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 LewRockwell.com -
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
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. 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). 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. [Photoethnography.com]
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?. 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. It’s been five years since I mentioned that email clients
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 exposed — one rancher struck back,
in court, against the envirowhackos, and won, big time. Far
Mr. Chilton said he would have been happy with the vindication of a $1
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 LewRockwell.com -
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. 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. 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;
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]
As I’ve mentioned <a href=“http://radio.weblogs.com/0100205/2005/09/08.html#a3542>before, Skype’s closed source already makes it completely insecure. The purchase by eBay actually has no effect on its (lack of) security.