My Archives: June 2005

Thursday, June 30, 2005

If you distribute an email newsletter, and it contains or links to any content which is even slightly questionable for children, then you had better stop....or learn how to comply with new laws coming into effect in Michigan and Utah (with other states close behind).

According to the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy, you could be in trouble if your email contains "unpermitted materials, links to unpermitted materials, or even links to sites which have information about the unpermitted materials" and you send it to someone on the minors email registries. Your only protection is to, once a month, check your email list against those registries....for a small fee per address checked.

Under the battle cry of "Pure children!", the states are at one stroke raising more funds for their treasuries, clamping down more on the free flow of information on the Internet, and eviscerating whatever privacy you've promised your subscribers. (You have to send them your email address list for checking.)

These laws won't stop foreign spam or spam from zombie PCs. They will mean cash from the large email marketers; and will simply stop small compaines and non-profit organizations from distributing email newsletters. Read Declan McCullagh's article for just some of the ramifications.  —brad

Posted by brad @ 03:12 PM EST [Link]

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Wonderful news from Aeon Skoble who writes, I am proud and pleased to announce that Reason Papers has a new website, the chief virtue of which is the full-text PDF archives. Reason Papers was founded in 1974 by Tibor Machan, and I took over editorship in 2000. All of issues 1-25 are now available for download or on-line reading in the "Archive" section of the new website. Issues 26 and 27, the most current, are available for purchase, although one or two pieces from those as well have on-line PDFs if you want a sample. When issue 28 is published this Fall, issue 26 will go on-line, and so on (what they call a "2-issue moving wall"). This is a truly exciting event, as some of the older back issues were out of print, and the history of Reason Papers includes many noteworthy contributions by major theorists from philosophy, economics, history, and politics. I am especially grateful to Stephan Kinsella for doing the tedious work of making the PDFs, David Veksler for the site redesign, and Jeff Tucker for volunteering to host the site. Thanks! I encourage everyone to go have a look at the new site, and I hope you find much if value in the archives. I add a ringing endorsement. The Reason Papers are a magnificent intellectual resource that has, hitherto, been inaccessible to all but those lucky enough to own a full run of the print version. Well done!

Posted by mac @ 01:30 PM EST [Link]

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Cartoons! Chuck Asay's "Family Operation"; Stuart Carlson's "Postwar Planning"; and, Steve Sack's "Shifting Rationales". AND a Ted Rall fest (I love the way he portrays Generalissimo Bush): "Innocent", Republicans, "We're looking for a few Clueless Orphans...and, "For Nothing.

Posted by mac @ 10:40 AM EST [Link]

Amazing. Not that politicians would rape your rights for the sake of a buck -- if the cash goes into their pockets -- but that they would be so open about it. The Independent reports the latest on Britain's plan to impose a national ID. "Personal details of all 44 million adults living in Britain could be sold to private companies as part of government attempts to arrest spiralling costs for the new national identity card scheme, set to get the go-ahead this week. The Independent on Sunday can today reveal that ministers have opened talks with private firms to pass on personal details of UK citizens for an initial cost of 750 each."

Posted by mac @ 10:10 AM EST [Link]

A fascinating item...and not a hoax. Or, rather, the hoax seems to have been committed by the Emperor Claudius (one of my favorites) and, then, taught to every British child through the ages. Steve Bloomfield writes in The Independent, " The history of Britain will have to be rewritten. The AD43 Roman invasion never happened - and was simply a piece of sophisticated political spin by a weak Emperor Claudius. A series of astonishing archaeological findings of Roman military equipment, to be revealed this week, will prove that the Romans had already arrived decades earlier - and that they had been welcomed with open arms by ancient Britons." [more]

Posted by mac @ 09:59 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Gordon P. writes, Just had one of those singular experiences that seems to put something into a stark clear perspective --- and while I'm not _entirely_ certain said perspective is valid, it at least _suggests_ that the U.S. inflation may definitely be starting to heat up --- FedGov claims to the contrary notwithstanding. Click on "more" to continue reading. [more]

Posted by mac @ 09:49 AM EST [Link]

Friday, June 24, 2005

Cartoon round-up: Chuck Asay's "Healthcare Exposure"; Tom Toles' hilarious "We Regret Your Mistake"; and, Mark Fiore's latest animation "Rewriting Reality". Enjoy!

Posted by mac @ 11:43 AM EST [Link]

This ALERT just received: Say NO to Universal Mental Health Screening Tell your Representative to vote YES for the Paul Amendment! (Click on "more") [more]

Posted by mac @ 11:25 AM EST [Link]

Gordon P. writes, On Wednesday the U.S. House of Representatives passed by 286-130 vote a Constitutional Amendment banning the burning or desecration of the American flag. As Jon Stewart noted on the _Daily Show_, this gesture is largely symbolic and pointless, since the overwhelming majority of U.S. flag-burning appears to occur overseas --- _outside_ of the jurisdiction of the U.S. Constitution... (Of course, the NeoCons don't seem to recognize _any_ boundaries to the "jurisdiction" of the U.S. --- either domestically or overseas... :-(

Stewart also noted the irony of this amendment given the following section of the U.S. Flag Code: "(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, _preferably by burning_..." So apparently, whether or not burning the U.S. flag is "constitutional" depends on the _intent_ of the person burning the flag...

Additionally: In order for it to be possible to "desecrate" something, it must first be "sacred." Now nearly every definition of the word "sacred" in the dictionary involves _religious_ veneration, e.g., an object that is "holy," or has been dedicated or set apart for the service of god, etc. (The one exception is "entitled to reverence or respect.") So, are the NeoCons and the member of the so-called "Religious Right" therefore suggesting that the U.S. flag is an object to be _worshipped_ or _revered_ in some way? (Perhaps they were not paying attention to the passages in their Bible forbidding the practice of idolatry...)

Posted by mac @ 11:22 AM EST [Link]

Thanks to Claire Wolfe for this humorous diversion from having to work, work, work: Top 100 Movie Quotes.

Posted by mac @ 04:08 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Economist recently ran the best single article I've seen on the housing bubble. I'm glad to see it's available on-line. Read it.  —brad

Posted by brad @ 09:41 PM EST [Link]

Interesting story on today's WorldNetDaily site. It opens, "It's rare that an author wants to see his most famous work taken out of print. But that's the case with Willaim Powell's The Anarchist Cookbook, a guide to weapons and bomb-making, written 36 years ago, during the turbulent 1960s, by a 19-year-old fresh out of high school." Powell says he no longer believes that violence is an acceptable meanas to bring about political change. I agree. But I wouldn't mind seeing the book yanked for other reasons. I remember Samuel Konkin III (SEK3) explaining to me in some detail that, if you carefully followed the directions in TAC, you were likely to blow yourself up. SEK3 speculated on whether the author was actually a government agent trying to reduce the population of radicals. Being less into conspiracy theory, I just figured the author was incompetent. Unfortunately, the consequences would amount to the same. BOOM!!!

Posted by mac @ 05:34 AM EST [Link]

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

We've just returned from a few days at the Shaw Festival with some friends. I'm sure Wendy will describe our theatre-going experience in greater detail. I'll just say that if you can go there this year, the "must see" play is Journey's End.  —brad

Posted by brad @ 08:25 PM EST [Link]

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Amazing! Thanks to Lee K. for sending along the U.S. government's proposal to merge the U.S., Mexico, and Canada borders into one. Here is the actual proposal paper.

Posted by mac @ 02:38 PM EST [Link]

Thanks to Gordon P. for the following heads-up on a vote Ron Paul plans to push in Congress today: namely, opposition to a global tax on airline tickets that amounts to an unprecedented U.N. tax on rich nations, especially the States. Click "more" for details.... [more]

Posted by mac @ 02:33 PM EST [Link]

Watching Penn & Teller's "Bullshit!" program last night, I was reminded of how contrived and phony the original acronym for the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. act sounds. Here's my suggestion for something a bit more accurate: The Unconstrained Spying on Americans by the Political Abuse of Terrorism to Render Initial Objections Toothless.  —brad

Posted by brad @ 09:52 AM EST [Link]

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Thanks to Lee K. for his analysis of the Sensenbrenner temper tantrum, which has widely reported in Democrat and liberal blogs, for example Dem Bloggers. Lee first wrote, Rep. Sensenbrenner, the sponsor of the RealID Act (de facto national ID card) and HR 1528, which would imprison people who don't snitch on their friends and family for drugs, had a tantrum. Then he wrote again to correct the first email, I watched the Sensenbrenner episode myself (all 2 hours of it), and I think the democratic blogs took it out of context. Yes, Sensenbrenner is hostile towards the minority Democrats in his committee, and is hostile towards civil liberties (with his sponsoring of the RealID Act and HR1528), but in the context of chairing this particular hearing, he was not way out of line. It was just another congressional dogfight. I include my comments below.... [more]

Posted by mac @ 12:28 PM EST [Link]

News item: "Libertarian Arrested In Manchester [N.H.] Airport Protest". Good to see someone protesting.

Posted by mac @ 11:38 AM EST [Link]

It occurs to me that yesterday's entry touches upon a subject which has occupied my thoughts lately: Preparing For The Bad Times Coming. [more]

Posted by brad @ 11:23 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, June 11, 2005

There's nothing like an impending new Internet service to prompt me to revamp our network security. A few months ago I acquired the hardware to replace our old firewall box....even before we knew we were switching to high-speed service. So with the satellite installation scheduled, I had to hustle to upgrade the firewall. [more]

Posted by brad @ 01:17 PM EST [Link]

Friday, June 10, 2005

O frabjous day! We now have high-speed Internet, via satellite! [more]

Posted by brad @ 01:50 PM EST [Link]

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

ACLU Action Network. Thousands of people across America will be calling Congress this week to speak out against the expansion of the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act imposes restrictions on freedom that no democracy should ever tolerate. We need you to speak out as a concerned citizen to stop the government from stripping away your rights. Click "more" to read what you can do and how you can do it....

Posted by mac @ 01:36 PM EST [Link]

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Thanks to Lee K. for pointing me to his commentary on the Raich decision by which medical exceptions to the prohibition on marijuana were rejected on a federal level.

Posted by mac @ 12:42 PM EST [Link]

Monday, June 6, 2005

Thanks to Erin for the "Best Of" from The Revised Devil's Dictionary. Click on "more" for "Best Of"... [more]

Posted by mac @ 01:39 PM EST [Link]

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Human Event's list of "Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries" is stirring vigorous debate across the Internet, including the Liberty and Power blog to which I contribute. The debate began with a post by Ralph Luker on CLIOPATRIA: A Group Blog -- hosted by History News Network, who also hosts L&P -- in which Luker included "Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead/Atlas Shrugged" as number 9 on his list of the "10 most harmful", with Mein Kampf capturing the #1 spot. [Scroll to the bottom of his post to view responses.] Noted Rand scholar Chris Sciabarra is continuing the Luker-Rand debate on L&P in his posts here and here.

Posted by mac @ 09:50 AM EST [Link]

Cartons: Ted Rall's "Diversity, Diversity"; Don Wright's "Under the Patriot Act"; Mike Luckovich's "Deep Throat"; Tom Toles' hilarious "By the Way"; Mark Fiore's "Democracy Lite"; and, Ben Sargent's "Lesson Learned". Enjoy!

Posted by mac @ 09:29 AM EST [Link]

The conservative periodical Human Events has released its list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. The list follows. Click on "more" to read a brief summary and commentary on each book. The selectiona and reasoning behind them are interesting you would expect...from a very conservative perspective. Nietzsche? And both On Liberty (John Stuart Mill) and Origin of the Species (Charles Darwin) received honorable mention? Yikes!

The Communist Manifesto
Mein Kampf
Quotations from Chairman Mao
The Kinsey Report
Democracy and Education
Das Kapital
The Feminine Mystique
The Course of Positive Philosophy
Beyond Good and Evil
General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money [more]

Posted by mac @ 09:04 AM EST [Link]

Saturday, June 4, 2005

I urge readers to make a donation to this site by purchasing issue of Queen Silver's Magazine from the very last offering I will make of that rare freethought periodical (1923-1931). It is so rare that it is not even in the Library of Congress. But it is on ebay and your purchase supports this site. Click on this listing and then on the URL at the upper right hand side that reads "View seller's other items." Thank you.
Wendy McElroy

Posted by mac @ 04:35 PM EST [Link]

Friday, June 3, 2005

Okay, on the off chance that there's a computer science student reading this blog, who hasn't already heard: Google will pay you $4500 if you successfully complete an open-source programming project by the end of the summer. They have to approve your project, and the proposal deadline is June 14th, so it's time to hustle. Many open source organizations are participating, and even have suggested projects if you can't think of one. All the details are on Google's "Summer of Code" page. Spread the word!  —brad

Posted by brad @ 08:51 AM EST [Link]

Cartoons: Steve Sacks' "Image Problems"; Jeff Danziger's "I love you Daddy"; Drew Heneman's "High Ground"; Pat Oliphant's "Highly Overrated and For Sale"; and Gay Varvel's "News Alert".

Posted by mac @ 07:46 AM EST [Link]

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Gordon P. writes, As an apparent collateral damage of the FCC's rulings after the Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction:" the broadcast media are now spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to digitally blur any "nipple bumps" visible on actress's blouses, There is apparently now even a "nipple clause" appearing in media contracts: Women have a right to have them (i.e., they can't be required to wear bras), but producers have the right to airbrush them out of the final cut. It's gotten to the point that even _Victoria's Secret_ is marketing "nipple-minimizing bras" to prevent nipple pokies...Has the entire country gone stark raving bonkers ??? Has the U.S. _completely_ run out of perspective and common sense ??? What's next --- a return to layered petticoats and hoop skirts ??? Or is the U.S. going to join the muslin world and require burkhas ???

To answer Gordon's question: yes, the entire U.S. has gone stark raving bonkers. Thank God it is only one corner of the world.

Posted by mac @ 04:33 PM EST [Link]

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