Sunday Links

Sunday, August 30th, 2009
  • 1965 Ikea catalog.
  • Senate bill would give president the power to seize private networks after declaring a “cybersecurity emergency.”
  • Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) continues to push for higher taxes, as we continue to learn new things about how he hasn’t paid his own.
  • Cops in London break into motorists’ cars, steal their stuff to teach them a lesson about how someone might break into their car and steal their stuff.
  • ACLU files suit to access more information about how border laptop searches are conducted.
  • Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.) celebrates a murdering tyrant.
  • Mohamad Jawad, freed after being seized sent to Gitmo at (he says) age 12, speaks out.
  • Strategically obstructing exits could help speed evacuations during emergencies.
  • Stairs worth stares.
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  • 36 Responses to “Sunday Links”

    1. #1 |  Aresen | 

      Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) continues to push for higher taxes, as we continue to learn new things about how he hasn’t paid his own.

      But only little people pay taxes.

      Maybe he should change his name to Helmsley.

    2. #2 |  Aresen | 

      I liked the tree trunk stair best. The slide stairs would be fun.

      The stairs without rails would give me the willies. I’ve tripped on stairs often enough to appreciate something to grab onto.

    3. #3 |  MattinCincy | 

      You know that thing with Diane Watson sounds VERY similar to what Marge Schott (former owner of Cincinnati Reds) said about Hitler (he was good at the begining, he just went too far). Marge’s comments led to her being kicked out of baseball. I wonder what is going to happen to Miss Watson?

    4. #4 |  Aresen | 


      Here are the consequences Diane Watson will face:

      That is all.

    5. #5 |  freedomfan | 

      Senate bill would give president the power to seize private networks after declaring a “cybersecurity emergency.”

      I hope the people who are saying this is a reasonable thing understand that the bill is so vague that there is no real limit on what regulations the President can impose when he decides there is a “cyber emergency”. And, computer networks are subject to attacks all the time, so we would effectively be in an “emergency” whenever it serves the President to declare one (read that as “perpetually”).

      And, there is a whole other level of intrusion and probability of abuse with the federal certification for IT people that private companies would have to hire, which applies even outside of any “emergency” situation. As if the federal government is really a credible authority on network security in the first place. It would be laughable except that there is such a large chunk of people who ridiculously assume that a federal “security certification” will equate to greater security.

      BTW, this is just another bucket of cold water in the face of people who still believe the outdated political spin that Democrats are better than Republicans when it comes to civil liberties issues like privacy. This proposal is exactly in the mold of the USA PATRIOT Act and I hope the people who saw that abomination for what it was will be just as opposed to this one (and more successful in the opposition). [BTW, I hope conservatives, who are opposing this, remember it next time their side is in power.]

      BTW, the Senate staffer’s response that

      The president of the United States has always had the constitutional authority, and duty, to protect the American people and direct the national response to any emergency that threatens the security and safety of the United States.

      I must say, that reads a lot more broadly than my copy of Article 2 of the Constitution…

    6. #6 |  Chris Berez | 

      MattinCincy: “I wonder what is going to happen to Miss Watson?”

      Considering how much liberals worship Che, and that this is California?

      Reelection. For life.

    7. #7 |  K. Wilson | 

      My dog has more sense than Diane Watson, and a helluva lot more compassion. I get so angry hearing her fawn over Fidel Castro that my teeth clench. I have a friend from Cuba. She managed to get out. She is absolutely disgusted at people like Michael Moore spreading the lie that health care in Cuba is so peachy, since her mother lives there and can’t get health care because the vital resources are limited to elites and tourists who can pay in CUC (convertible peso) or foreign currency.

      Why does Diane Watson think that Cubans are swimming over here in old refrigerators if it’s so damned wonderful there? Diane Watson, why don’t you go over there and actually SEE what the common cuban endures daily, and not go into the pre-selected parts of the country that are actually fit to live in.

    8. #8 |  J sub D | 

      Senate bill would give president the power to seize private networks after declaring a “cybersecurity emergency.”

      Let’s hand more power to the executive branch because lord knows POTUS options are soooo limited by that quaint and obsolete document, the U.S. Constitution.

      Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals,” and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

      Because nothing says professional competence like a government license. Were this piece of shit legislation to pass, I confidently predict bureaucratic sinecures for hundreds, if not thousands, of useless buffoons so far behind the learning curve that any attempts to do their jobs will only hinder internet development and security.

      They’re not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors.

      Rockefeller, Kennedy, what’s the difference? Were American voters ever to correct thier rectal/cranial inversion problem political families such as these would all be unceremoniously shown the door. It won’t happen, but I can dreram about the end of the political class in this country.

    9. #9 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      Diane Watson also credits Mussolini with trains running on time, Pol Pot with having “focus”, and the real Count Dracula with knowing how to make a point.

    10. #10 |  Dave Krueger | 

      I can’t believe they’re allowed to show those pictures of the stairs. Stairs that don’t conform to the building code are fine for the ruling class, but they are illegal for the peasantry and these pictures serve no purpose than to unnecessarily incite inappropriate copy-cat creativity among those least equipped to handle it.

      While we all value free expression, everyone knows that with freedom comes responsibility. If average middle class families, aroused by these examples of architectural excess, decide to build stairs like that in their homes, innocent children would be put at risk and the government would have no choice but to remove the children from the home and prosecute the parents for endangerment.

      Free expression that promotes disrespect for government rules among the very class of citizenry that those rules are specifically designed to protect is sedition and should be harshly punished.

      As Thomas Jefferson said, “In a conflict between expression and the code, expression must yield.”

    11. #11 |  Marty | 

      Diane Watson is so dumb it’s scary. But, she’s not alone… My 14 year old daughter just started hs- so far, her history teacher has insulted atheists, said the US is a ‘direct democracy and always has been’, and credited Aristotle with the Socratic system of debate. It’ll be a long year for her if she argues every stupid thing he pushes on to the class, but she doesn’t want to just sit there on her hands (as she’s done so far…).

      If this keeps up, I’ll have to at least write a letter…

      Idiots just drain everyone’s energy.

    12. #12 |  Marty | 

      ‘As Thomas Jefferson said, “In a conflict between expression and the code, expression must yield.”’

      Funniest thing this week! maybe my daughter’s social studies teacher will read it and pass it along as gospel…

    13. #13 |  J sub D | 

      Thanks for the stairs link. Beautiful, clever or just plain weird, those are interesting takes on how to change levels.

    14. #14 |  J sub D | 

      I downclicked Aresen on comment #1 when I meant to upclick.
      Please mentally add two to the comment.

      Yes, I’m an internet idiot.

    15. #15 |  Cynical in CA | 

      “Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.) celebrates a murdering tyrant.”

      Didn’t click on the link, but I’m guessing you’re not referring to a U.S. President. I could be wrong.

    16. #16 |  Cynical in CA | 

      Clicked on the link. Wasn’t wrong after all.

    17. #17 |  perlhaqr | 

      So, regarding the border laptop searches, I’m curious if the people executing these searches have the “right” to flip through physical paper documents in briefcases that are carried across the border like that.

      If they aren’t allowed to randomly search actual papers when they cross the border, but are claiming the right to search electronic papers, I suspect this will eventually go the same way the old cipherpunks exported cryptographic software: By printing it. Eventually a judge was forced to rule that if the first amendment protections on speech applied to computer code written on paper, it must also apply to computer code in electronic format. I can see a similar ruling about 4th amendment protections of one’s papers in both physical and electronic format.

    18. #18 |  cleavingSpace | 

      “Senate bill would give president the power to seize private networks after declaring a “cybersecurity emergency.”

      Ripped straight from Drudge Report’s fearmongering headlines. OMG teh government is going to control teh intertubes!11, LOL.

    19. #19 |  Tokin42 | 

      The guy who built the first set of stairs in the pics, the slide, is a friend of mine. He does incredible work. He’s built a boat from scratch that he plans on using to sail the world. His original finish on the staircase was so slick he had to refinish it to slow it down.

    20. #20 |  Bob | 

      The angles stairs (The ones with the steps angled towards each other) with no hand rails need a phone with “911” on speed dial with one giant speed dial button at the bottom.

      I don’t think I’d make it up those during the day and sober, much less at night or in a hurry.

    21. #21 |  Frank | 

      #10 Dave, you’re really starting to creep me out. B-)=

      #11 Why are you waiting to write a letter. I’d say write it now and call this idiot out on the carpet along with the idiots that hired her.

    22. #22 |  Enyap | 

      “Ripped straight from Drudge Report’s fearmongering headlines. OMG teh government is going to control teh intertubes!11, LOL.”

      So i’m sure you wouldn’t have had a problem if this was proposed during the Bush administration.

    23. #23 |  perlhaqr | 

      Marty: The problem with your daughter not calling the idiot on his BS is that all of her classmates are learning this idiocy.

    24. #24 |  Frank | 

      #23 Just be prepared to spend a lot of time in the principal’s office due to your daughter’s “disrespect”. You will likely need to get a landshark involved.

    25. #25 |  MacGregory | 

      I have learned to keep calm, cool and collected when reading Agitator stuff but what Marty said about his daughter’s HS teacher just made my head explode.

    26. #26 |  ktc2 | 

      Marty, MacGregory, etc.

      I’m afraid it doesn’t improve after high school.

      I’ve returned to college to finish my BS in IT Management and am being required as usual to take some non IT courses.

      My economics class and text seems very anti-Austrian school and my American Literature final exam actual had a question basically “Why did the puritans come to America?” and the “correct” answer was for religious freedom, which of course we know is nonsense since they had that already in the netherlands and hated it.

      The indoctrination continues . . .

    27. #27 |  the friendly grizzly | 

      @ #6: Mzzzzz Watson will continue to be elected based on her skin color alone. At least until her neighborhood goes Hispanic, then she is as dead as vaudeville.

    28. #28 |  the friendly grizzly | 

      I meant #3. PIMF…

    29. #29 |  CharlesWT | 

      I don’t know what’s it like now, but when I was going to school in the ’50s-’60s, my impression was that the secondary purpose of public schools was to keep crazy people off the streets without having to put them in an mental institution.

    30. #30 |  supercat | 

      re: emergency exits, it seems that if the pressure of people approaching a choke point is excessive, such excessive pressure may reduce the effectiveness of flow through that point. Adding upstream constrictions may improve the speed with which people can exit from a building.

      On the other hand, emergency evacuation situations are generally not predictable. While many hazards may require that a building be completely evacuated eventually, many situations pose a greater danger to people in some parts of the building than others. Having everyone crowding into an exit stairwell at once may reduce the speed with which the people actually manage to descend the stairs, but if the stairwell is safer than the area the people were leaving, that might still be better than delaying people’s arrival into the stairwell.

    31. #31 |  anarch | 

      As to the social-studies teacher, who was it that said prefacing any term by word “social” reverses its normal meaning? Eg, justice, science, democrat, security, service …worker. ;-)

      And aren’t the helpful border laptop searches instances of strategically obstructing exits (and entrances)?

    32. #32 |  Mattocracy | 

      The Watson link reminds me of Sen. Lott talking about what a great guy Strom Thurman was.

    33. #33 |  MacGregory | 

      Regarding the UK cop story

      Hell. Since when will a locked door keep a cop from stealing your shit?

    34. #34 |  Marty | 

      #23 | perlhaqr

      I agree 100%. It’s real early in the year- I’m hoping the teacher is open to spirited debates in the classroom and allows the kids to speak up. I don’t know him, but some of the stuff was pretty far out, so maybe he’s trying to goad the class into an argument…

      if not, I’ll have to explore my options.

    35. #35 |  Frank | 

      #33 No kidding. I’ve worked cardiac arrests where they cops were taking everything not nailed down while I’m trying to save the poor resident’s life. Not that I can report them or anything.

      Oh, and for those who didn’t trip over this earlier in the weekend:

      Apparently school rent-a-cops are now empowered to arrest people with the wrong signs at town hall meetings.

    36. #36 |  Aaron | 

      > Not that I can report them or anything.

      Why not?