Archive for March, 2004

A Federal Court in Canada has ruled that sharing copyrighted material online in a P2P shared directory is not illegal:

“No evidence was presented that the alleged infringers either distributed or authorized the reproduction of sound recordings,” von Finckenstein wrote in his 28-page ruling. “They merely placed personal copies into their shared directories which were accessible by other computer users via a P2P service.”

I’m sorry, but what the fuck is that judge smoking? “No, they didn’t give away copyrighted music or tell people they could copy it. They just put the file in a shared directory that was open to the public for download.”

What. The. Fuck.

So what exactly would qualify as “distribution” and/or “authorization to copy” in this judge’s mind? Hacking into someone’s computer and forcibly copying a music file there? Burning CDs and tossing them on people’s doorstep like the morning newspaper?

This definitely makes my Top 10 list of “Stupidest Things Ever”. So how much money is this judge making on his bribe? And who exactly is the briber?

Canada should just replace the maple leaf on its flag with a red star and get it over with.

Actually….I rarely see any “making fun” of Christianity (or any other religion for that matter)….it’s usually hateful bigotry.

– Car Ramrod, fark.com forum

There’s been a bit of a dust-up in the blogosphere lately over the assault of a pro-Bush blogger/demonstrator in Boston named Matt Margolis. Matt blogged about his experience here. One left-wing commenter responded to Matt’s post with the following:

Hitler had his beliefs, just like Matt has his. Sometimes violence is the only way to show people how devastatingly bad their ideas are. When society is so distraught about policy that individuals feel the need to take violent action, revolution is not only expected, but neccessary. I’m no union man, but I’d have probably taken a swing at you too.

This provoked a minor rant from Whomping Willow:

I am dumbfounded. I thought that was what civil discourse was for, but then again, I am assuming these people are civil. Bad assumption. Don’t you love people who claim that not only do they feel a certain way, but the entire society feels that way too and it’s only their ‘expected’ duty to act like stone age people and start beating the crap out of people who don’t fall into line?

I think the more revealing aspect of Hot Dem’s comment is what it tells us about when the left finds violence acceptable. Imagine, for example, a despot who oppresses the population of an entire nation. Women are raped. Children are murdered. Political opponents are fed into shredders or steamrolled underneath the asphalt of new road construction. Stipends are paid to the families of suicide bombers who kill and terrorize the innocent. The left’s response to such a despot is that we must negotiate. Endlessly. Using force against him without French permission is a violation of international law. If, hypothetically, the despot’s two sons were to be killed in a military engagement, we should put the soldiers who killed him up for war crimes.

But if someone dares to express a viewpoint that the left finds disagreeable, well then by gum it’s time for a bit of the old ultra-violence!

One other quick point for Hot Dem: You imply that you think a revolution is necessary. I disagree, but as Tolkien observed “it takes but one to start a war.” In revolutions the other side shoots back. I’ve got my gun. Do you have yours? Or would you rather go back to trying to convince people who disagree with you using words, like civilized people do?

Update: A few more thoughts.

First, I should probably refine my comment that the left is OK with using violence whenever a differing viewpoint is expressed. The hypothetical despot mentioned above expressed views that conflict with those of the left. It’s more precise to say that if someone expresses a viewpoint that poses a threat to the left’s desire for political dominance in the United States, then it’s time for a bit of the old ultra-violence.

Second, I wonder if Hot Dem would be willing to apply his stated principle symmetrically. If, for example, society is distraught about a policy that is a darling of the left (say abortion on demand), would that justify a right-wing anti-abortion activist physically assaulting a peaceful pro-choice demonstrator? My guess is no. After all, the left apparently gets to define who makes up “society”. A solid majority of the American public supported and still supports the Iraqi campaign. The president’s approval rating hovers around the 50% mark. To say that “society” is sufficiently distraught about his policies to justify physical violence is tantamount to defining those who disagree with the left out of society altogether.

It is precisely because a significant portion of society is not distraught about Bush’s policies that the left is slipping towards violence. They sense a real possibility that they will not prevail through peaceful persuasion, and so they’re starting to turn to violence as an alternative. I suppose one could say that the domestic left has learned the lesson of Madrid: it is possible to use violence directed against citizens to influence the outcome of elections.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have officially entered the Battletech age. I give you the Rescue Dragon:

This is the T-52 Enryu rescue robot prototype. It is made by Tmsuk Co., Ltd. of Japan with the idea of being a trailblazer in situations where there is a lot of heavy debris between life and death for people trapped in a disaster or accident. It can lift and move trees, rubble, steel, etc. with a speed and precision that bulldozers cannot manage.

It is powered by a 3-stroke direct injection diesel engine, with a maximum speed of about 1.8 mph. Each arm is capable of lifting up to 1,100 lbs. It has a maximum handspan of 33 ft. when the arms are fully stretched out. It carries 7 on board cameras.

The Enryu is not an autonomous machine — it is controlled remotely by a human operator, in much the way other kinds of heavy equipment are controlled. Tmsuk hopes to have a commercial production of this robot by the end of 2004.

You can see some movies of the robot in action here. One clip is a fairly impressive display of deft skill on the part of the remote operator, who successfully places a large chunk of steel on the ground balanced on its end.

One person remarked this robot looks a lot like something out of Patlabor. Me, the first thing I thought was, “OMG it’s the ED-209!”

People have a certain paranoia that the technologies of the future are going to focus on the military, weaponized applications of things like robotics. But I’ve always believed that such technologies are driven initially by manufacturing and emergency services.

In the case of robots, this has proven correct. Robots have been in use in manufacturing for many years now, doing highly dangerous and repetitive tasks. Robots have many applications in clean rooms, hazardous environments, and going places that humans can’t.


Robot welding in an automobile factory.


The Pyramid Rover, a robot designed by National Geographic, has been used to crawl up into small shafts inside the Great Pyramid in Egypt to see where those shafts go and what, if anything, was on the other end.


Robots enable the police and military to explore potentially dangerous situations in combat zones, terrorism incidents, and situations where approaching a person may be deadly (homicide bombers).


The ultimate exploratory robot: the Mars Spirit Rover, whose mobile work on Mars has already yielded a number of exciting scientific discoveries about the Red Planet.

I keep telling you these people are repulsive and barbaric. Here’s another stage in their “giving kids nightmares” campaign.

Starting next month, Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plans to hand out “Buckets of Blood” to children outside KFC restaurants and at schools near the restaurants. The buckets are part of PETA’s campaign against what it says are farming and slaughter abuses by KFC’s suppliers.

The 5-inch-tall, red-and-white striped containers mimic KFC’s buckets. But instead of fried chicken, each is filled with items including a bag of fake blood and bones, a bloodied plastic chicken and a cardboard caricature of a blood-spattered Colonel Sanders holding a butcher knife toward a terrified-looking chicken.

Labels on the bucket proclaim, “Shhh! The ‘secret recipe’ in this bucket of body parts is … cruelty” and “The Colonel’s secret recipe: live scalding, painful debeaking, crippled chickens.”



It is worth noting, however, that 9-11 has changed this country in more than just obvious ways. KFC’s comments included:

“We don’t comment on the corporate terrorist activities of PETA. They are corporate terrorists and just like the United States government, we will not negotiate with corporate terrorists.”

Excellent attitude. Unfortunately, this same KFC spokesperson goes on to say this:

“PETA has totally crossed the line of free speech and acceptable behavior”

Gotta disagree with you on the free speech thing. KFC might, however, be able to make a case for libel and defamation. It is certainly true that PETA’s actions are way beyond the bounds of acceptable from a cultural perspective.

This is cowardly, despicable behavior; traumatizing children when they are too young to understand or defend themselves intelligently. It cements a gut reaction of fear and horror before the child is able to process the truth or falsity of the accusation, and before the child has an established ego and strong self-identity.

The motive for this is simple. PETA knows that they cannot persuade adult, rational human beings. So they go straight for the babies. Get ’em while they’re young. Feed them lies and distortions, seasoned liberally with rabid hatred and good old fashioned mean-spiritedness. Bake at high pressure for 10 years. Serves: everyone within hearing range.

Lately I’ve noticed that more and more people are saying things and then contradicting themselves (or acting like they didn’t say whatever it was they just said). While this is not exactly new, what is new is that they issue the contradiction immediately following, sometimes even in the same sentence.

I’m not sure what to make of this. Do they think people’s attention spans are so short that they can get away with it? Are they relying on the likelihood that nobody can think critically anymore — or do they lack that ability themselves?

Here’s an example:

A woman sued a middle school principal because he held a toy gun to her son’s neck to teach him a lesson.

Ryles claims the act has left the boy, 13 years old at the time of the incident, with nightmares and emotionally scarred.

We’ll ignore for a moment how retarded this lawsuit is, and the fact that the kid is a pussy if he really is emotionally traumatized by this. The interesting bit is this:

In police interviews, Samore, 49, said he wasn’t was trying to frighten the student but wanted to “illustrate to him that even toy guns scare people.”

Ok…so…the principal wasn’t trying to scare the kid. He was just trying to scare the kid.

Um, what?

All right, another example, this time from someone much more interesting (Congressman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in regards to another much more interesting person (Secretary of State Colin Powell):

Brown: “…The president may have been a — may have been AWOL…”

Powell: “First of all, Mr. Brown, I won’t dignify your comments about the president because you don’t know what you are talking about.”

Brown: “I’m sorry I don’t know what you mean, Mr. Secretary.”

Powell [sharply]: “You made reference to the president.”

Now for one of our all-time favorites: John Pilger, in an interview conducted by Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporter Tony Jones:

TONY JONES: Can you approve in that context the killing of American, British or Australian troops who are in the occupying forces?

JOHN PILGER: Well yes, they’re legitimate targets. They’re illegally occupying a country. And I would have thought from an Iraqi’s point of view they are legitimate targets, they’d have to be, sure.

TONY JONES: So Australian troops you would regard in Iraq as legitimate targets?

JOHN PILGER: Excuse me but, really, that’s an unbecoming question.

What’s wrong with this picture? I did not edit the above quote. That is exactly the sequence of dialogue, with no gaps or omissions. Pilger makes a statement, the reporter repeats it, and suddenly it’s “unbecoming”. What, is it rude or something to call attention to the arrogant, repulsive stuff that people like Pilger spew?

What’s going on here? Is this some kind of larger phenomenon? Is it new or have we just never noticed before? Or perhaps we never used to give airtime to such asinine remarks. That may be true in Pilger’s case. In the case of Congressman Brown, I’d have to blame his constituents for voting his stupid ass into office.

This sort of thing reminds me a bit of the following incident, which appears to be typical of dumb crooks:

Proving that they don’t call it crack for nothing, a 22-year-old man had, in the presence of officers, pushed a bag containing 18 rocks of crack cocaine into his rectum. A pat-down moments earlier had detected the bag in the back of his pants.

“I didn’t want to get caught with that dope,” the affidavit quotes him saying. “I got 18 rocks.”

Then – this is classic – he says, “You would’ve done the same thing.”

I don’t think anyone would argue that this guy isn’t a dumbass, and is exhibiting a truly stupendous level of cluelessness. That people like Brown and Pilger (and clueless school principals) also exhibit this sort of idiocy means we need to take a hard look at the sorts of people whose opinions and judgement we pay attention to.

Then again, I don’t pay much attention to John Pilger, or idiot Democratic Congressmen, so there you go.

Slate has a collection of graffiti (translated) taken from the walls of Baghdad. The messages expressed vary in tone and purpose, but I’d like to present my favorites. They can be generally divided into the silly/vulgar and the serious. Some serious ones first:

MASS GRAVES AND BAATHIST PRINCIPLES ARE TWO FACES OF THE SAME STINKING COIN

PATIENCE, BAGHDAD, PATIENCE, SADDAM IS COMING BACK SOON
And underneath is written:
HAND CUFFED, BY THE WILL OF GOD

GIVE THANKS TO GOD THAT ODAI AND QUSAI WERE KILLED

THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. BUSH, AND A THOUSAND THANK YOUS FOR MR. GOOD IRAQI BREMER

THANKS MR. BREMER FOR CUTTING OFF THESE NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES FROM IRAQ’S MONEY—ONE MORE YEAR, AND THEY WILL DIE OF HUNGER. JUST A LITTLE PATIENCE, MR. BREMER, AND THESE NOSES-IN-THE-SKIES WILL COME TO NOTHING

BUSH THE FATHER LIBERATED KUWAIT. BUSH THE SON LIBERATED IRAQ, THEN SYRIA, THEN IRAN. BUSH THE GRANDSON WILL LIBERATE THE WHOLE WORLD!

And some amusing ones:

TURKEY AND IRAN ARE A SPLIT TURD

SADDAM ATE BEANS AND EMITTED STINKY AIR

LONG LIVE SADDAM, IN SPITE OF HIS FOOL CRAZIES!
And underneath is written:
SADDAM IS A PIMP; ASK YOUR SISTER!

PATIENCE, BAGHDAD, PATIENCE, SADDAM IS COMING BACK SOON
And underneath is written:
TO FINISH OFF WHAT REMAINS OF THE IRAQI PEOPLE OR TO FUCK YOUR MOTHER?

SADDAM THE PENIS SWALLOWER!

SADDAM SWALLOWED ALL THE PRICKS OF THE WORLD, AND HE STILL SAID HE WAS VICTORIOUS

And my favorite:

SADDAM WILL RETURN!
And written underneath:
THROUGH MY ASS!

I had been wondering if Susan Lindauer (the ex-Congressional aide recently indicted for being an agent of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi government) was a consciously traitorous person. Did she knowingly, willfully engage in acts that she understood to be treasonous? Or was she merely extremely naïve (and unable to comprehend the meaning of the oath she swore as a civil servant of the United States)?

She has stupidly begun talking to the press, which reveals a good deal about her character and her perspective on the world:

A woman accused of acting as a paid Iraqi intelligence agent said Wednesday she is misunderstood and was only trying to help prevent a war in Iraq.

Susan Lindauer told The Associated Press she was being punished because she got involved in U.S. foreign policy. She said her intent was to persuade Iraq to allow weapons inspections before the war and to get it to cooperate with the war on terror.

“What I did was never illegal,” she said. “I never participated in activities that would create violence against this country.”

“It is utter hypocrisy for government officials to pontificate about their own commitment to important projects and then reject or resist the participation of Americans in those projects,” she said.

There is an emoticon in use on the internet that I think is most appropriate in classifying my reaction to this.

:O

Let’s examine the principles and the intellect revealed by Lindauer’s statements.

Susan Lindauer told The Associated Press she was being punished because she got involved in U.S. foreign policy.

Um, yeah. You are being punished for interfering in U.S. foreign policy. It’s illegal, as well as inappropriate, immoral, and stupid. Duh.

She said her intent was to persuade Iraq to allow weapons inspections before the war and to get it to cooperate with the war on terror.

Was this woman living in a cave? Did she really think that Saddam Hussein would listen to her when the attempts of world leaders for over a decade had failed to do so? Did she really not grasp the fact that Saddam was part of the terror in the world? That he was financing it?

“I never participated in activities that would create violence against this country.”

The Smoking Gun, as usual, has obtained a copy of the relevant indictment documents. They are rather detailed, but the “overt acts” that Lindauer committed include meeting with agents of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, traveling to Iraq as their guest, accepting a task from them, and accepting cash payments in various amounts.

That constitutes material support of an enemy government, a government that was actively engaged in training, financing, and facilitating acts of terrorism all over the world. People died in those terrorist acts, many of them Americans.

“It is utter hypocrisy for government officials to pontificate about their own commitment to important projects and then reject or resist the participation of Americans in those projects.”

No, Ms. Lindauer, you don’t get to be high and mighty about this. You have no moral high ground here. You don’t get to act as if you were acting in my best interests, you arrogant, stupid, moralizing bitch.

There is an established mechanism for citizens to get involved in their government. It’s called an election. Start a blog, for Christ’s sake. Write a newsletter. Stage a protest. But you do not take money and orders from agents of an enemy government, especially when you yourself are a United States Government employee.

You fucking got that, Susan?

Her contempt toward the United States is palpable. She talks about “government officials”, as if she were not one herself. Susan, when you disagree with the policies and procedures of the government, you cannot become an employee of that government and then work from within the system to subvert the efforts of the President and his staff to run this country.

That’s called treason. Are you listening, Susan?

If you hated the government so Goddamn much, then you shouldn’t have been working for it. The government is not being hypocritical in preventing you from subverting it. They are protecting this country from its enemies. For that is clearly what you are; the enemy.

Gavin Newsom, the Mayor of San Francisco who has made headlines by approving the issuance of marriage licenses to gay couples, is another example of this subversion, although not at Susan Lindauer’s level of seriousness.

If he did not approve of the way the system was working, he should not become part of that system and then defy and subvert it. That is not an appropriate sort of activity for a government employee. It is an abuse of his power and authority as Mayor of the city.

So what does all this mean? That Democrats can’t be trusted in government? Well, we already knew that. But this is what happens when the flower children of the 60’s, accustomed to fighting the Establishment and engaging in various acts of civil resistance, grow up and take jobs within the Establishment itself. The mentality doesn’t change. They continue to fight the Establishment in spite of being part of it, in spite of being charged with its support and execution.

This is called infiltration; getting inside a system you wish to destroy by pretending to be part of it and then subverting and obstructing it at every opportunity. It’s the sort of thing enemies do.

You got that, Susan?

Vice-President Cheney gave a speech today that includes a fisking of Kerry’s various positions on issues relating to national security. One of the things Cheney notes in this speech is something I hadn’t considered before:

Senator Kerry speaks often about the need for international cooperation, and has vowed to usher in a “golden age of American diplomacy.” He is fond of mentioning that some countries did not support America’s actions in Iraq. Yet of the many nations that have joined our coalition – allies and friends of the United States – Senator Kerry speaks with open contempt. Great Britain, Australia, Italy, Spain, Poland, and more than 20 other nations have contributed and sacrificed for the freedom of the Iraqi people. Senator Kerry calls these countries, quote, “window dressing.” They are, in his words, “a coalition of the coerced and the bribed.”

Many questions come to mind, but the first is this: How would Senator Kerry describe Great Britain – coerced, or bribed? Or Italy – which recently lost 19 citizens, killed by terrorists in Najaf – was Italy’s contribution just window dressing? If such dismissive terms are the vernacular of the golden age of diplomacy Senator Kerry promises, we are left to wonder which nations would care to join any future coalition. He speaks as if only those who openly oppose America’s objectives have a chance of earning his respect. Senator Kerry’s characterization of our good allies is ungrateful to nations that have withstood danger, hardship, and insult for standing with America in the cause of freedom.

Kerry has been frequently and vocally critical of the diplomacy of the Bush administration, claiming that it has alienated many countries which should be treated as our allies. Even if we stipulate that Kerry is correct, though, why is he insulting nations that (by his lights) have stuck by the United States even in the face of Bush’s poor diplomatic skills? Aren’t such nations worthy of praise?

The only conclusion I can draw is that Kerry thinks it’s OK to attack, belittle and/or denigrate anyone who supports anything Bush wants to do. That makes me wonder if his own alleged diplomatic skills are anything more than hot air.

Hat tip to Orrin Judd for the link to the speech.

This has to be the most evil thing I’ve heard of in a long time. I’m speechless that such a policy would be followed in a nominally free country.

I’d rant about this, but the absurdity should be self-evident to anyone with more than three brain cells to rub together.