Like, Unlike
Posted on September 15th, 2011 at 10:13 pm by Steve

Unlike -1

I can haz freedum?
Posted on February 4th, 2011 at 10:48 am by josh-wah

The Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism – Ethan Zuckerman

Blocking banal content on the internet is a self-defeating proposition. It teaches people how to become dissidents – they learn to find and use anonymous proxies, which happens to be a key first step in learning how to blog anonymously. Every time you force a government to block a web 2.0 site – cutting off people’s access to cute cats – you spend political capital.

Read the whole thing – it’s great.

Gratuitous lolcat inclusion:

Your Local Police: Hunting for Aliens
Posted on January 27th, 2010 at 5:39 pm by Steve

It’s even creepier than it sounds. Under the new “Secure Communities” program spearheaded by the Department of Homeland Security – named in the fashion of Bush’s “Clear Skies” and “Healthy Forests” Initiatives – all local and state police bookings will be run through the DHS master immigration database. Anyone flagged as an “illegal alien” will be detained at the request of DHS.

The idea that your local police would be cooperating with DHS in enforcing immigration rules completely undermines whatever limited trust might still remain between community members and police officers. Don’t just take my word for it; here’s the conclusion of a lobbying group called the Police Foundation:

immigration enforcement by local police undermines their core public safety mission, diverts scarce resources, increases their exposure to liability and litigation, and exacerbates fear in communities already distrustful of police.

The fact that every single person arrested and booked will be run through this system is considered a civil rights PLUS because it avoids the “profiling” of people based on their skin color or perceived ethnic background.

With that so-called advantage, I’m sure a lot of liberals will line up and cheer for the Obama administration’s newest plan to help Keep Us Safe from all those house-cleaners, musicians, DJs, gardeners, nannies, computer programmers, strawberry pickers, and meat packers who currently enable threaten our way of life.

‘It’s Incredibility I’m After’
Posted on January 8th, 2010 at 11:09 am by Steve

Posted on December 30th, 2009 at 4:14 pm by Steve

Chris Hedges nails it:

The tyranny we impose on others we finally impose on ourselves.

Posted on July 21st, 2009 at 9:13 pm by Steve

It might have come down from Amazon’s headquarters reading something like this:

kindle 7.17.09 allowing orwell downloads doupleplusungood refs unbooks revert fullwise

OK, when it comes to writing in doublespeak, I’m obviously no Winston Smith. What I’m trying to say is this: on July 17th, Amazon reached into Kindle devices across the globe and deleted all traces of the book Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.

Claiming they’d mistakenly allowed the book to be sold by a publisher who didn’t own the rights, Amazon remotely erased both Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm from hundreds of devices, and credited the accounts of the affected Kindle owners.

Amazon promised, though, that they’ll never do it again.

I {Heart} the “Heartland”
Posted on April 3rd, 2009 at 10:13 am by Steve

The Iowa Supreme Court:

In this case, we must decide if our state statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the Iowa Constitution, as the district court ruled. On our review, we hold the Iowa marriage statute violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. Therefore, we affirm the decision of the district court.

It’s not just the “librul-elite” on the decadent coasts anymore. Now it’s the “real” Americans in the “heartland,” too, who believe that adults should be able to marry the person they love.

The list of organizations and individuals that filed briefs of amicus curiae is interesting, as it’s basically a list of allies and opponents. The list of allies is much longer, and includes the usual suspects (Freedom to Marry coalition, MassEquality, P-FLAG, and so on), but it also includes The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, The National Black Justice Coalition, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Immigrants’ Rights Program of the American Friends Service Committee, the National Association of Social Workers, the Howard University School of Law Civil Rights Clinic, and the American Psychological Association.

You can read the whole opinion or just the court summary (PDFs) if you like.

Not Even Hyperbole
Posted on March 3rd, 2009 at 1:35 pm by Steve

We may not have realized it at the time, but in the period from late 2001-January 19, 2009, this country was a dictatorship. The constitutional rights we learned about in high school civics were suspended. That was thanks to secret memos crafted deep inside the Justice Department that effectively trashed the Constitution. What we know now is likely the least of it.

That’s Harper’s contributor and Constitutional law expert Scott Horton, reacting to the Obama administration’s release yesterday of a slew of secret Justice Department memoranda from the Bush administration.

The New York Times has the sobering details:

The secret legal opinions issued by Bush administration lawyers after the Sept. 11 attacks included assertions that the president could use the nation’s military within the United States to combat terrorism suspects and to conduct raids without obtaining search warrants…

The opinions reflected a broad interpretation of presidential authority, asserting as well that the president could unilaterally abrogate foreign treaties, ignore any guidance from Congress in dealing with detainees suspected of terrorism, and conduct a program of domestic eavesdropping without warrants.

EFF Goes to Bat for iPhone Users
Posted on February 19th, 2009 at 11:34 am by Steve

I suppose it was only a matter of time before Apple argued that “jailbreaking” your iPhone is illegal (technically, a violation of everyone’s favorite Digital Millenium Copyright Act). Because the process of liberating your iPhone from Apple’s restrictions involves copying and reverse-engineering Apple’s boot-loader software, the company argues that users are violating the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions.

Fortunately, we’ve got some crack techies on the case over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They’ve filed paperwork with the U. S. Copyright Office arguing that iPhone users should be granted an exemption from the DMCA because Apple otherwise prevents them from using software from some third parties on the iPhone:

the courts have long recognized that copying software while reverse engineering is a fair use when done for purposes of fostering interoperability with independently created software, a body of law that Apple conveniently fails to mention.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. I’m just glad that the good folks at EFF are around to fight battles like this one. If you can swing it, maybe you’d like to kick ’em a few bucks.

My Favorite “No on 8” Ad of the Season
Posted on November 3rd, 2008 at 6:23 pm by Steve

Courtesy of our friends at the Public Service Administration:

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