October 22, 2004

The Robot Bartender

Joe hears that local tavern has hired robotic bar tender who not only mixes drinks well, but is superb conversationalist.

Skeptical, he goes down to check it out. Sure enough, sees robot dispensing drinks. Walks up to bar, asks for champagne cocktail.
Robot says 'sure thing', and brings him excellent champagne cocktail. Robot asks 'so, what's your IQ?'. He responds
'150'. Robot then starts talking with him about opera, theater, recent films, big bang theory, classical music, and other topics.
On the way home, Joe realizes it was one of the most stimulating conversations he'd had in his entire life.

The next day, a little skeptical that a robot could really be such a great conversationalist, Joe goes back to the tavern again,
orders a bourbon and water. After Joe sips the perfectly mixed bourbon and water, robot asks him 'so, what's your IQ?' This
time Joe responds '100', just to see if anything changes. The robot then asks him 'What did you think of Sunday's Redskins game? They then proceed to a great conversation about the Redskins, about other teams, and other sports issues. Joe again feels he's had one of the best conversations in his life.

Still intrigued and still skeptical, he decides to give it one more try the next evening. This time he orders a beer. While Joe sips his beer, the robot asks 'so, what's your IQ?'. This time Joe says '75'. The robot asks: 'So are you going to vote for Bush again?'

October 08, 2004

"The Lying President" : George W. Bush

It was incredible to see the President of the United States lying through his teeth, in the "town hall" debate at Washington University. He had so little ability to defend his out of control administration, that the only way for him to get through 90 minutes of sensible questions from the audience was to just make it up as he goes along.

I thought Kerry did a good job of calling him on much of it, and of presenting concrete ideas. I think the "town hall" format did not, as pundits hoped it would, help Bush at all; I think he appeared ludicrous, defensive, and untrustworthy. I think Bush sealed his doom tonight, if he had not done so already.

It amazed me to see a person in such a position to show so little dignity.

Thank goodness.

October 07, 2004

"The Unfeeling President" by E.L. Doctorow

I would have reproduced it here, but didn't want to violate Mr. Doctorow's copyright.
I strongly recommend an article by E. L. Doctorow, "The Unfeeling President",
for a moving and insightful appraisal of George W. Bush:

October 06, 2004

Debating Lucifer

No doubt John Edwards 'won' the debate, as the television cameras clearly depicted that he was debating someone who represents all that is wrong with this country.

Due to the bizarre formats of these debates, they are not debates at all, and would more properly be denominated 'contests'. But Edwards won the contest.

Any 'points' Cheney got in were cheap shots that impressed no one, and were of no interest to the uncommitted voters who are the most important audience at this point. Meanwhile, Edwards showed himself to be the guy who's on the side of the people. He made a number of powerful points, and showed Cheney for what he is.... the devil incarnate, someone who's on the side of wealth and power, and could care less about the poor, the downtrodden, and the victims of his crimes.

The good guys are going to win this one.

October 04, 2004

Restoring one's sanity

If you've had enough madness and want your sanity restored, I highly recommend AirAmerica's web
site as a place to go:

The Polls

The reason I have advised people not to pay attention to the polls is that the polls have been manipulated by large corporate media to make it appear that Bush is winning. The goal is to discourage the undecideds (who usually wind up voting against an incumbent) and those who are not 'likely voters', from even showing up to vote.

The recent Newsweek poll, showing a huge reversal, is a clear demonstration of what had been going on.

A very important article, which demonstrates that the Bush regime is LOSING, is the following:


A very good web site, which has been analyzing the manipulation of the polls by Republican-supporting corporate interests, is the following:


Pay no attention to the polls. Get out there.... talk, vote, leaflet, email, help people get registered, help people get to the polls. We shall overcome.

October 01, 2004

Electronic Voting

Here is a link which demonstrates what the Bush
crew have in store for us with their insistence on no
audit trail for electronic voting:


Here is some information on electronic voting and
legislation, which was provided by the Electronic
Frontier Foundation -- a nonprofit organization basically
fighting for liberty in the electronic world:

EFFector Vol. 17, No. 36 September 30, 2004 donna@eff.org

A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation
ISSN 1062-9424

In the 308th Issue of EFFector:

* Action Alert: Don't Let "Intelligence Reforms" Take Away
Your Rights!
* EFF Wins in Diebold Copyright Abuse Case
* Dangerous Ruling Menaces Rights of Free Software
* Court Strikes Down Key USA PATRIOT Provision
* E-voting Victory - California Gets a Paper Trail!
* Court of Appeals Revives Florida E-voting Lawsuit
* Op-ed: The Induce Act - A Tax on Innovators
* BayFF Event - "E-voting and the Upcoming Election,"
Tuesday, October 12
* MiniLinks (13): The Senate's Taste for RIAA Kool-Aid
* Administrivia

For more information on EFF activities & alerts:

To join EFF or make an additional donation:

EFF is a member-supported nonprofit. Please sign up as a
member today!

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* Action Alert: Don't Let "Intelligence Reforms" Take Away
Your Rights!

Congress is moving fast on two bills that purport to
implement recommendations in the 9/11 Commission
Final Report, but they include far more than anyone
bargained for. In some provisions, the bills use
language lifted directly from the infamous "PATRIOT
II" draft legislation leaked to the public last year -
including a clause that would allow the government to
use secret foreign intelligence warrants and wiretap
orders against people unconnected to any international
terrorist group or foreign nation. This poses
a dire threat to the Fourth Amendment, and it
doesn't belong in the 9/11 legislation. Don't let
support for intelligence reform become a blank check
for law enforcement - tell Congress you oppose this
stealth attack on your constitutionally protected

Make your voice heard with EFF's action center:

Join EFF today:

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* EFF Wins in Diebold Copyright Abuse Case

Voting Machine Company Liable for Damages, Costs in
Landmark Ruling

San Jose - In a landmark case, a California district court
has determined that Diebold, Inc., a manufacturer of
electronic voting machines, knowingly misrepresented that
online commentators, including IndyMedia and two Swarthmore
college students, had infringed the company's copyrights.
This makes the company the first to be held liable for
violating section 512(f) of the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act (DMCA), which makes it unlawful to use DMCA
takedown threats when the copyright holder knows that
infringement has not actually occured.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Center for
Internet and Society Cyberlaw Clinic at Stanford Law School
sued on behalf of nonprofit Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Online Policy Group (OPG) and the two students to prevent
Diebold's abusive copyright claims from silencing public
debate about voting.

Diebold sent dozens of cease-and-desist letters to ISPs
hosting leaked internal documents revealing flaws in
Diebold's e-voting machines. The company claimed copyright
violations and used the DMCA to demand that the documents
be taken down. One ISP, OPG, refused to remove them in the
name of free speech, and thus became the first ISP to test
whether it would be held liable for the actions of its
users in such a situation.

"This decision is a victory for free speech and for
transparency in discussions of electronic voting
technology," said Wendy Seltzer, an EFF staff attorney
who worked on the case. "Judge Fogel recognized the
fair use of copyrighted materials in critical
discussion and gave speakers a remedy when their
speech is chilled by improper claims of copyright

OPG Executive Director Will Doherty said, "This ruling
means that we have legal recourse to protect ourselves
and our clients when we are sent misleading or abusive
takedown notices."

In his decision, Judge Jeremy Fogel wrote, "No reasonable
copyright holder could have believed that the portions
of the email archive discussing possible technical
problems with Diebold's voting machines were proteced
by copyright...The Court concludes as a matter of law
that Diebold knowingly materially misrepresented that
Plaintiffs infringed Diebold's copyright interest."

Fogel's decision:


For this release:

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* Dangerous Ruling Menaces Rights of Free Software

Contract and Copyright Trump Fair Use and Competition in
BnetD Case

St. Louis - Fair use was dealt a harsh blow today in a
Federal Court decision which held that programmers are not
allowed to create free software designed to work with
commercial products. At issue in the case was whether three
software programmers who created the BnetD game server -
which interoperates with Blizzard video games online -
were in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
(DMCA) and Blizzard Games' end user license agreement

BnetD is an open source program that lets gamers play
popular Blizzard titles like Warcraft with other gamers on
servers that don't belong to Blizzard's Battle.net service.
Blizzard argued that the programmers who wrote BnetD
violated the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions and that
the programmers also violated several parts of Blizzard's
EULA, including a section on reverse engineering.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), co-counsel for
the defendants, argued that programming and distributing
BnetD was fair use. The programmers reverse-engineered
Battle.net purely to make their free product work with it,
not to violate copyright.

EFF Staff Attorney Jason Schultz said, "Consumers have a
right to choose where and when they want to use the
products they buy. This ruling gives Blizzard the ability
to force you to use their servers whether you want to or
not. Copyright law was meant to promote competition and
creative alternatives, not suppress them."

EFF will appeal the case, challenging the court's ruling
that creating alternative platforms for legitimately
purchased content can be outlawed.


For this release:

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* Court Strikes Down Key USA PATRIOT Provision

New York - The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
won a tremendous victory for Internet privacy
yesterday in ACLU & Doe v. Ashcroft, a case challenging
the constitutionality of "National Security Letters" (NSLs)
under the USA PATRIOT Act. The letters, issued directly
by the Department of Justice without any court oversight,
can be used to demand sensitive financial and
communications information about citizens, even if they
are not suspected of any crime. When an Internet Service
Provider (ISP) receives an NSL, it is forbidden
from ever revealing its existence to anyone.

A federal district court in New York ruled that the
statute authorizing NSLs is unconstitutional and
barred the DOJ from issuing further NSLs. US District
Court Judge Victor Marreo also found the gag provision
an unconstitutional prior restraint on protected

"Today's ruling is an important victory for the Bill of
Rights, and a critical step toward reining in the
unconstitutional reach of the Patriot Act," said Kurt
Opsahl, EFF staff attorney. "The court recognized that
judicial oversight and the freedom to discuss our
government's activities, both online and offline, are
fundamental safeguards to civil liberties and
should not be thrown aside."

EFF wrote a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, joined
by several ISPs and privacy organizations. The
decision will likely to be appealed to the 2nd Circuit
Court of Appeals in New York.

For this release:

Decision in ACLU & Doe v. Ashcroft:


EFF amicus brief in the case:


More about NSLs under PATRIOT:


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* E-voting Victory - California Gets a Paper Trail!

Early this month, we asked our California supporters for
help in getting California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
to sign legislation to put vital voting-security reforms
on the books - and this week, Governor Schwarzenegger
did just that. Now, state law requires all electronic
voting machines to produce a voter-verifiable paper
trail by January 2006. That makes California the
first state in the nation where paperless electronic
voting systems have been widely deployed that the law
requires that the machines be retrofitted or replaced.

This is an extraordinary victory, especially when you
consider how far we've come since the security
problems with e-voting machines first came to light.
We thank you for helping make California a safer place
to vote, and we will continue to give you updates on
how your actions help make our campaigns successful.
We'd also like to remind you that grassroots activism
needs people like you to spread the word - don't
forget to tell your friends and family about EFF!

"Schwarzenegger Signs Bill Banning Paperless Voting


More about e-voting:

Tell a friend about EFF today:


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* Court of Appeals Revives Florida E-voting Lawsuit

Florida - The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday
overturned a lower court's ruling in a case that
challenges the legality of Florida's paperless electronic
voting machines. The federal suit, brought by Florida
Congressman Robert Wexler, argues that the use of the
machines violates constitutional guarantees of equal
protection and due process. The Court of Appeals ruled
that the existence of a related lawsuit in Florida
state court does not prevent the federal district court
from hearing the challenge. The decision returns the
case to the district court for further proceedings.

"This important challenge will now be decided on the
merits," said EFF Staff Attorney Matt Zimmerman, who
also noted the difficult task ahead of the district
court. "Floridians will go to the polls in only 36
days, but a great deal of good can be done to improve
voting procedures in that time. In the short term and
in the long term, we hope that the court requires a
voter-verifiable paper ballot for all Floridians."

For this release:

Eleventh Circuit ruling:

Bush the Puppet

Last night was the first time America had a chance to see
Bush and Kerry together.

I think it became clear why Bush was so afraid of debating
that he had to extract 32 pages of conditions to soften the blow.
But even all of that cushioning failed to soften the blow.

It became clear that Bush is the president in name only, and
that he is a puppet for a group of backroom handlers. Without
the notes he brings to all of his staged appearances, he (a) was
unable to show he knows the facts, and (b) was unable to make
a single argument why any of his policies should be followed.

It is an embarrassment that he is the 'president' of this great country,
an embarrassment which will no doubt be coming to an end shortly,
unless Bush's minions succeed in rigging the electronic vote machines
sufficiently, and expunging enough voters from the voting rolls.