02.22.11

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 22/2/2011: More Reviews of Debian GNU/Linux 6.0, PC-BSD 8.2 is Released

Posted in News Roundup at 2:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • A 3G-capable, Linux powered computer…in your car’s dashboard?

    I might have found the right answer in the Navisurfer II. It is a full-blown Linux-based computer, with touchscreen monitor and 3G HSDPA modem all built in. Oh, and as the name implies, it also has a built-in GPS receiver with the Navit navigation system.

  • My kind of rewards card.

    Though I probably don’t need another credit card, this one’s a little different. Instead of racking up points for me, my new MasterCard sends a portion of each and every purchase I make directly to The Linux Fund — supporting projects…

  • What’s Happening in the Class Action Against Sony About Removing OtherOS? – Updated

    I thought you’d be interested to know what’s been happening in the litigation against Sony filed by customers upset that Sony took away the OtherOS capability on their PlayStation3′s. Sony Computer Entertainment America, or SCEA, filed a motion to dismiss [PDF] the lawsuit.

  • Desktop

    • 20 New User Misconceptions about Linux

      The misconception that one OS acts just like another makes me crazy. It’s like me going from a Toyota Prius to a sixteen wheeler “big rig” and expecting it to handle exactly the same.

      The fact of the matter is that the Linux desktop has no singular way of presenting itself. That’s the power behind Linux on the desktop. It can be customized for different needs and distributions, while relying on a variety of desktop and software packages to make it work a certain way.

      Windows, on the other hand, has a “here it is” approach that works well enough for its intended audience.

  • Server

    • Dell (finally) peddling Canonical UEC clouds

      After nearly a year of futzing around, Dell and Canonical are tag-teaming to sell and support a mix of Dell servers and Canonical’s Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud hypervisors and management tools to customers who want to build private or public clouds that are clones of Amazon’s EC2 service.

      Back in March 2010, when Dell took a bunch of its servers that were custom-designed for hyperscale data centers by its Data Center Solutions unit and mainstreamed them as the PowerEdge-C servers, it said that its cloud strategy involved selling half-rack and full-rack configurations running Joyent’s cloud management tools, and added that it was partnering with a bunch of third parties to stand up hardware/software combinations on those machines.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Xfce

      • Xfce 4.8 Desktop Environment

        Although often classed as light-weight, Xfce qualifies as a medium weight amongst the Linux front ends. It’s heavier than, say, LXDE or Window Maker but it uses less resources than KDE or Gnome. However, it is a desktop environment rather than simply a window manager, and as such, it comes with a set of associated utilities.

        Actually obtaining and installing Xfce 4.8 proved to be a bit of an adventure in itself. At the time of writing, the Xfce devs haven’t released any binaries, instead leaving this to the distributions themselves and other third parties. When I looked, all I could find was an Ubuntu 10.10 PPA that was 64 bit only. Compiling from source is daunting as it involves downloading and unpacking a collection of tar files and then building them in a special order. In the end, I installed a beta of Zenwalk, an Xfce orientated distribution. Take into account that I am therefore not basing my observations on plain, stock Xfce 4.8.

  • Distributions

    • 5 Best Linux Distribution With No Proprietary Components

      Linux is a free and open source operating system. However, Linux (and other open source operating system) can use and load device drivers without publicly available source code. These are vendor-compiled binary drivers without any source code and known as Binary Blobs.

    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6: First Impressions

        Did Debian have a contest to redesign its graphics and it wasn’t made public? Did a third grader win that contest? Oh, the hallowed Debian developers must have had a fashion faux pas moment when deciding on a new look because this one makes me think it was designed for children or by children. It’s a good thing that once you’ve installed the operating system, you can change that horrid desktop background to something less kitchy. Other than the graphical goofs, Debian 6 is Debian and that’s a good thing.

      • Introducing Debian GNU/Linux 6.0

        But how does their 6.0 release measure up? My first reaction to Debian’s latest was one of disappointment. The graphical installer feels like it’s about ten years behind the other big-name distributions, the issue with the package manager giving up when it couldn’t find the installation DVD struck me as something which shouldn’t have made it through testing. Most of my first day was a series of these sorts of little issues which I’d expect from beta software, not from a distro that had been in feature freeze for months. And that’s why this review is appearing two weeks after the official release, because after such a poor start I wanted to give the distro a chance to win me over. After a few days Debian’s virtues did shine through. For instance, the project’s implementation of GNOME is very light, putting the usually heavy desktop environment about on par with the mid-weight Xfce. The system is fast and responsive, boot times are quick and the presented software is stable without being terribly out of date. Apart from the early quirks with the package managers, adding and removing software went smoothly.

      • Debian 6: Have your Debian and eat your Ubuntu too

        For the rest of us, the Debian of 2011 makes a nice, stable alternative to Ubuntu, even if it does perhaps lack a little of the shine that has endeared Ubuntu to the masses.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Is Ubuntu playing with fire?

          And I went back into my past entries and found a couple of reviews of previous Ubuntu alpha releases that … actually were functional, and Ubuntu Natty at this point in time running a desktop window manager (is that what it is?), Unity, that is untried, barely tested and not terribly functional does not bode well for a release in under three months time.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Xoom to Ship Without Flash

          We’ve just gotten word from AndroidCentral that the Moto Xoom won’t be shipping with Flash 10.1 preinstalled.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Crawling in Open Source, Part 1

    Generally speaking, crawlers are used to find and bring in the content that interests you. Often the reason is that you want to make that information searchable by indexing it. The use case and context for crawling can vary greatly depending on the task at hand. For example the most popular web search engines, like Google and Yahoo, deploy a web crawler that primarily finds content that is publicly available via the web. The main challenge for such a generic web crawler is obviously scalability. The crawler architecture needs to be efficient because the amount of content to crawl is enormous and growing all the time at ever increasing speeds. Another example, of a completely different kind of use case, is a price comparison site where users are presented with products and their price information from various online shops.

  • A secretary’s problem

    A colleague had sent her the file, but apparently this colleague was using a different version of Microsoft Office. When she tried to open the file, an important table was missing in the document.

    I told her that I hadn’t used Microsoft software in more than a decade, but she insisted that I have a look at her file.

    So I opened her file in Abiword, without a problem, and to her surprise the table appeared exactly in the right place of the document. Consequently, she urged me to give her a copy of Abiword, which I gladly did.

  • Best Practices in Open Source Foundation Governance – Part I

    For some time now, I have been meaning to write a series of blog posts setting forth my views on best practices in forming and governing open source foundations. Why? Because despite the increasing reliance of just about every part of our modern world (government, finance, defense, and so on) on open source software (OSS) and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), there has been very little written on the subject.

    That means that neither a community nor a corporation has much to refer to in creating the kind of governance structure most likely to ensure that the intentions of the founders are carried out, that the rights of contributors are respected, and that the code upon which end users will rely is properly maintained into the future.

  • Raleigh, NC—the world’s first open source city

    I started pondering what qualities would define an open source city a few months ago when my friend Tom Rabon mentioned it to me one day. I was curious how the city I live in, Raleigh, NC, could attract other open source companies and be the world’s hub for open source and a leader in open government. How could Raleigh be the open source capital of the world, similar to what Silicon Valley is to technology and Paris is to romance?

    I think the answer can be found in both the government and the people. First, our government has to be willing to embrace the open source way of doing things. They need to be transparent in their handling of business and foster citizen participation. Citizens need to be willing to participate and contribute their time and knowledge. Both need to embrace rapid prototyping to explore new ideas and innovative solutions.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice the last word in open source software
    • LibreOffice Pips OpenOffice.org To The Post: Review

      In the open-source movement, the forking of a project is often a contentious matter, and can lead to the demise or mothballing of the applications that spawn from the original software. In many ways, it’s a “nuclear option” as developers choose their allegiances and take their skills with them. Often, the result is the loss of momentum as well as mindshare for all the spawned projects. But it’s not an inevitable one: the January release of LibreOffice 3.3 shows that sometimes forking can lead to a positive outcome.

    • An Open Letter to the Libre Office Design Team

      Another item to address with respect to the application itself are the fonts. This is a good chance to introduce non-Linux users to some of the great fonts that are out there. I think that Libre Office should use the Liberation Fonts for its default values.

    • Oracle looks for love at Java DevJam

      The Java* track at FOSDEM 2011 started off on the right foot by dealing with the state of the OpenJDK head on – both politically and technically – with a talk from Oracle’s Mark Reinhold. There were quite a few speakers at Java DevJam and lots of Java tech over the two days, but this talk was needed to start to clear the air, hindsight suggests.

  • Education

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Multi-Core, Multi-OS Scaling Performance

        In this article we are looking at how Linux, OpenSolaris, and FreeBSD scale across multiple cores. Benchmarked are CentOS 5.5, Fedora 14, PC-BSD/FreeBSD 8.1, and OpenIndiana b148 as we see how the performance differs when running on one, two, three, four, and six cores, plus when Intel Hyper Threading is enabled.

        To do this comparison the Intel Core i7 970 “Gulftown” processor was used, which boasts six physical cores plus Hyper Threading. With the ASRock X58 SuperComputer motherboard, from the BIOS the number of enabled cores can be adjusted as well as toggling Hyper Threading. CentOS, Fedora, PC-BSD, and OpenIndiana were tested in their stock OS configurations, aside from building GCC 4.5.1 on each of these operating systems to have a similar compiler across platforms.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Dear Green Activists, will you please start to take file formats seriously?

      Shortly after its release, I explained why the .WWF file format isn’t a really green and smart idea.

    • DNA Structure Animation in HTML5

      If you don’t know what HTML5 is or how crucial it is to the whole future of the Internet ecosystem, you need to check out our previous article featuring 15 incredible HTML5 demos showcasing prowess of HTML5 over Adobe Flash. Here is another nice and interesting HTML5 experiment that generates a DNA structure on the fly.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • A step closer to Skynet? Pentagon wants fighting robots to talk to each other

      Over at the Department of Defense, they’ve got lots of robots. Most of them aren’t scary and glamorous like the lethal Drones you read about all the time. Perhaps the most useful land-based bot is the Tanglefoot, a short, roving critter that sneaks up on Improvised Explosive Devices, then graciously allows itself to be blown up for its trouble. Then there’s the Autonomous Platform Demonstrator (APD) a nimble, 9.3-ton, unmanned ground vehicle that can turn on a dime and accelerate to a top speed of 50mph.

  • Law Enforcement

    • Driver accused of updating Facebook in fatal crash

      According to the Chicago Tribune, a wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday alleges that a woman was driving and updating her Facebook status when she hit a 70-year-old man who had stepped out of his car. CNET hasn’t yet been able to get a copy of the lawsuit, but we have confirmed its existence with the Cook County Circuit Court and double-checked party information.

    • I-Team: Dead Officer Signed Red Light Citations

      The WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team has learned that Baltimore police and transportation officials are trying to correct a problem with about 2,000 red light camera citations that may bear the signature of a police officer who is dead.

      The I-Team learned that the citations were issued over the past few months.

    • Police Cameras and Crime

      If you want to be on TV, don’t go to Los Angeles or New York. Come to Chicago, where your wish is certain to be fulfilled. In fact, you couldn’t avoid it if you wanted to, thanks to the nation’s most extensive network of police surveillance cameras. Anytime you walk out your door, you may find an audience.

      This is one of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s proudest achievements, but the estimated 10,000 devices now in operation are not enough for him. He once expressed his intention to keep adding cameras until there is one “on every street corner in Chicago.”

      [...]

      When cameras are used, common-sense restrictions should apply. The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois recommends that police show probable cause that someone has committed a crime before they use facial-recognition software or conduct nonstop video tracking of an individual. Another proposal is to delete images after seven days unless there is reason to think they document a crime.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • US fires 118 drone bombs, kills only two most wanted terrorists

      According to independent estimates a total of 118 CIA drone attacks on Pakistan killed only two terrorists on the US ‘most-wanted’ list.

      The CIA spent over $1 million per drone attack. The high cost and high number of attacks proved quite fruitless given the result – two highly sought terrorists killed.

    • The NYT’s journalistic obedience

      In other words, the NYT knew about Davis’ work for the CIA (and Blackwater) but concealed it because the U.S. Government told it to. Now that The Guardian and other foreign papers reported it, the U.S. Government gave permission to the NYT to report this, so now that they have government license, they do so — only after it’s already been reported by other newspapers which don’t take orders from the U.S. Government.

      It’s one thing for a newspaper to withhold information because they believe its disclosure would endanger lives. But here, the U.S. Government has spent weeks making public statements that were misleading in the extreme — Obama’s calling Davis “our diplomat in Pakistan” — while the NYT deliberately concealed facts undermining those government claims because government officials told them to do so. That’s called being an active enabler of government propaganda. While working for the CIA doesn’t preclude holding “diplomatic immunity,” it’s certainly relevant to the dispute between the two countries and the picture being painted by Obama officials. Moreover, since there is no declared war in Pakistan, this incident — as the NYT puts it today — “inadvertently pulled back the curtain on a web of covert American operations inside Pakistan, part of a secret war run by the C.I.A. ” That alone makes Davis’ work not just newsworthy, but crucial.

      Worse still, the NYT has repeatedly disseminated U.S. Government claims — and even offered its own misleading descriptions –without bothering to include these highly relevant facts. See, for instance, its February 12 report (“The State Department has repeatedly said that he is protected by diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention and must be released immediately”); this February 8 article (referring to “the mystery about what Mr. Davis was doing with this inventory of gadgets”; noting “the Pakistani press, dwelling on the items in Mr. Davis’s possession and his various identity cards, has been filled with speculation about his specific duties, which American officials would not discuss”; and claiming: “Mr. Davis’s jobs have been loosely defined by American officials as ‘security’ or ‘technical,’ though his duties were known only to his immediate superiors”); and this February 15 report (passing on the demands of Obama and Sen. John Kerry for Davis’ release as a “diplomat” without mentioning his CIA work). They’re inserting into their stories misleading government claims, and condescendingly summarizing Pakistani “speculation” about Davis’ work, all while knowing the truth but not reporting it.

    • US Caught in The Big Lie: ThisCantBeHappening! was Correct in Exposing Raymond Davis as a Spy

      So desperate has been the US effort to get the US government killer Raymond Davis sprung from police custody in Lahore, Pakistan following his execution-style slaughter of two Pakistani intelligence operatives in broad daylight in a crowded commercial area, that the government trotted out President Obama to declare that Pakistan was violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations by holding “our diplomat,” whom he insisted had only been defending himself, and should in any case be entitled to absolute immunity.

      Now both the Guardian newspaper in the UK over the weekend, and the Associated Press today are reporting that sources in both the Pakistani and American governments are confirming that Davis works for the CIA. The AP is even reporting that he is a “CIA security contractor,” which is something less and a little more amorphous than a CIA employee, and that means he has no claim on diplomatic immunity whatever, and that raises the added question of who he actually is and who he actually works for. But more on that later.

    • US, UK Meddling in Cairo

      In an outrageously ill-timed visit, British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Cairo to meet with the new military ruler, General Tantawi – the defense minister and head of the ruling military council – on a mission to sell arms.

      Yes, Cameron actually flew to Cairo to see if Egypt’s armed forces, sans a president, might be willing to buy weapons from the UK.

    • Libyan soldiers reportedly burned alive

      Video has been posted on YouTube of what CNN is told are six badly burned bodies of Libyan soldiers in open body bags.

    • Report: military aircraft are firing at protestors in Libya

      Reuters, on the violent crackdown against anti-government demonstrators in Libya: “Military aircraft fired live ammunition at crowds of anti-government protesters in Tripoli, Al Jazeera television said on Monday.”

    • Libya warplanes bombing Tripoli: resident

      Libyan warplanes were bombing indiscriminately across Tripoli on Monday, a resident of the Libyan capital told al Jazeera television in a live broadcast.

    • Friends Don’t Let Friends Violate International Law

      What do you do when your friend is blind drunk, slurring, staggering and boisterous as they fumble for their car keys? Do you cheer them on, slap them on their back and hand them another shot of whiskey? Of course not, no matter how much they may protest. And when it comes to America’s friendship with Israel, what is true for the ethics of bars holds true for international politics as well.

      Israel is America’s obnoxious drunk friend. And for over half a century, America has been Israel’s bartender and enabler: each year dumping billions of dollars in military aid that is used to oppress Palestinians, handing out bribe money to Arab tyrants in exchange for the suppression of their people’s outrage and, most importantly, protecting Israel from the UN Security Council despite repeated, flagrant violations of international law. On Friday, America did it again by vetoing a Security Council resolution that would have declared Israel’s settlements illegal… all other members of the council, longstanding friends of Israel included, had voted in favor of the reprimand.

    • The Pentagon Papers Donald Rumsfeld Doesn’t Want You to See

      More power to him! Except Rumsfeld, of course, only posted the information that he wanted to flow freely. The other stuff—like his callous attempts to keep John Walker Lindh from getting speedy trial, his effort to whitewash the Pentagon’s detainee policy, and the friendly op-eds he tried to plant in newspapers—he left out. Luckily, we were able to get a hold of some of the papers from his days as defense secretary that Rumsfeld reviewed and deliberately withheld from the archive.

      [...]

      “I don’t really care what happens to Walker at this stage.” Here is Rumsfeld in January 2002 arguing that John Walker Lindh, an American citizen who had been wounded in battle and captured in Afghanistan three months before, should be sent to Guantanamo Bay instead of handed over to the Justice Department for a civilian trial—even though the military had concluded he couldn’t provide any more intelligence and wanted to get rid of him. “[T]he military doesn’t want him anymore,” Rumsfeld wrote. “We could put him in Guantanamo Bay until we are absolutely sure we are not going to get anymore information about him or from him.” A few hours later, in another memo, Rumsfeld acknowledged that Lindh should eventually go to the Justice Department, but said he still wanted to hold on to him a little longer and couldn’t understand why everyone wanted Lindh to get a speedy trial: “I am curious to know what the rush is.”

    • Yemen security forces shoot dead protester

      Yemeni riot police shot dead a protester and injured five others when they opened fire on a march of thousands of demonstrators in the capital Sanaa today.

    • Algeria’s long haul towards liberty

      Some 2,000 demonstrators again challenged the ban on protests in Algiers on Saturday. “On a marre de ce pouvoir” (we have had enough of this government!), they cried. An older man in the crowd told me, “What we want is a change of the system not a change in the system.”

    • Libyan protesters risk ‘suicide’ by army hands

      Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is confronting the most serious challenge to his 42-year rule as leader of Libya by unleashing his army on unarmed protesters.

      Unlike the rulers of neighbouring Egypt, Gaddafi has refused to countenance the politics of disobedience, despite growing international condemnation, and the death toll of demonstrators nearing 100.

    • The Genie is out of the Bottle

      But now it has spread all over the Arab world. To Algeria, Bahrain, Yemen. Jordan, Libya, even Morocco. And to non-Arab, non-Sunni Iran, too.

    • Afghanistan is being stifled by military operations

      Five years after Britain deployed forces to Helmand province in Afghanistan it is becoming clear that British and US policies in the country are not helping but setting back development prospects.

      Although more children now go to school and health services have improved, it is remarkable how little Afghanistan has progressed, given that it is the world’s most aid-dependent country, with 90% of its budget financed by donors. One in five children die before the age of five and one in eight women die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

    • Obama, Egypt and Iran

      Yesterday, 15 Feb, Baraqqi said: ‘ My hope and expectation is that we’re going to continue to see the people of Iran have the courage to be able to express their yearning for greater freedoms and a more representative government, understanding that America cannot ultimately dictate what happens inside of Iran any more than it could inside of Egypt … What’s been different is the Iranian government’s response, which is to shoot people and beat people and arrest people … Each country is different, each country has its own traditions, and America can’t dictate what happens in these societies ‘ [1]

      I live in Iran and I can see how Iranians feel anger at Obama. I feel anger too, and now I should try to control my own anger.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • You’re so wrong about salmon, Mr Salmond

      First minister Alex Salmond crowed that the Scottish fish-farming industry may need to double salmon production to satisfy Chinese demand. The announcement a few days later that China was halting the import of Norwegian farmed salmon (China’s retaliation, according to the Norwegian press, for the awarding of the Nobel peace prize to the imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo) lays Scottish government open to the charge that it is in effect supporting repression.

    • What does the Arab world do when its water runs out?

      Poverty, repression, decades of injustice and mass unemployment have all been cited as causes of the political convulsions in the Middle East and north Africa these last weeks. But a less recognised reason for the turmoil in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan and now Iran has been rising food prices, directly linked to a growing regional water crisis.

    • Spare Capacity Theory

      Of course, “everyone knows” that OPEC is sitting on lots of oil. However, as has been discussed here, at The Oil Drum, and elsewhere it remains decidedly unclear whether Saudi Arabia can indeed turn on extra taps at will. But the problems for world supply of oil do not merely end with production capacity. Even if OPEC is indeed sitting on 1-3 mbpd of spare capacity, it’s not clear for how long they can both increase production, and export that production to the world. Not only has Saudi Arabia’s production not increased in the past five years, but, Saudi is increasingly using its own oil for its own population. The result? Flat, to declining exports of oil from Saudi Arabia.

  • Finance

    • The Looming Assault on UW-Madison

      This story about Scott Walker and Biddy Martin’s efforts to dismantle the University of Wisconsin-Madison. To complete the corporatization of the public’s university is an important piece of what is happening both in Madison and nationwide. This story must be told before it is too late to save the university that belongs to the people of Wisconsin, and while democratic momentum is still on our side at the University, in Madison, and in the state of Wisconsin. Although seemingly specific to the UW, this is a case study about the future of public college education nationwide.

    • Wisconsin Fight: It’s Not About the Budget

      Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, in a February 20, 2011 appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, exposed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s disingenuousness in linking restrictions on collective bargaining to a need to cut the state’s budget. Wisconsin’s unionized workers have declared they are ready to start contributing to their pensions and health care to help resolve the state’s budget problems, Granholm pointed out

    • Yes, Wisconsin’s Public Employees are Undercompensated

      Even though the fight in Wisconsin is not really about the budget — a crisis manufactured by Governor Walker’s tax cuts and funny numbers — and not about government employees refusing to make sacrifices (for weeks they have said they will agree to concessions), the scapegoating of public servants as the 21st century’s welfare queens is particularly unfair given that they are compensated less than public sector employees.

    • Wisconsin Surprise: Walker Bill Likely Handing State Assets To Walker-Supporter Koch Industries

      And just who is the likely recipient of no-bid state sales of publicly-owned heating, cooling and power facilities? That would most likely be companies controlled by the brothers David and Charles Koch, owners of Koch Industries, and big financial supporters of Governor Scott Walker. The Koch brothers have also funded groups that are attempting to create a crisis atmosphere over the state’s budget, leading up to the attempt to pass this bill that could result in the low-cost transfer of state assets to their company.

      [...]

      There are many questions raised by the connections between Governor Walker and the Koch brothers and their company and this emergency “Budget Repair” bill. The likely handing of state assets to the Koch brothers at a low price raises even more.

    • Stay-at-home PayPal crook used stolen funds to buy gold bullion

      Richard Kirk, 22, and from the Sherwood area of Nottingham, raided the PayPal accounts of 303 eBay users, transferring the money to accounts under his control. He used the stolen funds to buy a variety of goods, including laptops and bars of gold bullion.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Post- Citizens United, Crushing Workplace Democracy Can Crush American Democracy

      The only countervailing force on the left came from the public employee union American Federation of State, County, and Municipal, Employees (AFSCME), who spent $87.5 million in 2010, a relatively small number when compared to the numerous and coordinated corporate-funded interest groups on the right. As we wrote before last November’s election, unlike the right-wing groups funded by a small number of large, secret donations, “the vast majority of labor union funding comes from member dues, which are applied towards advocacy for member interests … when an ad ends with “brought to you by AFSCME,” viewers know what is motivating the message — the interests of the union and its employees. … In contrast, the innocuously-named conservative groups give no indication whatsoever about what is motivating the advertisement.”

    • Who Is Writing the AP’s Headlines on the Protests — the GOP?

      The AP’s headlines overall emphasize heavily the GOP’s point of view, although some of the stories are fairer than others. Three of the stories in this time frame involving the Wisconsin or national budget, however, feature only the GOP’s talking points, while none feature only union or Democratic talking points. So who is writing the AP’s headlines these days, and why are the AP’s editors putting stories on the wire for papers across the country that quote talking points interviews by only one political party in some instances, as with the Ryan and Palin pieces? Especially with online services like Yahoo’s, listing only the AP stories as the entry point for readers, the AP’s headlines need to be better and in this case not look like they were written by one political party or to favor one side. (The AP, unlike CMD, does not acknowledge having a point of view regarding unions or the corporate agenda as part of its coverage.)

    • Kochs Behind Wisconsin Union-Busting Effort

      Koch-funded groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Reason Foundation and Competitive Enterprise Institute have all been openly hostile toward public sector unions. For those who still doubt that what is happening in Wisconsin is part of a coordinated, national attack on unions, on February 18, the executive director of the Wisconsin Public Workers Union sent a message to Governor Walker’s office saying the union agreed to the cuts in pensions and benefits Walker seeks in his “budget repair” bill. The governor’s response? No, not good enough. He is still holding out for nothing less than an end to collective bargaining rights for public unions. Why are the Koch brothers so keen on Wisconsin?

    • Koch Brothers Behind Wisconsin Effort To Kill Public Unions

      The Americans for Prosperity group, a Tea Party group that is a Koch Brothers front, has put up a website and petition called www.standwithwalker.com. The website attacks all collective bargaining – not just for public employees’ unions. Americans for Prosperity is also organizing a rally tomorrow in Wisconsin to support Gov. Walker.

  • Censorship

    • French journalist convicted on racism charge over drug dealer comment

      The controversial French journalist Éric Zemmour has been found guilty of incitement to racial hatred after telling a TV chatshow that drug dealers were mostly “blacks and Arabs”.

      The Paris trial sparked a fierce debate over freedom of speech and the extent of France’s racism problem, which is poisoning the republican ideal that all citizens are equal regardless of colour.

      Zemmour, a well-known media commentator and columnist for Le Figaro, prides himself on his outspoken defiance of what he deems political correct, woolly liberals.

    • Javelin Marketing Seeks to Suppress Criticism of Its “Insurance Leads” Sales

      A company called “Javelin Marketing,” which in turn operates a business called “Prospect Match” that generates and sells insurance leads, recently tried to suppress criticism of its business practices on several pages of Insurance Forums web site by threatening to sue the host of the forum. Trying to get around the forum’s section 230 immunity, Javelin’s lawyer, a self-proclaimed Internet law specialist named Richard Newman, included claims for “false advertising” and “trade libel” under section 43(a) of the Lanham Act. Newman compounded his error by threatening to sue for copyright infringement if the operator of Insurance Forums posted his demand letter. That demand letter is posted here.

    • Parent, Evanston school officials spar over YouTube video

      District 65 claims racially tinged clip from board meeting violates copyright rules

    • WTF: YouTube Musician Evan Emory Faces 20 Years in Prison for Clever Editing

      So let’s back up. What’s this all about? The 21-year-old Emory posted a video of himself on YouTube singing a sexually explicit song to elementary school students. Before you take the side of law enforcement, it’s not as raunchy and inappropriate as it sounds. The video was only edited to make it appear as if young children were in the classroom, even though they weren’t. Emory posted two disclaimers on the video that elementary school students were not exposed to the explicit lyrics.

      If Emory is charged with the count of manufacturing child sexual abusive material he is facing, he could spend 20 years in prison for what he says was just a joke. Muskegon County Prosecutor Tony Tague said Michigan law ‘provides penalty’ for those who actually manufacture child sexual abusive material ‘but also has a provision for those who make it appear that the children were actually abused.’

  • Civil Rights

    • Wisconsin, Trailblazer for American Workers’ Rights

      In 1959, Wisconsin became the first state in the union to guarantee collective bargaining rights for public employees by enacting a law that protects municipal workers from being fired or otherwise discriminated against for engaging in union-related activities. That law was further strengthened in 1963 to give either the union or the employer the right to call in a “fact finder” to help resolve bargaining disputes. In 1965, Wisconsin’s state employees won a limited right to bargain collectively, and those rights were further broadened over the next six years.

    • Big Brother Watch statement on the 2011 census

      “This census is a monumental waste of time and money. A large number of the questions duplicate data already held by the authorities on databases such as the electoral register, school records, tax returns and GP information.

      “It also makes the entirely hollow but nevertheless bullying threat of fines of £1,000 for non-compliance.

      “Back in 2001, 3 million people refused to comply. Given that there were fewer than 100 prosecutions for not filling the census in, it’s clear that non-compliance comes pretty much entirely without repercussions.

      “Last time, 390,000 people declared their religion as Jedi. There’s no reason to think people will take the census any more seriously this year”.

    • The Five Senators Who Refuse To Say If They Anonymously Killed The Whistleblower Bill

      They are:

      * David Vitter
      * Jeff Sessions
      * James Risch
      * Mitch McConnell
      * Jon Kyl

    • Should Employers Be Allowed to Ask for Your Facebook Login?

      The American Civil Liberties Union has taken up the cause of a Maryland man who was forced to cough up his Facebook password during a job interview with the Department of Corrections in that state.

      According to an ACLU letter sent to the Maryland Department of Corrections, the organization requires that new applicants and those applying for recertifications give the government “their social media account usernames and personal passwords for use in employee background checks.”

    • NJ Cop to Parents: Steal Facebook Passwords From Your Kids

      If you are a parent of a teenager, ask yourself a simple question. Would you allow your son or daughter to lock you out of his or her bedroom? Even though you own the house, your teen’s door is always closed . . .and you never get to come in.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Internet ‘kill switch’ bill revised, still angers civil rights activists

      Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tom Calpers (D-DE) introduce a revised version of their cybersecurity bill this week, entitled the “Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act,” which they say prohibits any possibility of an Internet ‘kill switch” — they swear.

      Like the original bill, which was introduced last month, this version is intended to establish an office within the Executive branch that will handle the “coordination” of governmental responses to a “catastrophic” cyber attack against the United States infrastructure, according to a statement by Sen. Collins.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Fictional trademarks: protectable?

        “Duff Beer” is the trademark for the beer favored by “Homer Simpson.” Just as “Homer” is a fictional character, “Duff Beer” is a fictional trademark. But does that mean that “Duff Beer” isn’t protectable – that anyone may use the mark for anything? Fordham law student Benjamin Arrow tackles this question in Real-Life Protection for Fictional Trademarks in the latest issue of the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal. By the way, the “Duff Beer” question is not hypothetical. “Duff Beer” was used, without authorization, by a brewery in Australia; and Twentieth Century Fox did sue, successfully.

    • Copyrights

      • ReDigi Says They’ll Sell Your Used MP3′s Legally

        Startup ReDigi will be opening “the world’s first online marketplace to legally recycle, buy and sell, used digital music files” this summer. On the ReDigi Marketplace, music “owners” can “manage their music libraries by selling their unwanted digital music, or purchasing the music they do want, at drastically discounted prices”.

Clip of the Day

VLC: A slight misunderstanding…


Credit: TinyOgg

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