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  1. Today's Spam

    Yup I got the same message.
  2. Dc Elections

    A handful of suburban towns in Maryland allows non-citizens to vote in local elections, and the mayor of Washington, D.C., would like to open the vote to legal immigrants in his city's elections. I would think that granting voting rights to non-citizens devalues the concept of citizenship in a city that already has troubles with representation. Why not just make the District like an urban partnership like Bethesda. It least it would be more honest to DC residents.
  3. Cheating The Creators?

    Disharmony drives digital music debate Emily Kumler, IDG News Service 16/04/2004 09:39:50 A punk rocker defended file-sharing sites while a music industry representative quoted a rapper blasting the practice, in a lively debate before hundreds of American University students. Participants at the event, sponsored by American University's School of Communications, offered different interpretations of the impact of peer-to-peer sites that sometimes distribute copyrighted music. Cheating the Creators? "Most importantly, songwriters are left behind," said David Sutphen, vice president of government relations for the Recording Industry Association of America. "People think, well, artists can make money by touring, but if you are a songwriter you aren't touring." The RIAA's stance against sharing digital tunes is well established, as the organization has sued hundreds of people it contends are stealing copyrighted material. Peer-to-peer sites actually promote music sales by introducing people to new bands and by allowing consumers to sample music before buying it, says Adam Eisgrau, executive director of P2P United, an industry association of file-sharing sites. Also, Marty Lafferty, CEO of the industry group Distributed Computing Industry Association, pushed for congressional action to change current copyright law. He encouraged the music industry to explore new technology to find a compromise with digital music fans who want to share files. "Look, people eventually realized that the VCR wasn't going to kill the movie industry and they should learn to use the technology," Eisgrau said. He suggested the recording industry build a royalty pool or some system that embraces the new technology while also meeting their financial goals. Sutphen maintained that file-sharing is detrimental to the music industry and implored students to consider the consequences. "I think LL Cool J said it best when he testified before the Senate, 'if I steal a necklace from Tiffany and tell people I got it from Tiffany does that help Tiffany?,'" Sutphen said. Musician Plays to Crowd As the debate escalated, the various representatives defended their positions apparently unwilling to compromise. Roughly a half-hour into the discussion, punk rock legend Ian MacKaye of the band Fugazi rallied the audience and took control of the discussion. "All this going on up here is so far away from music," MacKaye said. "I grew up in D.C. so I know how deep this bureaucracy goes. If you want to do something don't ask, just do it, because the answer is always no," he advised the audience. MacKaye also offered a brief history lesson in musical distribution. "Music predates language. At some point in time musicians played and people went to hear them--some may have been paid and some not. At the turn of the century there was this great invention that allowed music to be recorded. Soon there was a market for this music and soon after there was a business established to make money off of this market. You can't take music away from people, it is free in the air." As MacKaye spoke, many in the crowd cheered in agreement. Others on the panel labeled MacKaye an anomaly among artists. "Ian made a choice," said Rich Taylor, a spokesman for the Motion Picture Association of America, which has also sought to protect its copyrights in court. "He made a decision to put music out there, but artists have the right to make a living." Debate Continues MacKaye noted after the discussion that he is hardly a struggling artist. "I run a record label. I pay everyone in my band, and all of the band members have bought houses. We are making a living," MacKaye said. Sarah Van Ballegooijen, a sophomore at American University, said she thought MacKaye made the most impressive argument. "Anything legal like this is bipolar, two sides," she said. MacKaye "brought in a third, which is really good to hear. I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I think to a certain degree this is the record companies' own fault for not adopting the technology when they could see it coming. If they had adopted a convenient service like iTunes, under record company licensing, the problem wouldn't be as severe as it is now," Van Ballegooijen said. She added she thinks the recording industry's lawsuits will not solve the problem. Emily Kumler, IDG News Service
  4. A punk rocker defended file-sharing sites while a music industry representative quoted a rapper blasting the practice, in a lively debate before hundreds of American University students. Participants at the event, sponsored by American University's School of Communications, offered different interpretations of the impact of peer-to-peer sites that sometimes distribute copyrighted music. Cheating the Creators? "Most importantly, songwriters are left behind," said David Sutphen, vice president of government relations for the Recording Industry Association of America. "People think, well, artists can make money by touring, but if you are a songwriter you aren't touring." The RIAA's stance against sharing digital tunes is well established, as the organization has sued hundreds of people it contends are stealing copyrighted material. Peer-to-peer sites actually promote music sales by introducing people to new bands and by allowing consumers to sample music before buying it, says Adam Eisgrau, executive director of P2P United, an industry association of file-sharing sites. Also, Marty Lafferty, CEO of the industry group Distributed Computing Industry Association, pushed for congressional action to change current copyright law. He encouraged the music industry to explore new technology to find a compromise with digital music fans who want to share files. "Look, people eventually realized that the VCR wasn't going to kill the movie industry and they should learn to use the technology," Eisgrau said. He suggested the recording industry build a royalty pool or some system that embraces the new technology while also meeting their financial goals. Sutphen maintained that file-sharing is detrimental to the music industry and implored students to consider the consequences. "I think LL Cool J said it best when he testified before the Senate, 'if I steal a necklace from Tiffany and tell people I got it from Tiffany does that help Tiffany?,'" Sutphen said. Musician Plays to Crowd As the debate escalated, the various representatives defended their positions apparently unwilling to compromise. Roughly a half-hour into the discussion, punk rock legend Ian MacKaye of the band Fugazi rallied the audience and took control of the discussion. "All this going on up here is so far away from music," MacKaye said. "I grew up in D.C. so I know how deep this bureaucracy goes. If you want to do something don't ask, just do it, because the answer is always no," he advised the audience. MacKaye also offered a brief history lesson in musical distribution. "Music predates language. At some point in time musicians played and people went to hear them--some may have been paid and some not. At the turn of the century there was this great invention that allowed music to be recorded. Soon there was a market for this music and soon after there was a business established to make money off of this market. You can't take music away from people, it is free in the air." As MacKaye spoke, many in the crowd cheered in agreement. Others on the panel labeled MacKaye an anomaly among artists. "Ian made a choice," said Rich Taylor, a spokesman for the Motion Picture Association of America, which has also sought to protect its copyrights in court. "He made a decision to put music out there, but artists have the right to make a living." Debate Continues MacKaye noted after the discussion that he is hardly a struggling artist. "I run a record label. I pay everyone in my band, and all of the band members have bought houses. We are making a living," MacKaye said. Sarah Van Ballegooijen, a sophomore at American University, said she thought MacKaye made the most impressive argument. "Anything legal like this is bipolar, two sides," she said. MacKaye "brought in a third, which is really good to hear. I think I fall somewhere in the middle. I think to a certain degree this is the record companies' own fault for not adopting the technology when they could see it coming. If they had adopted a convenient service like iTunes, under record company licensing, the problem wouldn't be as severe as it is now," Van Ballegooijen said. She added she thinks the recording industry's lawsuits will not solve the problem.
  5. No-spam Registry

    The gloomy assessment by anti-spam advocates and commercial e-mailers comes less than a week before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) winds up a month of gathering public comments on whether it should create a national no-spam registry akin to the "do-not-call" list the agency launched last fall. The "Can-Spam" Act, signed by President Bush late last year, required the commission to study the possibility of creating such a list, with a report due to Congress by June 16. So far, the FTC has not made any official statement on whether it supports the idea, but Chairman Timothy Muris has said several times that a do-not-spam list probably would not be an effective tool against spammers. Judging by the success of the national do-not-call list, a no-spam registry probably would gain massive popular support from people tired of cleansing their in-boxes of scores of unsolicited messages proffering hardcore **homework**ography solicitations, mortgage offers and debt consolidation services. But experts said that the problem now is the same one that has dogged the Can-Spam law since it took effect -- individual e-mail users are not empowered to sue spammers. "Yes, [a do-not-spam list] can be done technically, yes it can be done philosophically, yes it can be done legally, but it's not likely to work unless it carries behind it a very big legal stick," said Rodney Joffe, the president of Centergate Research Group, a Tempe, Ariz.-based technology development firm. Joffe started a no-spam list in 1998, but e-mail marketers paid very little attention, he said, because there was no punishment awaiting them if they failed to respect it. John Levine, co-chairman of the Anti-Spam Research Group, called the do-not-spam list "a complete waste of time" as long as people cannot sue junk mail marketers. Several states, including California and Washington, passed tough state laws last year that allowed people to sue senders of unsolicited e-mail messages, but those laws were preempted when the federal Can-Spam Act took effect in January. The national law threatens spammers with $6 million fines and up to six months in jail, but Levine said the average spammer has little to fear from a law that does not allow individuals to sue. The 1991 law against sending junk faxes works, Levine said, because it empowered hundreds of people to sue unscrupulous faxers. "The really, really bad faxers get hit with million dollar enforcement actions from the FTC; the medium-bad junk faxers get hit by their state attorney generals; and the small junk faxers get nibbled to death by individual lawsuits," he said. The FTC's national do-not-call list also has proven successful, partly because telemarketers who call someone on the list can be easily identified and fined. Most spammers, by contrast, conceal their tracks by using fake return e-mail addresses, hijacking other computers to send messages or operate from other countries where U.S. law can't reach them. And there is little reason to expect spammers to respect a do-not-spam list when many of them already do not bother to obey the Can-Spam Act and a host of federal and state anti-fraud and consumer protection laws. "The people who send me spam are people who are selling me v.i.a.g.r.a, and then there's this girl Veronica who's out to get me, then there's the legion of Nigerian widows ... those folks have never asked me for permission to send me an e-mail [and] they won't acknowledge my request to be removed from their list," said Louis Mastria, a spokesman for the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). The DMA opposes the creation of a do-not-spam list, but Mastria said its members would abide by one if it were created. The association estimates that its members could lose billions of dollars in business if the list is implemented and they are forced to scale back their e-mail campaigns. Several businesses said they believe a do-not-spam list would make it more difficult for them to communicate with their customers. In more than 30 written comments that the FTC released earlier this week, groups such as the Newspaper Association of America (whose members include The Washington Post), the Email Service Provider Coalition, Visa U.S.A. Inc., and the American Society of Association Executives all said the list could block legitimate e-mail and jeopardize people's privacy. Russell W. Schrader, a senior vice president and general counsel at Visa, suggested that the registry could have the unintended effect of deterring companies from sending e-mail that their customers asked to receive before they signed up for the list, because companies would be worried that they could be cited for a violation. Schrader added that the FTC would have to establish exemptions for these situations. Other critics have voiced concerns about the security of a no-spam registry, arguing that if the list fell into the wrong hands, it would provide spammers with a master list of millions of e-mail addresses. George Webb, business manager of Microsoft's Anti-Spam Technology and Strategy Group, stressed this concern, saying a do-not-spam list "would be a prime target for spammers, who by and large do not heed the laws made to prevent their actions." Even Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), who sponsored the Can-Spam Act, said he would be "hesitant" to start a list that could make victims of the very people who sign up for it. One way to keep spammers from abusing the list, according to several computer scientists contacted for this story, is to use "hashing" to hide e-mail addresses. Hashing is a mathematical process that converts text -- like an e-mail address -- into a fixed numerical code. There is no way, however, to convert the hashed address back into words. By keeping a list of hashes on file, people who operate the list can compare hashes instead of vulnerable e-mail addresses. To further protect the names, some proposals would prevent mass-mailers from seeing the registry, requiring them to submit their mailing lists to the government for review. The lists would come back "scrubbed" of e-mail addresses included in the do-not-spam list. In spite of the list's prospects, its original champion, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), said he has high hopes. "Americans want a do-not-spam list. The technology is there. The only question is whether the administration has the will to make this happen," Schumer said. A list will not solve the spam problem, but it is a powerful weapon that the government should approve, said Matthew Prince, the chief executive of Chicago-based Unspam, one of 13 companies that submitted responses to the FTC's request for information about how to create the list. "If we were called upon by the FTC, we could create a registry. This is not rocket science." The deadline for submitting public comments to the FTC is April 20. The commission said it will make comments public by April 27. © 2004 The Washington Post Company
  6. Persian For Sale( Black Smoke)

    Where are you located? I might want your cat.
  7. After repeatedly failing to obtain additional troops from allies, Donald Rumsfeld has announced the deployment of street gangs to restore order in chaotic Baghdad. "We have determined that the current situation in Iraq is getting increasingly dangerous for the troops currently deployed there. The number of attacks has risen from 12 a day to 20-25 a day in recent weeks, and we're determined to do something about that. Therefore, we are deploying our best trained, best equipped urban warfare troops to Baghdad to restore order," Rumsfeld told the press. (more...) Rumsfeld will initially deploy The Crips, The Bloods, NS-13 and the 18th Street Gang to separate sections of Baghdad to take and hold turf, and cap some guerrillas in the process. During a closed cell meeting with the gang leadership at Corcoran State Prison, Rumfeld broke it down for the men: "Whadup, Dawgs? I ain't here to dis you, but you can either get down for the hood or chingate. It ain't right the way Hussein's been fronting-in the President, so if you're willing to fly our colors in Baghdad, then you can jet. Our troops are getting lit up daily but, hey, we ain't boned out yet. No diggity, we're gonna get some juice after we move on these clucks. This where you come in."
  8. So President George Bush tears up the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and that's okay. Israeli settlements for Jews and Jews only on the West Bank. That's okay. Taking land from Palestinians who have owned that land for generations, that's okay. UN Security Council Resolution 242 says that land cannot be acquired by war. Forget it. That's okay. Does President George Bush actually work for al-Qa'ida? What does this mean? That George Bush cares more about his re-election than he does about the Middle East? Or that George Bush is more frightened of the Israeli lobby than he is of his own electorate. Fear not, it is the latter.
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