10.26.10

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Links 26/10/2010: Facts From London Stock Exchange, webOS 2.0 Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 9:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Mark Cuban Wants to Pay Government Attorneys to Get Off Their Ass

    Frustrated by the snail’s pace of the SEC investigation into insider trading allegations, Cuban offered to pay government attorneys to work faster.

  • Manila: A megacity where the living must share with the dead

    Land is precious in Manila, and people are prepared to endure incredible circumstances to claim their own piece. Baking’s family is one of hundreds that have set up home in the cemetery, jostling for space with the dead. “It’s much better living here than in a shanty town,” he assures me as we clamber over densely-packed powder pink and blue tombs on the way to his home. “It’s much more peaceful and quiet.”

  • Drug addict has vasectomy in return for £200 cash

    A drug addict has become the first man in Britain to take part in a controversial project that saw him get cash to be sterilised.

  • Report: Ancient ruins worldwide ‘on verge of vanishing’

    Twelve historic sites around the world are “on the verge of vanishing” because of mismanagement and neglect, according to a new report.

  • FarmVillains

    Steal someone else’s game. Change its name. Make millions. Repeat.

  • Judge Clears CAPTCHA-Breaking Case for Criminal Trial

    A federal judge in New Jersey has cleared the way for a landmark criminal case targeting CAPTCHA circumvention to proceed to trial.

  • UberCab Ordered to Cease And Desist

    Did Ubercab just crash and burn? Taxi and limo industry insiders in California today informed TechCrunch that the San Francisco Metro Transit Authority & the Public Utilities Commission of California have ordered the startup to cease and desist.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Scientists suggest that cancer is purely man-made

      Cancer is a modern, man-made disease caused by environmental factors such as pollution and diet, a study by University of Manchester scientists has strongly suggested.

      The study of remains and literature from ancient Egypt and Greece and earlier periods – carried out at Manchester’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology and published in Nature Reviews Cancer – includes the first histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Jesse Jackson: Britain’s moral authority is undermined by police discrimination

      The Rev Jesse Jackson has said that Britain’s moral authority is being damaged by the government’s failure to stop the police discriminating against ethnic minorities.

    • AND FINALLY

      With the impact of the soon-to-be-announced mega austerity cuts still to come, it could be that millions will soon find it hard to make ends meet.

      But help is it hand. There’ll be no shortage of people forced to turn to shoplifting or petty crime to survive – and now there’s a website that will pay you to sit at home and spy on everyone in the hope of catching them.

    • Inquiry after police filmed hitting anti-fascist protester

      An investigation is under way after a police officer was filmed hitting an anti-fascist demonstrator in the face during a far-right rally.

      Alan Clough, 63, from Radcliffe, Bury, was protesting against the English Defence League (EDL) rally in Bolton in March when he was struck, fell to the ground and was subsequently arrested.

    • Iraq war logs: military privatisation run amok

      Shortly after 10am on 14 May 2005, a convoy of private security guards from Blackwater riding down “Route Irish” – the Baghdad airport road – shot up a civilian Iraqi vehicle. While they were at it, the Blackwater men fired shots over the heads of a group of soldiers from the 69th Regiment of the US Army before they sped away heading west in their white armoured truck. When the dust cleared, the Iraqi driver was dead and his wife and daughter were injured.

    • They’re Trying To Sell the Brooklyn Bridge Again

      So it was last month when a friendly couple dumped their paper on the train seat opposite me. And bingo, it was as bad as ever. “Defense Officials Predict Slow Afghan Progress.” And the sourcing for this hardly unexpected headline? “Senior US military officials”, “military officials”, “a senior US military official”, “Obama administration officials”, “defence officials”, “the senior military official”, “military leaders”, “the official”, “military officials”, “the officials”, “many in the military”, “military officials” (again), “officials” (again), “military officials” (yet again) and “officials” (yet again).

      Why do our scribes write this horseshit? My old mate Alexander Cockburn calls it “selling the Brooklyn Bridge” and claims that Michael Gordon, chief military correspondent of The New York Times, is always ready to buy it.

    • David Kelly files prove little for campaigners whose fight continues

      Kelly’s death has never been the subject of a proper inquest, Powers argues. The original inquest was replaced by the Hutton inquiry – a highly unusual and, to many observers, unjustified break with standard legal procedure for single deaths. Last month, lawyers acting for Kelly campaigners delivered an application for a fresh inquest to attorney general Dominic Grieve. Grieve is considering it, a process which may take several more months.

    • Norwich Council uses ‘spying’ powers to catch smoke pub

      Norwich City Council used controversial spying powers to investigate and fine a pub for flouting the smoking ban.

    • Allotments and privacy

      With allotments in mind, news has reached Big Brother Watch of the ludicrous situation of a Lincolnshire council demanding to know the sexual orientation, race and religion of those applying for one of the eighteen vacant plots in the City of Lincoln.

    • Police chief wants Birmingham ‘spy’ cameras removed
    • Sacrificing our liberties won’t win the war against terror

      The good news, according to Professor Audrey Cronin at the US National War College, is that terrorist campaigns always end. The only questions are when and how. The answers hinge on government policy. After the 2005 London bombings, Tony Blair proclaimed: “Let no one be in any doubt, the rules of the game are changing.” Ministers proposed waves of authoritarian measures, including incursions on free speech, control orders, ID cards and extensions to detention without charge that one former chief constable labelled a “propaganda coup for Al-Qaeda”. If Al-Qaeda was looking for a repressive reaction, they got it. But, was it effective?

    • EXCLUSIVE: WikiLeaks Prepares Largest Intel Leak in US History with Release of 400,000 Iraq War Docs

      AMY GOODMAN: So they’re doing it again on this 400,000-document leak?

      DANIEL ELLSBERG: They’re doing it again, and it’s much to their credit, and I appreciate it. I’ve waited forty years for a release on this scale. I think there should have been something on the scale of the Pentagon Papers every year. How often do we need this kind of thing? We haven’t seen it. So I’m very glad that someone is taking the risk and the initiative to inform us better now.

    • Government web snooping back on the cards

      Government plans to intercept Internet communications and store details of “traffic data” are reportedly back on the cards.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • French protests jeopardise airport fuel supplies

      France’s main airport has only a few days’ worth of jet fuel left, it was announced today, as the strikes against government pension plans continued to disrupt infrastructure.

    • Sarkozy should retire, says France

      More importantly, the French have decided to take to the streets in the millions – including large-scale strikes and work stoppages – to defend hard-won retirement gains. (It must be emphasised, since the media sometimes forgets to make the distinction, that only a tiny percentage of France’s demonstrators have engaged in any kind of property damage and even fewer in violence, with all but these few protesting peacefully.) French populist rage is being directed in a positive direction – unlike in the United States where it is most prominently being mobilised to elect political candidates who will do their best to increase the suffering of working- and middle-class citizens.

    • Greece promises to crack down on tax evaders

      Saying Greeks had already made “unprecedented sacrifices”, the prime minister, George Papandreou, insisted today there would be no more hard-hitting austerity measures, despite the country bracing itself for an expected upward revision of a budget deficit that at 13.6% has already hit record highs.

      “Whatever happens, there will be no additional burden placed on wage earners and pensioners. There will be no additional increase in tax rates beyond the ones we have already committed to making,” Papandreou said.

    • Fannie and Freddie’s Foreclosure Barons

      [Editor’s note: In November 2009, MoJo reporter Andy Kroll received a tip about a little-known yet powerful firm, the Law Offices of David J. Stern, which handled staggering numbers of foreclosures in southeastern Florida—the throbbing heart of nation’s housing crisis. Among the allegations, the tipster had it from insiders that Stern employees were routinely falsifying legal paperwork in an effort to push borrowers out of their homes as quickly—and profitably—as possible.

      Kroll spent eight months investigating Stern’s firm and its ilk—a breed of deep-pocketed and controversial operations dubbed “foreclosure mills.” After sifting through thousands of pages of court documents, interviewing scores of legal experts and former Stern employees, and attending dozens of foreclosure hearings in drab Florida courtrooms, he emerged with a portrait of a law firm—indeed, an entire industry—that was willing to cut corners, deceive judges, and even (allegedly) commit fraud—all at the expense of America’s homeowners.

    • ForeclosureGate
    • Wall Street Sold `Tragically Deficient’ Product, Angelides Says

      Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. created products that were “tragically deficient,” in the view of the chairman of the panel charged by Congress with identifying the causes of the financial crisis.

    • Timothy Geithner forecloses on the moratorium debate

      Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is good at telling fairy tales. Geithner first became known to the general public in September of 2008. Back then, he was head of the New York Federal Reserve Board. He was part of the triumvirate, along with Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke and then Treasury secretary Henry Paulson, who told congress that it had to pass the Tarp or the economy would collapse.

    • Unemployment Benefits: The 99ers

      Even after an extension of unemployment benefits to 99 weeks, many of those about to go off the program are in a quandary. Scott Pelley talks to some of them in Silicon Valley.

    • California Data Autumnal: Dialing Back a Decade

      From the highs of 2007, total California employment is down about 6.5%. And, 2008 total oil product consumption compared to 2007 is down about 5.5%. There is no question that 2009 energy data from EIA Washington will show another notable fall, in California energy use. Meanwhile, as we can see from the labor market data, there is no economic recovery occurring in America’s largest state.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Tell the DOJ: Investigate the Chamber of Commerce’s campaign spending

      This year alone the Chamber has pledged to spend $75 million on ads attacking candidates who don’t meekly bow down to the biggest and wealthiest corporate interests.

    • It’s Not Your Local Chamber of Commerce

      Many Americans think of the Chamber of Commerce as a local organization that supplies maps or information about local businesses, or thing of it as a sort of civics league, like the Elks Lodge. But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. is completely different. It often has no ties to local Chambers of Commerce. It spends more money on lobbying than any other entity in Washington, D.C., outspending even the political parties on elections nationwide. The Chamber has a $200 million budget, and as a 501(c)(6) trade association, it doesn’t have to pay any taxes or disclose its donors.

    • The Loaded Chamber: Secret Money
    • How Radical Christian Conservatives May Succeed in Destroying Democracy

      The ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes spent his life battling the assault on democracy by tyrants. It is disheartening to be reminded that he lost. But he understood that the hardest struggle for humankind is often stating and understanding the obvious. Aristophanes, who had the temerity to portray the ruling Greek tyrant, Cleon, as a dog, is the perfect playwright to turn to in trying to grasp the danger posed to us by movements from the tea party to militias to the Christian right, as well as the bankrupt and corrupt power elite that no longer concerns itself with the needs of its citizens. He saw the same corruption 2,400 years ago. He feared correctly that it would extinguish Athenian democracy. And he struggled in vain to rouse Athenians from their slumber.

    • The Kochs, Glenn Beck and Titans of Industry Met to Plot 2010 Elections

      ThinkProgress has discovered that the oil billionaire brothers, David H. and Charles G. Koch, who played a key role in creating and funding the Tea Party movement, hold a quiet annual, invitation-only gathering where they coordinate their political agenda with other titans of industry — including the big health insurers, oil executives, Wall Street investors, real estate tycoons, conservative journalists and TV opinion show stars like Glenn Beck.

    • MEMO: Health Insurance, Banking, Oil Industries Met With Koch, Chamber, Glenn Beck To Plot 2010 Election

      In 2006, Koch Industries owner Charles Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore that he coordinates the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts through a twice annual meeting of wealthy right-wing donors. He also confided to Moore, who is funded through several of Koch’s ventures, that his true goal is to strengthen the “culture of prosperity” by eliminating “90%” of all laws and government regulations. Although it is difficult to quantify the exact amount Koch alone has funneled to right-wing fronts, some studies have pointed toward $50 million he has given alone to anti-environmental groups.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google boss: ‘Creeped out by Street View? Just move’

      Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said that if you don’t like Google Street View cars photographing your house, you can “just move.”

      “Street View. We drive exactly once,” Schmidt said during an appearance on CNN’s “Parker Spitzer” late last week. “So, you can just move, right?”

      Schmidt’s words were broadcast across the net on Friday, but they’ve been edited from the video now available on the CNN website. Before it was edited out, the moment was reported by The Wall Street Journal.

    • Why I’m suing the Department of Homeland Security

      Today the First Amendment Project is filing a lawsuit on my behalf against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (one of the divisions of the Department of Homeland Security) for violating the Privacy Act and the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) by refusing to disclose their records of my travels, what they did with my requests for my records, and how they index, search for, and retrieve these travel surveillance records.

    • Berlusconi ‘vendetta’ takes Italy’s Paxman off air again

      His fans see him as Italy’s Jeremy Paxman, an aggressive but penetrating TV anchorman. Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who owns most of the country’s private channels and wields indirect control over the state network, RAI, sees him as a dangerous leftie. Meet Michele Santoro, the temporarily banned hero of Italian current affairs broadcasting.

    • Egyptian government fears a Facebook revolution

      Many Egyptians, in what is still a police state, regard Facebook as a safe haven where they can campaign and express their opinions freely. But that could soon change following a crackdown by the authorities against various types of media.

      In Egypt, many opposition movements have either started or grown significantly on Facebook, most notably the April 6 youth movement and the national campaign to support Nobel peace prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei as a presidential candidate.

    • Chinese police refuse to register human rights lawyer as missing

      Chinese police have refused to register an outspoken human rights lawyer who has not been seen since April as a missing person, his elder brother said today.

      The disappearance of Gao Zhisheng has caused international concern, particularly because he had previously made detailed claims of torture at the hands of security officials during detentions.

    • Tibetan student protests spread to Beijing
    • The west must stand up to China

      Pity the Chinese. The inhabitants of the world’s next superpower cannot search the internet or assemble or travel or speak or read or write or even reproduce without restriction. Yet in the lands where freedom is abundant, China, rather than earning well-deserved rebukes, continues to be championed as the ineluctable future. This disgraceful journey began with a liberal assumption: the west, it was claimed, is more likely to influence China by partnering with it, by giving it a prominent position inside, rather than pushing it outside, global institutions.

    • Silence of the dissenters: How south-east Asia keeps web users in line

      Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines have all moved or are moving towards monitoring internet use, blocking international sites regarded as critical and ruthlessly silencing web dissidents.

    • Gaza’s Surfer Girls
    • NYCLU Settlement Ends Restriction on Photography Outside Federal Courthouses
    • Plan to store Britons’ phone and internet data revived
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • What Do Kids Say About The Internet? + Competition For Best Online Children’s Content

      And, by the way, we can get a good insight into where the internet might head by understanding what these kids use. School work or watching videos (84% and 83% respectively). Playing games (74%) and communicating via instant messaging (61%) are the next most popular activities online. One out of three youngsters now connect via their mobile phones or other portable devices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Vatican to rich countries: stop “excessive zeal” for IP rights

      On September 21, the Vatican observer at the UN, Mons. Silvano Maria Tomasi, addressed the 48th general assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva (English translation). He let the group know that the Vatican supports intellectual property rights (IPR) because such protection “recognizes the dignity of man and his work” and because it contributes to “the growth of the individual personality and to the common good.”

      But Tomasi then went on to make a point we’ve harped on repeatedly here at Ars: supporting IP rights in general does not always mean supporting tougher patent and copyright rules; “better” does not always mean “stronger.”

    • Steven Johnson: ‘Eureka moments are very, very rare’

      What all this means, in practical terms, is that the best way to encourage (or to have) new ideas isn’t to fetishise the “spark of genius”, to retreat to a mountain cabin in order to “be creative”, or to blabber interminably about “blue-sky”, “out-of-the-box” thinking. Rather, it’s to expand the range of your possible next moves – the perimeter of your potential – by exposing yourself to as much serendipity, as much argument and conversation, as many rival and related ideas as possible; to borrow, to repurpose, to recombine. This is one way of explaining the creativity generated by cities, by Europe’s 17th-century coffee-houses, and by the internet. Good ideas happen in networks; in one rather brain-bending sense, you could even say that “good ideas are networks”. Or as Johnson also puts it: “Chance favours the connected mind.”

    • Copyrights

      • We should copyright the Canadian way

        The new copyright bill, C-32, places consumers and users at risk of infringement for a wide variety of things, such as circumventing digital locks to transfer a CD track to an MP3 Player, or to transfer e-book content from an old device to a new one. Alongside C-32, Canada has been involved in talks to establish an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Both C-32 and ACTA represent a departure from Canadian copyright…

      • From “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright” : Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda
      • Six more website operators facing Righthaven copyright lawsuits

        Hotel management students in Canada are receiving a lesson in U.S. copyright law courtesy of Las Vegas copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC.

      • US Library of Congress: Copyright Is Destroying Historic Audio
      • Critique of CBC’s new Anti-Creative Commons Policy

        The logical and ethical next step is to alter this policy, and as such I call for the CBC to do such; allowing for appropriately licensed Creative Commons music to exist alongside commercially licensed music, effectively giving back the rights of Artists and Show Producers to share content, and giving alternatives to Canadian Artists to decide for themselves how their content is to be used. A key issue here is artists’ right to give permission under copyright law for use of their works. They have various reasons for doing this, and why should CBC punish them? By blocking this, the CBC has effectively eliminated this potential on the larger scale. This is not the Canadian way of doing things – we share and we like sharing. Allowing policies like this to exist in our Public Services is a step backwards and creates justifications and rationalizations for similar policies in the future. As a Canadian, this upsets me – seeing my countries’ artists with alternative views set onto a back burner because they have been unfairly grouped in with others. This is not right at all.

      • MPAA Calls Censorship Of Websites ‘Forward Looking’

        Ah, the word choices of the MPAA. The organization that once claimed the VCR was the “Boston Strangler” of the movie industry is now out there trying to get three strikes and censorship laws passed to protect their business model, and referring to these backwards looking protectionist policies as “forward looking.” That’s what MPAA boss Bob Pisano called the idea, found in the COICA proposal to censor web sites the MPAA doesn’t like. Of course, if this had been in effect when the VCR first came out, there would be no VCR.

      • Is Mark Twain’s ‘New’ Autobiography Covered By Copyright?

        PometheeFeu pointed us to the news that Mark Twain’s autobiography, to be officially published for the first time 100 years after his death is already looking like it’s going to be a best seller. The book comes out on November 15th, but it’s already near the top of the bestseller lists on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble thanks to pre-orders. If you weren’t aware, Twain (real name Samuel Clemens), wrote this autobiography towards the end of his life, but demanded that it not be published until 100 years after his death (some of it, he demanded be withheld for 500 years). Allegedly, he did this so that he could say what he wanted without worrying about the people he spoke ill of ever finding out. Also, it’s not your typical autobiography. Apparently, it was more or less stream of consciousness, concerning whatever he felt like talking about. He would get up in the morning, talk about whatever he felt like, and people working for him would take it all down in dictation.

      • Sarkozy Wants To Use Anti-Censorship Conference To Promote Censorship By Copyright

        We’ve pointed out many times how copyright is, by its nature, a law for censorship. Now, you can argue that it’s necessary or useful censorship (though, I doubt I would agree), but it cannot be denied that the basic purpose of copyright law is to stifle a form of speech. That’s why I’m always amazed at the disconnect of politicians, who support anti-censorship efforts online at the same time that they promote plans to censor-via-copyright law. Of course, most haven’t actually thought about it, or they insist that copyright is not censorship at all, and they can’t fathom how the two are connected.

      • Irdial and the Underground

        The Underground story in brief is this: their comic was pirated and bootlegged on 4Chan. They didn’t sue or whine: the authors went online at 4Chan to discuss their comic. What happened? More good publicity than you can imagine – go look at their website for what happened to their sales.

      • ACTA

        • FFII: ACTA goes beyond present EU laws

          The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is not in line with present EU laws, according to a Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) analysis. Previously, the European Commission has often stated that ACTA would remain fully in line with existing EU legislation.

          Health groups have pointed out that ACTA will hamper access to essential medicine in developing countries. FFII’s analysis focusses on the impact ACTA will have on European SMEs in the ICT field, and on diffusion of green technology, needed to fight climate change. The FFII concludes that patents have to be excluded from ACTA’s civil enforcement section.

Clip of the Day

The Digital Prism Screencast – MintBackup


Credit: TinyOgg

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Mark Cuban Wants to Pay Government Attorneys to Get Off Their Ass

    Frustrated by the snail’s pace of the SEC investigation into insider trading allegations, Cuban offered to pay government attorneys to work faster.

  • Manila: A megacity where the living must share with the dead

    Land is precious in Manila, and people are prepared to endure incredible circumstances to claim their own piece. Baking’s family is one of hundreds that have set up home in the cemetery, jostling for space with the dead. “It’s much better living here than in a shanty town,” he assures me as we clamber over densely-packed powder pink and blue tombs on the way to his home. “It’s much more peaceful and quiet.”

  • Drug addict has vasectomy in return for £200 cash

    A drug addict has become the first man in Britain to take part in a controversial project that saw him get cash to be sterilised.

  • Report: Ancient ruins worldwide ‘on verge of vanishing’

    Twelve historic sites around the world are “on the verge of vanishing” because of mismanagement and neglect, according to a new report.

  • FarmVillains

    Steal someone else’s game. Change its name. Make millions. Repeat.

  • Judge Clears CAPTCHA-Breaking Case for Criminal Trial

    A federal judge in New Jersey has cleared the way for a landmark criminal case targeting CAPTCHA circumvention to proceed to trial.

  • UberCab Ordered to Cease And Desist

    Did Ubercab just crash and burn? Taxi and limo industry insiders in California today informed TechCrunch that the San Francisco Metro Transit Authority & the Public Utilities Commission of California have ordered the startup to cease and desist.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Scientists suggest that cancer is purely man-made

      Cancer is a modern, man-made disease caused by environmental factors such as pollution and diet, a study by University of Manchester scientists has strongly suggested.

      The study of remains and literature from ancient Egypt and Greece and earlier periods – carried out at Manchester’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology and published in Nature Reviews Cancer – includes the first histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Jesse Jackson: Britain’s moral authority is undermined by police discrimination

      The Rev Jesse Jackson has said that Britain’s moral authority is being damaged by the government’s failure to stop the police discriminating against ethnic minorities.

    • AND FINALLY

      With the impact of the soon-to-be-announced mega austerity cuts still to come, it could be that millions will soon find it hard to make ends meet.

      But help is it hand. There’ll be no shortage of people forced to turn to shoplifting or petty crime to survive – and now there’s a website that will pay you to sit at home and spy on everyone in the hope of catching them.

    • Inquiry after police filmed hitting anti-fascist protester

      An investigation is under way after a police officer was filmed hitting an anti-fascist demonstrator in the face during a far-right rally.

      Alan Clough, 63, from Radcliffe, Bury, was protesting against the English Defence League (EDL) rally in Bolton in March when he was struck, fell to the ground and was subsequently arrested.

    • Iraq war logs: military privatisation run amok

      Shortly after 10am on 14 May 2005, a convoy of private security guards from Blackwater riding down “Route Irish” – the Baghdad airport road – shot up a civilian Iraqi vehicle. While they were at it, the Blackwater men fired shots over the heads of a group of soldiers from the 69th Regiment of the US Army before they sped away heading west in their white armoured truck. When the dust cleared, the Iraqi driver was dead and his wife and daughter were injured.

    • They’re Trying To Sell the Brooklyn Bridge Again

      So it was last month when a friendly couple dumped their paper on the train seat opposite me. And bingo, it was as bad as ever. “Defense Officials Predict Slow Afghan Progress.” And the sourcing for this hardly unexpected headline? “Senior US military officials”, “military officials”, “a senior US military official”, “Obama administration officials”, “defence officials”, “the senior military official”, “military leaders”, “the official”, “military officials”, “the officials”, “many in the military”, “military officials” (again), “officials” (again), “military officials” (yet again) and “officials” (yet again).

      Why do our scribes write this horseshit? My old mate Alexander Cockburn calls it “selling the Brooklyn Bridge” and claims that Michael Gordon, chief military correspondent of The New York Times, is always ready to buy it.

    • David Kelly files prove little for campaigners whose fight continues

      Kelly’s death has never been the subject of a proper inquest, Powers argues. The original inquest was replaced by the Hutton inquiry – a highly unusual and, to many observers, unjustified break with standard legal procedure for single deaths. Last month, lawyers acting for Kelly campaigners delivered an application for a fresh inquest to attorney general Dominic Grieve. Grieve is considering it, a process which may take several more months.

    • Norwich Council uses ‘spying’ powers to catch smoke pub

      Norwich City Council used controversial spying powers to investigate and fine a pub for flouting the smoking ban.

    • Allotments and privacy

      With allotments in mind, news has reached Big Brother Watch of the ludicrous situation of a Lincolnshire council demanding to know the sexual orientation, race and religion of those applying for one of the eighteen vacant plots in the City of Lincoln.

    • Police chief wants Birmingham ‘spy’ cameras removed
    • Sacrificing our liberties won’t win the war against terror

      The good news, according to Professor Audrey Cronin at the US National War College, is that terrorist campaigns always end. The only questions are when and how. The answers hinge on government policy. After the 2005 London bombings, Tony Blair proclaimed: “Let no one be in any doubt, the rules of the game are changing.” Ministers proposed waves of authoritarian measures, including incursions on free speech, control orders, ID cards and extensions to detention without charge that one former chief constable labelled a “propaganda coup for Al-Qaeda”. If Al-Qaeda was looking for a repressive reaction, they got it. But, was it effective?

    • EXCLUSIVE: WikiLeaks Prepares Largest Intel Leak in US History with Release of 400,000 Iraq War Docs

      AMY GOODMAN: So they’re doing it again on this 400,000-document leak?

      DANIEL ELLSBERG: They’re doing it again, and it’s much to their credit, and I appreciate it. I’ve waited forty years for a release on this scale. I think there should have been something on the scale of the Pentagon Papers every year. How often do we need this kind of thing? We haven’t seen it. So I’m very glad that someone is taking the risk and the initiative to inform us better now.

    • Government web snooping back on the cards

      Government plans to intercept Internet communications and store details of “traffic data” are reportedly back on the cards.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • French protests jeopardise airport fuel supplies

      France’s main airport has only a few days’ worth of jet fuel left, it was announced today, as the strikes against government pension plans continued to disrupt infrastructure.

    • Sarkozy should retire, says France

      More importantly, the French have decided to take to the streets in the millions – including large-scale strikes and work stoppages – to defend hard-won retirement gains. (It must be emphasised, since the media sometimes forgets to make the distinction, that only a tiny percentage of France’s demonstrators have engaged in any kind of property damage and even fewer in violence, with all but these few protesting peacefully.) French populist rage is being directed in a positive direction – unlike in the United States where it is most prominently being mobilised to elect political candidates who will do their best to increase the suffering of working- and middle-class citizens.

    • Greece promises to crack down on tax evaders

      Saying Greeks had already made “unprecedented sacrifices”, the prime minister, George Papandreou, insisted today there would be no more hard-hitting austerity measures, despite the country bracing itself for an expected upward revision of a budget deficit that at 13.6% has already hit record highs.

      “Whatever happens, there will be no additional burden placed on wage earners and pensioners. There will be no additional increase in tax rates beyond the ones we have already committed to making,” Papandreou said.

    • Fannie and Freddie’s Foreclosure Barons

      [Editor’s note: In November 2009, MoJo reporter Andy Kroll received a tip about a little-known yet powerful firm, the Law Offices of David J. Stern, which handled staggering numbers of foreclosures in southeastern Florida—the throbbing heart of nation’s housing crisis. Among the allegations, the tipster had it from insiders that Stern employees were routinely falsifying legal paperwork in an effort to push borrowers out of their homes as quickly—and profitably—as possible.

      Kroll spent eight months investigating Stern’s firm and its ilk—a breed of deep-pocketed and controversial operations dubbed “foreclosure mills.” After sifting through thousands of pages of court documents, interviewing scores of legal experts and former Stern employees, and attending dozens of foreclosure hearings in drab Florida courtrooms, he emerged with a portrait of a law firm—indeed, an entire industry—that was willing to cut corners, deceive judges, and even (allegedly) commit fraud—all at the expense of America’s homeowners.

    • ForeclosureGate
    • Wall Street Sold `Tragically Deficient’ Product, Angelides Says

      Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. created products that were “tragically deficient,” in the view of the chairman of the panel charged by Congress with identifying the causes of the financial crisis.

    • Timothy Geithner forecloses on the moratorium debate

      Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is good at telling fairy tales. Geithner first became known to the general public in September of 2008. Back then, he was head of the New York Federal Reserve Board. He was part of the triumvirate, along with Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke and then Treasury secretary Henry Paulson, who told congress that it had to pass the Tarp or the economy would collapse.

    • Unemployment Benefits: The 99ers

      Even after an extension of unemployment benefits to 99 weeks, many of those about to go off the program are in a quandary. Scott Pelley talks to some of them in Silicon Valley.

    • California Data Autumnal: Dialing Back a Decade

      From the highs of 2007, total California employment is down about 6.5%. And, 2008 total oil product consumption compared to 2007 is down about 5.5%. There is no question that 2009 energy data from EIA Washington will show another notable fall, in California energy use. Meanwhile, as we can see from the labor market data, there is no economic recovery occurring in America’s largest state.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Tell the DOJ: Investigate the Chamber of Commerce’s campaign spending

      This year alone the Chamber has pledged to spend $75 million on ads attacking candidates who don’t meekly bow down to the biggest and wealthiest corporate interests.

    • It’s Not Your Local Chamber of Commerce

      Many Americans think of the Chamber of Commerce as a local organization that supplies maps or information about local businesses, or thing of it as a sort of civics league, like the Elks Lodge. But the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. is completely different. It often has no ties to local Chambers of Commerce. It spends more money on lobbying than any other entity in Washington, D.C., outspending even the political parties on elections nationwide. The Chamber has a $200 million budget, and as a 501(c)(6) trade association, it doesn’t have to pay any taxes or disclose its donors.

    • The Loaded Chamber: Secret Money
    • How Radical Christian Conservatives May Succeed in Destroying Democracy

      The ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes spent his life battling the assault on democracy by tyrants. It is disheartening to be reminded that he lost. But he understood that the hardest struggle for humankind is often stating and understanding the obvious. Aristophanes, who had the temerity to portray the ruling Greek tyrant, Cleon, as a dog, is the perfect playwright to turn to in trying to grasp the danger posed to us by movements from the tea party to militias to the Christian right, as well as the bankrupt and corrupt power elite that no longer concerns itself with the needs of its citizens. He saw the same corruption 2,400 years ago. He feared correctly that it would extinguish Athenian democracy. And he struggled in vain to rouse Athenians from their slumber.

    • The Kochs, Glenn Beck and Titans of Industry Met to Plot 2010 Elections

      ThinkProgress has discovered that the oil billionaire brothers, David H. and Charles G. Koch, who played a key role in creating and funding the Tea Party movement, hold a quiet annual, invitation-only gathering where they coordinate their political agenda with other titans of industry — including the big health insurers, oil executives, Wall Street investors, real estate tycoons, conservative journalists and TV opinion show stars like Glenn Beck.

    • MEMO: Health Insurance, Banking, Oil Industries Met With Koch, Chamber, Glenn Beck To Plot 2010 Election

      In 2006, Koch Industries owner Charles Koch revealed to the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore that he coordinates the funding of the conservative infrastructure of front groups, political campaigns, think tanks, media outlets and other anti-government efforts through a twice annual meeting of wealthy right-wing donors. He also confided to Moore, who is funded through several of Koch’s ventures, that his true goal is to strengthen the “culture of prosperity” by eliminating “90%” of all laws and government regulations. Although it is difficult to quantify the exact amount Koch alone has funneled to right-wing fronts, some studies have pointed toward $50 million he has given alone to anti-environmental groups.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google boss: ‘Creeped out by Street View? Just move’

      Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said that if you don’t like Google Street View cars photographing your house, you can “just move.”

      “Street View. We drive exactly once,” Schmidt said during an appearance on CNN’s “Parker Spitzer” late last week. “So, you can just move, right?”

      Schmidt’s words were broadcast across the net on Friday, but they’ve been edited from the video now available on the CNN website. Before it was edited out, the moment was reported by The Wall Street Journal.

    • Why I’m suing the Department of Homeland Security

      Today the First Amendment Project is filing a lawsuit on my behalf against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (one of the divisions of the Department of Homeland Security) for violating the Privacy Act and the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) by refusing to disclose their records of my travels, what they did with my requests for my records, and how they index, search for, and retrieve these travel surveillance records.

    • Berlusconi ‘vendetta’ takes Italy’s Paxman off air again

      His fans see him as Italy’s Jeremy Paxman, an aggressive but penetrating TV anchorman. Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who owns most of the country’s private channels and wields indirect control over the state network, RAI, sees him as a dangerous leftie. Meet Michele Santoro, the temporarily banned hero of Italian current affairs broadcasting.

    • Egyptian government fears a Facebook revolution

      Many Egyptians, in what is still a police state, regard Facebook as a safe haven where they can campaign and express their opinions freely. But that could soon change following a crackdown by the authorities against various types of media.

      In Egypt, many opposition movements have either started or grown significantly on Facebook, most notably the April 6 youth movement and the national campaign to support Nobel peace prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei as a presidential candidate.

    • Chinese police refuse to register human rights lawyer as missing

      Chinese police have refused to register an outspoken human rights lawyer who has not been seen since April as a missing person, his elder brother said today.

      The disappearance of Gao Zhisheng has caused international concern, particularly because he had previously made detailed claims of torture at the hands of security officials during detentions.

    • Tibetan student protests spread to Beijing
    • The west must stand up to China

      Pity the Chinese. The inhabitants of the world’s next superpower cannot search the internet or assemble or travel or speak or read or write or even reproduce without restriction. Yet in the lands where freedom is abundant, China, rather than earning well-deserved rebukes, continues to be championed as the ineluctable future. This disgraceful journey began with a liberal assumption: the west, it was claimed, is more likely to influence China by partnering with it, by giving it a prominent position inside, rather than pushing it outside, global institutions.

    • Silence of the dissenters: How south-east Asia keeps web users in line

      Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines have all moved or are moving towards monitoring internet use, blocking international sites regarded as critical and ruthlessly silencing web dissidents.

    • Gaza’s Surfer Girls
    • NYCLU Settlement Ends Restriction on Photography Outside Federal Courthouses
    • Plan to store Britons’ phone and internet data revived
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • What Do Kids Say About The Internet? + Competition For Best Online Children’s Content

      And, by the way, we can get a good insight into where the internet might head by understanding what these kids use. School work or watching videos (84% and 83% respectively). Playing games (74%) and communicating via instant messaging (61%) are the next most popular activities online. One out of three youngsters now connect via their mobile phones or other portable devices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Vatican to rich countries: stop “excessive zeal” for IP rights

      On September 21, the Vatican observer at the UN, Mons. Silvano Maria Tomasi, addressed the 48th general assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva (English translation). He let the group know that the Vatican supports intellectual property rights (IPR) because such protection “recognizes the dignity of man and his work” and because it contributes to “the growth of the individual personality and to the common good.”

      But Tomasi then went on to make a point we’ve harped on repeatedly here at Ars: supporting IP rights in general does not always mean supporting tougher patent and copyright rules; “better” does not always mean “stronger.”

    • Steven Johnson: ‘Eureka moments are very, very rare’

      What all this means, in practical terms, is that the best way to encourage (or to have) new ideas isn’t to fetishise the “spark of genius”, to retreat to a mountain cabin in order to “be creative”, or to blabber interminably about “blue-sky”, “out-of-the-box” thinking. Rather, it’s to expand the range of your possible next moves – the perimeter of your potential – by exposing yourself to as much serendipity, as much argument and conversation, as many rival and related ideas as possible; to borrow, to repurpose, to recombine. This is one way of explaining the creativity generated by cities, by Europe’s 17th-century coffee-houses, and by the internet. Good ideas happen in networks; in one rather brain-bending sense, you could even say that “good ideas are networks”. Or as Johnson also puts it: “Chance favours the connected mind.”

    • Copyrights

      • We should copyright the Canadian way

        The new copyright bill, C-32, places consumers and users at risk of infringement for a wide variety of things, such as circumventing digital locks to transfer a CD track to an MP3 Player, or to transfer e-book content from an old device to a new one. Alongside C-32, Canada has been involved in talks to establish an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Both C-32 and ACTA represent a departure from Canadian copyright…

      • From “Radical Extremism” to “Balanced Copyright” : Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda
      • Six more website operators facing Righthaven copyright lawsuits

        Hotel management students in Canada are receiving a lesson in U.S. copyright law courtesy of Las Vegas copyright enforcement company Righthaven LLC.

      • US Library of Congress: Copyright Is Destroying Historic Audio
      • Critique of CBC’s new Anti-Creative Commons Policy

        The logical and ethical next step is to alter this policy, and as such I call for the CBC to do such; allowing for appropriately licensed Creative Commons music to exist alongside commercially licensed music, effectively giving back the rights of Artists and Show Producers to share content, and giving alternatives to Canadian Artists to decide for themselves how their content is to be used. A key issue here is artists’ right to give permission under copyright law for use of their works. They have various reasons for doing this, and why should CBC punish them? By blocking this, the CBC has effectively eliminated this potential on the larger scale. This is not the Canadian way of doing things – we share and we like sharing. Allowing policies like this to exist in our Public Services is a step backwards and creates justifications and rationalizations for similar policies in the future. As a Canadian, this upsets me – seeing my countries’ artists with alternative views set onto a back burner because they have been unfairly grouped in with others. This is not right at all.

      • MPAA Calls Censorship Of Websites ‘Forward Looking’

        Ah, the word choices of the MPAA. The organization that once claimed the VCR was the “Boston Strangler” of the movie industry is now out there trying to get three strikes and censorship laws passed to protect their business model, and referring to these backwards looking protectionist policies as “forward looking.” That’s what MPAA boss Bob Pisano called the idea, found in the COICA proposal to censor web sites the MPAA doesn’t like. Of course, if this had been in effect when the VCR first came out, there would be no VCR.

      • Is Mark Twain’s ‘New’ Autobiography Covered By Copyright?

        PometheeFeu pointed us to the news that Mark Twain’s autobiography, to be officially published for the first time 100 years after his death is already looking like it’s going to be a best seller. The book comes out on November 15th, but it’s already near the top of the bestseller lists on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble thanks to pre-orders. If you weren’t aware, Twain (real name Samuel Clemens), wrote this autobiography towards the end of his life, but demanded that it not be published until 100 years after his death (some of it, he demanded be withheld for 500 years). Allegedly, he did this so that he could say what he wanted without worrying about the people he spoke ill of ever finding out. Also, it’s not your typical autobiography. Apparently, it was more or less stream of consciousness, concerning whatever he felt like talking about. He would get up in the morning, talk about whatever he felt like, and people working for him would take it all down in dictation.

      • Sarkozy Wants To Use Anti-Censorship Conference To Promote Censorship By Copyright

        We’ve pointed out many times how copyright is, by its nature, a law for censorship. Now, you can argue that it’s necessary or useful censorship (though, I doubt I would agree), but it cannot be denied that the basic purpose of copyright law is to stifle a form of speech. That’s why I’m always amazed at the disconnect of politicians, who support anti-censorship efforts online at the same time that they promote plans to censor-via-copyright law. Of course, most haven’t actually thought about it, or they insist that copyright is not censorship at all, and they can’t fathom how the two are connected.

      • Irdial and the Underground

        The Underground story in brief is this: their comic was pirated and bootlegged on 4Chan. They didn’t sue or whine: the authors went online at 4Chan to discuss their comic. What happened? More good publicity than you can imagine – go look at their website for what happened to their sales.

      • ACTA

        • FFII: ACTA goes beyond present EU laws

          The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is not in line with present EU laws, according to a Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) analysis. Previously, the European Commission has often stated that ACTA would remain fully in line with existing EU legislation.

          Health groups have pointed out that ACTA will hamper access to essential medicine in developing countries. FFII’s analysis focusses on the impact ACTA will have on European SMEs in the ICT field, and on diffusion of green technology, needed to fight climate change. The FFII concludes that patents have to be excluded from ACTA’s civil enforcement section.

Clip of the Day

The Digital Prism Screencast – MintBackup


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  1. [Meme] UPC for CJEU

    When you do illegal things and knowingly break the law to get started with a “legal” system you know it’ll end up in tears… or the CJEU



  2. Links 20/1/2022: 'Pluton' Pushback and Red Hat Satellite 6.10.2

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  3. The Web is a Corporate Misinformation/Disinformation Platform, Biased Against Communities, Facts, and Science

    Misinformation/disinformation in so-called 'news' sites is a pandemic which spreads; in the process, the founder of GNU/Linux gets defamed and GNU/Linux itself is described as the problem, not the solution to the actual problems



  4. Links 20/1/2022: McKinsey Openwashing and Stable Kernels

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  5. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 19, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 19, 2022



  6. Links 20/1/2022: Linuxfx 11.1 WxDesktop 11.0.3 and FreeIPMI 1.6.9 Released

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  7. Links 19/1/2022: XWayland 22.1 RC1 and OnlyOffice 7.0 Release

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  8. Links 19/1/2022: ArchLabs 2022.01.18 and KDE's 15-Minute Bug Initiative

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  9. When Twitter Protects Abusers and Abuse (and Twitter's Sponsors)

    Twitter is an out-of-control censorship machine and it should be treated accordingly even by those who merely "read" or "follow" Twitter accounts; Twitter is a filter, not a news/media platform or even means of communication



  10. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 18, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 18, 2022



  11. Links 19/1/2022: Wine 7.x Era Begins and Istio 1.12.2 is Out

    Links for the day



  12. Another Video IBM Does Not Want You to Watch

    It seems very much possible that IBM (or someone close to IBM) is trying to purge me from Twitter, so let’s examine what they may be trying to distract from. As we put it 2 years ago, "Watson" is a lot more offensive than those supposedly offensive words IBM is working to purge; think about those hundreds of Red Hat workers who are black and were never told about ethnic purges of blacks facilitated by IBM (their new boss).



  13. What IBM Does Not Want You to Watch

    Let's 'Streisand it'...



  14. Good News, Bad News (and Back to Normal)

    When many services are reliant on the integrity of a single, very tiny MicroSD card you're only moments away from 2 days of intensive labour (recovery, investigation, migration, and further coding); we've learned our lessons and took advantage of this incident to upgrade the operating system, double the storage space, even improve the code slightly (for compatibility with newer systems)



  15. Someone Is Very Desperate to Knock My Account Off Twitter

    Many reports against me — some successful — are putting my free speech (and factual statements) at risk



  16. Links 18/1/2022: Deepin 20.4 and Qubes OS 4.1.0 RC4

    Links for the day



  17. Links 18/1/2022: GNOME 42 Alpha and KStars 3.5.7

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  18. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 17, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, January 17, 2022



  19. Links 17/1/2022: More Microsoft-Connected FUD Against Linux as Its Share Continues to Fall

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  20. The GUI Challenge

    The latest article from Andy concerns the Command Line Challenge



  21. Links 17/1/2022: digiKam 7.5.0 and GhostBSD 22.01.12 Released

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  22. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 16, 2022

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  23. Links 17/1/2022: postmarketOS 21.12 Service Pack 1 and Mumble 1.4 Released

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  24. [Meme] Gemini Space (or Geminispace): From 441 Working Capsules to 1,600 Working Capsules in Just 12 Months

    Gemini space now boasts 1,600 working capsules, a massive growth compared to last January, as we noted the other day (1,600 is now official)



  25. [Meme] European Patent Office Space

    The EPO maintains a culture of illegal surveillance, inherited from Benoît Battistelli and taken to a whole new level by António Campinos



  26. Gemini Rings (Like Webrings) and Shared Spaces in Geminspace

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  27. Links 16/1/2022: Latte Dock 0.11 and librest 0.9.0

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  28. The Corporate Cabal (and Spy Agencies-Enabled Monopolies) Engages in Raiding of the Free Software Community and Hacker Culture

    In an overt attack on the people who actually did all the work — the geeks who built excellent software to be gradually privatised through the Linux Foundation (a sort of price-fixing and openwashing cartel for shared interests of proprietary software firms) — is receiving more widespread condemnation; even the OSI has been bribed to become a part-time Microsoft outsourcer as organisations are easier to corrupt than communities



  29. EPO's Web Site Constantly Spammed by Lies About Privacy While EPO Breaks the Law and Outsources Data to the United States

    The António Campinos-led EPO works for imperialism, it not only protects the rich; sadly, António’s father isn’t alive anymore and surely he would blast his son for doing what he does to progress his career while lying to staff and European citizens



  30. Links 16/1/2022: Tsunami and Patents

    Links for the day


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