Oct 20, 2001

FindLaw's Writ - Levinson: What Is The Constitution's Role In Wartime?
Free Speech
'The United States Constitution contains no "emergency power" or general "suspension" clause of the kind found in the Weimar Constitution or the current Indian Constitution. It is difficult to read our constitutional history, however, without believing that the Constitution is often reduced at best to a whisper during times of war.'


Oct 19, 2001

Novel Security Measures
Personal Commentary
'When Godfrey stepped up to the ticket counter, the United clerk informed him he had been selected for a random baggage search. "No problem," he replied... Now toting nothing but a novel and the most recent copy of The Nation magazine, Godfrey hiked through the concourse toward his boarding gate.... On the cover of the book, Hayduke Lives! by Edward Abbey, is an illustration of a man's hand holding several sticks of dynamite. The 1991 novel is about a radical environmentalist, George Washington Hayduke III, who blows up bridges, burns tractors and sabotages other projects he believes are destroying the beautiful Southwest landscape.'

Guess who didn't ride a plane. Welcome to the PS of A... I doubt I have to spell it out for you.


Oct 19, 2001

Taliban Stupidity
Personal Commentary
This won't be on Wired's "Ephemera" section for long:

It isn't the invasion of Normandy, exactly, but American special forces have arrived in southern Afghanistan and are reportedly operating in areas controlled by the Taliban. Initially, they'll be working with intelligence forces to try and undermine the Taliban regime although for their part, the Taliban seem unimpressed. "Fifteen or 20 troops will be able to do nothing," said Sohail Shaheen, a spokesman at the Taliban embassy in Pakistan. "If they want to send in soldiers, they should send in 100,000. Then it can be a fight between our soldiers and theirs."

This is wonderfully encouraging. Clearly, the Taliban has no friggen' clue about war, which is just the way we like it.

The entire point of the military is to focus force where it matters. Blanketing countries a la Dresden is in the past, where it can stay. Two or three people, if they could get in the right place, could probably take down the entire Taliban... simply by assassinating them all. Crude, but effective.

It would seem that nobody in the Taliban has played Civilization. (Perhaps we should airdrop millions of copies of Civilization and little computers to play it on to Afghanistan... it might teach them the importence of infrastructure in record time.)


Oct 17, 2001

Senator Backs Off Backdoors
'Sen. Judd Gregg has abruptly changed his mind and will no longer seek to insert backdoors into encryption products.'


Oct 15, 2001

RIAA Wants to Hack Your PC
Hacking & Cracking
'Look out, music pirates: The recording industry wants the right to hack into your computer and delete your stolen MP3s.'

I'm not sure where Wired is getting this. If you read the actual amendment, namely this part:

'No action may be brought under this subsection arising out of any impairment of the availability of data, a program, a system or information, resulting from measures taken by an owner of copyright in a work of authorship, or any person authorized by such owner to act on its behalf, that are intended to impede or prevent the infringement of copyright in such work by wire or electronic communication; provided that the use of the work that the owner is intending to impede or prevent is an infringing use.

it looks to me like they just want the right to block communication. Still a rather large carte blance to cause arbitrary damage to individuals or organizations by withholding the Internet access of those deemed guilty-without-trial of possibly infringing on copyright, but not quite to the "hacking into computers" level that the Wired article goes on and on about.

Admin note: @Home decided to change their network configuration around here without telling me in advance, and it took me three days to chase down all the settings I had to change for stuff to work. That's why it's been so quiet here, despite the fact I'm over my anthrax cold. At least it was a weekend.


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