They almost have it right: Google and Verizon look to voluntary enforcement of “net neutrality”

Posted on January 18th, 2010 by bile
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http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2010/01/verizon-and-google-draft-net-neutrality-peace-treaty.ars

Amidst all the rancor that we’ve seen during the last few weeks over the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed net neutrality rules comes a joint filing by Verizon and Google that asks a refreshing question. What do the antagonists have in common regarding this vexing problem?

“Because our businesses rely on each other, it is appropriate for us to jointly discuss a number of things,” wrote Alan Davidson of Google and Thomas Tauke of Verizon on Thursday, such as “how we ensure that consumers get the information, products and services they want online; encourage investment in advanced networks; and ensure the openness of the web around the world.” And so they’ve come up with a set of broad principles and the outline of a voluntary industry-wide system for handling network management disputes, with government intervention included only in the most dire cases—a set of “overarching values that create a framework to guide players throughout the Internet space.”

Google/Verizon say that the Internet should function as an “open platform.” That means, to them, that “when a person accesses cyberspace, he or she should be able to connect with any other person that he or she wants to—and that other person should be able to receive his or her message,” they write. The ‘Net should operate as a place where no “central authority” can make rules that prescribe the possible, and where entrepreneurs and network providers are able to “innovate without permission.”

Consumers, the statement continues, should enjoy control over all parts of their experience of the Internet. “No entity from either the government or the private sector should wrest control from consumers over how they choose to use the Internet, and the government should not implement policies that would limit consumers’ ability to choose for themselves,” Verizon and Google explain. And providers should offer maximum transparency to consumers, giving them “clear and meaningful information” regarding the services they buy and receive.

But here is where they screw up:

But Google and Verizon acknowledge that there needs to be a “backstop role” for the government to step in “if or when bad actors emerge anywhere in the Internet space, and we do agree that involvement should occur only where necessary on a case-by-case base basis.” In those instances, intervention should be “surgical, swift and based on a finding of specific facts that establish such harm.”

Anyone else notice the blatantly contradictory statements that there should be no central authority yet the government should be the central authority?

There is *NO* need for government, period. The market, even in its currently distorted mode, is more capable of dealing with issues that may arise than some government bureaucracy. Ideally these companies would be calling for complete government withdrawal from the field thereby empowering consumers and entrepreneurs. But this is better than full government intervention.

Depression of public servants a ‘public health crisis’ in Canada?

Posted on January 11th, 2010 by bile
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http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/Depression+public+health+crisis/2425568/story.html

‘It’s the most transient, fluid, unsettling work environment on the planet,’ expert says

Depression among Canada’s public servants is the country’s biggest “public health crisis,” says a leading mental health expert.

It’s an affliction among the country’s nurses, teachers, police, military and bureaucrats at all levels of government, undermining innovation, productivity, quality of service, policy-making and even the relevance of our democratic institutions, said Bill Wilkerson, founder of Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Mental Health.

Stress, burnout and depression is evident in all workplaces, especially in times of economic turmoil. But few employers have as profound a problem as the federal public service where the health effects of mental distress has been termed an epidemic.

“The public service is a tsunami of distractions — meetings, everything questioned, delegated, people moving … and no one is really in charge,” said Wilkerson. “It’s the most transient, fluid, unsettling work environment on the planet, so why wouldn’t people be anxious and in distress? They are human beings.”

Disability claims in Canada are climbing and between 30 to 40 per cent of them are for depression. In the public service, mental health claims doubled between 1991 and 2007 and now account for 45 per cent of all claims. Meanwhile, the number of other health claims has dropped.

Wilkerson argues paralysis has gripped the public service that’s compounded by an “ambiguity” around who is in charge. Such an environment takes its toll on people, many whom leave work every day feeling they have accomplished nothing.

forgive me if i fail to give a shit. stop stealing the wealth of others to fund your activities and compete in the market place. i can assure you that your life as well as the life of those you leach off of will be better for it.

North Jersey towns consider carrying tasers

Posted on December 31st, 2009 by bile
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http://www.northjersey.com/news/80395987.html

New Jersey law enforcement officials now have the authority to use electronic stun guns, also called tasers, in limited circumstances involving emotionally disturbed individuals.

State Attorney General Anne Miligram approved the state’s primary attempt with tasers in late November.

“This is the first time in this state that officers are going to be authorized to carry and use stun guns in any capacity,” said Milgram.

The policy states that stun guns can only be used by officers authorized by each department’s chief executive.

The number of officers authorized to carry or use the weapons depends on the size of the department. In a municipality with 25,000 or fewer residents, one officer can carry the stun gun. Two stun guns are permitted in a town with 25,000 to 50,000 residents. If a municipality houses 75,000 residents or more, four officers can be authorized to carry the weapon.

Attorney General Milgram said that such an important shift in policy means limited deployment and adequate controls are necessary for accountability measures and evaluating the use of tasers. Only officers of supervisory rank can be authorized to use the tasers. The exceptions are for certified officers of a regional S.W.A.T. team.

As I live in North New Jersey and am a resident of one of the towns mentioned I urge these police departments *NOT* start carrying or using tasers in any capacity. I think its been well demonstrated in recent years that the claim of non-lethal for these devices incentivies officers to use the weapon when it’s not really necessary. Often for general pain compliance. Tasers certainly are potentially deadly weapons and too often used as cruel punishment for a baligerant or uncooperative individual.

The incentives too perverse and the outcome is too random to justify utilizing such a weapon.

Scathing N.J. report details millions of taxpayer dollars spent on municipal employee perks

Posted on December 1st, 2009 by bile
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http://www.northjersey.com/

Hundreds of North Jersey municipal employees are guaranteed paid time off — at taxpayers’ expense — to go Christmas shopping, attend weddings, and even donate blood, according to a scathing report released Tuesday by the State Commission of Investigation.

The 108-page report examined a cross-section of local government contracts and policies across the state, finding that tens of millions in taxpayer dollars are being wasted to fund luxurious benefits for municipal employees.

Among North Jersey’s biggest offenders are Englewood Cliffs, Fort Lee and the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners, which each doled out massive lump-sum cash payouts for unused sick time and personal and vacation leave. Several other towns, including Englewood and Paterson, were cited for shelling out “exceptional perks,” such as paid days off — in addition to regularly allotted vacation and personal time — for getting married or donating blood.

And most importantly to me being a Fort Lee resident:

Taxpayers in Fort Lee are on the hook for more than 30,000 days of unused leave banked by the borough’s 408 full and part-time employees. If all of this accrued leave were to be cashed in at once, the tab would exceed $7 million – an amount equal to 11 percent of Fort Lee’s annual budget of $63.6 million, the report reads.

Between 2004 and 2008, the borough paid retiring employees a combined sum of more than $1.4 million for unused sick, vacation, holiday, terminal and other leave. More than one third of the payout – approximately $547,000 – was for accrued sick time.

The report also casts a spotlight on municipalities who grant their employees “special perks.”

  • In Fort Lee, police officers receive one or two days off if they qualify at the firing range as expert or distinguished expert marksmen, the report states.
  • Rutherford has a lottery system that awards cash payments to civilian municipal employees who have perfect attendance for a certain period of time. Between 2004 and August 2009, these sick leave incentives totaled $12,600.
  • In Union City, all civilian municipal employees receive one day’s leave at full pay every year for Christmas shopping.
  • Englewood gives its fire and police personnel a paid day for moving, and city police officers get three additional paid days when they get married.

Bureaucrats taking advantage of the their position? No!

Can anyone name me a business or field which has such perks? Or is it only those which are funded through coercion? Is anyone surprised that those who utilize coercion through threats of violence rather than convincing people to do business with you by providing a good service increase their abuse of their victims over time?

Obama’s Science Czar once said forced abortions and mass sterilization needed to save the planet

Posted on July 16th, 2009 by bile
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http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/…

Internet reports are now circulating that Obama’s Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, John Holdren, penned a 1977 book that approved of and recommended compulsory sterilization and even abortion in some cases, as part of a government population control regime.

Given the general unreliability of Internet quotations, I wanted to go straight to this now-rare text and make sure the reports were both accurate and kept Holdren’s writings in context. Generally speaking, they are, and they do.

The Holdren book, titled Ecoscience and co-authored with Malthus enthusiasts Paul and Anne Ehrlich, weighs in at more than 1,000 pages. Of greatest importance to its discussion of how to limit the human population is its disregard for any ethical considerations.

Holdren (with the Ehrlichs) notes the existence of “moral objections to some proposals…especially to any kind of compulsion.” But his approach is completely amoral. He implies that compulsory population control is less preferable, because of some people’s objections, but he argues repeatedly that it is sometimes necessary, and necessity trumps all ethical objections.

Pretty sick. Gets better.

Read More…

Run in with the PAPD

Posted on July 14th, 2009 by bile
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Coming into the Port Authority from the subway today I saw this:

2009-07-14_PAPD-1

The young black gentlemen looked rather nervous and was fidgety. What you can’t tell from the photo is that the officers have the man backed into a corner. I stood at the steps leading to the first floor with my camera ready should the man be arrested. I notice the officers seem to be getting impatient so I stroll over to the info desk behind them and watch as the officer on the right reaches for the man’s front shirt pockets but does not actually grab his person or property. It looks like they are asking him about what he has in his pockets.

2009-07-14_PAPD-2

After I take a few seconds of video the officer on the right notices or is alerted to me somehow and walks over just as I’m temporarily putting away the camera. The conversation was short and went something like this:

  • Can’t take pictures inside the building.
  • Why?
  • Weren’t you around for 9/11? You know what happened?
  • Yes.
  • You can film outside but not inside the Port Authority. It’s private. We are conducting police business.
  • Can you tell me the law indicating this?
  • It’s PAPD policy.
  • But, people, tourists do it all the time.
  • It’s policy. You’re not in trouble or anything.
  • I know. Why the policy?
  • I’m just letting you know… just in case another officer would have seen you. We don’t know who you are. Could be taking pictures of the security system or pillars or people or steps.
  • Can I see the policy?
  • We’re conducting police business here and can’t be filmed. You can take photos outside. I’ve got to get back to this. (Turns slightly to his left as to walk back to the other officer and civilian.) Where are you headed?
  • I don’t need to tell you.
  • (Pinches or bites lip, nods in displeasure and starts walking back while keeping an eye on me)

I make my way to the steps where I started and he’s watching me the whole way. Knowing I’d be pushing it if I continued to stand there I walked upstairs in order to circle around and catch the conclusion of the incident. Unfortunately the 45ish seconds it took me was enough for them to do whatever it was they were intending and vacate the area. I did a quick look around but couldn’t find them.

I’ve said this before but I’ll do so again because I failed to follow my own advice. Don’t stop recording. Record, record, record. Turn it on when you realizing you need to and shut it off when you get fully clear of the incident, the batteries go dead or the memory card fills up (tape runs out). Nothing serious occurred in this incident thankfully but next time may not be so easy.

I’m unable to find PAPD policy on the website and they don’t have an email address but they do have a phone number for Port Authority Police Department Inquiries: 201-239-3500. I’ll likely call them tomorrow and ask about their no photo policy.