Quick Roundup 46

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I've run into a whole slew of stories that follow up -- some more, some less -- various things I've posted about, so here goes....

That "50,000!" post was a joke, Congressman!

Apparently, Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is both a fan of this blog and interested in saving me from myself. Having missed the fact that the date for this post was April 1, he has introduced a bill to prohibit internet gambling! No need, Congressman! I only play nickel-ante poker at home a few times a year.

On a more serious note, his quest is made easier by the fact that an older, equally silly law, remains on the books and unchallenged. Furthermore, Goodlatte's law looks like it will be an expensive nightmare to enforce.

Goodlatte contends that he is merely updating the Wire Act -- a 1961 law banning certain gambling activities over communications wires -- for the modern age; and "respects states rights" by leaving purely intrastate gambling unregulated. Still, even his short description of the law on his Website confirms [Cato Institute analyst Radley] Balko's fears: Not only is there a total ban on the use of credit cards and electronic transfers for betting but authorities are authorized to use "injunctions to get assistance from ISPs to remove or disable access to hypertext links to online gambling sites that violate the Act." [links dropped]
It sounds like what we really need is not to be protected from ourselves, but from a meddlesome government. Now that Goodlatte has brought the Wire Act into the spotlight, perhaps another enterprising congressman would take an interest in repealing it.

Interestingly, Goodlatte's law would make any future posts linking to online gambling sites illegal. Splendid.


I received my blog's 40,000th visitor since late December of 2004 around 5:30 p.m. yesterday from Port Allen, Louisiana. I once stayed in Port Allen for several hours on the way from New Orleans to Houston post-Katrina, to get the front tire of a moving van replaced.

While filling up at a service station, I noticed that the tread was gone and that I could see steel or cloth mesh peeking out at me from beneath the rubber. In the words of the guy who changed the tire (a fascinating undertaking to someone who has only changed automobile tires), "Dat tire's gawn!" I'm probably damned lucky I stopped there. Or even that I was able to!

French Students Protest Against Reality, Part II

Via Cox and Forkum, I have learned that Charles Krauthammer made the following interesting observation about the latest session of mob rule in France.
In massive protest against a law that would allow employers to fire an employee less than 26 years old in the first two years of his contract.

That's a very long way from liberty, equality, fraternity. The spirit of this revolution is embodied most perfectly in the slogan on many placards[, which in English means,] "Against Precariousness." The precariousness of being subject to being fired. The precariousness of the untenured life, even if the work is boring and the boss no longer wants you. And ultimately, the precariousness of life itself, any weakening of the government guarantee of safety, conformity, regularity.

That is something very new. And it is not just a long way from the ideals of 1789. It is the very antithesis. It represents an escape from freedom, a demand for an arbitrary powerful state in whose bosom you can settle for life.
Indeed. But then in 1789, people had a firmer grasp of the connection between their freedom and their ability to survive than they do now. This is probably why people today do not value their freedom enough to look at the illusion of government-mandated security with the proper level of contempt.

Google: Censorship Laws Real, Freedom of Speech "Hypothetical"

Google "defended" its assistance in helping the Chi-Comms keep the proles down via censorship in this way.
"We must comply with the local law, indeed we have all made a commitment to the government that we will absolutely follow the Chinese law. We don't have any alternatives.

"It is not an option for us to broadly make information available that is illegal, inappropriate or immoral or what have you." [bold added]
That's quite a relief, since it would certainly be immoral to turn someone in for exercising his inalienable right to freedom of speech.

Or it should have been a relief, but for the fact that Google's puff-chested pronouncements seem to be only for the benefit of their Chinese masters.
In the case of Yahoo, it came under fire last year for supplying information to the Chinese government that led to the arrest of Chinese journalist Shi Tao.

Shi was sentenced to 10 years in prison for passing on a government censorship order through his Yahoo e-mail account.

[CEO Eric] Schmidt refused to answer a reporter's question on whether Google would also supply personal information on its Internet users to Chinese authorities if requested.

"I'd rather not answer a hypothetical question," he said. [bold added]
Every day, I think my respect for Google has reached rock-bottom, only to find that I apparently don't know what "rock-bottom" really is. At this rate, I hope I remain blissfully ignorant.

16 Days to an Iranian Bomb?

At least that's what this article says. If Iran gets the bomb, we will have a nuclear war. Seeing that they're going to make the choice for us, I'd prefer to fight such a war while only one side is armed. Bombs away.

More on Iran

Medworth has a roundup that includes some British commentary I hadn't heard about.

-- CAV

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