smaller sum. Still, I think she's doing well just with her contract to Disney...
    • by LordLucless (582312) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @08:15PM (#15625228)
      Why do you have to feel sorry for Milne? Because she can't freeload off work her grandmother did a century ago?
      • by Bob of Dole (453013) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @08:37PM (#15625293) Journal
        Exactly. What did she do for that money?
        She had ancestors who created marketable characters. Well, great for her.
        You can use that fact to make small talk about yourself, but make your own damn money.
        • What did she do for that money? She had ancestors who created marketable characters. Well, great for her. You can use that fact to make small talk about yourself, but make your own damn money.

          Seeing as how Clare Milne has cerebral palsy, that was a crummy thing to write.
          In actuality, IIRC, Christopher Robin (Milne) refused any 'Pooh' money until his daughter was born with that medical condition. He realized she would need money so as to be looked after, when he was gone.

      • Why do you have to feel sorry for Milne? Because she can't freeload off work her grandmother did a century ago?

        It would either be her or this other company freeloading - in reality of course it should all be public domain by now. But given that is not possible it's kind of a shame that the granddaughter does not have fuller control over what is essentially a family legacy.

        You are thinking of her only as a freeloader but her responsibiltiy to her grandfather is that of a steward, and without full rights she
    • Interesting to see a company foiled by the laws they insisted on in the first place, isn't it?

      Well it would be, but the Disney case is all about Milne selling the merchandising rights back in the 30's and the daughter basically wanting to back out of that contract. What does that have to do with copyright again?

      Perhaps it has to do with the fact that Milne and her grandfather would simply be footnotes in history rather than Disney business parters if copyright terms weren't being extended. The very sam

      • While indeed the whole issue would be moot without copyright that's not what the snide remark was implying. It was saying specifically that the courts ruling was a direct result of Disney's support of copyright extensions when all they were doing was upholding a contract!
        • by cei (107343)

          Paramount Wins 'The War of the World' Rights
          Fri Apr 19, 2002, 7:41 PM ET

          NEW YORK (Reuters) - The grandchildren of author H.G. Wells lost their bid to control "The War of the Worlds" when Paramount Pictures was granted exclusive television rights to the science fiction novel in a ruling made public on Friday.

          Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Ira Gammerman, in a six-page decision, said the Wells grandchildren, who filed a suit against Paramount nearly 18 months ago, "are unable to sell the right to produce and di

  • by TinyManCan (580322) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @07:50PM (#15625165) Homepage
    "President Bush has issued an executive order whose effect is to undo the previous Kelo decision of the Supreme Court. From the article: 'It is the policy of the United States to protect the rights of Americans to their private property, including by limiting the taking of private property by the Federal Government to situations in which the taking is for public use, with just compensation, and for the purpose of benefiting the general public and not merely for the purpose of advancing the economic interest of private parties to be given ownership or use of the property taken.' The downside is that what was once affirmed consitutionally is now affirmed only in federal law."

    God Damn, President Bush can never get anything right. I can't believe he is trying to overturn the power of the courts with this balancing action from another branch of the government.

    Oh wait. I guess he did something good here. Darn, going to get moderated for pointing that out :)

    • Actually, the executive branch just gets to appoint justices. It has no veto power over their decisions. When the supreme court tells the federal government to keep its paws off states' rights, the president can't just issue an executive order to undo the decision.
  • by Elminst (53259) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @07:52PM (#15625170) Homepage
    I got convicted for file-sharing and all i got was this lousy T-shirt!!!
    • Personally, I think that if you have to sell your house, use your college funds up, or spend the next 20 - 30 years of your life working to pay off your fine...that at least that should get you a lifetime of unlimited downloads.

      Usurper_ii
  • by cvd6262 (180823) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @08:02PM (#15625199)
    When Nasser became president, he sought someone less intelligent than he to be the vice president. He found Sadat. Sadat did the same and found Mubarak.

    Mubarak still doesn't have a vice president.

    I heard that joke in the El Maadi district of Cairo.
    • When Nasser became president, he sought someone less intelligent than he to be the vice president. He found Sadat. Sadat did the same and found Mubarak.
      Mubarak still doesn't have a vice president.

      Sounds like it's a good time for Dan Quayle to brush up his resume.
  • by Wylfing (144940) <brian@wyGAUSSlfing.net minus math_god> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @08:04PM (#15625204) Homepage Journal

    My submission got rejected, but net neutrality is not the only bad thing on the way via bill S.2686. This is the same bill that grants the FCC the power to require audio and video broadcast flag recognition on every device made or sold. This is one of the last opportunities you have to contact your Senators to let them know you are opposed to this bill before it gets voted through in the middle of the night.

  • OK, the blurb on the Kelo decision is just wrong. First of all, an executive order isn't a law; it can be changed by the next president on a whim. Executive orders are simply the president's directions to his employees in the executive branch regarding some aspect of how business is conducted. It doesn't have the force of law, it's just something a civil servant could (in theory) get fired for disobeying.

    Secondly, Bush's order only applies to federal use of emminent domain, which doesn't occur nearly as

  • by Shrithe (972491) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @08:16PM (#15625233) Journal
    I'm not from New London, but a neighboring town, and I feel obliged to point out that there's a lot of general support around here for what New London has done. It's still controversial, but the general feeling is that it's overall a good thing.

    See, the thing is, New London is dirt poor. It's been in decline since it's peak in the 1800s, ever since whaling and fishing stopped being a reasonable basis for a small New England city's economy. For a long time now New London has been the poorest town in the area, with the most densely packed suburban sprawl, and a small downtown area which is mostly boarded up. Over the past twenty or thirty years, New London has been slowly building itself back up. They've cleaned up a lot of the bad crime that was going on, and businesses have been moving back in to areas that had lain dormant. They're developing themselves as a cultural center for the area, and doing a good job of it.

    Now, with the whole eminent domain issue, here's the thing: It didn't particularly benefit the company much at all. Pfizer was going to build in the area, at comparable price, regardless, just not in New London. The government of New London saw the opportunity to bring that economic boon into their own town, and jumped on it. Now, there was no readily available area to give to Pfizer. New London is very small, with a high population for it's size. They had to move some people in order to make this go through, or they'd lose the tax base of having that industry to a neighboring, richer town.

    The money generated for the town by having Pfizer there is going to allow them to increase the quality of their public services greatly. The school system is going to improve, the police effectiveness is going to improve, the quality of life for the entire town going up as a result of this. It's unfortunate that some people had to be removed for this to happen, and even more unfortunate is the level of malcontent some have felt over this act, but the town and it's inhabitants are going to benefit tangibly. The business received some benefit in order to entice them to the town, but that's a marginal amount. Big Business didn't trump the people here. The town made a heavily debated and difficult decision, and made it for the benefit of it's residents as a group.

    Now, as a precedent, Kelo is undeniably dangerous. I'm not arguing that. I'm saying that in the particular case of New London, it was the right choice to make.
    • Now, as a precedent, Kelo is undeniably dangerous. I'm not arguing that. I'm saying that in the particular case of New London, it was the right choice to make.

      Since New London was foolishly permitted to make that choice, a multitude stand to lose homes, property, and businesses anytime bigger fish feel like greasing palms. Expediency for New London is no excuse for what is going to happen now.

    • by bobbuck (675253) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @08:53PM (#15625350)
      Well nothing will help property values like having a nationwide reputation for government that doesn't respect property rights. You got Pfizer, you'll lose all else. Would you put a business there, knowing that someone with better connections could take your land once you get on your feet?
    • Lets take a look at the text at hand.

      "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

      There is no doubt that increase tax revenue is good for a budget but the problem with me is two fold. First, Private property taken for private use is not public use. Or at least wasn't until recently. Obviously all taxed properties in a cities tax base are for city the to use because they collect taxes, and of course taxes are for public use. Bamm dangerous prescient (Which I'm certain



    • I think New London and the surrounding area would be an excellent place for a Nuclear Waste Dump site; a Toxic Waste Dump site; a National Crematorium; an Industrial-sized Water & Sewage Treatmentf facility; a combined-forces military proving ground, ordanance-testing facility, and live-fire practice ground; a Super-Max Prison for Extra-Violent Sexual Offenders (Mother Stabbers and Father Rapers); a Minute-Man Nuclear Missle facility; and a shelter for abandoned and wayward buzzards & skunks...

      It wo
    • New London is very small, with a high population for it's size. They had to move some people in order to make this go through, or they'd lose the tax base of having that industry to a neighboring, richer town.

      Sorry, but my response to this is "Boo hoo". So New London is a small town that zoned too much land for residential, then got upset when it didn't have space for commercial developments. Yes, too much residential land without a good tax base sucks - but that doesn't mean that you can or should go aro
    • No it wasn't.
      Displacing people for a private company is wrong no matter how much money it brings into the community. Of course, I doubt they (pfizer) will be paying that much in taxes, so the tax will be generated by taxing the goods the workers purchase. Now, how to you garantee all those purchases happen in new London?
  • Kelo was not "repealed" (not that you can repeal a court decision, only overrule it). The executive order only stated that land can be taken "in the public interest," which is exactly how some private entities took the land, such as in the Kelo incident, as they were able to argue that it was "in the public interest." RTF case history and understand the executive order.
  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @08:53PM (#15625348) Homepage Journal
    If, after two shuttle disasters, you overrule your safety chief and your chief engineer to proceed with a launch, and you punish someone for giving you advice contrary to what you want, you're incurable. No shock, no external event can overcome the rot.

    This incident should put an end to the allegations that engineers with decades of experience were just engaged in CYA when they warned about safety problems. This is a guy who's had his A handed to him for speaking up. A bureaucrat would have gone along: he was willing to lose his job rather than toe the line(*).

    Unless the reporting on this was seriously wrong then it is time to scrap NASA and start over.

    (*)Sorry, forgot where I was. Make that "loose his job rather than tow the line".
    • by lostchicken (226656) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @01:19AM (#15626119)
      The problem with these sort of things is that NASA is placed in an absolutely impossible situation if someone cries wolf to the press, and there isn't a wolf to be found. The same sort of thing happened with the A380 [wikipedia.org].

      This engineer felt that there was a fundamental design issue with an IC used in the pressurization system of an airliner. His bosses and fellow engineers, all the way up the chain felt otherwise. This has been an absolute nightmare for Airbus, and even if we assume that the directors have no sense of morals and are just looking at the bottom line, it would likely have been cheaper just to fix whatever problem was there than deal with the aftermath of some engineer writing to any newspaper that'll print him, so they looked. And, in the opinion of all the other engineers in the program, there wasn't a problem. Now what? You either keep him on and let this guy spout off forever about how dangerous your product is, likely causing the shareholders to demand a vendor switch even with nothing at all wrong just because it will look bad for the airframe, a hugely expensive gamble for the Airbus group, or you fire him and try to shut him up, and now everybody screams cover-up.

      I'm not necessarily saying this is an analogous situation. I don't know what went on in the meetings where he got transferred, or what he said to piss people off. I am saying that it's not always as simple as people think.
  • by rfc1394 (155777) <Paul@paul-robinson.us> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @09:22PM (#15625442) Homepage Journal

    If Sun wants to protect the use of the Java trademark so that others implementing Java runtime systems remain compatible with the standard, there already is a method available. It's called a "certification mark" or "membership mark" class of trademark or servicemark. If you live in the United States, you're almost certainly aware of one very famous certification mark, the "UL" label on electrical appliances. Companies supply samples of their equipment to Underwriters Laboratories, which basically tests the device to destruction, then if the fail point is higher than the minimum standard, UL grants them permission to affix the UL certification mark to their equipment.

    A "membership mark" would be used where some organization is allowed to use a mark to show it's a member of a group or has qualified to show the particular mark. I think the "Energy Star" label from the Department of Energy would fit here.

    The only requirement to do this is that someone else — that does not distribute the software — has to be the certification authority (you can't be both owner of a certification mark and a user of it, that would be a conflict of interest.) But they'd probably want to do that anyway, the way IBM turned over the Eclipse IDE to a separate foundation after they decided to release it open source.

    So, there's already plenty of existing systems available for Sun to use a system to "protect" the Java trademark and the "write once, run anywhere" concept. And a small license fee for those who want to use the mark to cover testing costs for verifying compliance could make the whole thing self-funding.

    Paul Robinson paul@paul-robinson.us [mailto]

  • ...Discovery last July

    Can someone tell me what this means? Did I miss a launch last year?
  • I have a suspicion that the launch date is driven by a desire to be in orbit for the 4th 0f July? Marketing driven launch dates.

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed." -- Robin, The Boy Wonder

Working...