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Journal: Internet gambling legislation leads to... cheap MS software?

Journal by daveo0331

As you may know, in October the US passed legislation that tries to limit online gambling (it hasn't proven to be very effective, but that's a different story). The law happens to blatantly violate WTO rules because it differentiates between different forms of online gambling and, in the process, gives preferential treatment to domestic gambling sites over foreign ones. Then again, who cares? It's not like the US cares about international law or what the rest of the world thinks.

This is where it gets interesting. Antigua has complained to the WTO about this. And, the US doesn't have much of a case. The WTO has already ruled in favor of Antigua, and that was before the legislation even passed. Antigua's case is even stronger now. At this point, you may be saying so what, Antigua can't really hurt the US with trade sanctions. But the WTO can do a lot more than just authorize trade sanctions. They can exempt Antigua from their WTO obligations, specifically their obligation to support US intellectual property laws. I wonder what the RIAA would think of cheap-mp3s.ag, 100% legal according to international law? Maybe the corporate lobbyists can get the US to actually respect things like their treaty obligations and international law.

UPDATE: I'm not the only one that submitted this; it's on the front page now.

Education

Journal: Suspended for VIEWING a web site?

Journal by daveo0331

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/MYSPACE_SUSPENSIONS?SITE=7219&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2006-03-02-15-08-13

Some middle school kid made death threats against some girl at his school on Myspace, and he'll probably end up getting expelled. No surprise there. But the article also says 20 other students were "20 of his classmates were suspended for viewing the posting." Then later in the article: "Some parents however questioned whether the school overstepped its bounds by disciplining students for actions that occurred on personal computers, at home and after school hours."

WTF???

How did the school even know what web sites they were visiting from home? I wonder if what really happened is they suspended everyone on this guy's friend list.

Slashdot.org

Journal: Is slashdot messed up today or is it just me?

Journal by daveo0331

I keep getting logged out whenever I try to read a story. But, if I click on the link to go back to the main page, it logs me back in. WTF?

Not only that, if I click on the "login" link from within a story, it just sends me back to the main page.

There's also something up with the section links...

United States

Journal: Eminent domain -- what goes around comes around

Journal by daveo0331

Remember that Supreme Court decision a few days ago?

http://lonestartimes.com/index.php?p=1095

Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter's land.

Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner.

On Monday June 27, Logan Darrow Clements, faxed a request to Chip Meany the code enforcement officer of the Towne of Weare, New Hampshire seeking to start the application process to build a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road. This is the present location of Mr. Souter's home.

Clements, CEO of Freestar Media, LLC, points out that the City of Weare will certainly gain greater tax revenue and economic benefits with a hotel on 34 Cilley Hill Road than allowing Mr. Souter to own the land.

The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."

Spam

Journal: l33t sp34k ads on Yahoo Finance? 3

Journal by daveo0331

I was just on Yahoo Finance, and I noticed that a lot of the E's had been turned into 3's. For example Weekend was written as W33k3nd. Furthermore the 3's were links.

So I followed one of the links and it led to an ad for BMWs. Is this something Yahoo is doing, or did I pick up some spyware? This is my work computer, so it's not like I'm sitting here downloading a bunch of games or other spyware vectors.

United States

Journal: Pop-up ads invade Department of Homeland Security 3

Journal by daveo0331

Suppose you're appointing people to sit on the Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee for the Department of Homeland Security. What kind of people would you appoint?

From the War Room at salon.com...

There's a gator guarding your privacy at the Department of Homeland Security.

Among the appointees to the department's 20 member "Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee" is D. Reed Freeman, the "chief privacy officer" of Claria Corporation.

That's the company formerly known as Gator, infamous for its software, a.k.a. GAIN, which stands for Gator Advertising Information Network. It's sadly familiar to many frustrated Web surfers, who have been surprised to discover it mysteriously installed on their desktops serving them extra helpings of ads.

The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Dow Jones Company sued Gator back in 2002 for the way its ads appeared as parasites on their sites. But even though the original Gator software can be considered one of the original plague carriers of the spyware blight -- be careful about calling it that. The company has repeatedly threatened its critics with libel lawsuits for dubbing it "spyware."

The fact that a "privacy officer" for a company that made its name sneaking onto computers all over the word is now helping to determine what should be done with data collected by the Department of Homeland Security might be alarming to some people. But is it really all that shocking? The D.H.S.'s own chief privacy officer is no stranger to the ins and outs of interactive marketing either. She used to work for the online marketing firm, DoubleClick.

The Privacy Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting April 6, 2005 in Washington D.C. Can pop-up ads promoting every fluctuation in the terror alert level be far behind?

Slashdot.org

Journal: Slashdot's quote of the day

Journal by daveo0331

I just saw this at the bottom of the page. With Bush's second inauguration coming up later this month, it seems rather appropriate:

The poetry of heroism appeals irresitably to those who don't go to a war, and even more so to those whom the war is making enormously wealthy." -- Celine

(note -- Celine lived from 1894-1961)

Republicans

Journal: Moral values? 1

Journal by daveo0331

I thought the Republicans said they had "moral values." Then I read about which states have the highest, second highest, and lowest divorce rates (Oklahoma, Texas, and Massachusetts, respectively).

Then I saw this in Salon.com's War Room:

Rules for thee but not for me

When you're in power, apparently, you can just change the rules whenever you don't want to follow them anymore. That's what House Republicans appear to be doing to protect their leader Tom DeLay in the event the indictments that seem to be contagious in his circle of Texas friends and colleagues spread to him. Last night, House GOP members proposed changing congressional rules to allow leaders to stay in their posts even if they're indicted by state grand juries. Today, the rule change is expected to gain approval at a closed door meeting.

The best part: This rule was adopted more than 10 years ago when House Republicans wanted to show how corrupt Democrats were and that Republicans "held themselves to higher standards than prominent Democrats," as the Washington Post put it. With trouble brewing in DeLay's circle of political associates now, though, Republicans are quick to move to change the rule so they don't actually have to hold themselves to the same standard they applied to Democrats.

Democrats and congressional watchdog groups are criticizing the proposal, but it probably won't do any good. Nancy Pelosi said last night, according to the Post: "If they make this rules change, Republicans will confirm yet again that they simply do not care if their leaders are ethical. If Republicans believe that an indicted member should be allowed to hold a top leadership position in the House of Representatives, their arrogance is astonishing."

Republicans

Journal: Why did George Bush mention Dred Scott during the debates?

Journal by daveo0331

So I was watching the second Presidential debate last week, and Bush starts rambling on about how the Supreme Court made a bad decision in the Dred Scott case. Why bring up a case from 150 years ago? I couldn't figure it out, until I found the explanation later on...

George W. Bush was speaking in code. Seriously. According to this MSNBC article (and many others; search Google News for "Dred Scott"), what he said was code for "I will only appoint justices that support overturning Roe vs. Wade". Of course he couldn't come out and say it because most Americans are pro-choice. So, he hid behind his code words so only the religious right would understand what he was talking about. Of course, if everyone spreads the word about this, we can break Bush's code and reveal his views to everyone he was trying to hide them from.

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