Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Wired News: Judge Bars Forced Anthrax Shots: "The Pentagon must stop forcing servicemen and women to take the anthrax vaccination against their will, unless President Bush signs a special order, a judge ruled Monday."

I will encourage him to sign such an order. The military is one of the very few arenas where I would recommend forced vaccination. It isn't so much using our servicemembers as guinea pigs, it's more a matter of protecting them (and their ability to successfully complete their mission) from agents that are much more likely to be encountered in an operational military setting than in civilian life. Maybe it's a matter of the required waiver never having been issued by President Clinton, but it worries me when the judiciary actively impedes national defense.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Texas housewife busted for hawking erotic toys / Sales rep for Brisbane firm sold vibrator to undercover agents: "Joanne Webb, a former fifth-grade teacher and mother of three, was in a county court in Cleburne, Texas, on Monday to answer obscenity charges for selling the vibrator to undercover narcotics officers posing as a dysfunctional married couple in search of a sex aid.

"Webb, a saleswoman for Passion Parties of Brisbane, faces a year in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted."

As a result, her husband had a nervous breakdown, and she's left wondering. "We have a real problem with drugs in our schools,'' she said, "and they're using our narcotics officers to entrap me for selling a vibrator.''

Friday, December 12, 2003

Columbine spoof online way out of line: "Using that logic, I could create a website pretending I have a target-shooting business with cutout targets that resemble naked, rail-thin Jews as part of a re-enactment of the Holocaust.

"Or I could dream up a re-enactment of a slave ship heading to America. For only $25 you can enter this makeshift vessel and feel what it's like to get whipped and beaten while chained and unable to defend yourself."

Today's example of a reporter who doesn't get it. While demanding accountability from a tasteless spoof site, she gives many inches of free publicity including a link, but fails to follow up on the falsified domain registration. She finishes by inciting hack attacks against the site, without realizing she already has enough information to revoke the domain registration. Why is a journalist whining about tastelessness on the 'net when her point is accountability, and why is she advocating illegal action when she has documented facts that provide a legal means? And why does she feel action must be taken, rather than simply reporting facts?

Friday, December 05, 2003

California blocks sales of 'Glofish' pets - Dec. 4, 2003: "'For me it's a question of values, it's not a question of science,' said commissioner Sam Schuchat. 'I think selling genetically modified fish as pets is wrong.' "

Which is unfortunate, since his job is to enforce the law. Worse, he went on to say "To me, this seems like an abuse of the power we have over life, and I'm not prepared to go there today." The law in question was meant to prevent commercial fisheries from threatening local species should GM food crop fish be released into the wild. The pet store fish will not survive in the wild, and cannot reproduce.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Teacher to 1st-graders: Santa is fake: "'How do you destroy a 6-year-old like that?' said Pam Sturt, whose son Bradley is in D.J.'s class."

Delusion is not the same as innocence. I'd ask the same question of the parents who told the kid lies. Of course, it's easier to blame a teacher for telling the truth. You shouldn't blame the DJ either.
Experts voice doubts about voting machines: "As Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller considers which electronic voting machines to buy for the state, two national computer experts said their tests show the devices are unreliable and should not be bought until questions about security and accuracy can be answered.

"But the manufacturers disagree, and Heller said he plans to enlist the expertise of the Nevada Gaming Control Board to ensure the machines are secure and accurate."

That can't be bad. The controls which the Nevada Gaming Control Board places on slot machines dwarf the controls that most states have placed on electronic voting systems. They have substantial enforcement experience, too.
Ohio Halts E-Voting Machines: "COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The state's top elections official said Tuesday that security problems found in new touch-screen voting systems mean they won't be in place statewide in time for the November 2004 presidential election."

That would be Ohio's Secretary of State. Maryland delayed, then went forward under pressure from the Republican governor. Diebold is responding that the same mitigation they used in Maryland will satisfy Ohio. I presume that means having the Republican governor of Ohio (Bob Taft) apply pressure.

Also worth noting (again) is that Diebold Election Systems is headquartered in Ohio, and it's president is a major Republican fundraiser who is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."