Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cutting Spines, the logical terminus of "Getting Tough"

A Saudi judge is reported to have asked hospitals if it is possible to cut the spinal cord of the man, found guilty of paralysing another man in a fight -- BBC

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has passed legislation that reflects his "get tough" position on crime. Getting tough would imply that there is some ultimate standard that we are not applying, some perfect punitive goal that would constitute ultimate justice. So what is the logical consequence of getting tough? Stop me if you see anything on this list that Harper or Vic Toews would not approve of.
Death penalty for murder? Check.
Death penalty for 'rape'? Check.
Life sentences for serious crimes? Check.
3 times you're out? Check.
No parole? Check.
Harsh conditions in prison? Check.
Prison rape an acceptable part of the punishment Check.
Forced labour - check Corporal punishment? Check.
Bad food, starvation diet? Check.
No tv's. Check.
Severing someone's spine because he paralyzed a man in a fight? Check?

Severing spines, eye for an eye, = getting tough? Shocking yes, but how far off the mark is it from Harper's 'dream' system? I don't think that Harper would go so far as that, nor would most Canadians. But this is the logical consequence of path we are on. If Harper gets his American style justice system we might not be severing spines but we will be executing people.

The illustration used for this story is an official US government image of
the gurney used to perform executions at Terre Haute Penitentiary by lethal injection. Lethal injection is a perfect example of the medicalization of punishment.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Great infographic on the failed drug war

The truth about the war on drugs is obvious. It's failed. In the process it has destroyed many people.

The War on Drugs
[Via: Medical Coding Certification]

See also: Glenn Greenwald, Cato report on the success of drug decriminalization in Portugal.

On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were "decriminalized," not "legalized." Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm. Drug trafficking continues to be prosecuted as a criminal offense. Glenn Greenwald

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I just got buzzed or, Help! I am being followed!

If Google went down tomorrow, I'd pretty much have to kill myself. I use Gmail for my business because it available to me anywhere, and my ability to organize and integrate it with my other data and apps is stunningly useful. And no spam.

I use Google Street View to check out businesses that might have a use for my rear projection digital signage business line, which is designed to be displayed in windows. I "go" down the street looking for businesses that have a suitable window and then I contact them. Saves hours of riding around, and it's free.

I have a lot of my business information and important documents stored on Google docs, which I also use to collaborate on projects. This blog is on Google. I use their calendar, their "to do" list. It just goes on and on.

Today I hooked up Google Buzz, it was easy, too easy, just like the rest of the Google happy dust. To my surprise (shock?) I am being "followed" by someone I don't know - but who once posted on this blog. And with several hundred other "contacts" I am sure that this is just the beginning.

What can he see? According to Google:

"Your Google Reader shared items, Picasa Web public albums, and Google Chat status messages will automatically appear as posts in Buzz. To edit your connected sites or change privacy settings, view connected sites."

Is even this too much? Sure I have public Picasa albums, I use Google reader (Feedly actually, but they are integrated into the matrix, sorry Google), but I don't know... this just feels invasive.

What really bothers me though, is that unlike our other shadowy masters, Steve and Bill, I know almost nothing about about Sergei and Larry, other than they are very smart and very very rich. Jesus, they might even be Republicans! Are you scared yet?

"Don't be evil", Google motto.

Larry and Sergei have information, lots of it. Absolute power and all that.

Google indexes every word on every web page in the world.

Google, or "The Google" as I like to call them - is a problem.

Every email I send, they store. Every email I get, they store. Their robots read my mail to serve me ads. You too. Is that all they do? Who knows? Google does!

Has Barack Obama ever visited, or made some intemperate remarks about white people in his emails? I have no idea, but Sergei and Larry do, and if he did, they could, if they so chose, blackmail him, with that one little data point, they would, in effect, own the President. You too of course, same for all the senators and members of the congress, one false step on line and the Google has got your number.

They have all the passwords. They know where you went and what you searched for. And it's not going away. Can Larry and Sergei resist using the 'ring of power' , the largest database of personal information ever assembled? Are they as good and Bilbo and Frodo?

If you don't believe me, just Google it.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Gil Scott Heron, extraordinary new recording

I don't work for the record companies, so it's just from me when I say that this new album by Gil Scott Heron is something very special. Have a listen. Then have a Listen.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Happy New Year. Real men go to Sana´a

It's a new year. A new decade. Still no agreement on climate change. Obama is still bombing, most lately in Yemen, the new front in the now official "war on al-Qaeda".

And it's been almost a decade since 911, and still no new investigation. Still though, there is hope.

Someone just sent me this, the latest "Hitler Rants..." video, which is well on it's way to being the most edited video clip in history.