September 28, 2014
iPhone 6 Encryption
The new iPhone 6 will encrypt "emails, photos and contacts based on a complex mathematical algorithm that uses a code created by, and unique to, the phone's user." "Breaking the code, according to an Apple technical guide, could take 'more than 5 1/2 years to try all combinations of a six-character alphanumeric passcode with lowercase letters and numbers.'" That, of course, would be a brute force method, and I'm pretty sure the NSA and FBI have more sophisticated techniques than that.
The FBI objects to this.
At Apple and Google, company executives say the United States government brought these changes on itself. The revelations by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden not only killed recent efforts to expand the law, but also made nations around the world suspicious that every piece of American hardware and software — from phones to servers made by Cisco Systems — have "back doors" for American intelligence and law enforcement.
August 17, 2014
The Effectiveness Of DUI Checkpoints
The numbers for the three checkpoints combined are
DUI: 7 (0.4%); Invalid/No/Suspended License: 50 (2.5%); Other arrests 8 (0.4%); "Clean" 1,920 (96.7%).
June 30, 2014
More About The FAA's Rules On Drones
June 21, 2014
U.S. Congress Chipping Away At Anti-Medical Marijuana Actions
A brief article about Senator Rand Paul's introduction of a budget amendment that would bar the DEA from using federal funds to go after medical marijuana operations in any state where it's legal. The House has already approved a similar measure.
Also, Senator John Walsh of Montana has introduced an amendment that would block ATF from using federal funds to violate the Second Amendment rights of medical marijuana patients. Here's the text of Walsh's amendment:
SA 3285. Mr. WALSH submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill H.R. 4660, making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:
At the appropriate place, insert the following:
Sec. __. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, none of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms , and Explosives may be used, with respect to registered medicinal marijuana patients in the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to enforce the provisions of subsection (d)(3) or (g)(3) of section 922 of title 18, United States Code, against a registered medicinal marijuana patient based on either the status of the patient as a registered medicinal marijuana patient or the lawful use of medicinal marijuana under the laws of the State in which the patient resides.
He has listed the states where medical marijuana was legal when he proposed the amendment on the 18th. This seems an odd way to do it. Why not just say "where it is legal." New York state is on the verge of legalizing medical marijuana. Will the Senate re-write the amendment or will the medical marijuana patients in New York be left to the meager mercy of the ATF?
I find the strange jargon of the Senate to be interesting. The appropriations bill "was ordered to lie on the table." Then it "was ordered to get up and dance, dance if you value your life!"
April 24, 2014
Freedom To Sweep Nevada
Hell's Angels, the Gay Men's Chorus of L.A. and no toilets! Just try to keep me away!
If you don't like the message from the long-haired hippie wing, maybe you'll prefer this one:
April 22, 2014
Meanwhile In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's Attorney General has wisely refused to defend his state's ban on same-sex marriage, so the office of Governor Corbett (a Republican) took on that task. But the defense is no defense. The Governor's office has said they will call no expert witnesses and they will not dispute any of the specific harms caused to the plaintiffs by the marriage ban. Essentially, then, this would seem to be like the Oregon suit - defenseless. But it's got one advantage over Oregon because there is a nominal defendant. The defendant (the Commonwealth) agrees with the plaintiffs that there is no need for a trial so they will not be going through the motions. Both sides are filing requests for summary judgement.
Governor Corbett is to be commended for saving taxpayers' money and minimizing everyone's misery while still staying faithful to what he thinks he has to do as Governor.
Judge John E. Jones III who will be making the decision is a Republican appointed by George W. Bush in 2002. He is a native of Pennsylvania. He ruled in 2005 that a school district's mandate to teach "intelligent design" was unconstitutional. Thereupon, he was attacked by Phyllis Schlafly and Bill O'Reilly; O'Reilly calling him a fascist activist judge. He has defended himself saying that his duty is to the Constitution, not special interests.
OTOH, when he was the Chairman of the state Liquor Control Board he banned the sale of Bad Frog Beer after determining that the frog on the label was giving the finger. Anyone who looks at the label will see that the frog has only 4 toes on both front feet and all 4 toes are extended on both feet. IMO "the finger" was in the mind of the beholder. But even if it was flipping off the drinker, it would seem to be a free speech issue.
January 8, 2014
National Review Tepidly Supports Legalization of Marijuana
National Review Online says "It is perhaps a little dispiriting that of all the abusive overreaches of government to choose from, it is weed that has the nation’s attention, but it is a victory nonetheless." And "One of the worst consequences of marijuana use is the development of saucer-eyed arguments about the benefits of legalizing it."
The payoff is not in tax revenue gained but in losses avoided. A great many people will avoid being convicted of crimes for a relatively benign recreational indulgence — and those criminal convictions often have much more severe long-term consequences on pot-smokers’ lives than marijuana does. The business of policing covert marijuana dealers has been replaced with the relatively straightforward business of regulating them in the open. A large and fairly nasty criminal enterprise has lost its raison d’être, at least so far as the Colorado market is concerned.
January 7, 2014
A Different View On Drug Addicition
Dr. Carl Hart was interviewed by Amy Goodman. Dr. Hart is a tenured "professor in the sciences at Columbia University, where he is an associate professor in the psychology and psychiatry departments. He is also a member of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse and a research scientist in the Division of Substance Abuse at the New York State Psychiatric Institute."
There is a video of this interview but I read and copied from the transcript.
One of his main points is that 80% to 90% of people who use drugs (alcohol, marijuana, crack, meth, all recreational drugs) are NOT addicted.
If we were really concerned about drug addiction, we would be trying to figure out precisely why each individual became addicted. But that's not what we're really interested in. We are interested, in this society, of vilifying a drug. In that way, we don't have to deal with the complex issues for why people really become addicted.
AMY GOODMAN: Your response to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Carl Hart?
DR. CARL HART: On the one hand, I applaud Sanjay. But on the other hand, I might be embarrassed if I was a physician and I'm this late in the game. The evidence has been overwhelming for quite some time. And if you read the literature and have been reading the literature, this position or this change should have come earlier. But still, it takes some courage to say you were wrong. But I think that it's been overstated how much praise he deserves.
And when we think about the dangers of marijuana from a scientific perspective, let's really evaluate this. When we think about the dangers of marijuana, they are about the equivalent of alcohol. Now, I don't want to somehow talk about the dangers of alcohol or to besmirch the reputation of alcohol, because I think that every society should have intoxicants. We need intoxicants. And every society has always had intoxicants. So alcohol is fine.
January 4, 2014
Cannabis Legalization Update
A survey of what's happening with marijuana legalization outside of Colorado and Washington:
- Of course, in California we've got petitions for four different initiatives in process.
- The State of New York legalized medical marijuana in 1980 (that is not a typo), long before California. But then they forgot about it! It was a very limited program. It was only legal for people with cancer or glaucoma. Each patient had to be approved by a medical review board. The marijuana itself would be obtained by the State Police! Well, that might have been the part that made this unworkable. The State Police could simply claim they had none or refuse to provide it, citing federal law. So now the state is considering breathing life into that old dead thing. Bills to make medical marijuana workable have passed in the State Assembly four times, but they have all died in the Senate. So Governor Cuomo is going to announce an executive action that will allow medical marijuana in 20 hospitals for only cancer, glaucoma and other diseases approved by the state Department of Health. It is expected to go into effect in 2014.
- In New Hampshire House Bill 492 would legalize recreational marijuana. It's scheduled for a vote on January 8, 2014. But even if the House approves it, chances of getting past the Senate and Governor are slim. Last year the Senate rejected a bill to decriminalize marijuana.
- In Alaska a petition has garnered 44,000 signatures, 15,000 more than the minimum necessary to submit legalization to the voters. It proposes a $50/ounce tax. Local governments will be permitted to ban retail sales. Here's a copy of the petition. Public consumption would be banned. How is "public" defined in Alaska? If you are in the middle of a vast wilderness where the next nearest human is 500 miles away and you light up outdoors, would that be considered "public?" Would the caribou be alarmed?
- Missourians have been inspired to submit 10 petitions to the Secretary of State for approval. They are all basically the same, varying only in permitted quantities. After the Secretary of State approves them, NORML will do public polling to find out which one is likely to have the greatest public support. Aside from petitions, the legislature is expected to have 5 or 6 legalization bills to consider this session.
- One legislator in New Mexico says he will submit legislation for a constitutional amendment. The Governor of New Mexico opposes legalization, but the constitutional amendment process bypasses the Governor.
- Campaigners in Florida have obtained 900,000 signatures on a petition to legalize medical marijuana via constitutional amendment. Their goal is to have 1,050,000 signatures. The number of valid signatures required is 683,149. Here's a blank petition. Medical marijuana would be permitted for cancer, glaucoma, HIV positive status, AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis "or other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient." The text is only two pages long, lacking much of the detail you see in proposals in other states. It mostly just gives an order to "make it so" to the Department of Health.
- The Alabama Legislature will be considering a bill "to allow parents of children with certain neurological and epileptic disorders to possess cannabidiol." Cannabidiol has also been shown to be the substance in marijuana that helps with glaucoma.
- Meanwhile in Maine, the first state to impose alcohol prohibition (in 1851), the Women's Christian Temperance Union is trying to bring itself back from the grave like a zombie in order to oppose legalization of marijuana. "It's not that we want to be self-righteous and condemn you because you're drinking or drugging or you're smoking pot. It's not that. We want to love you but tell you that there are ill effects," said Rev. David Perkins. Yeah, we know how that goes when a Christian leader tells you he loves you, but just has a few points to discuss with you. The WCTU also opposes gambling, pornography, abortion, gay marriage and sex outside of marriage.
December 14, 2013
Nudes Restored At San Bernardino County Government Center
For five years the Hispanic Employees Alliance of San Bernardino County has hosted an art display at the San Bernardino County Government Center in observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month. This year the exhibit included a few nudes. The county removed those from the exhibit on November 26. A first amendment issue was raised by the ACLU and the National Coalition Against Censorship. The county settled yesterday, agreeing to put the nudes back on display and extend the exhibit until January 17. Originally it was to end on December 2.
It sounds like if the county had rules set up ahead of time as to what could not be displayed then that would have worked, but removing a work from display constituted censorship.
I think that as long as Desert Hot Springs has Dot Reed curating the exhibits at the Carl May Center we will be able to steer clear of any interference from the ACLU.