Politics

Rock my C*ck

Blogorrah has posted some videos that I guess are being aired on Oirish TV, and by jesus they’ll fit right in if that’s the case. Here’s what I don’t get though: I presume that these videos aren’t supposed to appeal to 34 year old fuddy-duddies like me, but who are they supposed to appeal to? Presumably it’s ‘yoof’, but surely they’re even more patronising to yoof than they are to me? I mean, seriously, rock salutes? The only people that think rock salutes are cool these days are Spinal Tap fans. (And rightly so.)

The PR people that came up with this shite should be shot (along with most of the rest of them), and Rick O’Shea should be put in charge; since he’s the only one that was in any way entertaining. Seriously, give Rick the camera, and fuck off and get a proper job. Something useful and inline with your skillsets, like a firing range target.

UPDATE: I’ve just been listening to Rick’s show and he had Bosco on about the Rock the Vote business. Yes, Bosco. And they were talking about free lollipops. Are they trying to be ironic or something? Because it’s really not working. I find myself wondering if any people in the yoof category actually know who Bosco is?

(Thanks for the pointer Twenty.)

Dealing With Canvassers #1: Be Prepared

Damien has posted a list of resources for when politicians call, here’s my more general contribution. I’ve had this in draft for months as three basic lessons in one post, but this is the only section that’s complete. I’ll try and tie up the other two later today.

All this is basic stuff, but if you’re anything like me you probably either clam up or get angry when the doorbell rings, and you shouldn’t. They want something from you, but they shouldn’t get it for free. Make them sing for their suppers.

You’ll be needing a notebook and a pen for this. Yes, actual paper. Go on, I’ll wait here.

Lesson One: Be Prepared

  1. First, jot down the things that are important to you. Health, tech, sports, money, the lot.
  2. Number them in order of importance, then scratch out or delete all but the top five or six.
  3. Think about how they can be improved. More money or less money? More freedom or more restriction?
  4. Reformat your thoughts in politician mode: think “nothing is free”; think “compromise”, “deal”, “negotiate”.
  5. Reformat them again, in Jeopardy mode: “Your answer must be in the form of a question.”
  6. On a fresh page, write down the final set of questions; still in order of importance.
  7. Tear off the pages with scratch work on them, and put the notebook and pen by your door.
  8. Now get yourself a beverage and a biscuit, that’s half the battle done.

Irish Kiddyprinting

ENN says that the Reg says that the Sunday Times says that… says that… what? Where? Who said what? I’ll try that again…

The upshot of this story is that the Irish Data Protection Commissioner has come out against the use of biometrics in Irish schools. TBH I have to wonder how Mark Ballard got that from the commentary on the Commissioner’s website – which could have been written by a Fianna Fail PR hack – but that’s not really what caught my eye anyway, it’s this bit:

“a vast majority of parents had no qualms about the scheme after schools assured them it would only be used to track pupil attendance and that data would not used in criminal investigations or otherwise shared.”

Sure they won’t, until it’s something important like a murder investigation, and sure since we’ve done it once now sure we can use it for this stabbing too, and sure and since it was used for the stabbing we should use it for when that fella gave yerman a dig too, and sure now we’re using it all of the time, sure and begorrah we might as well make it a national database.

Are people really that stupid that they can’t see the long term consequences of programmes like this? Can they not see past the next corner? Or is that a stupid question? Seriously folks, don’t expose your children to this. It’s a slippery slope, and Irish bureacrats and politicos have very bad shoes.

PS. The Reg deserves credit for the headline, not me; see their URL. Bizarre they didn’t use it instead of the shite they used in the end. Did it sound too much like kiddyfiddling or summat?)

Who Controls Your Television?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released a paper on “an elaborate television DRM scheme called Content Protection and Copy Management” whose “unparalleled restrictions include”:

  • Enforcing severe home recording and copying limitations. CPCM will allow content providers to apply copy restriction labels to broadcast streams. For example, a program could be marked as “Copy Never.” In turn, your DVRs and others devices receiving the signal will have to obey and forbid copying even for home use. A content provider could opt to allow recording but still enforce a multitude of restrictions on copying to other devices.
  • Imposing controls on where you watch a program. Even if you are given permission to move a program to your laptop or other portable devices, “geography controls” may kick in and stop playback once you leave home or a particular locale. These restrictions may be enforced using tamper-proof GPS receivers built in to your devices. CPCM can also be used to block sending video to yourself over your own home network or the Internet, among other things.
  • Dictating how you get to share shows with your own family. CPCM can be used to examine, for instance, the frequency with which devices are connected to a personal network and determine whether your sharing is within an “Authorized Domain” Absurdly, DVB spent significant time arguing over what happens to a digital video in case of a divorce!
  • Breaking compatibility with your devices. You may have already invested in new high definition displays and receivers that rely on component analog connections or unrestricted digital outputs, but CPCM will allow the studios to arbitrarily block these connections. In other words, individual copyright holders can turn your gadgets into oversized paperweights. CPCM- restricted media will also be able to carry blacklists and revoke compatibility with particular devices that don’t enforce Hollywood’s restrictions sufficiently.

These “standards” will affect you personally. They’ll restrict your ability to record, copy and mash (as the kids are calling it these days) content; they’ll say where and when you can watch TV; they’ll make things like those shitty “piracy” ads in your DVDs seem almost quaint in comparison.

When the politicos call to your door in the run up to the election, you need to tell them to stick these “standards” firmly up the DVB’s arse. And remember to tell them that you’ll be needing a copy of the letter telling them that, in exchange for your vote.

Babies and Marriage, Babies and Marriage

(To the tune of Love and Marriage, if you didn’t get it.)

In a great example of disruptive lawmaking, gay rights activists in Washington have introduced Initiative 957, which would require heterosexual couples to have kids within three years, or have their marriages annulled.

Why? Because in upholding Washington’s ban on same-sex marriage last year, the State Supremes concluded that “limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers the state’s interests in procreation and encouraging families with a mother and father and children biologically related to both”.

Of course the Initiative is being introduced somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as you’d guess (and the activists clearly say themselves), but that doesn’t stop the thickos speaking out against it. Big props to head thicko Janet Pierce on that front, for making a special effort to miss the point completely.

Like, duh?

Germany orders CIA rendition arrests

About bloody time the CIA and the US was taken to task over this gross abuse of international law.

BBC NEWS: Germany has ordered the arrest of 13 suspected CIA agents over the alleged kidnapping of one of its citizens.

Munich prosecutors confirmed that the warrants were linked to the case of Khaled al-Masri, a German national of Lebanese descent.

Mr Masri says he was seized in Macedonia, flown to a secret prison in Afghanistan and mistreated there.

He says he was released in Albania five months later when the Americans realised they had the wrong man.

Mr Masri says his case is an example of the US policy of “extraordinary rendition” – a practice whereby the US government flies foreign terror suspects to third countries without judicial process for interrogation or detention.