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Government

House Passes Massive Medical Insurance Bill, 219-212 2424

Posted by timothy
from the house-of-representin'-in-effect dept.
The votes are in: yesterday evening, after a last-minute compromise over abortion payments, the US House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill effecting major changes in American medical finance. From the BBC's coverage: "The president is expected to sign the House-passed Senate bill as early as Tuesday, after which it will be officially enacted into law. However, it will contain some very unpopular measures that Democratic senators have agreed to amend. The Senate will be able to make the required changes in a separate bill using a procedure known as reconciliation, which allows budget provisions to be approved with 51 votes - rather than the 60 needed to overcome blocking tactics." No Republican voted in favor of the bill; 34 Democrats voted against. As law, the system set forth would extend insurance coverage to an estimated 32 million Americans, impose new taxes on high-income earners as well as provide some tax breaks and subsidies for others, and considerably toughen the regulatory regime under which insurance companies operate. The anticipated insurance regime phases in (starting with children, and expanding to adults in 2014) a requirement that insurance providers accept those with preexisting conditions, and creates a system of fines, expected to be administered by the IRS, for those who fail or refuse to obtain health insurance.
Google

Dueling Summary Judgment Motions In Viacom v. YouTube 89

Posted by timothy
from the well-we-did-do-the-nose-and-the-hat dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Eric Goldman, an Associate Professor of Law at Santa Clara University School of Law, has an excellent analysis of the dueling summary judgment motions in Viacom v. YouTube. Basically, both sides have been trotting out the most damning things they can find and asking the judge to rule against the other party. Viacom is mad that Chad Hurley, one of YouTube's co-founders, lost his email archive and couldn't remember some old emails. Worse, YouTube founder Karim once uploaded infringing content. But then Google points out that only a very small percentage of the users are engaged in infringing activity (some 0.016% of all YouTube accounts have been deleted for infringement), one of the clips Viacom is suing over is only one second long (what about fair use?), and most of YouTube's content is non-infringing, including the campaign videos which all major US presidential candidates posted to YouTube." (More below.)
Earth

Drilling Hits an Active Magma Chamber In Hawaii 251

Posted by timothy
from the time-for-a-lava-luau dept.
Smivs writes "The BBC are reporting that drillers looking for geothermal energy in Hawaii have inadvertently put a well right into a magma chamber. Molten rock pushed back up the borehole several meters before solidifying, making it perfectly safe to study. Magma specialist Bruce Marsh says it will allow scientists to observe directly how granites are made. 'This is unprecedented; this is the first time a magma has been found in its natural habitat,' the Johns Hopkins University professor told BBC News. 'Before, all we had to deal with were lava flows; but they are the end of a magma's life. They're lying there on the surface, they've de-gassed. It's not the natural habitat.' It is hoped the site can now become a laboratory, with a series of cores drilled around the chamber to better characterise the crystallisation changes occurring in the rock as it loses temperature."
Education

+ - Dvorak's criticisms of $100 laptop unfounded->

Submitted by
billthom
billthom writes "John Dvorak's recent article slamming the OLPC project and the XO-1 laptop is a bunch of uninformed prejudices masquerading as journalism, and could damage public perception of the project. My latest column on the BBC news site- I don't speak for them, natch — points out the problems with his piece and tries to put the project into a broader perspective as an attempt to give everyone the same access to the technologies that those of us in the rich countries have come to expect."
Link to Original Source
Privacy

+ - Ruling by Secret US Court Allegedly Reduces Spying

Submitted by conspirator57
conspirator57 (1123519) writes "TFA http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la- na-spying2aug02,0,5813563.story?coll=la-home-cente r states that the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (a court that no citizen can establish standing to appear before) has ruled against Executive requests for so-called "basket warrants" as violating the 4th amendment to the Constitution, namely that such warrants do not meet the clearly expressed criteria in the second half of the amendment. To accomplish this they must have looked startlingly like British general warrants which were the original motivation for the 4th amendment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warrant_(law) for more.

TFA is very sympathetic to the Executive branch, going on to depict ways in which we're all less safe because of this ruling. Personally, I feel safer with more rulings like this one. Just wish the process were a bit more transparent.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.""

We are not a loved organization, but we are a respected one. -- John Fisher

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