WolfesBlogArchives: April 2005

Saturday, April 30, 2005


Cover4Website-MidSize (64k image)

He's just a kid.

Trapped in a world where everybody is watched.
All the time.
Where everything is controlled "for your own good."
Where dreams are dulled with drugs.
Where there's no way out.

But Jeremy wasn't made to be controlled ...

Enter the world of RebelFire


Out of the Gray Zone

Experience the book.
The first four chapters are online.

Hear the music.
The RebelFire song "Justice Day" -- as interpreted by two new rock artists.

Join the rebellion.
Books begin shipping May 20.
Pre-orders begin TODAY.
Very, very cool (sexy black and silver) RebelFire tee-shirts are ready when you are

Autographed books for the first 100 purchasers!
(NOTE: 5/20 First 100 are already sold -- sorry.)

Introductory offer
$5 off when you order the book and the (hot, sexy, black, silver) RebelFire logo tee-shirt to be
delivered together. (Delivery of the book-shirt combo will be after May 20, when books begin shipping.)


Novel by Claire Wolfe and Aaron Zelman
Website by Debra Ricketts
Music by Rockne Van Meter
Music by Opium War
Lyrics by Claire Wolfe, song concept by Aaron Zelman
Cover illustration and design by George Angelini
RF logo by George Angelini from a concept by Aaron Zelman
Book design by Garn Turner
Experience it all at http://www.rebelfirerock.com


Yes, the long-awaited, much-rumored, much-teased-about Great Mystery Project has arrived at last.
It hasn't yet been officially launched. Readers of Wolfesblog and The Claire Files forums are the first -- the very first in the world -- to know.

This one is for you ... and for the kids who'll need all their courage to triumph over the future.

Posted by Claire @ 12:05 AM CST [Link]

Friday, April 29, 2005


Maybe it wasn't such a dumb move, really. The Big Guy In The Sky is probably reeaaaallly ticked that GWB keeps telling the world he's doing his nasties on Orders From Above. "HEED THIS CLOUD OF WARNING, THOU BLIGHTED SHRUB, AND REPENT OF THINE EVIL WAYS."

Hm. GWB as a pillar of salt. GWB as a herd of suicidally maddened swine. It has a certain poetic justice to it.

GWB suffering plagues of boils ... Oh wait, that's what God does to people he likes. Sorry, I have such a hard time keeping track.

Posted by Claire @ 12:56 PM CST [Link]

MANY OF US KNOW ABOUT THE TRAGIC AND BRAVE WHITE ROSE. But how many have ever read what they wrote? Randall the Dreamer sends the text of the first White Rose leaflet.

Sounds eerily apt to twenty-first century Americans. Of course, unlike these courageous students, we're not being killed for protesting Our Glorious Leaders. Yet.

Here are all the White Rose leaflets. I haven't read them in full yet, but the very first moment I opened and started to skim one (leaflet six), this jumped out at me:

The Hitler Youth, the SA, the SS have tried to drug us, to revolutionize us, to regiment us in the most promising young years of our lives. "Philosophical training" is the name given to the despicable method by which our budding intellectual development is muffled in a fog of empty phrases.

... A fog of drugging, regimentation, and empty phrases. Where have we encountered that before?

Freedom and honor! For ten long years Hitler and his coadjutor have manhandled, squeezed, twisted, and debased these two splendid German words to the point of nausea, as only dilettantes can, casting the highest values of a nation before swine.

Posted by Claire @ 12:44 PM CST [Link]

BOY, I WOULD CERTAINLY BOOKMARK THIS THINK-PIECE, "What Hunger Insurance Could Teach Us About Health Insurance," and trot it out next time I got into a discussion with one of those "everybody knows we need more and better health-care coverage" folks.

Posted by Claire @ 12:34 PM CST [Link]

THIS STORY is a microcosm of everything that's gone wrong with journalism. The NRA gets a new law passed in Florida that (apparently) says that armed people don't have to retreat from violent threats in public. That they can confront an assailant outside of their homes.

The article tells us that bare fact. Repeats it a couple of times, even. Says the NRA plans to introduce the same legislation in many more states. But otherwise the story consists of nothing but opinion quotes. As is standard, these days, it doesn't even offer the bill number. (Only one of the 10 articles I browsed had the number -- and that wasn't actually an article, but the NRA news release.)

I feel like Clara Peller: "Where's the information?"

What motivates a "journalist" to believe that someone eles's opinions about law are more important than facts -- so much more important that they should replace, and not merely supplement or color facts?

Story also is a microcosm of how the print media doesn't get the Internet, even when it's on it. "Where's the link?"

I'm off to see if I can find the bill text now. Will post it if I can track it down before I have to get to work. (Later: Sorry, out of time. Reached the website of the Florida state legislature, but didn't find SB-436 (the bill in question) -- or in fact any laws or bills newer than 2004. Will keep after it. But I'll also bet some sharp reader will find the text before I do.)

Yep. Mystery Reader comes to the rescue: The Florida House bill. The Florida Senate bill.

LATER: Freedom42 also has the new law in .pdf format.

(I should also note -- because some reader will bring it up -- that this post isn't about good or bad law. There's no such thing as good law. It's about good or bad journalism. If a blog reader who isn't even from Florida and isn't being paid to do it can find real info on a bill, then surely a journalist could, would, and should.)

Posted by Claire @ 09:14 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, April 28, 2005

"STUDIOUSLY HARMLESS" and "mostly painful" seem to be the heavyweight verdicts on the new Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy movie. Haven't seen it. But having laughed all the way through the books, the radio play, and the TV version, I'm not sure I can bear to see the Guide Disneyfied.

Posted by Claire @ 07:39 PM CST [Link]

WALLY CONGER: "RECLAIMING OUR RADICALISM" Wally riffs on Murray Rothbard's freedom-defining essay, "Do You Hate the State?"

"Hate" isn't fashionable, these days. (Which means, presumably, that the fedgov is slaughtering innocent Iraqis and locking up millions of hapless dopers and gun owners without a shred of ill feeling.) But Rothbard said that the real dividing line between conservative and radical libertarians was whether or not they truly hated the state -- not whether they wanted government to be a little (or a lot) smaller, or whether they wanted this or that program reduced, but whether they tolerated the state or loathed it and wanted nothing to do with it.

Hate may not be fashionable. But it's the most reasonable, gut-level response when you encounter an entity engaged in ruthless, relentless destruction of millions of lives.

Posted by Claire @ 06:12 PM CST [Link]

AMAZING THAT THIS is what a major retailer imagines to be building "stronger relationships with customers" and making customers' "lives easier by providing them with relevant information and solutions."

In real-people parlance: an assault of intrusive, in-your-face advertising overkill. But we're not supposed to think that way, now are we? Our retailers love us and only want what's best for us ...

No wonder a new study shows that half of all "customer relationship management" (CRM) initiatives produce zero results and one in five actually harms customer relationships.

(From Katherine Albrecht of CASPIAN.)

Posted by Claire @ 03:32 PM CST [Link]

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

ONE MORE SIGN OF THE GATHERING ECONOMIC STORM. And why are we getting so few storm warnings?

Within the next year, the minimum required payments on our credit cards are going to double -- from the current 2 percent to 4 percent. This is per a 2003 "guideline" from the U.S. Treasury Department, which is just now being implemented.

The aim is to ensure that borrowers don't end up with "negative amortization" -- that is, that we don't end up owing more and more each month, even after making our minimum payments.

Well, great. Except that the typical American family has somewhere between five and eight credit cards. If they're currently struggling to pay minimums of, say $300, they're going to have a lot of fun trying to pay $600. Anybody who's scraping and borrowing to pay minimums of, say $600, will have a good old time trying to make that $1,200. And if that financial straw on the camel's back pushes them toward bankruptcy ... how convenient for the credit-card issuers, who have just persuaded Congress to make bankruptcy both harder and more expensive for the poor debt-ridden slobs.

"I'm from the government. I'm here to help you." Especially you struggling working-class and middle-class folk.

Really, really, really bizarre that such a huge financial wallop is scarcely receiving a blip of coverage in the media.

There's some good news: Americans may already be starting to pay off their notoriously high credit-card debt. However, the bad news is that a lot may be doing it by pulling the equity out of their homes, encouraged by the party-time attitude of lenders and wild inflation of real-estate "value" in U.S. hot spots.

We are standing very darned near the top of an economic house of cards. You can no doubt imagine a lot of repercussions from a sudden doubling of minimum credit-card payments. When the feds crank up the printing presses even harder than they recently have, will some folks actually be relieved because they'll be able to pay those 4 percent minimums with cheaper dollars?

Very complex. I'm no economist and I don't even play one on TV. But it doesn't take special expertise to see that we're headed into Interesting Times ...

Posted by Claire @ 08:46 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

THE SERENITY TRAILER IS LIVE! And -- sob! -- I don' t have the software to view it!

If you go, be aware that it supposedly contains mild spoilers.

Thank you to Scott, Thunder, and all the freedom fireflies ...

Posted by Claire @ 04:49 PM CST [Link]

MORE ON THE LAST GUN SHOP IN MINNEAPOLIS. From the local mainstream newspaper.

Posted by Claire @ 12:38 PM CST [Link]

Monday, April 25, 2005

NOT EXACTLY PRIMETIME, BUT if you happen to be in the mood for TV at 4:00 EDT tomorrow (Tuesday), you'll catch liberty's friend Jim Bovard on C-SPAN2.

The listing merely says: "Fmr. Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) on Nat'l Security & Individual Liberty (4am)," but Jim writes to say that it's actually a debate featuring Jim, Pat Buchanan, Rep. Bob Barr, and Human Events editor Terry Jeffrey.

Lasts 90 minutes, so maybe a few slightly later risers (or all-night endurance types) can catch the latter parts of it before it ends at 5:30 a.m.

Will have to poke around to see whether the debate is archived online.

Posted by Claire @ 04:42 PM CST [Link]

MORE PRAISE FOR VIN'S THE BLACK ARROW. This time from his fellow journalist Alan Bock.

Posted by Claire @ 07:19 AM CST [Link]

I AWOKE AT 3:30 THIS MORNING FILLED WITH NAMELESS APPREHENSION. I have to drive about 20 miles today to look for a feral rescue dog who slipped her leash and ran in terror into the woods. My chances of finding her again are slim, which makes me sick at heart. But my dread comes from the fact that I have to make the 20 mile trek knowing that I'm no longer "legal."

I can drive as safely as I ever have. But I no longer have several of the required government permission slips that "allow" me to make an ordinary drive across town.

The more I remove myself from the permissions and "requirements" of government, the more obvious it becomes what a dangerous intruder government -- even the smallest, most harmless government -- is. Here I am, an ordinary woman, a careful driver, contemplating an ordinary errand. Yet because I've failed to pay a few bucks and allow myself to be put into yet another snoop database, these people have the power to do some fairly horrible things to me. And my neighbors -- and probably most of the readers of this blog -- would simply say, "Well, it was your own damn fault. If you'd obeyed the rules, you wouldn't have to feel so paranoid. You wouldn't be taking such a big risk over nothing."

Unable to shake off the apprehension, I opened up the laptop computer and scanned the morning mail. One of the first messages in the inbox was from Simon Jester, a link to an article by Lady Liberty called "What Are You Afraid Of?"

She begins:

I spent a good part of the day yesterday being afraid. I didn't watch a horror movie, and I wasn't on a thrill ride. I didn't read a scary book, nor did anybody try to assault me or break into my house. I didn't even experience a near-miss accident, nor was I terribly ill. I was, however, really scared. So what was it that frightened me? The short and simple answer can be conveyed in just one word: Government.

It started out as a perfectly ordinary morning for me. I had errands to run, chores to do, and plans for a little recreation. But I hadn't been out of the house for five minutes when I casually checked my rear view mirror only to discover a police car almost literally on my bumper. In a surge of adrenaline, I checked my speed. No, I was traveling right at the speed limit. My taillights had only recently been checked during some routine maintenance and were working just fine; my registration and my insurance were up to date. I have a valid and current driver's license. And there was nothing even remotely illegal in my state—or, in fact, in any state—in my vehicle. And yet my heart was pounding.

She goes on from there to a whole day of fears. And I remember that little acts of Outlaw defiance only marginally increase a person's danger. We live in a world where nobody is safe from government, and the most obedient people may be the most vulnerable of all.

Posted by Claire @ 06:49 AM CST [Link]

Sunday, April 24, 2005

MORE ON BURT RUTAN. Kirsten has initiated an interesting discussion over at TCF about Rutan's position on government regulation of the space flight industry. This is one of those cases where both sides have thoughtful points, and where human complexity defies categories.

Posted by Claire @ 08:39 AM CST [Link]

Saturday, April 23, 2005

WEEKEND READ: Eurohacker magazine, issue #2. Features an interview with open-source guru Richard M. Stallman, an article on home-made suppressors, some fiction, general rants, and a reivew of Innocents Betrayed. There's even an article on feral and domesticated dogs in a post-apocalyptic world.

Eurohacker is published by an 18-year-old Swede for a contemporary audience. If you're 60, some of it may not be to your taste. So do a good deed: Spread the cause of freedom and subversion to any curious teens and twenty-somethings you know.

Posted by Claire @ 12:43 PM CST [Link]

Friday, April 22, 2005

TWO MINNESOTA HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS WERE SUSPENDED for wearing buttons inspired by the feminist play about female sex organs, "The Vagina Monologues." The buttons read "I (heart) my Vagina."

Now, that's kinda silly. When you think about it, it's about meaningful as wearing a button that says, "I (heart) my pancreas" or "My pelvis rocks." But offensive enough to merit getting suspended from school? Hm.

When I was in high school, back in the Dark Ages, a button with the V-word on it would have been unthinkable, of course. We didn't officially have sex organs, except in one brief unit of Health class, in which we were taught basically that those mysterious parts we didn't officially have would probably rot off if we ever had sex, since everybody who had sex would get what was then still called a "venereal disease." (Pregnancy was never mentioned, except in whispers -- mostly whispers concerning which cheerleader was looking a little swelled-up these days. But the teachers really seemed to enjoy describing the various drippings, agonies, and eventual death-by-insanity inevitably to be suffered by anyone who had you-know-what with the wrong person.)

Also back in those benighted times (and they really were, you know), wearing sandals or patent leather shoes was enough to get a girl sent home from school. The former because, allegedly, toes are phallic symbols; the later because, allegely, the shine on the shoe would allow boys to look up our skirts. And of course, the skirts were mandatory. And if your skirt didn't touch the ground when the dean made you kneel on the floor ... Well. Thank heaven those "good old days" are long gone.

Being suspended for a button with the word "vagina" on it is, all things considered, a cultural advance.

Wonder what would happen to a boy who wore an "I (heart) my penis" button? Poor kid would probably be arrested for threatening rape. Boys have it way rougher than girls, these days.

But I really wondered about this portion of the article on the girls' suspension:

Principal Nancy Wondrasch said some in school find the buttons offensive.

"We support free speech," she said. "But when it does infringe on other people's rights and our school policies, then we need to take a look at that."

Uh ... can anybody tell me which "rights" got infringed? Other than (arguably) the girls' free speech rights the school is so "supportive" of. If the answer's what I think it is, then maybe we actually were better off in the bad old days when "because the dean says so" was the only criterion for punishment.

But damn, if everybody who ever offends anybody else should be punished, have I ever got a list of people who're gonna get a whuppin! It starts with the Offender in Chief and works right on down through the entire cabinet, the media, and all of academia, not to mention almost every bureaucrat I ever ran into. Drug warriors. Anti-gunners. Principal Wondrasch, you're on the list, too. With the world as "offensive" as it is, though, it might take me a while to work my way down to offenders on your level.

(Tks, Rick, for the trip down memory lane.)

Posted by Claire @ 01:02 PM CST [Link]

"A VISION IN FLIGHT." Alan Bock's column on Burt Rutan is heart-lifting. Rutan sounds like an Ayn Rand hero come to life. Competition: Bring it on! Government: Get out of the way! And let the children dream of glorious ships and adventures in space.

The other thing is that he's upfront about is that the early flights will be mainly for fun. "Quite frankly, we don't know what space flight is for," he told the Reason audience. "We'll find out when thousands of people have done it and I have dozens of competitors."

He reminded us that in the early days of computers people didn't know what they were really for either. People talked about balancing their checkbooks, but few used them for that. Instead they played games and played with the computer's capabilities. They had fun. Then they discovered practical uses.

"But computers didn't become really practical until everybody had one and the Internet was expanded," he said.

It was a progression that neither computer giant IBM nor the government successfully predicted.

He also has some more serious analysis of the fact that since space flight has been a government monopoly there has been a severe deficit in innovation. Beyond his charming habit of pronouncing NASA as "naysay," which delighted the large crowd in Mojave and the smaller crowd at the Reason Weekend, he marshals facts and figures.

In 1908, he notes, only 10 pilots had flown airplanes. By 1912, thousands of pilots in 39 countries had flown dozens of different models. That was before mail planes, before World War I demonstrated military uses for airplanes, long before there was a commercial airline industry, and long before the development of practical jet planes.

By contrast, in the first year after Russian Yuri Gagarin ventured into space, there were five manned space flights. In 2004, 44 years later, there were five manned space flights, "two in Russia and three in Mohave."

I passed the column by on LewRockwell.com this morning. It took a real rocket scientist (THE Rocket Scientist, actually, Wolfesblog's faithful correspondent) to sit me down and make me read it. Glad I did.

Posted by Claire @ 12:01 PM CST [Link]

Thursday, April 21, 2005

WELL, NO S--T, SHERLOCK. An international coalition of privacy and civil liberties groups says we're headed for a global regime of surveillance and tracking, which won't make us safe, but will destroy our freedom.

This time, though, they're not just crying one more alarm. This time the heavyweights have thrown themselves right at the monster:

On the back of the report the groups have, with the support of around 100 civil liberties groups and NGOs world-wide, launched the International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance (ICAMS), which will campaign against mass surveillance-oriented anti-terrorism efforts. Commented Statewatch director Tony Bunyan: "Our message is that mandatory registration and mass surveillance are not the answers to the problem of terrorism, and not a road that any nation should be heading down. What is needed is good intelligence on specific threats - not the so-called 'risk-profiling' of entire populations and the generation of more information than can possibly be usefully analysed. There is a real danger that in trying to watch everyone you are actually watching no-one."

I'd been feeling lately as though the privacy and freedom battle would be lost, and that all that would be left was for a few of us maverick individuals to fight until we die -- then leave the world in the hands of slave-holders. I figured there'd be some token victories and a few useless bureaucratic concessions to pseudo privacy, but overall, nothing but long, slow defeat, with billions going willingly, not even knowing what they surrendered.

Maybe so.

But this ... at least now there's a chance of an interesting battle.

Posted by Claire @ 11:06 PM CST [Link]

SOMEBODY ELSE ALWAYS FINDS MY PRINT ARTICLES ONLINE BEFORE I DO. This time it was Lightning who spotted "Finding Your Own Freedom".

Thanks to all who've already made such warm comments on the article. It's a longish one, written in response to a Backwoods Home reader who wondered where he could go to find freedom.

Posted by Claire @ 12:00 PM CST [Link]

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

GENERAL MOTORS LOST $1.1 BILLION last quarter. But they're optimistic. Now, if you've been brooding about your own troubles, think on that!

I went over to Karen De Coster's blog to see what she had to say about the news. Ms. Spokesperson for Sanity in Detroit has been warning of a GM-led auto-industry implosion for ages. But no word from her yet. An accountant, Karen's probably taking some well-deserved recovery time after tax season. I'll keep checking. When she does speak up on GM, it's bound to be interesting.

Posted by Claire @ 11:23 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Blogispondent Ian here again. I just got back from taking the 4-day Practical Rifle class at Front Sight, outside Las Vegas. Thanks in part to the kind folks who gave me suggestions on what to take along, I had a great time. My overall impression of the entire setup at Front Sight is very positive. [more]

Posted by Ian @ 10:11 PM CST [Link]

OUR GLORIOUS LEADERS, DISPENSERS OF ALL WISDOM have replaced the food-guide pyramid (again) -- this time with a whole series of interactive pyramids and online forms to help you customize your own diet.

To introduce this newest Wisdom of Wisdom (which replaces the old Wisdom of Wisdom, which stood as Eternal Truth for 10 years or so), the USDA chose a person named Denise Austin, an alleged fitness guru, to stand up next to the Cabinet Secretary of the Week and bounce around and Get Everybody All Excited About Eating Right.

I've never heard of this Austin person, though I'm guessing she's familiar to All Those Good Folks Out There in TV Land. I hope I never have the misfortune to hear of her again. In the NPR clip linked above, she sounds as if she's promoting good nutrition to infants not yet mature enough to be trusted to watch the Cookie Monster. She makes Chirpy the Cheerleader sound like a Nobel laureate. If she were sitting beside you on a train, you'd get up and move as far away as you could -- and she's the kind of person who'd follow you to your new seat, brimming with so much hyper-aggressive good cheer you'd think it was great fun to vomit on her shoes.

Actually, the new food guide sounds thousands of times more sensible than the old one, which makes you wonder why they had to hire Alvin-the-Chipmunk-on-laughing-gas to promote it.

But of course, there's nothing sensible about a government that presumes to tell us all how to eat. Where did these people ever get the notion that our nutrition is a function of the national government?

At least they haven't -- yet! -- authorized random checkpoints to make sure we're eating right ("right" according to this week's Wisdom of Wisdom, that is). At least they haven't -- yet! -- started sending SWAT teams into our homes at night on the word of informants who tell them we might be in possession of the Dreaded Fats and Sugars. ("Refined carbohydrates in the third degree, Your Honor.") ("The shooting was justified. Deppity Fife saw the perp reach for her Crisco.")

Just wait'll next year.

Posted by Claire @ 11:54 AM CST [Link]


Why does the federal government own 65% of all the land West of Denver, and less than 2% of the land East of Denver? Who cares?

Everyone should care. The federal government was not created to be the owner of the land; it was created expressly to get the “right of soil” out of the hands of a king - that is, out of the hands of government.

This is one of those simmering issues -- seldom mentioned, always present -- that may one day make an explosive difference in the future of the U.S. Many parts of the west have long been exploited as if they were a colonial possession of government and its allied eastern (and now, coastal) money-and-power interests. When rebellion boils up, it will probably begin here in these western parts, and with this inequity as a major driver.

Posted by Claire @ 08:00 AM CST [Link]


I've been feeling burdened all week by the need to say something right and insightful today. Glad Anthony Gregory said it instead. Trying to say something brilliant on a day like today is like trying to force yourself to feel the required effing damn "good cheer" on Christmas.

Posted by Claire @ 07:31 AM CST [Link]

Monday, April 18, 2005

ALTHOUGH IT DOESN'T OFFICIALLY DEBUT UNTIL TOMORROW, I urge you to visit Tyrannicide.org today, tomorrow, any time.

Tyrannicide isn't about shooting the bastards. If we do that now, we'll only find worse bastards in their place. Tyrannicide is about changing the meme of government.

Death to government! -- by gradually declaring all its self-important illusions irrelevant.

I like this new site and its concept so much that I'm contributing an article sometime next month. Will keep you posted about that. But don't wait for me. Go ... go!

Posted by Claire @ 06:40 PM CST [Link]

Sunday, April 17, 2005

TEN YEARS LATER, somebody besides us wingnuts is starting to ask the obvious questions about whether Tim McVeigh had help.

(And that story that the government knocked the rest of the Murrah building down with such unseemly haste, destroying vast amounts of physical evidence, "to help people heal" was always such a crock.)

Posted by Claire @ 08:51 PM CST [Link]

THE LAST GUN STORE IN MINNEAPOLIS has earned a one-month reprieve and can use some donations to help in the fight to stay alive.

Posted by Claire @ 02:36 PM CST [Link]

MORE ON SNAP TELEPHONE ENCRYPTION TECHNOLOGY. At the end of March, I blogged information from a helpful reader on SNAPShield telephone encryption technology.

In response, I just received a message from a representative of Global-Teck Worldwide, who points us all toward related SNAP products for secure cell phone, PDA-phone, fax, conferencing, and other voice communications.

I had asked in my original entry whether the U.S. government would tolerate widespread use of encrypted telephone communications, since secure phone conversations bid to destroy the effectiveness of their much-cherished CALEA instant-wiretapping capability. Not to mention playing havoc with Echelon's info-scooping.

According to Rolando Rosas, the Global Teck rep, the U.S. fedgov not only tolerates it, but encourages it in the name of keeping business and government communications more secure. Wonder if they've considered what'll happen when us ordinary folk can speak privately via telephone?

Anyway, thanks for the word, Mr. Rosas. His full message is behind the "more" link. [more]

Posted by Claire @ 02:03 PM CST [Link]

WEEKEND READS -- THE WRITER'S BLOCK AT TCF. Less than 10 days ago, velojym suggested creating a writers' corner at The Claire Files forums. Several members had already begun posting serialized stories, so Jim's suggestion struck everybody as a natural.

When Docliberty suggested calling the new place "The Writer's Block" and the mods jumped right on it, I worried the name might be a bad omen.

Guess I was wrong in a major way.

The Writer's Block is bursting with so much creativity that it's become one of the most active -- and enjoyable -- forums on the board. There's some truly good stuff there.

I was going to single out several of my favorite pieces (and I will have comments on some in future blog entries). But frankly, the overall quality of the stories and poems is so high that your best bet is just to grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and explore ...

Posted by Claire @ 10:49 AM CST [Link]

LAST WEEK I MENTIONED ENCOUNTERING A MOVING AD on a web site. This ad drifted across the site's text, making the real content impossible to read unless one managed to get rid of the ad (which was almost impossible to do). Seems this ad probably used Macromedia Flash animation to do its dirty deeds. Flash is now becoming more and more known as a privacy problem. Web sites are using the Flash player to collect and store data on you, even when you've turned off cookies.

Media players in general seem to be a culprit, but Flash is so widespread, has so many uses, and operates so automatically it's a special problem.

Macromedia offers instructions (follow the link in the above article) on how to change your Flash settings to protect privacy but -- Catch-22! -- you cannot carry out the instructions unless you visit Macromedia with 1) the very latest Flash player, 2) one of their specifically supported browsers, 3) cookies enabled, and 4) Javascript enabled.

You'd do all that to protect your privacy from their technology? Riiiiiight.

I'm not sure to what extent having an unsupported browser, no cookies, etc. also offers protection against those who use Flash as spyware.

I'd hate to think of giving up Flash (what, no more visits to JibJab? But that may be the course of wisdom. Perhaps the Chivalrous Tech Geeks of The Claire Files Forums will have some insights on this.

Posted by Claire @ 10:24 AM CST [Link]

Friday, April 15, 2005

OKAY, GWB WANTS HIS E-MAIL PRIVACY. Fair enough. But can anybody in the Big Mosquito Swamp spell D-O-U-B-L-E S-T-A-N-D-A-R-D? Or how about H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y?

(From a disgruntled and indignant Pat T.)

Posted by Claire @ 01:57 PM CST [Link]

REMEMBER THE DNA SWEEP POLICE PERFORMED a few months ago in Truro, Massachusetts? They said they were seeking the murderer of Christa Worthington, a New York fashion writer stabbed to death in her seaside home. So every, single man in town was to become a criminal suspect.

Well, they've arrested somebody for the murder.

But what the above article doesn't mention is that the recent DNA sweep had nothing to do with it. The local media reports that police have had this man's DNA for nearly three years but just didn't match it with crime-scene DNA until now. They also knew, or had reason to know, that the man had both a long criminal record and a connection to Worthington's home (he picked up trash there).

EDIT: Another article says that Christopher McCowan, the arrested man, became a suspect as early as April 2002, but that police didn't take his DNA sample until March 2004. (It's unclear why they didn't match it to the sample from the crime scene until now.) Either way, police had everything they needed to catch this man before they set about to invade the privacy and the fourth and fifth-amendment rights of every male in Truro.

So what was all this BS about turning every innocent local man into a rape suspect? And what will they do with all those DNA samples now? And how much money did they waste because they thought a high-tech random dragnet was better than a real investigation? And how many women were put at risk while police were chasing harmless guys instead of looking for the person who had motive, opportunity, and DNA to commit the crime?

MORE: According to the New York Times, the suspect gave permission in 2002 to have his DNA taken. But Truro law-enforcement officials waited two more years before taking the sample.

MORE: Then one reason it took over a year to process the DNA sample was that random sweeps and new laws requiring more and more criminals (even non-violent ones) to contribute DNA to databases are completely overwhelming laboratories and therefore hindering processing of samples from known violent suspects like McCowan.

(Thanks to both Richard M. Smith (especially) and J.D. Abolins for thoughts and links.)

Posted by Claire @ 10:14 AM CST [Link]

TODAY IS ALSO BUY A GUN DAY. Even if you have to fill out a 4473 for our masters to nake a purchase, it sounds a lot more productive than filling out a 1040 for the bastards.

Posted by Claire @ 09:12 AM CST [Link]

"HARDYVILLE TAXES THE TAXMAN." Two weeks ago, I didn't write an April Fool's column. Today I did.

Webmaster Oliver del Signore is responsible for the delightful illustrations. They're clipart, but he has a great touch, choosing and editing them.

Posted by Claire @ 08:48 AM CST [Link]

Thursday, April 14, 2005

IS YOUR BANK TRACKING YOUR MOVEMENTS? Or will it soon be? And no, they're not just talking about monitoring where you write checks or draw from ATMS. They're literally talking about putting RFID chips into bank brochures and putting tracking devices throughout bank buildings to monitor what literature you pick up and where you spend the most time.

It's all in the name of customer "service."

(Article from JPV of CASPIAN, who is not in the slightest responsible for what I put behind the "service" link.)

Posted by Claire @ 08:39 PM CST [Link]

HERE'S A NEW (BUT SOMEHOW ENTIRELY PREDICTABLE) TWIST ON IDENTITY THEFT. Ohio liquor cops steal the identity of a woman so they can give it to an undercover agent.

Yep. Cops -- authorized by a recent state law, so they claim -- simply grab the drivers license, SSN, and other records of an innocent citizen and freely toss them into a world of "crooks" they're supposedly investigating. Now doesn't that make you feel "served and protected"? Imagine the potential repercussions!

Posted by Claire @ 09:29 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

THE LAST GUN SHOP IN MINNEAPOLIS. Can you believe it? A fine midwest city driving every gun shop -- but one! -- out of its borders. The owner of that last, lone gun shop has waged a long, long fight for his life, as described by Dave Polaschek.

And the city rulers don't even have to stand up before the citizens and pass a ban. Not when they have the oh-so-convenient weapon of zoning.

Over at TCF, woodtramp says: "It's really a pet peeve of mine when I hear all this 'They'll get my gun when they pry it from my dead cold hands' from some folks who'll then sit on their duffs and do nothing when something like this happens."

So, what are freedom-loving Minneapolitans doing about it? Seems to me there was a large and healthy libertarian movement somewhere in those parts ...

Posted by Claire @ 07:44 AM CST [Link]

THE DOGS OF WAR. Pat T sends this sad story. Unfortunately, it's old news to dog rescuers who live near army bases -- but still sad news to the poor dogs, with their utter devotion to us faulty humans.

Posted by Claire @ 07:34 AM CST [Link]

ANDREA DWORKIN IS DEAD. No great loss. The woman was the kind of self-dramatizing harpy who could find an audience and wield influence only in a world devoid of real thought. The ultimate radical victim-feminist, she was ironically the precursor of today's shouting, posturing "right-wing" media hacks, reducing serious issues to cheap, ego-serving theater.

Posted by Claire @ 07:31 AM CST [Link]

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

TODAY IS THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY of the announcement that the Salk vaccine could effectively combat polio. If your memories don't run back to the 1950s, you can't even imagine what a huge victory that was over a crippling, killing childhood illness.

The Salk vaccine was developed by a private foundation, voluntarily funded. Sigh. How things have changed. Today, we can't cure hangnails without billions stolen by gummint.

NPR has an excellent report (sound, pix, and print) on the fight against polio.

Posted by Claire @ 12:06 PM CST [Link]

WATCH OUT! A new terrorist group has emerged from the shadows. It is the dreaded Unitarian Jihad-- threatening attacks of moderation everywhere!

Found via Wendy McElroy's always-entertaining McBlog.

Posted by Claire @ 11:58 AM CST [Link]

CLEVERLY DISGUISING HIMSELF AS ATEK128 our Frequent Correspondent atek3 sneaks into the blogosphere. Looks as if this blog will be of particular interest to gunfolk.

Posted by Claire @ 09:07 AM CST [Link]


Data broker LexisNexis said Tuesday that personal information may have been stolen on 310,000 U.S. citizens--nearly 10 times the number found in a data breach announced last month.

An investigation by the firm's Anglo-Dutch parent Reed Elsevier determined that its databases had been fraudulently breached 59 times using stolen passwords, leading to the possible theft of personal information such as addresses and Social Security numbers.

LexisNexis, which said in March that 32,000 people had been potentially affected by the breaches, will notify an additional 278,000 individuals whose data may have been stolen.

The story is here.

Posted by Claire @ 09:04 AM CST [Link]

Monday, April 11, 2005

AND THEN THEY CAME FOR THE SCHOOLGIRLS AND ... claimed that the 16-year-olds planned to become suicide bombers, but ...

The case underscores the difficulties faced by anyone who is charged only with civil immigration violations, but is in fact being held in a counterterrorism investigation, lawyers said.

There are no firm time limits on immigration detention, so the burden is on the girls to prove that they are not potential suicide bombers, rather than on the government to prove they are.

Indeed, the evidence is withheld from the girls and anyone who represents them under a "protective order" that F.B.I. investigators obtained from the immigration court, according to an April 1 motion to continue the secrecy, signed by Jeffrey T. Bubier, assistant chief counsel for the Department of Homeland Security in Philadelphia.

"The F.B.I. has an important and substantial interest in safeguarding the information," Mr. Bubier's motion stated, "to protect national security law and enforcement interests." To release it, he said, "places investigative strategies and methods at substantial risk."

The girls have no right to a court-appointed lawyer, and according to the government document that described the Guinean girl, her family had not retained one.

The Bangladeshi girl's father, who sells cheap watches wholesale and, he said, earns less than $16,000 a year, hired a New York immigration lawyer for $2,500. But the lawyer declined to attend her first hearing, according to a motion he filed seeking to handle the matter "telephonically," because of "time constraints."

More on the case of the 16-year old girl, a very popular child at her high school who's been in the U.S. since she was two years old.

And more on both cases, with the only alleged details of the girls' alleged crime I could locate.

If they've done something illegal, then why not take them into court, bring the charges, and show the evidence? What kind of Kafkaesque, Stalinesque, Orwellian madhouse are Bushevik politicians and globo-crats turning this country into????? And schoolgirls? You'd do this to schoolgirls????? No wonder people all over the world hate you, you bastards! If this (and today's earlier story on "rendition") are your idea of "freedom and justice," you deserve every bit of the world's loathing.

And just remember when you file your taxes, kind readers ... you're paying for this.

(The news comes from Randall the Dreamer, who usually brings better tidings.)

Posted by Claire @ 05:37 PM CST [Link]

I WAS RAILING THE OTHER DAY AGAINST Google's Gmail, which scans both incoming and outgoing mail in order to target ads to Gmail users. I hate the way marketers and their enablers increasingly try to squeeze info out of us solely to better manipulate us. Gmail users sign up for that; those who correspond with them are simply being used without their consent. Ticks me off.

But I still get a kick out of knowing how pointless some of this targeting is when it's merely based on keywords, rather than real contextual analysis. I mean, how many times have you Googled something only to be presented with sponsored links that had zip to do with the info you're actually seeking? I Googled "choicepoint," "curtail," and "sales" the other day -- and Google decided I was interested in sponsored links from curtain vendors.

And I had to laugh today when I Googled on the terms "1040" and "monkeywrench" for a column I'm planning. The real search produced sensible results. But the "sponsored link" at the top was to the good old IRS. I'm sure they appreciated my business ...

Posted by Claire @ 03:27 PM CST [Link]

WELCOME TO THE DARK AGES. This is not the kind of government we're supposed to have. This is the kind of government we used to fight.

Found at Bill St. Clair's blog.

Posted by Claire @ 08:47 AM CST [Link]

Sunday, April 10, 2005

IT'S YOUR ONSTAR UNIT, ISN'T IT? So why not hack into it for your own uses? Annie sent this with admiration for "people who think outside the box."

(Watch it if you go into the forums, though. There's one of the most annoying ads you'd ever want to encounter -- moving around the page to prevent you from actually reading anything. Try to click to close it and it opens another window. When I did succeed in getting rid of the ad image, the ripple effect of its motion still continued to distort the text. BAD forum! &^%$#@! desperate, stupid advertisers. The main site appears okay. But go into the forums with cookies turned off, web proxy on, and a fast trigger finger, if you go in at all.)

Posted by Claire @ 04:46 PM CST [Link]

I KNOW IT'S NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT TO SAY SO. But the union of Charles and Camilla is so much more romantic than the marriage of Charles and Diana. I mean, true love lasting 35 years before the wedding. Who couldn't sigh over that? And a prince who could have had any young, beautiful thing instead marrying the older woman with whom he has a relationship "like an old pair of slippers." Wow.

All the women in the Parker-Bowles clan wore completely idiotic hats, though, which all seemed to be designed by the same manic birdwatcher. Brits had one brief moment of good fashion sense, long about 1964. But never before or since.

Posted by Claire @ 04:38 PM CST [Link]

LINUXBIOMETRICS.COM. Sigh. I suppose it was inevitable.

This from privacy maven Richard M. Smith, who also reports that Congress is considering making U.S. freeways far less free. (And if you read between the lines, you'll see that that doesn't just mean they'll cost more. Watch for mandatory RFID toll-booth passes, coming eventually to a car dealership near you.)

Posted by Claire @ 04:32 PM CST [Link]

"DIALING IT DOWN." A lovely longish article for anyone seeking more peace and depth in life.

PT found this one and prompted me to breathe a little more deeply into this green, blue, beautiful day.

Posted by Claire @ 02:06 PM CST [Link]

COTSE.NET -- SPAM SLASHER. I've been using the web-privacy and e-mail privacy services of Cotse.net ever since Silver and several other TCFers recommended them a year or so ago.

Until yesterday, however, I hadn't used one of Cotse's shiniest offerings -- their virtually limitless e-mail aliases and alternate domain names.

Dunno whether this has happened to you. But about two weeks ago the spam in my mailbox, which had been obnoxious but endurable, suddenly increased in volume and vileness. The stuff made me want to take a bath after merely viewing its subject lines. Even Thunderbird's fairly intelligent adaptive spam filter couldn't cope. Most of the foulness was oozing in via one Bigfoot.com address that I use for Net transactions, mail lists and the like. Cancel that Bigfoot account and the spam would be gone -- but so would my access to about 25 mail lists, vendors, subscriptions, etc. I could get a new address, but eventually it, too, would become spam-besotted and useless.

Cotse to the rescue. With no fuss, no muss, Cotse let me give every single listserv, publication, and vendor its very own e-mail address for me. Now, if some spammer gets hold of one of those addresses, I'll know exactly which outfit or list they obtained it from. And I'll instantly be able to kill that address and use another.

Here's how it works.

Posted by Claire @ 10:38 AM CST [Link]

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

THE ACLU (SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA LOVE 'EM) lambastes the State Department on its plan to force fatally insecure "security" passports on everyone. They also point out (in a white paper) how the gummint blatantly ignored known and well-expressed concerns from around the world.

Posted by Claire @ 11:23 PM CST [Link]

OKAY. THAT'S IT. PROOF POSITIVE. If you were beginning to think it was more than just a coincidence that every controversial organization was filling it's "privacy panels" and "privacy offices" with the worst sort of Big Brother-loving creepoids ... you're right. They're not even trying to be subtle about it now.

WASHINGTON--A federal privacy board on Wednesday appointed a prominent champion of government data-mining as its first chairman.

The Department of Homeland Security's privacy board chose as its chairman Paul Rosenzweig, a conservative lawyer best known in technology circles for his defense of the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness project.

This is the same outfit that placed a spyware maker on its "privacy panel." And this comes right on the heels of ChoicePoint chosing a TSA goon as its "privacy" officer.

Who the &^%$#@! do these data rapers think they're fooling with these acts of privacy fakery?

You know, database Moles, Simon Davies' prediction of a techie resistance movement for privacy might need to come true sooner than we imagined.

Posted by Claire @ 10:36 PM CST [Link]

CANADA'S ADSCAM PRESS BAN. A major scandal is roaring across the Great North. Well, not exactly roaring. More like whimpering.

Because the Canadian press is forbidden by their own government to report on the content of public hearings about the corruption. Canadian bloggers are forbidden to blog the news. Bloggers who so much as link to American blogs that cover the story are being threatened with punishment.

Canadian spider_boris posted the news at TCF. Michelle Malkin also posts links upon links to coverage on her blog. And defiant Captain Ed gives some of the best coverage of what's going on up there.

Seems that the government was rewarding contracts to ad agencies in return for enormous, open kickbacks, totalling at least $100 million. Even when you're talking Canadian dollars, that's some serious cash.

Silly Canadians. Haven't they learned yet that you don't ask for blatant kickbacks? That's illegal! Immoral! Shocking! No, you just ask for campaign contributions instead -- and wave the flag proud and high as you praise yourself for your "moral values."

Canadian bloggers have asked Americans to spread the news. Spreading away ...

Posted by Claire @ 07:45 PM CST [Link]

LEAP: LAW ENFORCEMENT AGAINST PROHIBITION. Now there's a group whose time has come. They're for "regulation and control" rather than ultimate freedom. But that's better than having law enforcement destroy more lives than drugs ever did. And their education goals are great.

Does your friendly neighborhood cop know about this outfit?

Tks to EH for the link.

Posted by Claire @ 02:57 PM CST [Link]

CHOICEPOINT HIRES A PRIVACY OFFICER. Wait, wait. Don't start laughing yet. Sure, you and I know that the only way ChoicePoint could ever respect privacy would be to disband and apologize for its very existence. But hiring a privacy officer isn't the really hysterical part.

The really hysterical part is that the new privacy officer currently works for the TSA.

What? We can now expect ChoicePoint, that gang of unindicted data rapers, to show respect for our privacy by putting us through strip searches and taking away our nail clippers, too???

(Oh yeah. And in the meantime the FBI also wants more judge-less search powers. As SJ notes: "No surprise.")

Posted by Claire @ 12:17 PM CST [Link]

SHERIFF HUNTS DOWN CRITIC. Is anyone here surprised?

Debra here. A sheriff in Orange County FL (you know, the state where everyone and their grandmother is being Tasered) didn't like a certain letter to the editor of a local paper. It criticized him, you see. And called him fat, hurting his wittle feewings.

So what does he do? Uses those honest-and-for-true-super-private driving records to hunt the writer down and send her a scathing response.

Under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994 (ha ha ha), it is illegal to access a driver's license database to obtain personal information, except for clear law-enforcement purposes. Yet the sheriff's office insists that it was legal to look up the address, because "responding to a resident's concern" (by writing her a nasty-gram) is "well within the sheriff's official duties".

Yeah, sure. Uh-huh.

Posted by Debra @ 11:40 AM CST [Link]

Monday, April 4, 2005

I'M BECOMING CONVINCED THERE'S ONLY ONE SPAMMER IN THE UNIVERSE. The spam is all too coordinated, too much the same. A year ago, I and everybody else I knew were being barraged by invitations to enlarge body parts -- often parts we didn't possess. Before that, it was XXX underage Asian girls doing various unsavory and illegal deeds.

Moving up the calendar, suddenly all the 12-year-old hookers and body-part enhancers were in replaced by ... fake Rolexes? Everybody commented on the sudden sunny decency of it all. Wristwatches. It was almost wholesome. But alas, too good to last.

Now, is your mailbox being filled, as mine is, with messages from people like "Longevity P. Mistletoe" and "Encyclopedia Q. Pederast" offering "Hot Babes S---king A-- F----ing C--shots" -- and many similar variations on the same five or six porn-terms?

It's all too coordinated to be the work of any real, diversified spam underground -- unless spammers are like schools of fish, all turning on one unheard command. Heck, with this degree of apparent central control, maybe The Government is even responsible for it all. Who knows?

But -- sigh -- I await the return of mere Rolexes. Even the V1agra and C*alis pitches would be welcome after this barrage. Thank heaven for the adaptive spam filter on the Thunderbird mail program. But even it can't always recognize that "Felicity X. Deviation" and "Gunnar B. Stupify" aren't our very dear friends.

Posted by Claire @ 04:26 PM CST [Link]


(This mind-bender courtesy of CVD.)

Posted by Claire @ 12:41 PM CST [Link]

Sunday, April 3, 2005

SOMETHING NEW AND INTERESTING FROM O'REILLY. Make magazine. "The first magazine devoted to digital projects, hardware hacks, and D.I.Y. inspiration." Sort of Popular Mechanics for the twenty-first century mind. With a little MacGyver thrown in.

According to J.D. Abolins, who found and blogged this, O'Reilly is calling Make a "mook" because it's a cross between a magazine and a book.

Posted by Claire @ 11:46 PM CST [Link]

AN MIT GRAD WROTE to reflect on his alma mater losing a robotics contest to a bunch of illegal immigrant kids from an Arizona high school (the topic of one of yesterday's blog entries).

Seems to me that his observations apply not only to MIT, but to any established institution, including a certain one currently sqatting on the banks of the Potomac. While I can understand this grad's sadness, I also see plenty of room for hope, as long as the scrappy underdog has room to dig and chew his way past obstacles. Thus does the new and vibrant replace the stodgy and dying.

I'll now step aside and let my MIT correspondent have the floor:

It's a good story, and despite my long, numerous, and on-going associations with MIT I am not sorry, or surprised, to see them lose.

It seems pretty lopsided: a bunch of ESL illegal immigrants versus the nation's best and brightest, with the smart kids
having 14 times the money and the considerable resources of the nation's top engineering school at their disposal.

But look at the final scores.


Posted by Claire @ 08:25 PM CST [Link]

Saturday, April 2, 2005

FREEDOM MOLES TO THE RESCUE! Saving us from our current "Privacy Dark Ages" ...

If "logic and common sense" fail to shift public policy then "well placed" technicians might be prepared to sabotage invasive projects, [Simon] Davies [of Privacy International] predicted. He said government moves to systematically profile and monitor its citizens have inflamed techies - even though the public at large remain indifferent. Government surveillance efforts predate the 9/11 terrorist attacks and include many projects (such as Britain's ID card scheme) of questionable utility. ...

"If logic and common sense doesn't prevail within five years then well-placed techies may be tempted to resort to 'guerrilla warfare' tactics. We’ve talking about a resistance – along the lines of what happened in France in World War II - not wild-eyed activists," Davies said.

What's most encouraging is that this small light being shined into our dark age comes from a respectable source and is being reported in a mainstream (albeit non-U.S.) medium. Until now, only we little Outlaws have been calling for the monkeywrenching of citizen-control databases. While Davies chooses his words carefully -- predicting, not advcating -- his message is clear enough.

Tech moles, your fellow Outlaws salute you!

Posted by Claire @ 01:08 PM CST [Link]

WEEKEND READ: "PAIN POLITICS." A website dedicated to exposing the DEA's war on doctors -- and war on patients who suffer chronic pain.

Posted by Claire @ 07:17 AM CST [Link]

WEEKEND READ: "LA VIDA ROBOT." How four illegal immigrant high schoolers (with a little help from a package of tampons) built a robot that blew MIT out of the water.

There is now a scholarship fund to benefit these amazing kids.

Posted by Claire @ 07:10 AM CST [Link]

Friday, April 1, 2005


United Virtualities is offering online marketers and publishers technology that attempts to undermine the growing trend among consumers to delete cookies planted in their computers.

The New York company on Thursday unveiled what it calls PIE, or persistent identification element, a technology that's uploaded to a browser and restores deleted cookies. In addition, PIE, which can't be easily removed, can also act as a cookie backup, since it contains the same information. ...

Mookie Tanembaum, founder and chief executive of United Virtualities, says the company is trying to help consumers by preventing them from deleting cookies that help website operators deliver better services.

"The user is not proficient enough in technology to know if the cookie is good or bad, or how it works," Tanembaum said. ...

"Any abuse of this technology is not welcomed by us," Tanembaum said. "We believe people should use this technology responsibly. If people don't want cookies in place, then (their browsers) shouldn't be tagged."

Consumers can make PIE inoperable by raising the security settings in their browsers to its highest level, Tanembaum said. But he acknowledges that such a high setting would also hamper consumers' ability to visit non-PIE websites.

For its part, Macromedia has posted on its website instructions for disabling shared objects uploaded to browsers.

Gotta love that ole Mookster there, telling us we're all as dumb as dirt so he's gotta help us secretly replace those cookies we were so silly as to delete -- then not wanting anybody to "abuse" his product by doing something with it we wouldn't want done.

(Another one from privacy maven Richard M. Smith.)

Posted by Claire @ 12:48 PM CST [Link]

NOW, HERE'S AN IRONIC THOUGHT. If the autopsy revealed that some merciful soul had slipped the dying Terri Shiavo an extra dose of morphine to help her along her way, there'd no doubt be an investigation and a charge of murder. But to let her starve and dehydrate for 13 days, now that was a perfectly natural act for which no one can be held criminally responsible.

No matter where you stand on the Shiavo case, that's got to seem more than a little bassackwards. What a relief that it's all over.

Posted by Claire @ 05:51 AM CST [Link]

THE LATEST HARDYVILLE COLUMN ACTUALLY WENT LIVE YESTERDAY to avoid any association with April Fools jokes (it's not). Then I forgot to blog the news. The topic is "Twelve Tips for Toppling Tyrants." There's nothing funny about it or about our predicament. Sigh. But I hope it's useful at helping us stay sane and hopeful as we go about our daily business of subverting, disrespecting, monkeywrenching, undermining, and swatting the flies gathering around the increasingly smelly bulk of the state.

Posted by Claire @ 05:46 AM CST [Link]

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