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June 16, 2004
Just some stuff

No deep thoughts, just some links.

Is there journalistic bias over at the CSMonitor? In a June 4, column, editor Slambrouck discussed it, then readers weighed in (not surprisingly, they find bias in all directions, depending on their personal biases), so he's discussing it again.

His take? The increasingly partisan nature of our society is to blame for the increases in accusations of bias against each reader's preferred position.

Take a potato. Slice it into rectangles. Plunge it into bubbling hot fat until it absorbs enough grease to become crunchy. (It's even better if you coat the potato in batter first.) Voila! It's a fresh veggie! It seems that under the Bush Administration, anything that isn't preserved against rotting is "fresh."

Apparently a Bush victory in November means more than just four more years of the Bush Administration. It means the continued survival of the neocons.


For those whose blood pressure went up when I suggested that we might need to take a look at this country's guiding political philosophies and decide how much of what was relevant 200 or more years ago is still relevant today, you might want to read this.

Iran's picking on UN representatives. Big bullies.

You can get on a "do not call" list, but the Feds are afraid spammers will hack into a "do not spam" list and use the e-mail addresses to spam people, so they're declining to create one.

The interesting stuff comes at the bottom of the article, though.

Also Tuesday, key House members on telecommunications issues moved to overturn regulations set to take effect next year aimed at preventing homes and offices from receiving junk faxes.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce telecommunications subcommittee, said he planned to introduce a bill Wednesday to rescind Federal Communications Commission regulations that requires a recipient to receive a commercial fax only if they have given prior consent.

Speaking as someone whose business receives a lot of junk faxes from people breaking the current regulation banning such things, I'd like to protest any proposed increase in the same. And I'd like to know just what corporate donor is pushing for such legislation. What's Upton up to?

In other news, today is a pain so far. It's good to be employed and I'm trying to keep sight of that fact, but that doesn't mean I don't have days when I want to be really, really mean to people.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:57 PM


Just a technical note - spammers would not have to "hack into" a "do not send email" list. The list would be public - obviously. You can't make it illegal to send someone UCE (that's unsolicited commerical email) without also telling companies which email addresses are requesting a stop on UCE.

The point is, most companies that call you on the phone are law abiding, whereas most spammers are not law-abiding. Therefore a "do not call" list works - the assumption is that the companies making the calls, even when selling stupid or ridiculous products and services, fear the penalties of the law. The "do not call" list is made available to the public, you or I could get it with some effort, but making it public is thought to be safe.

But spammers tend to be lawbreakers - they often sell fraudlent mortgage services, or they sell pirate software, or they sell prescription drugs without a perscription, or they herbs of which they make claims that violate the FDA's interpretation of the 1994 DHSEA law. Therefore, if a list of email addresses were made public, it would be used to send those addresses more spam.

Public perception of spam lags behind reality. Although in the early days of the web spammers tended to be amatuers trying to make a buck, over the last 4 or 5 years spamming has more and more been taken over by organzied crime - much of it offshore. Therefore, for a wide variety of reasons, the law is not likely to be an effective tool against spam.

Posted by: Lawrence Krubner at June 17, 2004 06:14 PM

But what is the point of sending such messages to people who have said they don't want them? It's not like you're going to sell products or services, especially fraudulent ones, to people who have publicly registered as spam-haters.

(FWIW, I added the bit about "hacking in" to the list myself. That isn't what the government said.)

Posted by: Anne at June 18, 2004 11:33 AM