May 2, 2007: Lots of News Today

Today is a day of freedom when I don’t own a house. No house. None. No homeowners association to pay. No neighbours to fight with.

Today Governor Corzine pays a fine for not wearing his seatbelt in a near fatal crash that he was involved in recently. However he did not receive a ticket for the highly publicized event until after a man filed a complaint with the courts that he had not been given a ticket as a normal citizen would have been. Even at that point he did not receive a ticket. He had to request one of the police. It is amazing how willing the police are to be impressed with political figures and celebrities and treat them so differently. It is a form of corruption that has no paper-trail. Just a general sense of famous and powerful people being above the law and law enforcement agencies more than willing to go along with that.

More interesting than the seatbelt issue, though, was the fact that the police are investigating the accident to see if the accident was avoidable and, if so, training or potentially disciplinary action will be taken against the driver. Now the accident took place at 95 miles per hour (153 kilometers per hour) – almost 50% faster than the state’s maximum speed limit. I am not complaining that the officer was driving this fast. I am totally in support of raising the speed limits as all traffic travels safely at much higher speeds every day and, in fact, driving the speed limit is very dangerous on many US highways. So why set a speed limit so low as to simply allow police to arrest almost anyone at anytime? It is unreasonable. But because the NJ State Police are saying that the fact that the driver was traveling at 95 mph was NOT grounds for the accident to have been avoidable they are clearly stating that driving at that speed is not dangerous and that any law made to keep drivers beneath that speed is not in the interest of safety but for some other reason (politics if I was to guess.) It was also reported separately that the governor’s police escort from the hospital back to his home recently was clocked by reporters following the caravan as significantly speeding at around 80 mph. So the police are definitely not considering the speed to be an issue.

We had a thunderstorm late yesterday evening before we went to bed but we never really heard any rain come and by this morning everything had passed and there really wasn’t any sign of the storm. Speaking of rain – the Bound Brook train station (the one that is just a few hundred yards from the condo that Dominica and I considered) finally reopened today as the flooding has finally subsided enough for the highly elevated train to run again. Boy are we glad that we didn’t buy anything down there. That would have been awful.

In the never ending pet food poisoning scandal from China it has been discovered that a chicken facility in Indiana has had a large number of chickens poisoned via their tainted feed stocks (presumably from China) and that the poison melamine has been introduced into the human food supply as well as the pet food supply from chicken scraps. The contamination was actually discovered because of sick pets and pet food being traced back to the human food supply chain. At this point the effects of melamine on humans is unknown but it is clear that serious pressure needs to be put onto the Chinese government to bring those responsible to trial. This is a widespread, intentional poisoning of American pets and people. The FDA really needs to block all food sourced from China until the Chinese government can present a reasonable plan for regulating their food supply. One hundred thousand chickens are going to be destroyed because of this poisoning because we can’t risk their meat entering the food supply and their eggs could also be contaminated. The death toll to pets and livestock is staggering and we have no idea if there are humans dieing from this as well.

In Britain they now have lip reading surveillance cameras. This introduces more fears of privacy invasion although, reasonably, anything that you have ever said in public could have been lip-read by someone. So the change is just that it is easier to do it now and automated.

Here is a serious one: the movie industry is claiming to have copyrighted the number 218497016402258850000. Meaning any math, anywhere, that can count to this number is now illegal. And publishing it is illegal. Oh no, I might get sued for copyright infringement. It is a NUMBER. You cannot copyright MATH. Let alone a simple number. Maybe I should copyright the MPAA’s phone number and sue them for using the phone. Here is another problem with a copyrighted number – good luck proving that no one has ever used it before!

An amazing new discovery that cells die from the reintroduction of oxygen and not from oxygen deprivation has the potential to lead to amazing new forms of death prevention. With new techniques being investigated there is a potential for people to be revived possibly HOURS after they are considered clinically dead. This is some interesting stuff indeed.

We have learned that Digg.com has received a cease and desist order for publishing the aforementioned number. Digg originally complied with the request (although they refer to the number as “code” which it is NOT. This is far worse than calling XHTML markup “code”. No one calls the number “five” “code”) but now are fighting the C&D actively and stories are being posted.

Today was an interesting news day with the state of New Jersey considering adding wind turbines inside of the famous Jersey Barriers that fill the NJ highways to use the wind power from passing traffic to power a light rail line!

Business 2.0, a Time magazine, has been preaching backups (as if any competent business manager isn’t aware of backups – lets face it people either do it or don’t do it but no one isn’t aware of the need to backup everything) but they haven’t been making working backups for themselves and managed to lose the June issue of their magazine! People knew about making backups of things long before computers were around. And computer backups have been in the mainstream consciousness since Dr. Seaver lost everything because he only saved to floppy on Growing Pains in the mid 1980s. Lost computer data has been an ongoing joke for unsavvy computer users for decades. People who use floppy disks were the biggest source of jokes for many years. No one can claim ignorance in this day and age.

The war at home becomes more violent today as a recording made at Kent State in 1970 resurfaces from the government archives at Yale. On the tape they have discovered the command, issued by the National Guard Forces, to open fire on the students who were protesting the Vietnam Conflict. Previously it was speculated that the gunfire was an accident. But now the truth is coming out and it is believed that the students were simply murdered. An ongoing battle between the American public that opposes offensive wars and the totalitarian posturing of the US government that is more willing to fight a war at home than it is to stop fighting a war abroad. An important lesson in a time when the Vietnam conflict is being relived before our very eyes.

It is a busy news day here, apparently. I wrapped up my week’s homework early this morning. One less thing to worry about. I have a paper now due on Sunday but all of my graded homework has been turned in so all that I have left is writing a few “ungraded” papers just to get the credit for having done my homework and I will be done with the class. It is really hard to believe that I am almost done with my first master’s class. The time has just flown by! I hardly feel like I have done any work at all. I know that Dominica wishes that she felt that way about her Systems Analysis and Design class.

I got a really nice critique from one of my classmates today. Every week we have to critique two peoples’ essays. It was quite encouraging. I was also talking to a coworker in Ireland today and while we were talking he said that he was watching one of my lectures online!

Today the US Army increases its defiance of the US Constitution and is requiring that anyone even remotely connected to the military including soldiers, soldiers’ families and civilian contractors have any communications from them be cleared first by a commanding officer. Of course we expect soldiers themselves to be gagged as they traditionally have been. Once you choose to be a soldier you sign away all of your rights. You voluntarily give up your practical citizenship as an American. Its the price you pay for the job you want. It’s voluntary (at the moment, anyway. Once there is a draft it becomes unconstitutional to choose who can and cannot speak freely.) But forcing relatives and civilians to clear any communications is outright constitutional violations. Not that that is anything new for the Army who has clearly stated in the last few months that a commanding officer has more authority, according to the Army lawyers, over the actions of a soldier than does the President, Congress, the Supreme Court, the Constitution or the American public. To make matters even worse the Army is not telling these parties about the gag order and keeping the documents secret on a high security Army knowledge base system to which most of these people have no access. Once again, to overseas readers, the US Army is NOT the military arm of the US but a renegade military terrorist organization. It is not acting under US law or in the interest of the American people or at our request.  We can only hope that Congress will cut off the lifeline to the military and leave them with no financial option but to return home (or, of course, stay and live in the wonderful land of Iraq that they helped to create.)
The plan tonight is for Dominica and I to do some shopping.  She is working late every night this week and next to help make up for the time that she has to take out of her schedule to take her test on Wednesday and then to take Friday off altogether.  She has also been taking shorter lunches to make up more time.  So I am going home to 1180 and relaxing a little and running to the post office to do our address change now that the house in Geneseo is sold.  Then I will go up to Wallington and pick up Oreo and meet Dominica to do our shopping.

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