Thursday, March 31, 2005

$2.4B agreement paves the way for health reforms

Wow. Health insurance. It must be nice.

Capitol Bill Aims to Control "Leftist" Profs

Republicans on the House Choice and Innovation Committee voted along party lines Tuesday to pass a bill that aims to stamp out “leftist totalitarianism” by “dictator professors” in the classrooms of Florida’s universities.

It's an old story, but when I first heard about it the bill was pending, but now it seems to have passed.

Cannonfire: More on the so-called "American Center for Voting Rights"

Brad Friedman has been doing his usual excellent job covering the American Center for Voting Rights, or ACVR. (How should we pronounce that acronym? I propose "Ass-seever.") If you haven't yet heard of this organization, don't worry: You soon will. They have been positioning themselves for a "Swift Boat" style media impact.

The only known members of this allegedly non-partisan group -- which spews GOP spin points while pooh-poohing genuine concerns over computerized vote fraud -- are Republican party movers-n-shakers, such as "Thor" Hearne and Jim Dyke. Their source of funds remains unknown. Their only address is a mail drop in a UPS store in Texas -- even though the only known leaders of the group operate elsewhere. (What kind of legitimate group uses a mail drop?)

The Republican National Committee is already citing the report of this newborn group to buttress its claim that Democrats, not Republicans, intimidate voters. An RNC flyer instructs us to "check out the documented Democratic intimidation tactics at"

Non-partisanship at its finest!

Remote Readable Chips in American Passports

Repost from Slashdot:

" reports that 'business travel groups, security experts and privacy advocates are looking to derail a government plan to insert remotely readable chips in American passports, calling the chips homing devices for high-tech muggers, identity thieves and even terrorists.' and that 'The 64-KB chips will include the information from the photo page of the passport, including name, date of birth and a digitized form of the passport picture.'"

Suit by Detainee on Transfer to Syria Finds Support in Jet's Log

WASHINGTON, March 29 - Maher Arar, a 35-year-old Canadian engineer, is suing the United States, saying American officials grabbed him in 2002 as he changed planes in New York and transported him to Syria where, he says, he was held for 10 months in a dank, tiny cell and brutally beaten with a metal cable.

Now federal aviation records examined by The New York Times appear to corroborate Mr. Arar's account of his flight, during which, he says, he sat chained on the leather seats of a luxury executive jet as his American guards watched movies and ignored his protests.

The tale of Mr. Arar, the subject of a yearlong inquiry by the Canadian government, is perhaps the best documented of a number of cases since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in which suspects have accused the United States of secretly delivering them to other countries for interrogation under torture. Deportation for interrogation abroad is known as rendition.

Too bad the article is from the NY Times. I lost respect for that paper years ago, although the above story is insightful... Americans also just don't care about this stuff. They want to know what happened on [insert name of reality TV show].

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez, one of America's great citizens, lived within the tradition of the non-violent practices of Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, St. Francis of Assisi and, of course, Jesus Christ, whose non-violent tenets are completely ignored by all too many who shout his name loudest while wrapping their greed and ambitions in his mantle and the flag...

He came to his destiny the hard way. The son of migrant farm workers who spoke only Spanish at home, Chavez and his brother attended 37 schools by the time he graduated from the 8th grade, the end of his formal education. He hated the Anglo schools and the racism he encountered there. He was a self-taught man who never stopped learning. He read. He worked. He spoke. He listened to his friends as well as his enemies. Chavez was a practical organizer who did not let his integrity and idealism get in the way of his vision. We need reminding that in 1969 he told Peter Matthiessen, "People can be organized for the most ridiculous things. Look at the John Birch Society. Look at Hitler. The reactionaries are always better organizers. The right has a lot of discipline that the left lacks. The left always dilutes itself. Instead of merging to go after the common enemy, the left splinters, and the splinters go after one another. Meanwhile the right keeps after its objective, pounding away, pounding away." He had a large library of books on philosophy, economics, cooperatives, unions, biographies on Gandhi and the Kennedy brothers, and he lived by his credo that "The end of all education should surely be service to others."

That last line is something most law students should consider reflecting upon...

The Nice Weather Ends Tomorrow

It was 70 today. Actually, it is STILL 70 degrees, but tomorrow this wonderful state returns to plain old sucky typical Michigan weather. Between the bombed out buildings and potholes and decaying infrastructure and general blight - just the thrill of knowing I get to leave is making me almost-happy on a 24/7 basis.

Sen. Danforth and The Radical Republican Moderates

[Republicans] believed in limited government, in keeping light the burden of taxation and regulation. We encouraged the private sector, so that a free economy might thrive. We believed that judges should interpret the law, not legislate. We were internationalists who supported an engaged foreign policy, a strong national defense and free trade. These were principles shared by virtually all Republicans.

But in recent times, we Republicans have allowed this shared agenda to become secondary to the agenda of Christian conservatives. As a senator, I worried every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not spend a single minute worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today it seems to be the other way around.

After reading this article, I realized why I started out (and still am - for the moment) a registered Republican, although as a practical matter Republicans of today have very little in common with true conservative government. Republicans are now The Party of Jesus Christ and many of its members openly advocate the establishment of a theocratic state . I believe the Founding Fathers are rolling in their graves over this, with perhaps the exception of Benjamin Rush, who seemed to differ with Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Franklin, et el, on the issues of theocratic government.

Mensa Humour

This came to my attention from a friend of mine back home...

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are this year's winners:

1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

3. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stop bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

4. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

5. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

6. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

7. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

8. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

9. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

10. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

11. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

12. Glibido: All talk and no action.

13. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

14. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

15. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

16. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

17. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an @#$ hole.

Supreme Court "Grokster" Case

Just for the record - The Supremes will hand down a decision in June that will make Hollywood and Pat Robertson-type Republicans jump for joy.

UPDATE: Hollywood reports record earnings.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Linux Makes Granny Cry

Naughty Linux! Bad Linux! Actually, not really. Granny is pretty happy.

NY Can Tax Nonresident Employees Income

Repost from Slashdot...

"The Boston Globe is running this story on an out-of-state programmer working for a New York company who had to pay state taxes. '"New York has the right to tax 100% of a nonresident employee's income derived from New York sources," according to the 4-3 decision by Court of Appeals. The court relied on a fairness rule called the "convenience of the employer" under law that says a worker's income is taxable if he chooses to live outside the state, as opposed to if he or she was transferred there.' The dissenting opinion: 'Judge Robert Smith argued that the basis of the majority's decision that all income is taxable is "that the commissioner says it is ... The majority cites no authority at all, and offers no persuasive reason, in support of this new interpretation."'

Dollar At The Tipping Point?

"President George W. Bush's new budget proposal," writes Altman, "would substantially expand the government's debt burden in the next decade, potentially raising doubts about the desirability of its IOUs. Some Asian central banks have declared that they will diversify their reserves away from dollar-denominated assets. If China decouples the yuan from the dollar, it will not need as many dollar-denominated assets to keep its currency from gaining value, nor will its competitors for export markets.

Monday, March 28, 2005

China Slowly Moves To Euro

Reserve diversification is the new buzz in the market. To the surprise of many traders, the People's Bank of China, recently released figures indicating that china has reduced holdings of US dollars in their reserves by 6% over the past 2 years... at the time [they are] also quietly increasing their purchases of euros.

Note: Undemocratic Communist China is one of our major creditors (Asian nation states in general are our biggest creditors when Japan, Vietnam, et el, are factored into the equation), and the United State is the largest debtor nation on the planet.

All the Republican Karl Rovian rhetoric in the world will not enable our country to reach escape velocity from reality; eventually, actual economic fundamentals are going to catch up with us and the consequences stand to be at minimum unpleasant and more likely - catastrophic.

SuSE 9.3 Professional [Links to Review]

It really is a professional distribution, in fact, I'd go so far as to say it's the finest release I've had the pleasure of using in all my years in the community. Now, sure, I'm biased, I used to work for SuSE and they put out some real quality releases during my time there, but this is simply the best.

I'd been using the betas (I'm on the beta test programme), so I knew it was shaping up well, but let me give you some of the highlights: GNOME 2.10, KDE 3.4, OOo 2.0-pre, Beagle, Firefox.

Update April 6, 2005: Another review can be found HERE.

Linux is getting better and better...

Gene Wilder: It Hurts to Laugh

...Wilder is a man of few punch lines. There's hardly a yuk in "Kiss Me," and throughout a 45-minute interview, he says nothing intended to amuse. This doesn't surprise his friends, who describe Wilder as thoughtful, warm and the least shticky of funny men. But the full extent of his mental and emotional struggles is news even to people who have known him for decades.

"I had dinner with him in 1987, right after my own book came out," says actor Charles Grodin, who met Wilder in the 1950s and is a pal to this day. "And he told me at the time that he wished my book had gone deeper. I was slightly irritated. I said, 'That's as deep as I get.' Now that his book is out, I see what he means."

Tux Goes to Court: How the Grokster Case will Affect Software Libre

"This week will see oral arguments in the US Supreme Court in the case of MGM versus Grokster, a case of titanic dimensions for the rip, mix and burn culture. At issue in the case is whether a product manufacturer can be held liable for copyright infringements by downstream users....

What is the Grokster case about, and why should Penguinistas care? ...

CC: The Grokster case is about whether innovation is going to survive in the way that we are used to it. We're used to a world in which you have a good idea, you just build it. You don't have to ask for permission, and you especially don't have to ask for permission from Hollywood, even if what you are building might allow someone to do something illegal, like infringe copyrights. You are not responsible for what your customers do with your technology, as long as you don't actively participate in it. Simply building a piece of technology doesn't make you liable.

That freedom has created a space for a tremendous explosion of technology, toys, tools and fun stuff that we all use, including the Linux and open source stuff. This freedom is all based on a 1984 decision called “Betamax.” The entertainment companies tried to sue to make the VCR illegal when the VCR was first introduced. The Supreme Court announced a rule that said you can't ban a technology that has both infringing and non-infringing uses. As long as a technology is capable of both infringing and non-infringing uses, those are the legal buzz words, it can't be banned."

FEC Antics and Mike Krempasky

I had to rub my eyes on this one, twice, and then I had to look down at my coffee this morning –sniff it – stir it – look at it again - and debate switching brands. So far, the coffee seems to be the “good stuff” from Vietnam (cheap, tastes lousy, but loaded with decent doses of caffeine).

What the hell am I talking about?

Mike Krempasky (of fame) touched my blog. How on earth a big league hardcore right-wing blogger and operative ended up on the humble website of a disillusioned law student is beyond me. Plus, he’s not in my hit logs the way I would like him to be in my hit logs, which means he knows what he’s doing when he surfs the web.

Mike called me on my shit with respect to Bush Preparing to Crackdown on Free Speech posting (although I disagree with the premise that Republicans alone are standing up for free speech - some powerful Democrats seem to share a similar viewpoint), and he should know. He’s been following the antics of the FEC of recent months and frankly been doing a great job of it.

I’m not crazy about Mike’s politics, and I think he’s wrong in his analysis that the Democrats lack a strong libertarian contingent in their midst – but I have to save that for another time, I digress... One should give credit where credit is due. On this particular issue, Mike is something of a one man Groklaw when it comes to the FEC and I believe he has been doing every lover of free speech a big favor, regardless of politics, by following the FEC closely and "outing" them accordingly.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Canada: Liberals doing well on health, economy: polls

...almost two-thirds said they felt that Canada is "generally headed in the right direction" with improvements seen in health, the environment overall and efforts to reduce child poverty.

Yes, but more importantly, do they have compassionate conservatism and the warm glow of a beloved-leaders prayers to surround them when they're going bankrupt, dying in wars or trying to pay their medical bills?

"...Least helpful for the growth, they said, were corporate tax cuts and business subsidies.

Last month's federal budget cut corporate taxes while critics complained that the Liberals spent relatively little on education and training.

Curiously, the erroneous perception that Ottawa is running a deficit continues to grow despite the fact last month's budget was the eighth consecutive balanced budget."

I guess Canadians watch Fox News - Canada hasn't had a budget deficit in nearly a decade (see above).

How Germans Fell for the 'Feel-Good' Fuehrer

Hitler not only fattened his adoring "Volk" with jobs and low taxes, he also fed his war machine through robbery and murder, says a German historian in a stunning new book. Far from considering Nazism oppressive, most Germans thought of it as warm-hearted...

Spiegel in English

For decades, English speakers haven't had access to Europe's leading newsmagazine. DER SPIEGEL and the award-winning Web site SPIEGEL ONLINE, with their second-to-none news coverage, rich story mix and clear, sharp European view, were obscured by an unbreachable language barrier.

Until now.

With the launch of our international site, SPIEGEL finally brings its unique voice to English readers. We offer a selection of original daily features, news, exclusive SPIEGEL stories and an overview of what German newspapers and commentators are writing.

Easter Classes at Cooley

A perspective for those of you considering Cooley. Officially, Cooley has classes on Easter, although some professors did not take attendance. Mind you, Cooley closed on Martin Luther King Day and made a big deal of it. I have no problem with that whatsoever, but I do have a problem with classes being held on Easter. Likewise, Cooley held classes during a blizzard, despite government warnings pleading people to stay off the roads, although the Dean evidently didn't make in that day due ... to the weather.

It is this mentality that is driving me away from Cooley, not the closed-book 2.5 hour exams, the growing emphasis on multiple-choice questions, the heavy Socratic method or any of the other things that make the school arguably "hard", but the "management" or administration of the business itself.

Collision Course

In 1987, when the US and Europe last disagreed so vehemently about monetary policy, there was a stock market crash that rocketed around the world. Cooler heads prevailed, and agreements were reached. This time, however, Bush has promoted the same gaggle of unilateralists that pushed this policy in the first place. Bolton, Rice and Wolfowitz are his way of telling Europe that he won't back down, and instead is willing to have a replay of the collapse of Bretton-Woods under Richard Nixon.

So if you want to know why Europe is increasingly estranged from the US, the reason is simple: by printing too many dollars, Bush is trying to tax the Europeans to pay for his borrow and squander policies. By appointing Bolton, Rice, Wolfowitz and other neocons to high positions, he sends the signal that he expects Europe to capitulate.

Bush Preparing To Crackdown on Free Speech

Repost from Slashdot...

"Redstate has a chilling description of the FEC's original March 10 proposal to regulate political speech on the Internet. It would have been a 'regulatory minefield for bloggers' and may yet return." CNet has a view of this earlier language as well. It's important to note that the regulation has changed much since the initial draft. The FEC began consideration of more developed regulation language on Thursday. From the article: "So, the original attempt to regulate started with the premise that everything was to be regulated except that with limited distribution or on password-protected sites."

Computer Upgrade Circa 1954

Originally uploaded by majqa.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Problem of "Orphan" Works and Copyright Law

Excellent article on Groklaw. I've been wondering about this issue as I have a growing collection of magazines that are no longer published and lack locatable owners, but barely fall within the Copyright law changes made by The Disney Protection Act aka Sonny Bono Copyright Act.

The Looting of Cambodia

A sad state of affairs.

Mad Penguin Interview With Danese Cooper

A great interview appears on Mad Penguin with Danese Cooper (Reflections of an Open Source Diva).

This article is interesting (at least to me) on several levels – one is obvious (it discusses Linux, Open Source, Sun Micro, et el), but the other issue is the one that in some ways that I think is more important: transparency. Having worked at different points in my life for large and/or rapidly growing organizations, I’ve seen first hand the impact incompetent management can render on otherwise competent or innovative projects. This might also explain, at least in part, why Microsoft, despite billions of dollars in the bank, has to buy a slew of anti-virus companies before marketing an antivirus product under its own brand.

This article is as much a story about good management as it is about the blossoming open-source free software movement (free as in freedom, not free as in free-beer) that is giving Microsoft such a much-deserved headache.

Mad Penguin: You're someone who is trusted by both by suits and hackers in the open source world. How did you start out in open source?

Danese Cooper: You know, I might actually have been predisposed to it. I was in the Peace Corps when I was in my twenties; and I've lived in several collective community situations through the years. I try to live my life really transparently because it's just easier for me, but in the years before I came to Sun, I worked in software engineering for some of the biggest companies in the world, and I was appalled at the wasted time and the lack of transparency inside some of these companies.

People looking in from the outside think of the big brands like Apple or Microsoft as one big entity, everyone working together, it's a hive, and everyone's doing their job. But actually, they're often more like warring feudal fiefdoms.

My New French Villa

I wish. I don't speak French, plus they hate Americans. Oh well. Maybe they'll make an exception.

This might be more in my price range... Oops. Wait a minute. That's $125,000 in EU currency. Let's see, translated into US Dollars that's like, what, $45,475,249,293.00? I'll be sure and bring a cart to hold the Dollars.

Skip France. Women there don't shave their arm pits and I'm just not into that. Instead...

SPAIN - I could do this. Plus, my wife speaks fluent Spanish. Perfect.

Now We're Cooking with Beer!

And if you ever venture into outer space... or law school (same thing), try Beer in Space.

Beer in Space.

Bush Is Really Starting To Creep Me Out

George W. Bush's ambassador to Italy, Melvin Sembler, ran the finances of Dubya's 2000 campaign. But the 75-year-old Sembler has an ugly little secret: He ran a cult-like "behavior control" clinic accused of abusing the underaged. Sembler's taxpayer-financed "therapies" were so outrageous that the program was shut down during the early Clinton years.

Cannonfire: Gannon/Guckert Not A Marine

The recent forged documents "proving" that journalist William Arkin was a Saddam spy joins a long list of similar deceptions to emerge from this administration and its operatives. Now we learn that the Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert affair has taken on a new layer of fraudulence.

Not only was "Gannon" a fake journalist using a fake name while working for a fake news organization. Not only were we given fake rationales to explain his ongoing White House access.

Now we learn that -- contrary to his many claims -- he's not even a real Marine!

Tilting at Windmills

Usually, it's hard to take seriously a guy who looks like an alumni of the Mickey Mouse Club, but, for Michael Robertson, you've got to make an exception. He not only took on the record industry in court and in the marketplace, but now he's eyeball-to-ankle with mighty Microsoft. Robertson was the founder of, a pioneer of music downloading, and later Lindows, a scrappy Linux software company that last year changed its name to Linspire after Microsoft launched a worldwide legal full-court press. He dropped by our offices recently bearing a CD containing Linspire's latest operating system update, which he had burned and labeled himself. "We’re very formal," he joked. "And we’re ready to take on Microsoft."

Gone to Croatan

I have moments, especially lately thanks to law school, that give me the urge to tune-in, turn-on and drop-out.

More on the Gone to Croatan story at Wikipedia.

A Golden Era For Big Business

MBNA Corp., the credit card behemoth and fifth-largest contributor to Bush's two presidential campaigns, is among those on the verge of prevailing in an eight-year fight to curtail personal bankruptcies. Exxon Mobil Corp. and others are close to winning the right to drill for oil in Alaska's wildlife refuge, which they have tried to pass for better than a decade. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., another big contributor to Bush and the GOP, and other big companies recently won long-sought protections from class-action lawsuits...

...With 232 House seats, Republicans have their largest majority since 1949. This is the first time since the Calvin Coolidge administration in 1929 that the GOP has simultaneously held 55 or more Senate seats and the presidency. Senate Republicans are only five votes shy of the 60 needed to break the most powerful tool the minority holds in Congress -- the filibuster.

Over the next four years, the GOP hopes to use this enhanced power to approve the president's judicial nominees, some of whom Democrats lambaste as too conservative, and restructure Social Security and the tax code. But in the early days of the 109th Congress, it is corporations, which largely bankrolled the GOP's resurgence that began a decade ago with the Republican takeover of the House, that are profiting.

I Can't Wait To Go To In-N-Out

The (almost sensual) pleasure of eating an In-N-Out Burger dripping in freshness, greese, and grilled onions is only a few short weeks away.

Is Microsoft Toast?

I wish, but I think a company with $30 billion in the bank is far from toast. Still... there is always hope.

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Gift That Keeps On Giving!

I learned about this wonderful, fantastic, amazingly useful product from one of my peers. Makes a great gift for any occasion! Help your friends and loved ones grow new brain cells, develop critical thinking skills and restore their depleted sex drive.

Man Sells Device That Blocks Fox News
It's not that Sam Kimery objects to the views expressed on Fox News. The creator of the "Fox Blocker" contends the channel is not news at all. Kimery figures he's sold about 100 of the little silver bits of metal that screw into the back of most televisions, allowing people to filter Fox News from their sets, since its August debut.

Love Can Be... Expensive.

BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut (AP) -- A judge has awarded the former wife of a multimillionaire businessman a divorce settlement worth more than $40 million even though she admitted having affairs with her rock-climbing guide and a man she met on a flight to China.

More Reasons For Me To Hate Microsoft

As if I didn't have enough already, turns out Microsoft funds: American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute - to name just a few. Seems Microsoft keeps some of the same company as Rev. Moon.

If you follow radical concepts like freedom and liberty, or perhaps use Linux, then you'll know who these guys are right away: Alexis de Tocqueville Institution - another misnamed "think tank" funded by Microsoft.

Groklaw exposed these guys last year, but PJ might have to fire up the pen again and remind some new readers about the slime bags.

It's weird watching Microsoft react and fight the way it does against Linux. I've yet to figure out why Bill Gates and his minions engage in so much astroturfing. I can't believe they worry about competing against something like this: Ubuntu Linux

The United States of Jesus

The group Americans United for Separation of Church and State got hold of a recording from a March 17-19 meeting of the right-wing group The Family Research Council. Both Rep. DeLay and Sen. Frist spoke at this meeting, and both declared their intention to refashion America into the United States of Jesus.

It's a sad thing to watch the Republic give way to a rather strange mix of Empire and Theocracy.

This Term at Cooley

This term is feeling very solid to me. The materials are sinking in nicely and my performance on multiple-choice is starting to reflect this, although it is still far from where I want it to be, especially with exams approaching. Thank GOD for Examples and Explanations. I know some students are less than crazy about the E&E books, but they’ve done wonders for me. Joseph Glannon should be nominated for a Nobel prize.

Digital Future of the Library of Congress


"On Monday the 28th the US Library of Congress is holding the eighth lecture in its series on Managing Knowledge and Creativity in a Digital Context. Previous speakers include David Weinberger on blogging, Brewster Kahle - founding member of and the wayback machine, and Lawrence Lessig on intellectual property and the creative commons. After the lecture questions will be taken from the audience and the internet. C-Span will be broadcasting the lecture live at 6:30 PM EST, and also has archives of previous lectures. Audio archives of previous lecture are available at in the Selected Free Media section."

One For The Ladies - Airport Security

Thursday, March 24, 2005

A New Item At Wendy's On The Menu?

Yum! Chili and... uh... what the hell is this?

I Wish I Were a Tort Lawyer - TODAY! (sobbing)

Billions... BILLIONS in liability. This didn't happen in India, but in a nearby 3rd world country where the US has (sometimes) jurisdiction - Texas.

I Am A Ron-o-Raptor

I took the test thanks to a link on lawbrats blog.

Your Strange Sex Toy: Vibro Ron O Raptor Blue

Watching America

It is safe to say that America's view of itself, as formulated by the mainstream news media, is mypoic to say the least. The major corporations that own such entitities as CNN (AOL/TimeWarner) and NBC (General Electric) don't have much use for the journalism and opinions being produced around the world.

A new website has been created to try and cut through the information wall that has been erected between this country and the rest of the planet. The site is called, and describes its mission as follows:

WatchingAmerica reflects global opinion about the United States, helping Americans and non-Americans alike understand what the world thinks of current issues that involve the U.S. This is done by providing news and views about the United States published in other countries. It is not our purpose to find favorable or unfavorable news and commentary, but to reflect as accurately as possible how others perceive the richest and most powerful country in the world. WatchingAmerica makes available in English articles written about the U.S. by foreigners, often for foreign audiences, and often in other languages. Since WatchingAmerica offers its own translations, regular users of our site will be able to enjoy articles that are not available in English anywhere else. We are a unique window into world opinion. In addition, by integrating the latest translation technology into the site, visitors are able to surf all of the content of foreign-language news outlets at the push of a button - in English.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

If You Have Kids - You'll Relate To This Video

Cute and Funny, and for some reason I think my wife will ... relate to it as well.

Oh - and I am afraid I'm guilty of doing this a few too many times...

Honda Car Commercial II

Solar Death Ray

Got it from Slashdot. Looks like fun.

If I Were Cool (and smart) I Would Work Here

It's about freedom baby, yeah.

Byblos - Middle Eastern Cuisine: The ONE thing I will miss about Lansing

Byblos is a little middle eastern cuisine place near Cooley. Some may differ with me on this place, but I have found their food downright addictive. On occasion I will make a special trip downtown and fight the crappy parking situation just to eat at this place.

If you are going to Cooley and find yourself wondering where to eat downtown, and want to skip all the fancy shmancy expensive places - try Byblos at 205 SW. Washington Square. The Shish Tawook Combo is my favorite, although lately I've been going heavy on the Shish Kafta and the Majadara can be a nice change from the norm. I've had just about everything they offer and not once did I eat something that fell short of being fresh, delicious, tasty and of the highest quality (yikes, I'm starting to sound like the ads in my 1926 editions of Business magazine).

I will miss Byblos.

John F. Kennedy: Where Democrats Should Go From Here.

As you may have guessed by now, I collect old magazines. When I visit old and used bookstores I sometimes feel I am on a mission to find the truth, and more and more I find some real gems hidden in the past.

In 1956 the Democrats got their clocks cleaned, not unlike the election of 2004, although the circumstances at the time were obviously a bit different. Bush is no Ike and Kerry was no Kennedy, but the advice Kennedy gives about the defeat and how to move forward is perhaps just as applicable, if not more applicable, to the situation facing democrats today. What follows are excerpts and bits and pieces from the article appearing in the March 11, 1957 edition of Life Magazine by John F. Kennedy.

John F. Kennedy on Where Democrats Should Go From Here:
These are sobering problems and prospects, which hopeless pessimism will not eradicate nor blind optimism conceal. They call for a penetrating reappraisal of our party and its course. Personally, I am confident of our party's future. We have an impressive array of able leaders and a host of potential issues. But there are dangers that lurk ahead, dangers that arise largely because of our recent defeats and crumbling coalition. Our chief task, it thus seems to me, is to recognize these dangers, to make certain we do escape the fate of becoming a permanent minority and eventually disintegrating...

Fortunately for us, other parties in earlier times have also stood at this crossroads-particularly the Federalists in 1800 and the Whigs in 1852. Both adopted courses that now tempt the Democratic party, which can plan its own future by recalling their fate. Both frittered away an inheritance of respected leadership and accomplishment. Both died.

The Federalists in 1800 could rightfully lay claim to a historic- record of achievement and leadership: a major role in the writing of the Constitution, and later responsibility for the government's organization and philosophy, the nurturing of the infant nation...

It was, moreover, rapidly becoming a wholly New England party, narrowly sectional in its views and leadership, winning elections only on a local level -still powerful enough in Massachusetts to strip the rebellious young John Quincy Adams of his Senate seat in 1808 but never again able to capture the White House.

Besides losing its national influence, the party began rotting at the core. Its decisions and nominations were dictated from on high. Its energies were exhausted in personal feuds which mattered little to the rank and file... It became a party of spleen and suspicion, prejudice and malice, capable of passing the shameful alien and sedition laws but incapable of building an effective party organization at the grass roots level.

The Federalist party's last futile years of life, marked by tirades against its foes and internal bickering, completed the sorry end of a once resplendent and honored ruler.

What lessons does this hold for the Democratic party?

...We take comfort in repeating sonorously our traditional slogans-"The party of all the people," "The party of progress," "The party with a heart"-but we dare not measure their validity in concrete terms for fear of admitting some glaring weakness or alienating some entrenched

Moreover, the same curse of sectionalism that felled the Federalists threatens the Democrats, if in slightly different fashion. In both North and South the pressures to put local popularity ahead of party unity grow greater every day. Unfounded but bitter assertions that go beyond the expression of sectional differences are heard on every side-assertions that the Democratic party is the "captive of the A.D.A." or the "victim of Confederate vengeance," or would do well to cleanse itself of certain elements...

...Finally, the top echelon of the Democratic party will be hard put to avoid the same excesses of personal and partisan strife that separated the Federalist leaders from the electorate. The first reaction to last fall's disaster was to search for old scapegoats instead of new leadership...

Nor are voters attracted by Democratic factions and personalities struggling in Washington for control of the Congress or the national committee, for public attention or private vengeance. Reckless and unfounded assaults upon the Administration, or cries for a cabinet member's resignation, produce far more headlines in Washington than votes back in the precincts. To be sure, we should not permit the Republicans to take the credit for Stalin's death, but neither should we hold them responsible for how quickly the flooding snows melt in New England.

...On all the great issues of the day-the extension of slavery westward, the fugitive slave law, even on its own compromise of 1850-the Whig campaign was deliberately ambiguous or silent. The Whig party soon stood for nothing that some other party did not stand for better and the nation, particularly in the critical hour of threatened civil war, could place no confidence in it.

A lesson from the Whigs

TODAY the Democratic party must take special care not to go the way of the Whigs. The very nature of our history as a coalition has led to the same kind of special appeals-to the farm vote, the Negro vote, the veterans' vote and all the rest. There is something in our platform or legislative record for everyone (no doubt, if we could, we would devise some inducement for the "suburban vote"-subsidized commuters' cars or tax-exempt lawn mowers).

We plot presidential campaigns the same way, not in terms of national issues and trends but in terms of so many Southern electoral votes, so many farm states, so many labor areas, and so on and on. (The temptation to gain power by wooing or misleading each supposed bloc of voters is very great indeed. Example: the secret of one well-known governor's success, I was recently told, is that "the poor think he is a friend of the poor-and the rich know he is not.")

We are in danger, too, of imitating the Whigs in their evasion of controversial issues. We tend, in too many of our party declarations, to offer what the cynics call "straight-from-the-shoulder" generalities or platitudes "without fear or favor" on civil rights, natural gas, clean elections and the treaty-making power. Obviously our consideration of these sensitive issues will divide Democrats and antagonize voters-but to ignore their existence or avoid their solution would, if 1852 is any kind of precedent, forfeit our claim to -national leadership... Our candidates must continue to have more than the colorful personality the Whigs thought to be sufficient.

...The only course for the Democratic party, if it is not to join the Whigs and Federalists in political limbo, is to move ahead responsibly, courageously, harmoniously. Under Jefferson, Jackson, Wilson, Roosevelt and Truman our chief claim to the confidence of the nation, North and South, has been leadership.

[ Kennedy next outlines his guiding principles for the Democratic Party ]

1. The Democratic party must be increasingly willing to embrace new ideas, new policies and new faces, unafraid of controversial issues or candid criticism.

2. Democratic leaders must be increasingly willing to put the party's future ahead of sectional, factional and personal disputes and ambitions. By 1960-or even 1959-it will be too -late for a candidate to pull together the diverse elements that can win locally but are at odds nationally or to build a record against the incumbent administration. That task must be begun now.

3. Congressional Democrats must shape a responsible, progressive record with deeds that match our words... It is up to us in Congress, despite the restrictions imposed by the compromises necessary to keep our party intact, and despite the possibility of fighting losing battles, to push forward a progressive program any Democratic candidate in 1960 can run on with pride and hope.

4. Congressional Democrats must demonstrate leadership in the problems of prosperity as they have in the past on problems of poverty. We need not run against Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression. For, New Republicanism or no, the differences in the fundamental approaches of' the two parties to the issues will become clearer as we move ahead-and real issues do exist, even in this age of abundance, automation and tranquility pills...

...We need another kind of local worker and leader in our party, men and women such as those I met last fall in all regions and particularly in the West-full of enthusiasm, full of new ideas, full of determination, asking nothing in return. Not many of them could buy tickets to the $100-a-plate dinners where few votes are changed, but they could all ring doorbells or hold neighborhood teas. Most of them were the younger members of our party, others were at least young in spirit. But all possessed vigor our party can use all over the country. The future of our party hinges upon this kind of new life and leadership, from the precinct level on up to the host of newly prominent young Democratic governors and senators...

...For "the success of a party means little," as Woodrow Wilson said in his first inaugural, "except when the Nation is using that party for a large and definite purpose.",The task of the Democratic party during the next four years is to define such a purpose for all the nation; and success, I have no doubt, will then be rightfully ours in 1960 and the years beyond."

[ Kennedy barely won the election against Nixon, and many believe it was in fact stolen from Nixon, yet by 1964 the Democrats made one of the biggest liberal sweeps in history. The irony is that history tends to repeat itself, and if the Democrats manage to pull their heads out of their backsides - maybe, just maybe, they can heed this distant voice in the past and have it provide some much needed vision. ]

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

And Now - For Something Completely Different...

Not sure how long the video links will last, but these are all funny (well -to me) and a few have a slightly tongue in a cheek sexual flavour:

Kama Sutra (Commercial - Don't let this happen to you...)

Bored Cameraman

This Old Whorehouse (no, it's not a porno - sorry)

Hate and Love

TV in Japan

Interesting how differently sex is viewed in Europe. I doubt a commercial like this would ever fly here in The Land of The Free.

Lucky guy?

Sex and Football (I thought this was especially funnny)

Football game...

Irony Always Lacks a Sense of Time Posted by Hello

Monday, March 21, 2005

Cover of Business - November 1926

Cover of Business - November 1926
Originally uploaded by majqa.
In 1926 the national debt hit $10 billion. Today it's approaching $10 trillion.

Rude Cactus - New Blog

Neat blog. Cool guy. Adding it to my list.

Internet Law School in 1926

I know, I know. There WAS no Internet in 1926, but there was a magazine called "Business" and I own a copy of the November 1926 edition - and the contents are downright amazing to me. The Blackstone Institute was an online, er, I mean - correspondance school for earning a law degree. Until the ABA took over circa 1952, the majority of practicing lawyers in the country were trained using what I often call the "Abe Lincoln" method i.e. they were self-taught.

You'll need to click on the picture and save it or magnify it to read the ad. Funny thing is - it's not the only ad in the magazine for earning a law degree (or business or accounting degree for that matter). It was not unusual or out of the norm to sit for the bar after completing an online, oops, correspondance course in law. In some cases it was a side-income for judges who would either teach law at night out of their home or in a church, or even create their own courses and sell them by mail.

Can you imagine? "Hey, Jones - done with studying law yet? Only two months into it eh, but you're planning to sit for the bar next month? Excellent. When you pass the bar we'll raise your salary."

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This is very cool and warms my heart:

"Julie Cavalier says her appellate victory went against legal advice. "We contacted a few attorneys, but no one seemed to want to take on such a huge task," she says. "Several attorneys told us we had no chance [of obtaining a reversal].

"We believed in what we were doing," she says. "When you feel you are doing the right thing, it is far easier to defend. A mother will do just about anything for her child, and I did not like seeing my child being discriminated against."

She credits her father, John Byrd, also not a lawyer, with his legal research in the case. "He was the legal brains, and I was the voice."

Sometimes I Wonder About These "Anti-Virus" Companies...

Symantec: Mac OS X a hacker target

According to Biviano, while there have not been any mass outbreaks of viruses targeting the Mac, the potential does exist.

"You don't see Macintosh viruses in mass outbreaks but you do see them in the labs as proof of concepts. There aren't any outbreaks because there are simply are not enough [Macs] out there. For a virus to be successful it needs a combination of an exploit and a large target audience..."

Uhm... WHAT LAB? Their lab? Bill Gate's lab? Proof of concepts? What... huh. Ever wonder if the anti-virus companies might have a hand in the creation of that which enables them to stay in business?

Going from Cooley

Exams are just around the corner and I am getting anxious to get the show on the road and likewise over with. Odds are I won’t be coming back to Cooley after this term, although I’ve left the option open – just incase.

I started out this term feeling strong and clear, then things got a bit foggy in February, but now I’m back on track. My Contracts professor – a woman who is both loved and feared by some of my peers, including yours truly, does NOT grade on a curve. I thought that was rather interesting if not downright progressive.

My feelings by the end of this term are mixed when it comes to Cooley. The school has some excellent professors and it also has some real duds. This term I feel as though I really lucked out, as I happen to find all of my professors to be fairly decent (yes, at times irritating, frustrating, etc, but still good). I went to a T1/T2 during my undergrad and Masters programs and frankly it wasn’t any different – good and bad profs seem to come with the territory in any academic situation. I believe on balance the professors at Cooley fall into the “good” range, and a handful seem to be quite remarkable.

I am very concerned about Cooley’s lawsuit with the ABA. After reading the pleadings in the case I am less than optimistic about Cooley prevailing,
and worse I am concerned about Cooley’s overall ABA status. Mind you, I am no fan of the ABA, but I am also a realist, and going to war with the ABA rarely ends up with a positive result no matter how strong, wonderful, or airtight a case might seem. The ABA - the gatekeepers to the guild – is an organization with tentacles that run deep into nearly everything known as “law” in this country, and going against the guild is either very brave – or suicide. From what I’ve seen, it tends to be the latter. In the same breath, I also believe that this is going to change when thousands of Concord graduates hit the streets and attack the ABA Citadel from all sides (frontal attack i.e. litigation, and legislative attack i.e. running-for-office and changing the rules – this has already happened in a few states).

Check out this PDF of the transcript of Motion Hearing on December 20th, 2004 – go down to around page 50 (or so) and note that the ABA wants to sanction Cooley… well… pretty much no matter what it seems they’re going to sanction Cooley. It’s an interesting point in the transcript, because I suspect that unless Cooley screws all the kids that went to the non-Lansing campus, Cooley is going to be in perpetual “violation” of ABA rules…

“THE COURT: If we’re going to stick with the language of Rule 13, one of the things that I was intrigued with is your argument, that I didn’t think you really particularly fleshed out, that said merely closing the satellite/branch at the end of the spring term last year did not bring the school into compliance. So if their argument is you can only sanction schools out of compliance, why does the ABA contend, in the face of the action that Cooley took, that they are – that they were out of compliance at the time of the show-cause heart?

Mr. PRITIKIN: Well, there was a continuing violation, Your Honor…. What has happened is that – and I don’t know the precise number, it’s over a hundred students – maybe 116 students have been given credits for courses that were taken at the satellite campuses that were opened without prior acquiescence. These are credits that have been entered on the students records, these are students who are currently at Cooley, and these credits that are being counted toward the graduation by those students. This is a continuing violation.

THE COURT: So it isn’t just offering the courses, it’s offering courses that presumably the students pass –


THE COURT: -- for which they get credit?

MR. PRITIKIN: That’s right.

THE COURT: And I’m not suggesting that anybody would or could or should do this, but just for theoretical purposes, are you suggesting that if they had agreed to close these facilities and not give the students credit for the coursework that they took there, that might have then brought them into compliance?”

Ah… well fellow bloggers, if you are interested in the soap opera of Cooley v. ABA, you’ll have to read the transcript plus check out some of the pleadings available on the Cooley website. Mind you, when you discover just what a “sanction” means to Cooley and what the ABA wanted Cooley to do with regard to being sanctioned, it will either make you laugh or angry or both.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Republicans Are Pro-Life - Well, Maybe. Kinda...

How about a little consistency?

Where were DeLay and Frist when they killed this baby Tuesday?

Republican morality: If a business wants to remove the breathing tube from a baby against the wishes of his mother, the Republicans are nowhere to be found.

CNN's Nuke Plant Photos Identical for Both Iran and N. Korea!

Wow. How about that. Gee. What are the odds? Oh well. Ho hum.

FEC Considers Restricting Online Political Activities

Remember fellow bloggers, saying anything "political" will soon be subject to government regulation...

The Federal Election Commission has begun considering whether to issue new rules on how political campaigns are waged on the Internet, a regulatory process that is expected to take months to complete but that is already generating considerable angst online.

The agency is weighing whether -- and how -- to impose restrictions on a host of online activities, including campaign advertising and politically oriented blogs.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Getting News While Behind The Plastic Curtain

To watch NewsNight you'll need Real Player or the proper codecs to watch the streaming RealPlayer videos.

It's a strange world when the hero (sort-of) in this mess turns out to be a Shell oil executive.

The Darkness Drops Again recap:

Neocon warlord Paul Wolfowitz will head the World Bank;

The White House illegally puts out fake news reports, and the Justice Department does nothing;

Another $81 billion of your money and mine is to be poured onto the Iraqi sand;

The GOP majority in Congress is preparing to trash 200 years of Senate tradition in order to post a number of certifiably insane people to the bench;

Kevin Martin, a conservative Christian activist for the GOP, will now chair the FCC;

The Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve, one of the most ecologically pristine areas remaining to us, will be paved and drilled for its tiny amount of petroleum.

And that was just yesterday.

Is Ann Coulter A Man?

She DOES appear to have an Adam's Apple, so the question about her/his sexuality is not entirely... based on pure fiction. Were this any other time in history I would regard this about as far out as UFO's landing on the White House lawn, but with Condi Rice as a the next President and Wolfowitz-guy heading up the World Bank - anything seems possible now. Considering her/his physical features it does become a bit... distracting... seeing that big friggin Adams Apple. Everytime I see a video of her I can't help but wonder if that right wing chic that I've always thought was kind of hot - turned out to be a guy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Actually, It's Called Peak Oil

Bummer. I've yet to buy an SUV and here I am stuck with all this student loan debt around my neck and as such I'll never (probably) even get the chance. Oh well. No time like the present to improve my horse-riding-skills.

Peak Oil is here.

Execution - 100 Lashes and a Hanging

Justice, and I use that word with considerable lattitude, seems to come quickly in Iran. At minimum I hope this guy was actually guilty as anytime I see the phrase "he confessed" the cynical side of me can't help but go on red-alert.

How a nation handles its most evil criminals stands to say a great deal about the country itself. Executing someone who is clearly guilty of such crimes, in this case raping and killing 16 young boys, certainly crosses into the realm where I tend to lean pro-death penalty, but the manner of execution in this case says almost as much about the country as it does about the criminal.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Musik Is In The Air

Although I love iTunes, sometimes it's fun to try out alternative media players. wxMusik is an open-source, cross-platform multimedia player and library that seems to handle just about every format out there (MP3's, OGG, etc).

Monday, March 14, 2005

Watsky Smog

The driver plowed into the back of the cart just as he had started an evasive maneuver, sending him and the 15 passengers to their deaths in a ravine about 100 feet below. The cart was a greasy spot now on the road. I asked the driver in French -- many Romanians speak French as a second language -- to stop. He shrugged and answered in French, "It happens all the time; they're all dead," and stopped. We were about 200 feet ahead of the bus. I jumped out of the Jeep and started running back toward the accident when the bus exploded in the ravine, giving me a nice suntan in the process. Body parts flew everywhere, as did odd bits of the bus -- a 1950s-era Greyhound that somehow had made its way to the furthest edge of Europe. Covered in motor oil, blood and lots of other unidentifiable stuff, I got back in the Jeep. We drove on to Bucharest.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Caveman Lawyer - This is SOO True.

The Dollar - It Still Sucks

It's old news, but the right-wing media machine can't seem to avoid the plunging Dollar story any longer. The Dollar trades less these days on fundamentals than it does on emotions. It's a real catch-22 situation. If Europe and China don't keep buying Dollars, Americans won't be able to buy their stuff at Wal-Mart. On the other hand, if the Chinese stop buying Dollars, our currency will collapse and their economies will go down the toilet with our own.

I don't know which is funnier - the irony of having one of your biggest lenders turn out to be a Communist dictatorship, or the dark comedy about to unfold when that which cannot go on forever... ceases to go on forever.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Our Own Modern Day Sen. Cicero

While mulling over a decision to attend the same law school as Madison, Monroe and Abe Lincoln, this lofty article came my way.

Were it not for his age, I suspect the aforementioned Senator would be subject to meet the same fate as the great Roman orator that love the idea of a Republic more than Empire.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Dollar Continues Descent Into Hell

The US is running massive account deficits, and considering that the GOP idea of "saving" Social Security is to spend another $2 trillion in deficit spending - is a big friggin telegraph to the rest of the world that our fiscal house isn't going to get straightened out anytime soon.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, for it tolls for thee...

Epic Movie from The Basement

I have no idea where I got this from... it was in one of my copy buffers, I think its cool, so I'm posting it.

"3,000 extras. 48 locations. 650 digital effects.... Made by one kid out of his parents' basement." That's the tag line for, a new independent sci-fi movie.

When Tomaric started his film in 1996, he had almost no practical experience. A 20-year-old college dropout, Tomaric's filmography consisted largely of high-school video projects.

Anyone interested in making movies like Tomaric does can now follow along with his How to Make a Hollywood Caliber Movie on a Budget of Next to Nothing. The five-hour instructional video gives viewers, among other advice, pointers on wrangling free stuff.

Lulu Alternative

Another enterprise I neglected to mention that is similar to Lulu is Cafepress. If you're a budding author, check it out.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Gnome 2.10 Released and KDE 3.4 coming up soon.

Linux is starting to sport some impressive features that make it increasingly competitive with Windows.

Gnome 2.10 New Features

KDE 3.4 Features Review.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


A funny thing happened to me on the way to law school – I became a prolific writer. While my blog contains the dregs of my abilities complete with horrific grammar and juvenile blog-antics, my laptop and server are an entirely different story. It seems I may have ended up taking the scenic route into my next career, and as such if you ever see a book about Trading Currencies For Fun and Profit… you just might find my pock marked face on the inside cover and a brief rant about the disease known as law school.

For those of you interested in exploring the realm of self-publishing, Lulu is worth checking out.

What is Lulu? They have their own explanation, but from what I can tell they’ve taken some of the philosophy of the open source / free software movement (free as in freedom, not free as in free-beer) and mixed it with some of the positive aspects of free market capitalism. Basically, Lulu may end up being to the big publishing houses what Linux is to Microsoft – an alternative that doesn’t suck.

The founder of Red Hat Software, the company that makes Red Hat Linux, started Lulu. I know a few bloggers who drop by here every now and then who, if they’ve never heard of Lulu (not to be confused with Lola from The Kinks tune), should consider getting to know ... Lulu.

Whole Wheat Radio

From the site...

"You can spend as much or as little time poking around the site as you like. You'll discover there is no other webcast quite like Whole Wheat Radio. We play indie music that adults like --- singer-songwriters, folk, blues, jazz, Celtic, world, protest, acoustic and folk-rock music. We're tied into the blogging community and frequently reach out to blogs for things to discuss on-air. We have an irreverent sense of humor and strongly left-leaning political views. We're not 'professional' broadcasters. We frequently get silly and very un-adult-like on-the-air. We call it 'fun'."


Monday, March 07, 2005

Lesbian Cows

I don't know if it's law school that drives, by way of some supranatural RSS feeds, some of my wacky postings - or what - but here's a story about girl-on-girl action among cows.

It's Not Exactly A Flashlight... It Just Looks Like One

The one upside to spam is that it can make for an interesting blog post.

“Honey! Sweetie pie, have you seen my Fleshlight anywhere? I need to … uh… work on a pipe in the bathroom!”

“It’s in the entry closet dear!”

“NO, NO. Not my flashlight, my FLESHLIGHT!”

I thought I had seen it all, but boy was I was wrong. The Fleshlight just might be man's best friend. The guy that came up with this was a genius. Why? Because it is comprised of the two elements men love the most – tools and sex. A man can never have too many tools and he sure as hell can't get enough sex (especially Hungarian men). It looks like a flashlight, but it’s really a portable sex simulator. I don't think I could ever have the nerve to actually buy one of these things, but I swear it's the trippiest invention I've ever seen. Ever donate sperm? Yeah, me neither, but if you do - this is what give you to help move the process along.

Here’s the (strangely funny and strangely strange) non-pornographic video on maintaining your Fleshlight

Units are too pricey for my budget and as such I don’t plan any product reviews... anytime soon. That could change though, if or when I become a judge.

Software patents make a mockery of European ideals

Looks like Freedom just got cornholed again in Europe. This is nothing new here in The Empire, but sad to see in Europe.

It seems Bill Gates got more than a regal tap on the shoulder when he was visiting last week: if these are the punishments for heading a company convicted in Europe and America for anti-trade monopoly abuse, let us hope he is never rewarded...

Saturday, March 05, 2005

An Engineer's View of Carly Fiorina's Leadership

From Slashdot..."There is a pretty damning look at Carly Fiorina's leadership while at HP on The author was working for HP Labs, the center of invention and innovation for the company, only to be told that nothing exciting will happen in the tech market since it's a mature industry. He left the company in 2003. "The lab was never packed with genius marketers. Carly told us we had no business sense, and that every project needed to make a profit within three years or less. She usually said that right before the research budget got slashed again and more lab employees were laid off.""

Pre-Empire - I remember sitting in the college library toward the end of my undergrad and paging through an issue of a business magazine covering Carly Fiorina. What I saw troubled me, but it wasn't because the new CEO of HP was a woman, rather it was because in the interview she was long on buzzwords and jargon and short on substance.

She showed her stuff when she pushed to have HP acquire/merge with Compaq, the net result being... the lousy investment that Walter Hewlett said it would end up being. In fact, Walter Hewlett waged war against Carly Fiorina and sadly lost. The damage has been done and I don’t think HP will ever recover. What makes the HP story even harder for engineers to stomach is that managers of Carly Fiorina’s ilk often get elevated to even greener pastures, which in this case is going to be a job heading up The World Bank. Looking at her bio, and this is news to me, Carly led HP into reinventing itself as a "digital entertainment company." And here, this whole time, I thought they made printers.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Law School Exams: Artificial Intelligence

This is perhaps the single best piece of the strange world of law school exams and the bar that I have ever encountered. It is simply OUTSTANDING! A MUST READ.

"A young lawyer at a small law firm was assigned the task of filing a complaint in a commercial law case. As fate would have it, he blew the statute of limitations by a couple of days. And then he panicked. Rather than admit his error, he created a dummy complaint with a dummy date stamp, and told the client that the case had been filed. He kept the client informed of the "progress" of the phony case for nearly a year, and then reported that, regrettably, it had been dismissed on summary judgment. The client, who was no chump, figured out what had happened and complained to the firm. Needless to say, the young fellow was promptly fired and reported to the disciplinary authorities. This is where my friend came in. He represented the lawyer in the disciplinary proceeding and managed to save him from disbarment, although the poor fool was suspended for three years. But that is not the extent of the disaster. As my friend put it: "Three years later, on the day the suspension ended, the statute of limitations had not yet expired on the underlying case." Relying on his memory, the young lawyer had misunderstood the law, with ruinous consequences. "

I learned about the article from NYCLAWCHIC. The article has really made my day (er... night).

Geek Alert: Cool Solutions at Novell

When I don't have to use Windows, I use SuSE Linux Pro 9.2. Because I've noticed more and more search engines monitoring my blog due to some of my early Linux-related postings, I want to do my part to help boost SuSE's ranking and point new Linux users to Novell's Cool Solutions site. It's not just for Linux users; it also has some great tips for Windows geeks as well.

Novell Cool Solutions - Linux.

Novell Cool Solutions Overall

Most of these mirrors have the SuSE 9.2. Pro DVD available for download.

A few fast mirrors I found that worked well are HERE or HERE or maybe HERE (Mind you it's roughly a 3 gig DVD image).

Mass School of Law - Online

MSL Online Courses - I WISH I would have known about these when I had Property last term. Oddly enough, I don't hear a whole lot of Socratic wonderfulness in the downloadable MP3 files - just information on the law and what to expect on the bar exam.

Civ Pro Blah’s.

Feeling Tired

I’ve finished my briefing for civ pro tomorrow. I am a dutiful albeit jaded “briefer” of cases. I first gloss through the case once and get my facts down, knock them into my brief, and then I go back and assimilate the analysis, law/rule, and go back and put that into my brief as well. At the end of the process I rarely feel as though I’ve assimilated much from this method, after which time I turn to my supplements.

I like Examples and Explanations the best and I think without them I’d be in real trouble. Actually, I just might be in a world of hurt as it is, but at least the E&E makes me FEEL like I’ve got a grasp on the materials. Self-teaching with E&E seems to do more for me on a deeper level than the textbook/briefing/outlining/Socratic method utilized by modern law schools. Well… usually it works well for me.

I’ve had some days lately where I’m just plain foggy, but the days I feel my best are the days I am never, ever called on. When I’m feeling dazed and “huh, what the… ok, imagine I’m a football player and you’re an aardvark and… uhm… is this Torts or Civ Pro class… was I just called on?” produces an instant “Mr. Majqa, please stand and tell us about Pigs v. Wolf.” Never fails. When I’m feeling strong, nothing. When I’m barely holding on to the threads of consciousness – it’s a guarantee I’ll get called on.

When I embarked on the law school path I was hoping to plumb the depths of law, get to the roots of reasoning and judicial enlightenment, and strengthen my mind by standing on the shoulders of intellectual legal giants, but instead I find myself playing something akin to an expensive game of Jeopardy in Hell. For many of my peers such a system works well and they take it in stride. As a cigar smoking, motorcycle riding, skydiving, Linux coding rebel… assimilation by The Law School Borg isn’t working out quite the way I had planned. I am having second thoughts. I’m not so sure I want to be assimilated after all, but … may instead… prefer to fight The Borg. No doubt being part of the collective hive has its moments and even looks at times downright nice, but surrendering my super-sized ego is proving surprisingly difficult. In fact, I’ve become rather fond of it lately.

Learning law is, I argue, a uniquely personal process wherein one size does not (or should not) fit all. The ABA has done a relatively good job homogenizing the process over the past 53 years, but in the wake of that standardization and monopolization has come a loss of apprenticeship and self-teaching of yesteryear. This system seems to produce a lot of selfish Johnny-Cochran types, but seemingly few Abe Lincolns. I lament that loss, but I also believe the Internet is starting to swing the pendulum back in the other direction – and I am increasingly inclined to help give it push as well.

Posted by Hello

Fellow Bloggers... Be Careful.
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Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Sinking of America

I've always said that God loves irony - or perhaps it's history that loves irony. Whatever the case, a ship called America is going to be taken out to the deep ocean and sunk.

A Helpful Reminder...
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Paris Hilton's Cellphone

If this isn't really it - it's close enough.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Massachusetts School of Law v. ABA

A decade ago feisty MSL picked a fight with the ABA and lost, but a strange thing happened to the ABA on its way to maintaining its monopoly power grip... it ended up in hot water with the Department of Justice. A lot of people may not even know that the ABA is operating under a rarely discussed Consent Decree that indirectly resulted from the battle waged by MSL v. ABA.

Attacking Iran: I Know It Sounds Crazy, But...

"'This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous.' (Short pause)
"'And having said that, all options are on the table.'
-The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin on George Bush's February 22 press conference.

"The crazies" are not finished. And we do well not to let their ultimate folly obscure their current ambition, and the further trouble that ambition is bound to bring in the four years ahead. In an immediate sense, with U.S. military power unrivaled, they can be seen as "crazy like a fox," with a value system in which "might makes right." Operating out of that value system, and now sporting the more respectable misnomer/moniker "neoconservative," they are convinced that they know exactly what they are doing. They have a clear ideology and a geopolitical strategy, which leap from papers they put out at the Project for the New American Century over recent years.

The very same men who, acting out of that paradigm, brought us the war in Iraq are now focusing on Iran, which they view as the only remaining obstacle to American domination of the entire oil-rich Middle East. They calculate that, with a docile, corporate-owned press, a co-opted mainstream church, and a still-trusting populace, the United States and/or the Israelis can launch a successful air offensive to disrupt any Iranian nuclear weapons programs -- with the added bonus of possibly causing the regime in power in Iran to crumble."

Ray McGovern served as a CIA analyst for 27 years -- from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. During the early 1980s, he was one of the writers/editors of the President's Daily Brief and briefed it one-on-one to the president's most senior advisers. He also chaired National Intelligence Estimates. In January 2003, he and four former colleagues founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

USA The Movie

It's been called a fictional drive through reality. Whatever it is - it's pretty damn intense.

A Sith Is Knighted

"Yahoo is reporting that Bill Gates will receive his honorary UK knighthood on Wednesday.

Third Stage of The American Empire

" When the Berlin Wall finally fell, when the Soviet empire finally imploded, the banner for this third stage was unfurled for all to see. For the first time in history since the apex of Roman rule, one nation and one government and one military ruled supreme over the known world. The movement conservatives, having lost communism as the main target for their energies and ire, turned inward and laid siege to their fellow citizens. The ultimate goal of this was to purge from debate and consideration anyone who did not approve of empire, and anyone who did not fit the Christian Reconstructionist mold they wished to build American society around."


Losing My Religion

This will be my last term at Thomas Cooley. As soon as they plow the roads here in lovely, gorgeous, stunningly beautiful Lansing, I will be filing the forms, submitting the paperwork, canceling the remaining student loans for next term, etc, in preparation for moving to greener legal pastures. I can’t wait to leave. I’d leave now, today, if I could, but with only six weeks (roughly) remaining until final exams it would be a foolish waste.

A legal education is NOT having the professor read from the textbook, nor is it a place for an egomaniac to show how powerful they are over respective students. I wish the school I attend didn’t have such harsh attendance policies as I’d like to take more time away from school to reflect, learn some law and bypass the Socratic sessions with professors, but alas they need a reason for being and I need a reason for … believing, and it is the latter that is rapidly being lost.

My disillusionment has roots that I find difficult at this moment to clearly articulate, but they stem in part from the lack of depth I find in the curriculum and rote-method of learning. Oh yes, there is “rigor” , but absent a partial lobotomy I am a triangle trying to fit into an oval, and what takes place in class is more akin to a hazing than a useful education.

I lament the loss of apprenticeship and self-education in this profession and I have the ABA to thank for that loss. The notion of “innovation” in today’s ABA law school are more classes, more “workshops” and above all – more money. The end product is akin to the MSCE “Network Engineers” one gets when attempting to hire out of DeVry Technical Institute – a bare minimum product that typically meets an outdated standard wherein the graduate will have to learn useful skills after jumping over the hurdle of the school itself.

Needless to say... it's turning out to be a jaded week for Majqa'.

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