Great article by Sara Paretsky, on the Patriot Act, libraries, and being a writer.
Truth, Lies and Duct Tape
In a Miami federal court, the attorney general charged the environmental group Greenpeace under an obscure 1872 law originally intended to end the practice of "sailor-mongering," or the luring of sailors with liquor and prostitutes from their ships. Ashcroft plucked the law from obscurity to punish Greenpeace for boarding a vessel near port in Miami.
The group is charged with violating an obscure 1872 law intended for proprietors of boarding houses who preyed on sailors returning to port. It forbids the unauthorized boarding of "any vessel about to arrive at the place of her destination."
The last court decision concerning the law, from 1890, said it was meant to prevent "sailor-mongers" from luring crews to boarding houses "by the help of intoxicants and the use of other means, often savoring of violence."
One violation of U.S.C. section 2279, which prohibits persons, "not being duly authorized by law for the purpose," from "[going] on board any vessel about to arrive at the place of her destination, before her actual arrival, and before she has been completely moored".
Nearly six months have elapsed since President Bush flew out to the aircraft carrier and declared "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. Today, we all know all too well that the war is not over; the war goes on; the mission is not accomplished. An unnecessary war, based on unreliable and inaccurate intelligence, has not brought an end to danger. Instead, it has brought new dangers, imposed new costs, and taken more and more American lives each week.
We all agree that Saddam Hussein was a murderous tyrant, and his brutal regime was an affront to basic human decency. But Iraq was not a breeding ground for terrorism. Our invasion has made it one.
East Timorese Labour intends to place Election Day challengers at 59 voting precincts in predominantly minority neighborhoods, a move that [minority] leaders yesterday called blatant intimidation.
The election workers, most of whom live outside the targeted precincts in western and central East Timor, will be on hand to challenge voters who they suspect aren't eligible.
Jefferson County Republicans intend to place Election Day challengers at 59 voting precincts in predominantly black neighborhoods, a move that NAACP leaders yesterday called blatant intimidation.
The GOP election workers, most of whom live outside the targeted precincts in western and central Louisville, Portland and Newburg, will be on hand to challenge voters who they suspect aren't eligible.
"...there remains an essential truth in Prime Minister Curtin's words 62 years ago - 'Australia still looks to America'. A truth not just for Australia, but for democracies everywhere. It is a profound historic truth, which derives its power - not from the might of America - but from the democratic promise upon which America was brought forth, conceived and dedicated 227 years ago: The equal rights of all nations. Respect for the opinions of all peoples. And the idea that all men are created equal. These principles, taken together, form the true and imperishable basis of the promise of, and the friendship between, our two great nations. May they never perish from the face of the Earth."
America, Australia and other nations acted in Iraq to remove a grave and gathering danger, instead of wishing and waiting while tragedy drew closer.
Since the liberation of Iraq, we have discovered Saddam's clandestine network of biological laboratories, his design work on prohibited long-range missiles, his elaborate campaign to hide illegal weapons programs.
[Maryland legislators] asked that the agency [Md's Department of Legislative Services] examine a report issued in September by Science Application International Corp. on security weaknesses in a new computerized voting system the state is prepared to purchase for $55.6 million.
The SAIC report on the system, developed by Diebold Elections Systems Inc., found serious flaws that could allow tampering with election results. The study was a response to a July report by Johns Hopkins University computer scientist Aviel Rubin and colleagues who said the voting system was vulnerable to manipulation.
Without a careful security analysis, you can't know what kind of outsider attacks may be possible. Except in the case of the Johns Hopkins paper from last week, where they managed to get their hands on the code through Diebold's carelessness and lack of security. Two graduate students noticed what turned out to be severe security blunders. I don't think it is important to emphasize whether people can hack these particular machines in these particular ways, although I find the problems these grad students found to be worrying. I think the most important thing about that is that it disproves any claim that the manufacturers or the independent testing authorities are actually carefully scrutinizing this code, or for that matter, know anything about computer security. I think we have conclusively disproven that there is anything in this process that guarantees these things are secure.