California’s Prop 75 .
Oct 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

California’s Prop 75. Cal­i­for­nia is hav­ing a Novem­ber 8 spe­cial elec­tion with nation­wide con­se­quences. Of par­tic­u­lar impor­tance, because of the impli­ca­tions if it wins and its momen­tum spreads sim­i­lar ini­tia­tives through­out the coun­try, is Propo­si­tion 75, which would require pub­lic employ­ee unions to obtain mem­bers’ per­mis­sion before using their dues for polit­i­cal activ­i­ties. The large stakes are reflect­ed in cam­paign spend­ing of over $100 mil­lion, with sub­stan­tial amounts from out­side the state.

Pro­po­nents call it “pay­check pro­tec­tion,” since it pro­tects employ­ees from union spend­ing for polit­i­cal pur­pos­es they oppose. Unions say it is about weak­en­ing the polit­i­cal voice of work­ing peo­ple. But even beyond the facts that all work­ers would remain free to con­tribute to what­ev­er caus­es they sup­port and more than a third of union mem­bers rou­tine­ly oppose posi­tions union lead­ers fund (and mem­bers have been report­ed as rough­ly even­ly split on the mea­sure), that claim is note­wor­thy only for its brazen mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion. [Mis­es Eco­nom­ics Blog]

# Anthony Gregory at — The Dead Ends of Technicalitarianism — why Irwin Schiff’s approac
Oct 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Antho­ny Gre­go­ry at -

The Dead Ends of Tech­ni­cal­i­tar­i­an­ism
— why Irwin Schiff’s approach
to avoid­ing income tax is bass ack­wards. The gum­mint doesn’t care
about its own laws. Nev­er did. Nev­er will. It is a crim­i­nal
enter­prise, sup­port­ed by theft and mur­der. Always was. Always will
be. [claire­files]
Draw­ing on the tech­ni­cal­i­ties of law as the chief tac­tic of fight­ing
the state has its severe lim­i­ta­tions and draw­backs, how­ev­er. Instead
of help­ing to expose the naked emper­or or the man behind the cur­tain,
it can lead us to grant unde­served legit­i­ma­cy to the state. To obsess
over the income tax as a sup­posed vio­la­tion of statu­to­ry law is to
give far too much cre­dence to statu­to­ry law. The rea­son income tax is
wrong is that it’s theft, not because some leg­is­la­tor back in 1913
failed to dot his i’s and cross his t’s. More­over, if enough Amer­i­cans
began call­ing the IRS’s alleged bluff, and stopped fil­ing, the state
would sim­ply make the income tax “offi­cial” and “prop­er­ly rat­i­fied” in
any ways it had pre­sum­ably failed to do so.

The state is not about laws on pieces of paper. It is about loot­ing
and vio­lence. Its prin­ci­pal meth­ods of fund­ing are theft and
coun­ter­feit­ing, its reg­u­lar modus operan­di is extor­tion and its most
con­spic­u­ous projects are assault and mur­der. Ulti­mate­ly, find­ing a
tech­ni­cal­i­ty that saves Amer­i­cans from income tax­a­tion will prove as
effec­tive as find­ing one that saves for­eign­ers from incom­ing
U.S. mis­siles. (Can you imag­ine an Iraqi scream­ing at the bomb­ing of
Bagh­dad that since the war had not been declared prop­er­ly, the
explo­sions can­not legal­ly hurt him?) A loop­hole might save you mon­ey
in the short term, but it will like­ly do you no good if the IRS has it
in for you, and it will cer­tain­ly do lit­tle in the long term to help
in the eter­nal clash with the state.

Instead of search­ing for the mag­ic loop­hole that will swal­low up the
state and all its oppres­sion, we should devote our time to learn­ing
about how the state actu­al­ly works, its his­tor­i­cal and mod­ern
rela­tion­ships with the pri­vate and semi-private sec­tors, and the
effects of its domes­tic and for­eign inter­ven­tions. We should not fool
our­selves. The state does not steal our incomes because we have
over­looked a con­fus­ing reg­u­la­tion or fail to know our case law. The
rea­son we have an income tax is because the politi­cians in pow­er want
an income tax, and have bam­boo­zled the pub­lic into believ­ing that
tax­a­tion is accept­able in the first place. The tax code is con­fus­ing
and con­tra­dic­to­ry for all sorts of his­tor­i­cal and oper­a­tional rea­sons,
but it cer­tain­ly does not con­tain the final key to our free­dom from
[End the War on Free­dom]

Cell Phone Surveillance .
Oct 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Cell Phone Sur­veil­lance. Mis­souri will track people’s move­ments through their cell phones. [Schneier on Secu­ri­ty]

It’s because of this sort of thing that I wouldn’t car­ry a cell phone even if I did have a use for one.

Link: Petteri pontificates on full-frame DSLRS (aka Canon EOS 5D) .
Oct 26th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Link: Pet­teri pon­tif­i­cates on full-frame DSLRS (aka Canon EOS 5D). There’s a won­der­ful blo­grant called Petteri’s Pon­tif­i­ca­tions. In his most recent episode, Pet­teri Sulo­nen pon­tif­i­cates on full-frame DSLRs and the Canon EOS 5D. You may not agree with him, espe­cial­ly if you’re a Nikon afi­ciona­do, but it’s an inter­est­ing read. Now all Pet­teri needs to do is shell out the $3 for a real domain name. []

I wouldn’t say I’m an “afi­ciona­do,” but I do own Nikon equip­ment, and I agree with him. Two of the advan­tages of full-frame DSLRs which he men­tions are less noise at high ISO set­tings and lens­es behav­ing as they’re meant to. Since I pho­to­graph pri­mar­i­ly in very dark places where I don’t have much abil­i­ty to move around, these are very impor­tant to me. So impor­tant, in fact, that I wouldn’t even con­sid­er buy­ing a Nikon DSLR unless it was full-frame.

Are Skimpy Raises the New Normal? .
Oct 24th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Are Skimpy Rais­es the New Nor­mal?. Lam1969 writes “Com­put­er­world just released their lat­est salary sur­vey, and it finds that IT work­er bees have once again only received small rais­es. The arti­cle notes, “IT rais­es still lagged slight­ly behind the aver­age of about 3.2% for all U.S. work­ers as report­ed by the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics. While the major­i­ty of respon­dents (69%) said their 2004 base salary increased from one year ago, 31% expe­ri­enced either no change in salary or had their pay cut.” It goes on to quote LAN spe­cial­ist Stephen Nois­seau as say­ing, “I guess that’s the way the cook­ie crum­bles … I’ll take 4% over noth­ing. We’re get­ting basi­cal­ly cost-of-living rais­es.”” [Slash­dot]

In my expe­ri­ence the only way to get more mon­ey in this field is to get a job at anoth­er com­pa­ny that pays more.

Five Years Later: It Still Sucks .
Oct 24th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Five Years Later: It Still Sucks. It's been five years since I mentioned that email clients
suck infinitely

Nothing has changed. It's the same on the Mac and the PC.

This is commodity software that we all use, but because it's nearly all
free the innovation happens elsewhere.

I use Mailsmith,
a commercial (read: not free) email client. It's the best I've ever
used, but it still doesn't support IMAP. I want to switch to IMAP, but
I don't want to drop the 99 other Mailsmith features I'd hate to go
without, like it's awesome filtering system.

Juston Wood started
this round of the conversation. I picked it up on Brent's site
this morning
. By Seth Dillingham. [Truer Words - A Journal]

I wouldn't put it so strongly, but I'm also not completely happy with the email clients available. I currently use the last Mac OS version of Entourage, which generally works well, but sometimes spam (which is often malformed) causes it to crash.

I have a Filemaker database for archiving email, with a Frontier suite for getting messages from an email app and moving them into the database. This limits the useable email apps to Mac OS apps which have good scripting support. Unforunately some otherwise good email clients, such as Thunderbird, are not scriptable.

# Vin Suprynowicz at the Las Vegas Review-Journal — Nature cult’s devious tactics
Oct 23rd, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Vin Suprynow­icz at the Las Vegas Review-Journal -

Nature cult’s devi­ous tac­tics exposed
— one ranch­er struck back,
in court, against the envi­rowhack­os, and won, big time. Far
out. [root]
Mr. Chilton said he would have been hap­py with the vin­di­ca­tion of a $1
dam­age award.

But the Tuc­son jury was not so for­giv­ing, award­ing $600,000, includ­ing
$500,000 in puni­tive dam­ages against the lying anti-human green
extrem­ists, whose co-founder now says the jury award could finan­cial­ly
dev­as­tate the group.

Let’s hope so. The real goal of these fruit­cakes is to remove all
human activ­i­ty from vast swatch­es of the rur­al West (turn­ing most of
it back into an untend­ed desert), where­upon they seem to imag­ine only
they and their clos­est friends will be hand­ed pic­nic per­mits.

And the Cen­ter for Bio­log­i­cal Diver­si­ty is actu­al­ly among the more
liti­gious of these gangs; a third of its $3 mil­lion income in 2003
came from court awards and set­tle­ments, accord­ing to the Jour­nal.

Live by the sword, die by the sword?
[End the War on Free­dom]

bq. Jim Carl­ton of the Jour­nal reports the Chilton case “if upheld, could spark a legal upris­ing by ranch­ers against envi­ron­men­tal­ists, experts say.” The law­suit “has giv­en hope to a lot of ranch­ing fam­i­lies,” agrees C.B “Doc” Lane, exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of the Ari­zona Cat­tle Grow­ers’ Asso­ci­a­tion.

# Mary Ruwart at — The Law Most Likely to Kill You — FDA regulations cause unnecessary deat
Oct 11th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Mary Ruwart at -

The Law Most Like­ly to Kill You
— FDA reg­u­la­tions cause
unnec­es­sary deaths, by the mil­lions. [lew] [End the War on Free­dom]

bq. The death toll from los­ing half of our inno­va­tions from 1962 to 2003 is some­where between 4 and 16 mil­lion peo­ple depend­ing upon the assump­tions used. Adding the 4.7 mil­lion deaths due to an extra 10 years of devel­op­ment time sug­gests that as many as one out of three peo­ple who died of dis­ease since 1962 may have done so need­less­ly.

Dramatic Opportunity .
Oct 10th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Dra­mat­ic Oppor­tu­ni­ty. What con­tem­po­rary polit­i­cal fig­ure will make a bet­ter sub­ject for a grand his­tor­i­cal dra­ma than Karl Rove?
Not Nixon: there’s not much you can do with such a small, pet­ty, angry man, cor­nered at last. Not Rea­gan, pass­ing long, hazy days in the Oval Office, schem­ing to get an extra choco­late chip cook­ie. Not Clin­ton: there’s just no dra­ma in good gov­ern­ment tar­nished by per­son­al weak­ness; not even Gib­bon could find the sto­ry line though the third cen­tu­ry of the Empire offers plen­ty of Clin­tonesque exam­ples. And not Bush, who seems to lack either the weight or the aware­ness you’d need for dra­ma.
At Har­vard, I once played King­mak­er with an under­grad­u­ate woman whose ances­tor was Richard Neville. [Mark Bern­stein]

It’s worth point­ing out that regard­less of what any­one may think of Clin­ton as a good sub­ject for his­tor­i­cal dra­ma, he actu­al­ly was the sub­ject for a com­e­dy.

# Scott Granneman — Skype security and privacy concerns — Mr.
Oct 10th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Scott Granneman -

Skype security and privacy concerns
- Mr. Granneman agrees with me
that eBay's purchase of Skype bodes ill for Skype's security. I'd
wager they'll put a back-door in their encryption real soon.
That's bad enough, but now Skype is going to be owned by eBay. I know
that lots of people just loooove eBay. I use them myself, most
recently to enhance my Li'l Abner comics collection, but I'm careful
about the information I give them. Why? Well, it seems that there are
three kinds of companies: those that fight for customers' privacy in
the face of the demands of law enforcement; those that require some
sort of official, constitutionally-mandated documents - like, oh, say,
a warrant or subpoena - before handing over customer info to the cops;
and eBay.

Think I'm being a little harsh on eBay? At the CyberCrime 2003
conference, Joseph E. Sullivan, Director of Compliance and Law
Enforcement Relations for eBay,

had this to say to a group of law enforcement officials

"I know from investigating eBay fraud cases that eBay has probably the
most generous policy of any internet company when it comes to sharing
information. We do not require a subpoena except for very limited
circumstances. We require a subpoena when we need the financial
information from the site, credit card info or sometimes IP
information. ... So, that really opens the door for us. That means
that what our policy is that if you are law enforcement agency you can
fax us on your letterhead to request information: who is that beyond
the seller ID, who is beyond this user ID. We give you their name,
their address, their e-mail address and we can give you their sales
history without a subpoena. ... We will probably tell you too that you
might want to get a subpoena because we are looking for credit card
info and you ask that. ... We also do other things to facilitate your
investigation by looking and doing some searches around on our own,
typically to see if there are some other user ID's associated with
that thing. ... We are doing a lot of work with law enforcement

[End the War on Freedom]

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