House passes blanket retroactive immunity for telcos

Well the House of Representatives passed the crappy piece of legislation that provides retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies. I find it disgusting that the House decided that potentially illegal spying on citizens is not worthy of full investigation and instead passed a bill that kills the currently progressing legal proceedings. I am glad to report that my representative, Congressman Richard E. Neal, voted against the bill, thank you very much Representative Neal.

There was a former Deputy Attorney General on the News Hour Friday night who tried to make light of this immunity with a bad analogy. He said if a policeman takes your car to chase a criminal you are given immunity from prosecution for whatever happens so, the telcos should get immunity. This is not anywhere near the same as the immunity they want to give the telcos. If a policeman hands you a gun and tells you to shoot someone in the head AFAIK you will not be given immunity from prosecution. Every citizen is required to know the law and when instructed by anyone to break that law the citizen must say no or accept the consequences. Sure a Judge might give you a break on the sentence if it wasn’t easy to determine the legality but you can’t expect full immunity because an insane authority figure tells you to do something that you should know is wrong.

The bill is now in the Senate, lets hope they throw out the retroactive immunity provision so that we can find out what this monkey business was all about.

Please contact your Senators and urge them to vote NO on this bill that cuts sharply into our Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

More information about the House fiasco here:

House Caves, Approves Fake ‘Compromise’ on Telecom Immunity

House Falls Down on the Job

This article covers the action in the Senate on this bill:

Senators Dodd and Feingold Stand Strong Against Immunity

A Quack who admits it

drkatzDavid L. Katz, M.D is a purveyor of medical woo from Yale University. 😦 Since he posted this quote on his blog I figured I’d make his wish come true. Of course we all know this makes him a Witch! I’ve developed some easy tests to determine if a doctor is likely a quack. If the doctor has been on Oprah’s TV show they are very likely to be promoting quack medicine (e.g. Dr. “enlarge your penis by loosing weight” Oz). If the doctor has a web site trying to sell you stuff they are extremely likely to be a quack, hold onto your wallet as you run away fast.

For more information about the bad doctor and his pseudoscientific ways check out these posts by some good evidence based doctors.

“Fluid evidence” strikes back: Dr. Katz versus the skeptical blogsophere

Integrative baloney @ Yale

Changing the Rules of Evidence

“Integrative” medicine at Yale: A more “fluid” concept of evidence?

As far as I’m concerned Yale’s Dr. Katz is far less useful than the funny Dr. Katz.dr-katz-logo

I hereby release the Dr. Katz as a Duck image to the Public Domain. Creative Commons License

FCC News

The Do-Not-Call list has been made permanent!

The Federal Communications Commission has amended its rules to require telemarketers to honor registrations with the National Do-Not-Call Registry indefinitely. The previous rules provided that registrations would expire after five years.

This action is consistent with Congress’s mandate in the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007, which prohibits the removal of numbers from the Registry unless the consumer cancels the registration or the number has been disconnected and reassigned or is otherwise invalid. The Federal Trade Commission has already committed to retain numbers on the Registry indefinitely.

Read the full announcement here.

More DTV transition actions against retailers:

Big Lots Stores, $48K

Variety Wholesalers, $38K

BJ’s Wholesale Club, $20K

Conn’s Inc, $70K

Rent-A-Center, $60,000

Firefox 3 Download Day

Download Day

Tomorrow, June 17th, is the official launch of Firefox 3 and we’re trying to set a Guinness World Record. Please download Firefox 3 tomorrow to:

Set a Guinness World Record
Enjoy a Better Web
Sounds like a good deal, right? All you have to do is get Firefox 3 during Download Day to help set the record for most software downloads in 24 hours – it’s that easy. We’re not asking you to swallow a sword or to balance 30 spoons on your face, although that would be kind of awesome.
The official date for the launch of Firefox 3 is June 17, 2008.

I’ll be downloading it tomorrow and you should to.

———-Update 11:00AM EDT———–

According to the Mozilla blog, the record setting attempt starts at 10:00 a.m. PDT (1:00PM EDT), for other  time zones see this page.

Denon, Incompetent or Fraudulent?

Denon is now selling a 5 foot Ethernet like cable for $500.00. Either Denon’s engineer’s are totally incompetent for designing a digital audio link that requires a $500 cable to work over 5 feet or, Denon’s marketing and management are jumping on the take money from gullible audiophiles bandwagon. Either situation is very bad, you don’t want to buy incompetently designed or fraudulent products.

denon1Take a look at the data sheet, it is completely devoid of electrical specifications, all it has is the usual range of pseudo-scientific marketing phrases. The biggest laugh I got from the data sheet is this bullet point. “Direction marks to indicate correct direction for connecting cable” and the picture shows a double headed arrow printed on the connector shell. The symbol clearly shows that you can connect the cable in either of the two possible ways making the symbol completely unnecessary. Another laugh is their labeling of the strain relief bushing in the head shell as a “bush”. Sorry Denon you don’t even have a firm grasp of the English language, a bush is plant type not a strain relief device.

I am very disappointed in Denon and in my opinion they have become snake oil salesman. I recommend that people do not even consider buying any gear from these hucksters. Any company willing to stoop this low is one to stay far away from if you value your money.

This article about the cable has some spot on observations and reasonable reader comments. My favorite phrase from the article is this, “Not made of solid gold and unicorn hair then”.