Stop Snitchin

Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Sat, 03 Dec 2005 13:00:00 GMT
# Claire Wolfe at Backwoods Home Magazine - Practical, Prepared, Straight-Shootin' Santa - some practical things to ask for from the Hardyville Santa. And she plugged my blog. Thanks, Claire. [claire]

# Gaia Guys - Kohei Minato and the Japan Magnetic Fan Company - Mr. Minato has invented a permanent magnet based motor that uses small electromagnets to kick the rotor past its lockup point. This allows 16 watts to drive a load that would normally require 200 or 300 watts. No "free energy" magic here, just a novel use of magnetism. Lutec Australia PTY Ltd. is commercializing Mr. Minato's invention in Australia. [google]

# Bruce Schneier at Wired - Airline Security a Waste of Cash - billions of dollars spent, thousands denied travel, but not a single terrorist stopped. [cafe]

What these programs do is create two different access paths into the airport: high-security and low-security. The intent is to let only good guys take the low-security path and to force bad guys to take the high-security path, but it rarely works out that way. You have to assume that the bad guys will find a way to exploit the low-security path. Why couldn't a terrorist just slip an altimeter-triggered explosive into the baggage of a registered traveler?

It may be counterintuitive, but we are all safer if enhanced screening is truly random, and not based on an error-filled database or a cursory background check.


Exactly two things have made airline travel safer since 9/11: reinforcement of cockpit doors, and passengers who now know that they may have to fight back. Everything else -- Secure Flight and Trusted Traveler included -- is security theater. We would all be a lot safer if, instead, we implemented enhanced baggage security -- both ensuring that a passenger's bags don't fly unless he does, and explosives screening for all baggage -- as well as background checks and increased screening for airport employees.

# Michele McPhee at The Boston Herald - Mayor vows in crackdown to snatch snitchin' shirts - Gang members in Boston and other cities have been wearing "Stop Snitchin" T-shirts in an effort to threaten crime witnesses and prevent them from testifying. Mayor Menino has stated that he's going to start confiscating such T-shirts from stores. [claire]

John Reinstein, legal director of the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, said Menino would violate at least three amendments to the U.S. Constitution by removing the shirts.

"If the mayor doesn't like the idea of these shirts the answer to speech you disagree with is more speech," he said. "He can ask people not to sell them. What he can't do is without any lawful authority go in and take them and not pay for them because he doesn't like what they say on them."

Reinstein said doing so violates the Fourth Amendment giving protection from unlawful seizure, the 14th Amendment guaranteeing due process and the First Amendment right to free speech.


"We are going to come down very, very hard on people who are carrying guns or committing violence," [Suffolk County DA Dan] Conley said yesterday.
I sent the following:
Date: Sat, 3 Dec 2005 09:00:43 -0500
From: "Bill St. Clair"
Subject: Fwd: Letter to the Editor

I read about Mayor Menino's threat to confiscate "Stop Snitchin" T-shirts. Typical knee-jerk feel-good do-nothing reaction to one symptom, instead of the source, of Boston's gang violence problems. And District Attorney Conley's "gun court" will also do no good. If you want to reduce gang violence, first legalize drugs and guns, to eliminate the black market. Then encourage law-abiding citizens to arm themselves and get self-defense training. Guns are not the problem. They are only a tool. Using a gun to initiate violence is criminal. Using it to stop a criminal is heroic. Encourage heroism.

Bill St. Clair

# Firefox 1.5 is available for download here. I'm browsing with it as I type. Release notes are here. It appears to load pages a little faster. The "Tab Mix" extension, which I was using in Firefox 1.0, doesn't work in 1.5, but they added the one feature I wanted in Tab Mix, the ability to reorder tabs via drag and drop. So far, it works fine for the sites I visit regularly. [jomama]

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