Monthly Archives: June 2008

Friday McBush Bashing (Holiday Edition)

Not surprisingly, McBush's poll numbers are slipping in key battleground states

Posted in Politics: McCain | Comments Off on Friday McBush Bashing (Holiday Edition)

Copyright of the Law (Note: Not “and”)

The Great Grimmelmann writes in The Laboratorium: Copyright, Technology, and Access to the Law that he's

just released Copyright, Technology, and Access to the Law: An Opinionated Primer:

Recently, the state of Oregon has used copyright law to threaten people who were publishing its laws online. Can they really do that? More to the point, why would they? This essay will put the Oregon fracas in historical context, and explain the public policies at stake. Ultimately, it’ll try to convince you that Oregon’s demands, while wrong, aren’t unprecedented. People have been claiming copyright in “the law” for a long time, and at times they’ve been able to make a halfway convincing case for it. While there are good answers to these arguments, they’re not always the first ones that come to hand. It’s really only the arrival of the Internet that genuinely puts the long-standing goal of free and unencumbered access to the law within our grasp.

This isn’t an academic piece. Instead, it’s designed to bring nonlawyers and people outside the open-access-to-law movement up to speed on the basics of the history, the context, the principles, and the law. Along the way, it tells some interesting stories. I hope you’ll find it equal parts informative, entertaining, and inspirational. Please have a look.

A fun read and a public service.

Posted in Law: Copyright and DMCA | 2 Comments

Go Read Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald, British debate highlights the cravenness and complicity of congressional Democratic “leaders” .

Please say it ain't so — they can't really be selling us out like this on FISA, can they?

Posted in Politics: US | 1 Comment

European Union and the Democratic Deficit

Friday was a dark day for many in Europe (and not only for those in France that were watching their national team lose 1-4 against Holland at the European soccer championship).

In a referendum Irish voters said no to the Lisbon Treaty (53,4%). This is a new blow for the EU after the trauma of the Spring of 2005 when the new European Constitution was rejected in referendums held in Holland and France.

EU leaders thought that they had figured it out this time. The Lisbon Treaty includes (1) some of the essential components of the rejected Constitution (institutional reform, stronger role for the parliament etc), (2) none of the focal points that plagued its predecessor (constitutional bells and whistles such as the EU flag and hymn) (3) many unreadable sections and undecipherable wordings.

Now who would object to such a fine document? EU leadership was not planning on giving voters a chance to object anyway. So far the Lisbon treaty had been ratified by 18 member states without organizing national referendums.

So it is painful for the EU that the outcome of the only referendum organized is negative- especially because Ireland is one of the countries that supposedly benefited a lot from the EU (40 billion euros in subsidies aided its visionary turn to IT-foreign investments).

What’s next? The Lisbon Treaty will certainly survive. What about Ireland’s position in the EU? Perhaps a slimmed down version could be adopted in Ireland including some of the essential institutional components.

(more below)

Continue reading

Posted in Politics: International | 3 Comments

Donna Shalala to Receive Presdiental Medal of Freedom

White House Names 6 for Medal of Freedom — and UM President Donna Shalala is one of them.

She'll share the stage with Gen. Peter Pace, who's getting a consolation prize for not being renominated as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs (the administration was afraid to let Congress ask him hard questions). Also present will be Senior Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the D.C. Circuit, long a linchpin of the very right-wing group on that court.

There will be a posthumous award to Representative Tom Lantos of California, a human rights champion who was also an early supporter (and, later, doubter) of the Iraq war.

Posted in U.Miami | 6 Comments

Hello + B-e-Id Card

Dear readers of,

I would like to thank Michael for inviting me to be a guest. It is an honor. His kind, generous and ridiculously positive introduction is much appreciated. It might have set expectations that will leave most readers surprised, disappointed, even disgusted with my posts. But this will not stop me.

True to this prediction, I will start with a confession. I am Belgian. (1) But do not worry. None of my posts will be about Belgium (except this one, too late now).

Most people think Belgium is pretty insignificant. The Daily show expressed this sentiment in a couple of episodes where John Stewart suddenly screamed that he “hates” Belgium.(2) The irony being that it is absurd to hate Belgium. Why would anyone hate something so small and harmless? (mind you, this is a cunning tactic that has been very effective for us)

To Belgium’s defense, a quick note on one of Belgium’s many wonderful accomplishments [drums rolling]: the Belgian identity card. This prestigious, much lauded project was introduced a few years ago (notice the Microsoft connection).

In fact, I was about to use my very own “electronic-Belgian-ID-card” to file Belgian taxes on line the other day. But I changed my mind upon discovering that I need to buy a card reader for my pc (or wait for a 24 code card to be mailed by snail mail). Also, recollection of the security and privacy issues did not help either. Yesterday, a new report was presented at the e-Identity conference in the Hague further detailing the huge security issues involved. Hey, at least its better for our government to fail than not to try at all. Or is it? Solutions for the card are in the works. So are the invoices by the various e-security companies. This brings me back to filing my taxes.

More about Belgium, European soccer, copyright law & the music industry, taxes and laments on the strong euro in future post.

(1) note by author: country still exists until further notice, June 13 2008.
(2) a link to the clip would of course be more effective but could not locate it on the Web

Posted in ID Cards and Identification, Law: Privacy | 10 Comments