November, 2001

Thursday, November 29, 2001

Intellectual property: The internet's undoing - "As a result, companies can exercise more control over what runs along their wires and even decide which content flows at what speed - something called 'policy-based routing'."

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Ex-FBI Officials Criticize Tactics On Terrorism - "the Justice Department is resurrecting tactics the government rejected in the late 1970s because they did not prevent terrorism"

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Call for medical student screening - "The authors admit in their report that screening out narcissists, people who possess a morbid self-love or self-admiration, may deprive medicine of future leaders and innovators."

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Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Dead men walkingĂ– - "the American coalition is confronted with the first major incident of 'fourth generation warfare' (4GW)"

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Tuesday, November 27, 2001

LEGO Studios Screening Room: Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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This is what Microsoft said about grey imports in 1998 - "Anything between 40 and 90 per cent of grey software is counterfeit, according to whose estimates you believe. That means anything between 10 and 60 per cent is 'legitimate'."

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The underground entrepreneur - "The first are what are affectionately known as 'the tourists,' those newly minted MBAs who got in over their heads, had some fun, and were forced back home--'home' being a brand management position at Procter & Gamble, a job in management consulting, or the dorm room."

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Computer DJ uses biofeedback to pick tracks

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Meg Whitman - "the eBay economy is larger than that of Iceland"

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New Space Discovery Hailed - "It is considered unlikely that the planet will have chemicals suggestive of life, however. Because it is so close to its star, scientists believe the planet's atmosphere is heated to a killing 2,000 degrees."

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Softman v. Adobe: What it Means for the Rest of Us - "The Court understands fully why licensing has many advantages for software publishers. However, this preference does not alter the Court's analysis that the substance of the transaction at issue here is a sale and not a license"

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SLAC Symposium on the Early Web - "Since we sold GNN to AOL in 1995, and they shuttered it less than a year later, its place in early web history is now known mainly to those who were there at the time."

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Monday, November 26, 2001

I have added recent letters to editors to the freedom issues page.

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Silicon Valley's need for oblivion - "If we assume an operating expense per employee of $15,000 (below average in Silicon Valley), you arrive at a total potential head count of 125 at the end of year six. Assume a linear growth path, and you get 21 employees at the end of year one and 42 at the end of year two."

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...Bush pushes plan to expand control... - "The kind of public health emergency that would trigger extraordinary powers for health officers is defined so broadly that it could include AIDS, HIV infection or a severe flu epidemic ... people could be detained without a court order and isolated in stadiums or clinics"

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Vidal Slams U.S. for Waging 'Perpetual War'

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William Safire: Kangaroo Courts - "The U.C.M.J. demands a public trial, proof beyond reasonable doubt, an accused's voice in the selection of juries and right to choose counsel, unanimity in death sentencing and above all appellate review by civilians confirmed by the Senate. Not one of those fundamental rights can be found in Bush's military order setting up kangaroo courts for people he designates before 'trial' to be terrorists."

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What Went Wrong in the Arab World? Ask Yourself - "Each international crisis is treated as if it had no context whatever, at least no context involving ourselves, which prevents us from learning any lessons from the past."

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Vanished victims accuse Sharon - "We are arguing that this is politically motivated manipulation of Belgium's legal system."

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Journal axes gene research on Jews and Palestinians - "But the journal, having accepted the paper earlier this year, now claims the article was politically biased and was written using 'inappropriate' remarks about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict"

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Sunday, November 25, 2001

Learning From Israel and Its Mistakes - "The Israeli experience clearly shows that torture and other limitations on civil liberties have not made the country safer; they have made it more oppressive."

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On the way to school - "No one set out to kill five children, but that can no longer change very much."

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An Alternate Reality - "No economic doctrine I'm aware of, right or left, says that an $800 million lump-sum transfer to General Motors will lead to more investment when the company is already sitting on $8 billion in cash."

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The Village Voice: Features: Assault on Liberty: Military Justice Is to Justice as Military Music Is to Music by Alan M. Dershowitz - "That is the proper function of a jury - to follow its own lights on sentencing within the bounds of law. And it is precisely this independence that President Bush wants to avoid by placing 'justice' against suspected terrorists within the chain of military command."

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Rising Sea Level Forcing Evacuation of Island Country - "Tuvalu is the first country where people are trying to evacuate because of rising seas, but it almost certainly will not be the last."

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Swept Up in a Dragnet, Hundreds Sit in Custody and Ask, 'Why?' - "A lot of things that were on my mind I do not believe it anymore, like the fair trial, the free speech"

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US humility will speak volumes - "But doing this should not mean exaggerating the size of the 'they' out there or ignoring the fact that our core national values - democracy, freedom of speech, press and religion, pluralism, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a basic civic equality - are fundamentally sound and worth fighting for. America's mistakes in the world usually grow from a failure to live up to our values, not from an effort to practice them."

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Bush's New Rules to Fight Terror Transform the Legal Landscape - "We have decided to trade off the liberty of immigrants - particularly Arabs and Muslims - for the purported security of the majority"

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The New York Review of Books: Is There a Good Terrorist? - "Here are four things to look at in deciding whether someone is a terrorist, and, if they are, what kind of terrorist: Biography, Goals, Methods, and Context. Only a combination of the four will yield an answer."

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Right and Wrong - "It covers millions of resident aliens in this country: people with green cards. Any one of them could be brought before a military tribunal, instead of a regular court, if the president said he or she has 'aided' terrorism or "harbored" a terrorist."

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British troops 'in peril' as net closes on bin Laden - "get off our sovereign soil"

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AlterNet -- The Belligerent Bunch: Rabid Journalists and Pundits Push Bush to Extremes - "It is astonishing, that these pundits can make no meaningful distinction between criminal terrorists and suspected terrorists without a portfolio, or between hated despots and the population they oppress."

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Succeeding SourceForge - "A crucial part of the Savannah plan is that it does not anticipate creating another huge site to compete with SourceForge. The plan, instead, calls for a distributed, decentralized architecture. Savannah servers would be able to mirror (in a read-only mode) each others' projects, but none would become the One Big Server."

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Spain Sets Hurdle for Extraditions - "Were the United States now to request extradition of a suspected terrorist, a German court would have to examine whether the proposed military trial in the United States would be 'contrary to the rule of law.' 'And that could be a problem,' the German expert said."

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Assault on Liberty: Abandoning the Constitution to Military Tribunals - "Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. . . . To declare that in the administration of the criminal law, the end justifies the means . . . would bring terrible retribution."

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Saturday, November 24, 2001

Microsoft dispatches phone OEMs to knife Bluetooth - "the phone won't come with a Bluetooth chipset. Why not, we wondered? Because it's crap, said Sendo co-founder Hugh Brogan"

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China plans moon landing

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A memo to Pat Sueltz - "So Java won. Replace the word Java with XML. Call it X2EE."

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US plans TV station to rival al-Jazeera - "Voice of America, which has been in existence since 1941, came under attack from conservative politicians after September 11 for interviewing people not sympathetic to the US."

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UK Gov agency threatens to dump 500,000 Windows desktops - "increases take advantage of our dependence on these products and simply cannot be justified on value for money grounds."

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News: Firms risk fraud to keep customers - "merchants might see three percent of transactions as fraudulent. But although using the system might cut fraud to one and a half percent, orders could drop to 92 percent..."

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No Thumbprint, No Rental Car - "The only print of mine Dollar is going to get is the front side of my middle finger"

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Bill to Linus: You Owe Me. - "I needed another source to help me converge on the truth, so I e-mailed Jack Sams in Florida. Jack was the guy from IBM who was sent to Seattle to meet with Microsoft back in 1980, and tell them about the still-secret IBM PC. Jack was also the guy who mistook Gates for an office boy at the start of that meeting."

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Bush Fondles Your Luggage, The Feds take over airport security, and fun bodily searches will never be the same - "Please board a plane and go somewhere and thus help the economy recover, they urge, because we can spend only so many billions to bail out United and American before we have to rescind that whole cute tax cut thing that was entirely unnecessary in the first place and wouldn't that be embarrassing."

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Corporate Tax Schemes Cost Billions - "$5,655 for a toothbrush"

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Friday, November 23, 2001

AlterNet -- Beyond Osama: The Pentagon's Battle With Powell Heats Up - "going after Hamas or Hezbollah would be a terrible mistake?neither has broad-based support in Palestine, neither is an exclusively terrorist organization, neither is attacking Americans, and if we do go after them, they'll start targeting Americans. Attack those places and there will be consequences that we simply will not be able to deal with. But Perle and Wolfowitz are absolutists, and they're stupid."

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John Dean: Hiding Past And Present Presidencies - "While secrecy is necessary to fight a war, it is not necessary to run the country. I can assure you from firsthand experience that a President acting secretly usually does not have the best interest of Americans in mind."

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Thursday, November 22, 2001

Up with dissent - "Professors are complaining and getting away with it? Great. It means Americans are not the Taliban."

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Waking Up in Another Country, Not Our Own - "Forget the books and movies. There is no phone call from prison, no lawyer in the visiting room and no judge watching over my case. There are only captors, questions and solitary cells."

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Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Red Hat Proposes to Enhance Microsoft Settlement Offer By Providing Open Source Software to All U.S. School Districts

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New gravity map released

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Portland police refuse to cooperate with U.S. questioning - "the law does not allow us to go out and arbitrarily interview people whose only offense is immigration or citizenship"

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House of Saud looks close to collapse

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Stallman to Receive $830K - "GNU is an acronym for 'GNU's Not Unix,' a reference to the fact that the popular Linux operating systems actually operate off of GNU." - The Tech apparently not even able to check facts listed on the subject's web page and supported by their own university. I hear Fox News is hiring.

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Mr. Heiser's commentary on the Thomas Friedman piece below: "The magic formula in any propaganda war is to make your opponent sound foolish and irrational. Witness the fact that extremists are portrayed as 'insane', as if it is inconceivable that even one of them might feel that they have a legitimate point to make. Remember, our founding fathers were labeled terrorists and extremists by their rulers."

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Think I've been paying too much attention to geopolitics lately? Yeah, so do I.

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Robert Fisk Interview - "It's not surprising to find followers of bin Laden in all these countries. There are followers of Dunkin' Donuts and Colonel What's His Name, if you see what I mean. Individuals in various countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia listen to the tapes of bin Laden. They gather in groups of four or five. They feel they want to do something to express their support for what they've heard. The idea that they were taking orders is a particularly Western idea." - READ THIS

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Today's News Quiz - "Over the last 10 years, though, without the world noticing, Bangladesh has had three democratic transfers of power, in two of which - are you ready? - Muslim women were elected prime ministers. Result: All the economic and social indicators in Bangladesh have been pointing upward lately, and Bangladeshis are not preoccupied hating America."

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Tuesday, November 20, 2001

Going Ballistic - "Most Patriots had exploded hundreds of meters off target, leaving behind debris mistaken as Scud remnants. The army eventually revised the Patriot's success rate down to 60 percent, but Postol believes the real figure was close to zero."

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Liberty Is Dying, Liberal by Liberal - "For all the horror of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we are still the most powerful nation in the world. We should be able to minimize terrorist danger without shredding our standards of freedom."

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Gore Wins After All - "What if the Gore team hadn't blundered, first by asking for only a partial recount of undervotes and then by continuing to ignore the overvotes? What would have happened if Katherine Harris, Florida's secretary of state, hadn't been a pathetic Bush shill? What if the Bush team had wanted a fair outcome rather than victory at any cost?"

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Buried truth of a flawed election - "David Boies, speaking before the court, explicitly ruled out a more inclusive recount of Florida's votes that not only would have elected his man, but would have been immeasurably more fair to the people of Florida who had a right to have their voices heard in determining their state's choice for president."

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Neuroscientist forced off plane - "How can I not be strange in the future?"

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Online message boards increasingly screened - "But what's also revealing is what is being deleted."

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Monday, November 19, 2001

Getting better all the time - "Westerners now live 70% longer than they did a century ago, to an average of 78. People from developing countries can now expect to live two-and-a-half times longer than in 1900, to 64. These figures are astonishing. In the millennium before 1900, lifespans in Asia, Africa and Latin America barely budged."

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Customers put kibosh on anti-copy CD - "Retailers are already seeing sales drop and may be loath to support and promote albums with copy protection for which they may later have to give refunds."

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Pravda.RU Joseph Sobran: Patriotism or Nationalism? - "This is a recipe for endless war."

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Terrorism and freedom - "Though tempting, the idea that casting aside most legal constraints is necessary to fight terrorism, or will make Americans and Britons much safer, is a delusion."

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The networks flunk Media History 101 - "a politician who keeps inflating his rhetoric loses impact by repetition, increases his enemies and makes his allies distance themselves"

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Saturday, November 17, 2001

End-Running the Bill of Rights

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Thursday, November 15, 2001

William Safire: Seizing Dictatorial Power - "Intimidated by terrorists and inflamed by a passion for rough justice, we are letting George W. Bush get away with the replacement of the American rule of law..."

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Xbox squared - "This lack of an appealing character never really hurt the popularity of the Myth games; however, they were cult hits confined to the much smaller market of computer games. In the console space, where the potential audience is in the tens of millions, the field is dominated by instantly identifiable, engaging personalities, intrinsically linked to their parent console. Nintendo has Mario; Sega, at the peak of its console dominance, had Sonic the Hedgehog. And for its own billion-dollar system, Microsoft leads off with ... a guy in a boxy outfit with a title for a name, his humanity masked off by a faceplate of tinted glass. Come to think of it, for a Microsoft product, this is the perfect figurehead. It's also branding suicide."

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Whole lotta thwarting going on - "before understanding the problem, organizations select a solution. Rather than assessing the organizational objectives and human goals, it is common for business process re-engineers to go out and buy a system of technologies that sparkles with the promise of precision and control, purporting to solve all problems, so long as they are generic."

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The Speed of Information Architecture - "The siren song of simplicity suggests you can create one organization scheme to serve all audiences, tasks and information needs. Even better, with the Taxonomy model, your classification scheme is your user interface. What you see is what you get. It is this inherent simplicity that creates a problem. The Taxonomy model joins information architecture, content and user interface, making it difficult conceptually and practically to recognize and leverage separate layers with unique rates of change." - read this if you are interested in how to organize information

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Harry Browne: Preventing Future Terrorism - "Why doesn't he just tell the truth: 'We are destroying the last vestiges of love for America around the world - but that's the price we must pay for me to become powerful and popular at home beyond my wildest dreams.'"

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Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Other People's Money- "Let's do the math here. This bill has a $100 billion price tag in its first year, more than $200 billion over three years. So even on Mr. Armey's self-justifying estimate, we're talking about giving at least $600,000 in corporate tax breaks for every job created. That's trickle-down economics without the trickle-down."

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Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Iraqis to be Sent Home? -- May 4, 1998 - "To get the classified evidence in this case, the legal team brought in R. James Woolsey, the man on the left. As a former head of the CIA, Woolsey was privy to the nation's top secrets. He still holds a security clearance."

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Monday, November 12, 2001

Suddenly, 'Idea Wars' Take on a New Global Urgency - "In a study of 150 years of patent policies in 60 countries, Mr. Lerner found that there was no evidence that increased patent protection in developing countries led to increased innovation among domestic companies."

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The Political Clock Is Ticking - "From the American Revolution in 1775 through the bombardment of Fort Sumter and the attack on Pearl Harbor right down to Sept. 11, Americans have responded to major confrontations with what historians call a rage militaire --a patriotic, pro-fighting surge. Politicians who get in its way can expect to hear grumbles or worse. This usually only lasts a few months. Within a period of five to 15 months, depending on the election calendar, voters have cooled and are ready to haul out a tough yardstick, asking Washington: What have you won, who have you caught?"

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Police State - "What does Paul believe the nation's Founding Fathers would think of this law? 'Our forefathers would think it's time for a revolution. This is why they revolted in the first place.' Says Paul with a laugh, 'They revolted against much more mild oppression.'"

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Another Useful Crisis - "Why does the administration's favored bill offer so little stimulus - Because that's not its purpose: it's really designed to lock in permanent tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, using the Sept. 11 attacks as an excuse."

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Sunday, November 11, 2001

Security, Fear, and National ID Cards - "Like every kid from Queens who started exploring the streets of Manhattan as an adolescent, I knew just where to go ... Times Square, or what's left of it. I walked into the first place with a sign that said 'Photo ID.' For US $20 and about 15 minutes of conversation about the relative merits of DSL and cable modems (the youth of New York City still share some common interests with those of us twice their age), I found a process that's as painless as it is security-free."

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Bin Laden: Yes, I did it - "...history should be a witness that we are terrorists. Yes, we kill their innocents..."

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Miros, Rodins Among Millions in Art Lost at WTC

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Saturday, November 10, 2001

Bin Laden's PR blunder - "Arab intellectuals have been writing increasingly outspoken articles in the press, accusing Bin Laden of giving both Islam and Arabs a bad name."

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Get Yer Osama Bin Laden Rant Right Here

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Friday, November 09, 2001

U.S. Will Monitor Calls to Lawyers - "The Justice Department has decided to listen in on the conversations of lawyers with clients ... not charged with any crime, whenever that is deemed necessary...."

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Traffic Patterns: Internet Spurring Group Interaction - "More than half (56 percent) of those contacting online groups said they became active in a group -- even traditional, offline organizations -- after they began communicating with it over the Internet."

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Usurping democracy, in your wallet - "What's next? Yellow crescents sewn to the coats of Arab-American men, women and children? Or, in the spirit of equality and fraternity, ID checkpoints at every city limit? Would we ever be able to trust our government after relinquishing the most basic of our personal freedoms?"

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Thursday, November 08, 2001

The greatest sedition is silence - "If the American people come to the realization that those responsible for their safety are nothing more than 21st century robber barons, the delicate latticework of faith and tightly controlled fear within the populace will shatter. God help us all if this should occur, for it will signify nothing less than total victory for the murderers who attacked us."

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Monday, November 05, 2001

Escape and Evasion - "Don't put us in an environment we weren't prepared for. Next time, we're going to lose a company."

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The Next Society - "The 20th century saw the rapid decline of the sector that had dominated society for 10,000 years: agriculture."

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Cannabis a medical miracle - it's official - "Bowing to pressure for a less hard-line attitude, the Home Office started the first major cannabis trials in the world to see whether there was any scientific basis for its use as medicine."

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Pravda.RU The tree of freedom has faded forever

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Bill Moyers: Which America Will We Be Now? (1) - "Against such crass exploitation, unequaled since the Teapot Dome scandal, it is every patriot's duty to join the loyal opposition. Even in war, politics is about who gets what and who doesn't. If the mercenaries and the politicians-for-rent in Washington try to exploit the emergency and America's good faith to grab what they wouldn't get through open debate in peacetime, the disloyalty will not be in our dissent but in our subservience."

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Sunday, November 04, 2001

The anguish of the drug war judges - "I don't give the prosecutors trouble. They know what a joke the drug war is. They also have a lot of ways of ignoring the law to get a result, though they wouldn't go on the record to say that. They've told me that privately ... The only people that don't know what's up are the policymakers in Washington. The prosecutors are forced to bring us one sad case after another. It's Kafkaesque. There's no actual person in the room or the building that I can think of as the enemy."

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50-Year Shoplift Sentence Dismissed - "When the public voted for three strikes, they didn't realize that people could be sentenced for life for non-violent offenses ... 'The punishment should fit the crime.'"

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Friday, August 17, 2001, disturbingly prophetic: Plaza Sweet for Retailers - "The five-acre plaza with its signature fountain that lies between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center may soon be altered beyond recognition."

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A Deliberate Strategy of Disruption - "When he got home from Chicago, Albasti, the owner of an Italian restaurant in Indiana, ripped up his pilot's license. He left for a visit to his parents in Egypt last week and is unsure whether he will return. Said his wife, Carolyn Baugh: 'American dream. Shattered.'"

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Saturday, November 03, 2001

The Future of Science, and the Universe - "But the black hole itself radiates away its energy, so that a black hole with the same mass as the sun will in any case disappear in 1066 years or so. A galaxy-sized black hole lives longer, perhaps 10100 years. Eventually the black holes, too, will all be gone. If the Time Traveler journeyed that far forward in time, he would find no beach, no planets, no stars, no atoms, nothing but 'creeping murmur, and the poring dark.'"

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Mistake to declare this a 'war' - "But for most Americans it must be said that Islam remains one vast terra incognita - and one, like all such blank areas on medieval maps, inhabited very largely by dragons. This is the region where we have to wage the struggle for hearts and minds and win it if the struggle against terrorism is to succeed."

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What Terrorists Want - "The civil-war scholars reject the idea of a unitary Islam, and also that of a struggle between a good, peaceful Islam and a bad, distorted, violent Islam. Instead, they see all religious beliefs as evolving, with the sacred texts being constantly reinterpreted as conditions change. Kalyvas reminded me, for example, that Europe's Christian Democratic Parties were almost all theocratic and anti-democratic when they were founded, in the nineteenth century, and embraced democracy only because they realized that otherwise they would lose their influence."

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The Anger of the Damned - "in many third-world and Islamic countries, anti-American feeling is not so much righteous anger as an instrument employed to conceal their own lack of democracy and to reinforce the power of local dictators"

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America and the War - "America switches overseas allegiances with disconcerting ease: now India, now Pakistan; now Iraq, now Iran. We embrace countries and then abandon them. Picking (and then dropping) one's friends overseas for short-term advantage is the surest way to make enemies."

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Friday, November 02, 2001

Salman Rushdie: Yes, This Is About Islam

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Operation Enduring Avarice - "Armey then offered us all a lecture on how big corporate giveaways are the best way to create new jobs. Unfortunately, the facts don't bear him out."

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