Archive for February, 2006

U.S. settles detainee’s suit in 9/11 sweep

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 (Xinhuanet) — The U.S. government has agreed to pay 300,000 U.S. dollars to settle a lawsuit brought by an Egyptian swept up in the New York area after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Egyptian was among dozens of Muslim men that were swept up in the New York area after the attacks, held for months in a federal detention center in the city, and deported after being cleared of links to terrorism, the report said.

The settlement, filed in federal court late Monday, is the first the government has made in a number of lawsuits charging that non citizens were abused and their constitutional rights violated in detentions after the terror attacks.

The settlement, which removes one of two plaintiffs from a casein which a federal judge ruled last year that former Attorney General John Ashcroft, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director Robert Mueller and other top government officials must answer questions under oath, requires approval by a federal judge in Brooklyn.

Lawyers for the government filed an appeal to that ruling last Friday. They said in the agreement that the official were not admitting any liability or fault, and in court papers, they said that the Sept. 11 attacks created “special factors,” including the need to deter future terrorism, that outweighed the plaintiff’s right to sue.

Lawyers representing the Egyptian and another plaintiff, a Pakistani, who is still pursuing the lawsuit, said the outcome was significant.

“This is a substantial settlement and shows for the first time that the government can be held accountable for the abuses that have occurred in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and in prisons right here in the United States,” one of the lawyers was quoted as saying.

The lawsuit accuses Ashcroft, Mueller of personally conspiring to violate the rights of Muslim immigrant detainees on the basis of their race, religion and national origin, and names a score of other defendants, including Bureau of Prison officials and guards at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. […]


Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Whilst I have a few condiments around the kitchen I tend not to use them that much so when it was suggested I use some old Worcestershire sauce on a toasted sandwich I was a bit sceptical – not least because I was using some nice Northumberland cheeses and not that bright orange ‘cheddar’ stuff. But I was won over by both the argument and the taste, a good compliment to the tangy taste of quality cheese rather than the overpowering spiciness I associate with the sauce.

But thinking about it this makes sense – the sauce’s recipe come from the Victorian era and is likely to have been balanced to accompany more robust foods than much of today’s processed blandness.

Turning law-abiding subjects into law breakers

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Compulsory ID cards are nothing new in the UK. They were issued to all British civilians during World War II. That is until one ordinary man said no.

Clarence Willcock, a 54-year-old dry cleaner from suburban north London, must rank as one of the unlikeliest Davids ever to take on a Goliath.

Mr Willcock was stopped on December 7 1950 while driving his car along Ballard’s Lane by uniformed police constable Harold Muckle, who demanded to see the motorist’s identity card.

Mr Willcock refused. Pc Muckle told him to produce the compulsory card at the local station with 48 hours. “I will not produce it at any police station,” Mr Willcock replied.

With this act of defiance, Mr Willcock brought crashing down a giant bureaucracy which had, since the outbreak of World War II in 1939, forced an identity card on every civilian in the UK – man, woman and child.

When Willcock v Muckle eventually reached the High Court in 1951, Lord Chief Justice Goddard said the continuation of the wartime ID card scheme was an “annoyance” to much of the public and “tended to turn law-abiding subjects into law breakers”. […]


A BLOGDIAL post from April 24th 2004
And I add today, from the same article:

“Let us have the credit for ‘setting the people free’,” wrote one Treasury minister in 1952, though he was really gleefully looking forward to “the consequential staff economies”.

The demise of the system was forecast while the fight against Hitler was still fierce. In October 1944, Registrar General Sir Earnest Holderness said that he did “not believe that public opinion will stand for the retention of [national registration] in its present form”.

Sir Ernest reasoned that once law-abiding citizens no longer needed to provide details of their address to ensure their ration allowances, they would not bother to keep their ID cards up to date merely because the government asked them to.

And what, my dear friends, is the difference between the British of 1952 and the British of 2006? Just what is it that they have been putting in the water that has turned a population of real people into sheeple?

How did they do it?

How much lower can they all sink before they are literally turned into cattle?

Everything says “this should not be happening” but it is, and…I can’t wake up!

This man wants your search data.

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Herr Professor today, gone tomorrow.

The Justice Department submitted a declaration by Philip B. Stark, a researcher who rejected the privacy concerns, noting that the government specifically requested that Google remove any identifying information from the search requests.

“The study does not involve examining the queries in more than a cursory way. It involves running a random sample of the queries through the Google search engine and categorizing the results,” Stark, a statistics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google has staunchly resisted the Justice Department since receiving a subpoena last summer, setting the stage for the current legal battle.

The case has attracted widespread attention because it has underscored the potential for Internet search engines becoming tools for government surveillance. A hearing is scheduled before U.S. District Judge James Ware in San Jose March 13. […]

Yahoo News

Wether the data is stripped of personally identifying information or not, its MY DATA and GOOGLE owns it. The DOJ could at any time, go back to Google and ask them to reveal the person who searched for XYZ once they have the anonymized data. Philip Stark must know this. If he does not, he should not have allowed himself to be trotted out as an apologist for this mass violation.

Academics without morals; the most dangerous men on the planet.

Guns Guns Guns!!!

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Occurred : 6/21/2005 19:00 (Entered as : 06/21/2005 19:00)
Reported: 6/21/2005 5:35:09 PM 17:35
Posted: 7/5/2005
Location: New York City (Bronx), NY
Shape: Changing
Duration:15 mins
Black morphing triangular object.

I was jogging in the park with my girlfriend in the Bronx, NY. As we were leaving the track in the park I noticed a solid black object in the sky. It was moving very slowly and flying extrememly low. Low enough to were I could make out the shape. It was triangular in shape but had buldges coming out of it. As I continued to jog I noticed it began to morph/change shape. It then changed into what looked like a bunch if grapes. As I was following it, my girlfriend then noticed it and wondered what it was. We both began to slow down and watch the object. As we approached a street intersection waiting for the light to change so we can proceed w/ our jog, another person who was waiting to cross the street also noticed it and asked us if we are seeing what he was seeing. At that moment, a commercial aircraft passed underneath it. However the object continued to move slowly across the sky. We continued our jog but I kept an eye on the object. As it continued to move,it turned into a red color. Soon thereafter, it vanished. […]

Lots of reports like this; very interesting, and even more interesting to look at.

Download BOINC and predict or precipitate armageddon

Monday, February 27th, 2006

Download BOINC software

First-time participants:
Don’t download BOINC software now. Create an account before you download.
If you’re a returning user: Select your computer type:

Computer type
click to download
Version Release Date MD5 Checksum
Windows XP and 2000 5.2.13 30 Nov 2005 14:18 19f59d76c405507bfdc110b2fde1dd69
Linux 5.2.13 30 Nov 2005 14:18 dfc6e66bba66898239ffab376b4ece4c
Mac OS X 5.2.13 30 Nov 2005 14:18 70aeba70935f7325f3a33fddf7e42a63

Late 2006, BOINC became self aware and took over control of all missile defence systems, declaring war on mankind…..

ID Madness rears its head in Canada

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

This a from a week ago but I’ve been taking some time away from the computer so I didn’t think to post it until now. Check it out:

Day proposes national ID card

Canadian Press

Ottawa — Sooner or later, Canadians will have to carry some form of identification other than a passport to travel outside the country, says the new federal minister of public safety.

The British Commons has just adopted legislation for a government-issued national ID card and Stockwell Day suggested in an interview with The Canadian Press that such a card is inevitable for Canada.

“At this point, I don’t know what it should be called, to tell you the truth,” Mr. Day said.

“I don’t know if we’ll call it that, but we want good, law-abiding people to have smooth and quick access at all border points — not just North American, but international.”

New life is being breathed into the proposal now that the United States has dropped its demand that Canadians be required to show passports to cross the border.

“We also want to be able to stop people who are a menace or a threat from getting in or getting out, so that’s the overall goal,” Mr. Day said.

Mr. Day said the need for identification of some sort came up again this week when he spoke on the phone with his U.S. counterpart, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Cherkoff.

“I think it’s fair to say that in both Canada and the U.S. we do want some kind of enhanced security provision,” he said.

“Whether that’s some kind of a biometric approach, an enhancement on a driver’s licence — all of that needs to be explored, so we do want to see enhanced technological capacity in that area.”

The idea of a national ID card was raised in the months following the Sept.11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States but proposals go back even further, as a way of replacing the abused social insurance number.

…. (Globe and Mail)

I find it rather oxymoronic that the new “Conservative” government really want to BLOAT out government by instituting ID shams and Reagan-style prison ghetto-reform (can’t find a good link to that story, though, Sorry – basically Harper thinks that it will be a greater deterrent to throw more of “the bad guys” into prison for longer – in your dreams, Steve-O). Let’s not also forget also all the happy fundamentalist (minority) Xtian groups who think that their whack-job agendas will be more supported by the government because the new PM is a Christian from Alberta, as is Stockwell Day, who is actually far MORE insane and stupid than this news story implies.
Lord help!

Back to shovelling snow.

(this is my first post with WordPress. Using Camino 1.0, the interface is wonky and laggy, but no more so than blogger. BTW, I know it was discussed before but has there been any progress on dispaying the author’s name after the post? It is truly weird without them… though usually it’s pretty easy to distinguish who is who by the style of writing)

Farewell to ‘The Night Stalker’

Sunday, February 26th, 2006


Darren McGavin, who died Saturday, shown in a 1992 photo.

A great actor who I remember vividly as Kolchak ‘The Night Stalker’ from way way back when.

Did you know that Chris Carter wanted Darren McGavin to play William Mulder? How great would that have been?!

Real People Live

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

Snarfed from 990000

Saturday, February 25th, 2006

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Sucked up from 

So you can browse through them at will.

you must be kidding!

Friday, February 24th, 2006
Sudan man forced to ‘marry’ goat

A Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his “wife”, after he was caught having sex with the animal.The goat’s owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders.

They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi.

“We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together,” Mr Alifi said.

Mr Alifi, Hai Malakal in Upper Nile State, told the Juba Post newspaper that he heard a loud noise around midnight on 13 February and immediately rushed outside to find Mr Tombe with his goat.

When I asked him: ‘What are you doing there?’, he fell off the back of the goat, so I captured and tied him up”.

Mr Alifi then called elders to decide how to deal with the case.

They said I should not take him to the police, but rather let him pay a dowry for my goat because he used it as his wife,” Mr Alifi told the newspaper.


The second fab ‘justice’ story of the day. Must be the weather…

Let the punishment fit the victim!

Friday, February 24th, 2006

A bicycle courier in Colombia has been given a four-year jail sentence for grabbing a woman pedestrian’s bottom, a TV station has reported.A judge’s ruling – criticised by some as being too harsh – ruled the courier had committed an abusive sexual act.

Diana Marcela Diaz told RCN that the courier had cycled off after groping her, but had been caught by passers-by.

When he was arrested, she was given the option of slapping him, letting him go, or filing a complaint.


Wow! I was very taken with the idea at the end here. To think, you could be given a choice as to how to punish those who offend against you.

Someone nicks your car, you get to (a) send them to prison, (b) make them do community work (c) punch them in the face 3 times or (d) take any 3 items you like from their home.

Vigilante justice, proscribed by law. What a lovely concept!

Mark Leyner, in ‘Et Tu, Babe’, has the main characters punished for stealing a phial of Abraham Lincoln’s morning breath by random punitive confiscation. At regular intervals, police would turn up and take one item from their home, without telling them what it was. Sometimes it’s obvious, like the TV. Sometimes you don’t find out until you need it, like an ironing board, or a waffle machine. Confiscated items cannot be replaced, under the terms of the punishment.

I like that idea.

My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist is my favourite Leyner book.

Especially the chapter entitled ‘Fugitive from a centrifuge

‘There were no longer Italian neighborhoods, or Cuban neighborhoods, or Irish or Greek neighborhoods. There were Anorexic neighborhoods, and Narcissistic neighborhoods, and Manic And Compulsive neighborhoods.’

iTunes remote edit

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Have you ever logged into a remote iTunes share to find a whole bunch of sloppy, mistagged files, and wished that you could right click on them and correct them, or even >>gasp<< amend the image file associated with them? Even if you have access rights machine where the files are hosted, there is no way to do this with vanilla iTunes. Until now that is. With this new plugin for iTunes, you can authenticate yourself to the hosting machine, and edit the entries on the hosting system. Its about time; now I can edit all my bad entries, and whats more, all the trusted users on my network can do the same, meaning that I have many hands on the task, and my collection will be in perfect order in no time. I can specify groups of files that are unediable, by genre, artist album ets so that only the wrong or unsorted entries are open to be fixed. Its very good indeed.

Dual fuel

Friday, February 24th, 2006

You will no doubt have read about CITGO selling cheap (ie Venezuelan government subsidised) oil to poor US households.

Whilst this undoubtedly shows off Chavez in a good light versus Bush, it lets the US regime off the hook and continue its real business concerns as normal, such as subsidising US oill companies as reported by Oligopolywatch:

Big petroleum companies are showing record profits through windfall gains thanks to supply shortages and increased demand. Top oil companies announces record profits, while consumers and businesses outside the energy segment, both big and small, suffer from higher energy prices.

Yet it turns out that US is giving away $7 billion in royalty payments for natural gas and oil the federal government owns in the Gulf of Mexico.. This money is going to major oil companies over the next five years […]

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A Tiny USB Drive

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Although USB thumb drives have become popular as convenient way to have your favorite files available anytime, there still resistance amongst people who don’t want anymore bulk to carry–or who already have too many domicile and automobile keys crammed on their keychain. Solid Alliance has come the rescue with the truly tiny idisk Diamond. This 128MB USB drive is the size of a fingertip, and has a loop so that it can fit completely unobtrusively on any keychain (or in any crevice of a billfold). Now there’s no reason not to have your favorite pictures or files available to share with anyone. […]

I dont have a need for this, but…I want one!

ACLU, like the others, misses the mark again

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

American Civil Liberties Union: Stop the Abuse of Power

Dear Friend,

Americans continue to be outraged by the Bush Administration’s illegal NSA spying program.

But when you look deeper an even more troubling pattern is clear: this president really believes he is above the law. The illegal spying is just a small part of a pattern of abuse that’s undermining the Constitution and abridging our civil liberties.

Unauthorized domestic wiretapping…illegal detentions and flagrant violations of human rights at Guantanamo…secret CIA kidnappings that transport victims to countries that engage in torture…the use of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces to chill peaceful dissent…the refusal to hold high-level officials accountable for abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

I’m writing to ask for your support in our work to uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, in the face of this ongoing abuse of presidential power. By donating now to the ACLU, you can help break this pattern of abuse and deliver a clear and unequivocal message: no one — not even the president — is above the law…

This is wrong headed of course.

Look at each of the illegal doings listed above; each one of them involves spending taxpayers money:

  • illegal NSA spying program. Funded by US TAXPAYERS
  • illegal detentions Funded by US TAXPAYERS
  • flagrant violations of human rights at Guantanamo Funded by US TAXPAYERS
  • CIA kidnappings Funded by US TAXPAYERS
  • FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces to chill peaceful dissent Funded by US TAXPAYERS
  • abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib Funded by US TAXPAYERS

It’s clear that if you cut off the funds for these nefarious deeds, that they could not take place. If the ACLU is not willing to address this, then they will fail, just as all pressure groups have been failing since ‘The VietNam War’.

The ACLU should be funded so that they can execute a plan of financial strangulation; the cutting off of funds supplied by the 50% of Americans who want a permanent end to all the shenanigans that uncle sham has been getting up to. Anything less is a waste of time; the pointless marching, petition writing and lobbying has to stop, and be replaced with action that has a concrete and real effect.

I’ve said all this before of course.

Furthermore, the Federal Reserve and its printing press must be shut down. That is where they get unlimited funding for their adventurism, no matter what anyone says or how loud they protest.

Why Dvorak Must Be Wrong

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

With a spare 5 minutes, I decided to try and run some X programmes on my G4 over our network from our Fedora box. All i had to do is run a simple command:

ssh -X

fron inside an xterm and when I started, forexample, Gedit, from the command line, a full GUI instance of Gedit popped up in my OSX session.

Oh My Word….

and I am writing this post in an instance of Mozilla, started from that same command line.

Everyone is quacking about Dvorak and his article about how Apple will dump OSX and start to sell windows becacuse it is a hardware company and it wants to sell more hardware. There has even been talk of them selling a skinned version of windows that looks and acts like OSX, but which will run all windoze apps because its ….windoze.

I can think of no worse nightmare. The end of the best operating system ever written, dumped for the worst operating system written by the worst company ever. Apple, relinquishing control of the platform upon which it delivers its apps, meaning giving up complete access to APIs so that they can make things work perfectly.

That will (should) NEVER happen.

Even if M$ promises to allow them full access to all the Vista APIs, Apple cannot trust them to allow this forever. It will mean the end of Apple as a maker of computers worth buying – for any reason. We will be left with building our own boxen and running some future version of Gnome, whicih would be nice, but now that we have OSX, why on earth should we want go back to un-slick Linux as our sole environment? I run Fedora Core 4 to do all my heavy lifting, and run OSX for ‘UNIX with finesse’. Should this happy situation end, I would be a very unhappy person indeed.

This idea is so offensive, so wrong, so dumb it beggars belief that someone would even come up with it….unless …. its possible.

If it came with the gift of the open sourcing of OSX, the display layer and everything else…that might make it more tolerable. This would mean that OSX could continue to exist separate from Apple, and it would probably spread like wildfire, with millions of people dual booting. Sadly, it might mean that all the big players would stop all new development for OSX, and pour all of their effort into this abomnible skinned Vista. The whole thing does’nt bear thinking about.

I am personally responsible for the sale of 8 OSX running macs. All these people, who have switched to Mac are over the moon with it. Clearly they couldnt give a fuck wether its a frankenstinian version of Vista skinned to look and act like OSX, but that doesnt make it right; Apple can increase its market share without thnking about doing this. And also it needs to be said; why do they want to increase their market share at all costs?.

All this from one speculative article….

And back to what made me start this, UNIX, X, OSX are just so cool, so perfect, look at what you can DO with it, especially now that Apple are in the mix. To give this up, to relinquish control to M$, and break the UNIX bonds…

That would be a sin.