Open Thread

No updates until much later today. Talk among yourselves below. Please, please, please be nice to each other.


Posted by: on July 16, 2004 08:25 AM

A interesting side effect of the competition between Google and Yahoo for web email is that as well as increasing the file storage, they’ve also upped the maximum attachment size to 10Mb. That means songs can be emailed.

Something like MusicBrainz can list all the tracks and map each one to one or more GMail accounts. As this is just a list it would be hard for the RIAA to get a discovery notice served on it.

This is just an idea, you understand…

Posted by: on July 16, 2004 08:27 AM

The weather sure is pleasant here in the upper midwest today. Wish it was like this all the time.
Is that “nice” enough 🙂

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein on July 16, 2004 09:16 AM

You mentioned Ernie Miller’s writing on the INDUCE Act a few days ago. He’s written a great deal more, and there’s a great overview article:

The LawMeme Reader’s Guide to Ernie Miller’s Guide to the INDUCE Act

Posted by: on July 16, 2004 01:26 PM

Looks like Seymour Hersch is alleging that US soldiers or contractors videotaped the rape of Iraqi boys for the purpose of blackmailing their parents for information on the insurgency.

All I can say is this: it was Bill Clinton who let gays in the military, and now the whole world is going to turn against us.

Posted by: on July 16, 2004 02:12 PM

“It was Bill Clinton who let gays in the military, and now the whole world is going to turn against us.”

Huh? Dan, do we REALLY have to be nice to folks like this?

Posted by: on July 16, 2004 02:22 PM

Ever since Yahoo increased their mail storage to 100MB, it doesn’t work right anymore. They just did’t think this one out and plan for it.
Plus, why won’t they do like MS did with Hotmail last year and let report and block entire domains as spam. I rarely get spam at my Hotmail address anymore, way down from the 40-75 a day I used to get.
Yahoo is a whole ‘nother story.
I get around 100 spams a day a the Yahoo address. Sure they go to the bulk mail folder, but I have to go thru that folder, because the Idiots at Yahoo won’t add a button for “This Is A Newletter I Subscribe To” or something like that. And I already have used up all my available filters for other mail sorting.

Posted by: on July 16, 2004 03:17 PM

Owen, Owen, Owen. Simply show him the same respect that our Vice President showed Sen. Leahy on the Senate floor. That should be good enough.

On another topic, I saw the documentary “Outfoxed”. Very well done. Interviews with former and present Fox News employees and contributors. Internal Fox memos. They use hundreds of clips from Fox News analysis and reporting to show how the news is blatantly distorted. The movie was done in secret and released on DVD first in case Fox tried to stop them.

Posted by: George on July 16, 2004 04:02 PM

About Yahoo – i am very happy with what they did it was extremely useful. It changed my days compleately.

Posted by: on July 16, 2004 05:30 PM

Owen, Dan Gillmor only bans conservatives who post reasonable, but embarrassing, comments about *him*.

Not even chastising Bill Clinton qualifies, it seems.

Of course, Owen, it’s fair to ask, can you cite a *single* positive outcome of Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, or even explain clearly what it attempted to accomplish?

By the way, you should look up the comments of various conservative Members of Congress following Clinton’s comments in the first 10 days of his Administration, about eliminating the ban on gays in the military.

You’ll find warnings about an explosion of perverse acts in the military — even an explicit mention of the possibility of acts of perversion being committed against foreign nationals in U.S. military custody.

Posted by: on July 16, 2004 06:32 PM

I’m giving up on my paid Yahoo mail account. Many times I get a message “Temporary problem, try again later” or “contact us if the problem reoccurs”. I have contacted them 35 times and get the same dumb canned message that they have checked and all is ok. Now I am not getting some messages sent to my Yahoo address or they arrive several hours after being sent. Bottom line, their email service is poor and they don’t give a damn.

Posted by: on July 16, 2004 07:17 PM

Jonathan, I looked at Osama’s site, and you’d have to be named Osama to buy those alleged facts. It looks like someone’s telling lies out of school. To work, the thing would have to be too large a conspiracy.

Besides, the alleged purpose, “the rape of Iraqi boys for the purpose of blackmailing their parents,” does not make sense. Wouldn’t it be the opposite: to blackmail the perps themselves. That makes sense, for they are the criminals caught on tape. But if someone comes to you with a videotape of him abusing your child and says he is going to show it if you don’t give him information, well, isn’t the answer to tell him to show it and be damned.

I don’t think any such thing ever happened. Let’s discuss reality.

Posted by: sbw on July 16, 2004 07:41 PM

Ooooh, an open thread!

The perfect place to ask if, according to federal sentencing guidelines as a penalty for lying to an officer of the court… Martha Stewart should have been spared five months jail time, and received instead the same slap on the wrist as Bill Clinton did?

Or am I wrong and should Clinton have gotten the five months, too.

Posted by: on July 16, 2004 09:57 PM

Gay marriage: the bible clearly condemns homosexuality, but my reading is that polygamy is endorsed. Where did all this talk of ‘one man one woman’ come from? (my wife would kill me!)

Posted by: on July 16, 2004 11:24 PM


We get rid of one troll, and they reprodu
ce (apparently asexually) all over an open thread.

Alright children, please pay attention. I have personal friends who served, in various branches of the United States Military Services, Honorably (according to their discharge papers from DOD) before, during, in, and after VietNam:

1) Infantry.
2) Nuclear Submarines.
3) Air Force.
4) While there are others who come to mind, I believe this is a broad enough representative sample.

If your pejorative comments are taken at face value, one must accept that Bill Clinton controlled the Pentagon in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s. I suspect that you will agree with me that such a belief is somewhat of a stretch.

Each of these Veterans (several decorated) is homosexual. Each of these Veterans Honorably served in the United States Military Forces to defend your freedom to dislike them.

So, as the mature, respectful and gentle adults that you are, please thank them for their service to our Country and their service to you (BTW, there is no need for that snide remark that just flashed across your brain).

Posted by: on July 16, 2004 11:45 PM

Gays in military: The most well known Abu Ghraib prison abusers, Lindy England and her boyfriend that were in so many of those pictures were quite definitely heterosexual. Surprisingly, sexual abuse has very little to do with sex and much to do with power and domination. Even more strange, in some cultures, the sexually abused are a embarrassment to the family and not considered victims. Iraq is one of such places. Women won’t report rape because they are afraid of the family’s backlash.

As for deviant behavior:

Posted by: on July 17, 2004 01:05 AM

Anyone using SBC as their ISP or to host their domain would be wise to keep an eye on their email. On July 4th, SBC implemented an ISP based spam filtering. I had been scratching my head wondering the last few days why I suddenly wasn’t getting some regular email newsletters. After a few days of back and forth and testing, I called SBC and discovered that they had implemented this new spam filter “feature” WITHOUT NOTIFYING ANYONE. Similarly, back in June, they suddenly implemented rDNS checking without notification, which led to a lot of people not getting their mail and a number of newspaper stories. Finally, they were forced to remove this new functionality a few weeks later.

With the spam filters, they claim to be still “tweaking” them. What I can’t understand is why they are doing their “tweaking” with live user mail in real time. I tried to send them a copy of a good mail that they should not be rejecting but I couldn’t even get it to tech support. It got rejected at the email server! So how do they “tweak” filters without user feedback on what is or is not spam?

SBC does not present a notification to the user than any mail was blocked as spam. There are no user controls in their software, no way to opt-out, no way to exclude an account, no “spam bucket” to retrieve rejected mail from! All they do is a simple bounce-back to whomever sent the mail with this “illuminating” error:

SMTP error from remote mailer after end of data:
host []:
554 Denied

Pretty damm useless, right? Most distributors who get a message like this just delete the user. They aren’t going to run around and try and notify people that mail to them got rejected. So it may be weeks or months before a user realizes that he hasn’t gotten some newsletter he subscribed to. Then he has to try and chase down what is going on. Fortunately for me, I use a mail forwarding service for all my newsletters and subscriptions, so I was able to change the forward-to address from my pop3 address on SBC to a webmail account. However, I can’t easily save those newsletters in the folders I have set up in my pop3 Outlook mailbox.

I requested that SBC turn off their spam filtering UNTIL they have a user interface in place to allow people to “opt-out” of this feature or to control it better. They flat-out told me that is not going to happen. I finally got a supervisor to tell me that they expected to have some sort of user interface in 2-3 weeks (MAYBE). So I called the PUC in California today. They told me they couldn’t do anything but forwarded me to SBC Executive Complaints office, where I was told that they have been getting other complaints on this also. I filed a formal complaint with them. The Executive Office telephone number is: 800.403.3302

Just like the U.S. Post Office, I believe than an ISP has a contractual requirement to deliver all mail addressed to the user, UNLESS the user has explicitly given his permission to the ISP to pre-screen his mail. IMO, it is the users responsibility to protect themselves from spam mail, not the ISP’s. Wonder if some lawyer is interested in starting a class-action suit against SBC on this issue?

Posted by: Eric on July 17, 2004 02:03 PM

Here’s a story I wouldn’t be surprised gets buried in the American media. According to the Australian paper Sunday Morning Herald, Iyad Allawi–Bush’s hand-picked man to run Iraq the interim–personally engaged in a summary execution of up to six suspected insurgents a few days before he took over. The witnesses (there are more than one) don’t appear to be just angry anti-Allawi types downing an American puppet, in fact they were quite pleased by the action.

Posted by: on July 17, 2004 02:47 PM

Jonathon, I wasn’t defending the hypocritical Clinton policy, just astonished at the suggestion that the policy was responsible for gays in the military. There have been gays fighting for their country as long as there have been armies and nations. Being gay has nothing to do with courage or patriotism, any more than (as Ted points out) sexual abuse is a gay predeliction. The same prejudices used to prevent blacks and women from fighting for their country.

To me the reaction of conservatives blaming gays for sodomized prisoners is akin to the same people them being blamed for the decline of marriage…ignorant and bigoted.

Posted by: on July 18, 2004 09:40 AM

The conservative comments contemporaneous with Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell”, spoke of liberalizing the treatment of gays in the military as leading to a complete breakdown of discipline with regard to sexual misconduct of *all* types, including heterosexual.

When they spoke of Clinton policy leading potentially to the sexual mistreatement of foreign nationals in military custody, it was *not* a suggestion that a few flaming gay troops would commit sodomy on prisoners. It was about a breakdown of discipline regarding sexual misconduct.

Their comments were prescient, to say the least.

Posted by: on July 18, 2004 02:01 PM

Hey Jonathan, are you sure the breakdown in discipline wasn’t due to allowing women in the military, or was it allowing non-citizens, or blacks, or southerners, or irish, or italians?

Too easy, I know…

Posted by: on July 18, 2004 06:21 PM

Hey, Peter, maybe Jonathon’s onto something. When I was in the Army, there were lots of undesirables who we could eliminate…no women, it was before women officially drew combat duty, but lots of spics, micks, wops, gooks, kikes, niggers, and liberal-college-long-hair-commie-pinko-fags (it’s always hypenated). Maybe we should have thrown them all out, and no doubt the ones left over would thrown themselves enthusiastically into the fray. Sure would have made a lot of guys happy to get out of Vietnam in one piece. Boy, talk about a small army left.

Oops, that’s right…only the poor ones went…their betters got deferrals or slipped into the Guard lists.

Unfortunately, Jonathon’s concerns about maintaining the high moral condition of our armed forces have some awkward realities. Most of the abuses have been coming at the hands of good ol’ heterosexuals and imposed on women and gays (and prisoners) not the other way ’round.

As to the impact on morale…only the rear-area types were concerned about it when we were fighting in the bush. The gays I know laughed at our adolescent fears that they all had the hots to see us in the shower. In combat, we were concerned about a man’s courage and reliability and skill in the face of fire…not what he did in town on pass. I never heard of a gay man propositioning an unwilling straight man…it probably happened, but it was not common, anymore than the incidents of rape and irresponsible sexual conduct by GI’s were characteristic of the rest of us.

So lighten up. Don’t let your prejudices force you to judge men by one characteristic, but by the totality of their behavior and character.

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