2003 brings a little hope .
Dec 31st, 2002 by Ken Hagler

2003 brings a little hope. It has just gone midnight here in the UK and so I will begin by extending my very best wishes… []

bq. However, there is some good news to be had. The BBC TV teletext news service (no link, sorry) is reporting the result of a nationwide survey of parents the result of which is that a relatively whopping thirty one percent are considering home-schooling. The reason given was the growing disillusionment with the current education system.

That’s good news for the British people. I wish that many Americans would consider home-schooling!

Huge increase in US airport security .
Dec 31st, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Huge increase in US airport security. Sweeping new security measures are coming into effect in the United States to prevent a repeat of 11 September. [BBC News | Front Page | UK Edition]

Unsurprisingly, the sweeping new “security” measures have nothing whatsoever to do with preventing hijackings.

Lessig : “Where is the political party that demands respect for principles that I thought were fundamental.” [ Scripting News ] It
Dec 31st, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Lessig: “Where is the political party that demands respect for principles that I thought were fundamental.” [Scripting News]

It’s right here.

How the Law Was Lost [ Constitution Society ] A lengthy and depressing look at how the rule of law has broken down in the US.
Dec 30th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

How the Law Was Lost [Constitution Society]

A lengthy and depressing look at how the rule of law has broken down in the US.

Japan Today Japan News – Personal data on residents of entire town stolen .
Dec 28th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Japan Today Japan News – Personal data on residents of entire town stolen. FUKUSHIMA — Digital tapes recording personal information of all 9,600 residents in the town of Iwashiro, Fukushima Prefecture, have been stolen, police said Saturday. The theft occurred at around 6:20 p.m. Thursday after a company employee received the tapes at a local government building and briefly left a suitcase containing them in a locked car while en route to deposit them, the police said, adding the window of the car, owned by a computer company in Koriyama in the prefecture, was broken. Town officials said the stolen tapes were backups for the controversial national resident registry network and contained six types of information used in the registry — a resident’s name, address, date of birth, sex, resident registry code and the record of changes of the information. [Privacy Digest]

bq. Many critics of the system have voiced concern over the possibility of data leaks. The latest incident may again stir debate over the issue, analysts said.

“Stir debate?” It seems to me this theft ends the debate, by proving the critics were right in the most definitive way imaginable.

By The Associated Press via New York Times – free registration required Personal Information Taken From Military .
Dec 27th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

By The Associated Press via New York Timesfree registration required Personal Information Taken From Military. Thieves who broke into a government contractor’s office snatched computer hard drives containing Social Security numbers, addresses and other records of about 500,000 members of the military and their families. The company, Phoenix-based TriWest Healthcare Alliance, provides managed health care to the military in 16 states, including Minnesota. It serves about 1.1 million active-duty personnel, their dependents and retirees. [Privacy Digest]

One of the many royal proclamations executive orders signed by Clinton in the last days of his administration (and subsequently approved by Bush) ended healthcare privacy by requiring records to be turned over to the government on demand. With that in mind, it’s informative to see how the government takes care of its own employees’ healthcare records.

Cloning claim prompts call for ban .
Dec 27th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Cloning claim prompts call for ban. The claim by a company to have produced the world’s first cloned baby sparks calls for cloning to be outlawed in the US. [BBC News | Front Page | UK Edition]

It’s not clear yet if the claims are true, but if so this is very good news. Fortunately it’s impossible for Luddites in any one country to outlaw science. The real danger to progress is from Tranzis with their UN and international treaties.

Knitting Afghanistan .
Dec 27th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Knitting Afghanistan. The United States is–rightfully–required to defend our waging of foreign wars before world opinion on grounds other than that we merely felt like wreaking havoc. A humanitarian urge to make life better for the citizens of the nations we assault has been used as a cloak to cover U.S. military escapades in every war since WWII. This sort of international welfare state argument has never been entirely convincing to minimal-staters to begin with–if a domestic welfare state is an illegitimate function of a government whose purpose is to defend its citizens’ lives, liberty, and property, then why is a worldwide one, with aerial bombing no less, any better?

But even at face value, ensuring that everything will be better once the U.S. Army has kicked some ass demands a level of understanding of the nuances and dynamics of foreign nations and cultures, and a potentially almost eternal commitment (U.S. troops tend to stay put once sent somewhere), that requires a lot of heavy thinking–as well as a fair amount of existential despair over the occasional immutability of human perfidy and misery. Those salivating at the thought of bombs over Baghdad need to remember that cleaning up after a fun party like that is long and arduous. The results might not be anything we’d have a reason to be proud of, either. [Reason Magazine]

Another great day for the opposition .
Dec 23rd, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Another great day for the opposition. It was another great day for the opposition as we had a huge  candlelight march. It was also a day in which the National Guard used tear gas to disperse a peaceful demonstration on the Lake Maracaibo bridge. Once the people were gassed off the bridge, you should have seen the grotesque images of National Guards in motorcycles throwing tear gas cannisters at ladies and older gentlemen, as if they were cattle. There was also a grenade thrown at the headquarters of the Confederation of Chambers of Commerce. Separately the crew of some of the tankers were jailed, denied lawyers, food and water.
While the first item may sound positive, why do I think the other two are good? Simple, the more the Chavez Government shows its true miltaristic facist face, the more the world will realize what a democratic charade Chavez is performing in Venezuela. For three days, the Government’s negotiating team did not show up at the table being mediated by the Secretary General of the OAS. Why do you think that is? Also simple, they don’t want to negotiate. For a month and a half the Government has said the only option is  that a recall referendum may be held in August. That is not a negotiaton stance, it is what the Constitution says. The country can’t wait that long, there is no Government, there is a rebellion and there is no justice. As simple as that!

The whole family including patriotic chihuahua attend candlelight march [Miguel Octavio: Venezuela]

Here’s a report direct from Venezuela on the latest events. Notice the difference between this and the AP report.

Marx after communism .
Dec 23rd, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Marx after communism. Anti-globalism has been aptly described as a secular religion. So is Marxism: a creed complete with prophet, sacred texts and the promise of a heaven shrouded in mystery. Marx was not a scientist, as he claimed. He founded a faith. The economic and political systems he inspired are dead or dying. But his religion is a broad church, and lives on. [The Economist]

I’ve heard many different people (none of them in academia) describe Marxism as a “death cult.” It seems the author has the same idea.

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