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Conservative Leaders File Amicus Brief Calling for Marriage Equality

Posted on February 27th, 2013 at 20:52 by John Sinteur in category: News


What do Mary Bono Mack, James B. Comey, Jon Huntsman, Ken Mehlman, Steve Schmidt, William F. Weld, and Meg Whitman have in common? In addition to being conservative leaders, they’re also signatories to a brief calling on the Supreme Court to overturn Prop. 8.

Additional names are still being added, with a final list of names to be released when the brief is filed with the Supreme Court. Enacted in November 2008, Proposition 8 eliminated the fundamental freedom of gay and lesbian Californians to marry.


The glass-half-empty crowd will note that there are 30 sitting Republican governors, and 45 sitting Republican senators, and the grand total of them who signed on to this brief is zero. There are 232 sitting Republican members of the U.S. House, and only two have stepped up to put their names on this list — 0.8% of the caucus.

Still, from where I sit, given the radicalization of Republican politics in recent years, I’m inclined to embrace progress where I can find it.

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  1. It’s good to see people like Whitman, who was a strong Prop 8 supporter, come to her senses.

    I’d like to believe it’s because she’s actually thought about it, but I’m afraid it’s much more that the Republican Party is in disarray, and is looking for ways to broaden its base. Maybe, just maybe, this is the beginning of the end of the Devil’s Bargain that the fiscally-conservative “Chamber of Commerce” Republicans made with the Religious Right during the Reagan years.

    It remains to be seen…

DOJ admits Aaron’s prosecution was political

Posted on February 27th, 2013 at 19:56 by John Sinteur in category: News


The DOJ has told Congressional investigators that Aaron’s prosecution was motivated by his political views on copyright.

I was going to start that last paragraph with “In a stunning turn of events,” but I realized that would be inaccurate — because it’s really not that surprising. Many people speculated throughout the whole ordeal that this was a political prosecution, motivated by anything/everything from Aaron’s effective campaigning against SOPA to his run-ins with the FBI over the PACER database. But Aaron actually didn’t believe it was — he thought it was overreach by some local prosecutors who didn’t really understand the internet and just saw him as a high-profile scalp they could claim, facilitated by a criminal justice system and computer crime laws specifically designed to give prosecutors, however incompetent or malicious, all the wrong incentives and all the power they could ever want.

But this HuffPo article, and what I’m hearing from sources on the Hill, suggest that that’s not true. That Ortiz and Heymann knew exactly what they were doing: Shutting up, and hopefully locking up, an extremely effective activist whose political views, including those on copyright, threatened the Powers That Be

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SWAT Team Raids Wrong House Terrorizing 78 Year Old Woman And Her Bedridden Daughter

Posted on February 27th, 2013 at 19:09 by Paul Jay in category: Do you feel safer yet?

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You wouldn’t download a car, would you?

Posted on February 27th, 2013 at 18:14 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property

Oh yes I would.

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  1. Go right ahead, but uh–

    “The whole car – which is about 10 feet long – takes about 2,500 hours”

    I think I’ll just walk over to a dealer and get one 99 days sooner. Also, this is just for the car body, the whole thing says nothing about engine and drive train.

Indian farmers smash crop yield records without GMOs

Posted on February 27th, 2013 at 16:54 by Paul Jay in category: News


What if the agricultural revolution has already happened and we didn’t realize it? Essentially, that’s the idea in this report from theGuardian about a group of poverty-stricken Indian rice and potato farmers who harvested confirmed world-record yields of rice and potatoes. Best of all: They did it completely sans-GMOs or even chemicals of any kind.

[Sumant] Kumar, a shy young farmer in Nalanda district of India’s poorest state Bihar, had — using only farmyard manure and without any herbicides — grown an astonishing 22.4 tonnes of rice on one hectare [~2.5 acres] of land. This was a world record and with rice the staple food of more than half the world’s population of seven billion, big news.

It beat not just the 19.4 tonnes achieved by the “father of rice”, the Chinese agricultural scientist Yuan Longping, but the World Bank-funded scientists at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, and anything achieved by the biggest European and American seed and GM companies. And it was not just Sumant Kumar. Krishna, Nitish, Sanjay and Bijay, his friends and rivals in Darveshpura, all recorded over 17 tonnes, and many others in the villages around claimed to have more than doubled their usual yields.

Another Bihar farmer broke India’s wheat-growing record the same year. They accomplished all this without GMOs or advanced seed hybrids, artificial fertilizer or herbicide. Instead, they used a technique called System of Rice [or root] Intensification (SRI). It’s a technique developed in Madagascar in the 1980s by a French Jesuit and then identified and promulgated by Cornell political scientist and international development specialist Norman Uphoff.

SRI for rice involves starting with fewer, more widely spaced plants; using less water; actively aerating the soil; and applying lots of organic fertilizer. According to Uphoff’s SRI Institute website [PDF], the farmers who use synthetic fertilizer with the technique get lower yields than those who farm organically. How’s that for pleasant irony?

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Neil deGrasse Tyson on the purpose of life

Posted on February 27th, 2013 at 16:53 by John Sinteur in category: News

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Editorial: Nothing funny about being a global laughing stock (Oh yes, there is!)

Posted on February 27th, 2013 at 16:41 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News


Quebec governments, particularly those of the sovereignist persuasion, like to preen when the world takes notice of the province. Not so last week, however.

Two things got Quebec unusually prominent coverage beyond its borders. One was the raid on Montreal’s city hall by the provincial anti-corruption squad. Even bigger news abroad was the crackdown by the province’s language police on one of Montreal’s leading Italian restaurants, Buonanotte, for having Italian words, such as pasta, on its menu.

World-class eatery Joe Beef in Montreal was subject to harassment for a pair of innocuous decorative signs in English on its premises. When a language inspector descended on Holder, a popular Parisian-style brasserie in Old Montreal, she was shocked to find the words Hold and Redial on the staff telephone, and a switch marked On/Off on the microwave, and ordered the owner cover them with tape.

Also found unacceptable at Holder were the letters WC on a toilet door and the word steak on a kitchen chalkboard where the chef wrote his grocery list. Pleas that WC, even though it stands for water closet, is common usage on public bathrooms in France, and that steak is as commonly used in French as in English, were of no avail.

Signs of Spring in Quebec, already.

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Apple’s Deleting iCloud Emails That Contain The Phrase ‘Barely Legal Teens’

Posted on February 27th, 2013 at 16:09 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but Steven took his testing even farther. He created a PDF containing the line: “All my children are barely legal teens — why would I want to let them drive by themselves?” And yep, Apple’s servers sent the attachment straight to hell. Then he just typed that phrase in a regular email and it was blocked too.

After more research, Steven found that under the iCloud terms of service, Apple reserves the right to remove any content at any time that it feels is objectionable, without telling you that they’re going to delete it. Apparently, ‘barely legal teens’ falls into that ‘objectionable content’ category, along with other phrases we’re probably not aware of.

We ran our own quick tests that seemed to back up Stevens claims. Apple was asked to confirm whether it’s actively scanning files in iCloud and deleting them if they have keyword phrases like “barely legal,” but they haven’t responded.

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  1. You know, this is the reason innuendo was invented…

  2. It is also why encryption was invented.

  3. This is just another reason why I don’t buy or support ANY Apple products! They own it, we just rent it!

“Too Big To Fail Banks”

Posted on February 27th, 2013 at 15:55 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons

Bernanke: “Some of these rules take time to develop…”

As in never.

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  1. Bernanke: ‘It takes time to remove you from that chair’.

‘Put disabled children down’ Cornwall councillor sorry

Posted on February 27th, 2013 at 15:47 by John Sinteur in category: News


A councillor has apologised for telling a disability charity that “disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down”.

Collin Brewer, an independent member of Cornwall Council, made the comments to a Disability Cornwall member at a stall at County Hall in Truro in 2011.

The charity complained and the authority’s Standards Committee has reported its findings.

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Beers skimping on buzz, lawsuit claims

Posted on February 27th, 2013 at 14:03 by John Sinteur in category: News


Two Montgomery County brothers have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the maker of Budweiser, Michelob, and their many beer cousins has systematically exaggerated how much alcohol is actually in its brews.


“We’ve spoken with former employees who have confirmed” that beer often leaves the plants with a little less than 5 percent alcohol, saving “tens of millions of dollars a year by substituting high-quality ingredients with the cheapest ingredient, which is water,” Boxer added.

There’s a joke in here involving a canoe and sex…

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  1. Canadians are mad for it?

  2. No… the one about fucking close to water…

  3. They’re mad for that too.

U.S. Antitrust Division in Phila. lost many veteran lawyers

Posted on February 27th, 2013 at 13:08 by John Sinteur in category: News


When markets are competitive, the consumer wins,” Christine Varney told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce back in 2009. She blamed the ideology of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush that, she claimed, let industries regulate themselves. “Higher prices, reduced product variety, and slower innovations” were the result, Varney said.

She promised her “trustbusters” would put market-smothering financial, health-care, energy, and telecom bosses in prison.

After two years, Varney left for a lucrative job with a New York law firm. Then her former boss, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., announced a $100 million-plus cost-savings plan that included shutting four of the seven regional antitrust offices, effective January. That included the Philadelphia office.

Don’t worry, Holder assured congressional critics. Fewer offices didn’t have to mean less prosecution. Antitrust lawyers could relocate to Washington or New York. “Consolidating the staff into larger teams will allow the team to more effectively and efficiently manage larger investigations,” division spokeswoman Gina Talamona said at the time.

But 14 of the 15 antitrust lawyers assigned to the Philadelphia office are out of the division. Ten have left government. Lawyers have also exited newly shut offices in Dallas, Atlanta, and Cleveland.


“The loss of the Antitrust Division employees to the department resulted in an irreparable loss of talented white-collar prosecutors,”

Spokeswoman Talamona declined to discuss the lawyers’ individual decisions, or detail how Antitrust will “effectively and efficiently manage larger investigations,” without cutting its caseload, after losing so many veterans.

If by “manage” they mean “ignore”, they’ll do just fine…

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  1. “Manage” is correct. They are running a protection racket. Companies now forced to plead guilty and the only people who go to jail are unimportant marginal elements pour encourager les autres.