Archive for the 'Your Rights' Category



09
Feb

Bilingual? You’re fired…

What?  Oh sorry, I meant:  ¿qué?  I agree that immigrants need to be working towards learning English but this is just stupid.

Ex-CMS secretary says she was fired after she kept speaking Spanish to Latino parents [Charlotte Observer]

09
Feb

Well, we knew it was BS from the beginning…

If you haven’t heard of the latest security toy “backscatter x-ray” then you are living under a rock (and didn’t see my last post.)  There has been quite a bit of outrage in the UK where they are becoming mandatory in the airports.  Supposedly the best thing for security since sliced bread, there is no possible way for people’s privacy to be violated.  I also have a bridge I can sell you for a very good price sir…

Exposed: Naked Body Scanner Images Of Film Star Printed, Circulated By Airport Staff [PrisonPlanet]

05
Aug

Not just whistling Orwell…

Yes, I’m still alive–just been really busy…

So, I ran across a disturbing article a few days ago.  Many people worried about encroachment on our basic liberties, including myself, tend to throw around the term Orwellian a lot.  A new proposal in the UK though takes it to a new level.  They actually want to put 24/7 video surveillance inside the homes of the “worst” families.  All that’s missing is the monitor showing the face of Big Brother.  The UK has become the surveillance society but seriously, what the hell?

Sin Bins for Worst Families [Daily Express]

07
May

ISP data cap arguments just BS…

ArsTechnica has an excellent article laying out why the major ISP’s claims that they need data caps to avoid financial ruin just don’t hold water.  Just like their opposition to the various “net neutrality” proposals we continue to see evidence of what we already expected–they are just being greedy.

Now, the libertarian side of me believes in a free capitalist market.  But keep in mind that in most areas the major telcos/cable operators have a government-approved and somewhat protected monopoly.  That isn’t a free market and the lack of competition means they don’t truly operate at the levels that the “market would bear” without such constructs.

In areas where there is more competition we see things can be done better at some pretty amazing costs.  However, the major players are always ready to fiercely protect their restricted markets even lobbying government to actively prohibit municipal and other independent providers.  I call foul.  For a recent example, just see what Time Warner is doing in North Carolina.

ISP’s costs, revenues don’t support… [ars technica]
Time Warner lobbies government… [neowin]

What do you think?

07
Apr

What are Obama’s DOJ guys smoking?

As a followup to my post from a few days ago, I want to point out an excellent commentary by Glenn Greenwald.  Not only is the Obama DOJ embracing telco immunity but are basically claiming the government is immune period!  I think we have been duped my friends.  Go read Glenn’s analysis now, as usual it is well thought out and documented.

New and worse… [Salon]

04
Apr

Obama not living up to the promise…

I am becoming increasingly disappointed in the Obama administration.  It seems that on critical liberties issues, the President is caving.  Whether it’s at least tacit approval of the warrantless wiretapping of citizens (link) or promises to defend the immunity of the telcos that enabled warrantless spying (link), this is not the “change” I was hoping for.

Now Mother Jones reports (link) that a bill has been introduced in the Senate that not only would grant the President to shutdown any network (public or private) but also give the Secretary of Commerce cart blanche to access any data regardless of any laws or regulations.  Hopefully this insane proposal dies before it ever reaches the Oval Office.

There are a host of other troubling stances as well that I may discuss later.  Very, very disappointed.  I guess it’s just an impossible dream to have an administration that truly believes in the principles of the Constitution and respects The People.

20
Jan

A new era begins…

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

– President Barack Obama

Amen Mr. President.  I have hope…

05
Nov

The people have spoken…

Congratulations to President-Elect Barack Obama.  This is a defining moment in US history for many reasons, but it is also good to see that the people have spoken decisively and we will not have a repeat of the election challenges of the recent past.

I have been impressed with this campaign in that the issue of race has not been a major factor.  In less than 50 years we have gone from de-facto segregation being the norm (in parts of the country) to an African-American president.  Living in a city that experienced racially-motivated riots in the last decade I have a renewed hope that we can put the pain of racial discrimination behind us.  So, congratulations to the people for moving on.

I still have concerns about the President-Elect’s policies but I think he was the better choice of the two candidates with a serious chance.  He’s got his shot, let’s hope he lives up to the promise.

04
Nov

Vote cast…

Just voted (OH), only a 45 minute wait for me.  My polling location is divided into two lines however (based on first letter of street name) and the other line was over 2 hours long.  This other line is always a lot longer…  Bad for them, good for me I guess.

Only saw one major issue while I was there.  A voter with an ID that had an old address was told he had to cast provisional ballot which is not exactly correct.  If you are in the book you can cast normal ballot, it’s only if they have no record of you that you have to cast provisional.  The information provided to the pollworkers is incorrect.  It has been mentioned on the local news already.  Incidentally it was cleared up on the spot because the voter in question was a trained poll observer and required the clerk to call the Board of Elections.

Now it’s a waiting game…  If you haven’t made it to the polls, get moving!

31
Oct

And the ignorance continues…

A friend of mine has repeatedly criticized me for being dead-set against voting for McCain/Palin.  I don’t like either presidential candidate but I am extremely worried about what would happen in another 4 years of Republican control.

The current administration has made quite a sport of shredding the Constitution.  My friend wants me to believe it wouldn’t be the same under McCain/Palin, but check out this post by the excellent author Glenn Greenwald.  If Palin doesn’t even understand one of the most well-known ammendments, what hope could there be for a return to an administration that respects the foundations of our government?

Sarah Palin Speaks… [Salon.com]

I highly recommend Glenn’s book How Would a Patriot Act? Although I haven’t yet had a chance to read them, his other books should be interesting as well: Great American Hypocrites and A Tragic Legacy.




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Random opinions of a slightly jaded geek in Cincinnati, OH, US.

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