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NOM Exposed

Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 22:03 by John Sinteur in category: News


NOM Exposed collects information about the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a secretive front group for the Mormon and Catholic churches which funds other front groups across the country, in their fight against recognition of same-sex marriage rights in the United States. NOM Exposed pulls together biographies about the leadership behind the organization, the ties to extremist religious and other groups, the money trail and the shadowy outfits where the cash leads, the organization’s ethical, campaign finance, and other legal violations across the country (such as that pointed to here), and various propaganda that NOM uses to spread its message.

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Secret Sex Video Linked to NJ Student’s Suicide

Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 22:00 by John Sinteur in category: News


The death of a Rutgers University freshman stirred outrage and remorse among classmates who said they wished they could have stopped the teen from jumping off a bridge after secret video of his sexual encounter with a man was streamed online.

Tyler Clementi, 18, jumped off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River last week. His body was identified Thursday after being found in the river a day before.

"Had he been in bed with a woman, this would not have happened," said Rutgers student Lauren Felton, 21, of Warren. "He wouldn’t have been outed via an online broadcast, and his privacy would have been respected and he might still have his life."


For years, I’ve looked at the pictures from the 60s civil rights marches and thought that, had I been around then, I’d be one of those (very) few white people in the crowd. I know most of you good liberals out there have had similar thoughts, that you’d march and face the angry racist crowds and maybe even go to jail for that cause. A lot of you have thought that, haven’t you?

Well, here’s your fucking chance. Right now, there is a civil rights issue that needs your attention and participation. Right now, people are getting murdered, beaten, denied basic civil rights, threatened, and bullied because of how they were born. Right now, there are marches and sit-ins and congressional outreach programs and what-all. Right now, there are unjust laws to overturn and angry crowds to face. If you think equal rights for blacks is a good and worthy cause, even though you’re white, then you should think equal rights for gays is a good and worthy cause, even if you’re straight.

You don’t even have to do that much. No one’s having dogs and firehoses turned on them these days, so you’re safe there. You don’t have to be a tireless crusader. You don’t have to volunteer on any sort of regular basis. You don’t have to go to jail, or lose your job, or devote yourselves full-time to the cause. Make a sign, go to a march, write a letter.

Your role here is not necessarily to changes the bigots’ minds (though, of course, that’d be swell). What my wife and I found is honest-to-god amazement that a straight person, much less a straight couple, gives enough of a damn to do something. We got an unbelievable amount of praise and adoration and gratitude for maybe 4 hours work. Sure, I know many of the folks who oppose same-sex marriage oppose inter-racial marriage, too, so maybe we didn’t open anyone’s mind. But we fired up a hell of a lot of people, encouraged them to keep on, and showed them that it’s not their issue, but all of ours.

This will trickle down. Get gays accepted into the military, let them get married, and you will see public acceptance of horrific acts against gays go down. Not go away, of course, and it won’t happen overnight, but we can—YOU can—chip chip chip away at it.

This problem won’t be solved by expelling the two instigators (though that should be done). It won’t be solved by impassioned rants on blogs, or internet revenge fantasies. Fuck, it might not ever be solved. But you–YOU—can help.

Goddamnit, children are dying, and you have the opportunity to do something about it, without even going to much trouble. SO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

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Human landscapes in SW Florida

Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 21:52 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


A couple weeks ago, I was listening to a story by NPR’s Planet Money team about “Toxie” a toxic asset they had purchased to follow and help tell the story of the recent financial meltdown. One of the mortgages in Toxie was on a home bought for investment in Bradenton, Florida, and the team took a look at housing in the area. Many homes there are empty and have been for years. Huge developments sit partially completed among densely built up neighborhoods and swampland. A guest stated that there were “enough housing lots in Charlotte County to last for more than 100 years”. Boom and bust residential development has drastically affected parts of southwest Florida for decades now, and I spent some time (with the help of Google Earth), looking around the area. With permission from the fine folks at Google, here are a few glimpses at development in southwest Florida. (26 photos total)

Once proposed as the 57,000 acre “Golden Gate Estates”, this area was to be the largest subdivision in America in the 1960s. Many canals and roads were built, but the development eventually went bankrupt. Over the past 20 years or so, the land has been acquired by the state, and converted into the Picayune Strand State Forest. Map, Street View. (© Google/USGS)

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Irish deficit balloons after new bank bail-out

Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 17:48 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


The Irish Central Bank has said it will need to increase the amount of support to the country’s banking sector.

The total amount has risen to 45bn euros (£39bn), or 32% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The Bank said supporting Anglo Irish Bank alone would cost from 29.3bn euros to a "stress scenario" bail-out of up to 34bn euros (£29.2bn).

The finance minister, Brian Lenihan, says it is "manageable". Without the bank support, the deficit would be 12%.


“If you added together all the capital provided to Ireland’s banks by various arms of the state, taxpayer support to those banks in the form of capital injections is around 30% of GDP.”

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I think I found my Halloween costume

Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 17:43 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

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  1. Pls be sure to post a picture when you wear this. We’ll be looking for it on Nov 1.

Ladder Shop for SFFD

Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 16:44 by John Sinteur in category: News

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Visual Basic Comes to Windows Phone 7

Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 16:17 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft, What were they thinking?


You can now download the Visual Basic CTP for Windows Phone Developer Tools. Provided in this download are all the templates, designer support, emulator (and phone!) support and IntelliSense for Visual Basic.

We’re not formally announcing the schedule for when Visual Basic will be fully supported. We’re giving VB developers early access to the Windows Phone 7 platform so that they can start thinking about what amazing apps they want to build.

The classic definition of “to be amazed” is to be bewildered, made crazy, or stunned.

I guess that’s correct, then.

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  1. The only thing that comes to my mind is “bumfuzzled”… Just what we need, our phones to give us the BSOD.


Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 16:02 by John Sinteur in category: News


Tuesday night, Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman debated Democrat Jerry Brown and said she wanted to impose penalties on employers who hire illegal aliens. Then yesterday, her former maid, Nicky Diaz Santillan, held a press conference saying she was an illegal alien who worked as a maid for Whitman for 9 years and Whitman knew she was illegal because although Diaz Santillan gave Whitman a social security card, Whitman checked it and the government said the number was bogus.

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Only 1.7% of sites blocked by Scandinavia’s “child-porn” filters are actually child porn

Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 14:10 by John Sinteur in category: News


Germany’s working group against censorship, AK Zensur, has analysed a few recent Scandinavian blacklists, allegedly meant to block sites containing child abuse material. Our less-than-surprising findings:

* From 167 listed sites, only 3 contained such material.

* Two of them were listed on different blacklists since 2008, obviously without the authorities trying to take the sites offline.

* All three were taken down by the hosting providers within hours or even minutes after receiving an AK takedown request by email.

So what were the reasons again that made access blocking an essential weapon in fighting child abuse?

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Germany’s First World War debt ends officially on Sunday

Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 12:28 by John Sinteur in category: News


This Sunday will see the official financial end of the First World War as Germany pays off the last of the debt imposed on the country by the Allies.

Sunday will see the final £60 million payment of the £22 billion debt imposed on Germany for starting one of the bloodiest wars in history.

The Allies, primarily the USA, France and Britain, set the debt as part of the negotiations of The Treaty of Versailles, which was finally signed on June 28th 1919 after months of talks.

The original total set by the ‘big three’ was 226 billion Reichsmarks, however, it was later reduced to 132 billion, equal to £22 billion at the time. It was looked upon as compensation and punishment for causing the war which claimed the lives of around 10 million soldiers and left over 20 million injured.

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Newly discovered planet may be first truly habitable exoplanet

Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 9:47 by John Sinteur in category: News


A team of planet hunters led by astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington has announced the discovery of an Earth-sized planet (three times the mass of Earth) orbiting a nearby star at a distance that places it squarely in the middle of the star’s "habitable zone," where liquid water could exist on the planet’s surface. If confirmed, this would be the most Earth-like exoplanet yet discovered and the first strong case for a potentially habitable one.

To astronomers, a "potentially habitable" planet is one that could sustain life, not necessarily one that humans would consider a nice place to live. Habitability depends on many factors, but liquid water and an atmosphere are among the most important.

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There is no Plan B: why the IPv4-to-IPv6 transition will be ugly

Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 9:37 by John Sinteur in category: News


Twenty years ago, the fastest Internet backbone links were 1.5Mbps. Today we argue whether that’s a fast enough minimum to connect home users. In 1993, 1.3 million machines were connected to the Internet. By this past summer, that number had risen to 769 million and this only counts systems that have DNS names. The notion of a computer that is not connected to the Internet is patently absurd these days.

But all of this rapid progress is going to slow in the next few years. The internet will soon be sailing in very rough seas, as it’s about to run out of addresses, needing to be gutted and reconfigured for continued growth in the second half of the 2010s and beyond. Originally, the idea was that this upgrade would happen quietly in the background, but over the past few years, it has become clear that the change from the current Internet Protocol version 4, which is quickly running out of addresses, to the new version 6 will be quite a messy affair.

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Afghanistan, September, 2010 – The Big Picture

Posted on September 29th, 2010 at 20:27 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


This month, Afghanistan held parliamentary elections with nearly 2,500 candidates for 249 seats. Turnout was very light under threat of violence from the Taliban, and accusations of fraud are widespread. Afghan President Karzai announced the formation of a 70-member peace council, a step towards formal discussions with the Taliban. And American and Afghan troops have now begun active combat in an offensive to drive the Taliban out of their strongholds surrounding the city of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban. With 51 more coalition troops killed this month, the total number of deaths for coalition troops in 2010 reached 541 compared with 521 for all of 2009. Collected here are images of the country and conflict over the past month, part of an ongoing monthly series on Afghanistan. (47 photos total)

A US soldier with the 101st Airborne Division 1-320th Alpha Battery patrols a pomegranate orchard in Chahar Qolbah, a hamlet on the outskirts of the village of Jellawar on September 10, 2010. Pomegranates — found everywhere in Afghanistan, are a beacon of hope for the fractured farming sector. Up to 80 percent of Afghans rely on agriculture, yet the country’s rural economy has been blighted by three decades of conflict. (PATRICK BAZ/AFP/Getty Images) #

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Legal blackmail: comprehensive look at tactics of copyright bounty-hunters

Posted on September 29th, 2010 at 19:46 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


Earlier this month, a concerted denial of service attack by 4chan members against the UK law firm ACS:Law resulted in the disclosure of an enormous trove of internal emails from the firm. The mail archive was quickly packaged up and distributed online through sites like The Pirate Bay, and analyses of their contents have begun to show up online — for example, UK ISP Sky Broadband was upset to discover that ACS:Law’s leak included the personal information of 4,000 of its customers (Sky provided ACS with this information in response to paid requests that ACS made in order to send legal threats to Sky’s customers). Sky says that it will no longer provide ACS with customer data.

This is the heart of the matter: ACS:Law is the last firm in the UK that is in the business of sending "legal blackmail" letters to accused copyright infringers, mostly on behalf of the pornography industry (the "legal blackmail" appellation comes directly from a House of Lords debate over ACS’s tactics). And ACS is attempting to branch out into the USA, where statutory damages for copyright infringement open the doors to even more money.

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Internet’s creator slams ‘blight’ of web disconnection laws

Posted on September 29th, 2010 at 11:40 by John Sinteur in category: News


internetlaser Internets creator slams blight of web disconnection lawsTim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, warned Tuesday of the "blight" of new laws being introduced across the globe allowing people to be cut off from the Internet.


“If a French family can be forcibly disconnected from the Internet by law for a year because one of their children downloaded something that some company asserts that they should not have downloaded, without trial — I think that’s a kind of inappropriate punishment,” Berners-Lee said.

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Obama in Command: The Rolling Stone Interview

Posted on September 29th, 2010 at 7:50 by John Sinteur in category: News


One closing remark that I want to make: It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election. There may be complaints about us not having gotten certain things done, not fast enough, making certain legislative compromises. But right now, we’ve got a choice between a Republican Party that has moved to the right of George Bush and is looking to lock in the same policies that got us into these disasters in the first place, versus an administration that, with some admitted warts, has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.

The idea that we’ve got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible.

Everybody out there has to be thinking about what’s at stake in this election and if they want to move forward over the next two years or six years or 10 years on key issues like climate change, key issues like how we restore a sense of equity and optimism to middle-class families who have seen their incomes decline by five percent over the last decade. If we want the kind of country that respects civil rights and civil liberties, we’d better fight in this election. And right now, we are getting outspent eight to one by these 527s that the Roberts court says can spend with impunity without disclosing where their money’s coming from. In every single one of these congressional districts, you are seeing these independent organizations outspend political parties and the candidates by, as I said, factors of four to one, five to one, eight to one, 10 to one.

We have to get folks off the sidelines. People need to shake off this lethargy, people need to buck up. Bringing about change is hard — that’s what I said during the campaign. It has been hard, and we’ve got some lumps to show for it. But if people now want to take their ball and go home, that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.

If you’re serious, now’s exactly the time that people have to step up.

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  1. “has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.”

    Ah, so corporate interest is called “progressive agendas” these days? Good to know.

  2. Well, you see, that’s marketing. By calling something “great” long enough, it’s supposed to make people think that way…

  3. I’m sympathetic to the tone of the above comments. Unfortunately while the coastal liberals are upset about the lack of progressive government the working poor couldn’t feel more alienated from patronizing, elite liberals, the corporate lobby is thrilled to bring the fire-breathing social conservatives along for the ride–what a great way to get enough poor votes to attain power.

    I know it is offensive to be stereotyped as elitists, but come on…we are all reading a blog that keeps us up on the latest Apple gossip (Thanks John!).

  4. Yes I distrusted the vague organization and tendrils behind this man when he first became an contender for the office. Yes I was won over. Yes have become dissatisfied with how things have gone.


    When it comes to the best of evils I cannot think of a realistic alternative that will not hand the entire country to the most dangerously backward group of thieves who will preach to the converted while robbing them and everyone blind. We could do a lot worse.

  5. Given that the GOP has been hijacked and taken to the right of Hitler, I agree with TS Phillips choice.

Milford cop suspended for erasure of dashboard video

Posted on September 29th, 2010 at 7:18 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ


A police lieutenant was suspended for one day without pay for inadvertently ordering the destruction of thousands of hours of dashboard video sought by the family of one of the two teens killed when a speeding Milford police cruiser slammed into their car.

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Abstruse Goose » Hello

Posted on September 29th, 2010 at 7:16 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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Posted on September 29th, 2010 at 7:14 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

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Hello, want to kill some time?

Posted on September 29th, 2010 at 7:07 by John Sinteur in category: News


Tip: It works great to vaporize annoying ads.

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Posted on September 29th, 2010 at 6:43 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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Skeptics discount science by casting doubts on scientist expertise

Posted on September 28th, 2010 at 16:34 by John Sinteur in category: News


The people behind the new study start by asking a pretty obvious question: "Why do members of the public disagree—sharply and persistently—about facts on which expert scientists largely agree?"


So, it’s not just a matter of the public not understanding the expert opinions of places like the National Academies of science; they simply discount the expertise associated with any opinion they’d rather not hear.

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  1. By and large Americans are raised to believe in magical thinking. They believe any belief that props up their own prejudice and wishful thinking. Anything is possible, they are told, because God could snap his fingers and make the world in six days and make it LOOK like it took billions of years and he could snap his fingers tomorrow and make dogs turn into igloos and apples sprout pink feathers.

    Even those who had such childhood superstition curbed by school-taught logic and awareness still have a hard time giving up cherished beliefs. One study says wild American salmon is safe but farmed European salmon isn’t and Americans switch to wild salmon by the thousands. A later, broader study finds Norwegian farmed salmon much safer than wild American salmon – those same Americans refuse to believe the findings. And look how the study linking a diet high in tofu with Alzheimer’s was ridiculed without anyone attempting to replicate the findings.

    When science confirms something they “know” it isn’t so, because they wish it weren’t. As Dr. Sagan was fond of pointing out, Belief is the opposite of knowledge.

iPhone fanbois run off road in CoolBrand race

Posted on September 28th, 2010 at 15:51 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


Fanbois will be crying tears of frustration over their iPhones today at the revelation they no longer possess the UK’s most coveted product.

The CoolBrands survey, which delineates the most desirable consumer brands, has declared Aston Martin is this year’s coolest brand, driving the iPhone off the number one spot.

Apple fans will be aghast that a fabulously expensive car driven by no less than James Bond is somehow considered cooler than a phone which has downloadable farts and is mercifully free of porn.

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Posted on September 28th, 2010 at 12:56 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture

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Eh, what?

Posted on September 28th, 2010 at 12:53 by John Sinteur in category: News


East Jakarta Police are investigating a case where a martial arts expert was able to break her underage lesbian lover out of protective custody where she was being “cured” of her attraction to women.

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  1. This is awesome.. I know some kickboxing lesbians.. some of those women could give chuck norris a run for his money.

Former Air Force personnel disclose UFO, alien-related threats

Posted on September 28th, 2010 at 9:11 by John Sinteur in category: News


A press conference was held this afternoon at the National Press Club in Washington, where at least a dozen former U.S. Air Force personnel, mostly officers who worked on secret projects connected to sensitive nuclear weapons sites, are admitting that they were privy to UFO and alien-related incidents — that occurred during their time of service.

In this clip, you will hear from: Retired Air Force Captain Robert Salas, Former Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Dwayne Arneson and Former Air Force Official Bill Jameson.

The military is so powerful and secretive that it covered up contacts with aliens, but it’s also powerless to stop these guys from having a press conference.

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  1. That lip syncing is so bad!

  2. They didn’t really fail the last 40 years. The most impressive press conference was in 2001. Which NO media reported. That’s not powerless.

    A very old NY Times article:

    ‘Admiral Hillenkoetter said that “behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFO’s.”
    “But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense,” the retired admiral said.
    He charged that “to hide the facts, the Air Force has silenced its personnel” through the issuance of a regulation.


  3. Yeah, Paul Jay, of course.

    No media reported the conference. Except the NY times, of course.

    C’mon, who read the NY Times these days? Who read an article from NY times *available online*? No more than 2 people, for sure. Keep it secret!

Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says

Posted on September 28th, 2010 at 7:49 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


If you want to know about God, you might want to talk to an atheist.

Heresy? Perhaps. But a survey that measured Americans’ knowledge of religion found that atheists and agnostics knew more, on average, than followers of most major faiths. In fact, the gaps in knowledge among some of the faithful may give new meaning to the term "blind faith."


The Rev. Adam Hamilton, a Methodist minister from Leawood, Kan., and the author of “When Christians Get it Wrong,” said the survey’s results may reflect a reluctance by many people to dig deeply into their own beliefs and especially into those of others.

“I think that what happens for many Christians is, they accept their particular faith, they accept it to be true and they stop examining it. Consequently, because it’s already accepted to be true, they don’t examine other people’s faiths. … That, I think, is not healthy for a person of any faith,” he said.

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  1. Well, I had a discussion with my father (who is a deeply religious person, roman catholic) some months ago.

    He is deeply religious, but exactly of that ‘blind’ kind. I call these people ‘somehow faithful’. Faith, but no clue what their faith is all about. The only thing that matters to these people is that it ‘feels religious’.

    In this discussion, he was rocksteadily convinced that reincarnation is 100% compatible with conservative roman catholicism. Unbelievable. I hadn’t any chance to convince him otherwise. I as an atheist am much more familiar with theology than a faithful follower of catholicism. How pathetic is that?

    But our styles of discussion weren’t compatible, anyway. I tried to make intellectual solid arguments, but from his side only logical fallacies, ‘argumentum ad hominem’, bursts of emotion and anger, the whole enchilada.

    These people only want to ‘feel’. They don’t want to think, and knowledge makes them afraid.

  2. I tried to make intellectual solid arguments

    There’s your problem right there. You can’t reason people out of a position they weren’t reasoned into.

  3. This actually underscores something I’ve felt for a long time: that I don’t think it’s possible to read — and I mean truly read/study/critique — a holy book and walk away with a stronger faith. More likely, you’ll get the sense that it’s a work of fiction.

    It’s either sad or paradoxical (or both), then, that, in order to say “I don’t believe in…” {whatever}, you really need to know and understand what {whatever} is.

  4. Most religious people treat the Bible like an End User Agreement: they don’t read it but just scroll to the bottom and click “I agree”

  5. Most religious people treat the Bible like an End User Agreement: they don’t read it but just scroll to the bottom and click “I agree.”

    OK, John, that’s officially the Quote of the Day!

  6. @Mudak You still can have a strong faith, that’s how religions fork. Read the Holy Book, discover the gaps, create a separate branch, write a new Holy Book.

    And that quote Johm is brilliant 😀

Stop the Internet Blacklist!

Posted on September 28th, 2010 at 5:44 by John Sinteur in category: News


Just the other day, President Obama urged other countries to stop censoring the Internet. But now the United States Congress is trying to censor the Internet here at home. A new bill being debated this week would have the Attorney General create an Internet blacklist of sites that US Internet providers would be required to block.

This is the kind of heavy-handed censorship you’d expect from a dictatorship, where one man can decide what web sites you’re not allowed to visit. But the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to pass the bill this week — and Senators say they haven’t heard much in the way of objections!

Obviously the Senators don’t live on the same planet as the rest of us.

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  1. I live in China where blocked websites are routine. Just about every American younger than 40 I’ve ever met out here knows all about proxy servers and all the other ways around site-blocking. Does Washington DC really think that terrorists access to any particular website will be blocked by methods like this?

FBI agents ‘cheated’ on test related to rules on spying on Americans

Posted on September 27th, 2010 at 19:44 by John Sinteur in category: News


A Justice Department investigation has found that FBI agents, including several supervisors, cheated on an important test covering the bureau’s policies for conducting surveillance on Americans.

Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine said Monday that his limited review of allegations that agents improperly took the open-book test together or had access to an answer sheet has turned up "significant abuses and cheating."

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This is a news website article about a scientific finding

Posted on September 27th, 2010 at 19:29 by John Sinteur in category: News


This is a news website article about a scientific paper

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