Six States Refuse The REAL ID Bill

This is a landmark case in, well, common sense. Fortunately, the federal government cannot force the state governments to comply. Unfortunately, it CAN bar any resident without a REAL ID from boarding a plane. The states fighting for people’s rights are Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Washington, but not my home state California. I’ve was thinking for a long time about moving out of the country, but recently changed my mind, deciding on New Hampshire, because of the recent decisions in the state government friendly to my political ideology. I also realize that this is an old story, but I hadn’t heard about it, and I suspect others haven’t as well, due to the hush-hush nature of the content. Anyway, the story is here, and is reprinted below for your convenience.

WASHINGTON — Six state legislatures are defying a federal law requiring new driver’s licenses that aim to prevent identity theft, fraud and terrorism.

The states have passed laws in the past two months, saying the federal law has a steep cost and invades privacy by requiring 240 million Americans to get highly secure licenses by 2013. The 9/11 Commission urged the first standards for licenses to stop fraud and terrorists such as the Sept. 11 hijackers, who lied on residency statements to get licenses and state IDs.

Lawmakers in Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Washington say new standards would be expensive to implement and result in a national ID card that compromises privacy. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that it will cost states more than $11 billion.

State resistance has drawn criticism from the Homeland Security Department. “I cannot imagine a state official anywhere that would want to have to testify before Congress about … how their non-compliant licenses contributed to a terrorist attack,” department spokesman Russ Knocke said.

Knocke said the federal government can’t force states to comply. But he said each state’s residents are likely to bring pressure on their local governments when they learn they’ll be barred from boarding airplanes because their state’s licenses don’t meet federal standards.

Airline passengers can use other government photo identification, such as passports and military IDs.

Some lawmakers say any inconvenience is outweighed by the cost and potential privacy invasion for each state to create a photo database of license holders.

“The people of New Hampshire are adamantly opposed to any kind of ‘papers-please’ society reminiscent of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia,” said Neal Kurk, a Republican state representative from New Hampshire. “This is another effort of the federal government to keep track of all its citizens.”

The federal law requires everyone to renew licenses by 2013 with documents showing their Social Security number and home address, and that they are in the USA legally. State Sen. Larry Martin, a Republican from South Carolina, said the law will overwhelm states by requiring agencies to verify documents such as birth certificates.

The defiance by six states could force Congress to reconsider the law, said Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union. “You can’t have a national ID card if the residents of six states won’t have one,” Steinhardt said.

Why I Don’t(Totally) Support Ron Paul

I’ll make this short, but still bittersweet. He is against Net Neutrality. Period. And looking through his eyes, its not hard to understand why he feels this way. The position proposed by the EFF(Electronic Frontier Foundation) is a simple one, but does call for larger government, something against traditional conservative and libertarian values. It is also an infringement on free trade, but that is a lesser issue than the aforementioned.

In a somewhat joking post I have already stated my position on Net Neutrality. I stand by that position, as I believe that position will carry the network neutrality position even though it seems to favor the tel-co(telecommunication) industry. However, since I do support the net neutrality viewpoint, I still have a link on my blogroll to the right.

My Upcoming Lapse in Posts

Hey everybody, Mitch here. Just wanted to say that I will not be able to post anything today or tomorrow, as I promised my school’s drama club that I would work the sound board for their performance today and tomorrow. Posts will be back on schedule, every weekday, starting back up on Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Florida Man Dies After Tasered Twice

Source – Fox News

LAKE CITY, Fla. — A man died Thursday after deputies stunned him with a Taser after he jumped from an ambulance, authorities said.

A friend of Ashley Ryan Stephens called 911 to request an ambulance, saying her friend was a drug user and was sick. A deputy was sent along with the ambulance crew, which is standard procedure if drugs are involved, said Columbia County Sheriff Bill Gootee.

Once inside the ambulance, Stephens became agitated and combative and kicked out an ambulance window. When the ambulance stopped, Stephens jumped out and ran into the street. He was nearly hit by several cars, Gootee said.

Stephens was stunned twice and handcuffed. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.

DMCA – The Shoe Argument

From court.shrock.org

First, you have the shoe manufacturers (SM1, SM2, and SM3). SM1 and SM2 get together and form the SMAA (Shoe Makers Association of America). The SMAA is an organization concerned with one thing only–self preservation–it uses private contracts and proprietary specifications to lock out competitors.

SM1 and SM2 start selling all of their shoes with a technology, provided by MasterSoft (MS), that allows SM1 and SM2 to dictate how the shoe can be worn and what surfaces are compatible with the shoe–they call this the “Smart Shoe”. If a “Smart Shoe” ever detects improper wearage or an unauthorized surface, the shoe activates the proprietary SLP or “Shoe Lockdown Protocol” which causes the shoe to forcibly adhere to the surface, preventing further unauthorized usage–this is what happens when shoes have DRM.

The “Smart Shoe” technology works like this. The “Smart Shoe” talks to SLP-enabled socks and SLP-enabled surfaces–this is how the “Smart Shoe” determines if the shoe is being worn properly on authorized surfaces. The sock manufacturer wants to sell socks but in order to sell “Smart Shoe Capable” socks, they have to sign an agreement with MS and the SMAA that says that their “Smart Shoe Capable” socks can only work with “Smart Shoes” and that if they want to continue making legacy socks, they can only do so in completely separate factories. Even without building new factories, there is a lot of extra cost and effort involved to make these “Smart Shoe Capable” socks–the sock manufacturer has to decide between making legacy socks and “Smart Shoe Capable” socks; it costs too much money to do both. The same thing happens to the surface manufacturers.

SM3 is faced with quite the dilemma now. SM3 knows that most customers will probably buy “Smart Shoes” without ever knowing that they are buying SLP limited shoes because of the huge marketing campaign behind “Smart Shoes”. SM3 must choose: 1) pay the large SLP licensing fee so that their shoes would be SLP compatible 2) mount a large marketing campaign informing consumers that “Smart Shoes” are really dumb 3) risk their entire business by ignoring the “Smart Shoe” thing and continuing to just make comfortable shoes, hoping the consumer is smart enough to figure things out.

Now, take the consumers (C1, C2, and C3). C1 buys a pair of “Smart Shoes” and then buys a pair of “Smart Shoe Capable” socks–this is exactly what SM1 has in mind and the world works as intended until C1 noticed that the “Smart Shoe” doesn’t know what grass is and often activates SLP when the surface is known and authorized, so C1 ends up buying a pair of SM3 brand shoes.

C2 decides that they like the feel of SM3 brand shoes better. C2 does some research and knows to avoid the “Smart Shoe Capable” socks. So, C2 goes out looking for some legacy socks. Great, now that new mall has a policy that only supports “Smart Shoes”, so, despite C2’s preference for the SM3 shoes, C2 must either find another mall or carry a pair of “Smart Shoes” and “Smart Shoe Capable” socks with them if they intend to go to the new mall. C3 avoids the “Smart Shoe” and “Smart Shoe Capable” socks completely and just buys legacy shoes and legacy socks and has no problems; no need to go to that silly new mall as Internet shopping is way more convenient.

C2 goes to the new mall one day, having forgot his “Smart Shoe Capable” socks. He tries to get his “Smart Shoes” to work with his legacy socks and gets arrested because the DMCA makes it felony to even attempt to disable SLP for any reason. Meanwhile, C1 realizes that he already paid a lot of money for all this “Smart” crap and his “Smart Shoe Capable” socks are still just socks so he tries to wear his SM3 brand shoes with them. C2 knows that he must work around SLP so that the socks that he purchased will work with the shoes that he purchased but he gets arrested because the DMCA makes it a felony to do any sort of reverse engineering even for the sake of interoperability.

Most socks just got more expensive. Wood floors, concrete, and pavement all just got more expensive. Those that do buy “Smart Shoes” run into bugs and compatibility problems. SM1, SM2, and MS are encouraged because 2/3 of consumers bought the new “Smart Shoe”. MS is out fixing compatibility problems trying to make normal grass work with SLP. SM3 is a little encouraged because 2/3 of consumers still bought their shoe. C1 and C2 are in jail on felony charges so they won’t be buying anything anytime soon. C3 will never buy “Smart” crap. All because SM1 and SM2 decided to sell “Smart Shoes”; the DMCA granted them all the power they needed to ensure that as long as they were the first to do it, they would have absolute control.

Why can’t the shoe and sock makers just go back to making quality socks and shoes that work like all socks and shoes should work? Their lobbyists bombard Congress and want everyone to believe that without DRM protections, their whole industry is doomed–sounds to me like they are dooming their industry just fine with DRM and are taking a lot innocent consumers down with them because of the DMCA.

Without the DMCA, C1 and C2 wouldn’t be in jail and could therefore, if they didn’t learn their lesson, buy more crap from SM1 and SM2. SM3 would have had a fourth option to reverse engineer SLP thereby ensuring that “Smart Shoe Capable” socks would work with their shoes.

Wouldn’t all the money spent on SLP be better spent on something actually related to making shoes better for the consumer, instead of being spent on ways to control how the consumer uses an uncomfortable, over-priced shoe?

A Moment of Clarity

After searching forever through this morass we in America call news, I stumble upon things that separate seem inconclusive, but when pieced together with a dozen other incidents with the same headline, make me tired. They make me question why I choose to do this, why I choose to try and wake people up. It is a simple fact that most people in America are sheep. It is a simple fact that is more than likely true in most places of the world. As a member of the iGeneration, it brings me real pain to see the blank faces of my peers when I tell a friend what happened the day before, or the sighs and groans when I bring something up in my American Government class(a required class for seniors in my district). I personally know of no one in my entire school who really cares. To be clear, I do know a few who keep more or less in touch, however they seem to not really understand the global consequences of each individual atrocity.

I’ve heard it quoted that people in their youth ought to be radicals, and try to change the world. I look around and see nothing. Eyes devoid of any emotion at all at every statement. Then, the ultimate slap in the face. They go on to talk to friends about the party last weekend.

I wonder if it is like this everywhere. Is it just here in the land of excess and sunshine, or is it spread out, like a cancer through the liver and lungs? I tend to find out eventually, however, at the moment, I lack resources to do so.

Throughout our once-great nation minds are tuned into television and mind-numbing advertising. I believe mass media is the reason for this mass uncaring. I’ve seen two different methods used together to create this travesty. First, they pummel a young, malleable mind into the ground with images of violence, murders, and car accidents to create a ‘shit happens’ outlook to the world. Then, they placate, by only showing pleasant things, such as celebrities, reality shows, and advertising. However, we as humans know that nothing is without conflict, so, in order to keep us silent, they continue to occasionally through strife into the mix, such as elimination rounds and terrorism.

Without sounding to sappy, I am almost crying now. You can read whatever you like into it, whether a patriotic ‘for his country’s plight’ or a more cynical outlook, it matters not. All that matters is trying to help other people see the truth and getting them to care. I not nearly as interested in how this belief system changes, but merely the fact that it changes at all.

Tasered For A Question

A man was tasered for asking why he was pulled over at a traffic stop September 15th. The full story is here and the video is below.

We had 150 taser-related ‘incidents’ last year and an incredible amount of unresolved cases. There was the tasering of a 6 year old, a 9 year old, a 14 year old that caused a cardiac arrest, a 92 year old, a man who didn’t show ID in his school, a man who was in his own house, the death of a Polish immigrant, the death of a 54 year old, the death of a 63 year old, and I’m sure I could find more links.

The truth is, this has been going on for a long time and it is happening all over our once-great country. Can we restore it? We have the ability, but do the people have the will? Only time will tell.