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  Messages 28-22 deleted by author between 08-03-2010 08:14 AM and 07-21-2006 09:03 AM
Andrew DennisPerson was signed in when posted
11:57 AM ET (US)
 Actually, the main problem in intercultural relations hereabouts is sherbet bloody limes. The guy up the road, he's a preacher of some sort at the local mosque, goes around handing out sweets every time he gets another grandkid, three in the last year. And it's always sherbet bloody limes, but it'd be like a kicking a puppy to refuse the damned thing while the old boy's obviously so happy. Who the hell came up with sherbet limes anyway? How big *is* the market for sweets that taste like a cocktail of vomit and battery acid?
Andrew Cummins
07:24 PM ET (US)

Blair has been as influential in his way as Thatcher was previously...taking the Labour party from left-wing into the centre ground while managing to move the economy away from a short-cycle boom-bust is his major legacy.

It's no surprise that the stalwarts in Labour hate him as much as the conservatives whose electoral clothes he has stolen.

My problem with him can be summed up to a flawed strategic vision - I think (charitably) that he has been trying to use British influence to moderate American behavior without realising exactly how intellectually bankrupt the current US administration is...they have fought a war on the cheap to topple the Iraqi dictatorship without appreciating the effort required to prevent the succession turning into a maelstrorm.

The real long-term worry for the UK is the effect that home grown suicide bombers have on relations between cultures within the country. It is obvious that Al-Quieda's game plan is all about stirring up an anti-Muslim backlash to foster support for itself within the worldwide Muslim community.

We need to do a better job on preventing this than we've done with Northern Ireland,

-- Andrew
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
06:52 AM ET (US)
So what does he have to worry about what the British people think?

Well, I'd say Tony Blair does have to worry what the British people think. There are lots of them, of diverse origins, and one particular small subset registered a very strong complaint on July 7th.

I think I'm on fairly solid ground when I say that those home-grown suicide bombers were a consequence of Blair's pursuit of foreign policy initiatives dictated three thousand miles to his west.

He also has to worry about his own party getting rid of him, as happened with Thatcher. He's tightened up his grip on Labour to such a degree that it's a lot harder for them to stab him in the back, but it's not impossible, and he's currently about as unpopular in his own party as he is with the country as a whole. My money's on Blair not being Prime Minister by the next general election. Then it all gets to be someone else's mess.

As for the nature of the mess ...

When there's no effective outlet for political dissent, you get pressure building up among extremists until something explodes (like the London Underground bombings). Then you get a reactive wave of repression, with broad public support, to stop it happening again. Which ultimately doesn't work, because all the repressive measures achieve is to increase the pressure under which the next bunch of extremists work, raising the stakes, and giving them more targets to strike at. We're well on the way to assembling the machinery of a police state over here, and whenever anyone points this out to the government the response is "but we're only doing it to protect you -- trust us, we're honest!"
02:47 PM ET (US)
Well, this is about the UK, but from a US perspective, so I hope that it's not spoiled:

The biggest problem I see with the UK politicaly system now is that Blair doesn't worry about what the UK voters think. He's gone to war under information known now to be known by him then to be false. Against the majority of his own constituency, and the majority of voters in the UK. To please a foreign power. And done it incompetantly. In a better world, he'd have been beheaded for high treason by now. In a somewhat better world, he'd be out of power and living in a foreign country, scared to come back home. In a slightly better world he'd have only held on to power in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, who'd be exacting a steep price for it, and making him regret hopping into bed with Bush.

However, in the world that we live in, he did all of that, and held onto power with a comfortable margin. Basically, he paid no price of any practical consequence.

So what does he have to worry about what the British people think?
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
03:31 PM ET (US)
Mark, as I noted earlier on this thread, it's for the discussion of civil rights and specifically British issues. We know about your problems in America. We hear about them endlessly, tediously, and at length, because you constitute about 70% of the English-as-a-first-language world and you've got the rest of the internet for your introspective use. Give it a rest, eh? Unless you want to discuss how policy positions corrosive to civil rights in different countries are globalized by specific treaty negotiations and lobbying issues, or how the definition of "freedom" is a movable feast, or something equally original, we don't need to hear it.
Mark from AmericaPerson was signed in when posted
11:58 AM ET (US)
'Open Rights Group' is definitely covering allot of ground with one name. : )

As from an American perspective we have the 'Patriot Act' or ‘Craziness Act’ that will need to be disassembled along with many other bureaucratic agencies soon. Some of this 'we might need it forever' garbage needs to end. Like it’s some sort of pampered comfort zone. The only comfort zone is to be educated of your rights.

Another good way to stay away from contracted codecs is to use these codecs and steer clear of Microsoft and Realplayer ones: These work well on other OSs than just Windows or Apple.

MPEG-4: http://www.mpegif.org/
Theora: http://www.theora.org/
DivX: http://www.divx.com/
Xvid: http://www.xvid.org/

Mainly our country needs to get rid of the libdvdcss library codec limitation law. Basically only the United States cannot watch most industry standard DVDs on their Linux or Open Source System. This libdvdcss file is a semi-hassle download but you need to have special copyrighting protection on the device you play the movie with that Open Source doesn’t seem to support well. Didn’t say anything about Americans though. ; )
This is probably why Sun is trying to implement an open source codec format because they are a major player in the Open Source market with their Solaris, Spark and Java that like to run JDS. Java Desktop System.

Funny the Google ads are stating those creepy 'security cameras.' They have been using them in Chicago and our crime has gotten down to pre 60's through 90's extreme levels.

Story ideas for your new book:
* A scary thought is being able to vote for your candidate of choice without having to leave your computer. The scariest thing is why in that situation would we would still want someone else to write laws for us?
Edited 09-24-2005 12:49 PM
Tony Quirke
10:58 PM ET (US)
I asked him: given what mobile bandwidth costs are down to, how long is it going to be until we see constables on the beat streaming live video to servers sealed under rules of evidence back at the shop?

His response was: "we could do it next week, if it wasn't for RIPA."

Bova and Ellison's 1970 "Brillo" is probably apropos of this. Even if they change the legislation, the main restrictions are going to be sociological.
Andrew DennisPerson was signed in when posted
06:54 PM ET (US)
They're somewhat more stuffed by current DPA than by RIPA with the cameras-on-constables idea.

And, ah, without going anywhere that might be construed as violation of the confidences of former clients, there are some very interesting loopholes indeed...
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
06:49 PM ET (US)
Speaking of RIPA, I'm researching another SF novel -- near-future, set in Edinburgh about ten years hence, with a high-tech crime theme (for values of "high tech crime" that are still science fictional) -- and as part of my research I've been talking to lawyers and an acquaintance who's the IT manager for a large British police force. (I've still got to go talk to the press officer at Lothian and Borders, but there you go ...)

I asked him: given what mobile bandwidth costs are down to, how long is it going to be until we see constables on the beat streaming live video to servers sealed under rules of evidence back at the shop?

His response was: "we could do it next week, if it wasn't for RIPA."

It turns out that RIPA(2002) was so cunningly drafted that they've shot themselves in the foot as far as adoption of new broadband wireless technologies go; it'd qualify as installing covert surveillance or something, and they'll have to amend the law before they can do that.

So maybe a chunk of New Labour's legislative agenda is really legislative churn, defining a whole taxonomy of new precise offenses to replace old broad ones, and accidentally introducing a shedload of new loopholes that need to be fixed before their shiny new system can be made to work as intended.

I'm not sure what I'm more worried about -- the control-freak tendencies of the current government, or the possibility that by indulging in them they may actually be creating new loopholes and free-fire zones for smart high-tech criminals to exploit.

(Must follow up a possible intro to someone who works for the Procurator-Fiscal's office -- the Scottish equivalent of the Director of Public Prosecutions -- and see if they've got any thoughts on this. Purely for the fictional work in progress, you understand, not with any idea about feeding policy crumbs towards ORG :)
Andrew DennisPerson was signed in when posted
04:40 PM ET (US)
If I may make so bold as to post the first on-topic message: I've signed. I think I can persuade a few others to at least think about it.

My capacity to do anything practical to help is fairly limited, alas, although back in my lawyering days I saw a lot of the beta version of this crap go through and was suitably unimpressed. There are probably still some of my politely worded flames in the 'consultation process' files relating to the subsidiary legislation on RIPA.
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