Monthly Archive for October, 2008

Jack Thompson officially disbarred

Jack “Jackhole” Thompson, an (ex-)attorney specializing in trampling the First Amendment for decades, has officially been disbarred by the Florida Bar Association as of this past weekend.


-TPP – I’m not an attorney, but neither are you, Jackie boy

The Handbag Industry Association of America

Threat Level, a blog concentrating on online privacy, security, politics and crime issues, has posted an excellent article about what would it be like if the handbag industry adopted the same business model music and movie industries have.

Yes, it’s absurd.


Mayor Bloomberg goes astroturfing to gain support for extending term limits

A little bird told me that to gain support for his plan to extend New York City Mayoral term limits to three terms Mayor Bloomberg is sending requests for public support of his plan to organizations that deal with the Mayor’s office and/or the New York City Council.

This is, of course, putting those organizations in a very tough situation. By not responding favorably to his request, they are risking getting themselves on the Mayor’s black list. The organizations would suddenly find dealing with the Mayor’s office very, very difficult. Appointments would be hard to arrange, the organization wouldn’t be invited to hearings, meetings or networking events, budgets could mysteriously get slashed.

Don’t for a moment think it wouldn’t happen. It happens every day already.

Shrewd move, Mr. Mayor. Almost Dr Evil-like, if you ask me.


Colin Powell breaks party lines to endorse Barack Obama

On NBC’s Meet The Press (formerly by Tim Russert), former Bush Administration insider Colin Powell made his endorsement of Barack Obama public.

As if that wasn’t big enough news, he went on to comment his decision, at length, and practically ripped the Republicans a new one. I am glad, even overjoyed, someone of his stature finally said something about the campaign tactics of the Republicans.

Here are his comments:

And I’ve also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently, or his campaign ads, on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that’s been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign.  But Mr. McCain says that he’s a washed-out terrorist.  Well, then, why do we keep talking about him?  And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that, because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow, Mr. Obama is tainted.  What they’re trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings.  And I think that’s inappropriate.

Now, I understand what politics is all about.  I know how you can go after one another, and that’s good.  But I think this goes too far.  And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow.  It’s not what the American people are looking for.  And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me.  And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift.  I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that’s what we’d be looking at in a McCain administration.  I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian.  He’s always been a Christian.  But the really right answer is, what if he is?  Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America.  Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?  Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine.  It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave.  And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone.  And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death.  He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith.  And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey.  He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.  Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way.  And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know.  But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.

Shame on you Republicans. And kudos to Mr. Powell for calling his own people out on bullshit like that.


President Martti Ahtisaari wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Finnish ex-president Martti Ahtisaari wins the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize for his decades long work in conflict resolution around the world.

He’s most known for brokering the independence of Namibia, and his involvement with the peace process in Kosovo and Aceh.


ArsTechnica analyzes the figures used in war on piracy

ArsTechnica has done an excellent job in debunking the two most often used figures to justify the war on piracy.

The content producers and the US Government often quote two numbers: $250B in economic losses and 750,000 jobs lost due to IP theft in the United States. ArsTechnica tried to find the source for both of the numbers and found out that there really isn’t any realiable source.

It seems as if the job loss number came from a piece of IP legislation during the Reagan years. The authors of the bill were quoted of saying that between 130,000 and 750,000 jobs are lost due to counterfeiting US products. The bill itself didn’t include any information about those numbers, nor did the authors ever produce any source for them, other than the unsubstantiated claims they made themselves. The authors also never mentioned whether the job losses were annually or for some other duration. Subsequently people have just started quoting the upper limit of the range mentioned in the 80s. Between 130,000 and 750,000 first become “upto 750,000” and most recently just “750,000”.

ArsTechnica had even harder time finding out any justification for the annual economic loss of $250B due to piracy. They couldn’t find a single source for that figure other than a self-referential tangle of quotes from various content producer lobbying groups and the US Government. ArsTechnica did find some slightly more “scientific” sources, but the dollar amounts didn’t come anywhere close to $250B. Instead the only actual source they found from 20 years ago quoted $60B, and when they dug a little deeper they found that even that number was misrepresented. The actual study the number came from had a dollar amount of $23.8B and the study mentioned that even that number “could admittedly be biased and self-serving”.

So there you have it. The two numbers ($250B and 750,000) used to justify draconian IP legislation are at best guestimates and at worst pulled out of some entertainment industry bigwig’s ass and completely overblown.

ArsTechnica concludes its article:

Still, anything is possible: The figures could happen to be more or less accurate. But given the shady provenance of the data, the one thing we know for certain is that we don’t know for certain. And we’re making policy on the basis of our ignorance.

The US legislators should be ashamed, but then we all know they don’t make policy out of ignorance, but out of campaign donations by the entertainment industry. There is no ignorance here, rather willful negligence.


Wanted: Wireless Pixxa digiframe from Ality

If anyone knows where to buy a Wireless Pixxa 8″ wifi digiframe either on the Internets or in New York metro area, please drop me a note. I’ve been trying to hunt one of these bad boys down for months.

See more at


Police kill an innocent man, claim “we did nothing wrong”

The inquest into the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes in London underground in 2005 is currently under way in UK.

The police killed Mr. de Menezes suspecting him to be a terrorist about to blow up the London underground during the hysteria surrounding the terrorist attacks in the London underground. Mr. de Menezes was mistakenly identified as a terrorist suspect when in fact he was just an ordinary person traveling in the underground. He was shot in the head at close range and killed by the police.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick had some interesting comments at the inquest:

But if you are asking me did we do anything wrong or unreasonable, then I don’t think we did.

The police shoot and kill an innocent man, and they have the audacity to say that? Incredible.