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After Columbine, Eric Holder Advocated Internet "Restrictions" 430

Posted by timothy
from the but-that-was-then-and-this-is-now dept.
ErikTheRed writes "In an audio clip discovered by NewsBusters, then-Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder advocated federal censorship of the Internet. This was in the aftermath of the Columbine High School shootings. From the clip: 'The court has really struck down every government effort to try to regulate it. We tried with regard to pornography. It is gonna be a difficult thing, but it seems to me that if we can come up with reasonable restrictions, reasonable regulations in how people interact on the Internet, that is something that the Supreme Court and the courts ought to favorably look at.'" Holder is reported to be Barack Obama's choice for Attorney General of the United States.
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After Columbine, Eric Holder Advocated Internet "Restrictions"

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  • oblig (Score:5, Insightful)

    by negRo_slim (636783) <mils_oRgen@hotmail.com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:34PM (#25852223)
    Once again, who deemed the internet to be appropriate for children?
  • Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zak3056 (69287) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:36PM (#25852247) Journal

    I guess this is what they mean by "Change you can believe in."

  • This is sickening (Score:4, Insightful)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:38PM (#25852269) Homepage

    Obama, do not appoint this man!!

  • by nakajoe (1123579) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:38PM (#25852271)
    I can't think of any feasible government restrictions that would also be reasonable.
  • by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:38PM (#25852277)
    People will believe any promise pandered to them during a campaign. Daschle, Clinton, and now Holder? Change, indeed.
  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reapy (688651) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:43PM (#25852347)

    The internet is just a way for people to talk to each other. If you censor "the internet", it is the same as censoring what you can speak to another person. We have this whole thing called the 1st amendment that protects that.

    If a parent doesnt want their child on the internet, they shouldn't allow them on it. Case by case. It is the same reason why you don't bring your kid with you to a sex shop. The material should be allowed to be there, and the parents should choose whether it is appropriate for their child or not.

    There is no such thing as "reasonable" censoring.

  • by ravenspear (756059) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:45PM (#25852377)
    Yet another case proving that as soon as children enter the decision making process, rationality goes out the window.
  • by thermian (1267986) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:45PM (#25852383)

    Is it not possible that he was just reacting out of a still far too fresh sense of the horror of those events?

    People say all sorts of things after distressing events that they wouldn't say normally, or believe in the long term.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:46PM (#25852393)

    This was being held over heads for years as net hostile yahoos like Biden and Lieberman worked on the Communications Decency Act which got stuck down in the courts, then by the Supremes.

    Early drafts of this act would make an ISP and all its employees go to prison if someone typed a swear word, and it went through their routers to another destination.

    Later drafts would still make it a Federal felony to have anything "indecent" on the tubes.

    This passed the House and Senate, Clinton signed it into law... and before it took effect, the courts stuck it down.

    What Clinton did get passed was the DMCA.

    Looks like Obama's administration will be just as net hostile if not worse. Expect "trusted" chips in all computers/devices and forcible positive identification everywhere.

    The RIAA will score, repressive governments who love monitoring their citizens will score, game companies will score, even criminal organizations will score... the honest law abiding citizen gets nothing except increased criminal penalties, more in your face DRM, and no anonymity.

  • Surprise, surprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:47PM (#25852411) Homepage

    Holder is in favor of censorship, massive gun control, a drug war hawk... and you *ahem* hoped for change from Obama. How is this any different than Gonzalez, Ashcroft or Reno, except maybe a squeamishness about torture?

    Go ahead, moderate me down, but you know I'm right. For anyone who believed that things would change, Holder's nomination is basically total effing treason to that.

    Seriously, I will be surprised if we don't trade Gitmo and secret CIA prisons for a second round of Waco and Ruby Ridge if this is the start that Obama is off on with his DoJ appointments.

  • by decalod85 (1214532) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:49PM (#25852431)
    Censorship does not have a party affiliation.
  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@nOSPAM.beau.org> on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:50PM (#25852437)

    > Obama, do not appoint this man!!

    Heh! Guess this isn't the Change you thought you were getting. And this isn't even the scummiest bit in Holder's record from back in the Clinton years.

    Not quite time to start yelling "I told ya so!" but I'm getting ready.

  • awesome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zxnos (813588) <zxnoss@gmail.com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:51PM (#25852449)

    change we can believe in

  • by couchslug (175151) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:51PM (#25852455)

    "Is it not possible that he was just reacting out of a still far too fresh sense of the horror of those events?"

    A professional should not react that way, slaughter or not. If he did so for that reason it bespeaks poor self-mastery and that's not what we need in an AG.

  • Not a concern (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BountyX (1227176) on Friday November 21, 2008 @06:52PM (#25852465)
    Big suprise. Lawyer wants more laws. I don't think this would happen under obama's watch who has clearly stated the preservation of an "open" internet and "net neutrality". Furthermore, he regularly seeks counsel from the EFF. See obama state his tech policy on this page [barackobama.com]. I understand that saying and doing are two complete different things. The article; however, is speculation and ignores the president's stated policy. I'm sure the EFF would have commented on this if they thought it was a concern. They havn't and I doubt they missed obama's speculated appointment.
  • Not sure Obama ever claimed to be an outsider. He was a Senator, after all. I believe it was the lobbyists and the crony appointments of the Bush administration that he said he would avoid.

    I could be wrong though.

    But setting aside the rhetorical point you're trying to make, what's wrong with having smart, capable, experienced people in positions of authority?

  • in a democracy, you don't get to choose the candidate who fits your beliefs exactly, because such a candidate would, by definition of appealing so tightly to you, therefore appeal to only a small subset of society, and therefore be unelectable

    at BEST you get a candidate that appeals to you very weakly. because that candidate must cover as many commonalities of belief as possible in order to get elected

    and this is a GOOD thing: a government should closely adhere to the center of society, not to its various fringe groups. so if you are severely disappointed in obama, you're a fool, for judging him against absurd standards that will never, ever be met in reality

    in a democracy, you get a choice betwen the candidate who is slightly less evil than the other. that's all you EVER will get to choose from. and that is a sign of a HEALTHY society. meanwhile, when someone is elected who appeals to a small group of people ecstatically, something has failed, and society will suffer for that, for this candidate most certainly doesn't appeal to the majority of society he or see is supposed to lead. got that?:

    large appeal to small group != small appeal to large group. large appeal to small group is BAD for society. small appeal to large group is GOOD for society

    some of you need to focus on that, and let the implications of that sink in for how you value and judge your leaders

    all you could ever hope to do is tug the administration in power SLIGHTLY in the direction of your beliefs. anyone who believed barack obama was going to be some messiah of radical change is frankly, an idiot

    i will tell you right now with 100% certainty what you are going to get out of the obama administration: TINY incremental steps away from the bush administration bullshit. and YOU ARE GOING TO LIKE IT, because that is the best you could ever possibly get in reality, as opposed to the fantasies in your head, which some of you seem hellbent on judging your government against. absurd

    because the alternative is a continuation of the bush years bullshit. that's worse, right? then pleasde remember that when you judge

  • by GrumblyStuff (870046) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:01PM (#25852629)

    My memory is a little fuzzy. What part did the internet play in the Columbine shootings?

  • by GMonkeyLouie (1372035) <gmonkeylouie @ g m a il.com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:02PM (#25852639)
    Obama has said time and time again he wants to bring in people he disagrees with to staff his cabinet. I would presume the purpose of doing that would not be to enact policies he disagrees with. Presumably, since Obama made reducing jail time for non-violent drug offenders an (admittedly minor) issue in the campaign, he will have spoken to Holder about that view and made sure that Holder isn't going to do anything monumentally stupid. I am not afraid that being caught with weed will be worse under the Obama administration than it was under Bush.
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:03PM (#25852641)

    I can't think of any feasible government restrictions that would also be reasonable.

    I can. Try this on for size. The language is a little dated, but I think it gets the point across pretty nicely:

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    That seems like a perfectly "reasonable restriction", upon which the Supreme Court not only ought to, but has, repeatedly "favorably looked at".

    If, as Holder says in TFA, the court has "struck down every attempt" that he and his kind (whether they be religious zealots attempting to censor whatever their God deems "pornography", or nanny-statists attempting to censor portrayals of violence and whatever "hate speech" is this week) have made to get around it, then what would be so wrong with respecting the court's decision?

    Holder, you're about to become the Attorney-General. If you really want to demonstrate "change" relative to the prior Administration, why not do things differently? You could start by respecting the Judiciary as a coequal branch of government, even when (and especially when) its rulings aren't to your personal liking.

    As Lenny Bruce put it almost 50 years ago, "If you can't say 'Fuck', you can't say 'Fuck the government.'" As the Supreme Court ruled in 1971, Cohen v. California, can even say Fuck the Draft [wikipedia.org].

    Sometimes offensive speech is political speech. In modern idiom, Holden doesn't have to post tits, but if he thinks he can stop you from posting tits, the Courts have made it clear that he's the one who should GTFO.

  • Surprised ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arthur B. (806360) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:03PM (#25852645)

    But... but it's O-ba-ma...

    http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/57241.html [hnn.us]
    Yup this guy is also a strong drug warrior.
    You thought Obama would be nice on drugs? Think again.

    I'm fucking pissed off by the morons who keep cheering at every election for a candidate or the other. Oh yea, sure politics is screwed and power corrupts... but but, *this* guy, he's for real, you'll see.

    We need change, but not political change. In politics, change means, more shit than before. Political change is for the worth.

    Wake up, it's not about the people in charge, the problems lie with the incentives and yes, democracy itself.

  • by jlarocco (851450) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:03PM (#25852663) Homepage

    Oh please! Did you not hear his slogan "Change you can believe in"? The entire foundation of that slogan was an attempt to convince people he wasn't a Washington insider.

    He'd look pretty ridiculous saying "Vote for change by voting for a Washington insider", now wouldn't he?

  • Whoopde Dooo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sweatyboatman (457800) <sweatyboatman@@@hotmail...com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:05PM (#25852673) Homepage Journal

    I'm sorry, I don't know why this is a big deal. It's not like he said this yesterday. He said it 10 years ago in a panicked climate when a great number of tax-paying citizens were clamoring for the government to do something to keep the intarwebs from contaminating our children.

    As far as I can tell, no legislation was ever introduced. Not that the AG writes legislation, which is another reason this is a non-issue.

    If this makes headlines, I am sure we'll see a clarification of some kind from Holder.

    But other than that, I mean is "Politician in 1999 was wrong about the internet" really a big story?

  • by burris (122191) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:07PM (#25852697)

    Regardless of personal views, doesn't the AG advance the position of the administration? You say what your client wants you to say or you find another job. Isn't that the case for all attorneys? So the real question is what will Obama's policy be?

  • by trabisnikof (694721) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:11PM (#25852753)
    I think the chance of the feds censoring the internet is 0%. Why? The democratic party has too many powerful people against it, it isn't realistic that they could come up with a plan, and most importantly too many companies and political groups have a vested interest in no internet censorship.
  • Re:oblig (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:12PM (#25852767)
    Who deemed the world appropriate for children? Kids should be kept indoors, driven directly to and from school, kept off the internet and away from TV.
  • by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:14PM (#25852803)

    Change, REAL CHANGE, and eliminating the evils of Washington insiders and lobbyists were a centerpiece of Obama's campaign. Do you really think that message would have been as strong if he said he was going to appoint Holder, Emanuel, Daschle, and Hillary fucking Clinton as part of his cabinet? He would have been laughed at and then ripped to tiny pieces trying to pass that off as *real* change, and rightly so. Instead of a career politician, why not appoint someone that really knows something about healthcare instead of friggin' Tom Daschle, married to a one of Washington's top lobbyists?!!?? The hyprcrisy is downright insulting.

    Oh yeah, quit telling me I'M GOING TO LIKE IT. You don't know a damn thing about me.

  • Re:Of course (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:17PM (#25852841) Homepage

    Still, when your choices are certain loss of rights and likely loss of rights...

    Well, now that your "likely" is becoming more and more "certain", it may dawn on you, that, what you perceived as "certain", may, in fact, have been "unlikely"... See also "Buyer's Remorse".

  • Re:Of course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:25PM (#25852951)
    Sucks when it's your guy, doesn't it? It remains to be seen what, if anything, happens with all of this...

    But here in the cheap seats, it looks like more of the fucking same. Change indeed.
  • by Kaboom13 (235759) <kaboom108@ b e llsouth.net> on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:31PM (#25853015)

    The ability to resist the mob-mentality and knee-jerk overreaction that occurs after events like Columbine, or the World Trade Center attacks, are precisely what we should look for in our leaders.

  • by bersl2 (689221) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:31PM (#25853029) Journal

    Everyone's said stupid things once in a while, right? If he's willing to say that he was an idiot for advocating pervasive restrictions in the wake of such an event, I could let it slide.

    It's important to make a big deal about things like this, but don't completely lose it over this.

  • Re:oh look (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:33PM (#25853049)

    Wow . . . one post and you've already resorted to name-calling. No need to get so defensive.

    Thing is . . . I don't recall any talk of moderate, incremental, slow change during the campaign, at all. That message wouldn't go over so well in front of 200,000 rabid Berliners or a stadium full of college kids -- it's just not sexy enough. If anything, the exact opposite was promised -- a quick, decisive end to the evil and corruption of Washington and the power of lobbyists. If anything, I'm judging him by the standards set by his own supporters. Oh yeah, what happened to the promise of troops out of Iraq in 16 months? Change.

    Indeed, this administration will be made up of the Same Old Washington. If this is what counts as change, we really are fucked.

  • by reginaldo (1412879) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:36PM (#25853079)
    Considering the age and context of this quote, we have to take this statement with at least a little skepticism. Columbine threw the entire US off kilter, making them say and do things they wouldn't currently do. I do wonder how Holder would respond to questions regarding his stance on internet restrictions today.
  • Re:Of course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zak3056 (69287) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:45PM (#25853183) Journal

    I guess this is what they mean by "Change you can believe in."

    I know it's bad taste to respond to your own post, but I can't help doing so in this case.

    I've been reading/posting on slashdot for eight or nine years now, and I'm pretty sure that the above is the first of my thousand or so posts to be modded -1 (though I'm willing to bet that this one will be the second.) All I can say to this is have fun, I've got plenty of karma to burn. But as you're modding me into oblivion, I'll leave you with a little question: are you REALLY that wrapped up in a candidate (sorry, president-elect) that you can't bear any criticism, even when it's warranted?

    Get real, people--the writing was on the wall when Obama chose his vice president, and his cabinet choices are doing a good job of pounding nails into the coffin. "Change" was a myth sold to the credulous as a means of securing election, and that's all.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:50PM (#25853263)

    Yes I know that there are permits and racetracks available to do most of these things, but once upon a time, you were actually liable for what you did! not the state, or other government entity which now writes a new law of what we can not do (or requires special permission to do it) every time they get sued.

    And once upon that same time, being liable for what you did left a lot of innocent people in the lurch. That's why the state stepped in in the first place.

    Consider your "open the throttle" example -- if YOU and solely you are responsible for what you do, and you open the throttle and crash into a busload of kids/seniors/tourists/commuters... who pays?

    You? Of course not, you don't have that much money.

    Your insurance company? Maybe, if your coverage actually will cover you at 200+ mph? (it probably wouldn't) and all that assumes you actually bothered to get insurance - which you might not have done, since there aren't any laws forcing you to.

    So all these innocent people get FUCKED because you fucked up, and the fact that you can be "held liable" doesn't actually mean anything. It doesn't do the people you hurt any good.

    Well, watching our neighbors get completely fucked and left in the lurch like this doesn't sit well with normal people, so we decided that collectively, if this happens we'll deal with it...however we don't want to deal with uncessary/preventable problems so we made it a requirement that you have insurance so when accidents that you can't pay for happen, there is money. And we set speed limits to to help minimize the amount of damage that actually happens etc, etc.

    Now, granted, a lot of this inevitably becomes corrupted and abused... and we end up with cops hiding behind trees with speed traps at the bottom of a hill in the middle of nowhere generating local revenue. And these sorts of issues need to be addressed.

    But there's no going back to the so-called 'good old days' when you had '100% personal liability' because that wasn't really working terribly well either.

    So if the state has to step in everytime someone fucks up for more than they can afford, the state gets to set rules to try and minimize the number of fuckups.

  • by Khaed (544779) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:57PM (#25853327)

    Censorship does not have a party affiliation.

    I'd extend this: Censorship doesn't have a party affiliation, but both major parties are affiliated with it.

  • Re:Of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zordak (123132) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:59PM (#25853355) Homepage Journal
    They also say they are going to ease taxes while providing bailouts for every failing industry and providing every man, woman, and child in America with unlimited free health care, a bullet-proof retirement, unlimited free energy, and a magical flying puppy(okay, I'm exaggerating a little---they never actually promised the puppy would fly). I'm afraid something has to go, and my guess is that "listening to the people" will be the first thing out the window. Yes, folks, the honeymoon is waning.
  • by theodicey (662941) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:02PM (#25853385)

    And don't forget the V-chip, which allows parents to disable certain TV channels. It's in all new TVs and unused in nearly all of them.

    The 90s were a very different era, and the culture war/political correctness issues that dominated the decade look painfully idiotic in retrospect.

    I am pretty confident that Holder has many higher priorities than regulating speech on the internet, but someone definitely needs to ask him.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:03PM (#25853395)

    Considering the age and context of this quote, we have to take this statement with at least a little skepticism. Columbine threw the entire US off kilter, making them say and do things they wouldn't currently do.

    I believe that's specifically not an excuse for overreaction from an official. Sadly, I expect the general public to overreact, but those in positions of authority should have level heads (at least on any reasonable planet, not this one) - that's a big part of why they're there. If he's susceptible to knee-jerk responses (and I don't know if he truly is), then he doesn't belong in the position of US Attorney General.

    I do wonder how Holder would respond to questions regarding his stance on internet restrictions today.

    Based only on the Holder quote from the summary, 'The court has really struck down every government effort to try to regulate it. We tried with regard to pornography...', it is apparent that he has favored restricting internet communications for reasons unrelated to the Columbine incident. Unless someone provides evidence that he has modified his opinion in these matters, it is reasonable to assume they remain the same. And his own assertion of such a change in position would not be sufficient by itself.

    - T

    Come on /. this is ridiculous: "Slow Down Cowboy!...It's been 1 hour, 28 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment". I know ACs are responsible for too much noise here, but this amounts to an unnecessary restriction of anonymous speech. Why not just go all the way and require an account if that's the kind of site you want to be?</rant>

  • by poetmatt (793785) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:13PM (#25853491) Journal

    You know what though?

    I'm not going to give up my right to (XYZ) just because (ABC) extreme case happened someday sometime. This has been a huge problem with the US.

    Take rights away from corporations. Take them all away till corporations are hardly anything. But don't take away personal freedoms from individuals.

  • by EvolutionsPeak (913411) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:20PM (#25853573)

    In other words, we now force the good drivers to subsidize the mistakes of the bad drivers.

  • Car analogies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:23PM (#25853611) Homepage

    were really just so other people would understand.

    Liabilities are real. You screw up, and someone dies. true. My point is that SANE people are not going to take a car to 200 miles an hour near a school zone or a bus route. Insane people are not going to follow the rule anyway, so it doesn't do any good. This is true for all common sense rules.

    The other point in here is who learned their states laws in school? Yet you are still responsible for breaking them? The commandment and golden laws need not apply to this conversation, but I'll throw out an example.

    I can't say that lack of freedom would apply to me, I feel free. If you want to kill someone, you can use what ever method you want. 1/2 the methods will prove to be unsolvable. If you use a gun, you have to wait three days before you kill someone, but you still can.

    You get caught though, and its 25-life, less you had Cochran.

    I am not an anarchist, I want laws... and mostly I was just trying to be funny, but does the law really stop you from speeding? (it never has me, though I am far more careful about it now) Has the law stopped millions from downloading copywrited music? Has the law stopped any big CEO from embezlement? Where a law stops someone, that person was not really wanting to commit the crime anyway. It is just a means to control the masses, and we need that to some extent.

    But back on topic,
    If you supress a path for information, a new path will emerge if the information is valuable enough. The only time freedom will truly be supressed is when we are repressed from speaking. Unfortunately though, today, many people "speak" electronically, and that is why I am against censorship of the web.

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:24PM (#25853635) Homepage

    The problem is the law doesn't stop crime from happening, it simply gives it a name, and gives people an easy guilt-free device to lay blame on others. The only difference between law and religion is that lawyers are rarely child molesters - they prefer hookers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:26PM (#25853643)

    or you people would be howling like damned souls. It's your guy so it's OK.

  • First Amendment. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr&mac,com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:36PM (#25853749) Journal

    The man doesn't respect it, so he shouldn't be a member of the bar, let alone living on the public payroll.

    -jcr

  • by zippthorne (748122) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:38PM (#25853769) Journal

    And he was apparently one of the lemmings that got caught up in it. Not all of us were, you know. Some of us were saying things like, "Calm the hell down, it's being blown all out of proportion by the press. Now is the absolute worst time to be talking about legislation."

    Granted, we were talking about gun legislation, but the argument stands whether you're trampling the second amendment or the first.

  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:53PM (#25853895) Homepage

    A little perspective yourself!

    Today we can't renovate without a permit, tomorrow we won't be able to commute without an outdoor permit, and eventually we won't be able to think without a permit.

    Sure, there might be well-meaning justifications for many of these arbitrary restrictions, but the fact remains that they were enacted in response to the actions of a small group of crazies. How many people do you know who are bomb-throwing terrorists ? I'm going to tell it flat out: I'm the craziest person I know. I don't blow shit up (but sometimes I'd like to). I don't run over pedestrians (but sometimes I'd like to). Frankly, I'd nuke 90% of Earth's population if I had the opportunity. Does that make me a terrorist ? Should I be locked up for all the things I haven't done, but joke about in my trademark ha-ha-only-serious manner ? Should everyone else be restrained, monitored, taxed and judged, just in case they might be misanthropes like myself ?

    FUCK NO!

    Life is dangerous. It is almost certainly less dangerous today than it was before, not because we had less bombs, but because everything was a little less refined. Human curiosity constantly pushes forward in the fields of engineering, medicine, and just plain human interaction - getting along better with each other. Racism isn't as bad as it used to be, things like that. We still have idiots with guns and trucks and buzzcuts, we still have hateful bigots and greedy crooks and angry cultists, but they've always been there. They didn't just beam down from Jupiter, we just notice them more because the whole world is connected. This whole mess is a distortion due to mass media's ever-invasive presence in our lives, and the will of certain militaristic leaders being forced upon the masses for personal gain.

    I don't feel less safe today than I did ten years ago, neither should anyone else. Save for the actions of a few tyrannical fools and short-sighted thugs, humanity is evolving and every day is a step forward. Law is not the future. Crime is not the future. Understanding is the future.

  • Re:Car analogies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Friday November 21, 2008 @09:09PM (#25854027)

    My point is that SANE people are not going to take a car to 200 miles an hour near a school zone or a bus route. Insane people are not going to follow the rule anyway,

    Classifying them as sane or insane isn't terribly helpful, unless you can do it in advance, and you plan to imprison them once you classify them. I don't want to live there.

    so it doesn't do any good. This is true for all common sense rules.

    Really, would I have had car insurance on my first car, at 16-18, when I was essentially asset-free, and perpetually broke? Hard to say.

    I also had friends who drove their parents cars from time to time - without having gotten the necessary riders etc for them (due to the significant extra cost of getting insurance that enabled these young drivers to use the cars). Were these people medically 'insane'?

    I can also say, they would have driven a lot more often than they did if they'd had the insurance, because the risk of getting caught without out it was significant, especially in an accident. So while making it the law didn't prevent it outright, it seriously limited it.

    The other point in here is who learned their states laws in school? Yet you are still responsible for breaking them?

    I think that's a good point. People should be educated about the laws.

    I am not an anarchist, I want laws... and mostly I was just trying to be funny, but does the law really stop you from speeding? (it never has me, though I am far more careful about it now) Has the law stopped millions from downloading copywrited music? Has the law stopped any big CEO from embezlement? Where a law stops someone, that person was not really wanting to commit the crime anyway.

    I disagree. Lots of laws have been very effective. Has the law preventing you from using lead paint in toys stopped anyone from using lead paint in toys? Has the law preventing you from parking next to a firehydrant worked? Has the law preventing you from lighting a campfire during a campfire ban worked (I know I canceled one of my camping trips this summer due to a fire ban.)

    There are some stupid laws out there, to be sure. And some that aren't even enforceable. But there are tons of laws and regulations that are sensible and work.

    It is just a means to control the masses, and we need that to some extent.

    Its more than just a means to control the masses, and you seem to recognize that here yourself.

    and that is why I am against censorship of the web.

    I'm with you on that one. i just took exception to your banging the 'personal liability' drum while protesting the nanny state. Personal liability is great and I support it, but society has an obligation to protect its citizens that goes further than what can be accomplished simply by holding the people who cause problems accountable. Personal liability isn't a solution. Its, at best, a tool in kit, to be used where appropriate.

  • s/a little/a lot/ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr2001 (90979) on Friday November 21, 2008 @09:49PM (#25854353) Homepage Journal

    They also say they are going to ease taxes while providing bailouts for every failing industry and providing every man, woman, and child in America with unlimited free health care, a bullet-proof retirement, unlimited free energy, and a magical flying puppy(okay, I'm exaggerating a little---they never actually promised the puppy would fly).

    They never promised to lower taxes across the board, or that health care would be free or unlimited, retirement would be bulletproof, or energy would be free or unlimited either.

    But hey, you wouldn't have gotten modded up if you'd just stuck to the facts, right?

  • by GrumblyStuff (870046) on Friday November 21, 2008 @09:55PM (#25854389)

    The wiki page [wikipedia.org] came up first. The only thing of note the internet is mentioned with is about the bombs they made (which someone helpfully updated to "Improvised Explosive Devices").

    Most of the bombs set failed to go off at all or just sort of set some stuff on fire. No deaths or even injuries are mentioned to be caused by any of them. On that note, they'd have been better off with jugs of gasoline.

    As for the internet's contribution, bombs are mostly a matter of chemistry. You know, knowledge, information. Suppose they were in a chemistry class or, heck, simply had some chemistry books. I know it's fashionable to consider things done on the internet to be new but any one with interest in a subject could go to the library and get the same information (and probably more accurate info at that).

    The internet didn't set them off. The internet didn't get them guns. The internet had a very minimal effect here.

  • Re:Of course (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @10:19PM (#25854559)

    Well, now that your "likely" is becoming more and more "certain", it may dawn on you, that, what you perceived as "certain", may, in fact, have been "unlikely"... See also "Buyer's Remorse".

    Right, because after eight years of Bush there's no reason whatsoever to assume that Republicans are hostile to the idea of personal rights.

    Get the fuck out. Nobody in government wants the people to be free, except a few "loonies" in the fringe. Party has nothing to do with it, let's all stop pretending that it matters which one is sticking the rod up our ass; we're getting raped either way, it's just a question of who will do it gentler.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday November 21, 2008 @10:26PM (#25854623)

    And don't forget the V-chip, which allows parents to disable certain TV channels. It's in all new TVs and unused in nearly all of them.

    I find the V-chip to be a big, big let down.
    I figured that once every mom, dick and harry had the ability to protect precious lil junior's eyes from boobies and other pink parts that we would see a great increase in tv getting down and dirty on primetime. After all, if you didn't want to watch it, you could just tell your tv to block it for you.

    But so far, Janet Jackson's jewelry encrusted nipple [b12partners.net] is the best we've had and frankly, that just doesn't cut it, in anything less than HDTV it looked like it was covered with a pasty anyway.

    Bring on the primetime pr0n already!

  • Re:Of course (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:01PM (#25854825)

    If you really believe that'll make a difference, you're naive.

    Let's make this a test: look, there are thousands of people who read Slashdot. Each of us have plenty of friends. Agitate to get each and every one of them to go to change.gov and protest this appointment (or Clinton for SOS, if you like).

    See if it makes one bit of difference.

    Hey, nothing against Obama. I wish him the best. But I never bought into that "Change" mantra. That was nothing but marketing that, apparently, was swallowed by a lot of people who are going to be increasingly disillusioned and disappointed over the next few months.

  • Re:Of course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WTF Chuck (1369665) on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:30PM (#25855003) Journal

    I guess this is what they mean by "Change you can believe in."

    I got the memo about "change", I never got the memo on whether or not the "change" would be beneficial or detrimental. I can only hope for the former, but I fear the latter.

  • Re:Of course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tyrione (134248) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @12:25AM (#25855315) Homepage

    Sorry, but I'll take Sexy in Glasses with the Fargo Shredder scene of a Turkey over this crap.

  • Back on subject... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @01:56AM (#25855727) Homepage Journal
    It appears that Eric Holder was also heavily involved in the controversial pardons from the end of the Clintonian reign, such as with Marc Rich [cbsnews.com].

    Change? Hmm....sounds like "same as the old boss" to me.

    :(

  • by Stormshadow (41368) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @02:00AM (#25855731)

    As you alluded to, "well-regulated" at the time meant something that functioned well; however, something you seem to have forgotten is how militias function.

    In a professional standing military, you can afford to take in any Tom, Dick, and Harry that can't shoot, and you can afford to throw ammo at them until they don't suck. In a militia, you don't have that luxury. You get what you get, and there isn't much funding for training, much less actual equipment, as most militia are banded together for an emergency post-haste with equipment on-hand.

    Position 1) The right is necessary in light of training requirements.

    If the people can't shoot, how much use are they in a militia? You can only have so many cooks and back to carry a load. Clearly then, without a citizenry capable of practicing skill at arms on their own time and dime, the likelyhood of raising a functioning militia on short notice is dismally slim. Lastly, if you were to pull together a militia of people who grew up scared that their uncle's .45 was going to jump up and start shooting children, nuns, and their puppy at any moment, I'm fairly certain that such a force would break upon first contact due to lack of nerve and inflict minimal casualties anyone other than themselves due to lack of training. This is one of the reasons for the 'well-regulated' clause.

    Position 2) The right is necessary in light of logistical requirements.

    In short, the logistics of maintaining an effective short-notice militia are a nightmare. As stated previously, militias were usually called up in rediculously quick order with whatever they had on hand. In the vast majority of areas, there were no armories were everything was stored, short of a place for their cannon, if they had one, which was usually privately owned as well. (gasp) Instead, everyone brought what they had at home. Hard to muster an effective militia if you have no weapons.

    Also, I'd take issue with your idea of what a militia is or is not. Technically, if one were to attribute gun-ownership to everyone in the military, by definition then, it would be a vast number of unrelated gun-owners, though I do believe you meant related more like organizationally related as opposed to genetically related.

    In that case, your case still fails:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/10/311.html [cornell.edu]

    US Code, Title 10, Subtitle A, Part 1 > Chapter 13 Â 311 Militia: composition and classes

    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
    (b) The classes of the militia areâ"
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

    According to current US law, the unorganized militia consists of everyone who is a citizen from 18 to 45, gun-owner or not. Somehow I don't think you were aware of this, much less the fact that you are technically obligated as a militia member the moment you reach the age of majority. Kinda puts a different spin on the draft, eh?

    Unfortunately, a lot of the anti-gun variety like to throw out the National Guard as being the militia, seeing as the Federal Government aborbed state militias into the National Guard in the 1800s; however, if one paid close attention to the founding documents, the militia at the time were all run by the states. The National Guard is run like the bastard stepchildren of the US Army, a Federal organization. Seeing as the militia at the time were state-bas

  • Re:Of course (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @03:14AM (#25855983) Homepage Journal

    >>Obama and Biden say that they are listening

    Uh, Obama already knows that Holder is about as corrupt as people get. Holder engineered the Mark Rich pardon, and the pardons of two Weather Underground members, which Obama criticized Hillary over during the democratic debates.

    This naive projection onto Obama that he's listening, when he's repeatedly shown his enormous... well, let's call it "bad judgment" in choices of people that he chooses to listen to is, frankly, quite disturbing to me, since so many people are doing it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 22, 2008 @04:44AM (#25856263)
    As with freedom of speech, you have no such right.

    There is no right to *not* hear things.
  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @06:01AM (#25856473)

    The fighting in the Middle East now two big blocs, the Israeli-Arab conflict and the Shia-Sunni conflicts are *not* because of religion. They are side effects of Nationalism, with some minor sub-factions who are primarily motivated by religion (Islamic Jihad, AQI, AQ).

    Zionism while is a Jewish movement, its not a religious Jewish movement, it is a secular movement. The Palestinian Authority is not a religious movement, it is a nationalistic movement with Christian and Islamic members.

    Iraq's problems are not because of religion, they are because of three competing nationalistic movements. The old Ba'ath party's chaos in the wake of Iraq's fall, Kurdistan and the increasing regional influence of the Iranian Republic, which is a new name for the Persian Empire, a multi ethnic and multi religious state.

    So all these movements use religion? Yes. But they are not religious movements. When someone from Hamas blows up an Israeli checkpoint, its not for God, it is for the cause of Palestinian nationalism. When an Israeli F-16 bombs a Hezbollah camp, while the pilot is Jewish, its not because of the religion, it is because of Israeli national politics.

    As for the Crusades "converting or killing everyone in their path", thats not what happened on any side in the conflict during the Crusades. There were atrocities, especially during the sack of Jerusalem and the fall of Acre but the Crusades were not mindless bloodbaths of conversion. Nor were the Islamic conquest of the Middle East, Asia and North Africa during the 700-800s - unless one was a Pagan, then you did have to convert or die. So...hopefully one was a Christian or Jew when the Muslims showed up back then...

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