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Swedish Court Refuses To Revoke Julian Assange's Arrest Warrant

Shakrai Re:Sounds reasonable (243 comments)

Consent was given. It was just conditional. Lying to meet those requirements is perfectly legal in the US

Are you sure about that? Here's New York State's law:

S 130.05 Sex offenses; lack of consent.
[snip]
2. Lack of consent results from:
(c) Where the offense charged is sexual abuse or forcible touching, any circumstances, in addition to forcible compulsion or incapacity to consent, in which the victim does not expressly or impliedly acquiesce in the actor's conduct; or

S 130.55 Sexual abuse in the third degree.
A person is guilty of sexual abuse in the third degree when he or she subjects another person to sexual contact without the latter`s consent;

about a week ago
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The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

Shakrai Re:Google doesn't have a monopoly on ANYTHING. (331 comments)

You tell me how that does not constitute Soviet behavior.

Seriously? Nobody is holding a gun to your head and the EU member states are free to leave any time they wish.

Again, totally nothing factually wrong with that. If it were not for the Americans, all of Europe would either suffer under the Nazis or under the Soviets.

Really? All of Europe you say? Even Great Britain? Finland?

Are you an American? If you are I wish you'd STFU; you're making the rest of us look bad. WW2 was a team effort. Could the Allies have beaten the Germans without the Russians? Possibly; we did in WW1 after the Russians quit. The butcher's bill would have been a lot higher though. The west (particularly the United States and Canada) got off pretty easy. As far as "Europe would have been under the Soviets", that's debatable. The example of Finland suggests there are limits to how far Stalin was willing to go to gain strategic depth. Germany certainly would have gotten a much rawer deal without American involvement, though ironically enough it was the United States that originally proposed turning Germany into a pastoral state after the conflict.

Sure, if you live in Greece and need the EU to fund your pension

Yeah, well, the same problem is brewing in the United States and I haven't heard a single mainstream politician from either party come up with a proactive way of dealing with it. And guess what? There's no provision for a State to file bankruptcy like Detroit did. What happens when one of the 50 can't meet its obligations? Nobody knows but we're apt to find out in the coming decades....

about a week ago
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The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

Shakrai Re:EU is getting too powerful (331 comments)

That's because the EU is really an economic concern trying to masquerade as a country. It originally started as the European Coal and Steel Community. It has always been about economics. A handful of rich and powerful countries benefit from a common market and currency. Countries that would probably be better off outside of the Eurozone won't leave it because the rich and powerful therein benefit. Well monied interests calling the shots is hardly a uniquely American phenomenon.

Europe won't truly unite absent some sort of external and existential threat. It took such a threat to unify the United States back in the day and the American colonies had a shared culture, language, and no history of going to war with one another. Even at that there was a rather bloody Civil War and regional tensions that still simmer to this day...

about a week ago
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The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

Shakrai Re:In an unrelated news item... (331 comments)

Who ever made that claim and how is it even relevant?

The grandparent, in the stupid pissing contest EU vs. US thread. I really hate these threads; sure, we have quarrels, but we've also got a shared history, culture, and commitment to freedom. People would do well to remember that. They might also wish to remember that countries that share our values are most definitely in the minority on planet Earth; it's really fucking stupid to root for the EU to drag the US down or vice versa.

These idiots should get a bloody passport and go visit the "other side"; you'll find we're/they're not that much different from you.

about a week ago
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The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

Shakrai Re:Google doesn't have a monopoly on ANYTHING. (331 comments)

The EU commision can't tell US companies to do anything but they can set conditions for allowing them to operate within the EU.

Devil's advocate, how do you stop Google from operating in the EU? Google does have a physical presence in the EU, data-centers and all that, but strictly speaking they could run the whole operation from outside the EU. What do you do then? Block them at the network edge? Hardly seems compatible with free speech.

about a week ago
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The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

Shakrai Re:Google doesn't have a monopoly on ANYTHING. (331 comments)

Oh and btw, modding me a troll just because you disagree with my opinion makes you a bad mod.

The troll mods may have had something to do with these gems:

Not only that, but the EUSSR doesn't seem to understand that an American corporation has nothing to do with European communists.

They should go and re-read their history books and remember how close all of Europe was to speaking either German or Russian.

My point is that the EU is a bunch of arrogant idiots who have no business telling an American company to split up.

about a week ago
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Swedish Court Refuses To Revoke Julian Assange's Arrest Warrant

Shakrai Re:Sounds reasonable (243 comments)

"uber-feminist country?" Do you know a damn thing about Sweden or any of her neighbors? Have you ever visited or even bothered to peruse the internet on the subject of Swedish culture, customs, or her legal processes? It's awesome that you're willing to shit all over the criminal justice system of a country that I suspect you know nothing about, a country that Mr. Assange thought was just lovely until he happened to be accused of a crime by some of its citizens.

Frankly I don't know if he is a rapist or not. I do know that he's received due process of law in both Sweden and the United Kingdom and that there appears to be enough evidence to warrant a trial. I also know a thing or two about the judicial systems of the Nordic Countries; were I accused of a crime I didn't commit in one of them I would be willing to surrender myself and believe that I would receive as fair of a shake as I would get in my own country.

about a week ago
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Aereo Files For Bankruptcy

Shakrai Re:innovation thwarted (137 comments)

If you think that crossing the street, and going into the cloud, is a rebroadcast, then you have a problem with every cloud service. If I upload a song to dropbox, then play it from the cloud, then by this definition it is a rebroadcast.

That's personal use; I do the same thing with my TiVo. What Aereo did would be analogous to you selling access to that dropbox'ed song to anyone willing to pay.

about a week ago
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Swedish Court Refuses To Revoke Julian Assange's Arrest Warrant

Shakrai Re:Sounds reasonable (243 comments)

We stupid foreigners actually know a little about the American legal system, and not purely from watching old Perry Mason episodes. One of the glaringly obvious things we know is that it isn't so much the facts of the matter that count, but who has the most money and thus influence. If you have political clout - and anyone rich enough can get it - no prosecutor will even be found to indict you..

This is patently false. Prosecutors love to take down high profile political targets. Have you heard the name Rod Blagojevich? Tom DeLay? Duke Cummingham? Those are just from memory. Want a whole list? Here's a list of Federal politicians. Here's one for State and Local politicians.

The law is so immense and complex that almost anyone can be charged with crimes that would lead to extremely long prison sentences - the main thing that protects the normal, innocent citizen is that the police have no particular reason to want to frame them up. Try reading (for instance) Harvey Silverglate's book "Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent".

I've read it; I've also read the US Federal Code and my own State's Penal Law. I don't commit three felonies a day. I don't commit one felony per day. That claim is massively overstated, just like everything else you've rambled about.

The most effective way the Feds have of getting the "innocent" is by jamming them up for obstruction. They ask you an incriminating (or just embarrassing) question that they already know the answer to, you lie to a sworn Federal Law Enforcement Officer, and presto, you're under Federal Indictment. This technique ensnared Martha Stewart, amongst others. Thankfully it's easily avoided by invoking your right to remain silent; alas, many people are too arrogant for that and think they'll get away with lying to the Feds. Repeat after me: "I do not wish to make a statement without consulting with counsel. Am I free to leave now?"

about a week ago
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Aereo Files For Bankruptcy

Shakrai Re:innovation thwarted (137 comments)

For better or worse Federal Law says you need the broadcaster's permission before you can retransmit their signal. In your examples you would be fine until the final paragraph where you strung a wire across the street. The apartment example is trickier, there are regulations governing shared antennas in such a scenario, meaning the landlord can mount a single antenna that each apartment has access to; you wouldn't need 50 antennas. Most shared antenna systems have fallen into disuse, because of CATV, but the regulations are still on the books.

To answer your last question, I think it became an Aereo rebroadcast when they sent the signal on a trip through the cloud. The single antenna argument was spurious but even if I bought it I would still think they were rebroadcasting. To contrast with TiVo, they charge their service, the guide data and so on; they've got nothing to do with getting the signal to you and what you do with it after that is arguably fair use.

about a week ago
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Aereo Files For Bankruptcy

Shakrai Re:innovation thwarted (137 comments)

Of course not - do you have a problem with broadcast?

No, it's the only TV I watch; I don't have the room in my budget for an $60/mo-$100/mo cable subscription and wouldn't pay for it even if I did. I can receive broadcast for free by putting up an antenna (this is what I did) or by paying a modest ($4.95/mo) fee to the local cable company. The cable company is required to get permission from the broadcasters to retransmit those signals under Federal Law and is further obligated under New York State law to make the broadcast tier available at cost. In this instance Aereo was taking the signals without agreement from the broadcasters and reselling them for profit. The word 'leech' comes to mind.

Aereo was in the business of being an outsourced antenna provider

Which makes them a cable company, thus subject to the Federal Law that requires them to get permission before they can retransmit a third party broadcast. That law may be poorly thought out but it's a legitimate exercise of Congressional power so why is everybody pissed at SCOTUS for enforcing it? If you don't like the law write your Congressman and United States Senators....

about a week ago
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Aereo Files For Bankruptcy

Shakrai Re:innovation thwarted (137 comments)

Why should the broadcasters get to say how I process the *over the air* signals they've so graciously provided?

They don't; so long as you're processing them in a manner that's consistent with your own personal use you can do anything you want with them under the Fair Use doctrine. Aereo wasn't doing this; they were piggybacking off those signals and selling them for a profit. I time shift and stream my OTA channels all the time, through a combination of one of these and one of these. Nobody cares. I'm pretty sure they would care if I started distributing my recordings to the masses for a monthly fee....

about a week ago
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Swedish Court Refuses To Revoke Julian Assange's Arrest Warrant

Shakrai Re:Sounds reasonable (243 comments)

and he was threatened even by US senate members with retribution

If you knew anything about our political system you'd know that US Senators have zero power to actually make good on those threats. They can't go after him judicially, that's the job of the Executive Branch (via the Justice Department) with checks and balances from the Judicial Branch. Nor can they go after him extra-judicially (*); intelligence agencies are also under the control of the Executive, with checks and balances from the Legislative Branch (that's the Senate). The Legislative can rein in the intelligence agencies if they so choose, via the oversight and funding process, but they can't issue them marching orders.

(*) They could actually go after him extra-judicially, in the same manner as any citizen could, i.e., walk up to him on the street and put a bullet in his head. I rather doubt any of them have the stomach for that, much less the time they'd get to spend behind bars for such an act....

about a week ago
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Swedish Court Refuses To Revoke Julian Assange's Arrest Warrant

Shakrai Re:Sounds reasonable (243 comments)

Oh, nonsense!

If the USA had really wanted Assange, the easy way to have gotten him would have been to extradite him from the UK while he was living there freely.

The whole notion that while he was living in the UK, the USA worked to convince Sweden to extradite him to Sweden so we could then extradite him to the USA is ridiculous.

It's not like Sweden is MORE friendly to the USA than the UK is....

The problem here is you're using logic and they're using emotion. He's a hero to them, David standing up to Goliath. It's the techie version of the rabid sports fan who refuses to believe his team's star player might just be capable of rape.

I've tried to explain numerous times in these stories that the judicial precedent in the United States almost certainly precludes charges from being brought against him. The United States has no Official Secrets Act; a normal citizen (i.e., a reporter) who comes into possession of classified material can do whatever the hell they want with it. Only those that have a duty to protect said information (e.g., people with security clearances) can be held accountable for the leaking thereof. So long as Assange simply received the information he is in the clear, just as the New York Times reporters who published the Pentagon Papers were in the clear. If Assange actively encouraged Manning to break the law he could have a problem but I've seen no evidence of that. The chat logs with Manning and Lamo left me with the impression that Manning came up with the idea without any outside influence.

In one of these stories I had the privilege of reading a rather lengthy summary of the Swedish legal system. The author of this post did no editorializing for or against Assange, they simply explained the process of how charges are brought and disposed of in Sweden. In any other context it would have been +5 informative but because it was in an Assange story it was -1 troll. Emotion drives these discussions and facts no longer matter.

about a week ago
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Aereo Files For Bankruptcy

Shakrai Re:innovation thwarted (137 comments)

No, not really. Not at all actually.

They were taking OTA signals and retransmitting them across the internet for profit without paying the broadcaster a dime. You don't see a problem with this?

about a week ago
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Harvard Students Move Fossil Fuel Stock Fight To Court

Shakrai Re:Standing (203 comments)

Cut 'em some slack; it's not as though they're attending an Ivy League law school where they'd learn fancy schmancy legal concepts like standing.

about a week ago
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Harvard Students Move Fossil Fuel Stock Fight To Court

Shakrai Re:my share must remain in the ground (203 comments)

i gave up burning fossil fuels (to every extent possible) well over a decade ago.

You stopped eating over a decade ago?

about a week ago
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

Shakrai Re:Here we go again (495 comments)

but that is still someone who is gone and has to be replaced with someone who needs to be brought up to speed.

Tough shit. That's how it works with at-will employment. I quit a hated job once upon a time via e-mail, on Monday morning, 15 minutes before my shift was due to begin.

Give your employees a contract if you don't want to deal with the possibility of them leaving unexpectedly. Of course a contract usually requires you to offer them something tangible in return, i.e., guaranteed employment for a specified amount of time, which is why employers generally prefer at-will even though it's a PITA to deal with people who leave.

about a week ago
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Harvard Students Move Fossil Fuel Stock Fight To Court

Shakrai Re:Standing (203 comments)

if you are in college and you aren't challenging the real or imagined injustices of the world in some way, you're missing the whole point of being young enough to still be self-absorbed and righteous, but not old enough to be in the real world

If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain.

about a week ago
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Apple Swaps "Get" Button For "Free" To Avoid Confusion Over In-App Purchases

Shakrai Re:why can't we go back to the old shareware syste (103 comments)

You paid for WinZip? That bloated piece of crap? When there's only about three dozen different free compression applications? You don't even have to resort to classical freeware, there are FOSS programs that will do the job quite nicely, with a polished GUI for those who don't like CLIs.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Obamacare Is No Starship Enterprise

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  1 year,19 hours

Shakrai (717556) writes "Megan McArdle from Bloomberg has penned this wonderful article, about the development of the technology behind the Affordable Care Act. It is a tale of mission creep, distant supervisors, and otherwise smart people who fail to grasp the limitations of modern technology. The experiences shared herein are all to familiar to those of us who have worked on large IT projects, with Star Trek: The Next Generation analogies as icing on the cake."
Link to Original Source
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STD Test? There's an App for That

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  about 4 years ago

Shakrai (717556) writes "British health officials are hard at work on a new app that will allow users to pee into their cell phones and find out within minutes if they have an STD.

Doctors and technology experts are developing small devices, similar to pregnancy testing kits, that will tell someone quickly and privately if they have caught an infection through sexual contact.

People who suspect they have been infected will be able to put urine or saliva on to a computer chip about the size of a USB chip, plug it into their phone or computer and receive a diagnosis within minutes, telling them which, if any, sexually transmitted infection (STI) they have. Seven funders, including the Medical Research Council, have put £4m into developing the technology via a forum called the UK Clinical Research Collaboration.

Prof Noel Gill, head of HIV and STIs at the Health Protection Agency, the government agency that monitors infections and advises on containment strategies, said: "HPA surveillance has shown that the impact of STIs is greatest among young people and we hope that the application of new technology will help to reduce transmission of infection in this age group."

Link to Original Source
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Cisco's New Router: Trouble for Hollywood

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Shakrai (717556) writes "Time Magazine has published an article about the impact of Cisco's new CRS-3 router on the business practices of the MAFIAA. This new router was previously mentioned here on Slashdot and is expected to alleviate internet bottlenecks that currently impede steaming video on demand services. Some of the highlights from the article:

"The ability to download albums and films in a matter of seconds is a harbinger of deep trouble for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which would prefer to turn the clock back, way back."

"The hard fact is that the latest developments at Cisco, Google and elsewhere may do more than kill the DVD and CD and further upset entertainment-business models that have changed little since the Mesozoic Era. With superfast streaming and downloading, indie filmmakers will soon be able to effectively distribute feature films online and promote them using social media such as Facebook and Twitter."

"Meanwhile, both the MPAA and the RIAA continue to fight emerging technologies like peer-to-peer file sharing with costly court battles rather than figuring out how to appeal to the next generation of movie enthusiasts and still make a buck.""

Link to Original Source
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Bluetooth & Wi-Fi co-existence

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Shakrai writes "A question for those with more experience with Bluetooth then I have: Has anybody noted/worked-around/been-able to solve co-existence problems with bluetooth and 802.11b/g WLANs? I'm playing around with the T-Mobile T-Mobile HotSpot @ Home service at the office for our directors and while the service works great, the heavy network traffic on the wireless lan renders bluetooth headsets unusable. Short pops of static occur about ten times a second. The WLAN itself doesn't even seem to notice.

Given that Bluetooth's design purposefully uses the entire range of unlicensed channels on 2.4Ghz I'd given up on trying to get it to co-exist with WLANs. But I've noted that Bluetooth 1.2 includes support for "Adaptive frequency-hopping spread spectrum", which theoretically will remove crowded channels from the hopping sequence. Given that a single 802.11b/g access point only uses a portion (roughly 1/3) of the band available to Bluetooth, wouldn't it stand to reason that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi can be made to peacefully co-exist?

Perhaps the problem lies with the cheap headsets that my company is providing us? Does anybody have any experience with particular models of Bluetooth headsets used in a heavy wi-fi environment? Or any experience with the actual HotSpot service and the phones that T-Mobile offers? Does any model of phone or headset stand out as being better at co-existing then the others?"

Journals

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Critics of Tea Party Movement Miss the Big Picture

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Many commentators seem to believe that the Tea Party represents a net minus for the GOP because of the split between them and the existing establishment. This criticism seems oddly familiar to me. Many people predicted that the drawn out fight between Hillary and Obama would be the death of the Democrats in 2008. As it turned out, that extended fight kept them in the news for months and built up the ground networks that helped Obama carry the day in states that normally be out of reach for a Democrat. Take Indiana, where Obama carried the state by ~28k votes. Does that happen without the ground operation built for the primary and the name recognition/publicity gained from it? Impossible to say, but I think it's clear that the intra-party squabbling was a net positive for the Democrats in the end.

It seems likely to me that the Tea Party will have the same impact on the GOP. They may well prove to be a net minus in selected races (Delaware) but the enthusiasm they've generated and the new people they've brought into the political process will more than balance that out come November.

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Here comes the tidal wave.....

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Worked the NYS primary election today. We had higher turnout for this mid-term primary than I've ever seen -- more than we did for the Presidential Primary in 2008. I'm only one poll worker in a single district but I've never seen this kind of enthusiasm for a primary before. We had 44% turnout for our GOP voters and 30% for the Democrats.

Paladino looks to have crushed Rick Lazio. I called this race at 10pm -- Paladino ran up a much higher margin (93% in Erie and Niagara counties, all districts reporting) with his base than Lazio did with his (60-65% in Suffolk and Nassau counties, 60% of districts reporting) . Paladino beat Lazio in some downstate counties (Dutchess and Orange) that should have been more familiar with Lazio. He looks to have edged him out with 50-55% of the vote in most other upstate counties, though we'll have to wait for tomorrow for the final numbers.

With this kind of turn out for a primary I'm betting that November is going to be huge. It wouldn't surprise me if we beat our numbers for 2008 -- we had a 60% turnout that year.

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Motorola Providing free TouchDown Licenses to DROID X Owners

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Well, I got my Droid-X. Imagine my surprise when my $550 phone failed to properly communicate with my employer's Exchange server. Turns out the Droid-X has some software glitches relating to Exchange. Push e-mail will not work at all with Exchange 2003 and only works intermittently with 2007 and 2010. Polling e-mail may work but there are also issues with the notification system. Your phone might download messages off Exchange but fail to notify you about them until some time has passed.

Motorola is providing a free license for a third party app called TouchDown to anyone who writes in and complains about this issue. This app normally goes for $20. It is without a doubt the best mobile Exchange client that I've ever seen. It offers features above and beyond the stock Motorola application. I would encourage anybody who needs to use Exchange to get this application -- even if you aren't dealing with the push e-mail/notification bugs. It would be worth paying for, IMHO. Getting it for free because Motorola couldn't run their Exchange application past QA before launching the Droid-X is an added bonus.

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Inmate Hides Gun In Fat Layers

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

They didn't teach me this in my concealed carry class! Only in America......

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Anyone out there with the Motorola Droid-X?

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 3 years ago

The only reason I haven't yet gotten a smartphone is because of Verizon's nickel and diming. I primarily want one for the usual smartphone functionality but I'd also like the ability to tether for some lightweight usage. Not looking to use tethering as a replacement for my home internet connection or even for web surfing. My desire is to be able to ssh and/or rdp into the office when I'm in the field. It seems kind of absurd that I should have to pay $30/mo extra for the ability to do something I could easily accomplish with a POTS line and modem. It's also absurd that Verizon expects you to pay more for the privilege of talking to an Exchange server. I guess the data packets from Exchange weigh more than the packets from a pop3 server or some such.

I've been told that the Exchange data requirement isn't actually enforced for non-Blackberry devices. Found a few posts on various forums where people claimed to successfully sync with Exchange on the $30 data plan. I've also been told that you can tether Android devices using third party applications such as PDAnet without paying Verizon's additional $30 fee. It's against their TOS but they won't find out about it unless you consume an "excessive" amount of bandwidth. Not real worried about doing that with the occasional ssh/rdp session. Can anyone confirm these two points? If they are indeed true then I'll probably be ordering the Droid-X soon.

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George Will Has Really Soured on Afghanistan

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

New op-ed, titled McChrystal had to go. Will makes some pretty compelling arguments against our strategy in Afghanistan. Some highlights:

It may be said that McChrystal's defect is only a deficit of political acumen. Only? Again, the mission in Afghanistan is much more political than military. Counterinsurgency, as defined by McChrystal's successor, Gen. David Petraeus, and tepidly embraced by Barack Obama for a year or so, does not just involve nation-building, it is nation-building.

This does not require just political acumen; it requires the wisdom of Aristotle, the leadership skills of George Washington and the analytic sophistication of de Tocqueville. But, then, the grinding paradox of nation-building is this: No one with the aptitudes necessary for it would be rash or delusional enough to try it.

The McChrystal debacle comes as America's longest war is entering a surreal stage: The military is charged with a staggeringly complex task, the completion of which -- if completion can even be envisioned -- must involve many years. But when given the task, the military was told to begin bringing it to a close in a matter of 18 months.

It's a pity that we weren't smart enough to avoid this whole mess back in 2001. We ought to have used our own troops (along with the aerial mines that Bush and Rumsfeld refused to approve) at Tora Bora, captured or killed OBL, left the keys to the country by the door on our way out along with a note that said "If you host terrorist organizations again we'll come back and mess you up again." It should never have been our mission to try and spread our system of government or moral values to a region of the world that's effectively living in the Middle Ages.

BTW, I believe that the President handled the McChrystal mess effectively. He clearly had to go. I also think that Petraeus is the best man for the job though I'm in agreement with George Will's assessment of it as a fool's errand. Petraeus was successful in Iraq because the Iraqi people decided that bombing their country back into the Middle Ages was not an effective long term strategy. The Taliban leadership seems to desire such an outcome. It remains to be seen if the American people or our President have the stomach to stay there long enough to find out if the foot soldiers of the Taliban desire the same outcome.

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More Guns Means Less Crime

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Op-ed by John Stossl:

You know what the mainstream media think about guns and our freedom to carry them.

Pierre Thomas of ABC: "When someone gets angry or when they snap, they are going to be able to have access to weapons."

Chris Matthews of MSNBC: "I wonder if in a free society violence is always going to be a part of it if guns are available."

Keith Olbermann, who usually can't be topped for absurdity: "Organizations like the NRA ... are trying to increase deaths by gun in this country."

Of course he's right about the mainstream media. It is exceedingly rare to find someone on one of the major networks with a positive view of civilian firearms ownership. The ABC news show 20/20 went so far as to rig a scenario to demonstrate that concealed carry won't save you -- they pitted a trained firearms instructor against untrained individuals whom had never handled a firearm before. They further rigged the test by telling the "attacker" in advance whom had the concealed weapon out of a room of a dozen or more people. In spite of this stacked deck one of the simulated concealed carriers managed to "wound" him before "dying". Naturally ABC dismissed this result by claiming that the wound would not have been sufficient to stop a shooting rampage. I suppose the staff of 20/20 are also experts in terminal ballistics and the psychology of pain.

In Canada and Britain, both with tough gun-control laws, almost half of all burglaries occur when residents are home. But in the United States, where many households contain guns, only 13 percent of burglaries happen when someone's at home.

This is a statistic that's often overlooked but I think it's very relevant. I would regard home invasions as one of the biggest violations of the person, short of rape, kidnapping or murder. Thankfully they are relatively rare in the United States. I suppose the prospect of dying over that big screen TV is an effective deterrent for most criminals. It's my understanding that in the UK the self-defense laws won't permit you to defend your home if it is broken into while you are present. Of course even if the law permitted you to do so it would rather difficult in a society that requires one to jump through bureaucratic hoops before being able to obtain a single shot rifle or shotgun.

I was somewhat surprised to see Canada included in that figure. I always thought they were a little bit more sensible than the Mother Country. I looked into obtaining a Canadian firearms license so I could legally transport my handgun through Canada when taking trips to Detroit (because really, who wants to go to Detroit unarmed?) and the process didn't seem particularly complicated or burdensome. Perhaps one of my Canadian friends could enlighten me as to Canadian laws regarding self-defense in the home? Are you allowed to defend your home against a home invasion?

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I Hate Crackberry

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Trying to set up an employees Blackberry to connect to Outlook Web Access. Can't manage to make it connect. Call up Verizon Tech Support, get bumped from Level 1 to Level 2 and then to Blackberry. Blackberry bumps me up to Level 2 and then Level 3. Still no explanation for why it won't work. Did receive a "helpful" recommendation to purchase Blackberry Enterprise Server. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense for one user....

From research I've done on my own while on hold it appears that Blackberry doesn't want to play nice with reverse proxy servers. We have such a server between our Exchange box and the internet -- a small Linux box running Squid. This configuration works just fine with every other smart phone we have (Droids, Palms and Windows Mobile) and users who log into OWA from normal web browsers but not with the Blackberry for some reason. Go figure. Naturally the employee in question is a member of management and will be most unhappy if I can't get her stupid crackberry working. I wonder if there is a work around for this or if I'm really going to have to change our network configuration to accommodate this one device?

Just concluded my three hour telephone marathon with no resolution on the issue. I asked my rep at "Level 3" whether or not the reverse proxy server might be the cause and his response was "What's a proxy server?" So much for Level 3 support....

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We Ought Not Submit Our Civil Liberties to a Cost Benefit Analysis

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

So, I read this interesting piece on Reason today. It started talking about US v. Stevens and had a frightening quote from Solicitor General Elena Kagan: "Whether a given category of speech enjoys First Amendment protection, depends upon a categorical balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs." In Ms. Kagan's world it's apparently appropriate for Legislators to determine the "value" of speech. Never mind the plain text of the 1st amendment (Congress shall make no law...) or the obvious dangers in applying such a test to free speech. This is scary stuff indeed. Thankfully SCOTUS shot down this argument in an 8 to 1 vote.

I've heard a similar vein from leftists in discussions regarding the 2nd amendment. They point to the "societal cost" of weapons accessibility and use that as an argument for tightening restrictions on firearms ownership. It seems obvious to me that "societal cost" is a vaguely defined term that could be used to restrict all manner of civil rights but they refuse to accept this and continue to argue in favor of further restrictions on liberty. Why restrict such a standard to the 1st and 2nd amendments? What about the societal cost of criminals getting away with their crimes? Wouldn't it better for society to restrict the right to remain silent and right against unreasonable search and seizure? Maybe we should look at double jeopardy too. Doesn't it impose a cost on society to let someone get away with a crime when new evidence later materializes that could have convicted him? Might want to consider the right to a jury trial too. Juries are too easily fooled by slick lawyers and it would probably be better for society if all civil and criminal cases were decided by Judges.

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Chicago v. Self Defense

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

By Jeremy Lott on RCP:

Talk about your inconvenient truth. Five days after Chicago Mayor Richard Daley had held a press conference touting the benefits of the city's handgun ban by brandishing a rifle with a bayonet and -- I swear I am not making this up -- cracking a joke about shoving it up a reporter's bum, an 80-year-old man on the West Side of Chicago traded gunfire with a burglar, killing the intruder.

For advocates of gun control, the optics on this story are just awful. It's nearly impossible to drum up any sympathy for the deceased, Anthony Nelson, who had a long history of drug and weapons convictions and was on probation. He attempted to break into the house, brought a gun with him, and fired twice at the so-far unnamed homeowner.

Conversely, it is impossible to fault the homeowner. The man who killed Nelson was a veteran of the Korean War. He fired only one shot and got the intruder in the chest. On that morning, the man was protecting not just himself but his wife and a 12-year-old great grandson who was staying over. A son told reporters "My father had no choice. It was him or the other guy."

Rest of the piece can be found here. Let's not forget that our current President hails from the Windy City and doubtless agrees with Mayor Daley on at least some level regarding firearms.

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Gun-maker celebrates governor's crack shot

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Gotta love the United States. Apparently Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) was jogging and had a coyote go after his dog. He shot it dead with his trusty Ruger LCR. Ruger is now releasing a "Coyote Special" edition to celebrate this event. Only in America.

On a related note, I have some money set aside to buy a new firearm. I'm trying to decide if I want to buy a M1 Garand through the CMP or if I want to buy/build an AR of some sort. I've always wanted to own an M1 and the NRA high-power matches look like a lot of fun. On the other hand nothing annoys the anti-RKBA crowd more than an AR-15 with a few 30 round magazines. That's probably the wrong motivation to have when considering a four digit purchase, but there you go :)

I'll probably go with the M1, to the disappointment of all my friends with ARs. Hard to pass up owning a piece of history like that.

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Well, I was wrong -- Andrew Cuomo is running for Governor

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

It's official.

I have to say that I'm surprised by this. I always figured that Cuomo had political aspirations beyond Governor of NYS. Running for this office makes little sense if he does -- the Governors mansion is where political careers go to die. As Attorney General he has the ability to effect change -- whether that change is positive or not depends on your viewpoint but the ability is there. As Governor he will be held hostage by our corrupt Legislature and entrenched special interests. The electorate of course won't understand this -- all they'll remember is that he went to Albany promising to clean up the place and failed to deliver.

I suppose he could win in a landslide and take a mandate for reform to Albany that the Legislature would be unable to ignore but I rather doubt that will happen. Spitzer won 59 of 62 counties with 69% of the popular vote and still proved unable to change anything in Albany. It's hard to see Cuomo doing better at the ballot box or having the courage to take on the special interests, most of whom favor his party. From a political standpoint I think he's making a huge mistake here. Much better to stay where he is or try to knock off Gillibrand in a primary race.

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Congress Accelerates Out of Control

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Snippet from RealClearPolitics, Congress Accelerates Out of Control:

When the news broke about alleged safety defects in Toyota vehicles, official Washington was appalled. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood accused the company of being "safety deaf" and said "they have a very bad business model."

Then there was the reaction from customers, the very people whose lives and safety are at stake every time they get in a car. In the first four months of this year, Toyota's U.S. sales did not fall, as you might expect. They rose by 12 percent.

Sticky gas pedals, sudden acceleration, alleged violations of the law, federal fines, multiple recalls -- none of them sent Americans fleeing in panic.

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/. 2.0 weirdness

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Anybody else have the issue where you only see one icon for a friend/fan? I have people who are both and I only see the green friend icon. Used to see both of them, friend and fan.

I use Firefox, but this is an issue in IE too.

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Has Google Jumped the Shark?

Shakrai Shakrai writes  |  more than 4 years ago

My apologies to the people whom posted in my journal about this previously. My journal entry was disrupted by a few individuals whom apparently have nothing better to do than troll my journal in an attempt to restart old arguments not related to the topic at the hand. That problem has now been addressed and will not be happening again.

The original journal entry was about Google's new "everything" sidebar. You can see an example of that sidebar here. I regard this as as a sad attempt to copy Bing at the expense of the minimalist interface that made Google famous. As yet Google is not providing a way to opt-out of this new "feature". Several people have taken matters into their hands. halcyon1234 posted a greasemonkey script in the original journal entry I did about this story.

I hope that Google does eventually provide an opt-out so such measures aren't necessary. The everything sidebar might be useful for some people but it contributes exactly nothing to the search results as far as I'm concerned. If the comments on Google's forums and other sites are any indication I'm not alone in this belief.

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